Breweries "Visited"

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Down By the Sea

Day #568 Boardwalk Black Rye IPA / Karl Strauss Brewing Company, San Diego, CA
Previously from this brewery: a sampler review, Boardwalk Black Rye IPA, Big Barrel Double IPA, more Big Barrel Double IPA, Red Trolley Ale

It's another early morning post, because there's no better way to start your day than by thinking about beer. Well, I guess I can think of other ways, but beer is definitely a good way.  So, we kick off a (hopefully) relaxing Sunday with a review of Boardwalk Black Rye IPA from Karl Strauss. This bottle was a gift from a friend who made a road trip out to San Diego, and when you pour it in the glass you see a dark black color with an off white head.  Your nose is greeted by aromas of malt, rye, and spice, and when you drink it down you find a malt heavy beer, with a fair bit of toasting.  There's bitterness throughout, with good amounts of pine and lemon, and prominent rye spiciness.  I can sometimes not be a fan of the black IPA trend, as some breweries tend to overdo the toasting/roasting, but Karl Strauss definitely gets this one right.
Sunshine and beer
Karl Strauss has a brewpub outpost in La Jolla, CA that is across the street from a Brooks Brothers store. That's pretty much my dream neighborhood right there.  Sunshine + brewery + Brooks Brothers = AWESOME

Thing to Think About Today:
Curious... yesterday we were thinking about the beach, and now today's beer gets us thinking about the boardwalk.  The obvious thing to close out this post with is Under the Boardwalk by The Drifters.  I'm sure that was a romantic place in the 1950s, although now I'm fairly certain if you went under the boardwalk, you'd find actual drifters (not the band) or people selling meth.  I'd actually really avoid going there, if I were you.... be safe people.  Enjoy your Sunday!

"On a blanket with my baby is where I'll be"

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Dreams of Naps and Sand? Nice...

Day #567 Hopped Up 'N Horny / Horny Goat Brewing Company, Milwaukee, WI
Previously from this brewery: none; this is the first!

It's a Saturday, the sun appears to be shining, it's the summertime.... and I can't seem to get much motivation to get moving today.  Dang.  I'm not typically a beach guy, but I sort of wish I was at the beach right now, with my feet in the sand, taking a little cat nap.  That way I could actually take advantage of the nice weather, yet still manage to catch up on sleep.  This beach idea seems like a solid plan, right?  Someone go to the beach and plant some trees, then string up a hammock for me, because it seems like a hammock sort of day.

You're not here to read about me and my desire to be at the beach, you're here for the beer.  I can fix that. Today's offering came from a beermail trade - a bottle of Hopped Up 'N Horny from Horny Goat Brewing Company.  This IPA pours with a clear gold color, and wispy white head.  Up front you get aromas of lemon and pine, and when you take a sip you get traditional pine and citrus, but there's a healthy malt balance in there that provides a touch of sweetness.  It might be hopped up and horny, but this is a mellow IPA that doesn't try to beat you over the head with hops.  Good find, and happy to add another new brewery to the list.  Speaking of the list, you do know that you can see the running list of all breweries that have found their way onto these pages by clicking the "Breweries Visited" link at the top of the page, right?
Beer was good. This picture isn't
Horny Goat's website doesn't really tell the story of where the brewery came from, but they do have a brew pub, and.... a marina?  Good news for those living the boat life.  I'll bring my yacht rock mix, you grab the Horny Goat beer.

Thing to Think About Today:
I have a dream of taking a nap on the beach today, this brewery owns a marina.... I guess that leaves us with the Beach Boys, because Wouldn't It Be Nice?

"You know its gonna make it that much better / When we can say goodnight and stay together"

Friday, June 28, 2013

Day 566: Fort George Quick Wit

I love this photograph. It's like I'm magic!

Today's beer is thanks to a fellow beer geek who very kindly shipped it along with a few other favorites to me from Portland, Oregon. (Note to self: Organize another cross-country beer trade.)

This one is the Fort George Quick Wit--a Belgianesque ale. It looks like an Arnold Palmer...the beloved blend of lemonade and iced tea. It didn't have much of a head. But what's hanging around the edge of the glass is nice and white.

It smells sweet and lemony. Those notes carry over gracefully into the flavor, which also has a good amount of wheat. Go figure. It is a wheat ale. This particular beer is brewed with lemongrass and that gives it a really nice lemon/green pepper flavor. Interestingly it is also brewed with elderflower, which is believed to have supernatural powers to ward off evil. So I have that going for me. And clearly from the photograph, my supernatural powers are working.

Lately I've been very wishy, washy about wheat beers. I swear I'm off of them and then I find a winner like Fort George. I guess it shall be an on-again, off-again relationship.

Interesting note about Fort George Brewing. It's located in Astoria, Oregon, which is where Goonies was shot. The house is still there and there seem to be lots of Goonies-related events every year around the release date of the film (June 7)!

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

Previously reviewed from Fort George
Quick Wit is first out the limo!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Day 565: Avery The Maharaja

Mr. Blog Named Brew has a sickness. He freely admits not being able to walk past any of the beer displays at our local groceries without stopping to browse and ultimately buying at least one bottle. He succumbed again recently and we found ourselves in possession of The Maharaja from Avery Brewing Company.
"This," the Mr. declared very definitely after his first sip, "is a top 25 beer." Trust me, he says the exact same thing every time he drinks The Maharaja. So you know it's true.

