Monday, August 31, 2009

Good Stuff #3: Rogue Chocolate Stout

Time to highlight another star. Time for Good Stuff #3: Rogue Chocolate Stout brewed by Rogue Ales in Newport, Oregon. Following Hop Stoopid Ale and Old Stock Ale 2009, I've had this choice picked out for a few weeks, and it's been chilling in my fridge since then. Keep your eyes out for a feature for this "Good Stuff Series" in the right column here as well. All I need is a little time! Here was my original review of Rogue Chocolate Stout, done around six months ago as I was protecting my good beer from my wife on her way to a party. The review was a little thin, so I'll try to do better today.

Coincidentally, after selecting this beer a few weeks ago, I stumbled on a few interesting tidbits about it in the run-up to today. About a week or so ago, I was looking around this damn funny cooking blog (which not coincidentally also has great food pictures, recipes and tips), on which the dude also does some beer reviews. The sarcasm is top notch! One of the reviews he did on his Cooking for Assholes site was for Rogue Chocolate Stout. Not surprisingly, he loves this beer, too, but the more interesting part of the story is him talking about partying one weekend with the lady on the bottle label, Sebbie Buhler. Apparently that was while he still worked at Rogue, and prior to being fired for being an "arrogant asshole". Read the story, good eavesdropping stuff.

No sooner did I read that story than Sebbie registered at the Beer for Chicks network (guys are welcome too), where she talks about her blog dedicated to this great beer. I introduced myself and she told me about the newest issue of 100% Pure Rogue as well as a tasting session she'll be hosting at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver. If you're so lucky to be going, look it up. Anyway, I hope she's reading today as this review is nothing but compliments. Here we go...

Today's review: Lovely milk chocolate aroma, with just a touch of raisins and hops. The flavors also sport a ton of chocolate; however, it is a darker and more bitter chocolate, not sweet like the aroma suggests. Malty with some roasted and nutty flavors, with any sweetness balanced beautifully by some hoppy bitterness. Silky smooth and creamy all the way through. Low to medium carbonation with a medium body. The finish is drier with more bitterness, very pleasant. Tough one not to love, with delicious chocolate goodness all the way.

What the brewery has to say about this beer, which, as is usual with Rogue, is very comprehensive. You can also visit their site to see the long list of awards this beer has won.

Style: American Stout

Food Pairing: Beef, Desserts


Tasting Notes:

Ebony in color with a rich creamy head. The mellow flavor of oats, chocolate malts and real chocolate are balanced perfectly with the right amount of hops for a bitter-sweet finish.

10 Ingredients:

Malts: Northwest Harrington & Klages, Crystal 135-165, Beeston Chocolate, Rolled Oats & Roasted Barley.

Hops: Cascade.

Specialty: Imported Dutch Bittersweet Chocolate.

Yeast & Water: Rogue’ s Pacman Yeast & Free Range Coastal Water.

Specs:

15º PLATO

69 IBU

77 AA

135º Lovibond


World Class Package:
Draft, 22oz Bottle

Rogue makes it pretty easy to follow what's going on in the Rogue Nation, with a presence on MySpace, Facebook and Twitter. At the bottom of that page, they go on to talk about all the assets they have which will surely lead to their application approval to join the United Nations. Best of Luck! Of those assets, they have a dozen or so locations, which they call Meeting Halls. If you can't get to the West Coast, though, these guys have terrific distribution so you can surely find a place to drink Rogue, or just do what I do and drink at home.

I've had and reviewed many of the beers that Rogue offers, but certainly not all of them. The rest are on my "to do" list, when I get a chance. Of all of their beers, Rogue Chocolate Stout is probably my absolute favorite. I also absolutely love their Somer Orange Honey Ale. It's so hard to list all of the great ones, but I have enjoyed practically all of the ones I've tasted.

Go get some Rogue Chocolate Stout and indulge. You deserve it!

