Monday, November 30, 2009

Good Stuff #6: Storm King Imperial Stout

It's been a few months since my last Good Stuff review. That's not because I forgot about this series or because I don't have half a dozen favorites that could easily step up the plate in the six hole. I just haven't been inspired to dig deep into a beer and brewery... until today! Thanks to this beer being readily available here in Florida just in the past month, I have fallen in love with Good Stuff #6: Storm King Imperial Stout brewed by Victory Brewing Company in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. My original review was just one month ago, the very day Total Wine in Pembroke Pines received their first shipment of Victory Beers. They hadn't even hit the shelves there yet, and I was already bugging their store manager! That was the same day the Phillies achieved Victory over the Yankees in Game One of the World Series! Alas, you all know the rest of that sad story. Next year for the Phils, but you don't need to wait that long to enjoy this beer at least!

I started drinking this beer at 9:50 AM. Hey! Don't judge me! I need to take advantage of every free kidless moment that I have. It's not like I cracked open a handful of shitty beers or something. Just one, for this review, you know, science.

Today's review: Wow, what a welcoming aroma full of nutty and coffee scents! Flavors start out with some burnt chocolate and coffee. Yet you might be surprised that the amount of hops that comes immediately after those initial flavors is substantial. Couple that with some light citrus and orange and spiciness, and you will start to get the picture that this is an awesome and complex beer. Those coffee and hops flavors weave in and out of each other, back and forth so many times. That must be the "rolling crescendo of flavors" the bottle label talks about. But wait! You're nowhere near done yet. You are then greeted by a strong little kick from the 9.1% alcohol, providing a nice little burn. But this alcohol isn't boozy; rather it's blended in the with the rest of the ingredients wonderfully. Creamy and silky smooth texture with super fine bubbles from a medium to upper-level carbonation make this experience truly outstanding. The finish is dry and a little bitter and the flavors last on your palate a long time. Damn it's good stuff! Is it OK to call a beer seductive?

Victory Brewing has around 20 beers (give or take a few) listed on their site, including their seasonals. It might not be coincidence that the five that are available to me here in South Florida are also the first five listed on their site. Reading some of the other profiles makes me yearn for a trip up to PA. Anyway, the man on the street (corporate Total Wine Star RH) tells me that Baltic Thunder and Yakima Twilight Ale are also approved for delivery here and should eventually end up in my mouth. Looking forward to that!

Until then, the other four available were mostly great beers. They include, in order of my liking them, Hop Wallop, HopDevil India Pale Ale, Prima Pils and Golden Monkey. Getting Victory beers here in Florida has been a real treat! From unsuccessful attempts at having friends and family bring some beers back with them on business trips, to getting an email update directly from Victory's Brewmaster and President, to finally having some available here locally, you can read more details at the beginning of my original Storm King review. Of course, I know it's just a refresher since you read it the first time a month ago!

What does the brewery say about this beer? You can see a very short description and a few awards that Storm King Imperial Stout has won at their website. Those awards include the European BeerStar Competition Bronze Medal in 2007, Australian International Beer Awards Bronze Medal in 2008, and Real Ale Festival Champion Stout in 2002. The actual bottle says a little more. The label talks about "thundering, hoppy appeal" and "espresso-like depth of character" to describe Storm King. I couldn't agree more!

You can learn a lot about the people that make Victory run here, including founders and brewmasters Bill and Ron. Need help pairing their beers with some food? I'm sure you could get some help at their Brewpub. Also check out their other events, including open mic Mondays if you want to show off your musical talent (or watch), some jazz events and even a brunch with Santa on December 13. I bet Santa loves this event!

Right from the home page of Victory you can find their Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages. That Twitter link follows Bill Covaleski and Communications Director Anne Shuniak. Anne also seems to have a forgotten Twitter account that I stumbled upon, which shows her sense of humor. Her bio there says "Communication director at Victory Brewing. Yes, jealousy is an appropriate response." Each beer page also has a link to what people are saying about their beers on BeerAdvocate and RateBeer. Be sure to check those out after you read about them here!

Storm King Imperial Stout is a terrific beer! Hands down, one of the best out there! If you're visiting Florida, feel free to stop by some time. I'll be sure to help you map your way to my house in such a way that Total Wine is on the way. You wouldn't want to forget to bring a case of this guy to enjoy!

Philadelphia Phillies Mr Potato Head

Victory Beer Recipes: America's Best Homebrew

Philadelphia Phillies AllStar Watch - Mens Leather Band

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Old Scratch Amber Lager

When I was in high school, one of our friends had a Ouija Board. A bunch of us used to get together and have some pizza or watch a movie or every once in a while drag out that game and light some candles to set the mood. To tell the truth, I had always thought it was stupid and just a bullshit trick and that the two "players" were responsible for all the moving.