The Maharaja is an imperial IPA, which is an IPA-derivative that I can get behind. Big flavor. Big hops. Big Beer. It pours a bright amber color with a pale beige head. I wrote in my notes that it "smells breast." What in the world does that mean? I'm going with bready--most likely correct because my spellcheck hates when I type bready. There's some honey and citrus hops in the aroma as well. The flavor is citrus, biscuits, lots of hops, and pine. It's a little boozy and has a mild alcohol burn. I like that it also has a strong malt presence to balance out all those hops. (It's brewed with a "deranged amount" per Avery's website and the hops include Simcoe, Columbus, Centennial and Chinook. It's then dry-hopped with more Simcoe and Centennial!)

The Maharaja is part of Avery's Dictator Series. Unfortunately this is the only installment I've ever encountered.

Beer stats
Style: Imperial IPA
ABV: 10-12% (varies by batch)
IBUs: 102
Rating: Great

Previously reviewed from Avery
My review of Hog Heaven (barleywine) and White Rascal with a five-finger discount confession
A Hog Heaven review from the Mr.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Sounds of Summer

Day #564 La Choulette Ambrée / Brasserie La Choulette, Hordain, France
Previously from this brewery: Sans Culottes and more Sans Culottes

Important points for you to know:
1. I'm hungry for Mexican food
2. My iPod played Sabotage by the Beastie Boys not once but a respectable twice today
3. Point #2 is important as this is the greatest song ever made by the Beastie Boys
4. I will entertain arguments on point #3, but it better be a damn good argument
5. I'm officially tired of the 'chance of severe thunderstorms' weather pattern that we have every single day
6. If you put a laundry basket down in my house (clean or dirty), turn around, count to two, and then turn around again, it's guaranteed that there will be a dog snuggled up in the laundry basket
7. I spent four hours today in a windowless room - not good for the soul

With those important points now committed to your memory, we move to our beer review.  Tonight is a bottle of La Choulette Ambrée from Brasserie La Choulette in France.  This Biere de Garde pours with
an amber color and dissipating white head.  The main aromas are malt, bread, and apple, and when you drink it down you find a caramel sweetness, yeast, dark fruits, and a touch of lemon.  A solid beer, but this isn't your typical Biere de Garde.  In fact, it was more Belgian dark ale than anything.  If you're looking for something lighter with more peppery spice and possibly more easily accessible, may I recommend something like Garde Dog from Flying Dog Brewery.
Summer shines in
Thing to Think About Today:
Your thing to think about today is whether or not Blurred Lines is officially "the" song of the summer.  Every year, there's something that hits the airwaves in June or so and instantly gets played to death by people both young and old in a celebration of warm weather, pool parties, fun memories, and cold drinks.  This Robin Thicke song, featuring Pharrell and T.I., has all of the ingredients: Catchy beat, repeatable lyrics (Hey, hey hey!), there's a dance you can do to this song, it sounds 47% better if played with your car windows down and sound turned up, and you're 32% more embarrassed to admit you like it during the winter months. Check it for yourself and tell me if you agree.... hey, hey, HEY!

"What rhymes with 'hug me'?"

p.s. there is a topless version of this same video on vimeo.  Why?  Because it's THE song of the summer, I believe. And because people like topless models.  But you'll have to find that one yourselves.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Day 563: Uinta Brewing Hop Notch IPA

Ah, the mysteriously and wildly different labels of Uinta Brewing Company

Anyway let me put my weird hang up about the wide variety of beer labels from Uinta aside and tell you about their Hop Notch IPA.

It pours a beautiful golden brown color with a thick, sudsy off-white head. Now that we're in the heat of Philadelphia summers, I have to remember to stop pouring my beers in the frigid air-conditioning and then taking them outside to photograph. My glasses and bottles keep getting all foggy!

The Hop Notch IPA smells strongly of piney hops and fruit sweetness. The flavor is delicious. There's a nice perfumed hop in there along with pine and orange. It also has a nice crackery dryness.  I also like it because it has a good amount of malt, which rounds it out nicely.

Why is it called "Hop Notch"? It's a play on words (top notch) that will hopefully become part of the beer lexicon. For example, "That IPA was hop notch." Now you know!

Beer stats
Style: IPA
ABV: 7.3%
IBUs: 82
Rating: Good

Previously reviewed from Uinta
His and hers reviews of HooDoo kolsch
His and hers reviews of Cockeyed Cooper (barley wine)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Day 562: Deschutes Twilight

I wish this beer was waiting for me when I got home tonight, but alas, I drank the last of the case a few days ago. With temperatures soaring into the 90s and humidity at an unbearable (at least for me) level, this really would have been the perfect beer with which  to wrap up my day. Instead I'm typing like a fiend between work and yoga hoping that I'm not going to be late for class. 

Deschutes Brewery's beers are just now making their way to the East Coast and I couldn't be happier. I had the good fortune to visit their Portland (Oregon) brew pub last summer, but was left jonesing for their beer for the past twelve months. Lucky for me, a new distribution deal with signed and I'm starting to see more and more offerings from Deschutes around the area!

Twilight is their summer ale. It pours a slightly hazy golden brew with a medium light beige head. It smells like beer. There's some lemon, but overall just a robust beer aroma. The flavor is well-balanced with the malts being just slightly more pronounced. There's a mild sweetness to it as well. It has a medium mouthfeel with a nice mild hop finish. This is a very easy drinking beer.

