Breweries "Visited"

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Beer and Luck

Day #507 Kolsch / Lancaster Brewing Company, Lancaster, PA
Previously from this brewery: Rumspringa, Hop Hog, Winter Warmer, and Milk Stout

Hustle day today, as taking time off work the past two weeks has me a bit behind in the office, which means everything else in life is a bit behind as well.  And, your life is probably busy these days as well, as today is last shopping day for you to get me a birthday gift.  Hustle, people!

Tonight I'm washing down dinner with a can of Kolsch from Lancaster Brewing.  In the glass, this beer has a clear, pale golden hue, with a thin but persistent white head.  Your nose finds the aroma of bread and light floral notes, and when you drink it down you get a beer that brings bread, grass, and some tart lemon, with a nice, mild hop bitterness on the finish.  Crisp and refreshing, this is a perfect beer for summertime.  Plus, it comes in cans, so you can take these with you to a tailgate, on the boat, or while driving your lawnmower.
I like it in the can.
For those who don't know, kolsch is a style of beer originally brewed in Cologne, Germany.

Thing to Think About Today:
You faithful readers know that most days, I tie something to do with the brewery or the beer into our thing to think about.  Today is not one of those days.  Instead, you get one of the songs stuck in my head currently: the new Daft Punk and Pharrell collaboration, Get Lucky.  If this doesn't go into your summer sex mix, you're doing something wrong.  (note: video is only a snippet of the actual song; just do yourself a favor and go download this asap)

"She's up all night for good fun / I'm up all night to get lucky"

Monday, April 29, 2013

Day 506: Spring House, Part 3

My review of beers from a recent trip to Spring House Tap Room concludes with today's review of Goofy Foot summer wheat.
4.6% ABV
It pours a hazy yellow orange with a very thin white head. I couldn't get a read on this beer's smell. It was mild beer. Nothing notable. The flavor was light and refreshing...some wheat with a light lemon hop. Overall I'd call this one average at best. But given the other winners I've had from Spring House, don't let this review deter you from trying them out.

Beer stats
Style: Wheat
ABV: 4.8%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Average

Previously reviewed from Spring House
Gary's reviews of Goofy Foot (wheat ale)Robot Surf Factory (American Pale Ale)Seven Gates Pale Ale, Cliff (saison)
My review of Cliff (saison)Little GruesomeCosmic Monster (abbey quad)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday Naps

Day #505 Goofy Foot / Spring House Brewing Company, Conestoga, PA
Previously from this brewery: Robot Surf Factory, Little Gruesome, Cliff, Cosmic Monster, Seven Gates, and more Cliff

Back home after another weekend in State College.  The 125th anniversary celebration was a great event, and I was able to catch up with some old friends and share some laughs (and beers).  Glad to be back home, however, as I need to catch up on some rest before a busy week at work.  Nothing quite like a nap on a Sunday afternoon to recharge the batteries.

So, right into the beer review: today's beer is Goofy Foot, a summer wheat from Spring House Brewing. In the glass, this beer has a hazy yellow color and thin, persistent white head.  There are light aromas of wheat and grain, and there are flavors of grain, bread, and wheat when you take a sip.  This is a lighter beer that would go well on a warm summer afternoon.

Thing to Think About Today:
Summer beer on draft today, so I'll throw in some music that pairs well with summer.  Vampire Weekend, take it away...

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Day 504: Spring House Tap Room, Part Deux

The second beer I had at Spring House was the Cliff Saison.

It poured a hazy opaque apricot color with a thin white head. It smells of bananas and caramel and clove. The flavor reminds me of banana bread. Not bananas, banana bread. It has a yeasty tang with light malt and slightly stronger hops.
Beer stats
Style: Saison
ABV: 6.8%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Great

Previously reviewed from Spring House
Gary's reviews of Goofy Foot (wheat ale), Robot Surf Factory (American Pale Ale) and Seven Gates Pale Ale
My review of Little Gruesome, Cosmic Monster (abbey quad)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Presses on.....

Day #503 Rumspringa / Lancaster Brewing Company, Lancaster, PA
Previously from this brewery: Hop Hog, Milk Stout, and Winter Warmer

Busy weekend on the books, as I'm headed to State College to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Phi Gamma Delta at Penn State.  More commonly known as FIJI, we are the oldest fraternity at PSU, dating all the way back to 1888.  We're not just the oldest fraternity, but also the best (note: I may be biased) as our house has been home to world record holders, Olympians, CEOs, professional athletes, and a Heisman Trophy winner.  Will be great to see a great group of alums back on campus and spend time with the next generation of brothers carrying on our impressive legacy.  Damn glad.
What, this isn't what your college apartment looked like?
To celebrate this event, you get a beer review (what, you were expecting something else?), and today's offering is Rumspringa from Lancaster Brewing Company.  This beer is a clear amber with a white head, and gives off a light but sweet aroma.  When you take a sip, you get flavors of bread and malt sweetness, with a warm bit of honey.  Virtually no bitterness hiding out, and speaking of hiding this beer has a 6.9% ABV, which it hides very well.  Smooth, easy drinking, and great for spring time.  Find this one and enjoy soon, as this seasonal offering won't be around forever.
Does this beer look crooked?
For those who don't know, Rumspringa is a period of time where Amish teenagers leave their community to live a "normal" life of sin and vice (you know: booze, zippers, cars - that sort of thing) to see if they truly want to be baptized into their faith, or leave the community forever.  So... like spring break, only more serious.

