Breweries "Visited"

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Handing Out Beer for Halloween

Day #691 Rubaeus / Founders Brewing Company, Grand Rapid, MI
Previously from this brewery:  All the beers

Happy Halloween, everyone!  Tonight I'll likely be hiding in the dark as parents bus in kids from other neighborhoods to beg for candy.  Maybe because I grew up in a house filled with candy (Mom worked for Hershey), or maybe because my parents didn't parade me around to strangers' houses each year, or maybe something else I'm not even thinking of, but mostly I don't get into trick or treating.  I just don't get why hundreds of kids hit my neighborhood each year, when clearly NONE of them live anywhere near here.  All for a miniature Kit-Kat bar.  Doesn't make sense.

This being said, I do in fact love Halloween.  It's a night to be creative, to put on a costume and become something you're not, even if it's only for a night (pro tip: I dress up like a pimp every time a costume is needed).  Plus, it comes in the middle of fall, my favorite season of the year.  Really, I love everything about Halloween... except teenagers ringing the doorbell at 9pm and making the dogs freak out, so that they can get some high fructose corn syrup.

Rant over, on to the beer, which is a bottle of Rubaeus, a raspberry ale from Founders.  In the glass, it looks like cranberry juice with a lingering white head.  There are aromas of (wait for it...) raspberry, and when you take a sip you get (wait for it.... wait for it... ) sweet and tart raspberry.  You also get some malt, but mostly pure, summery raspberry.  It's sweet, but has a good natural flavor, and would best be enjoyed on a warm summer day.  Not on par with a legendary beer like the raspberry from New Glarus, but good just the same.
Raspberry all day
This is a seasonal release beer, so you likely may have missed your chance to find this on the shelves.

Thing to Think About Today:
How about a guy who looks like he's dressed up in a Halloween costumes and then you realize that no, he's just wearing a yellow suit with the ass cut out because that's how he rolls.  Yep, I'm thinking about Prince, and with the beer in mind I'm thinking about some Raspberry Beret. However, apparently the Purple One doesn't like Youtube, so there are no Prince clips.  However, I can fix that.  How about the Somerville Ukulele Club and their (wait for it) ukulele-centric cover?  Not good enough?  I also provide John Mayer covering this song, because that's how I roll.  Take that, Prince.

(There are other JM versions with the full song, but they're all really awful videos)

"If I had the chance to do it all again / I wouldn't change a stroke
Cause baby I'm the most / With a girl as fine as she was then"

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Day 690: Goose Island Pere Jacques

My advice to you: If you see a problem developing, do not ignore it for months on end. It will not go away. And it may result in a missing toe nail. That is all.

That beer up there is the Pere Jacques 2012 from Goose Island.  It is a Belgian style ale and this particular one was bottled on October 18, 2012. This one managed to age for just over a year in my house and supposedly it ages beautifully for five years. Beer never lasts that long in my house.

It poured a hazy medium-tone amber sort of brown color with a thin off white head. It wasn't nearly as rosy as it looks in this photo. It smells of Belgian candi sugar, bread dough and apricot preserves. It has a full mouthfeel. The flavor is lots of creamy fruit sweetness with a dry finish. There's a little cracker flavor in there as well. 

Beer stats
Style: Belgian style ale
ABV: 8.7%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Great

Previously reviewed from Goose Island
A review of Matilda from what feels like a million years ago
Mr.'s review of Honkers

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Y me?

Day #689 HopBack Amber / Troegs Brewing Company, Hershey, PA
Previously from this brewery: many beers

If there are an glaring typos today, it's because the 'y' key on my keyboard isn't working.  I mean, it's somewhat working, but I need to pound on it a bit to register a letter.  This laptop may not be long for this world, I fear.  Sigh.

The beer for today is a bottle of HopBack Amber from Troegs, which pours with a clear, bright amber color.  One thing about beers from Troegs - they're all attractive in the glass.  Hard to explain, but they are. Your nose finds aromas of caramel and some citrus, and when you drink it down there are flavors of caramel malt, lemon, bread, and some very mellow pine bitterness.  A well balanced beer, and at 6% ABV, very easy drinking.  Definitely a favorite of mine, particularly on days where I want some hop flavor, but don't want to be overwhelmed by bitterness.
Pretty, no?
Thing to Think About Today:
With HopBack in mind, I'm dropping some Baby Got Back in this space.  However, because I adore acoustic covers of rap songs, I present singer-songwriter Jonathon Coulton's version.  It's obviously awesome.  I seriously can not believe that I've never used this song in the space before; it's truly an all time great.  Hope you're all doing well and feeling good.