That was until I tried it with one of my friends. When your fingers are on the pointer or whatever the hell you call that thing, it's very easy to tell if the other player is manipulating the movements. (And I'm guessing you are all smart enough to know if you are moving it yourself. If not, this game isn't for you.) Anyway, on more than one occasion, this one friend and I summoned a being who insisted on being called "GOD". We basically said "Fuck that" and called him "THING". Then the typical high school questions, until we got bored. At that point we just started insulting Thing which made our hands move around crazily and eventually off the board. I haven't used a Ouija Board since that last summer before college, but I must say I was a believer then. What do you think?

Today I'm drinking Old Scratch Amber Lager brewed by Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick, Maryland. The label talks about scratching the itches you can reach, like the sheer desire to drink this beer, but suggests a chat room for other fantasies. Strange little alien crustaceans are what the picture is showing, at least in my estimation. Typically weird yet always entertaining labels!

The aroma is sweet with some light fruit and tea. Floral, fruity and citrus flavors will be the first thing you taste here. You will then taste some grains and hoppy flavors. There is a bit of malt, and it is lightly spicy as well. Slightly bitter, crisp, refreshing, smooth. The medium-upper level carbonation does give it a bit of a sharp bite. You finish with a little medicine band-aid type flavor left on your palate. All-in-all, a nice beer.

Ouija Board: Glow-in-the-Dark

Gonzo: The Art--Ralph Steadman

The Twilight Saga Collection

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Peak Organic Nut Brown Ale

I've always been a big Jeopardy fan. Over the years, there has also been a recurring parody on Saturday Night Live called Celebrity Jeopardy. The joke, I hope, is that the celebrities are complete idiots and stupid fools. Fake Sean Connery is the best though, because not only is he stupid, but he is also continuously messing with Fake Alex Trebek's mind. My favorite part is when he misreads the categories. Two notable ones that come to mind are: category "Horsemen" read as "Whore Semen" and category "Japan US Relations" read as "Jap Anus Relations". Great comedy! I'm laughing right now thinking about it.

Today I'm drinking Peak Organic Nut Brown Ale brewed by Peak Organic Brewing Company in Portland, Maine. They have some nice photos and quotes on the label from people that enjoy their beer. They also have a slogan, "a toast to life's peak experiences". I guess you figured out that this is an organic beer, too. Hooray!

The aroma is not too noticeable, a little nutty and a little floral, maybe some hops. The flavors start out with an earthy feel followed by a little fruity apple and bread. This beer is a little bitter and sour. You will also taste some spicy black pepper, but not too much, followed finally by some nuttiness. Yep, nuts only at the end, right before you finish with a weird medicinal aftertaste. It was crisp and easy to drink, had medium carbonation and too light a body. I'd pass this one by.

James Bond Blu-ray Collection Three-Pack, Vol. 3 (Moonraker/ The World is Not Enough / Goldfinger) [Blu-ray]

Jeopardy Game

Girls of James Bond Poker Size Playing Cards, Single Deck

Friday, November 27, 2009

Samuel Adams Pale Ale

It's Black Friday! What a stupid invented excuse to shop and spend in excess! By this time of the day, though, all the early morning lunatics are most likely napping. Shhh. Don't wake them. I'm not done saying how ridiculous the whole thing is! People have died being trampled to death! I shouldn't need to say any more, but I will.

Have any of you actually gotten out of bed before dawn to go and fight with a bunch of assholes over clothes and toys and appliances? I consider myself a semi-bargain hunter, and I am not made of money, but I have NEVER EVER done one of these ridiculous shopping excursions. I'd rather have my finger nails pulled out with pliers! The closest I've ever come was a midday stop at the Franklin Mills Mall on the way out of Philadelphia one year. It didn't even register that it was Black Friday in my head... until it was too late. Stupid mistake I wont make again.

I saw an ad a few days ago that said Kohl's would be opening its doors at 4 am this morning. The other stores surely had similar hours. Huh? And I'm sure there were people lined up to feed this monster of a day. Psychos! At 4 am on the day after Thanksgiving, normal people are still recovering from overeating turkey and mashed potatoes, letting the bird's tryptophan effect wear off, and dealing with their beer and wine hangovers. Well, it's time to start a new hangover!