Thing to Think About Today:
Fraternities are incredibly polarizing; people either love them or hate them.  They're an easy target in the media for the ills of society, even though the kids in the chess club are doing the same exact things - just not in a big fancy mansion.  So, to honor fraternity life, let's peek in on the second greatest college movie of all time, Revenge of the Nerds.  And, to clarify, it's only in second place because nothing will ever top Animal House, the greatest movie from any genre ever.  Sit back and enjoy 80s college life in all its glory:

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Beer #502 Cliff / Spring House Brewing Company, Conestoga, PA
Previously from this brewery:  Seven Gates, Cosmic Monster, Little Gruesome, Robot Surf Factory

Off from work today, as tonight is the Franklin Institute Awards, which has honored the greatest minds in science, engineering, technology, and business since 1824.  There is some significant genius on display tonight, which always makes me feel very, very small and unimportant; compared to the most brilliant minds on the planet, I really haven't contributed so much, after all.  I mean compared to the most brilliant minds on the planet, it's rather difficult for anyone to stack up, so I don't feel that bad.  Just a bit bad.

But can the greatest minds of our time decipher the flavors found in a beer?  Probably, but I can too!  Tonight's review is the Cliff, a farmhouse saison from Spring House.  This beer has an orange amber hue, with a lingering white head.  You find pepper and grains in the aroma, and when you drink it down you find malt sweetness, biscuit, bread, peppery spice, and some light lemon.  Just a touch of bitterness on the end.  Very enjoyable beer; if you see it, drink it.
Sort of washed out, but you get the idea
Thing to Think About Today:
Becoming one of the greatest minds in science takes some genius and some significant time in school.  School?  How about some Paul Simon with Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard?  If that isn't interesting enough, allow me to tell you that for reasons I love but can't explain, Biz Markie and Big Daddy Kane introduce the video.  Why?  Because that's genius!  And just to keep you interested, we'll throw in some John Madden at the end.  Why?  I have no idea, other than because people did lots of drugs in the 80s.

"Mama look down and she spit on the ground / every time my name gets mentioned"

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Day 501: Spring House Tap Room, Part 1

If you live around Philadelphia or Harrisburg, let me encourage you to visit Spring House Tap Room in Conestoga, Pennsylvania. The tap room decor is a hybrid of surf culture, anime-like cartoons and I don't know what else. But it has a great vibe and friendly, knowledgeable folks behind the bar. Pretty much everything I need. 
I was hoping the mint chocolate chip stout was still around, but it wasn't meant to be. Instead my luck hit a different jackpot and that was finding the "Little Gruesome." Strange name for a beer? Yes, indeed. But when it is as tasty as this beer, strange is A-OK with me!

Little Gruesome is a peanut butter and jelly stout. Yes, I wrote that correctly.

It pours a dense, deep brown color beer with a full dark tan head. It has a dry, nutty aroma. The flavor is pretty unbelievable. Honest to God, it tastes like peanut butter and jelly. The peanuts come in at the beginning of a sip. Roasted and nutty. Once you exhale, you get a great jelly flavor. How do they do that??? It's a surprisingly easy drinking beer and has a dry finish.

Beer stats
Style: Stout
ABV: 8.3%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Excellent

Previously reviewed from Spring House
Gary's review of Robot Surf Factory (American Pale Ale) and Seven Gates Pale Ale
My review of Cosmic Monster (abbey quad)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Beer and Popularity

Day #500 Robot Surf Factory / Spring House Brewing Company, Conestoga, PA
Previously from this brewery: Cosmic Monster and Seven Gates

Milestone day here at Blog Named Brew, as this is the 500th day of posting!  I enjoy sharing my thoughts, opinions, frustrations, and observations with the world, so let me say "thank you" for reading.  There are many pages on the internet, and I do appreciate you taking the time to look at this one.  I'll also use this occasion to remind everyone that we're also sharing #BeerPorn at the BlogNamedBrew Instagram page.  Click and follow to see even more pictures of beer than you see here - if you're into that sort of thing.

Today's review comes from a beer stop during a recent trip to Lancaster - the oddly named Robot Surf Factory IPA from Spring House Brewing.  This one caught my eye, as I haven't run across many pineapple pale ales before.  Yes, pineapple.  In the glass, this beer has a clear, very bright gold color with a think white head.  There is a strong aroma of fresh pineapple (duh), and when you take a sip you find a nice tropical fruit sweetness, with plenty of pineapple to balance out a dry finish.  There's a decent bit of bitterness throughout, in fact,.  While hops traditionally impart a citrus flavor (grapefruit or lemon, most notably) to beer, pineapple isn't a flavor I usually find.  This being said, Robot Surf Factory isn't a bad choice for the summertime.... if the summer ever gets around to arriving.
pretty... just like me
Their website artwork and beer names all have a unusual vibe to them; a mix of surf culture and horror film.  It works, trust me.

