Breweries "Visited"

Friday, May 31, 2013

Jamn It.

Day #538 Scratch 95 / Troegs Brewing Company, Hershey, PA
Previously from this brewery: Troegs Pale Ale, Sunshine Pils, Scratch #57, and Nugget Nectar

Home from work this afternoon, getting ready to head down to the Phillies game tonight with some friends.  We're trying to leave a bit early so that we're not stuck in two hours of beach/baseball/weekend traffic, but yeah  - we're going to be stuck in two hours of traffic.  You suck, roads of Pennsylvania.  However, worth it to unwind and enjoy a night out with friends.

Today's review is Scratch 95, a Kolsch from Troegs.  This beer has a hazy gold color, and is served in the most phallic beer glass I've ever seen.  The aroma has notes of grain and fruit, and when you take a sip, you get a classic kolsch: refreshing mix of grain, a dry, light hop bitterness, some lemony citrus. I detected some light white grape notes hiding out in there, which lent the beer a certain sweetness that I really enjoyed.  If you're planning a trip to Hershey in the very near future, stop in and try one of these.  You won't be disappointed!!
This reminds you of.... a penis, right?
I mean... just look at it!
The Scratch beer series is Troegs' experimental beer work.  Always good, always changing.  Wish this one would make it into their permanent rotation.....

Thing to Think About Today:
If I'm going to be stuck in a traffic jam, then I think we should mellow out and relax to the smooth 90s stylings of Domino and his smash(?) hit Getto Jam.  Enjoy your Friday, dear friends.

"And for all that ass she toted around / well I offered a backpack"

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Day 537: Jolly Pumpkin Rides Again

Want a humbling experience? Try doing battle with this...

...when it's 88 degrees and humid. If I don't post again, it's because I actually had a heart attack. Holy cow.  After I drink a gallon of water to replenish myself, I will have a beer this evening. In the meantime, please enjoy this review of Jolly Pumpkin's Maracaibo Especial.

(I had a photo at one point. If I find it, it will go here.)

It poured a rich, bright oak color with a light tan bubbly head. It smells woody and just a little funky. The flavor is has the Jolly Pumpkin signature tartness, but I was surprised at the more pronounced hop profile. It's very smooth. Per Jolly Pumpkin's description, there's supposed to be cacao, sweet orange and cinnamon. I could find the citrus, but the cacao and cinnamon were eluding me. I'm not going to say I'm disappointed but this isn't one of my favorites from Jolly Pumpkin. Horror!

Beer stats
Style: American brown ale
ABV: 7.5%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Good

Previously reviewed from Jolly Pumpkin (The list goes on and on and on again...)
My review of Sobrehumano Palena'ole
Mr. Blog's review of Sobrehumano
My review of E.S. Bam
His and her reviews of La Roja
My review of Luciernaga from a Jolly Pumpkin bender
Gary's review of E.S. Bam
My review of Madrugada Obscura and some crazy lady ranting about St. Patrick's Day
Gary actually has tried all the Bam bieres

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Help Wanted

Day #536 Uncle Teddy's Bitter / Victory Brewing Company, Downingtown, PA
Previously from this brewery: Quite a few! Otto, more Otto, Swing, more Swing, Hundred Horse, more Hundred Horse, NATO IPA, V-12, and a sampler

I'm completely thrown off by schedule changes these days.  Short weeks, vacation days, things happening off schedule.  I can't explain it, but the notion of being off on Monday plus me being off again on Tuesday means that it's Wednesday, yet I can't seem to manage that fact consistently in my head.  All day today I was referring to things happening tomorrow that were happening today or happening today that were really taking place on Thursday.  If anyone wants to apply for a job as my executive assistant, please send me an email.  Assuming you know what day it is and can remind me of that information when I get it wrong, you're more or less hired.  I can't pay you in cash, but I suppose I can pay you in beer.  Seems like a good deal, right?

Perhaps a beer review will entice you to join the staff.  Part of last weekend was spent at Victory Brewing Company.  My first choice for the evening was a pint of Uncle Teddy's Bitter on the hand pump.  This beer has a rich amber hue, with a fluffy white marshmallow looking head.  Your nose picks up aromas of bread and sweet malt, and when you take a sip, you get a creamy texture, malt sweetness, caramel and toffee.  There's a scant bit of bitterness folded in from the hops, but face it; you're here for the malt.  Exceptional flavor for a beer that has a mere 4.0% ABV.  Or, less than a Bud Light's 4.2% ABV, for those who want a point of reference.  Easily one of my favorites at Victory.
Not a great photo. Shocking.
Thing to Think About Today:
No word on Victory's site if this beer was actually named for someone's uncle.  However, I'll keep with the family theme and close out with Robert Randolph and the Family Band, singing the infectious Going in the Right Direction.  I was once informed that I could learn how to play the pedal steel by reading a book from the library.  After listening to these guys play, I somewhat doubt that advice.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Day 535: Hooker Munich Style Lager

In random news of the day, I attended a meditation class during my lunch hour. I thought it sounded like a great idea because I've been feeling increasingly put upon by the incessant noise of the modern world. Phone buzzing, dinging, ringing, etc. Texts, emails, Facebook notifications, Instagram likes...the list goes on and on. Going out and having everyone at the table with their attention turned to their smart phones--reporting on experiences rather than just experiencing the moment. If it sounds like I'm pointing fingers, don't worry, I am. But I'm including myself among those at whom that finger is being pointed.