Beer stats
Style: Golden or blonde ale
ABV: 5%
IBUs: 35
Rating: Excellent

Previously reviewed from Deschutes
My review of Sour Raz
His review of Twilight, Saison de Poivre

Sunday, June 23, 2013


Day #561 Brother Thelonious / North Coast Brewing Company, Fort Bragg, CA
Previously from this brewery: Scrimshaw, and more Scrimshaw

Wrapping up the weekend and my brain has nothing to say today.  Guess I used up all of my thoughts in trying to figure out Marion Barry vs. marionberry in yesterday's post.

Closing things out this weekend with a bottle of Brother Thelonious from North Coast Brewing.  This Belgian strong dark ale pours with a bright mahogany hue and a wispy white head.  Your nose finds aromas of malt and plums, and when you take a sip you get flavors of plum, apple, bread, and candi sugar.  Very interesting flavor, almost verging towards a barley wine sort of vibe.  Maybe not the best way to quench your thirst on a warm summer day, but certainly worth a try.
Jazz hands!
From their website: "North Coast Brewing Co. is proud to partner with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz in support of Jazz education. The Brewery makes a donation to the Institute for every bottle of Brother Thelonious Belgian Style Abbey Ale sold."  See?  Buying beer is good for society!

Thing to Think About Today:
A beer that supports jazz music education obviously warrants some jazz in this space, but in an effort to continually keep you on your toes, I'm going to use a mashup of legendary jazz pianist Count Basie...... and non-jazz legend Busta Rhymes.  Trust me, it works:

"Wooo hah!"

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Crack is Whack

Day #560 Marionberry Hibiscus Gose / Widmer Brothers Brewing, Portland, OR
Previously from this brewery: Another look at this beerBarrel Aged Brrrbon, more Brrrbon, Citra Blonde, and Brrr (not sure how many R's are in that one)

It's a gorgeous Saturday, and I'm hard at work on a number of different tasks, so I'm jumping in and getting to the good stuff.  Today's beer is a bottle of Marionberry Hibiscus Gose from Widmer Brothers in Oregon.  This one was shipped to BlogNamedBrew manor as part of beer mail - for those who don't know, there's an underground network of beer geeks who mail each other hard to find beers from their respective corners of the world.  I freely admit that when I saw the name, I said aloud to no one, "Why on earth did they name their beer after Marion Barry?"  For those who don't get the reference: Marion Barry was the Mayor of Washington, D.C. who was arrested for smoking crack, sent to jail, and then later re-elected as Mayor again!  For kids out there who don't believe they can overcome obstacles, I will remind you that this dude was the mayor, smoked crack and got arrested, went to jail, and then was re-elected.  Fascinating. Let that sink in for a few minutes before you continue reading.

As you may have guessed, this beer has nothing to do with politics or crack, but rather marionberry, a blackberry commonly grown in Oregon.  Glad we got that straight, and now back to your regularly scheduled beer review.  When you pour this beer, you get a fruit punch color, with just the thinnest white line of head on the edge of the beer.  There's a fruity, floral aroma with just a hint of spice.  The taste starts out dry, but you eventually get a tart sweetness from the berries.  There's a saltiness to this beer that helps cut some of the sweetness and make it incredibly enjoyable.  Very interesting and unusual beer, and well worth a try if you can find yourself a bottle.  Just stay away from the crack.  Crack kills.... or gets you re-elected.
That's not Kool-Aid
For those who haven't yet found themselves drinking a gose, this style of beer originated in Germany.  It belongs to the same family tree as other sour wheat beers such as witbier, gueuze, and Berliner weisse.  I like them because of the hint of salt; always a welcome flavor in my world.

Thing to Think About Today:
Okay, so my second thought after realizing this beer had nothing to do with Marion Barry was to say out loud, "The snozzberries taste like snozzberries!", a reference to the classic Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory scene with the lickable wallpaper.  One of my favorite movies as a kid, partially because my mom worked for Hershey and I desperately wanted it to be an awesome, crazy place like in the movie.  I don't think it was, but she seemed to like it there anyway.  The incomparable Gene Wilder, the floor is yours....

And really, I can't let you ride off into the sunset without you getting this song stuck in your head, can I?

"What do you think will come of that?"

Friday, June 21, 2013

Day 559: Karl Strauss Boardwalk Black Rye IPA

If I had any words left today, this is where they would go. But I don't. So now there are words here but they really aren't a good post at all. Maybe a very tasty beer from Karl Strauss will make up for that.

Tonight's Karl Strauss beer is the Boardwalk Black Rye IPA. It pours an almost black color ale with a tan head. It smells of roasted malt, dark bread and lightly of chocolate. The flavor is toasty, roasted coffee with just the hint of burnt coffee. There's undertones of a big bold IPA--lots of hoppiness hiding out beneath all that rich, roasted flavor. It finishes big with lots of hop bite. I noticed a little nuttiness coming out as it warmed a bit. And even though it had a nice, thin mouthfeel, I felt like it was definitely a sipping beer.

In the link below to my review of the Karl Strauss sampler, I reviewed a bonus pour that I got of Boardwalk Black Rye IPA. They had it on cask that day and threw it in with my sampler for free! I love a good deal! I noted that it had a creamy, almost lactic consistency which surprised me at the time. After having it bottled, it's now dawned on me that the cask pour itself lends the creamy texture. So now I know.