Thing to Think About Today:
In the spirit of Robot Surf, I'll close with some Nada Surf and their 90s hit, Popular.  A song that curiously uses 1964 teen advice book, Penny's Guide to Teen-Age Charm and Popularity, for the lyrics.  Hey, whatever works, right?  Have a good night, all.  Even you unpopular kids.

"I'm the head of the class / I'm popular"

Monday, April 22, 2013

Day 499: Come Hell or High Watermelon

I didn't realize I was writing tonight and don't have anything clever to share. I'm also kind of fried from the past few weeks on the job. Part of on-the-job risks is the inability to be clever after seating 900 people at a variety of events during a three day period. My world is all dining rooms, table numbers and worrying that I lost someone in the last table shuffle. Event planning. Riveting stuff.

So how does one properly escape from the world of event planning when it all starts seeping into one's dreams? Good beer. That's how. It started with Day of Marci yesterday with visits to Spring House Tap Room and then Lancaster Brewing Company. A glorious day like yesterday requires a road trip. That's another proper way to decompress.

Tonight's escape comes from 21st Amendment Brewery. Unfortunately in our 24 hours in San Francisco last summer, we didn't find time to visit in person. Don't worry. That will be rectified in the coming years.

I'm not a fan of watermelon so I was skeptical the first time I heard of this beer. Then I managed to get my hands on some and HOLY COW! SUMMERTIME IN A CAN! Yes, it is that good.

It pours a slightly hazy golden color with a loose white head. It smells of wheat and citrus and light watermelon. The flavor is a strong, natural watermelon wrapped up in a nice wheat beer package. It tastes like best thing ever on hot summer days. It has a nice body with a bit of prickly carbonation.

Beer stats
Style: Fruit beer, wheat ale
ABV: 4.9%
IBUs: 17
Rating: Excellent

Previously reviewed from 21st Amendment
Gary's review of Bitter American with some serious Super Bowl analysis and his thoughts on Hell or High Watermelon
My review of Fireside Chat

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Day 498: Perfect Weather, Perfect Beer, Karl Strauss

The first time I experienced a Karl Strauss beer was on the great beer-cation of 2012 when we stopped by their outpost in La Jolla (California). La Jolla is beautiful. If you haven't been, I highly recommend it.

Today's weather reminds of that gloriously sunny day last summer, although I admit that it's about 15 degrees cooler right now. And then there's the obvious lack of the Pacific Ocean lapping in the distance. So totally the same, right?

The Big Barrel double IPA was a gift from my good friend Kelli, who had the wherewithal to smuggle several bombers home in her luggage. It poured a lovely apricot color. It had a full but quick to disappear ivory head.

It's aroma is fruity hops--pineapple specifically. The flavor is amazing. Great fullness. Bready. Good amount of malt. It finishes with a strong hop backbone.

Beer stats
Style: Double IPA
ABV: 9%
IBUs: 90
Rating: Excellent

Previously reviewed from Karl Strauss
Gary's thoughts on Big Barrel
My review of our visit in 2012
Gary's review of Red Trolley ale

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Day 497: Victory Otto

For the first time in what feels like an eternity, I feel like there's light at the end of the tunnel. There are only 20 items left on my check list for the big gala on Thursday--down from maybe a few hundred on a 19 page document. The logistical ballet that supports this week of activities has been rehearsed, revised and rehearsed again. At sunrise on Monday, our banners will be hung on the building's facade. My private starter's gun. A sign that the greatest week of my work-year is here. A visual cue to the world to watch out...that we're ready to go and it is going to be amazing.

It seems apt to review a beer from Victory Brewing Company when feeling like this.

Otto is a combination of a caramel-sweet dubbel with flavors of a smokey rauchbier. This one has been lingering in our fridge for awhile. From the research that I did, it appears that Otto was a one-time release from Victory and that happened around July 2011. Has this beer been hanging in my fridge for that long? How is that even possible? 

Anyway, I digress. Otto poured a lovely mahogany color with a thin tan head. It smells like fireplace and malt. It has a smokey flavor with notes of dark, pitted fruit. It's a bit nutty as well and there are hints of caramel in there. The smokiness doesn't let go--even through the finish.

Beer stats
Style: Rauchbier
ABV: 8.1%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Great

Previously reviewed from Victory
Mr. Blog Named Brew's thoughts on Otto
Swing reviews by me and him
Gary's review of Hundred HorsesNATO IPAand V-12
Here I attempt to drink ALL THE BEERS!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Victory We Predict for Thee

Beer #496 Otto / Victory Brewing Company, Downingtown, PA
Previously from this brewery: Swing Session one and Swing session two, Hundred Horse one and Hundred Horse two, NATO IPA, V-12, and a sampler

Nothing like a beer review before lunch to get the day started!  I'm headed to State College to enjoy some relaxation today and a practice football game tomorrow - although the tailgate will be real, I assure you.  Therefore, I'm getting my writing done while I can.  The short version, then:

Today's review is a bottle of Otto, a smoked ale from Victory Brewing that's been in the fridge for what seems like an eternity.  In the glass, you see a dark, chocolate brown color with a thin, off white head.  There's a nice aroma of smoked malts, and the taste is clean, with a good bit of smoke and a somewhat meaty characteristic (but not in a bad way).  Thankfully not burnt or coffee, as those are flavors I don't tend to enjoy.  There's some bitterness from the hops, but you're drinking this one for the toasted malt.  Would pair well with sausages and mustard, I'd say.  Not a beer I'd reach for on a regular basis, but well done.
With matching glass. OH YOU FANCY, HUH?
Thing to Think About Today:
Smoked beer?  Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, with the legendary Tracks of My Tears.  Enjoy your weekend friends.  I'll miss you!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Aloha, Mr. Hand

Day #495 Big Barrel Double IPA / Karl Strauss Brewing Company, San Diego, CA
Previously from this brewery: Marci's zany look at their sampler, and my un-zany take on their sampler

Today marked my last day at work before a three day weekend, where I'll be heading to State College to watch Penn State's spring football game.  Perhaps, even have a beer in the parking lot.  Maybe.

Tonight was a basketball night (we won!) and it's getting late, but duty calls, so here's your beer review for the evening.  I'm drinking another gift from a friend who thought of us during a visit to the west coast, a bottle of the Big Barrel Double IPA from Karl Strauss.  This beer has an amber orange hue with a thin, lingering white head.  There's a rather big grapefruit aroma, with noticeable pine scents as well.  When you take a sip, you find even more citrus fruit; grapefruit and lemon, and it's dry from start to finish.  There's a hint of some sweetness in there, but be advised this is only for the hop heads out there.  Sadly, they don't distribute to the East Coast, so unless you're heading west, good luck finding any.

Karl Strauss has a number of brewpub locations; I've been to the one in La Jolla (right across the street from Brooks Brothers. Score!), but thankfully before the odor of bird poop took over the otherwise ritzy town.

Thing to Think About Today:
If I'm thinking about San Diego, I'm thinking about one of the greatest movies of ALL TIME.  Based on Cameron Crowe's experiences while in a San Diego high school, Fast Times at Ridgemont High is a hilarious look at high school in the 80s.  Starring a young Sean Penn as Jeff Spicoli, stoner philosopher extraordinaire, this film had huge star power: Forrest Whitaker, Nicholas Cage, Phoebe Cates, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Judge Reinhold, Anthony Edwards, and Eric Stoltz, to name a few.  While the comedy was outrageous, there were serious themes as well, most notably teenage pregnancy.

The dialogue spawned great quotes that I like to drop into conversation to this day, and I'm pretty sure the fantasy scene with Cates climbing out of the pool kick started puberty into gear for me (and most other red blooded Americans of a certain age).  If you've never seen this film or if you haven't watched in ages, it's a classic that should be watched immediately.

"Hey, you guys had shirts on when you came in here."
      "Well something must have happened to them."

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Day: 494: Ommegang Gnomegang

I wish I had words about the mess in Boston. I thought they would come to me in the days following the tragedy, but they continue to elude me. That's most likely because Mr. Blog Named Brew used them all in a beautiful post yesterday. Ditto. But it was tennis for me.

Gnomegang is Ommegang's Belgian pale ale that my friend John has been telling me about for a year plus. I almost started to think it didn't exist until I found it on draft at TJ's this past weekend. 

It poured a hazy gold with a medium white head. After my first sip, I declared, "Welll John wasn't wrong. That's good beer."

It smells and tastes strongly of Belgian candi sugar. There's a nice spice to it..maybe cloves? It drinks with a lovely smoothness and has a kick at the finish. Lots of complex and rich flavors happening in there. Nice level of maltiness. It gives me a nice warm feeling, but isn't cloying. In fact, I thought the finish was nice in the level of dryness.

Beer stats
Style: Belgian pale ale
ABV: 9.5%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Excellent

Previously reviewed from Ommegang
His and hers reviews of Biere d'Hougoumont
My review of Three Philosophers, the first beer I drank after year one was complete
Gary's take on Three Philosophers and with a title like Pirate Dogs and Pimps, how can you not read it?
One of my favorite beers, Aphrodite

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Running Towards, Not Away

Beer #493 Session Black / Full Sail Brewing Company, Hood River, OR
Previously from this brewery: Session Lager, Session Black , and Session Lager

As a kid growing up, my friends and I would play basketball for hours on end in the summer.  Show up at Beech Street playground early, run games all day, take a break to get a drink (Gatorade used to make an iced tea flavor back in the day, and it was glorious), then get back and get another game going until darkness called 'next' and sent us all home for the night.  It was a constant of my teenage years, and it was a place where I was truly happy.

I bring this up for two reasons; one trivial, the other important.

One, I'm playing two basketball games tonight due to my spring league and summer league schedules overlapping.  When I saw this, I immediately realized I haven't played two meaningful games where score is kept and referees call fouls in one day in a very, very long time.