Today I'm drinking Samuel Adams Pale Ale brewed by the Boston Beer Company. This beer is part of their Brewmaster's Collection. I just lodged a complaint at their website as three of their bottles in the past week broke around the rim as I was opening them. Anyway, I'm sure that they will fix that issue. What I was surprised to see on their website, and it could just be for lack of paying attention, was that these guys have five brewery locations besides Boston. These guys get around: Boston, MA; Eden, NC; Latrobe, PA; Rochester, NY; Cincinnati, OH; and Breinigsville, PA.

There is a nice citrus and hoppy aroma, but you will also smell some grainy and bready scents, too. Grainy and toasted to start, with some bready, malty flavors in the mix. Lemon and orange citrus flavors, along with some honey, add other nice components to this beer. Not too hoppy, but hops are noticeable. Medium carbonation, light to medium body, good flavors. This was a highly drinkable and refreshing beer. Problem is that I love the Boston Lager so much, that this beer might get neglected. I can understand, though, how this could be someone's favorite! Check it out.

Ray-Ban 3362 New Classic Aviator Sunglasses

Sam Adams Winter Lager 16 Oz. Beer Glass, Set of 4

Shopping Girl Earrings Holder / Jewelry Display / Stand / Organizer 14"H - Purple

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Retro Red

Happy Thanksgiving! I'm in Colombia where Thanksgiving isn't on the menu. While I am jealous that I wont be having a big turkey dinner today, at least I didn't have to cook it. I know that's like saying that I'm glad I didn't win the lottery because I'd just have to pay a lot of taxes, so let me correct things for the record. I am extremely thankful for many things. My wonderful wife, my great kids, my awesome job, our health, our family, our friends, etc... AND most of all that I am not one of you suckers that has to watch the fucking Cowboys on TV again this year!

So for this year, I'll probably have someone make me a nice dinner, do a few shots of aguardiente, drink some crappy Colombian beer, watch CNN (only channel in English), play with my kids, and maybe revive an old family custom--gambling on Thanksgiving, casino style! Seriously, we used to go to Atlantic City the night before Thanksgiving for half a dozen years in a row and spend the entire night gambling. And Bogota has some casinos, so if I can just convince my wife to let me go. Cross your fingers for me!

I won't pretend that I am drinking this beer right now, but I did do this review within the past few weeks, so it's fresh. [NOT] Today I'm drinking Retro Red brewed by Fort Collins Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado. There is a picture of a red wagon, you know the old school classic kind that kids pull around. This one probably belonged to a kidless dad who didn't need to pass it along to the next generation though, as there are two sixers of beer in tow. There is a little story as well with the quote, "This banshee of a red ale is a looker, and a taster."

The aroma is very nice with a malty, caramel sweet scent. Rich malty flavors to start, which was a very nice surprise as I was expecting a MUCH thinner beer. Roasted and chocolate flavors come on board before some hops and citrus and other fruity flavors take over. The hops linger through to the end, leaving a slightly drier and more bitter finish. Medium body, medium carbonation, refreshing. This was an excellent beer, and I was pleasantly surprised. I don't know why I had blah expectations, but I did. And this beer put a smile on my face. Get some!

Radio Flyer 2700 Pathfinder Wagon, Red

Fat Cat Hold'em Dealer Poker Chip Set (500 Chips)

Anthon Berg Chocolate Liqueurs with Original Spirits - 64 Ct

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Flashback Anniversary Ale

Adriana, I'm a lot skinnier now!
My family is leaving today to Colombia for a long Thanksgiving weekend. Unfortunately, they don't celebrate Thanksgiving there, so I'll be missing out on the big turkey dinner. But I will make up for it with some other fun activities. I'll be sure to fill you in!

I was in Colombia once before, back in 2002, before either kid came along. I went to Cartagena and on other excursions outside of Bogota; I went horseback riding several days; we went to this famous super-awesome salt cave. One of my favorite parts was our two trips to (highly social) restaurant Andres Carne de Res. This place was packed with people. Since it was Christmastime, they even had a Living Nativity walking around and handing out sparklers and noise makers. Every wall, ceiling, every square inch of everything was covered with a light or souvenir or bottle cap or knick-knack of some kind. Such a cool place!

Not only was the atmosphere great, but the food and drink were excellent, too. Sitting right behind me on one trip was a famous Colombian actress, Adriana Ricardo. My cousin-in-law asked her to pose in a photo with me. I also got to light her cigarette! She is hot! There were also a few alcohol-and-noise-maker-induced fights that ended with someone being bounced! I can't wait to go back in just a few days!

