Sunday, May 31, 2009

Hercules Double IPA India Pale Ale

I live in Florida, in case you haven't heard. That reminds me that Hurricane Season starts tomorrow, lovely. I'm positive that you'll hear me bitch about it at least a few times over the next 6 months, so be prepared. Since I moved to Florida in 2002, I've been through some calm seasons and some super-active seasons. Let's see what we get this year.

Now Google tells me every time a drop of beer spills on the floor of every brewery in the United States, just for the asking. So how come I've never heard of Cigar City Brewing across the state in Tampa before a few nights ago? A dude in California told me that this brewery has a cult following there. What gives? I went ahead and sent an email to their PR and Sales departments a few days ago as well, trying to find out about their brewery and where they distribute to and if their beer is available just 2 hours from their brewery. I'm still waiting, still no reply. Don't businesses usually want PR and Sales? Well, that's what I'm here for although I prefer to give PR and Sales based on the quality of the beer I'm drinking versus customer service issues. If a guy in California will go to extreme measures to promote them, well, they must have some decent products. I'll let you know if I ever get to try them.

Just cracked open a bottle of Hercules Double IPA brewed by Great Divide Brewing Company in Denver, Colorado. This is the third or fourth beer I've had from this brewery, and they have become one of my favorites with a broad range of terrific beers. I am really jonesing for a great IPA today, so here we go.

There is a very inviting floral and citrus aroma to this beer. First sip gives a tremendous amount of hops that last throughout the entire experience. There is also a very noticeable caramel sweetness that balances out that bitterness perfectly. The grapefruit and orange citrus flavors are present, but there isn't a huge astringent flavor or bite. Slightly nutty and earthy flavors give Hercules some great complexities, too. With 10% alcohol content, you'll be surprised how much that is hidden and not a huge part of the taste. It is mostly hidden yet comes through in the finish. Nice carbonation, refreshing, crisp, and a great aftertaste that lasts and lasts. Great Divide comes through once again. Beautiful.

Swiss Military 05-4056-04-007 Men's Hercules Automatic Leather Strap Watch

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Bar Harbor Blueberry Ale

As college students are graduating around the country, I remember back 15 years ago to when I was handed my diploma. The actual graduation procession and ceremony had around 20,000 students in it and we were recognized by the University President Frank H. T. Rhodes in groups of 2-4 thousand, depending on the specific college within Cornell. But my major and department had its own ceremony afterward with around 50 of us. My name was called, I was handed my diploma, handshakes, pictures, the usual.

However, when I looked at my diploma there was a mistake in my name. I am the 3rd. Yes, that's right, 3rd, not III. I've been looking for about 30 minutes trying to find a non-convoluted explanation for the difference, but I've been relatively unsuccessful. This article gives a half-ass reply, so maybe one of you geniuses out there can find a better one for me. Basically, as I know the rules, III (or IV or V or whatever) denotes a person that is named for someone other than their father, like Kings or Popes from history; while 3rd or 4th are used for sons (almost exclusively) named directly for their fathers. Anyway, despite all my student ID's and loans and bills for 4 years being correct, my diploma had III on it. And I was pissed off. I marched over to the registrar's office, got some dumb answer, and was given a form to submit to have another printed. Six months later, my father handed me my diploma, as he had received it at his house and I didn't live there anymore. My comment was to the effect, "it's about time" which is when he told me that Cornell had already sent a replacement again with III on it and that this was his second request to get it right. He hadn't told me because "he didn't want me to make an ass of myself". Now that's a good dad, in retrospect.

So I've struggled with this for years, but I have lived with many credit cards, social security documents, driver's licenses, etc. with III on them and lived. Some I've tried to change but the computers on the other end didn't have 3rd as an option. When my son was born, I had to go through the same shit with the State of Connecticut to get his birth certificate to read 4th and not IV, but that was not super hard. Now it's his turn to feel the curse of the actual numbers.

I am now drinking Bar Harbor Blueberry Ale brewed by Atlantic Brewing Company in Bar Harbor, Maine, my first from this brewery. The label says it's "America's Original Blueberry Ale" and I don't know how many other blueberry ales are out there, but it's the first I've come across. Fruity beers are not normally my style, but I wanted something very different today, and I think I've found it. Hope I love it.

Slight blueberry and dark fruit aroma, not too powerful at all. Flavors start out with lots of blueberry (duh), kind of like a blueberry Pop-Tart minus the sugar. It's not sweet at all, rather a little acidic and slightly bitter. I taste some hints of caramel in there too. The carbonation is very noticeable, yet is just right. Light body, easy to drink. Decent for a fruity beer, and it kick's Aprihop's ass in that category, but I'll move on to something else before buying this again.

Timothy's World Coffee Lemon Blueberry Passion Tea, K-Cups for Keurig Brewers, 24-Count Boxes (Pack of 2)

Mommy's Touch Wet Bag

Pioneer Valley Gourmet Blueberry Syrup

Friday, May 29, 2009

Stone Levitation Ale

Helluva day! I arrived at my office this morning to 4 TV News vans with their giant antennas up and a bunch of film crew and reporters mulling around the parking lot. Had no idea what was up. But I later found out that there was a double murder in the middle of the night at the gas station right next to my office building. Unbelievable and a little scary to say the least. I go into that gas station convenience store at least 2 or 3 times a week (and I went today too, so I'm not freaking out, but jeez). Then I get a call from my 3 year old's school mid afternoon saying his ear is super swollen, and to come pick him up. So I quick made a doctor appointment, got the kid and saw the doctor. Five minute appointment and $20 later, the balloon on his head was because of an insect bite. Nothing Benadryl wouldn't take care of, so off to the pharmacy. Then finally some miscommunication with my wife on who was picking up the older kid from school. We were both home minus one child. Anyway, all resolved, and here I am.

I am drinking another beer from Stone Brewing Company in Escondido, California. That would be Stone Levitation Ale, which according to the bottle won the 2007 Gold Medal in the American Style Red/Amber Beer category at the Great American Beer Festival. The bottle also has the usual gargoyle and a long story on the back about the relevance of the name of the beer and how supernatural it is and what awesomeness I'm about to experience. Very humble bottle.

Stone Levitation Ale has an interesting earthy and floral sweet aroma. The first thing I tasted were bold grapefruit and citrus flavors all over the place. Then there was a hint of caramel and a nice bitter and hoppy bite that came along. Lots of pine throughout as well. The finish is nice and lasts, dry and hoppy. Alcohol was not a factor in this one at only 4.4% content, and was not noticeable at all. I thought the beer was not complex yet still was very unique in its flavors. Refreshing and crisp, I'd have it again in a heartbeat. If I am worthy of even looking at the bottle, that is.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Rogue Shakespeare Stout

A few weeks ago I told you about one of my pet peeves--waiting in line to pay. Well, another very similar one is waiting for fast food chains to have the fast food ready. I mean, how many menu items does Little Caesars have that it can't have a stockpile of cheese and pepperoni pizzas waiting for the masses? Every single person that walks into that place buys pizza. And every single person that walks into a McDonalds buys french fries. So come on guys, have your signature products ready. Please???

I am actually just about finished with my 22 oz. bottle of Rogue Shakespeare Stout brewed by Rogue Ales in Newport, Oregon. You want to know what my favorite Shakespeare play is? I don't have one, despite reading like 10 or more of them in high school and college. If I were absolutely forced to choose, I'd probably pick Macbeth or Julius Caesar (not to be confused with not-having-pizza-ready Little Caesar). But generally, Shakespeare is not on my list. Until tonight, my drinking list. I hope these Rogue guys just thought it was a cool beer name.