"Oh baby, I wanna get wit'cha / And take your picture
My homeboys tried to warn me / But that butt you got makes me so horny"

Monday, October 28, 2013

Day 688: Rogue Voodoo Doughnut

Several weeks ago I found out that my local Whole Foods got in a shipment of the Rogue Voodoo Doughnut Chocolate Banana  Peanut Butter stout. I like Rogue's beer. I really like Voodoo Doughnuts. And despite having heard from many people that the first iteration of the Rogue/Voodoo beer was a terrible, smoky mess, I could not resist the siren song of a stout with flavors of chocolate and peanut butter. (See evidence here, here and here.)
Can someone come over and rake all those leaves?
Mr. Blog and I are too busy drinking beer.
It poured an almost black brown color with a deep tan, full head. It smelled strongly of bananas that faded nicely into strong dark chocolate aromas. As it sat on the table next to me, I could easily smell the chocolate scent wafting over to me. I took a sip and my first thought is that it is kind of watery. Another sip. Yup, watery. There's some chocolate in the flavor but it's light compared to the smell. There is a lot of coffee, which I wasn't expecting. There was also something perfumey in there and I can't describe it any better than that. Sadly I'm not getting any peanut butter and I had to work hard to get any banana. I wavered between rating this one average, but the more I tried to drink it and then sleeping on it overnight, I decided that it was getting a poor rating. 

Beer stats
Style: Stout
ABV: 5.3%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Poor

Previously reviewed from Rogue
Beard beer, more Beard BeerEugene City Brewery Honey Orange Wheat AleJuniper ale, the sampler 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Harvest Time

Day #687 Northern Hemisphere Harvest Wet Hop Ale / Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Chico, CA
Previously from this brewery: Southern Hemisphere and Summerfest

Another Sunday of realizing that Penn State football isn't very good.  They aren't supposed to be, and they don't need to be, but still.... losing sucks always and forever.

Beer review for the day is a Northern Hemisphere from Sierra Nevada.  It has a clear light amber color, with a lingering white head.  There's ample bitterness, but not as much citrus as I was expecting.  Good bit of piney, earthy flavors.  In all, a solid beer, but there are others with more welcoming balances of flavors out there.  Worth a try, though.  The interesting story about this beer is that the hops used go from the fields to the brew kettles in less than 24 hours.

I have no picture, as this one is lost in my phone somewhere, and that's just the way it goes some days.

Thing to Think About Today:
On a fall day with Northern Harvest beer, I give you Neil Young and Harvest Moon.  Good day, folks....

"When we were strangers, I watched you from afar / When we were lovers, I loved you with all my heart."

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Brazilian, Breaking, and Bohemian

Day #686 Bohemia / Companhia Brasileira De Bebidas, Sao Paolo, Brazil
Previously from this brewery: this beer is the first out the limo

Been working since 8am, so I'm getting right down to business.  Okay, so "work" means volunteering, but I was still up and out of bed early, so it was like work.  Today's beer is a gift from a friend who ventured to Brazil for spring break this year.  Let's just say that I went NOWHERE near as interesting as Brazil when I was in college, and I'm more than jealous of the guys who managed to pull off this trip.

Anyway, the beer is a bottle of Bohemia, a lager that pours a clear straw color with a wispy white head.  It has aromas of grain and grass, flavors of the same, and is an easy drinking lighter beer.  I wrote "El Bud Light", but then I realized the language of Brazil is Portuguese, not Spanish, so I guess that makes it "A Leve Bud."  Or not, I really don't speak Portugese and have no clue if that's right.  I've had this one in the fridge since the spring, but only recently found it hiding in there.
This beer traces it's roots back to 1853, and is now owned by beer colossus InBev.  So, there's that.

Thing to Think About Today:
I've been on a Queen kick lately, so Bohemian Rhapsody would be a good fit here.  However, I'm not a huge fan of the song - the movie Wayne's World ruined it a small bit for me.  Instead, on a fall Saturday better suited to a fall festival or Halloween party than reading about beer, I give you the Dandy Warhols and Bohemian Like You.  Good luck today, friends!

"It's you that I want, so please...."

Friday, October 25, 2013

Day 685: Bullfrog Gouden Ezel

Today is my Mom's birthday. If I did my math correctly, she would have been 65 years old this year. But that fucker cancer got her early. I'll be toasting her this evening...just like Gary and I have done for the past two years on this date. I wish I was toasting with her instead.

The beer in the photo is the Bullfrog Gouden Ezel, an American wild ale. It poured a hazy dark gold color ale with a thin white head. It has a tart aroma reminiscent of vinegar. The flavor has unripe melon, a soft tartness and some crackers to it. It is a very easy to drink sour beer. 

Beer stats
Style: Wild ale
ABV: 7%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Good

Previously reviewed from Bullfrog
First one!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Getting Fresh.

Day #684 Fresh Hop Pale Ale/ Great Divide Brewing Company, Denver, CO
Previously from this brewery: My look at Titan IPA and a Colette 

The best part thing about TJ's in Paoli, PA?  Sure, the beer list is outstanding and the food is great, but most importantly: I can convince my co-workers to go there and complain about work.  Win-win for everyone. People get to vent, I get delicious beer on my way home from work.  Can't argue with that.