So how did I like that meditation class? It was one of the hardest things I've ever attempted. The noise in my head is astounding and it creates a constant struggle to find quiet and to find my breathing.Who knew it was such hard work to do what in essence feels like nothing?

What kept creeping into my thoughts? Everything on my work to-do list...this blog...what's for dinner. It was a startling and eye-opening hour.

But now I have to check my phone and drink a beer--a Thomas Hooker Munich-style lager to be exact.

It poured a transparent golden color and smelled generally of beer. The flavor was grassy and grainy with a bitter finish. It had a medium mouthfeel.

What is a Munich helles lager? From, it was Germany's answer to the popularity of Czech pils. It's a bit more malty but has a similar yet subdued spicy hop of a Czech Pils. And in case you were wondering about helles, it's German for bright.

I would say that Thomas Hooker got it right. While it's not my preferred beer style, I can say that it was good.

Beer stats
Style: Munich-style helles lager
ABV: 4.8%
IBUs: 13
Rating: Good

Previously reviewed from Thomas Hooker
Reviews of the blonde and helles lager from Mr. Blog Named Brew
My review of the blonde

Monday, May 27, 2013


Day #534 Troegs Pale Ale / Troegs Brewing Company, Hershey, PA
Previously from this brewery: the delightful Nugget Nectar, Sunshine Pils, and Scratch 57 (starring Darryl Dawkins!)

Happy Memorial Day to you all!  Hopefully you have fun plans for the day, or at least get to spend it with loved ones.  And I do hope you'll pause in some way to honor those who died while defending our country (friendly reminder: Memorial Day honors the deceased, while Veteran's Day celebrates the service of all veterans).

I'll be spending a portion of this holiday in the yard, trying to tame the jungle that seems to have sprung up recently.  Long time readers of this blog may recall that I would sooner cut off a limb than work in the yard, so you know this is a task I'm dreading.  My allergies started to flare up this weekend, and when you combine that with the approximately 100 bug bites I'll receive while I'm out there, you get a recipe for me being really miserable today.  Sorry to go all Debbie Downer on you there.  Just saying.  And I still didn't receive that invite for a BBQ, by the way..... must have gotten lost in the mail.

Part of Sunday afternoon was spent meandering through Central Pennsylvania, which included a stop at Troegs to get a beer fix.  Found a seat at the bar in their large tasting room, and ordered up a Troegs Pale Ale, which arrived sporting a bright copper color and persistent white head.  This might sound strange to non-craft beer believers, but then again maybe not: this is a very attractive beer, with a bright, clear quality (pic below doesn't do it justice, sadly).  You find a mild aroma of citrus and malt on the nose, and flavors of pine, lemon and orange, and caramel malts.  There's a dryness to this beer, and a very manageable 5.4% ABV.  Not the most complex or unusual beer Troegs produces, but definitely an enjoyable pour to sip on a sunny afternoon.
Trust me, prettier in real life.
Troegs' new brewery location is located right on Hersheypark Drive, around the corner from Hershey's famous amusement park.  I envision tons of dads dropping their kids off at the park to ride the rides, then jetting over to Troegs to relax and enjoy some beers.  Regardless, a trip to Hershey definitely shouldn't be considered complete without a stop at Troegs and their great tasting room.

Thing to Think About Today:
Troegs is located in a town affectionately known as "The Sweetest Place on Earth" thanks to the world famous headquarters of Hershey.  So let's get real relevant and let the Carolina Chocolate Drops (chocolate!) close out the weekend with Your Baby Ain't Sweet Like Mine (sweet!).  See what I did there?  Anyway, I hope this fun song helps you kick off a sunny Memorial Day.  See you all soon...
(music starts at the 1 min mark)

"And when I'm feeling lonesome and blue / my baby knows just what to do!"

Sunday, May 26, 2013

What Time Should I Come Over

Day #533 LowRYEder IPA / SweetWater Brewing Company, Atlanta, GA
Previously from this brewery: I sampled the Festive Ale and made Sweetchuck references

Happy Sunday and middle day of the three day holiday weekend to you all!  Went out and got some exercise in, now spending this glorious, sunny afternoon inside staring at the screen of my laptop.  Curiously, no one has invited me to a Memorial Day cookout yet.  Is that because no one is having a cookout this weekend, because my friends all suck, or because.... I didn't get invited to a cookout this weekend?  Has to be one of the first two, right?  Couldn't be the third, not that I'd want to even go to your stupid BBQ anyway.  Jerks.

Well, I'll have my own party, and start it off with a LowRYEder IPA from SweetWater Brewing in Atlanta.  SweetWater hasn't managed to make it's way to Pennsylvania yet, but I have a friend with family down south who shared a bottle as a gift.  When you pour this one, you see a light copper color and a barely there head.  There are aromas of orange and pine, and when you take a sip you find notes of earthy pine, citrus, and a very prominent rye spiciness and warmth.  Some good bitterness on the finish, and at 6.25% ABV this is eminently drinkable.  You know, like maybe at a cookout at your house this weekend, or something.
All... my... friends, drink the LowRYEder
This brewery just hit their 16th anniversary.  Let me go ahead and take a moment to wish a very happy anniversary!!

Thing to Think About Today:
Sometimes the jokes write themselves.  I mean, there's no way I can use anything but this song here, right?

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Day 532: Saucony Creek Bling Blangers

Summary of today: 17 miles on the bike. Few hundred yards on a busted tire. Two mile death march to an access point where Mr. Blog Named Brew could pick me up. Casualties: one tire, one tube, my left calf and my pride.