Two, because I've been struggling to put my emotions regarding the tragedy of yesterday's Boston Marathon attack into words.  I think about how much joy and satisfaction I get from participating in sports, most notably running and basketball.  When I first saw a doubleheader on my calendar, I thought back to the feeling of being a kid and playing the game I love all damn day.  The tragedy of yesterday changed my perspective.  Now I've been thinking about races I've run, how many friends I've supported from the sidelines, how many people whose lives are forever damaged from simply just cheering on runners.  They were just fucking waiting with anticipation for loved ones to finish doing something that brought them joy.  I can't even fathom the pain of those families touched by the explosions

An event like the Boston Marathon is a cause for celebration; there's a reason why so many people line the race course and gather at the finish line.  Sporting events can and do bring out the best in people: the struggle to achieve, the will to compete, the satisfaction of hard work, the brotherhood among competitors, the elation of finishing strong, the sense of accomplishment from doing something others can't or won't try, the desire to get out and do it all over again.  I hope the terrorist actions of yesterday don't dampen that spirit.  I hope sports continues to be a way for people to band together, to find common ground, to heal, to move forward.

Do I feel like an idiot doing something as silly as a beer review today, when so many are hurting and working to restore order to the world?  I do, but the world keeps turning.  As much as we grieve and wonder what terrible force in the world allows this to happen, we keep on with our lives, marching forward.  We get up, we get dressed, and we go about our business - proof positive that no matter what evil lurks in the world, the good people won't stop living their lives.

Today you get a review of Session Black from Full Sail Brewing.  In the glass, it's a bright, clear mahogany (as clear as mahogany can be, I guess) color, with a thin head.  There's a lightly toasted malt aroma, and the taste is malt sweetness, with some very mild hop bitterness.  At a mere 5.4% ABV, you get a good flavor without the wallop of a higher ABV beer.  Not a bad summer option for those who are malt fans.
That looks inviting, doesn't it?
Another beer that arrived in a less than 12oz bottle!  No offense, but I think you learn this trick on your first day of MBA class: slightly smaller packaging + same price = greater profit, as you're putting less product in each package.  I sincerely hope this isn't a profitability scheme the rest of the craft beer world notices....

Thing to Think About Today:
Rather than a silly song or something about sailing, I think I'd like to once again remind everyone that a great way to ensure hospitals and trauma centers have the ability to deal with both unfortunate events and routine operations is to donate blood.  If you're one of the 37% of Americans who are physically able to give, the world desperately needs you to donate, and donate as frequently as you can.  To find an American Red Cross blood drive near you, visit:

While keeping the victims of tragedy in your thoughts and prayers is important, it's far more important to actually do something tangible.  Please give blood.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Day 492: Bacchus Flanders

Writing tonight feels frivolous in light of what's happening in Boston. It's disheartening that something like a marathon is marred by lunacy. I can't stop thinking about how the Boston Marathon is a dream for so many people. This is stupid and senseless violence. I'm not sure if I'll ever understand it.

Keep those runners and spectators in your thoughts. I know I will.

Tonight's beer review is of Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck's Bacchus--a Flanders oud bruin.

It poured looking like a ruby-tinged cola with a thin pale tan head. It's smell is light sour cherry. Given its look, I was expecting more balsamic vinegar. It drank with a thinness but was surprisingly carbonated. It tasted like a tart cherry soda water with mineral notes. 

Beer stats
Style: Flanders oud bruin
ABV: 4.5%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Average 

Previously reviewed from Van Honsebrouck
Mr. Blog Named Brew's review of  the St. Louis Fond Tradition (geueze)
My review of Kasteel Rouge from way back on December 17, 2011!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Well Seasoned

Day #491 Roma / Birradamare, Fiumicino, Italy
Previously from this brewery: Kuasapa, more Kuasapa, Rossa, and more Rossa

Was just looking through my fridge, and I realized I now have some greatly out of season beers that need to be addressed.  There's some Christmas ales and some barleywines, both of which grow less enticing with each day closer to summer.  Now, I'm by no means a beer snob (I prefer the label, "beer geek"), so I don't believe styles of beer can only be consumed at certain times of year.  You want a shandy in December?  Fire away!  Perhaps this blog needs an "odd beer" week and try to get some of the beers geared toward winter cleared out.  Anyone want to come over and join me?  Let's do it!

Today's beer, on the other hand, is both appropriate and not - a bottle of Roma, a Marzen style beer from Birradamare in Italy.  Marzenbier means "March beer" in German, and is brewed in the spring (appropriate!) to be consumed at Octoberfest (oops!).  Eh, I'll allow it.

In the glass, you see an amber color, with a wispy slightly off-white head.  The aroma is a blast of candi sugar and lightly toasted malt.  When you take a sip, you find a plethora of sweet malt, bread, and some dark fruit.  A touch of earthy bitterness to round things out.  Not bad, even if it's not quite October yet.
This beer (and Kuasapa) came in an 11.1oz bottle.  I hereby admit I'm not looking forward to a trend of beers in bottles smaller than 12oz, even if it is a fun shaped and well designed bottle smaller than 12oz.