The beer for today is a Fresh Hop Pale Ale from Great Divide in Colorado.  It pours with a bright copper color, and a light aroma of pine and citrus, with some bready malt as well.  The taste is a mellow mixture of resinous pine, lemon peel, and biscuits with a dash of tea in there as well.  Good bit of bitterness on the finish to close things out.  Really nice beer, particularly for when you want some hops but don't want to be beaten over the head by them.
Death from above
This is a seasonal release, so if you see it, drink one.

Thing to Think About Today:
Something quiet for the evening shift.  AC Newman and the slow and serious Come Crash.

"That's true, she said, we should dead / I should be sleeping in your bed"

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Day 683: Speakeasy Betrayal

I've been jones-ing for a good book to read for a few weeks now. I'm not quite sure when I'm going to read this "good book", but I'm starting to feel desperate. Then I came across this on my friend Arielle's tumblr and it stopped me dead in my tracks.
I don't follow the Night Vale podcasts (maybe I should?), but I can't stop revisiting this statement. Does anyone else feel this way at the end of a good book? There's nothing worse than finishing a book and not caring about it or the characters.

Also you all should check our Arielle's tumblr page. She's brilliant and funny and really good at yoga. I kind of want to be like her when I grow up!

Now for the beer.
This is the Speakeasy Ales & Lagers' Betrayal--an imperial red ale. Sidebar: Speakeasy's website notes, "With a love for the sinister and the underground, Speakeasy operates out of a corner of this city once known as Butchertown." This city is San Francisco. I'm pretty sure I'm not going anywhere once or currently known as Butchertown. I imagine clowns aplenty lurking under sewer grates in the streets patiently waiting to cause chaos and terror. So there's that.

Good thing the beer wasn't terrifying. It poured a dark mahogany color with a thick cream color head. The smell and flavor went hand-in-hand. Black tea, hops with a nice bitterness, caramel malt, a little bit of grass.

Beer stats
Style: Imperial red ale
ABV: 8.2%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Great

Previously reviewed from Speakeasy
I totally thought this was going to be first out the limo, but Mr. Blog Named Brew beat me to it with his review of the Big Daddy IPA

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Black and White

Beer #682 Plum Noir / Southern Tier Brewing Company, Lakewood, NY
Previously from this brewery: All of them.

My phone started doing something interesting; it now tells me the weather (without opening an app) and how far away I am from home in terms of driving time.  Both helpful, but I do have to stop and ask: how does it know where I live?  I never told my phone my address, although I guess it might be smart enough to either know where I go after work every day or what address is tied to my phone number.  Either way, I'm slightly taken aback by this. On the other hand, when I'm having a tough day at work, knowing that I can come home and play with the dogs in 14 minutes is a welcome and encouraging fact.  On the other hand, Big Brother is scary.  In case you were wondering (you were), when I am home, it tells me restaurant recommendations in my neighborhood, in addition to the weather and driving time to other local points of interest.

That being said, on to the beer.  Tonight I'm giving you some Plum Noir from Southern Tier, a brewery I really enjoy.  My small glass of this beer showed off a black color, with tons of chocolate, toasted malt, and a sweet plum taste.  Hints of coffee, which means that this is definitely not my cup of tea (pun intended), but you could tell that this is a complex, well made brew.
There you have it.
There are apparently between 19 and 40 varieties of plums, depending on who you ask.  Now you know.

Thing to Think About Today:
If the beer is a Noir, then your music will be the opposite - white.  Been listening to a good bit of Jack White lately; both his solo work and his White Stripes days. Interesting guy, good music, good lyrics, hails from Detroit, brings a great fusion of rock, blues, and a dash of country. Tonight I close with Love Interruption. Night, all - hope you enjoy!

"I want love to walk right up and bite me / grab a hold of me and fight me / leave me dying on the ground"

Monday, October 21, 2013

Day 681: Alvinne Undressed...Scandalous!

I'm breaking the rules with tonight's post. In Year Two, the blog rules state that we can revisit a brewery (unlike in Year One when once we reviewed a brewery, it was off the list) but in Year Two each beer should be new and different. Well, I'm throwing that rule out the window for the evening and revisiting Alvinne Undressed.

Why? Because the first time I had it, it was on draft and this time it's from a bottle. Secondly some rules need to be broken. This one happens to be one of them. 

Alvinne Undressed is brewed at Picobrouwerij Alvinne, a relatively new brewery in Belgium. For a review of Undressed on draft, please see Beer Review #215

Alvinne Undressed is described on its label as an almost unhopped brown ale that is the base for Morpheus Wild and Kerasus. It is for fans of the true oud bruin style. It poured a hazy dark chocolate color ale with no head. It smells like a chocolatey oud bruin. A little acidic. A little chocolate. Some mud. The flavor is sour, light figs and rich chocolate with lots of malt. There is a ton of mouth-puckering tartness. 

Is it better on draft or in the bottle? I'm going with on draft this time around. That being written, the number of times I've found Alvinne on draft since starting this blog is once. Once. The lesson here is if you see Alvinne. Drink it. Buy it. Whatever you do, don't miss out. 