So then I drank a beer. Not this beer. This beer is the Bling Blanger from Saucony Creek Brewing Company. It's a chocolate brown ale. The brewery doesn't have a website yet. There are barely any reviews on Beer Advocate and what's there doesn't include this beer. A mystery!

It pours with a thick, creamy tan head over a deep, dark chocolate brown ale. It smells toasty and malty. The flavor is predominantly chocolate with a little bitter coffee bean thrown in. It has a strong malt profile. The mouthfeel is light but complicated with lots of flavor. It's incredibly smooth--almost too so as I guzzled down half this beer while writing notes.

Beer stats:
Style: Brown ale
ABV: 5.5%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Great

Previously reviewed from Saucony Creek
First beer ever from here!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Day 531: Ballast Point Wahooooooo!

Reasons why I love Mr. Blog Named Brew—because the following email exchange is totally normal for us. (Portions redacted for security purposes.)

From: Marci Generose
Sent: Thursday, May 23, 2013 11:18 AM
To: 'gary generose'
Subject: RE: Re: Fwd: FW:
All I have to say is things could get hella awkward today.

From: gary generose
Sent: Thursday, May 23, 2013 11:32 AM
To: Marci Generose
Subject: RE: Re: Fwd: FW:
More awkward than you using the word 'hella'?

From: Marci Generose
Sent: Thursday, May 23, 2013 11:34 AM
To: 'gary generose'
Subject: RE: Re: Fwd: FW:
I’m an ever-evolving creature. I’m trying it out. Sometimes things work. Sometimes things get awkward.

From: gary generose
Sent: Thursday, May 23, 2013 11:38 AM
To: Marci Generose
Subject: RE: Re: Fwd: FW:
Hella so, in fact. You should try telling people that crazy things are "cray". Like prosciutto in sushi. That shit cray.

From: Marci Generose
Sent: Thursday, May 23, 2013 11:40 AM
To: 'gary generose'
Subject: RE: Re: Fwd: FW:

And yes, there’s a sushi joint that was briefly considered for dinner last evening that puts prosciutto in sushi. THAT’S NOT SUSHI. That’s crap.

In other news, I drank a beer.

It's the Ballast Point Wahoo Wheat. It's an American wheat ale and (per Ballast Point's website) is brewed to be light and refreshing with unique citrus character that comes from adding orange peel and coriander to the boil. The haziness comes from the unmalted wheat and a special yeast adds the refreshing tangy flavor.

What do I think? It poured a very pale, hazy yellow with a medium white head. It smells of wheat with mild undertones of citrus. The flavor is very much citrus and wheat, but I thought it was more lemon than orange. Maybe that was the yeast tangyness coming into play. It has a thin mouthfeel. It also screams summertime just like San Diego, where it's brewed. I bet it's hella nice there right now. Here it's 10 degrees colder at 4:32 p.m. than it was when I left for work this morning. That's cray.

Is it working? Nah. I didn't think so.

Beer stats
Style: American wheat ale
ABV: 4%
IBUs: 15
Rating: Excellent

Previously reviewed from Ballast Point
The one where I had all the samplers (porter, fruit beer and Scottish ale)
Then Mr. Blog Named Brew had all his samplers (IPA, pale lager, barleywine)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

How Is It Not Saturday?

Day #530 Love is Evol / Prism Brewing Company, North Wales, PA
Previously from this brewery: Shady Blonde, Bitto Honey, more Bitto Honey, ParTea and more ParTea

We had a little belated birthday party in my honor at work yesterday afternoon - ice cream cake, which is my favorite.  However, the combination of an afternoon party and a general desire to take some time off made me think it was Friday afternoon.  In case you missed the first sentence; it wasn't Friday afternoon.  It was Wednesday afternoon.  Further complicating matters is that with a long weekend looming for Memorial Day, I assumed everyone would start cancelling meetings today, leaving my calendar wide open to actually accomplish things rather than sit in meetings all day  They haven't.  In fact, more meetings were added.  Do people not know that I already think today is Saturday and I didn't expect to do any more work today, let alone tomorrow?  We need to hire more omniscient people, I guess.

The only thing that can fix this (other than people reading this blog and realizing they were wrong to keep meetings on the books for today and Friday) is a beer review.  Tonight's offering is a glass of Love is Evol from Prism.  This beer caught my eye due to the mixture of strawberries and jalapenos in the brew.  Yes, read that again: strawberries and jalapenos.  In the glass, this beer has a mahogany color, and you pick up an aroma of malt and spice.  The initial taste is sweet from the strawberries, and then you definitely notice a peppery spice kick in next.  There are hints of chocolate malt hiding out in between.  This beer is definitely different, but not in a bad way - I like it.  Certainly worth a try if you find this on draft.
Sunshine, yo
Thing to Think About Today:
A little sweet and spice in the beer and everything nice means.... I guess... what, the Spice Girls?  Wannabe it is then.  Always a good song to drop into your summer tailgate mix.  Enjoy your evening, friends.  See you soon....

"Slam your body down and wind it all around....."

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Day 529: A Few Things Including Breckenridge Brewing's Agave Wheat

On Monday, May 20, The Doors' founding keyboardist Ray Manzarek passed away after a battle with cancer. One would have thought after surviving The Doors, you become immortal; however, it doesn't seem to work that way.

I found myself listening to a lot of music by The Doors during the days since. I'm not seeking it out--it just seems to be everywhere right now. Don't get me wrong, I listened to that band quite a bit in high school and college. And then I stopped. Why? I have no idea. But hearing it, especially L.A. Woman, has brought back some ridiculous memories. Perhaps the most ridiculous among them is a recollection of sitting in my room, blaring The Doors and writing trippy, rambling poetry, burning incense, donning flowing skirts and flannel shirts, reeking of patchouli.