Shakespeare Stout has a nice malty caramel and coffee aroma. Flavors are definitely smokey all around, and there is a strong black coffee (no Splenda added) and slightly bitter chocolate presence throughout as well. There are some burnt flavors in there, too. This is a creamy stout and not super thick. It is not sweet, but rather just ever-so-slightly on the bitter side, and dry as well. The alcohol is not a powerful component but does taste nice in there, and the beer leaves a nice and long-lasting aftertaste. Wonderful stout, and one of my favorite Rogue beers for sure. So I guess it's OK to like Shakespeare as long as we ain't talking literature!

Going Rogue: An American Life--Sarah Palin

I'll keep my money and guns. You Keep the CHANGE! Anti Obama Sarah Palin McCain Two Of The Same

Shakespearean Insults Mug

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Eight Ball Stout

I've got a pocket, got a pocket full of sunshine. Heard it on the radio, and it's a damn good thing I do. After a few more days of treacherous rain and hail coming down on South Florida, we could use a little. My kids are getting antsy in the house.

Well, my choice for today is Eight Ball Stout brewed by Lost Coast Brewery & Cafe in Eureka, California. This is a new brewery for me, and the 8 Ball on the pool felt picture lends itself to that kind of story. I've been playing pool my whole life. I practically went to the YMCA every day from 4th grade through high school graduation, and there were half a dozen free tables to play on there. I know, small-town fun is different than some of you big-city cats experienced, but I did eventually graduate to the playing pool at the bar scene. There was one bar we played at all the time in college, always doubles, and always with some "locals" mixed in. Made for some interesting competition, arguments, and drinking. The "Palms" or officially The Royal Palm Tavern was a dive, and I can't even find a website, so I'll show you what Mr. Google found for me to give you some insight as to what I was working with. It was a dive, but it was my dive, and was not filled with the snotty frat boys like a few nearby. In the end, I am a decent pool player, not an ace or ringer by any stretch, but still enjoy a game or ten here and there (with beer). On to business.

Malty, dark fruit and chocolate aroma. You first taste a strong coffee and some roasted, nutty flavors. There is a dark fruit component, like plums; however, this beer is not sweet at all. It's a more bitter and dry stout, like a Guinness Extra Stout. Good carbonation, medium body and very smooth. The flavors are here and gone very rapidly and only a small amount of flavor is left for an aftertaste. Was kind of strange to try to remember if I even had a sip 5 seconds ago. Anyway, a very nice beer and a strong intro to this new brewery for me.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Stone Imperial Russian Stout

Grand Marnier. Yep, Grand Marnier. No I have not become a Frenchman. But yesterday we took a cake for my son's birthday over to a neighbor's house and a bottle of it there reminded me of a trip to Paris. The memory of that awesome liqueur on their crepes was making my mouth water. When I got to the party, I was offered some Rose Merlot-type wine stuff which is when I noticed the Bottle over in the corner. I asked if I could have some of it instead, and the answer was most certainly. So three or four Grand Marniers later, I had a refresher on what a terrific drink it is. Except beer is better, of course. I am not leaving you, my love.

So today I'll be drinking Stone Imperial Russian Stout brewed by Stone Brewing Company in Escondido, California. I've had numerous Stone beers and usually I am thrilled with the results. And the expectations are high for this big bottle here tonight, too. Being the fan that I am, and recently joining Facebook in search of other beer fans, I joined the Stone fan club and group. As I was making some comments and introducing myself to other very specific people from a group I joined and that interested me, Facebook kept warning me that I was acting erratically. I mean, I didn't ask thousands of people to be my friend, I jumped through all the double CAPTCHA type-in-word hoops, and I typed each a personal message. And many people became my friend, which proves my point. Yet I managed to get on their shit list and warned several times. If you're in Facebook and want to be my friend there, ask here. And if you want to read my daily posts, sign up for a daily email on the top right or become a follower below that. I am being watched by the man outside of this site.

Wow! What a terrific aroma of raisins and other dark fruits mixed with chocolate and coffee. The flavors are just as nice. Thick, full-bodied, chewy. You taste a lot of coffee and molasses type flavors mixed in with a hint of chocolate and vanilla (like the famous Black and White cookie). Malty and sweet, yet you still taste the high 10.5% alcohol content, balanced very nicely. The aftertaste produces a burnt caramel type flavor that lasts and lasts. Very easy to drink and smooth, yet I think there is only room for one of these big 22 ouncers at a time, considering the alcohol and consistency. Anyway, excellent beer that you should all experience. Here I come, Facebook, to tell people and find its fans. Get your friend cops ready!

Very Special Liquor Filled Chocolate Bottles 48 Piece Holiday Gift Box

The Phantom of the Opera (2004 Movie Soundtrack)

Ray-Ban RB 2132 New Wayfarer sunglasses

Monday, May 25, 2009

Duvel Belgian Golden Ale

Today is my other son's third birthday. I don't have any hectic stories to go with his birth like my other son, but if it matters, I've already had to clean a few accidents today, if you get my drift. So he gets to share his birthday with Memorial Day at least once every 7 years, and this year is the first time. Not sure that is such a big deal, though.

In case you hadn't heard, Memorial Day honors soldiers that died protecting this country. So I am thinking about that now. It also made me think back to my time in the Army at Fort Dix--yep where those psychos got arrested for terrorist threats against the base. Of course I was actually a K and 1st grade army base member, but I lived on the base. Dad was the one that was an actual soldier. Anyway, I'm forever appreciative to all that gave their lives in the name of the United States. Nothing can ever repay them or their families.

Long overdue, today I'll be drinking Duvel Belgian Golden Ale brewed by Duvel Moortgat, NV in Puurs, Belgium. This beer has a very good reputation as a superstar. The stubby 11.2 oz. bottle says it's best enjoyed with discerning friends or good-looking strangers. Unfortunately, I have neither available. Oh well!

Some fruity apple and lemon citrus aroma, mostly mild. Up front, there is a big mouthful of carbonation along with some lemon and orange citrus flavors. As the carbonation brings out some of the complexities, you taste some bready yet spicy flavors in addition to a noticeable alcohol bite. And the beer ends with quite a sharp bitterness that lasts a long time on your palate. Duvel Belgian Golden Ale is not sweet at all. Rather it reminds me of a glass of champagne with all the carbonation in there. Most of the flavors are so subtle or dominated by that aspect. It's a nice beer but I must say I was very disappointed as my expectations were much higher.

Beatles Pint Glass Set of 4

U.S. Nylon US Flag 3X5 ft - American Made - Embroidered Stars - SALE!

Winmau Blade III Bristle Dartboard

Sunday, May 24, 2009

No New Beer Today! Sorry

I've got no new beer to report on today. Sue me! I have plenty of options in the garage, but had no time today. My brother arrived from Philly via Sanibel while he's on vacation for the week with his in-laws there. The shitty weather sent us to Chuck-E-Cheese's and we tried to do the pool for an hour afterward. But basically we've been dodging lightning all day. I did get to see my brother, sister-in-law and nephew which was cool. And my 7-year old cried and is still crying that they had to leave. Very touching.

But just because I didn't drink a new one for you doesn't mean I didn't drink. I had a bunch of my beloved Sam Adams Boston Lager and grilled a great dinner. I also have some insight from the BBQ I went to last night.

Our friends live on a golf course. Living on a golf course, I could see myself there. At this party, as the last golfers of the day passed by the host's house, he got out his set of clubs and a giant flowerpot full of balls that he'd picked out of his pool and yard over the prior few months. We went to the fringe of one hole and had our own private driving range complete with a lake hazard and a green with flag from another hole, a nice 160 yard hole. Couldn't have been more ideal. I was very pleased with my performance too, and put one or two of my 60 shots within a foot or so (of course I shanked a few off the road, too, so it all balanced out). Then the kids all went out and filled their pockets and we got 90% of the balls back.