Beer stats
Style: Wild ale
ABV: 6.9%
IBUs: 0 
Rating: Excellent

Previously reviewed from Alvinne
Undressed on draft, more Undressed on draft and Morpheus Wild

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Dogs Galore

Beer #680 Bitter Bitch / Wet Dog Cafe & Astoria Brewing Company, Astoria, OR
Previously from this brewery: the same

Today's beer review is a can of Bitter Bitch from the Astoria Brewing Company in Oregon.  In the glass (despite what the crappy photo might otherwise suggest) this beer shows off a dark copper color with a slightly off-white head.  There are pleasing aromas of earthy pine and citrus, and when you drink it down there's a good bit of grapefruit and pine, with a nice bit of bitterness on the finish.  There's some caramel malt in there as well to keep things in check.  Very solid pour.
Not the first beer with "bitch" in the name I've come across.  Brewers have some unresolved issues, I suppose.

Thing to Think About Today:
Something quiet from local Philly product Dr. Dog, perhaps?  We leave with Shadow People.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Omission and Prostitution

Beer #679 Omission Pale Ale / Widmer Brewing Company, Portland, OR
Previously from this brewery: It's all right there.

There's a tool on the website that lets you see what search words people used to find your blog.  This week, someone clicked on our website by searching for "German hookers in Munich". I'm guessing that's because of Thomas Hooker Brewery and their German style beers, and I'm also guessing that person was disappointed when they read my beer review and didn't find any prostitutes.

Today's beer is another one that was left in my cooler, a bottle of Omission Pale Ale from Widmer.  A clear, pale shade of copper in the glass, this beer gives you a sweet aroma of barley.  When you take a sip, there's a mixture of malt, bread, and light citrus, with just a hint of bitterness as well. This is another beer made for those who can't tolerate gluten, but the fact of the matter this is a pretty tasty choice on it's own even for those who (like me) can't get enough gluten.  Would I go out of my way to order it?  Probably not, as I do prefer beers that are a bit more complex (read: gluten-y), but this is definitely something I'd drink again out of a cooler.
And extra special thanks to a loyal reader for correcting a mistake I made when reviewing the Omission Lager; these beers are not technically gluten free, as it uses barley but there's an enzyme added that removes the gluten from the beer.  If you're hyper-sensitive, sorry; you're probably still out of luck.

Thing to Think About Today:
With a pale ale in hand, you get the band Pale Young Gentlemen covering MIA's Paper Planes.  The video today is just a link, seeing how the Youtubes don't seem to want  to let me embed the video, but this is a fantastic cover.  Click here and enjoy a great song.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Day 678: Avery is Out of Bounds

Friday night before a bye week for Penn State football is a glorious night.I'm sleeping in until I feel like getting out of bed tomorrow. Or I'm going to go bonkers and hit a spin class and yoga to work off all the damage I've done at the previous five tailgates!

Tonight's beer is the Out of Bounds stout from Avery Brewing in Colorado. It poured a super dark brown with just a hint of light making it through the liquid around the edges. It had a thin cocoa-color head. The aroma was coffee, dark roasted malts and black pepper. The flavor was chocolate over bitter roast coffee with lots of malt. There's a good amount of hop flavor in there too. While it drank with a thin mouthfeel the taste lingered on my tongue for quite awhile.

Beer stats
Style: Stout
ABV: 6.3%
IBUs: 51
Rating: Great

Previously reviewed from Avery
The Maharaja and fun with typos
Hog Heaven (dry hopped barleywine) and butt sniffing, I kid you not

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Shiva Blast

Beer #677 Shiva / Ashville Brewing Company, Asheville, NC
Previously from this brewery: N/A, this beer is the first out the limo

Hustle day today, so I'm getting down to business with a can of Shiva, an IPA from Ashville Brewing, a newcomer to the blog.  This one came courtesy of a friend who lives in South Carolina, but made his way up to watch the PSU-Michigan game last weekend (Thanks, Jeff!).  Beer always makes a great gift.

This beer shows off a dark gold hue, with a fluff white head.  There's a big grapefruit aroma, and when you take a sip you initially get more orange and grapefruit citrus flavor than pine, but the earthy pine and some good quality bitterness make their way on the finish.  Some malt in there to balance things out and round everything into shape.  Really solid choice, and always fun to try a beer from a new (to me) brewery.
Shiva, The Destroyer
This brewery also appears to be a restaurant, thereby combining two of my favorite items: beer and food.

Thing to Think About Today:
When I saw this beer name, I immediately thought of Shiva, a recurring character on the absolutely funniest (see also: only) show about fantasy football on television, The League.  A show about friends who delight in tormenting each other over the the highs and lows of their fantasy football league.  One of my favorite shows out there due to the completely absurd comedy, useful insults, and catch phrases.  I also like it because I met the cast in the Nashville Airport once, but that's another story for another day.  Check out some of the best of Rodney Ruxin in this clip below, then go start catching up on Netflix.  You won't regret it.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Day 676: He Said,He Said

Scene: Me and some friends enjoying beers out on the town in State College for Penn State's homecoming. I'm sitting at the bar right in front of a set of taps. Bartender is switching out one of the tap handles and I launch into full Chatty Cathy let's-talk-beer-mode. 