Today I'm drinking Flashback Anniversary Ale brewed by Boulder Beer Company in Boulder, Colorado. This is an India-Style Brown Ale brewed to celebrate birthday #30 and is the 9th release in their Looking Glass Series. The label also tells a brief story about their founders starting the brewery 30 years ago. Apparently they were two University of Colorado at Boulder professors that decided brewing was more fun. Flash forward and I bet they are glad they missed being colleagues with this fucking lunatic for 17 of the last 30 years (assuming they'd never gone brewing).

The aroma has lots of caramel and toffee with a little hops, smells deliciously sweet. The flavors start with chocolate, caramel and sweet brown sugar. Very malty as well. Some bitter hops and a dose of spice come around in time, and they just barely take some of the sweet away. The 6.8% alcohol makes a light showing before you will end with a dry finish. Medium body and carbonation. This was a pretty good beer, and what else can I say but Happy Anniversary and keep brewing!

Out of Captivity: Surviving 1,967 Days in the Colombian Jungle

Shakira: Oral Fixation Tour [Blu-ray]

Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the World's Greatest Outlaw

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Maierfest Lager

My three year old's school served them a Thanksgiving Feast today. And before I even picked him up, I knew what the outcome was going to be. The "I ate nothing" phrase was highlighted in today's planner. Over the past week or so, one of his teachers has been telling me that the class is discussing Thanksgiving and this celebration and meal. Apparently, my son has been saying that he doesn't like each of the food items, one by one as they were mentioned. "I don't like that!" So I'm pretty sure that's why he came home hungry and is wolfing down some pretzels I just gave him before dinner.

But none of that is shocking at all. He is a terrible eater. He used to be the better eater of the two children, but now he's 100 times worse. I think this kid is going to learn some new eating habits when we're in Colombia over the holiday. We are not going to have access to all the foods he's used to here or be able to give him dozens of alternatives. So when I put the Morcilla or Ajiaco in front of him, we'll see how he does when hungry. "Eat or be hungry" will be the new motto!

Gotta get packing for the trip, but before I do, let's drink big 22 (packing isn't that urgent) of Maierfest Lager brewed by Rogue Ales in Newport, Oregon. This beer is dedicated to the Brewmaster at Rogue, John Maier. I'm guessing the illustration on the label is John. He is garnished with a long strand of hops over his shoulders and around his neck.

The aroma is sweet, with loads of bread and malty scents. The flavors start out with toasted bread and again, very malty. Some caramel also shows through in the beginning and the flavors are initially sweet. There is a little bit of light fruit flavors in the background, maybe some apple or pear and just a touch of hops, too. The carbonation is very strong in the beginning but seems to tone down as the beer flavors progress. Great flavors, nice and rich with a very good body and mouth feel. Despite the richness, it is still extremely crisp and refreshing, easy drinking all the way. I bet this would have been good drinking with my son's Feast, but I'm pretty sure drinking beer on school property is against the City's policies. One last comment: I liked it better when it was right out of the fridge cold. And believe me, I wasn't sipping this 22 ouncer. Just a thought to keep in mind as you go get yourself some of this great brew!

Secrets of Colombian Cooking (Hippocrene Cookbook Library)

Rosetta Stone Version 3: Spanish (Latin America) Level 1, 2 & 3 Set with Audio Companion

Juan Valdez Premium Colombian Coffee, Colina (Balanced), Ground 100% Colombian Coffee, 12-Ounce Bags (Pack of 3)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Northern Lights India Pale Ale

You've all seen TV reporters and journalists mess up the facts of their stories by trying so hard to be first that they neglect to confirm truth. Election results come to mind, which has even prompted new laws and standards, considering the importance of getting it right. But this crap happens every single day. Just pay attention to statements on the news, then the revisions of said statements; then watch the morning news for the actuality!

Considering I am not reporting the news (and this is a humor website, if you needed to be told), I'm going to be so bold to say "It's official. Hurricane Season is OVER." Yep, I'm calling the (Atlantic) season finished more than a week early! What a wimpy year--nine named storms and only three of those hurricanes. I'm pretty sure Canada got more action than Florida this year.

Time to put that 15 gallons of gas from the garage in the car. Yes, I've been hoarding all summer. And time to drink all those water bottles. I also wish some charity would have a more regular food drive. How many cans of corn does one need in case of a hurricane? Answer--obviously a lot! Seriously. If it were easier, I'd donate food much more often! Hey USPS, how about doing that annual pickup monthly? You visit every house every day anyway, it's perfect. Call me if you'd like help organizing it. Anyway, tonight's beer is in honor of the end of the 2009 season!

That beer? Northern Lights India Pale Ale brewed by Starr Hill Brewery in Crozet, Virginia. If you recall, I picked this one up a few weeks ago when the Starr Hill people were doing a tasting over at Total Wine. I need a whole bottle to figure it out completely tonight, but the shot they gave me was good. And I'm still wearing my new hat!