If they say I never loved you
You know they are a liar
                                                 --Jim Morrison

What I would give for that journal of poetry right now...

In other news Breckenridge Brewing is creating a mixed case of canned beer and it includes Agave Wheat, which is one of my favorite beers. And since it's one of my favorite beers, I thought it was about time that I review it.

It pours a hazy yellow-orange color with a medium white head. It smells of wheat with a mild sweetness and just a bit of tanginess. It has a tart wheat-y flavor. Some lemon. And a very light bitter hop at the finish. It's very sessionable. In fact it's been the beer of choice at our tailgate for the warm weather games.

I'm truly bummed that we're not heading to Colorado this summer. It will be the first time in three years that I won't get to experience fresh mountain air--it really does smell better there--and how awesome the lack of humidity is for my hair. Seriously. You should see my hair in Colorado. Amazing.

Beer stats
Style: American unfiltered wheat ale
ABV: 4.2%
IBUs: 9
Rating: Excellent

Previously reviewed from Breckenridge
My 2nd post of this adventure with a review of the vanilla porter
Mr. Blog Named Brew's review of agave wheat
His and hers reviews of 471 Small Batch and my review of Christmas ale

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Sunny Place for Shady People

Day #528 ParTea / Prism Brewing Company,  North Wales, PA
Previously from this brewery: Shady Blonde, Bitto Honey, more Bitto Honey, and ParTea

As I mentioned earlier, I've been working to buy some fashion sunglasses for the first time in my life.  Long a subscriber to the "who cares if I sit on them, they cost $4" theory of sunglasses, I'm now the proud owner of a pair that costs more than $4 but less than the cost of a fully loaded compact car.  I apologize in advance for how incredibly sexy I look in them, as I know it's not fair to everyone else who doesn't look this sexy no matter what sunglasses they put on.  My bad.

Today's beer is a pint of ParTea, an American Pale ale from nearby Prism Brewing Company.  You get a hazy golden amber color with virtually no head.  There's a citrus hop aroma, and when you drink it down you find plenty of lemon and tea, with a nice bit of bitterness on the finish.  I love tea and hate coffee, so the addition of tea to beer is always welcome in my book.  Definitely worth a sample if you see it on tap near you.
For those who have never visited Prism in person, be advised that you can walk there from the SEPTA if you take the R5 through to the wrong side of Philly.  Awesome, right?  Also be advised that this brewery has won my coveted 'Best Brewery to Dump a Dead Body Near' award due to the industrial location, nearness to the rails, and proximity to the woods.  Just saying.

Thing to Think About Today:
To celebrate the arrival of my new sunglasses, what else could I possibly leave you with but the incredibly 80s song Sunglasses at Night by Corey Hart.  Well, I guess I could have dropped Cheap Sunglasses by ZZ Top in here, but I didn't.  Sue me.

"Don't be afraid of the guy in shades, oh no, it can't escape you / 'Cause you got it made with the guy in shades, oh no"

Monday, May 20, 2013

Day 527: Port Brewing Summer and Topping Out

Last Friday I checked off another bucket list item--participate in a topping out ceremony. What's that, you ask?
The other tree on the beam is a Franklinia tree; originally discovered by John Bartram in the southern U.S. and named for Benjamin Franklin, it is now extinct in the wild and is only available as a cultivated ornamental tree. 
It's a ceremony held to commemorate the placement of the last beam or bedding of the last block of masonry or brick in a building construction project. It usually involves placing an evergreen tree upon the structure to symbolize growth and bring luck. In instances where it is a final beam being placed into the structure, the beam is signed by the construction crew, various dignitaries and other important people involved in the project.
My signature, while huge, is not visible from this vantage point.
While I don't necessarily have a direct role in building the new Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion at The Franklin Institute, I did manage to sign that beam in bright yellow paint-pen large enough for the king of England to see. (Thank you, John Hancock.) I'm not going to lie. There is something really cool about knowing that my signature is going to sit atop our new building addition for many, many years to come. And one day long into the future when perhaps the building is being renovated, someone is going to look at it and wonder, "Who the hell is Marci G. and why does she dot her i's like a crazy person?"

And there it is, the final piece of this phase of construction. If you're like me and have been involved from the start of fundraising way back in 2006, this moment was a long time in the making. There were moments of great celebration. There were moments of darkness. There were many highs and lows along the way with some leaving us questioning whether we were mad.

There's a quote I enjoy about how there's a fine line between genius and crazy. It resonates with me...probably because I work with people who aren't afraid to dream big and make an impact.

Some other folks dedicated to dreaming big and perhaps even walking that fine line are the good folks at Port Brewing in San Diego. Since 2006, they've been brewing under the guise of Port Brewing. I inadvertently ruled them out in Year 1 of the Blog Named Brew adventure, when I reviewed Avant Garde ale from The Lost Abbey, the Belgian-inspired side of the operation. Since it's not the easiest beer to find in Pennsylvania, I'm very slowly making up for lost time.

The Summer pale ale is an American pale ale. It's brewed without any crystal malt, which is probably why it doesn't get a great rating from me. I like an American pale ale because you get that nice malt undertone hiding out with all the big bold hop flavor.