They just tapped a collaboration brew from 21st Amendment and Elysian. The tap handle states (or at least it was close to this as I didn't have the mind to take a photo): 
     Baltic porter
     Lager brewed with pumpkin 

I've had some strange collaborations before, but a porter-lager...with pumpkin? To the Googles! Here's what I learned from the 21st Amendment He Said site:

He Said let’s brew a dark beer with pumpkin and spices and put it in a light colored can. He Said let’s brew a light beer with pumpkin and spices and put it in a dark colored can. So they did both and produced a pumpkin beer collaboration like no other: two black pumpkin beers and two white pumpkin beers, together in one box.

Who are the hes in question? Dick Cantwell, the pumpkin king at Elysian Brewing and Shaun O'Sullivan, the 21st Amendment brewmaster who brought me one of my favorite beers Hell or High Watermelon Wheat.

Evidently the tap handle covers both beers and is a great conversation starter! I lucked out with the light version of He Said. It's a Belgian-style tripel and it poured a hazy medium gold color with an off-white head. It was full of Belgian candid sugar aroma and some malt. The flavor is tons of caramel and pie spice. Not overtly pumpkin-y, but delicious nonetheless.

Beer stats
Style: Tripel
ABV: 8.2%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Excellent

Previously reviewed from 21st Amendment
Hell or High Watermelon, Bitter American, more Hell or High Watermelon, Fireside Chat

Previously reviewed from Elysian
Split Shot (espresso milk stout) and I rap Sir-Mix-Alot lyrics, drop a Faygo reference and sing the praises of TJ's Bar
Prometheus (IPA)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Day 675: Founders Mango Magnifico con Color

Don't mind this photo. It appears that I'm hanging out and drinking in Hell with all the red lighting, but's just a bar with bad lighting in State College (Pennsylvania). 

Here's what the bottle looks like: 
Mango Magnifico - Dark
Photo borrowed from Founders
Founders Mango Magnifico con Color is the Magnificent Mango with Heat. Heat? Yup, heat. It's brewed with mango and habaneros from Michigan. What you can't see from my photo is that it poured a beautiful pale gold color with a barely there white head. The flavor is smooth and sweet--lots of mango deliciousness without being cloying. The habaneros lend a heat that's best described as a slow burn. You don't really notice it at first, but then it starts building and becomes a delicious and fiery yang to the sweet yin of the mango.

Beer stats
STyle: Fruit beer
ABV: 10%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Excellent

Previously reviewed from Founders
My review of Blushing Monk (framboise ale) and Rubaeus
A great post by Gary on Joe Paterno's memorial, friendship and Centennial IPA

Monday, October 14, 2013

Case of the Mondays

Beer #674  Sour in the Rye / The Bruery, Placentia, CA
Previously from this brewery:  Others, which are here.

Mondays are always long, but today was longer than usual.  In my youth, I could miss sleep, pull all-nighters, run myself into the ground and then with just a tiny bit of rest get back in the saddle and keep going at full speed. Not any more, as I spent most of the day Sunday trying in vain to catch up on sleep, and spent most of today with a headache and a desperate desire to go to bed shortly after lunch.  An early bedtime tonight, and I'm back on track tomorrow.  I hope.  I think.

With what little brain power left for the day, you get today's review.  Actually, this is a beer I had a while ago, but had hiding in my email: Sour in the Rye, from The Bruery.  It pours with an amber color and a thin, persistent white head.  There's a tart aroma of citrus with a good bit of vinegar, and drinking back a sip gives you flavors of earthy oak, grapes, cherry, and vinegar, with ample tartness throughout.  I freely admit I don't quickly pick up the rye used in brewing this beer, but that doesn't mean  it's not there or didn't help make this beer delicious.  In fact, this beer finds a home in my Top 25 (which actually has way more than 25 beers at this point; it's more of a symbolic thing).
Sour Patch, Kid
An increasing number of American breweries have been producing sour beers, and if The Bruery isn't the best around, there sure as hell aren't too many better.  Maybe Cascade Brewing Barrel House, maybe Jolly Pumpkin, maybe Russian River.  Can't go wrong with sours from any of those four breweries, really.

Thing to Think About Today:
If I'm trying to shake off the cobwebs and get the brain moving again, perhaps Florence + the Machine can help me out with Shake it Out, a great song with great lyrics.  Hope you like it too.

"I'm ready to suffer and I'm ready to hope"

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Day 673: Bockor VanderGhinste

If there's one thing I love in the world of beer, it a good sour beer. This one is the VanderGhinste, an oud bruin from Brouwerij Bockor. Interesting--perhaps only to me and Mr. Blog Named Brew--is that Bockor is in Bellegem in the West Flanders region of Belgium. Why is this interesting? Because we stayed in Kortrijk, which is nine kilometers north of Bellegem and we traversed that whole area on bike this summer.