So the moral of the story is to get rich and live on a golf course and make sure that your windows are made of plexi-glass so the shitty golfers don't take out your windows. And so you can have fun in the evening hours. I promise you a new review tomorrow. Love, Beer Drinker.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Twin Sisters Double IPA Ale

For the third weekend in a row, I was approached by the Jehovah's Witnesses in the Publix parking lot this morning as I was unpacking my groceries. I am not sure why these people think that this is an attractive venue to solicit membership, but apparently they must have some stats that I am not privy to. Maybe they know that they have at least as long as it takes you to fill up your car before you can get away (versus having door after door slammed in their faces during a residential walk), plus an unending line of new prospects. But this lady was just sitting in her car with the AC on waiting for the next person. She wanted to share some spiritual literature with me that was based on the Bible. When I told her "no, thanks" she seemed extremely surprised. She must have been a superstar recruiter that never was told no before. She went on to say that I should have a look, something to that effect. I told her no again and that I'd just read the actual Bible. And she walked back to her car to stalk out the next victim. Now I love that Publix, "my" Publix, but this is definitely something I don't want to deal with every week when I get my food and beer (and I am positive I am not alone). I guess I'll have to let my store manager know about the issue next time.

I'm going to a BBQ later on so I need to make sure I get my drink in for the day now. I stopped by Total Wine a few days ago and one of the brews I picked up was Twin Sisters Double IPA Ale brewed by Left Hand Brewing Company in Longmont, Colorado. I enjoyed their Milk Stout a little over a month ago as well. I didn't see these two sisters in a 12 oz. version, so I was forced to get the 22 ouncer. I hope I love it.

Very fruity aroma--some grapefruit and some fruits that are sweeter, maybe mango. The flavors burst on the scene with a mouthful of hops, lemony citrus and a nice amount of bitterness as well. There are some slight spicy clove flavors as the beer progresses as well. This beer is definitely sweeter than I expected with a very noticeable amount of caramel flavors and sweet fruits, too. It's not a super crisp or refreshing beer, but rather slightly too syrupy. There is 9% alcohol content in there, and while you can definitely taste it, it is nicely balanced and mostly hidden. Since it's the big bottle, I'm still drinking. I like the beer, don't love it, but I'm definitely glad I took the time to try it out. You should too.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Peg Leg Imperial Stout

Anyone have some cigar stories? Personally I think I've had my fill of cigars for a lifetime, mostly because they start to get annoying after just a bit and they take so long to smoke. Why is everyone always asking me to enjoy a cigar with them? I can understand that some people like them, shout out to CigarTube.tv for bridging the beer-cigar gap, but for me, I'll usually pass.

Beyond the thin Swisher Sweets, the little cigars, my experience with cigars is limited. I had a girlfriend one summer, yes it's true. And on the way to Atlantic City Race Course (before they shut it down to simulcasting only), we'd stop and buy a few cigars to smoke. What a chick, me and my girl, smoking cigars at the track. Until she decided she really wasn't that into me, because I apparently knew everything. Whatever, tell me something I don't know.

A few other cigar memories off the top of my head: I used to go to Nat Sherman's to goof off during work in New York. We'd try the different sample cigarettes and cigars they had in their humidor, like we were their elite NY business clientele. My brother asked me to share a cigar with him during my wedding reception which I of course did, but I only lasted 10 minutes on the balcony of that country club--I had had enough. At a fairly recent party, a guy from work brought me a cigar to smoke with him. Very nice gesture, but who am I? George Burns? Anyway, that's my cigar opinion.

In the lineup today is Peg Leg Imperial Stout brewed by Clipper City Brewing Company in Baltimore, Maryland. I had and thoroughly enjoyed their Loose Cannon Hop³ Ale about a week ago, so let's try the other end of the beer rainbow. I also made a crack about "Heavy Seas" but was right that Loose Cannon and this Peg Leg are both part of that beer line. So here we go.

There is a nice chocolate and coffee and dark fruit aroma. The first things I tasted were powerful coffee and brown sugar flavors. There are also dark fruit and chocolate flavors but they are a little less pronounced. Up front, the 8% alcohol content is completely hidden, but as the beer evolves on your palate and after a few sips and some warming time, you do start to get that alcohol kick and a nice little burn on the aftertaste. Medium body and fairly smooth, I'd say this is a pretty good beer and a second strong outing for Clipper City Brewing. Don't let the goofy pirate comics on the label make you wary or pick up something else--this is a seriously good beer.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Stoudts Fat Dog Imperial Oatmeal Stout

Getting angry in the kitchen never works out, so keep your cool. A few days ago, I was trying to dump my floured stew meat into the hot oil and was getting pissed off that some wouldn't fall out of the bag. So I got angry and splash, hot oil all over my arm. It was kind of ironic that I had one of my kids' fake tattoos on the same arm, one that says Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue, the kind that they pass out after fire safety demonstrations. Now as my skin sloughs off in few of the worst spots, I wish I had just had a little more patience. Maybe next time.

I replenished and stocked up for Memorial Day Weekend at Total Wine on the way home. Did I mention that is a lovely place? Two clerks and the store manager asked me how I was doing, if I was finding everything I need, and were teasing my little one. Either they really are great, or I am getting a reputation there (or both). But I have some great options for the next few days.

Today I'm drinking Stoudt's Fat Dog Imperial Oatmeal Stout brewed by Stoudt's Brewing Company in Adamstown, Pennsylvania. I've had a few others from this brewery as well. The label has a big fat old Labrador Retriever on it which reminds me of a few that my friends had growing up. They are the sweetest, most loyal and playful dogs I've been around. Anyway, I guess Fat Dog beer has its Fat Dog mascot.

Caramel and toffee malts with dark fruits make for an excellent aroma. The first flavors are of coffee and chocolate malts, very rich and sweet. The flavors are pretty complex and evolve nicely on your palate as you begin to taste more roasted and dark fruity flavors. The alcohol at 9% content is not hidden at any part of the experience, but it is nicely balanced by all the sweetness. For sure it gives a good kick, but the creamy goodness of the beer makes each sip really nice, and the flavors last in your mouth for a great aftertaste that sticks around for a long time. You should definitely get yourself a bottle or two of this to drink.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Don de Dieu

I lasted only 14 minutes in bed last night. For the third night in a row, I was bothering my wife, moving all around and changing positions, and just being too loud for anyone. So as much as I wanted to stay, I decided to finish that and give her some peace and relief. Yep, I went to the guest room to try to get some sleep. I really need to get over this ridiculous cough that I've had for about a week now. Kids got it from school and gave it to me. Shame on you dirty minds!

I'm having my second beer from Unibroue in Chambly, Quebec, Canada today. The first was La Fin du Monde and this one is Don de Dieu which I guess translates Gift from God. We shall see.

The aroma is not powerful, yet is nice. You smell mostly sweet apples and pears with some bready qualities in there too. The flavors? Well, Holy Carbonation, Batman! Jeez, what is it with Unibroue that they keep doing that? I know two beers isn't a fair sample size to make a brewery judgment but two in a row, two like I have rarely tasted. And La Fin du Monde did turn out to be quite a great beer. Let's continue on. Very tart flavors with some spicy cinnamon in there too. Lots of yeast all around the entire progression of every sip as well. You can tell that the apple and pear and other fruits are screaming to get out from behind that yeasty carbonated wall but unfortunately it is a wall of reinforced concrete. The alcohol, valued at 9% here, is also playing bad guy in this beer as it is very noticeable and mostly unwelcome. Tastes like the Legion of Doom has won this battle. This was a very tough beer to finish and I'll never have it again. But I'll try the next Unibroue and hopefully good will triumph.