It pours a golden straw color with a bubbly, off-white head. It has lots of citrus aroma. The first thing I wrote in my tasting notes is "tastes like an IPA". There are serious hops in this beer. They impart grapefruit flavor, and a fresh greenness. I also wrote grapefruit in my notes four different times. So there's that. While this isn't a beer I would normally drink, I can appreciate how good it is.

Beer stats
Style: American pale ale
ABV: 5.2%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Good

Previously reviewed from Port Brewing
(Here is where you imagine me singing Feels Like the First Time by Foreigner)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Clowns? Dammit.

Day #526 Clementine / Clown Shoes Beer, Ipswich, MA
Previously from this brewery: Vampire Slayer and the awfully named Muffin Top

It's a dull, dreary day outside, and that's not making me motivated to go to work tomorrow.  I refuse on principle to talk about work on this website, but I've been struggling lately with the notion that I don't know what I do for a living.  Allegedly, I find out on Monday.... maybe that's good.  Or, you know, not.  We'll see. Apologies for being cryptic, but that's how it goes.

With that bit of news looming on the horizon, let's just shut it down and get into a beer review.  Today's offering is a bottle of Clementine from the dubiously named Clown Shoes Beer.  In the glass, you see a dull gold color, with a lingering thin head.  There is an aroma of fruit and yeast, and when you take a sip, you get plenty of wheat, oranges, and some spice, with very little bitterness.  Very good beer for summer, when you want something with a nice citrus or fruit profile.  Although, this beer has a way to go to catch up to champion summer fruit beer, the Hell or High Watermelon from 21st Amendment.
The last time I drank a beer from Clown Shoes, I ranted about the terrible name of the brewery.  This is still true; clowns are the worst.

Thing to Think About Today:
I have no intention of writing about clowns, but I can get behind shoes, I suppose. I mean, I wear them and everything.  They keep my feet warm.  So, on a quiet, lazy day, I will share with you a fantastic song for quiet, lazy days while we think about shoes.  Paul Simon, the afternoon belongs to you and Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes.

"And then she slipped into my pocket with my car keys"

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Blondes, Beers, and Blonde Beers

Day #525  Blonde Ale / Thomas Hooker Brewing Company, Bloomfield, CT
Previously from this brewery:  A Blonde and a Munich Style Golden Lager

Rather "blah" day today, for some reason.  I think I was expecting the weather to be glorious this weekend, and it's not, and now I'm dissatisfied.  I rarely check the weather, so did people at work talk about sunshine coming to town?  Did I just assume the weather would be amazing because it was a Saturday, and Saturdays are made for nice weather?  I went into today with dreams of sunshine and bike rides and walks with the dogs and beers on the deck... and I ended up taking a two hour nap this afternoon because I couldn't think of anything better.  Don't get me wrong, I love a good nap on the weekend.  I was just hoping for sunshine (and naps).

Tonight's beer is the Blonde Ale from Thomas Hooker Brewing.  Out of the bottle, this brew is a pale straw color with no head.  The aroma is a mild bit of grain and wheat, and the taste has some lemon, but mostly grain and cracker, with some mild bitterness and nutty flavor.  In the spirit of full disclosure, this isn't the greatest beer in the world, but a decent choice when you're looking for something light with a good flavor.  This blonde is definitely light, with an ABV of just 4.6%.
Don't let the lack of rain right now fool you!
Thing to Think About Today:
If I'm enjoying a blonde ale, I hereby think we need to close out with an homage to blondes.  I present the always hilarious, always awkward, always good Flight of the Conchords and Leggy Blonde.  Goodbye to all the blondes (and sure, the non-blondes too) out there.  Enjoy your night!

"Blondey, blondey, blondey, blondey....."

Friday, May 17, 2013

Day 524: My Other Prism Beer

A couple of Sundays back, we headed to Prism Brewing Company with some friends and their dog. (Dog friendly status will always make me a loyal visitor.) While I had a great fondness for the blonde ale, I did start the day with a different beer.

That would be the ParTea pale ale. It's brewed with 2-row, honey and light crystal malts and summit and cascade hops. There's also whole leaf black (orange pekoe from what I read during my visit) tea leaves. The end result is delicious, and in the glass it has a hazy oak color with a medium white head. The best word I could come up with to describe it is smooth. It has a mild malty aroma. The flavor is pretty balanced--the malts and hops are getting along well in this one. 

Beer stats
Style: American pale ale
ABV: 5.5%
IBUs: 50
Rating: Good

Previously reviewed from Prism
Hers and his reviews of Bitto Honey IPA (I still love the video I posted in my review that day!)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Day the Vampires Took Over

Day #523 Twilight Summer Ale / Deschutes Brewery, Bend, OR
Previously from this brewery: Marci's take on Sour Raz, and my take on Saison de Poivre 

I'm typing this in between throwing back a beer and shoveling forkfuls of a delicious dinner into my face (I'm home alone, so therefore no need for manners).  I sauteed some shrimp & garlic, and served over pasta, baby spinach, olives, and capers and topped with a splash of a California olive oil and a craaaaazy delicious 20 year old balsamic vinegar.  Life is good, friends.  And if you truly are my friend, you may want to consider following BlogNamedBrew on Instagram, and (new this week) BlogNamedBrew on Twitter.  Do it.  Don't make me sad.