So about that beer. It poured a deep brown, slightly hazy color with a thin off-white head. It smells lightly metallic, kind of like when you hold coins in your hand for too long. There's also sour cherries and vinegar. The flavor is more sweet than sour and the tartness is light and refreshing. There's lots of cherry and other dark fruits. I wrote "light plum" in my notes. So there's that. 

Is this the best oud bruin I've ever had? No. And truth be told I was a bit disappointed at first. But the more time I spent with it, the more I realized that it was a solid example of the style. 

Beer stats
Style: Oud bruin
ABV: 5.5%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Good

Previously reviewed from Bockor
Jacobins Gueuze and more on the Belgian bike tour

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Pumped Up

Beer # 672 UFO Pumpkin / Harpoon Brewing Company, Boston, MA
Previously from this brewery: Leviathan, Cranberry Ale

Tailgate day.  Yay.

Recognizing fall with a pumpkin beer, the UFO Pumpkin from Harpoon.  Secret fact about me: I really don't enjoy many pumpkin beers.  I can drink a few at the start of fall, but they just don't speak to me.  By the time I get around to thinking a pumpkin beer might be delicious (looking at you, Thanksgiving), they're gone from the shelves.  And too many have what I consider to be pumpkin pie filling as their main flavor; somewhat artificial, and way too sweet.

This one pours a hazy light amber color with a lingering white head.  Aromas of pumpkin and nutmeg (shocking), and flavors of.... pumpkin and nutmeg (still shocking).  It's light and drinkable, and to their credit this beer has a authentic flavor instead of that over the top fake sweetness thing I abhor.  Top pumpkin beer ever?  Not sure, because I've sampled about 4% of the beers out there, but I'm guessing there are others that might be more my style.
UFO stands for "UnFiltered Object", and is part of their UFO series of beers.

Thing to Think About Today:
Yes, I've shared this song before.  But not the live version, with Ylvis backed up by The Roots!  Seriously, watch this.  Please.  Please?

Friday, October 11, 2013

It's the Wood That Makes It Good

Beer #671 Woody Creek / Flying Dog Ales, Frederick, MD
Previously from this brewery: Garde Dog, Old Scratch Amber Lager

Friday.  Yay.  At least I have the day off.... you know, minus the time I spent at work from 4:45am to 8:15am.  Because that's how I roll, apparently.

Today's sacrificial offering is a bottle of Woody Creek from Flying Dog.  This Belgian white has a gold color and a fluffy white head.  There are pleasant aromas of grain and citrus, and when you drink it down, you find a very mild hop bitterness, orange, and wheat.  There's a touch of coriander in there too, which provides a nice flavor at the finish.  Very nice, easy drinking yet flavorful beer.  Don't drink Blue Moon.  Drink this.
DP Dough in the house
This beer is a seasonal offering.  Act now, supplies are limited (especially since this was a summer release).

Thing to Think About Today:
Woody Creek.  Wood.  For reasons I can't explain, this makes me thing of the Kenny Rogers Roasters slogan, "It's the Wood that Makes it Good."  There used to be a Kenny Rogers Roasters in State College, PA up on North Atherton Street that I'd frequent a bit in my younger days.  Like most things from my younger days, it's gone now, but the fast food slogan remains seared in my brain, and we'll always have this wonderful episode of Seinfeld to remember it by:

Thursday, October 10, 2013


Beer #670 Omission Lager / Widmer Brewing Company, Portland, Oregon
Previously from this brewery: Just go here and find out.

Today flat out fucking sucked, and it continues to suck.  Pardon my language, of course.  I just can't seem to make things work today, and that gets me down.

A beer review just because I'm too stubborn to say fuck it and not write one:

Today's beer is Omission, from Widmer.  Why is this beer important?  It's one of the few gluten free beers on the market.  Very important for those who have gluten intolerance, which thankfully isn't me.  I'm just drinking this one because a few got left in our cooler after a recent tailgate.  This beer has a clear, bright gold color with a fluffy white head.  There are aromas of grain, and flavors of..... not much.  Maybe grass and lemon and grain if I think hard enough.  More important is what you don't taste, and that's gluten.  So, good if you have to drink it due to medical issues, but if gluten is your homeboy, please look elsewhere for your beer fix.
Looks pretty :)
Thing to Think About Today:
Something from the quiet mix as I attempt to get the blood pressure back in line and then wallow a bit. Citizen Cope and Sideways, which sounds better with a band behind him than solo, but I think he fired his band, because every Youtube video is just him solo.  Or some random emo kids playing this poorly in their room, but they sort of suck.  Sorry.  Like I said, I really did a poor job of making things work today.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Day 669: Plum Noir

I spent a lot of time this past weekend in my hometown. Hazleton (Pennsylvania) is a ramshackle shell of its former self. I always tell people what a wonderful place it was to grow up. As I drove around town this weekend, I fondly recalled epic bike rides from my house to the local grocery store. My sister and I would turn what could be a five block walk into an eight mile bike ride--often giving my poor mother a heart attack as she sat wondering why on earth it was taking us so long. There were playgrounds galore, decent schools and no need to lock your doors. Now it's a blighted mess with borderline racist laws, a NIMBY attitude, and escalating crime. It makes me so sad to go back and visit.