Beer stats
Style: Double IPA
ABV: 8&
IBUs: 80
Rating: Good

Previously reviewed from Karl Strauss
My review of a Karl Strauss sampler from a trip to San Diego last summer
His review of Big Barrel Double IPA, Red Trolley ale

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Bloody Good Time!

Day #558 Cockeyed Cooper / Uinta Brewing Company, Salt Lake City, UT
Previously from this brewery: HooDoo kolsch, more HooDoo kolsch, and another Cockeyed Cooper

Did you win a trophy today?  I'm not saying I did, but this thing seems to be sitting in my house:
Spent the afternoon with the wonderful and dedicated people of the Red Cross, and now I'm sitting here trying to get some thoughts together for a post so I can get some sleep.  Would love to watch the NBA Finals game tonight, as there's nothing more exciting than a game seven, but that would put me up waaay past my bed time.  I'm playing basketball tomorrow at 6:30am, so something tells me sleep will be more valuable than watching a game I only have a marginal rooting interest in.

Your beer tonight is a bottle of Cockeyed Cooper, a bourbon barrel aged barley wine from Uinta Brewing. Yes, this isn't a typical summer beer, but I'm making an effort to try and clean up some of the beers that have been lingering in the fridge.  This one pours a dark mahogany with a thin tan head, and the aroma is a welcome mix of bourbon and vanilla.  The taste is a heady mix of leather, spice, caramel, and oak.  Complex and delicious, this beer improved as it warmed.  Excellent beer.
This beer is from Uinta's Crooked Line, a series of adventurous, out of the ordinary beers.

Thing to Think About Today:
Courtesy of winning an award today, I desperately wanted to play the clip from Revenge of the Nerds where Ogre drinks out of a giant trophy and spews beer on the audience of the Greek Games.  Yeah, except for the fact Youtube doesn't let that video show up through  Pain in my ass.

So instead of a tie in to trophies, I will instead give you something blood drive related.  Say for example, Sunday Bloody Sunday.  Hey... that's sort of related.  I guess.  Go with it.....

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Day 557: Ommegang Witte

Ever have one of those days where packing it all in and finding a job with zero responsibilities sounds like THE BEST THING EVER? Yeah, that's been the last way too many weeks in my world. But what do I do? Soldier on. But for how much longer can I just buck up and deal with it?

Luckily I have this creative outlet and some really good beer on deck. Take for example the Ommegang Witte.

It's billed as a Belgian-style wheat ale, flavorful, soft and hazy. I thought the description referred to the beer, but I guess the folks at Ommegang were psychic about the quality of the photo I was about to take of their beer. Soft and hazy. Or out of focus. Whatevs.

It poured a very light straw color, but it wasn't quite the hazy I anticipated after reading the label. It had a medium, quick-to-dissipate white head. The aroma is wheat and some light orange. The flavor is crisp and citrusy. There's lots of orange and what I'm guessing is coriander. There's also a bit of cracker flavor and it's nicely carbonated. It's a very refreshing beer and perfect for a summer day.

Beer stats
Style: Wheat ale
ABV: 5.2%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Very good

Previously reviewed from Ommegang
My review of Gnomegang (Belgian pale ale), Biere d'Hougomont (biere de garde), Three Philosophers (quad) and Aphrodite (fruit beer)
His review of Witte, Biere d'Hougomont and Three Philosophers

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Day #556 Summer Love / Victory Brewing Company, Downingtown, PA
Previously from this brewery: Too many to type, so do yourself a favor and just click here to read all of the old Victory reviews.

The "World's Greatest Rock & Roll Band" is coming to town today, as The Rolling Stones continue to thumb their nose at Father Time, conventional wisdom, and the notion that drugs are bad by powering through their incredibly successful 50th anniversary tour.  As many friends and frequent readers might know, I've been a huge Stones fan since I was in high school, and I've been fortunate enough to see all of their recent tours in their over the top, excess filled, Brobdignagian glory.  For those who have never attended a Stones concert, allow me to suggest that there are Stones concerts.... and then there's everything else lumped into a battle for second place.  Yes, your favorite artist puts on a great show with super music and wonderful atmosphere, and no it's not anywhere the same as a Stones concert.  They aren't even events, they're cultural happenings - are an enormous melting pot of old and young, biker and investment banker.  I've seen things at Stones concerts that defy logic or explanation, to be honest.

And yet all of this doesn't explain why I'm not attending the show tonight.  A long while back I did make a half-hearted attempt to win a luxury box for one of the shows, but that didn't exactly pay off.  If anyone out there has an extra, let me know..... I'll bring the beer.  I have seen things at Stones concerts that defy logic or explanation, and I think me not being there tonight is one of them.

And speaking of beer, tonight's beer is Summer Love, a golden ale from Victory Brewing.  Brought this one home in a growler from an in-person visit for dinner a few weeks back.  In the glass, you see a clear gold color, and your nose finds aromas of grain, light citrus, and grass.  The taste is really solid, with a nice bit of biscuit, citrus, and light peppery spice.  It finishes dry, and is very refreshing.  Definitely a go-to beer for the warm, summer months.  Highly recommended.
V is for Very Good.
Thing to Think About Today:
The Rolling Stones have been featured no less than eight times in this closing space, as they always have something appropriate for us to think about.  You can check the past editions and revisit some great old blog posts by clicking here.  Tonight I leave you with a live version of Jumpin' Jack Flash from the 1998 Bridges to Babylon Tour (great tour, by the way).  You don't really get a total sense of the complete madness that happens in the audience from this video, but trust me... it's there.  And has been for the past 50 years.  Enjoy, and good night, people!