On this beautiful almost-summer evening, I'm drinking a Twilight Summer Ale from Deschutes.  This is important for one main reason: this means Deschutes is finally shipping their delicious beers east of the Mississippi!  This beer has a bright copper color with a thin wispy white head.  There's a really nice aroma of lemon and pine, and the taste is full of lemony goodness.  There's a touch of malt sweetness to keep the hops in balance, although you get a touch of bitterness on the end.  It's light, but very flavorful, and at a manageable 5% ABV, this one definitely deserves a place of honor at family gatherings, BBQs, or tailgates this summer.
Much better than a movie about Vampires
While I didn't visit Deschutes in their Bend home, I did get to sample some beers at their Portland outpost.  Great place to spend an afternoon.

Thing to Think About Today:
Somebody follow me:  This beer is named Twilight.  A recent cultural phenomenon was tween reading turned hit movie Twilight.  This series featured uber pale actors who were vampires or werewolves or undead or something, and there were love triangles or teen angst or other things.  Why this was popular with people older than 14 I have no idea, but it was.  And whatever it was, it definitely had vampires.  Oh, vampires, you say?

Vampire Weekend is one of my all time favorite bands, and just this week they released their new album, Modern Vampires of the City.  To no one's great surprise, it's been on repeat since the moment it hit my iPod.... and it's fantastic.  A more introspective record than their first two offerings, this new offering will still serve as my soundtrack for the next few months.  Have I already graced you with the presence of two songs from Modern Vampires of the City?  Yes I did.  In fact, I did it twice!

So, your thing to think about for the remainder of the evening will be a third offering, Everlasting Arms, from a very cool performance they did in conjunction with a concert film Steve Buscemi (distant relative of one of the band members) directed.  Enjoy your summer evening!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Day 522: Girl Crushes, Boobs and Life Altering Decisions

Yesterday, Angelina Jolie revealed to the world that she had a preventative double masectomy. It reduced her odds of developing breast cancer to less than 5% from an estimate of 87%. Her mother fought a decade-long battle against cancer and after Jolie tested positive for the BRCA1 gene--a faulty gene that greatly increases one's chances of developing breast or ovarian cancer--she took action.

I'm awed by the beautiful honesty that Jolie uses to write this piece. (The full op-ed piece is here.) She writes of loss, love, commitment and being truthful to herself, her family and countless women who hopefully will find a touchstone in her openness.

I don't make much of an effort to hide the girl-crush I have on Angelina Jolie. I can't get enough of her films. I analyze ads she appears in for embarrassing amounts of time. I value and respect her humanitarian work. Now this laying bare of her person...I can't even begin to put words to how it impacts me. Could I be that strong? Would I put myself through that? If I did, could I share it so openly?

It gives us so much to think about and to talk about. It opens a dialogue and creates opportunity to be supportive of one another rather than defaulting to tearing one another down. It may not always be about breast cancer or even cancer in general, but there's always something going on with people. It's up to all of us to find out what, to be supportive, to do what we can to bring out the best in each other.

(Gets down and puts away soapbox.)

Now to lighten up the mood--with a light refreshing review of a light refreshing beer. It's the Freigeist Gose, which is brewed by Gasthaus Brauerei Braustelle. That just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it? With a name like that, yes, it is indeed brewed in Germany!

It pours a hazy and dark shade of yellow with a thin white head. It smells like lemons and tastes like honey and lemons. There's an earthy aftertaste with undertones of orange. I also noted a mild salinity and some tea flavors. It drinks with a full but not overwhelming body--I'd even call it sessionable.

Beer stats
Style: Gose
ABV: 5.2%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Great

Previously reviewed from Gasthaus Brauerei Braustelle
My review of Freigeist Abraxxxas, a truly different beer

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Free to a Good Home

Day #521 Rapunzel / Free Will Brewing Company, Perkasie, PA
Previously from this brewery: Marci's look at Rapunzel, my look at Citra Pale Ale

Dipping my toe into a scary new frontier today: sunglasses that don't cost $10 or less.  For years, I've preferred shades that were as cheap as humanly possible, as I have a bad habit of dropping them, sitting on them, misplacing them, and all around generally abusing them.  My rationale is, "hey, no big deal - they were only $8!"  Today, I'm changing that and potentially spending some money (not an exorbitant amount) to get a decent pair that won't look like I stole them from a crack addict.  Maybe.  I'll keep you posted....

Today's beer is a bottle of Rapunzel, a hoppy rye saison from local brewer Free Will.  hazy dark yellow with a quickly dissipating head.  The aroma is earthy, and a little bit funky (in a good way).  The taste is dry, with an undercurrent of piney hops, cracker, light citrus, and bread.  This beer is flavorful, but a little too dry and not enough pepper for me to put it up against my all time favorite saisons.  Regardless, this is still a solid choice as the weather gets warmer.  Flavorful and enjoyable.  Cheers!
My one complaint?  Breweries should be able to keep their web pages updated to the point where beer they're bottling and shipping for sale actually appear on their page.  Rapunzel is nowhere to be found on their site, so I can't tell you why it's named Rapunzel.  Perhaps I will visit you some day, Free Will.  Perhaps.

Thing to Think About Today:
In the spirit of Free Will and a beer built for summer, I give you Tom Petty and Free Fallin', a song built for summer.  Until we meet again, dear friends....

"She's a good girl, crazy 'bout Elvis / she loves horses, and her boyfriend, too"

Monday, May 13, 2013

Day 520: Free Will Rapunzel Ale

I was searching for a case of birthday beer for Mr. Blog Named Brew a few weeks back and thanks to the good folks at The Beer Yard in Wayne (PA), I found a very fresh case of Rapunzel Ale from Free Will Brewing.

It was described to me as a saison-IPA-rye-ale-mash-up. Knowing that the Mr. thoroughly enjoys all those things, I was game to purchase it. 