The aroma is quite lovely with lots of citrus and orange and hops, along with some light caramel in the background. You will start out with big bitter lemon flavors, quite astringent I must say. The texture is grainy, a bit strange. Some citrus orange and a light bread flavor also make an appearance. But the main thing you notice about this beer is its zing. Between the lemon, lightly harsh carbonation and 5.8% alcohol, it has your attention, you oxymoron! Crisp and refreshing with a dry finish, I could surely drink a whole sixer of this, no problem. Good beer. Try it.

Smith & Wesson Galaxy 13 LED Flashlight (10 White LED & 3 Red LED)

Hurricane Stainless Steel Manual Wheatgrass Juicer- Hand Crank Juice Extractor for Wheat Grass & Barley Grass Juicing

Derek Jeter Hurricane Batting Trainer

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Brewhouse Brown Ale

Apparently there is a number called Dunbar's Number, which is often given a value of 150. This number is the typical amount of people that one person can normally manage relationships with before their brain starts overheating (no, not literally). I hadn't heard of Dunbar or his research until a marketing guy I like posted an entry about it several weeks ago.

Now, that's not to say I hadn't heard of Dunbar's number before. I just thought it was the maximum capacity of an overcrowded Dunbar's Bar (couldn't find a website, unsurprisingly) in Ithaca, NY where I went to college. I found a handful of fairly recent reviews, which was helpful in determining that this place still exists today. Back in the early 90's, though, it was one of my regular bars.

Dunbar's was (and from what the reviewers said, is still) a dive. The owners, or at least who everyone thought were the owners, were cranky old dudes that stalked the place. But they were part of the charm, often leading the bar in "you bitch, you slut, you whore" add-ons to the Lucille refrain on the jukebox. Great songs though with Brown-Eyed Girl, Sweet Caroline, Kung Fu Fighting and a ton of others that were never changed.

What else? No "jumping" on the pool table; No cigars or clove cigarettes; No fake Canadian licenses on the days they had Canadian bouncers at the door, duh. Living so close to the bar for two years, my friends and I went often. Sometimes to see this one hottie chick bartender and sometimes to do other ultra grown-up stuff like smelling girls' hair as they walked past. Good times!

Now for a beer that has never been served in Dunbar's (98 3/4% guaranteed). That's Brewhouse Brown Ale brewed by Real Ale Brewing Company in Blanco, Texas. There is actually a quaint illustration of the original Real Ale Brewhouse on the label. This beer came back from my friend's trip to Dallas a month or so ago. Thanks, again.

Nutty, malty aroma. The flavors start out similarly, with nutty, malty and also some burnt tastes. Pretty nice. Some hops and citrus cut the malts a bit, and take away some of the initial sweetness. Rich, smooth body. Dry finish. This was a simple yet tasty beer. I'd drink it again if it were available. On tap would be even better I bet!

Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us--Seth Godin

Van Morrison Under Review 1964-1974

Howard Miller Ithaca Bar Stool

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Sweetwater Blue

Jesus Christ! You know what bothers me? Well, a bunch of things. But what is with people that write Xmas? Are they just too fucking lazy to write Christ? Are they so anti-Christ that it hurts to write or see the word? Maybe they are the antichrist!

Now this has been going on forever, at least forever in my 30 years of noticing. But I just saw a Twitter comment using it. Of course, to give the benefit of the doubt, I counted how many characters the person used. Nope, not even near the 140 threshold that would have even given this tweeter a glimpse of rationalization for removing Christ from his own birthday.

OK. Beer time! So I've had their "Marijuana Beer" and quite surprisingly to me, a lot of you readers here are pot growers, smokers and/or enthusiasts (considering the products you purchased via the Amazon affiliate links under that posting. Thanks, if I don't say it enough!) Anyway, I'm going back to Sweetwater today.

Considering the really big, heavy duty beers I've had over the past few weeks, I decided I needed to lighten things up a bit. Today I'm drinking Sweetwater Blue brewed by Sweetwater Brewing Company in Atlanta, Georgia. This beer has blueberries in it! The only other blueberry beer I remember drinking was this guy, which was decent.

The aroma is grainy with blueberry, not too strong. Big blueberry flavors up front, lightly sweet. Some grainy, bready and malty flavors also show through. After a few sips, the blueberry flavoring takes on a little weird and fake annoyingness. I mean, I love blueberries, but these flavors are not representative of them. The medium-upper level carbonation is sharp and all over your mouth as well, a bit overdone. Drier finish, berry aftertaste. I don't know, just skip this beer!