"But it's all right now...."

Monday, June 17, 2013

Day 555: Widmer Brothers W Series

Last Sunday I happened to find myself driving home listening to XPN, which is a rare occurrence. My XPN listening tends to be a Monday through Friday endeavor. I caught a new-to-me show Sound Bites, which is produced by Chicago Public Radio. They were discussing Johnny Cash's Live from Folsom Prison album, which just so happens to be celebrating its 45th anniversary. It also happens to be one of my favorite Johnny Cash albums--raw, gut-wrenching and beautiful storytelling.

As the Sound Bite hosts waxed nostalgic about the album, they dropped a bit of mind-bending knowledge on me. Shel Silverstein--beloved children's author, most notably of The Giving Tree--wrote A Boy Named Sue for Johnny Cash. What, what!?!

Chew on that while I sip on this...

This is Widmer Brothers Brewing's W Series Marionberry Hibiscus Gose. It's the first beer from my cross country beer trade that I cracked open. It's an ale brewed with coriander with hibiscus and marionberry added.

What's the W Series? From the Brewmance website, I learned the following. It is an exciting take on the popular tradition of seasonal beer offerings. Every spring since 2005, Widmer Brothers' brewers have been asked to select one special recipe to be released as part of this series. Anything goes; from traditional beer styles to experimental. The brewmasters' W Series has produced several exceptional beers, including: Drifter Pale Ale, Brrr Seasonal Ale, and Pitch Black IPA, which have each gone on to be a part of the brewery's regular lineup.

The label also states "perfecting the art of tart" which is going to win me over in any battle. Tart beer = happiness for me.

It poured a rosy, sort of fruit punch looking ale with a thin pale pink head. It was bottled on March 18, 2013. It smells of fruit and something organic...something green and fresh. The flavor is slightly saline, fruity and green. The green, herbally flavor has to be the coriander, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to my grave being the person who can never distinguish coriander in a flavor profile. And if it weren't for spellcheck, I'm also pretty sure I'll always attempt to spell it with a double r. Overall it has a nice subtle berry flavor with a bit of complexity from the mild salinity. There's just a hint of tartness and it is lovely.

Beer stats
Style: Gose
ABV: 5.5%
IBUs: 15
Rating: Great

Previously reviewed from Widmer
My review of Brr (with a seriously great song from the David Wax Museum) and Barrel-aged Brrbon
His review of Brrbon, Citra Blonde Summer Brew

And I said, "My name is 'Sue!' How do you do!"

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day

Day #554 Witte / Ommegang, 
Previously from this brewery: Gnomegang, Biere d'Hougomont one and Biere d'Hougomont two, Three Philosophers one and Three Philosophers two, and Aphrodite

Hope you've all enjoyed a wonderful Father's Day today with your loved ones!  Courtesy of my brother-in-law and sister doing all the work in hosting a party, we had a great cookout and now I'm back home stuffed and too tired to write about beer.  But apparently not too tired to work the scanner, as I've been going through the archives to pull out choice pictures of me and my Dad from way back in the day.  Say for example:
Plaid suit, fur lined jacket... I was a four year old pimp!
Where's my cane?
I'm very thankful to have an awesome dad who taught me lessons about hard work, character, and doing the right thing.  I just wish I had half of his work ethic.  Plus, he (and my mom) got me on the path to being a huge Penn State fan as a child, which I greatly appreciate!!!  Good work, Dad.

In the spirit of the sunny day we had for the greater part of the afternoon, your beer review is a bottle of Witte from Ommegang.  This beer pours a pale, effervescent yellow with a wispy thin head.  Your nose finds aromas of cracker and grain, and when you take a sip you notice faint flavors of banana, clove, and bread.  This is a very light, very refreshing beer that still brings flavor that macro beers just can't seem to find. Definitely good for a warm summer day.
Thing to Think About Today:
I've been working hard to find a great song about Father's Day.... and I'm struggling.  You guys have any suggestions?  Most are about absentee dads or fathers who failed to measure up to the job description - not exactly what I'm trying to highlight here.  In lieu of something more appropriate, I will leave you with a song from my dad's era, Fortunate Son.  The lyrics don't work, but I guess that title fits, as I do feel fortunate. It will have to do, as I'm done here.  Happy Father's Day, all.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Day 553: Uinta Crooked Series, Cockeyed Cooper

I'm clearly cleaning out the beer lurking in the back of the fridge because nothing says beautiful June day like a bourbon barrel aged barley wine.

This one is the Cockeyed Cooper bourbon barrel barley wine ale from Uinta Brewing's Crooked Line Series. For the entirety of year one of this blog, when we were only drinking one beer from each brewery, Uinta messed with me during every trip to stock up on beer. Why? Because their labels are mysteriously wildly different from each other. Southern Tier? Has a look. Stoudts? Has a look. Uinta? Different. Every. Single. Time.

Barley wine ale can vary widely in tasting notes; however, it will always have a high ABV. It's typically lively and fruity, sometimes sweet or bittersweet. They can be challenging. Aromas range from intense fruits to intense hops. Body is usually thick and flavors can range from dominant fruits to big, resiny hops.

How did Cockeyed Cooper stack up? I'll admit it isn't the best barley wine I've ever had. It is billed on the bottle's label as having tastes of bourbon with splashes of vanilla and chocolate and dried fruits plus generous amounts of hops and malts.