Yet somehow through all the mess that is Hazleton lately, there's good beer to be had there. I stopped by the local Pantry Quik, which is a downmarket version of Wawa, to explore its beer selection. While there was plenty of Budweiser and various malt beverages, there was an incredible display of craft beer including Southern Tier's Plum Noir, which is tonight's beer.

Plum Noir is an imperial porter brewed with Italian plums. It poured a deep, dark brown with just a bit of light dancing around the edges. It had a thin tan head. It smells of plums and licorice. It tastes of roasted malts, wood, and fruit. When I exhaled, there were strong coffee notes. It had a thin mouthfeel, but big flavor that lingered. As it warmed a bit, I found a little bitter chocolate.

Beer stats
Style: Imperial porter
ABV: 8%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Great

Previously reviewed from Southern Tier (evidently we only review Southern Tier when we have A LOT to say)
A philosophical debate on when a Christmas beer is a Christmas beer with a review of 2XMas
More 2XMas
A review of Creme Brulee Stout and my crazed musings on the evil temptress that is the avocado
And plain old rantings with a review of Unearthly Imperial IPA

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Duck, Duck, Brown

Day #668 Brown Ale / The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery, Farmville, NC
Previously from this brewery: Hoppy Bunny Ale and a Milk Stout

Just getting down to business. Today's beer is a Brown Ale from The Duck-Rabbit.  This one pours a dark brown color and gives off a toasted malt aroma.  When you take a sip, there's a good bit of bitterness throughout, much more so than most brown ales.  On the other hand, just like most brown ales, there's ample toasted malt with some nuttiness and hints of chocolate and caramel thrown in for good measure. Definitely a good fall beer, something for when there's a bit of chill in the air and the smell of damp leaves in your nose. rabbit.
Thing to Think About Today:
It's important to know that I'm nostalgic.  It's important to know that the saddest song ever is Seasons in the Sun by Terry Jacks.  It's important to know that I used to listen to this song frequently as a child, which, along with my fondness for Owl at Home, a children's book about an owl who made tea using his own tears, may explain a lot about me.  Or maybe not, who knows.  Anyway, this one came on my iPod today, so here you go. Worth a look just for Terry's 70s afro alone, whether you're sad or not.

"Now that the spring is in the air / with the flowers everywhere / I wish that we could both be there"

Monday, October 7, 2013

Day 667: Yards Brewing Company Pynk

I have mixed feelings on all the pink-hued products that get shoved down our throats this month, but nothing I wrote didn't make me sound like an uptight, self-righteous prick so I'm letting it go. I just ask that you think twice about purchasing that pink product to help fight breast cancer. What organization is getting the money? Are they directly doing research, education or patient outreach? Wouldn't you be better off writing a check to a well established research group rather than overpaying for a pink water bottle? Be smart.

One pink product that I didn't mind pouring down my throat was the Pynk tart berry ale, which is brewed by Yards Brewing CompanyYards is donating $1 from each case of Pynk sold to the Tyanna Foundation, which supports local organizations throughout mid-Atlantic region to treat and care for breast cancer patients.

It poured a rosy brown ale with a pale cream color head. It had a strong berry aroma and the flavor was nutty and full of berry notes. Pynk is brewed with tons of fresh raspberries and sweet and sour cherries. I think the addition of the cherries definitely helps give it a tart, crisp refreshing quality rather than letting it get overly sweet. I also noticed that it has more malt flavor than many other fruit beers that I've tried.

Beer stats
Style: Fruit beer
ABV: 5.5%
IBUs: Unknown
Rating: Good

Previously reviewed from Yards
Some gratitude and a Brawler
Ignore the caloric information and just read about the Philadelphia Pale Ale

Sunday, October 6, 2013


Day #666 Jacobins Gueuze / Brouwerij Bockor, Bellegem, Belgium
Previously from this brewery: Jacobins Rouge and another Jacobins Rouge

Long weekend finally (almost) over.  Good news; Mom liked her gifts.  Back to the grind tomorrow.

Tonight I leave you with a review of Jacobins Gueuze from Brouwerij Bockor.  Had this one with dinner at Hotel de Brouwerij, a B&B that used to be a brewery back in the day.  Food was good, frites were plentiful, and beers were dirt, dirt cheap.  The beauty of life on the farm in the exceptionally small town of Zwalm.  In the glass this one has a clear, dark gold hue (like apple juice) with a puffy white head.  Aromas of tart fruit and flavors of tart and sweet fruit and grain.  A solid beer, particularly considering the amazingly low price, but definitely not something in the same universe as the gueuze from Cantillon.  Worth a try, though.
Hi there.
Thing to Think About Today:
A cheap bottle of Jacobins with a white head gets you Jack White, and Honey, We Can't Afford to Look this Cheap.