Intex Raised Downy Queen Airbed with Built-in Electric Pump

Sound Oasis Travel Therapy White Noise Machine Alarm With FREE Pillow Speakers

The Beer Drinker Gift Basket

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Abita Jockamo IPA

When I was out in my back yard building an ark last weekend, all of my neighbors looked at me like I was crazy. With my dying bone-dry grass, fires and smoke closing Alligator Alley off-and-on for a month, and Lake Okeechobee water levels dropping quickly, they scoffed. But as my boat floated past them on the road in front of our houses this afternoon, they changed their attitudes. Now that didn't really happen (at least to me, in case you have NEVER heard a Bible story), but the circumstances are all true. We went from Sahara Desert to Rain Forest in two days. My drive home today was through a ridiculous wall of water and several of the roads were half submerged. We need some balance. And I bet Noah was a beer drinker.

Abita Jockamo IPA brewed by Abita Brewing Company in Abita Springs, Louisiana is on deck (the upper deck) for today. The bottle is telling some story about "Mardi Gras Indians" and chanting and how I need to join in on some song "Iko! Iko! Jockamo fen an e'". So find yourself a translator and I guess that's where you get this beer's name from. Again, I can't resist, these guys write on the bottle cap "Best Refrigerated". Classic.

First, I LOVE the aroma--hoppy, nice floral, sweet and citrus. The flavors are very hoppy and bitter and acidic. You can taste some grapefruit citrus and pine notes in there as well. As the beer evolves, there are some caramel flavors that pop in and out, too. Jockamo IPA is highly carbonated and is neither smooth nor easy to drink. It finishes with an alcohol aftertaste as well. Not a bad beer but I liked it less as I drank more--it didn't grow on me like some beers, but rather grew off me. How's that?

Monday, May 18, 2009

New World Porter

Seven years ago today was an exhausting yet wonderful day. My wife and I had gone out to dinner the night before for the re-opening of a revolving door restaurant location in Yonkers, NY. The service was so bad that the manager told us the entire meal including about 3 or 4 Sammies was on the house, without us even complaining. (My face has a tendency to give away my thoughts. So much for being a pro poker player). We were more laughing about how shitty and disorganized everything was. That and, oh yeah, my wife thought she was starting to have contractions. We went home, went to sleep but by about 3 in the morning we were calling the doctor. He told us to meet him at Greenwich Hospital, so off we went (with the suitcase you've heard you're supposed to have ready). Driving rain for the 30 mile ride, then hours of contractions and finally our son was born early afternoon.

That's when it was time to figure out where my mother-in-law was. She was arriving a week before the predicted birth date to make sure she'd be around to help, but babies come when they want and that was today. We had spoken with her the night before and she was going to leave messages on the machine, we'd check, etc. We didn't have cell phones, my wife was really in no mood to help me figure it out, so I just went another 30 or 40 miles to Kennedy Airport to get her on the scheduled flight. Her connecting flight was delayed in Miami because of some terrible storms (what a surprise, living here has shown me), and she didn't arrive on the next several flights coming from Miami. So I just stood there with the limo sign guys waiting and waiting. Finally, hours later, there she was. Back up to Greenwich, it was already pretty late, but what a wonderful day to see my first son.

Seven years later, the boy needs to learn some manners and stop talking back now, but overall he's a good kid. But I'm gonna need to wrap this up as he's excited for some presents and cake. Who wouldn't be?

Today I'm having New World Porter brewed by Avery Brewing Company in Boulder, Colorado. This will be my third from this brewery. Let's get it on!

Nice coffee and roasted chocolate aroma here. The flavors mirror those scents--lots of roasted and burnt malt flavors, plenty of chocolates and caramels. Nutty also. This beer is thick and chewy, medium-full bodied, good carbonation too. I was surprised how much some of the citrus components came through in this beer too. You definitely taste some grapefruit and lemon zing in there. The aftertaste is nice and lasts as well. Definitely my favorite of the three Avery brews I've had so far. Check it out.

Devotions For Dating Couples: Building A Foundation For Spiritual Intimacy

Vulli Sophie the Giraffe Teether, Brown/ White

5-Pack Long Sleeve Bodysuits

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Guinness 250 Anniversary Stout

How many 37 year olds does it take to change the tube in a kid's bicycle tire? Just one, but damn, let me tell you how long it takes. And it's not like I haven't done it before, but every time it's like re-inventing the wheel (or here I guess tire). First wasting time trying to patch the old tube finally realizing it's been punctured half a dozen times by that thumb tack in the tire. Then getting all greasy getting the chain off. And finally, after struggling to get the new tube in the tire and that tire in the rim and all put together and inflated, realizing that the inflated tire will not fit back on the bike past the brakes. Shit! Deflate, put it on, take it off because i forgot to put the chain back, put it back on. Finally done. Wow. Now I at least have some reference material and a basic how-to here to refer to next time I need to do this task. If I had to do it tomorrow, I'm sure I've gained the expertise to work for Schwinn, but since it's an annual event, I guess I will proceed as usual. It's Miller time (only because "It's Guinness 250 time" doesn't come off the tongue too easily).

I've been hearing Guinness push their Guinness 250 Anniversary Stout on the radio over the past week or so. Apparently they are celebrating the anniversary of the lease signing of St. James's Gate Dublin. As much as I love Guinness Stout, I had to give this a shot, but I think these guys may be setting themselves up for defeat. First, the original is great and second, this will always be compared to that. Let's see.

My 11.2 oz. bottle gives me a nice roasted and nutty malt aroma, similar to the regular Guinness Stout. There are burnt nutty flavors right away combined with some coffee and creamy malt tastes as the beer progresses. Much lighter than the original, which certainly makes it more drinkable and smoother, but I think this is lacking some full-bodied flavor too. The low carbonation makes it seem slightly flat too. I was expecting more, I must admit. This Anniversary 250 is a good beer, and I'd have it again for sure, but it's definitely Guinness Stout Jr. or Lite.

Schwinn Roadster 12-Inch Trike (Red)

Bike Tire Tube Patch Repair & Inflate Kit with 2 CO2

Timex Men's Expedition Rugged Field SHOCK Analog Watch #T49281

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Loose Cannon Hop³ Ale

Speaking of getting pulled over by the cops, which probably almost everyone has had happen to them at some point, I'm betting this never happened to you. A few years back I was in Colombia, and my wife and I and two of our friends were going to one of the little cities outside of Bogota. Now, in this case, we actually were drinking in the car as those rules if they exist are certainly not enforced. Approaching Villa de Leyva in the early evening dark, we were basically run off the road by the Colombian military. Then these one-toothed dudes with machine guns made us get out of the car in the mud and dig for our ID's while they searched the car, no questions asked. My New York driver's license did just fine after my Spanish interpreters explained the visitor situation. Apparently they were looking for drugs or guerrillas being smuggled into town. Yet still a little frightening--their force-you-off-the-road tactics and the fact that these guys were given permission and the right to carry automatic weapons. Beautiful country with unlimited resources and potential, if they can just get control over the drugs and FARC and other radical groups. I'd love to retire there early.

Back to Miami, which has not yet seceded to be part of Latin America, but is close. Today I picked a new brewery and therefore (geniuses) a new beer. I'm about to open up Loose Cannon Hop³ Ale (thanks, Yahoo, for how to make the cubed sign) brewed by Clipper City Brewing Company in Baltimore, Maryland. Something about "Heavy Seas" is on the bottle label, maybe it's a group of their beers, and there is also a silly pirate cartoon with "Bird Overboard" type jokes on it.