Thing to Think About Today:
I'm currently sitting in the yard, enjoying a beer outside while the dogs snooze and enjoy a gentle spring breeze.  Was contemplating earlier today that I need a boat.  I think the dogs would like that, and we all know the ladies do (wink, wink).  So, another selection from the Yacht Rock playlist today: Seals and Crofts and Summer Breeze.  Ever so slightly out of season for spring, sort of like my beer.  It still works.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Money For Nothing

Day #490 Pacific Jade / Tired Hand Brewing Company, Ardmore, PA
Previously from this brewery: Plenty!  Also check Fauna, Table Printemps, Bokonon, Good Good Things, Trois Enfants, Fripp, more Good Good Things.  Helps when a brewery is about eight miles from my house, I suppose.

Another nice, springtime Saturday here.  Took the dogs to the vet this morning, and the good news is they have a clean bill of health.  Always good to hear, as they're now ten years old - not exactly spring chickens.  The bad news is that I needed to sell my car to pay for their vet bill.  They're cute and friendly, but they don't have jobs and they make me buy them things.  And vet bills are expensive things, unfortunately.

Further complicating the problems of my wallet today: someone cloned my debit card Thursday and managed to get about $900 out of my checking account before my bank's fraud department shut them down.  Not a big issue, as the money will be returned to my account, but seriously.... give me a break.  What if I needed that money today?  What if they waited six more hours until my paycheck hit, and they cleaned out $100,000? (because that's how much I get paid every two weeks).

Finished hearing me complain?  No.  Not yet you aren't.  I also need to finalize and submit my taxes this weekend, which means I'll be forking over some (more) hard earned cash to Uncle Sam on Monday.  I'd rather owe money than get a refund - people who celebrate huge refunds don't realize that they've been giving the government an interest free loan all year.  That's not good, people.  I get that a big check from the government is fun to cash, but the best scenario is owing nothing and getting nothing back come April 15.  Well, a better scenario would be owing less throughout the year, but no chance of that happening any time soon.

Finished hearing me complain?  Yes, now you are.  Please resume enjoying the rest of this blog.

Today's review is another beer from a visit a few weeks back to Tired Hands: Pacific Jade, a single hop Saison.  It poured a cloudy light yellow color, with a persistent white head.  The aroma is herbal and floral.  Marci said it smelled like marigolds.  Sure, I guess.  The taste is unusual; light, but dry with enough hop bitterness to get your attention (although not much pine or citrus that hops brings).  Plenty of floral, grassy, herbal notes.  Unusual and different from the average saison, but like everything at Tired Hands, it's tasty.
I'm convinced all beers at TH look like this.
Not blurry, just the color
Thing to Think About Today:
Today I close still thinking about money and the people working hard to separate my cash from my wallet.  So here's to you, veterinarian, credit card fraudster, and the Federal Government!  I present to you Ol' Dirty Bastard and the ever appropriate (although completely not safe for work) Baby I Got Your Money.  Sigh.  Back to the coal mine next week for me....

"Hey, Dirty, baby I got your money / Don't you worry / I said hey, baby I got your money"

Friday, April 12, 2013

Day 489: Birradamare Kuasapa

Birradamare 'na Biretta Kuasapa is an American Pale Ale. I can't lie. The bottle caught my eye on the shelf and I couldn't resist it. 

It poured a hazy chestnut color with a small head. It smells of pine hops with a hint of caramel. It drinks with a thinness but is very flavorful. Lots of hops. Honey. A bit of soap. 

Beer stats
Style: American Pale Ale
ABV: 6.3%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Good

Previously review from Birradamare
Mr. Blog Named Brew's thoughts on Kuasapa
'na Biretta Rossa review from Mr. and another from me

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Beer, Pictures of Beer, Websites About Pictures of Beer

Beer #488 Kuasapa / Birradmare, Fiumicino, Italy
Previously from this brewery: two looks at Rossa (1) and Rossa (2), a bock beer

Keeping things short today; another basketball game tonight, and really don't feel like writing this post-game. I will however, pause to announce that Blog Named Brew has found a home on Instagram.  If you like beer porn, please feel free to follow BlogNamedBrew.  Please follow - you know I have low self esteem.  Thanks!!

Today's beer is an Italian selection, a bottle of Kuasapa from Birradamare that's been sitting in the fridge for longer than necessary.  In the glass, you see an amber color with a thin head, and your nose finds a very pleasant, fresh lemon aroma with plenty of malt.  When you take a sip, you get an earthy, dry mix of pine and citrus, with ample grassy notes.  Rather well done beer, and definitely not what I expected.  If you see this oddly shaped bottle out there, give it a try.  I think you'll like it.
Fun bottle, good beer
Per their website, this beer is a blend of American and European hops.  Works for me!

Thing to Think About Today:
I have no cute connection between the brewery, beer, or anything else.  I'm tired, and my brain is fried.  Therefore, I'll stick with my same theme from Tuesday and drop some more Vampire Weekend, my always ready to go summer music.  This one is Step, an as-of-yet unreleased single off their new album (coming May 13!).  Enjoy, peoples.