Um, or not.  Mysteriously, no video for this song anywhere on the youtubes.  So, here's what you can do. = Go to the iTunes store and search for it.  Or, click this link to listen, if that's more your speed.  Just do it. It's a good song and it fit perfectly and I like it.

Night, friends.  Miss you all.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Monkey Business

Day #665 White Monkey / Victory Brewing Company, Downingtown, PA
Previously from this brewery: Plenty, they're close by my house

Up early today, but I guess that's okay because today is my Mom's birthday!  Best wishes for a good day, Mom :)

So you get a quick beer review, because that's the way it goes.  I have a bunch of old beer reviews lying around, so today you get a beer I drank way back in the early part of summer, White Monkey from nearby Victory Brewing Company.  This is their popular Golden Monkey aged for three months in white wine barrels from California.  When you take a sip of this Tripel you definitely notice the oak from the wine barrels coming through.  In fact, the oak definitely dominates some of the usual fruit flavors you enjoy in the Golden Monkey, and this one tastes more boozy than it's original version. Complex and delicious, if they produce this again you should grab one.
Ah, early summer.
I  have a friend who is banned by his wife from drinking Golden Monkey, as he underestimates the booze contained in this tasty beer.  Brad, I'm thinking you're also banned from this one.

Thing to Think About Today:
To celebrate all things monkey, I leave you with Proudest Monkey.  Enjoy some Dave Matthews Band for your Saturday.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Day 664: Founders Rubaeus

To say that there's been too many dark hours lately is a great understatement.

You know what else is bright? This Founders Brewing Company's Rubaeus, that's what. I've dubbed the Rubaeus my tailgate beer this season and have been drinking it straight from the bottle, which has deprived me of this burst of color. It's not quite so vibrant in person, but there is definitely a bright pinky-red thing happening in what otherwise is a brown colored ale. It also has a minimal white head. The smell is very ripe raspberries and the flavor is malty and fruity with lots of raspberry and general berry notes. It's sweet but tart although I'll admit that the sweet tends to overpower the tart. 

Beer stats
Style: Fruit beer
ABV: 5.7%
IBUs: 15
Rating: Great

Previously reviewed from Founders
My review of Blushing Monk (framboise ale)
A great post by Gary on Joe Paterno's memorial, friendship and Centennial IPA

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Yes I Can(tillon)

Beer #663 Sampler  / Brasserie Cantillon, Brussels, Belgium
Previously from this brewery: a Lambic, a Gueuze, and a Gueuze

I wrote this a while back, but haven't published yet.  So here we go:

After we dropped the touring bikes off, we reclaimed our luggage and took the train back to Brussels.  Our cycling tour was over, but not officially over until we made a stop at Cantillon, a 113 year old brewery not far from the center of Brussels.  So cool to meet the people there and see that while the world changes around them, they have no intention of changing absolutely anything.  They just want to produce the best beer they can, made in a traditional style.  And, let me tell you, mission accomplished.  If you ever get a chance to order a Cantillon, do it. Please. I 100% guarantee you won't be sorry. In addition to being able to drink Westy 12 from Sint Sixtus, the visit to Cantillon was one of the reasons I wanted to go on this trip.
If only I could get one of these barrels in my carry-on bag....
After touring their ancient machinery and crawling around in the attic (see above) where they age beer, I found myself at the best point of any brewery tour: the tasting room.
Lunch is served!
In addition to trying a young spontaneously fermented lambic and a gueuze (which  is a blend of young and old lambics), I was able to sample most everything else they had available in bottles, as the Beercycling group purchased one of literally everything they had.  Some of the more rare and unusual beers sampled were:
Saint Lamvinus - a lambic made with Merlot and Cabernet Franc grapes and aged in Bordeaux barrels. An absolutely unbelievable blend of tart fruit, grapes, and oak
Vigneronne - a lambic made with white Muscat grapes from Italy and barrel aged.  Funky with some grape sweetness, this may have been my favorite all day.
Zwanze Day 2012 - a rare lambic brewed for a special simultaneous release at a limited number of bars around the world.  The 2012 version was a lambic brewed with rhubarb, which created a really unusual but pleasant tart taste that I loved.  First time I ever had rhubarb in my beer.

Those are the three beers in order on the right in the photo, for the life of me I can't remember what was on the far left.  Had to be a one off beer that they produced for something special, as it didn't have a label on the bottle.  There were others sampled as well, but at some point you just have to stop taking notes and pictures and sit back and appreciate one of the great destinations in the entire beer world.  And the best part of visiting Cantillon in person?  The bottles were something like 8 Euro, which is less than $12.  Good luck finding some of the rarest and most coveted beers in the world for $12 at your local bar.  And yes, three bottles came home in my suitcase.....

Thing to Think About Today:
In the spirit of Cant(illon), I'm giving you some Can't.  As in, Can't Take My Eyes Off of You.

"You're just too good to be true...."