Excellent hops and floral aroma to this beer. Immediate beautiful bitter hoppy flavors here, with a nice bite in there like I'd expect and want. Those are well-balanced with some sweetness which I can't attribute easily. Some pine and lots of grapefruit citrus flavors join in on the party too. There is good carbonation and the 7.25% alcohol is nicely balanced, yet not hidden, and gives a good punch to this beer. Aftertaste is great and lasts. Wow, this is a really nice beer and for sure you should get you some.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Highland Oatmeal Porter

Ever have the cops force you to dump your beer? Not just the half a cup you had left outside a party, but a whole case or two? I was out with some college buddies down in Ithaca one night and on the way home, we swung by Ithaca College to see what was up. What was up was a crackdown on cars with 5 guys in it, as we learned with 3 cop cars pulling us over. Our driver didn't have one drink the entire night, yet was scared shitless. He couldn't even remove his registration from his wallet because his hands were shaking so much.

Two ZERO breathalyzers and a field sobriety test that would've earned a perfect ten on the balance beam later, the cops needed to figure out why they stopped us. So they wanted to search the car (and the trunk too) for open containers (since there were lots of old empties from days before on the floor of this guy's car), at which point the wannabe lawyer in the back that had way too much to drink opened his mouth. "I took a criminal justice course" this and "they don't have the right to ask you to open your trunk" that got the driver a frank discussion. Shut your friend up, open up the trunk and dump the beer out here or there will be some problems. So we dumped, except lawyer guy dumped one then threw a full one back in the box, potentially getting us in trouble to save a few shitty beers. That was it, except I was online a little bit earlier, and yep, you guessed it. After graduating as an engineer, this dude went on to be a partner in a well-known law firm. I guess it was his calling.

I just opened a bottle of Highland Oatmeal Porter brewed by Highland Brewing Company in Asheville, North Carolina. This is my second from this brewery after their Kashmir IPA a little over a week ago. Same brewery, totally different styles. Let's see what I get.

Nice but not strong malty aroma, some chocolates too. The flavors are also not super strong, but start out with a nice dark chocolate, coffee and burnt and roasted flavor. There is a certain amount of bitterness as well. I don't taste many other flavors except maybe a hint of raisin in there. Carbonation is good and the beer is smooth. The progression on your palate is pretty nice and you retain the malty chocolate for a while. However, by the end of the beer, as good as it was, I am not ready for another (today) as those burnt flavors left on my palate are getting a little annoying. Good beer, see what you think.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

New Grist Beer

My after-college housemates had a friend they went to high school with and her husband that we sporadically partied with. These two were basically professional students, having some interesting side jobs to supplement their incomes in the meantime. Cool (and responsible) people, too. The one expense they didn't need to worry about was rent or mortgage. You see, they landed this gig house-sitting for an ultra-rich European family and their home in Greenwich, Connecticut. And they NEVER visited. Must be nice. Now if you are not familiar with Greenwich, think rich and big. (My son was actually born at Greenwich Hospital, and let me tell you that it's like a country club). And this house was in the neighborhood of Tommy Hilfiger and his family. How do I know that? Well, as this couple tells the story, one Sunday they were sitting around in their sweats doing nothing when Tommy and his daughter knocked on the door. They were selling holiday wrapping paper for her school fundraiser. How quaint. I can't remember if they bought any.

Well we also had a few parties there that were very fun. Even fun despite my housemate backing over a lamp post in the driveway and the same housemate knocking a beer bottle from a shelf into their very expensive porcelain sink, shattering it. Not my problem, but I still felt bad. But responsible housesitter didn't even come up with a lie that it was a perfume bottle or something else; nope, she told the truth and the problem got fixed and went away.

Today I am drinking New Grist Beer brewed by Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This beer is apparently made from Sorghum and Rice, so of course I did the logical thing and looked online to see what the hell Sorghum is. I guess it's one of the top five grains in the world. The other thing about this beer is that there is no wheat and no barley in it, just sorghum and rice for grains, unique.

New Grist Beer has interesting aromatics to it. Grainy and sweet, in a weird way. The flavors, well let me tell you the rest of the story. Slightly sweet, carbonated, earthy, dirty, a little fruity apple. If I stopped there, you might think I enjoyed this beer. Let me stop you. This beer is HORRIBLE! I dumped it down the sink and cracked open a Sam Adams to kill the flavors left behind--I am actually gargling right now. Funky, weird, bad flavors, not balanced, and an even worse aftertaste might prompt me to call Total Wine just to let them know they should not even sell this shit.

Polo Blue By Ralph Lauren For Men. Eau De Toilette Spray 4.2 Ounces

Tommy Hilfiger Men's Multi-Function Leather Strap Watch #1790600

Tommy Hilfiger Mens Ivy Pima Pique Polo Shirt

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

ACME California IPA

Anyone else like Lenny Kravitz? I heard a few of his songs on the radio today which took me back to one of his concerts in New York. The opening act, if memory matches openers to headliners, was Poe. That was a pretty intense opening act, but good. The concert was great too, and as I recall they didn't even take a traditional intermission. Rather, each band member took turns jamming to Freedom Train while the others disappeared to (I'm sure) get a few hits. You should have seen the drummer and her fingernails kick some ass with about a 20 minute solo. That song lasted 40 minutes and the whole place smelled of pot, good times.

Before or after that concert, I can't remember, I went with a few of my coworkers to the Circus release signing at Tower Records down in the Village. It was a mid-week signing starting at midnight. When we arrived at 11pm, there was already a line around the block and bent backwards again. Dudes with guitars to be signed and every imaginable item you could find there. We got through the door at around 3am, and he signed my CD photos in a few places. The girl I was with had him sign the actual CD. He was totally soft spoken and cool, and the 3 or 4 very big dudes around him were not assholes either.

Today I went back to North Coast Brewing Company in Fort Bragg, California. I've tried several different styles from these guys and all of them have been excellent. This bottle tonight of ACME California IPA actually quotes the Beverage Testing Institute as saying "One of the ten best breweries in the World." So far, I'd have to agree. Finally, I'm going to have one of their India Pale Ales.

ACME California IPA has a nice floral and hoppy aroma, a little bit of malts too. The flavors are at first covered completely with a large amount of carbonation, which then reveals a high amount of bitterness, lots of hops and some citrusy grapefruit flavors. I love that bitterness, but in this beer, it took over a little too much. The progression was a little weird too. Lemon in the middle, then the alcohol jumps in, and I didn't love the aftertaste. I've had better IPA's and I am glad these guys have so many other choices that I really like. Think Old Rasputin.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sweaty Betty Blonde

I wanted to try something fun today. As you saw, my Saturday, Sunday and Sunday evening had some pretty un-fun moments.

So here is the game. Make a comment, tell a story, or finish the sentence around this phrase. Beer Can. Yep, Beer Can. Either an actual beer can--maybe one has special significance, or you have a favorite beer from a can, or you have another interesting story. Or... Beer can, with "can" being a verb.

Let me go first. When I was in college, there was a girl that strayed off the main path so that she could go to the bathroom (as the rumors went) on her way home one night. The next thing she knew, she fell off a cliff and dropped 75 feet into a gorge. Luckily for her, she was not hurt badly, but the poor raccoon she landed on eventually gave its life for her. Although I am not sure beer was involved (sounds logical though), beer can definitely make you fall into a gorge on top of a raccoon. OK, now it's your turn.

Tonight's selection is Sweaty Betty Blonde brewed by Boulder Beer Company in Boulder, Colorado. I swear I had to take like 3 glances at the name to convince myself it wasn't Sweet Betty. This is my second from Boulder Beer after Mojo India Pale Ale. The label describes Sweaty Betty as "Irresistible. Flirtatious. Aromatic. Soft. Supple. Unavoidable. Smooth. Exuberant. Glistening. Wild. Firm. Rare. Succulent. Luscious. Ripe. Natural. Glowing. Curvaceous. Magical." Wow, how do they know my wife?