"I feel it in my bones / I feel it in my bones"

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Day 487: Full Sail Session

"Hi, hon, I'm running late. I'm rescuing ducks." And that's how my day concluded. I wish it were a more exciting story, but it's mostly me sounding like an insane person calling 911 and declaring that I don't have an emergency, I just need help.

Yes, indeed. I need help.

After a day like today, I really appreciate a good, easy-going beer. And Full Sail Brewing's Session lager delivers just that.
The Session lager poured a crisp golden color with a white head with average retention. It smells like sweet corn. The flavor has a vegetable sweetness to it. Neither the hops nor the malt were overly-apparent until the finish. Then you got a nice hop profile that made it interesting. It honestly reminded me of buttery, slightly hoppy corn cakes. That's strange, isn't it?

Beer stats
Style: American pale lager
ABV: 5.1%
IBUs: 18
Rating: Great

Previously reviewed from Full Sail
Dropping knowledge about Baader-Meinhof and the Black lager
Even more references to yacht rock and Gary's review of Premium lager

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

All Things California

Beer #486 Pale 31 / Firestone Walker Brewing Company, Paso Robles, CA
Previously from this brewery: Union Jack, the wonderfully complex Fourteenth Anniversary Ale, and some more Fourteenth Anniversary Ale.

There is some significantly glorious weather happening right now in the Philadelphia region.  Good, because who doesn't get a spring in their step and a smile on their face when the weather is beautiful?  Bad, because I spent the entire day inside, working.  Good, because I'm now home and unwinding.  Bad, because seriously, no one is going to read this - you're all going to be outside, going for walks, enjoying the day.  But eventually you have to come home, so maybe you'll get around to seeing this.  Maybe.  I hope.

Without further delay, I present today's beer, a pint of Pale 31, an American Pale Ale from Firestone Walker.  Had this one during a brief visit to Teresa's Next Door last Saturday.  In the glass, you see a bright copper color with a thin white head.  Your nose finds aromas of hops, with a hint of malt sweetness.  The taste is really well done; a balance of earthy pine and lemony citrus balanced with a biscuit, bread flavor from the malts.  Well done, and would love to have another.
Looks like beer
This beer pays homage to the state of California, the 31st state added to our country.  Now you know.

Thing to Think About Today:
I will also pay homage to the state of California, although instead of brewing a delicious beer, I'll just drop in some music that pairs exceptionally well with sunny, warm weather.  We close things out with music built for the summer (and the Ivy League), Vampire Weekend playing California English.  I'm off to go work on my tan.  Time to get bronze.

"And if it's all a curse and we're just getting worse / Baby, please don't lose your faith in the good earth"

Monday, April 8, 2013

Day 485: When is a Petrus Not a Petrus?

When it's a winterbier, of course!

In my mind, Petrus equates to Petrus Aged Pale. Kind of the same way that to many folks on the East Coast, Yuengling means lager--despite Yuengling offering many solid alternatives to the lager.

So imagine the loop my  tastebuds were thrown for when I tried the Petrus Winterbier! This is decidedly not the Petrus I know, but it is a Petrus that I grew to love.

It poured a lovely mahogany color with a loose tan head. It's full of rich pie spices: cinnamon, clove, nutmeg. It reminds me a bit of whiskey. There's honey and malt in there too. It drinks with a lot of body and has a dry finish.

Beer stats
Style: Belgian dark ale
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Good

Previously reviewed from Brouwerij Bavik
Mr. Blog Named Brew gives thanks for Petrus Aged Pale
I want to drink the Aged Pale winter, summer, spring and fall

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Suit Up

Beer #484 West Coast IPA / Green Flash Brewing Company, San Diego, CA
Previously from this brewery: we have some Le Freak, Le Freak (so chic), Palate Wrecker, Imperial IPA, top 25 selection Rayon VertLinchpin IPA, and the sampler.

After yesterday's big day spent getting my flow back in order, today was another important day in the world of style; I hit up Brooks Brothers to grab some new suits for summer.  Great deals happening today, so I really couldn't resist.  Plus, the fact that I've lost nearly 20 pounds this year means all of my suits hang off me like the baggy pants MC Hammer famously wore.

2 Legit 2 get better fitting trousers
While that worked famously for Hammer back in the day, I was starting to run out of things to wear to work that didn't make me look like one of his back up dancers.  I mean, mine aren't covered in sequins, but you get the point.  I was due to get some new duds.  Mission accomplished.

To celebrate, I'm reviewing a West Coast IPA from BlogNamedBrew favorite Green Flash Brewing.  This beer pours a clear copper color with a healthy white head.  The aroma is the expected mix of grapefruit and pine, and when you take a sip you get a nice, refreshing beer with notes of lemon and grapefruit, pine, with just a hint of bready malt to keep things in check.  Good, solid bitterness throughout, but nothing too overpowering.  A very well done IPA which checks in at 7.3% ABV.  If you love IPAs (and who doesn't?), this one should be on your go-to list.
From their website, this beer has a blend of four hops: Simcoe (added to bring grapefruit), Columbus (hop pungency), Centennial (pine and citrus notes), and Cascade (floral aroma).  Now you know.