Antichrist Superstar--Marilyn Manson

Swarovski Annual Edition 2009 Christmas Ornament

Assassin's Creed II

Friday, November 20, 2009

Black Chocolate Stout

Lots of pink cars out there today. Seriously. On the way to work, a light pink Lexus cut me off. Fortunately, I am an extremely patient man. That and my Honda CRV didn't have the giddyup to catch up with it. Then a lunch time encounter reminded me of a 48 Hours movie scene. It wasn't a piece of shit or sky blue, but this pink boat with midlife crisis dude rolled by as I was waiting to turn at a traffic light.

Finally, as I was getting in my car at my kid's school parking lot, I couldn't help but admire the pink Cadillac parked next to my car. I even tried to take my time getting out of there just to perhaps catch a glimpse of the owner, but my impatience took over. So no, I didn't get to see the pimp in person. Maybe another day!

Friday night. Stopped by Total Wine for a quick pit stop on the way home from work. Another customer tried to sell me some sweet Sauternes in the wine tasting area. I smiled and tasted and tasted again. Luckily, my Ivy League education provided me the opportunity to take wine tasting classes every Wednesday between my rocket science and micro-physical therapeutics courses. (Yes, I made some of that shit up!). But I was able to hold an intelligent conversation despite this dude's thick accent.

Over in the beer area, I happened upon Black Chocolate Stout brewed by The Brooklyn Brewery in Utica, New York. This is Limited Bottling 09-10; they brew this stuff once a year.

Chocolate, dark fruity raisin aroma--really strong and nice! The flavors start out with loads of milk chocolate, molasses and a bit of coffee. Nicely blended, complex and the flavors complement each other wonderfully. Some smokiness shows through along with some hops. The beer is lightly bitter. Very smooth and creamy texture! The 10% alcohol, yep 10%, does not try to hide itself too much. It gives a nice little bite, in a welcome way. Medium body, low carbonation; a lasting bitter coffee flavor is left on your palate. This was a really great beer in every way! Make sure you get some before it's gone this year. On a side note, I can seriously feel the 10% alcohol. That's strange because I can usually handle 5 or 10 beers easily. Whatever.

January 31, 2010 Update. Because I have nothing better to do and because I loved this beer so much the first time around, I'm going to review it again. Also the Winter 09-10 version. And a picture below from this go-round.

Rich chocolate aroma. Booze with dark fruit and cherries, too. The flavors are liquid delicious. Toffee, coffee, chocolate, they're all in there. The 10% alcohol is not hiding at all, but is playing back and forth with the raisins and cherries and other dark fruits. Not a sweet beer, if you were wondering. Rather, on the slightly bitter side. Some smokey essence comes through toward the end. I'm glad I did this review again, but this time I felt like one was surely enough. Big alcohol was stepping over the line slightly by the end! Drink it if you got it!

Update 8/13/2010: The Brooklyn Brewery was kind enough to send me the nutritional content for this beer. 10.0% ABV; Per 12 fl. oz.: 320 calories, 4.0g protein, 28.0g carbohydrates, 0.0g fat.

48 HRS.

Eddie Murphy Raw

Amazon Kindle DX E-Book Reader Silicone Skin Rubber Cover ( PINK ) + White Amazon Kindle DX Car Charger + White Amazon Kindle DX Wall Charger + White Amazon Kindle DX Data Cable + Pink Double Bright Amazon Kindle 2 LED Book Light + Vangoddy tm, Live*Laugh*Love wrist band!!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Santa's Butt Winter Porter

Today is the Great American Smokeout. This annual day of awareness and quitting resources has been around since the mid 70's, and the first I heard of it was back in junior high school when our health teacher had all of his students making posters in support of the day. That part I thought sucked, even for a good cause.

Smoking is such a ridiculous habit, and I have no idea why anyone would purposely put a cigarette in their mouth. Besides killing you, smoking cigarettes makes you smell bad, makes your teeth yellow and wastes a huge amount of time. Need more reasons to quit? I can probably find you some pictures if you need them (you gotta see this one). I say grow some self-control and will-power balls and tough it out, just quit cold turkey, but there are other quitting aids that can be helpful if you need them (look below). Just quit, will ya!?

Speaking of butts, and you're not going to believe how incredibly clever I am, today I'm drinking Santa's Butt Winter Porter brewed by Ridgeway Brewing (their distributor is the best I can do) in Oxfordshire, England. So, the story goes that "butt" is some British word for a large beer barrel, but these guys are clearly playing the double entendre as Santa Claus and his giant ass are front-and-center on the label. Also worth mentioning is the cap, which has "cool Santa" on skis with sunglasses on.