The Rapunzel poured a hazy dark straw color with a thick not-quite-pure white head. It smells of oranges and bitter hops. It also has a great fresh aroma--imagine what a perfect spring day smells like. So kind of like that. The flavor is full boded but refreshing. There a good amount of grass, plus some fresh hoppy bite and citrus notes. Overall a winner in my book.

Beer stats:
Style: Saison
ABV: 7.5%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Good

Previously reviewed from Free Will
Just one lonely beer...the Citra Pale Ale

Sunday, May 12, 2013

One for the Moms

Day #519 CuzCuz / Tired Hands Brewing Company, Ardmore, PA
Previously from this brewery: I'm lazy today, so just click this link and it will take you to all 332 beers sampled from Tired Hands.  Seriously.

Good afternoon and Happy Mother's Day to all!  Hopefully you're having a nice, stress free, relaxing day with your moms or kids or both.  We actually celebrated yesterday, and did a combo surprise birthday party for my aunt/Mother's Day gathering.  Good time, but a long day.  Today was spent celebrating with Mother Nature, as I got on the bike for the first time in a solid two months to go for a ride along the Schuykill River.  Good way to spend a sunny and breezy day, which included the added benefit of making sure my awesome calves stay toned and sexy.  Need to make sure I keep looking good for you faithful blog readers, after all.

Need to run out and get some groceries, so I'm jumping right into the review portion of today's post.  You get a glass of CuzCuz from local favorite Tired Hands.  This American IPA is brewed with hops from New Zealand, and shows up in your glass a cloudy dark yellow color, with a fluffy white head.  Or, as I'm fond of saying, the same color as every beer they make (this isn't exactly true, but true enough that I make this joke anyway).  There's a welcoming aroma of grapefruit and pine, and when you drink it, you find this to have a subtle bitterness, with mango joining the pine and citrus party.  I'm sure this beer has already kicked and might never appear at Tired Hands ever again, but on the odd chance it hasn't or it does, this beer makes for a great summer choice.
Wow! For once, I didn't take a shitty picture!!!

Thing to Think About Today:

Last year for Mother's Day, I dropped some Mother and Child Reunion from Paul Simon in this space, and that's about the best Mother's Day song I can think of.  So, I head in a different direction this year, and give you the wonderfully under-appreciated comic genius of Michael Keaton with Mr. Mom, the story of a stay-at-home dad finding his way - hilariously.  Thank you to all the moms out there for everything you do to keep the households running at optimal performance!!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Early Start

Day #518 Le Canard / The Brewer's Art, Baltimore, MD
Previously from this brewery: Resurrection and more Resurrection, the first posts ever on this site, and Green Peppercorn Tripel, used to represent Bal'mer in my Super Bowl showdown.

A rainy Saturday here means I'm up early and writing.  Would rather be sitting by the pool with my feet up, enjoying some quiet time, but we can't always get what we want.  Busy day today with driving, a birthday party, and an early Mother's Day celebration, so I'll get right down to business.

Business today means a review of Le Canard from The Brewer's Art, a restaurant in Baltimore that also brews some outstanding beers.  This Belgian pours with a clear amber and lingering white head.  There's a pleasant aroma of sweet malt and honey, and the taste brings you tons of candi sugar, malt, bread, and caramel.  This beer is potent at 8.5% ABV, but you don't really notice the alcohol in there.  An excellent beer, particularly for a rainy Saturday spent not anywhere near a pool.
Bad picture/good beer
If you're not bilingual, then you may not be aware that the French word 'canard' translates to 'duck' in English.  Like I just said - seeing how ducks like the rain, this beer is perfect for a rainy day!

Thing to Think About Today:
As many of you know, I enjoy an eclectic mix of music. I don't know where I find half of the songs I listen to, they sort of just show up and next thing you know I have something unusual or interesting or strange to enjoy.  And when I say I have no idea how this particular song managed to find itself in my collection, I mean it.  With a beer from Baltimore in mind, I give you Scott Walker covering Lady Came from Baltimore, an old folk song from the 60s.  What can I say, sometimes I listen to some unusual things - that doesn't mean they're not good!

"Lady came from Baltimore / all she wore was lace"

Friday, May 10, 2013

Day 517: We Were on a (Jolly Pumpkin) Break!

My break from drinking Jolly Pumpkin beers is over. Instead I'm taking an unplanned social media break.


I've been suspended from Twitter. I shared this with some friends from work and one of them very kindly noted that while it sucks for me, my cool factor took a significant bump up with her. I'm kind of an anomaly in the office with my social media skills--although I'm questioning those skills given my current suspension.

I've been Twitter-free since 6:00 a.m. on Friday morning. I've logged a complaint with the folks at Twitter noting that I didn't do anything to deserve the suspension (i.e. mass following and/or unfollowing, mass invitations, porn). I've also attempted to log-in several times during the course of the day to see if I've been reinstated and no such luck yet. More troubling is that my following count has dropped from 378 to zero. Even more troubling than that is that my 127 followers are MIA.

Editor note: As of 6:58 p.m., I'm back, baby! Twitter suspension lifted. In hindsight I should have been keeping a log of snarky things to tweet. You all missed out on so much today!

So what did I learn from my social media blackout?

I am without a doubt addicted to Twitter. The number of times that I reach for my phone or log onto the website to see what's happening in the world is astounding. It's how I get my news. It's how I stay connected. I tried getting the same from Facebook to no avail. I'm also realizing that Facebook isn't relevant to me. Sure it was cool five years ago, but not so much anymore. Having to sort through the "like this to save this child from cancer" nonsense posts, the cool picture of the day posts, the irrelevant and uninteresting ads is all just too much. Yes, that is totally a first world problem but it's a barrier to my enjoyment and is totally preventing me from seeing Facebook as a viable option.