Thing to Think About Today:
When you look as handsome as me, you don't have to take your clothes off to have a good time.  Particularly when you're wearing a nice new Brooks Brothers suit.  However, if you doubt this theory, I'll allow Jermaine Stewart to tell it in song.  Feel the 80s power and enjoy the rest of your weekend, friends!

"Not a word, from your lips /You just took for granted that I want to skinny dip "

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Hustle and Flow

Beer #483 Dos Anos / Cigar City Brewing Company, Tampa, FL
Previously from this brewery: Hotter than Helles and Jai Alai

Flow  [floh]
1. to move along in a stream: The river flowed slowly to the sea. (verb)
2. to circulate: blood flowing through one's veins. (verb)
3. glamorous, wavy locks of hair; often referred to as 'luscious': Ladies love to run their hands through my luscious flow. (noun)

Instead of pulling weeds from the garden or putting down mulch on this sunny day, I was getting my flow in order, as I was a bit overdue for a haircut.  For those who only know me on the internet, it's important for you to understand I possess an awesome head of dark, thick, dreamy hair.  Thankfully, everything is back in order courtesy of a shampoo, a face & scalp massage, some hot towels, and skilled scissor work.  In case you were wondering, here's a picture of me post-haircut, with my flow back in full force:
But enough about me, you're also here for the beer.  Today's brew is an unusual find at TJ's yesterday after work: the Dos Anos from Cigar City Brewing. I call it unusual because how often do you find a kumquat berlinerweisse out there in the world?  Not often.  In the glass, it was a cloudy yellow, with a very thin head.  Your nose finds aromas of tart and sour fruit, and when you take a sip you get a blast of fresh fruit, followed by a tart sourness.  More citrus than funk, which ended up making this a rather drinkable beer.  As I wrote in my notes: "So that's what a kumquat tastes like."
Who loves bad camera phone pics?
This guy!
Berlinerweisse beers can be a bit of an acquired taste, I suppose, as you need to appreciate that sour quality to truly enjoy the style.  However, if you want something with a good fruit quality, definitely give this one a whirl.

Thing to Think About Today:
Here's how the last five minutes of my life just went:
/ searches iTunes for songs about hair; finds little worth noting in this space
// contemplates searching for references to kumquat, thinks better of it
/// searches 'songs about hair' on google, depresses self with lack of good ideas
//// realizes someone called Willow Smith wrote something called Whip My Hair; gives up

So, instead of something wonderfully clever about hair, I'll just close things out with a song about what life is like when your flow is luscious.  The good hair might be mine, but the floor belongs to Right Said Fred:

"I'm too sexy for my shirt / too sexy for my shirt / so sexy it hurts"

Friday, April 5, 2013

Day 482: Green Flash Le Freak

Today is my birthday. There are surprises in store for me tonight. As someone who is very comfortable admitting that she likes to control all the things, all the time, this is a challenging position for me to be in. I'm currently not controlling all the things. I am nervous. It's making me chew on my nails. I'm a freak.

Which leads me to today's beer. Green Flash's Le Freak. It's a combination of a Belgian style trippel and an American imperial IPA.

It poured a hazy golden orange color with a full white head. It smelled of hops, sugar and tart grapes. The flavor is surprisingly smooth. It's herbal and spicy with some breadiness. There a good hop bite in the finish and lots of piney hops.

Beer stats
Style: Trippel/Imperial IPA
ABV: 9.2%
IBUs: 101
Rating: Great

Previously reviewed from Green Flash
Mr.'s review of Le Freak and Rayon Vert and Imperial IPA and Palate Wrecker and Linchpin IPA
I tackle a sampler

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Little Bit Louder Now....

Day #481 Fauna / Tired Hands Brewing Company, Ardmore, PA
Previously from this brewery: Ready?  Table Printemps, Bokonon, Good Good Things, Trois Enfants, Fripp, more Good Good Things.  Whew.

Hustle day today; exceptionally busy day in the office followed by a spring league basketball game tonight.  Therefore, you get just the facts.  But they're facts about beer, so I think everyone should be just fine.

After running some errands on a recent weekend, we stopped into Tired Hands in Ardmore to catch a beer and unwind.  First up was a glass of Fauna, a pale ale brewed with Brettanyomces  from their Darwin Solera series of beers.  In the glass you see a bright but hazy orange hue, with a fluffy persistent white head.  The aroma is tart and funky, with a good bit of lemony citrus.  The taste is dry and earthy, with a very measured bitterness, and good flavors of grass and citrus, most notably lemon.  An interesting take on a pale ale courtesy of the Brett addition, but but quite good!  A rather drinkable beer at 6.4% ABV, for those who like to keep score.
Hello there, sexy.
As always, if you visit and don't order the candied bacon, you're wasting your time.

Thing to Think About Today:
Beyond the name of this beer, the word fauna refers to animal life of all types, and comes from name of the Roman goddess of fertility and earth.  To honor Faunus and the fauna all around us, let's revisit the Animal House, the greatest movie of all time, and let Otis Day and the Knights bring it home with their legendary fraternity party version of Shout.  This scene is what college is all about, people!

"And if you ever leave me / I don't want nobody else"