It poured a murky, red-tinged dark brown ale with a full tan head. It left lots of sticky lacing in the glass. It smells of red currants and vanilla. There's a very thick mouthfeel to it. The first thing I noticed is the very hoppy finish, which is indicative of American style barley wine ales. I'm learning that I prefer non-American where you get more of a balance between the hops and malts. The flavor also produced some bitter chocolate and oaky notes. As it warmed up some it also had more sweet chocolate and cherry. It was also very boozy. While all this sounds very nice and tasty, the entire time I was drinking it, I kept thinking it was missing something. Maybe it was the big hop finish throwing me off...I'm not sure.

Will this cause me to avoid trying other Uinta beers? Doubtful.

Beer stats
Style: Barley wine ale
ABV: 11.1%
IBUs: 65
Rating: Average

Previously reviewed from Uinta
We're going in the "Way Back Machine" to Gary's 110th post for a review of HooDoo kolsch.
I reviewed the same beer on day 105 with some recollections of attempting to create some DJ effects on my Dad's very expensive stereo turntable. Happy Father's Day, Dad. Thanks for not killing me!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Tiger, I Put Out Fresh Towels

Day #552 Sweet Action / Sixpoint Craft Ales, Brooklyn, NY
Previously from this brewery: Bengali Tiger, Sweet Action, and Gorilla Warfare

Do any of you know Tiger Woods?  If so, do you know if he still needs a place to live for the 113th U.S. Open being held at Merion Golf Club, just around the corner (cough*six miles*cough) from my house?  We live near not one but two championship courses (Aronimink being the other), and in both cases I've read reports of people renting out their house to golfers or fans for the week for relatively handsome sums of money.  Seriously, Tiger, have your people call my people; they know my number.  There's a ton of beer in the fridge, nice flat screen in the study, and I can even provide two companion dogs if you want someone to cuddle with you after a bad round.  There's also a Hooters near the King of Prussia mall if you want someone to cuddle with you after a bad round if you *wink* know what I mean.  Either way, I can make it happen for you.  Some may say I should have started this campaign to get Tiger in my house months, if not years ago.  Perhaps you're right, seeing how Tiger doesn't seem to be replying to my emails.  Some may say I should live closer to the course, or have a bigger house, or many other things that would make my home enticing to professional golfers.  Whatevs, I say.  If Philadelphia miraculously wins a bid for a future Summer Olympics some day down the road, you're all invited over.  Bring your own towels, though - I'm not your maid.

Today's beer is a glass of Sweet Action from Sixpoint in Brooklyn.  This cream ale has a dull amber hue with a fluffy white head that really looked like marshmallow.  There's an aroma of light citrus and malt, and the taste has hops, with predominant flavors of citrus, and sweet malt in a perfect balance.  There's a very creamy texture, which isn't surprising considering the style of beer.  I can't quite figure this beer out in terms of flavors and aromas, but I know it tastes good and I like it.  What else do you really need?
Beer & marshmallow, it would seem
If you're in the market for a cream ale and can't find Sixpoint, I also suggest a Lancaster Brewing Country Cream Ale.  A style you don't see often, which sucks, because these beers are delicious.

Thing to Think About Today:
As if there's anything else even remotely possible for this space considering the U.S. Open golf tournament and some of the greatest players in the world are right around the corner (ahem) from my house and possibly sleeping over later this weekend.  No, no there is not.  Therefore, we close today with the legendary film Caddyshack.  Enjoy the best quotes in rapid fire order, and seriously Tiger, just return my damn calls!

"How 'bout a Fresca?"

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Day 551: Southern Tier 2XMas

From the moment I opened today's beer, this song has been stuck in my head.

Most specifically the line, "The day after my birthday is not my birthday." In my version, the lyrics aren't quite as catchy. But that hasn't stopped me from singing, "The day after Christmas is not Christmas." Is the Christmas beer still a Christmas beer even when it gets opened in June?

Chew on that while I sip on this.

This is Southern Tier Brewing Company's 2XMas--a double spiced ale. It's a seasonal ale brewed in the tradition of Swedish Glogg with two varieties of hops, four varieties of malts, figs, orange peel, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and ginger. And it tastes exactly like the holidays!

It pours a medium-tone brown ale with a thin head. It smells like pie spice...cinnamon and cloves. There's also some honey in the smell. It drinks with a medium consistency and feels full in my mouth. It's spicy and tastes of clove and figs. And just a little bit of cherry. It's a bit boozy but nothing overwhelming. This is also a very, very aromatic beer. It scented my kitchen from the moment I opened the bottle and even as it sat in my glass, it continued to smell amazing.

Beer stats
Style: Spiced ale
ABV: 8%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Excellent

Previously reviewed from Southern Tier
His review of 2XMas, Unearthly Imperial IPA with an oddly appropriate holiday song,
My review of Creme Brulee Stout and musings on why avocados are so powerful

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Day #550 Wahoo Wheat / Ballast Point Brewing Company, San Diego, CA
Previously from this brewery: Wahoo, a sampler, and a sampler highlighted by Sculpin IPA

Today was a busy day, and I'm too tired to even get in the details.  It was a good busy, though.  Not a bad busy.  Don't want you to think I'm complaining, just letting you know why you aren't getting a five-star, black label, platinum level post tonight.  Hey, no one said my blog posts were going to be 1000% awesome every day.  You, dear reader, just assume that because they more or less always are.