This beer has a light banana and spicy aroma, pretty faint. At first tasting, you get a lot of carbonation in your mouth and a lot of wheat with that. A lot of those two things, yet the flavors are very light and bland. You can also taste lemons, bananas, and cloves, but those flavors are even more discreet. This an extremely easy to drink beer, it is crisp and refreshing, but much too thin and watery. Just a plain-Jane (err. Betty) beer.

Monday, May 11, 2009

TommyKnocker ButtHead

I've added another retailer to my shit list. That would be Hess. Last night I went to pick up some dinner, and on the way to Publix, I stopped by the same Hess I've been going to every week since they opened it on top of a cow pasture a few years ago (Yes, there were cows grazing there). Since all the pumps were occupied, except for the few that always have the yellow police tape around them, I went inside to buy a lottery ticket. Then THE exchange.

The dude told me cash only when I swiped my debit card. I replied that it's debit, not credit, to which he replied that lottery is only cash, NOT credit and NOT debit, and has always been that way. Then the power play--he's worked at Hess for over 6 years and knows the rules. To which I replied that since there was manure where he is standing, I have been buying lottery tickets with my cash (debit) card. Oh, jeez, here we go. Apparently someone got fired just last week for doing exactly what I described, selling lotto tickets to someone on a debit card. I dropped my problem and gave him two crumpled up ones. But only because there was a Miramar cop watching the whole exchange, and because I smelled a little too nutty and roasted--I was a walking Penn Dark.

I have already contacted Hess corporate regarding policy and the Florida Lottery to see how they feel about retailers accepting cash cards (that's what I call them from now on, especially since they take the money right from my checking account). Seems more likely that guy was full of shit and blowing smoke about that being a fire-able offense. But like I said, I will find out. Until then, I will not buy anything there except lottery tickets with my cash card. (Let's see what happens later this week). And if I win the lottery, the big prize, I will forget about this problem. Wouldn't you?

One other footnote to my lovely Hess experience. It took 20 minutes to pump 11 gallons of gas. That was the second time of ultra-slowness from these guys' pumps in a row. And the pump handle didn't even click off when the tank was finally full. Rather, the tank just overflowed on the car and ground and my foot. Lovely. My face said it all.

Today I am having TommyKnocker ButtHead brewed by TommyKnocker Brewery & Pub in Idaho Springs, Colorado. The only other TommyKnocker I've had was the Maple Nut Brown Ale, which was much too sweet, so I'm looking for a rebound here. And yes, I know you were expecting a Beavis and Butthead joke here, but not tonight. Sorry to disappoint you.

Great aroma with plenty of malts and dark fruit scents. But I am predicting something very sweet based on the aroma too. I hope it's balanced. I first taste some molasses and dark fruits, like raisins and plums, and the beer is a little syrupy. Definitely sweet, but not overpowering, and as the beer progresses, you get a nice alcohol flavor that is cutting up that sweetness and leaving a nice taste on the palate. Medium body and very drinkable, but still on the sweet side, I'd say this beer has made a good impression and is one to check out.

2009 Hess Race Car and Racer

Perfect Solutions Talking Lucky Lottery Number Picker

Lotto Men's Stadio Campioni FG Soccer Shoe

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Penn Dark

Happy Mother's Day, mom. Those 20 hours of labor are appreciated. Sorry I forgot to buy you a card, but I'll give you a call later. Same to all you other moms out there--the well wishes, not the call part.

Deciding the plans for today has been brutal. First, we were going to go to a park for a picnic, but we decided it's too hot and the plans were too up-in-the-air with the other people. Then was it the beach, the water park or the pool? We opted for the pool and decided to do a bike ride first, the long bike ride with a duck feeding in the middle. The kids really enjoy that part, although the ducks around here are basically nuisances. Jesus, hold on! Every time the battery on one of the 15 smoke detectors in this place gets low, there is a shrill beeping every couple minutes. But figuring out which detector is basically impossible--which one, they are pretty close to each other, then waiting for the next warning beep, takes forever. I already changed one battery, but dude, I guess it was the wrong one.

So the pool was basically a nightmare. Beautiful day, awesome water, but 3+ kids fighting over 5 pool darts was the underlying theme of the 2.5 hours there. Everyone was miserable, we've had multiple time-outs, arguing, back-talk. Any people that are now considering children? Take my comments into consideration. Think long and hard.

Today, yet another new brewery and beer for me. Penn Dark brewed by Pennsylvania Brewing Company in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. I had a summer girlfriend from there one year. Lasted about a week.

There is a strong roasted and nutty, malty aroma to Penn Dark. I immediately taste some sweet, roasted chocolate with those nutty overtones. There are also some dark cherries and a little medicine-like flavor mixed in there. Slightly bitter, yet still on the sweet end of the spectrum. Mid-upper level carbonation with a light-medium body, this beer is extremely smooth to drink. An interesting beer despite its lack of complexity and the fact that nothing evolves or is left on the palate. I'd definitely drink it again, but might opt for something else if I had a choice.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Steelhead Extra Stout

Against my better judgment, I entered a Wal-Mart this morning in search of a bicycle for my almost-7-year old's birthday next week. My wife convinced me that I should just get the food while I was there, too, and not stop at Publix on the way home for the groceries.

So we went to the bike area and my son was sitting on a few and pedaling very slowly back and forth a few times to pick the one that felt the best. That's when one of the store employees said something to me in Spanish, and from what I understood, he was telling me that my son couldn't ride back and forth. But I just said, "What?" I don't know why that caught him off guard, even though we were in Hialeah, but he replied "My English not so good" and walked away. Could've been the look I shot his way, too. So we continued to ride back and forth until the bike was chosen. If you want to tell me I can't do something from an authority position, especially something I think I can do in the evaluation of a product for purchase, you damn well better be able to tell me in English. I'm not an asshole, and probably would have complied had it been explained that their insurance doesn't allow that, or whatever the standard line is.

Then we picked out the 20 or so grocery items we needed which took forever. First, because my son was trailing our cart with his new bike. But second because I have zero clue where any of the food items I need are located. So I left without a few on the list.

The checkout line was 5 deep, and the rate we were moving was equivalent to the rate at which the milk in my cart was spoiling. I guess I didn't have to say that loud enough for the cashier and everyone in 4 lines to hear, but I did. That is one of my BIGGEST pet peeves--waiting to pay. It's like I need to beg the retailer to take my money. I can patiently wait my turn, but for more than 5 minutes, that pisses me off A LOT. I've abandoned carts of food, dropped armfuls of clothes, and just walked out on other shopping trips. But I vow never to shop at (at least) that Wal-Mart ever again.

Another new beer and brewery today. I chose Steelhead Extra Stout brewed by Mad River Brewing Company in Blue Lake, California. Sounds like a nice place. Without the energy to do any research, the bottle calls it a "West Coast Original" and "Rebellious" and "From the heart of Humboldt" if that interests you. I'm not intrigued enough, but maybe you are.

I was surprised to smell a lot of hops when I took a whiff of this. I also got a good dose of caramel malts and sweetness in the aroma. The flavors start out with a good amount of chocolate and dark fruits plus some coffee overtones. This beer is fairly sweet and has some roasted caramel flavors as well, and a little raisin in the background. Steelhead Extra Stout is creamy as well. It is a medium-bodied beer as something is cutting up any thickness. Maybe it's the alcohol doing that as I don't really notice any alcohol in this beer, so no kick to it. Carbonation is low and the beer is a little flat, but overall, this is a very nice to drink and smooth stout that I'd surely try another night.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Abita Strawberry Harvest Lager

I'll be in the market for a new car soon. We've leased our cars for the past 10 years, and it's worked out fairly well. But with all the great purchasing options and desperate car companies these days, I was considering buying a car and keeping that sucker until it can't drive another inch, at least 10 years. That's the smart thing to do. My mind then took me back to another time, driving my slick slightly used '87 Chevy Celebrity, and then eventually driving it into car Heaven. The first bad memories I have of that car happened driving home from college--one second I was passing a car, the next the the engine exploded. Finally a local cop picked me up and several hours later my mother drove the 100 miles to get me. But we did end up putting a new (used) engine in it and get it back running for me. New brakes, 2 new rebuilt transmissions, a new alternator, multiple fender benders including one where a Porsche hit me, multiple fights in Manhattan with the cabbies, a gas leak and the tire almost ripped off while driving.