There is a dark, rich, roasted, caramel and nutty aroma. You will start out with roasted malts along with some burnt flavors. A good amount of hops, however, comes in and balances out an initial sweetness. You will also taste some caramel, brown sugar and vanilla. Buttery smooth, medium body, low to medium carbonation. This was an all-around nice beer, all 16.9 ounces of it. I must say that I'd have bought the beer just for the novelty of the name and label picture. The beer was not bad, though. This is the butt you should be putting in your mouth!

Quit Smoking Now! CigArrest

Nicorette Gum

Forever Smoke Free! Stop Smoking Hypnosis (3 CD Set)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Harpoon Winter Warmer

It's very easy to find a reason to feel sorry for Mississippi, or to find a stereotype to make fun of its residents. (Personally, I prefer to mock West Virginia, but that's just me.) Just yesterday, there was a report that said Mississippi ranks last in overall health compared to all other states, with smoking and obesity as big contributing factors. A quick search on Google displays results calling the state Least Livable, poorest, and a few other not so choice distinctions. Wikipedia even cited an article calling Mississippi "the worst of the 50 United States for removing litter from statewide public roadways and properties." Tough crowd!

But tell me why should their ass-backwards beer laws be amongst these negatives? Apparently any beer over 5% alcohol content, or what I read somewhere they called "gourmet" beer, is off limits. I can't think of a better way to attract some business and entrepreneurs than to let the people of Mississippi compete with other nearby states in a booming industry like craft brewing and beer sales (all beer). This could be easily fixed by their legislature, unlike some of the previously mentioned social ills that need true solutions to fix.

A guy I know from Lazy Magnolia Brewing in Kiln, Mississippi recently told me about their Gulf Porter release party and its host Raise Your Pints, an organization dedicated to changing these crazy laws. I hope they are successful in their pursuits. If so, maybe their next step can be to change the three-tiered beer system in this country.

So now, the only question left on my mind is how to get myself a growler of that new Gulf Porter beer. Considering how I just highlighted some Mississippi lows, I'm probably not welcome there. But for the record, everyone I know from Mississippi has been extremely nice, intelligent and great to be around (and with their great sense of humor, I'm sure they all can see I'm just poking fun). Anyway, if you do by chance lose your way, or your GPS is broken and accidentally leads you across Mississippi state lines, stop by Lazy Magnolia and get yourself some beer. They brew good stuff there! My favorites so far have been their Jefferson Stout and Southern Pecan.

Having no Lazy Magnolia availability here (yet), I cracked open a bottle of Harpoon Winter Warmer brewed by Harpoon Brewery in either Boston, Massachusetts or Windsor, Connecticut. These guys have been around a while and have actually brewed this beer since 1988, so I guess it must be successful.

Very spicy aroma, tons of cinnamon. Wow, the flavors are just like the aroma. Lots of cinnamon and nutmeg and coriander to start. Maybe a little brown sugar with a slight amount of hops present. Did I mention that there are a lot of spices in this beer? And the medium to upper-level carbonation makes them even more prominent, if that is possible. I didn't get the "Warmer" part of the beer, either. This is Christmas baking overdone. Someone doubled the recipe and didn't tell whoever made the single pie. Sugar and spice and everything nice... there was enough of that to make a convent. Enough metaphors! Way too much spice! Drinkable but not great, and I really wanted to love this.

Mississippi Harmonica

Mississippi Burning

Mississippi Mud Dessert Bar

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Road Dog Porter

When I saw the "Good Beer, No Shit" slogan on my bottle of Road Dog Porter, I knew there had to be a story. And I wasn't disappointed. Purposeful, provocative, and irreverent are words Flying Dog Brewery uses to describe itself on its website. Basically, like Tommy Boy incorrectly finished the sentence, "[they] don't take no shit from anyone!"

This attitude apparently rubbed a few people the wrong way, including those that had some authority. In summary, back in 1995, one of Ralph Steadman's bottle label drawings included the slogan "Good Beer, No Shit." That was enough to force Flying Dog to recall all of those bottles, then relabel them with "Good Beer, No Censorship" (which was also very creative) while they fought that decision in court. It took six years and the help of the ACLU to win their court case, which is why they can say "Shit" on a beer bottle today. And they said it many times on this label. Now that's what I call progress! (On a side note, this was probably one of the better causes the ACLU has been involved with this decade.)