Tonight's beer is a Wahoo Wheat from Ballast Point, that I had a post-work outing to TJ's a while back. In the glass, you find a light straw color with a thin, persistent white head.  There's an aroma of crackers and light citrus, and when you take a sip you're greeted by a light and fresh flavor, with orange, wheat, and bready malt.  There's some hints of banana, but nothing too surprising or overpowering.  Super easy drinking at 4% ABV, so you can put these back without care (relatively speaking) on a warm, summer day.
A good bit of San Diego beers seem to be finding their way to taps in Pennsylvania these days.  A status I completely support, by the way.

Thing to Think About Today:
If it's a wheat beer I'm drinking, then it's Wheatus you're listening to.  What, you don't remember (relatively speaking) one-hit wonder Wheatus?  Maybe you'll remember their (relatively speaking) smash hit Teenage Dirtbag.  And because it was 2000, this video features Jason Biggs and Mena Suvari.  Why?  Why not!  Enjoy your night people.  I had a good day, and hope you did too.

"How does she know who I am / And why does she give a damn about me?"

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Day 549: The National, Weyerbacher Riserva. What Are Things I Really Like?

Friday night we hit the Mann Music Center for the National show. The band is touring in support of their new album Trouble Will Find Me. While it hasn't been winning acclaim like some of their past albums have, I do highly recommend it.

I like music that stirs emotion and the National does just that. Matt Berninger (lead singer) has a voice that rattles my soul. It's deep, pensive and flows like honey--except when he's given to a bit of screaming. Then it's just raw emotion and I feel like I shouldn't be looking at him/listening to him. Watching him perform is mesmerizing. Where the music seems to flow out of the other members of the National, it's like it's battling with Berninger to get out. Or to stay in...I'm not sure which really.

Mr. Blog Named Brew and I debated whether this was one of the best shows we've seen and I was decidedly on the "YES!" side of that argument. Each song felt weighty...building to a point where it exploded in a fit of joy, anger, mind bending  lyrics and finished leaving me wanting more...waiting excitedly for the next song to start. Sweet release. Over and over. Song after song. 

That desire for more was repeated when I opened up this bottle of Weyerbacher Riserva (2012)--recently named the best new beer at The Philadelphia Inquirer's 2013 Brew-vitational, an annual competition for local beers.
Riserva is an American wild ale with raspberry purée added and aged in oak barrels. As soon as the cork came out of the bottle, I knew I was in for a treat. I believe the first words out of my mouth after the first sip were, "Holy hell this is good!"

It poured a hazy ruby-tinted brown ale with a small pale tan head. It has a fresh fruit smell that isn't sweet..more organic. There's definitely raspberry in the nose and a little wood too. The flavor is tart fruit and tart raspberry specifically. It has lots of prickly carbonation up front, then a little sharpness but it quickly mellows out and gets very smooth. It's fruity and woody and seriously one of the better beers I've had in recent memory. It's going in the top 25!

It also weighs in at a whopping 11.4% ABV. Amazingly you don't notice the booziness at all.

Beer stats
Style: American wild ale
ABV: 11.4%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Excellent

Previously reviewed from Weyerbacher
His review of Riserva, Double Simcoe IPA
My review of Merry Monks

Monday, June 10, 2013

Day 548: Sweetwater Low Ryeder

Yeah, this photo pretty much sums up my evenings.

Today's beer is the Low Ryeder IPA from SweetWater Brewing Company -- a rye IPA. Per SweetWater's description, it is: "A flame throwin’ Rye IPA ignited by a 25% shot of rye malt and capped by a booty hoppin’ blast of Mt Hood and Centennial hops that makes this IPA bounce!"

It poured a deep golden color ale with a slight haze and a medium white head. There was a bit of sticky lacing left behind. It has an orange and hop aroma and the flavor falls in line with that. Lots of citrus (orange) hops. It's a bit bready. And there's a little sweetness hanging around.

Beer stats
Style: Rye IPA
ABV: 6.2%
IBUs: 45
Rating: Good

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Get Stung

Day #547 Stingray Point IPA / Coronado Brewing Company, San Diego, CA
Previously from this brewery: Orange Avenue Wit, Golden, BadaBing, Islander IPA

I'm wide awake on a quiet Sunday morning, so I figure I'll spend some time blogging.  Might as well be productive instead of just watching videos of cats playing the piano, right?  I'm sure there's a million other things I could do around the house that need to be done, but..... it's either cats playing the piano or blogging.  So here we go.
Play him off, Keyboard Cat!
Oh, right.... I said I was blogging.  My bad.  Your beer for the day is a Stingray Point IPA from Coronado Brewing.  You see an bright gold hue, with a thin but persistent white head.  The aroma is more sweet than I'd expect from an IPA.  The taste has traditional IPA elements like grapefruit, lemon, and pine, with a dry, bitter finish.  However there's more of that sweetness tucked inside, with notes of honey coming through.  Not a bad beer, if you're looking for an IPA that doesn't punch you in the face with hops.

This beer doesn't show up on Coronado's website, but from some quick internet research it looks like this was a one-off beer which was named for a secret bayside point only locals seem to know about.  Seeing how my beer didn't come with a map, I'm guessing this place might still be a secret to tourists.