Then I got married, we got a new car, and we moved. And I left the old car on the very rural street near my old apartment. To my surprise, a month later, an old neighbor told me that there were complaints, it was towed. Lovely! The police didn't know what impound, and by the time they found it I owed like $500 in fees to the storage place. I went and paid them and donated the car to charity and never saw the car again. And then the rest of the story--me getting massive fines for abandonment and like 5 other charges, sitting one on one with the judge and talking my way out of half of them and the penalties, but another $400 or so. It was ugly to pay for the funeral of that car. So I'll lease. I never want to own another car that I need to pay for any repair whatsoever.

Tonight I'm drinking Abita Strawberry Harvest Lager brewed by Abita Brewing Company in Abita Springs, Louisiana. This is a new brewery for me. Let's see what they got. The bottle cap says "Best Refrigerated" so I'm guessing that either they are not geniuses or they think their beer drinking customers are not geniuses, taking nothing to chance. We'll see.

Yes, I picked another beer with fruit in it. It's really not my favorite style but I know there are refreshing fruity beers, and I feel like one as it's brutally hot this afternoon. Excellent strawberry and malty aroma. The flavors are very nice as well. First you taste sweetness, but it's not because of the strawberries. Rather the malts give off a caramel goodness as the beer evolves on your palate. The strawberries are, however, very noticeable but not super-duper dominant like the fruits in some beers. Just right. Light body, a little watery, but crisp and refreshing despite the sweetness. I am only having one, but I can imagine having a couple more before you'd hate strawberries for the night. But that could be me. Go try this beer out.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Saranac High Peaks Series Imperial IPA

On my way to work this morning, after I dropped off my 2-year old and turned off the "kiddie songs in Spanish" CD, that song Easy by Lionel Richie came on the radio. Made me think of a Faith No More concert that I won tickets to from the local Rock radio station when I lived in New York a few years ago. First, the remake of that song by Faith No More was a little shocking, not exactly their style. But at the concert, even as a girl asked me to slow dance to that song, the slam dancing still continued in front of the stage. Slow slam dancing. And it's not like I haven't heard the term moshing, but I guess I was on the generational border of those two terms. Anyway, as Beavis and Butthead quipped, "What's so easy about Sunday morning, anyway?" followed by "And Sunday afternoon's no picnic either." Good stuff. I guess they just didn't have the Easy Button back then.

So I got home from work, and it's about damn time that Total Wine starts sending out their circulars again with the coupons on the back. Before they even opened that store in Pembroke Pines, I used to get one per week. Now it's been 6 months with none. So anyway, I got a $3 beer coupon. Well I actually got two. I'll let you use your imagination on where the second came from. It's Total Wine's thoughtfulness which gives me just one more reason to love that store.

Today I am in for another Saranac beer. I had one a few days ago but I had never seen their Saranac Imperial IPA before. Brewed by Matt Brewing Company in Utica, New York, apparently this is the first in a new series of special brews called their High Peaks Series. I'm hoping they started out with a great one.

Strong hoppy and floral, slightly citrus aroma. First sip gives a nice bitter bite with grapefruit and other citrus flavors mixed in. The beer is kind of thick in a good way but seems slightly flat and lacking balanced carbonation. The progression and aftertaste is also nice and lasts, I just wish it would've lasted longer. There is 8.5% alcohol content in this guy, but it's barely even noticeable. Great beer. Not awesome, but for the price, I would buy more of these again for sure.

The Real Thing--Faith No More

Play and Learn Spanish (Book + Audio CD): Over 50 Fun songs, games and everdyday activities to get started in Spanish (Play and Learn Language)

Beware!!! Slam Dancer - 1 1/4" Button / Pin

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Kashmir IPA

When I got married, I instantly became the English Czar of my home. My wife appreciated it when I corrected her slightly imperfect phrases and verb tenses. That lasted for a while, but of course became frustrating and annoying as well. So that correction service is now at a minimum 12 years later. I've continued in my professional life helping second-language English coworkers (and even some natives) with a brush up to make their writing better. I guess what I am saying is I am a grammar snob and a perfectionist. I am not perfect, make mistakes, don't know everything, purposely use slang, sometimes curse to make a point, and sometimes use phrases instead of sentences. But jeez, I am 100% sure you all understand everything I write, and let me know if you don't. Feel free to point out typos or grammatical mistakes (I've corrected a few when notified, but I'm not going to debate some uber-technical English details here, so don't hold your breath smarties). But I am tired of reading blogs and emails and even main stream stories that don't even proof-read their content, even with an editorial review. I've gotta say that I read all of my work a few times before publishing it because I don't want to churn out garbage (at least because of the writing). Language is effective when used correctly.

Here are a few articles that I think are funny, while we're on the topic. First, Grammar Prude (I'm not sure she goes by that, but that's my little pet name for her) battles those that are fighting the poor apostrophe. And second, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles (BTW, even this Word editor has a Red Line for my grammatical mistake under Childrens)tries to explain away their obviously missing possessive mistake a century after it was noticed.

Tonight I have branched off to a new brewery. I'm drinking a Kashmir IPA from Highland Brewing Company in Asheville, North Carolina. Ah, North Carolina. On the short list of states I'd like to live in as Florida is getting old faster by the day.

Kashmir IPA has a very slight citrus and floral aroma, very slight if I didn't say that already. There is a very nice initial hoppy flavor on the palate; however, it is slightly weak and has only a little bite, much less than I'd expect from an IPA. You do get some light lemon and grapefruit citrus flavors as it develops, too. Light body, medium carbonation, and a pretty good beer. Easily drinkable and refreshing, although I prefer my India Pale Ales to have a little more kick.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Stoudts Smooth Hoperator

Dolphin Stadium is about to become Land Shark Stadium. Wow, I never thought I'd say that. Here's an article that said it's soon likely (don't bother reading the bonehead reader remarks at the bottom). Many of you know that I basically live in the shadows of the stadium, so I'm guessing I'll be able to hear Buffet music all season long (which is cool) and there's already enough LandShark Lager available locally. Maybe they should give some free cases to the locals. Just an idea.

Today's news: fridge is fixed, it's another boring reason-to-drink holiday Cinco de Mayo today (like St. Patrick's Day), stopped at Total Wine on the way to pick up my kids from school, and I just went over 150 (live) posts here (with 50 more in the works). Maybe I should write a book? What do you think?

Today I'm trying Stoudt's Smooth Hoperator brewed by Stoudt's Brewing Company in Adamstown, Pennsylvania. I've had a few of this brewery's beers before, but this is a new one.

Smooth Hoperator has a hoppy and slightly earthy aroma. The immediate flavors are of hops and grapefruit and a little lemony citrus juice. As the beer develops on your palate, you can taste the malts and a slightly peppery spiciness. The astringency hangs on for a while as well. They got the name right when they called it smooth, and this beer is very drinkable. It has a fairly light body and I couldn't tell if there was even any alcohol in it. The bottle didn't call it an India Pale Ale as most IPA's do, and since this tasted like an IPA with some twists, I went online looking. Everyone is calling it a Doppelbock. You decide. Regardless of style, this is a solid beer and one of my favorites from Stoudts.