I'm also realizing that as much as I declare that I'm done adopting new technology, that's really not true. Playing with the latest, greatest and smartest is kind of my thing. And that may be the most interesting thing I've learned from this exercise.

So while I take a break from Twitter, I'm done taking a break from Jolly Pumpkin.

The latest beer I'm enjoying from Jolly Pumpkin is the Sobrehumano Palena'ole and it's a collaboration between Jolly Pumpkin and Maui Brewing Company. Brewed with Michigan cherries and Hawaiian liliko'i, it's listed as an American wild ale and is oak aged and bottle conditioned. But what's a liliko'i? You may know it by its more common name...passion fruit. How does passion fruit mix with cherries in a beer? Awesome!

Interesting note about this beer. We drank it on May 3, 2013. When was this beer bottled? May 3, 2012! It was meant to be drunk--seriously, what are the odds of that unintentionally happening again?

It poured a hazy orange/brown color with a fluffy white head. I could smell the tartness the moment I popped the cap off. And there was lots more of that once it got into my glass. It has a woody smell...presumably the oak. It has a very tart cherry flavor, kind of astringent. There is a good amount of malt in the flavor profile as well.

Beer stats
Style: American wild ale
ABV: 6%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Excellent

Previously reviewed from Jolly Pumpkin
Prepare yourself, this is a dousy!
Mr. Blog's review of Sobrehumano
My review of E.S. Bam
His and her reviews of La Roja
My review of Luciernaga from a Jolly Pumpkin bender
Gary's review of E.S. Bam
My review of Madrugada Obscura and some crazy lady ranting about St. Patrick's Day
Gary actually has tried all the Bam bieres

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Day 516: Tired Hands Eye 4A Face

On more than one occasion during the past few weeks (okay, on about 139 occasions during the past few weeks), I have had the overwhelming urge to scream, "My mother is dead. I'm not buying her a piece of your insipid jewelry to show her I care." Or "No, my dead mother doesn't need flowers." It has made me feel a bit like a crazy person. Where is this what-I-can-only-describe-as very finite, but blinding rage coming from?

I'm pretty confident that I've made peace with having lost my mother way too soon. In fact Mom and I (and Mr. Blog Named Brew, too) are having an extended adventure together. One day, I'll clarify that statement so it reads less crazy and more sentimental. 

So what's with the rage? 

I feel like I don't matter. I don't have a mother. I mean I do, but just not one who I get to hang out with on Sunday in the traditional way. Consumerism is making me feel less important on the second Sunday in May. Consumerism is telling me that I don't count because I can't "celebrate" on Sunday. Kmart, Zales, JCPenney  and many others have all made it clear that I also don't count because I decided I'm not procreating. 

Well guess what? All those stores, all those advertising agencies and each one of those marketers can go fuck themselves. Mom and I and the Mr. are going to have another adventure on Sunday and it's going to be better than any store-bought, prepackaged nonsense I'm expected to partake in.

So there. And yes, I do feel much better now that I got that off my chest. Now let's talk beer.

Eye 4A Face is one of the newest saisons from Tired Hands Brewing Company. As I've mentioned before, if I write about a Tired Hands beer and it sounds good--run to their brewery in Ardmore (PA) immediately because it's very likely you will never find it again. 

Eye 4A Face poured a hazy orange-ish/brown color with a loose white head. It smells a little funky and woodsy. The flavor has lots of wood and a perfumey vanilla taste. It's very malty, but also has a good amount of hoppiness to it. I'd presume from the dry-hopping with Amarillo hops. It's complex in both aroma and flavor but is quite easy to drink.

Beer stats
Style: Saison
ABV: 4.5%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Great

Previously reviewed from Tired Hands
I'm dropping Vonnegut knowledge and a review of Bokonon
My review of Tabel PrintempsGood, Good Things, Trois Enfants
Gary's review of Good, Good ThingsFripp, Pacific Jade, Fauna

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Good and Short

Day #515 Sobrehumano Palena'ole / Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, Dexter, MI
Previously from this brewery:  Plenty!  Ready.... set..... E.S. Bam, La Roja, more La Roja, Luciernaga, more E.S. Bam, Madrugada Obscura, and Bam Biere.

Remember the time I wrote a long, thoughtful, well composed post about a number of interesting topics?  Yep, I don't remember that either.  Some other time, perhaps!

Tonight's beer is the Sobrehumano Palena'ole, a collaboration from BlogNamedBrew favorite Jolly Pumpkin and blog newcomer Maui Brewing.  This wild ale has a bright ruby color with a lingering white head.  The aroma is definitely tart, with plenty of cherry, and the taste has a heady mix of fruit, with a wonderful tart and funky quality.  This beer is brewed with cherries from Michigan and liliko'i from Hawaii.  What, you didn't know that liliko'i is a passion fruit native to the islands, where it comes in yellow and purple varieties?  Yeah, neither did I.
Nothing scary about this label.  Nope.
This beer was only brewed once, so if you see this one, grab a bottle immediately.  Trust me.

Thing to Think About Today:
Beer with fruit from Hawaii means that we'll close out the evening with Jack Johnson, surfer/musician from Hawaii.  Mellow out and enjoy the rest of your evening.  You earned it!

"Where'd all the good people go?"