Thing to Think About Today:
I guess Stingray Point gets you..... Sting?  Well, Sting and the rest of The Police, anyway.  Why not kick off your Sunday with something fun, such as this fun live version of So Lonely from 1979.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Glow For It, starring The National

Day #546 Golding Glow / Victory Brewing Company, Downingtown, PA
Previously from this brewery: Seriously?  Just do me a favor and just click this link to see all of the Victory reviews.

Last night we braved the elements (up yours, Tropical Storm Andrea!) and ventured to the Mann Center to see The National in concert.  Admittedly, I'm a relative newcomer to this band, and only knew a few songs, but liked the ones I knew.  I came away soggy around the edges from my walk to the venue, (outdoors, but thankfully the seats are under cover) but very impressed with the band, their performance, and the songs.  They're mellow and spiritual and optimistic and melancholy and passionate all at the same time, driven by the lead singer's unique baritone voice.  You should definitely check them out.  I wasn't as impressed with opening act, Broken Projectors, who sounded like each band member was playing a different song at the same time.  I kid they were fine no not really they weren't very good.

Today's review is from a past trip to Victory - a glass of Golding Glow.  When I saw the name of this beer, I instantly thought of The Last Dragon, the kung-fu movie featuring the Shogun of Harlem as the chief villain, who had a sort of "the Force" from Star Wars-esque thing happening and would glow before kicking someone's ass.  What does this have to do with anything?  Not much, other than the fact that the Shogun of Harlem is sort of my spirit animal.  What can I say.
Who's the man now, Leroy?
Back to the review.  In the glass, this beer is a clear dark gold color, with a nice fluffy head. There's a mix of malt and fruit in the aroma, and when you take a sip, you get a nice fruit profile (grapes, I suppose) with a good malt sweetness balanced by a touch of hop bitterness.  I believe this is only available on draft, so make your way to Downingtown or a bar that has some deep cuts from the Victory catalog on draft.
Am I the prettiest?  SHO NUFF.
Good easy drinking beer, probably very refreshing after you get The Glow and teach someone a lesson with your fists.
You rang?
Thing to Think About Today:
As I've already introduced you to the film The Last Dragon, I'll stick with the music theme.  The National has popped up in this space once before with Mr. November (where I decided my beard made me look like the lead singer), so let's go for Fake Empire.  An introspective song that I quite enjoy.

"Turn the light out, say goodnight / No thinking for a little while
Let's not try to figure out everything at once / It’s hard to keep track of you falling through the sky"

Too relaxed for a day where most everyone I know is drunkenly tailgating at a Kenny Chesney concert and you're too lazy to click on the Mr. November link?  Fine, special double song post with something faster for you then. Mistaken for Strangers to close out the day.  See you all soon, friends.

" 'Cause you don’t mind seeing yourself in a picture /
As long as you look faraway, as long as you look removed "

Friday, June 7, 2013

Day 545: Old Forge Irish Draught

I'm off to see The National this evening in the remnants of the first tropical storm of the season. I have my Wellies but I imagine I'll be saying, "The Wellies. They do nothing."  Kind of like McBain...

So if I don't post this weekend, I went out with the rain-swollen tide even though the concert venue isn't anywhere near beachfront!

To celebrate my last moments of dry conditions, let's talk beer. The Irish Draught from Old Forge Brewing.
I had this at the Bainbridge Street Barrel House in Philadelphia. I also figured out what was bothering me about that place. It's like a Crate and Barrel catalog with amazing beer. There was something strangely sterile about it. That being written, don't let it deter you. The beer list is AMAZING.

The Irish Draught is an Irish red ale that was served on nitro. It poured a crisp bright brown with a thick off-white head. It was very creamy and smooth with a tea-like flavor and some honey. There was a good balance between the malts and hops. It actually reminded me a lot of an ESB.

Beer stats
Style: Irish red
ABV: 4%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Great

Previously reviewed from Old Forge
Mr.'s review of Endless Summer Ale, T-Rail Pale Ale

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Day 544: Clown Shoes, Clown Terror

Thoughts in my head right now.

Maybe I am getting old. Clearly I cannot work a 14 hour day, get five hours of sleep and get up and do it again. Nope. The body now says, "No dice" and stops functioning.

Two hour naps in the late afternoon/early evening are not a good idea but clearly my body was telling me something. I just slept the sleep of the dead for the past two and a half hours. First thought upon wandering out of my room and seeing the socks and undershirt that Gary wore today, "Oh he melted" a la the Wicked Witch of the West style.

Clowns are scary as all hell. Read Stephen King's It. That is the ultimate in terrifying clown stories. I don't walk on or look down into sewer grates because of it. End of story.

Despite my all-encompassing fear/hate/distrust of clowns, I do tend to like beer from Clown Shoes Beer. The latest selection is the Clementine--a witbier.

From the Clown Shoes' website, it is light-bodied and crisp and has plenty of zest. It's hazy in appearance and healthily carbonated. It uses Chambly yeast to energetically shape its wheat malt base. Incorporated into the brewing process is clementine, sweet orange peel, coriander and Summit hops.

So what did I think? It poured a hazy, deep orange color with a smallish white head. It has the aroma of unpeeled oranges and grain. It has a strong hop profile with a nice amount of citrus flavor. There's something kind of dank about the flavor. I tend to expect a brighter flavor from a witbier but there was definitely something lightly earthy about it.

Beer stats
Style: Witbier or white ale
ABV: 5.9%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Good

Previously reviewed from Clown Shoes
His review of Clementine, Muffin Top (tripel)
My review of Vampire Slayer (imperial stout)