Margaritaville DM0500 Bahamas 36-Ounce Frozen-Concoction Maker

Songs You Know by Heart : Jimmy Buffett's Greatest Hit(s)

Wilson F1100 Official NFL Game Football

Coleman 9949-750 Road Trip Grill, Red

Monday, May 4, 2009

Samuel Adams Imperial Stout

I'm in a bit of a bind today. My refrigerator is not refrigerating, which basically defeats the whole purpose of having that monster silver box taking up space. So I just spent the last hour dumping spoiled milk and throwing out room-temperature chicken. Thank God the garbage man comes tomorrow to haul away that disgustingness. And what is it about Florida that the ants sense my pain? My refrigerator was like that Tom and Jerry episode where the ants attacked their picnic. However, I am not sure how, but my freezer is still keeping a full load rock solid frozen. Tonight, we'll be living out of the cooler filled with ice, and soon to be ice around a few beers including Samuel Adams Imperial Stout. Tomorrow morning the fix-refrigerator dudes will come (and hopefully fix it). Until then, I am having flashbacks to Hurricane Wilma back in 2005. I know she did far worse damage to Cancun, I think one of the lowest-pressure hurricanes ever, but we didn't have electricity for over a month, my cable was out and I had to watch the World Series with rabbit ears, and boil bath water on the propane grill, not to mention the property damage and having to keep the shutters up to make the house feel like a cave and deal with the sweaty temperatures. Sucked, a lot, but everyone here in Florida feels horrible for the damage and death in Mexico (and every other place from every other hurricane, because we know).

Today I am drinking a Samuel Adams Imperial Stout brewed by one of my favorite breweries, The Boston Beer Company in Boston, Massachusetts. I've chilled it back down to a normal beer drinking temperature.

Great caramel and chocolaty malt aroma. Right away you get a thick mouthful of those same chocolate and burnt caramel and toffee flavors. They last a while, then evolve with a noticeable alcohol finish, which I guess with 9.2% alcohol content you might expect. Along the way, there are some coffee and raisin flavors mixed into the fray, too. Very creamy, light carbonation, and nicely balanced throughout. I'd recommend you putting a few down, and a few in your working fridge for tomorrow night.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Dogfish Head Immort Ale

As college students are graduating this month, I was thinking back to my own graduation a couple of years ago. My senior year, I lived in a house with 16 other people and a few dogs, and a TV tuned to Beavis and Butthead at 7pm each weeknight. One of my housemates' parents made the trip from Maine to see their son graduate. They came a few days ahead of time like most of the other parents. But this dude was missing, they couldn't find him. Enter Ithaca PD. Questions, when we last saw him, we even volunteered the cops to search his room and offered them his film vial of pot (which they decided not to take because "you can't even find a kid these days that doesn't try that" and "we're investigators" so I guess marijuana confiscation was below them). The night before graduation there was a city-wide blackout, so a few of us were sitting in the dark drinking beer from the keg around midnight. Then a knock at the door. Had to be one of my housemates stoner friends. "COME IN!!!" a few times and the door opened. Butch cop down the hall with flashlight in my face asking if anyone had seen this dude. Anyway, I guess this guy didn't take a few exams in the last month and didn't want to graduate quite yet despite his 3.7 GPA in Applied Physics. He was just laying very low, his parents went home and he eventually took the exams he needed to and graduated.

Today I am drinking the other new beer I found at Total Wine on Friday brewed by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Milton, Delaware. That would be Dogfish Head Immort Ale. This is like the 10th I've had from this brewery, and they really push the envelope every direction for sure.

Very nice malty and sweet caramel aroma. Strong caramel and very maple sweet flavors plus a powerful body blow of alcohol. Anyone see Pacquiao kick Hatton's ass last night? The alcohol in this beer is making me feel like Hatton. There are some decent raisin and vanilla flavors, very thick body too, but the alcohol just gets more and more prominent and annoying as this beer develops. Basically, too sweet and too much unbalanced booze at 11% for this to be successful. The cute name doesn't override the flavors, and at $5 for my 12 oz. bottle, I'll find something different next time. BTW, check out the best six pack from last night (or is that a 12-pack?).

OFFICIAL "TEAM PACQUIAO" T-SHIRT

Beavis and Butt-head - The Mike Judge Collection, Vol. 1

Grateful Dead - Dancing Bears Boxer Shorts Underwear

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Stoudts Heifer-in-Wheat

I finally got my hair cut this morning at Supercuts. I was really getting shaggy. The two stylists were speaking in Spanish and from what I gathered talking about me and the other guy in the chair not being able to speak Spanish. Reminded me when Elaine got Frank Costanza to spy on the nail salon girls, but that was Korean.

Then on to my weekly jaunt to Publix for food. For about the hundredth time I was approached by the South Florida Blood Bus dude to give blood. I really believe in that cause, so much so that I used to give blood regularly despite bad experiences in college, during summer breaks and after college. I got escorted home by one guy on my hall floor Freshman year after almost passing out. I puked at Shore Memorial Hospital one summer, but luckily they already had my blood. And I gave blood on the job one year after college, only to have another bad scene--me telling the nurse I was feeling faint, she telling me to cough hard to raise my blood pressure, and me arguing that I didn't want to do it. Then my boss not letting me finish my experiment because he said I was in no shape to do dangerous work. Anyway, a few years later, I got sick and was hospitalized which thankfully ended my right to give blood, so I now have a rock-solid excuse today. But do you?

Today I'm drinking Stoudt's Heifer-in-Wheat, a Bavarian-style Hefeweizen brewed by Stoudt's Brewing Company in Adamstown, Pennsylvania. This is my second beer from these guys, and on the other end of the beer universe from that one. Surprise! There is a cow in a wheat field on the label.

There is a very nice wheat and spicy aroma. Flavors are very much dominated by wheat with some spicy cloves and bananas mixed in. You also get some bready and lemony flavors along with something a little weird, like cough medicine, but that is slight. The carbonation is very high, but that is OK here. This beer is very easy to drink, refreshing and has a good finish to it, but the aftertaste is gone fast and there is nothing left until the next sip. I'd say overall it's a nice beer, flavorful, and give it a whirl.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Burton Baton Imperial IPA

I almost did it! I almost made the 18 mile commute through suburban Broward County city traffic and 40 or so traffic lights without coming to a complete stop. I was as close as when Elaine almost conquered the Van Wyck (impatient? go to 46s, but the graphics are pretty cool). I'd be happy to give a tutorial of this skill to anyone that desires it. Made me think of another piece of advice I recently gave out from experience. No matter how calm a river looks, don't go canoeing down that river and expect to get back up it. There IS a current, which a college buddy and I and our two dogs learned one college break on the Potomac River. Hours later than expected and two filthy, wet dogs and two dirtier people, we were back upstream to the car. That is why I am qualified to give that advice. Take it or leave it.

Total Wine had a few new Dogfish Head Craft Brewery beers last night on their shelf. I picked up the Burton Baton, which is an oak-aged Imperial India Pale Ale. The bottle is pretty cool and suggests you share this beer with loved ones and hoard it from the non-believers. I know, two days in a row with the same style beer. You can check yesterday to see what I thought of Rye Squared Imperial Pale Ale. Basically, I am just Jonesing for a kick-ass IPA, and have a Stone Ruination in the fridge in case this one doesn't do the trick.

Now this beer has a BIG hoppy and citrus aroma, good start. The flavors are great, too. You start with a very nice and strong hoppy and grapefruit citrus bang, but matched very well with sweeter flavors. There are some pine flavors, and for sure you can taste the oak in the beer, although I expected to taste it more. Good medium-high body and great carbonation. The 10% alcohol is very well disguised and almost unnoticeable until you're done with the beer, when a slight alcoholic breath remains. Kiss me, honey! Very smooth, very balanced, and oh so drinkable. This beer puts the one from yesterday into a solid JV category.

Gran Turismo 5 Prologue