Now for a review of the beer. Better be good! The aroma has a light chocolate scent, with a bit of hops, too. Not too powerful. The flavors start out hoppy, but just for an instant. A rush of dark chocolate and malty flavors then becomes the dominant profile. There are some nutty and burnt bitter flavors on top of those as well. After drinking a few sips, some smoky flavors become apparent and even a hit of black licorice comes through. Medium carbonation. And the finish was drier with a little of that burnt flavor left on your palate. The beer was pretty good, no shit. But I'd choose their Gonzo Imperial Porter over this every day of the week!

Gonzo: The Art--Ralph Steadman

Ralph Steadman (Dr. Gonzo, Hunter S. Thompson) Gold Wood-Mounted Art Poster Print - 24" X 27"

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Other American Stories (Modern Library)--Ralph Steadman
I waited a few weeks before I actually published this sentiment. I mean, I'd look awfully fucking stupid if my kids were amongst the 0% that died from this vaccination!

But seriously. Fuck it! Get your kids vaccinated for the H1N1 virus. It's free, it's easily given by nasal spray and most importantly, it's safe. It's so safe that some had to be recalled

I just turned in my authorization forms for both kids.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Big Hoppy Monster

Yep. I managed to keep my nose (and opinion) out of it for the most part. Besides a few comments here and there, I stayed on the sidelines in the now seemingly settled Monster Energy Company v. Rock Art Brewery caged match. In summary, Monster Energy (check out the hot chick while you're there) wasn't happy that Rock Art has a beer named the Vermonster.

For what it's worth, I'm glad the little guy got such a grassroots effort behind them and stopped the giant from pushing them around. Not just because they were the little guy though, but rather because the logical leap between the energy drink and beer name was not there in my opinion. And the fact that Rock Art's Vermonster was seemingly singled out amongst many other alcoholic beverages with the word Monster in their product names made me even happier with the outcome. Now if I can only figure out how to get a Vermonster down here in Florida. Hmmm.

So I guess it's safe enough now to drink my Big Hoppy Monster tonight without worrying if Terrapin Beer Company will need to change the beer's name. Maybe that's why Terrapin's Brewmaster gave the "exact specifications" to Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick, Maryland to brew it for them. That would, of course, be pure speculation. This beer, an Imperial Red Ale, is the inaugural beer in the Terrapin Monster Beer Tour, and "Watch Out! This Monster Bites!"

Hoppy, citrus aroma with some malt in there too. You start out with a bitter hoppy kick and plenty of citrus flavors. There are also some grainy and bready flavors along with a fruity pear and orange complement. What I really liked, though, was the transition from hoppy bitter to powerful malty flavors and a good dose of spicy black pepper. Really good! Nice carbonation makes that even better. The 8.3% alcohol does find its way out of its box toward the end, but in general it's a warming factor and mostly hidden. More of that peppery spicy finish made for a great beer and experience! Get some!

Monster Energy Drink, 16-Ounce Cans (Pack of 24)

STAY ALERT Military Caffeine Energy Gum - ARCTIC MINT - TRAY (24 packs, 5 pieces per pack) - 100mg Caffeine per piece -- now available in SPEARMINT

Hopkins Subzero 17211 Auto Emergency Snow Shovel

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale 2009

OK. So I am totally prepared today to admit that I am wrong. That doesn't mean that I am wrong, but when I find out I'll let you know. Best part is that it's a self-evaluation! And no, there are no consequences to being wrong, like when Kyle bet Cartman that Leprechauns were not real, then lost that bet and had to suck Cartman's balls. Nothing like that.

I am not talking about being wrong about some very important decision, either. Rather, around nine months ago, I did a review of Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale which some of you readers didn't like. I mean, I thought I was going to need to call 911 to send the paramedics over to your place with some nitro pills and to treat your high blood pressure.

But, as I stand by my original review, where I basically compared this beer to Hennessy or gasoline, I am willing to try this year's Celebration Ale since so many people seem to love it and disagreed with my past encounter. My honest opinion is coming again, like it or not. I really hope that I love this beer this time around. Otherwise, I have a lamp that needs some fuel.

Let's start. I'm by myself. It's quiet and I can concentrate. I left the football game downstairs just for this occasion. Here's Sierra Nevada's website, for any idiots that haven't met Google yet.

Wow! Big pine and grapefruit and hoppy aroma, really inviting. The flavors start out much the same with a big grapefruit and pine introduction, and a super-nice bitter bite to let you know who is boss. Lightly spicy, too. Good carbonation, very bubbly with a sharp sting to it, a welcome sting (like the singer, not a wasp). The flavors last on your palate, too. Crisp, clean, really refreshing. Loved this beer this time around. I was wrong!

South Park: The Complete Twelfth Season

Talking Butters Wacky Wobbler

Leprechaun Beer Tap Handle