Morimoto Soba Ale Cheddar by Rogue Creamery (8 ounce) by igourmet.com

Bolle 10409 Greta Gunmetal Polarized Sunglasses

Rogue Warrior Avenger Silver Stainless Steel Band 200M Chronograph Watch

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Rocky Mountain IPA

I was watching some World's Strongest Man marathon a few days ago and thinking about how many hours these dudes must workout in the weight room. While I've done my share of weight lifting during high school, college and beyond in preparation for football and wrestling seasons, my regimen obviously had nothing on these dudes. Pulling trucks, squatting carts full of children, and throwing kegs over a beam 20 feet up, well, it's safe to say that I've never done any of those things. But I must say, those competitions always grab my attention.

Our weight room had little drama. The most we had was a fight or two over who was next on a particular piece of equipment, mostly based on ego, and usually squashed immediately by the king of the room, our football coach. The same coach had some interesting rules besides the obvious conduct ones. The most interesting was regarding what music we listened to during the three or so hours we usually spent there. The rule wasn't so much what we listened to but more about when it was our turn. Depending on who showed up on a particular day, we listened to tapes (yes, tapes, younguns) ranging from Def Leopard to Guns N Roses to Ace Frehley. Coach always hated the whistling song Patience from GNR, but dealt with it. But at the same time every day, no matter what song was on, the tape got changed out for either Alabama or Willie Nelson. Exact opposite of what we started out with. This guy was obviously a country fan. Either that or he was trying to make a point and get us in and done early so he could leave. Great guy!

Today, I'm finally drinking. Finally getting started with Rocky Mountain IPA brewed by Fort Collins Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado. The bottle cap names the brewery then states "The Official Beer of the Earth". I wonder how much and to whom you need to make out the check for to get that endorsement. Hmmm. Maybe it's not that official, but if this beer is great, I'll jump on the bandwagon.

There are some hoppy and floral scents, but more than those, a much sweeter caramel and malt dominate the aroma. The first sip starts out with a ton of grapefruit and floral, lemony flavors. Lots of pine and a slight spiciness too. There is a tiny bit of malty sweetness, but very little. In fact, the flavors are exactly the opposite of the aroma. Medium carbonation carries the bitterness and astringency through all the way to the end. The alcohol gives a small warming burn as well, which was nice. The finish ends up bitter and piney, as you probably guessed. I wish that I could put the aroma and flavors into a big pot and blend them together. That would be one kick-ass balanced beer, but as it stands, this is not a well-balanced beer.

Met-Rx Big 100 Colossal Meal Replacement Bar, Super Cookie Crunch, 12 Bars, 3.52 Ounces

Weider Space Saver 25 Adjustable Dumbbell Pair

Human Sexuality: Diversity in Contemporary America

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Drop Top Amber Ale

Are convertibles really special? Does anyone else think they are totally overrated? Well, for me, I would NEVER pay extra for a convertible. And that is double never while I'm living in this brutally repressive hotness here in Florida. In fact, I don't even understand the moon roof, which I guess you youngsters have started calling a sunroof. The Volkswagen I have right now has a sunroof, but only because the standard model without one didn't exist on the dealer's lot on the day we bought it. And I fought the sales manager to the same price we'd agreed upon for the basic model, with that BS upgrade. In over 3 years, I have opened the sunroof two times. The first was the day I bought it, and the second was on a 55 degree day in January of one year, and even then it sucked because of the wind. So annoying wind, annoying heat, more parts to break and need servicing, messed up hair, and about a dozen other reasons to hate convertibles. Why pay more?

This afternoon I'm drinking Drop Top Amber Ale brewed by Widmer Brothers Brewing Company in Portland, Oregon. There is a picture of a dog on the label, and he appears to be hanging out the window of a convertible speeding down the road, ears and tongue flapping in the wind.

There is a lemony and citrus sweetness plus some malty and hoppy notes in the aroma. The flavors start out fairly sweet with some caramel and bread at first. The hops come in to apply some bitterness to your palate after a second. You can't help but notice some metallic flavors along with that recognizable skunky pilsner type flavor, too. A bit watery and bland, with too much carbonation to go with that profile. Dry, acidic finish and aftertaste. I guess you could say that I thought this beer was average at best, and I probably wont indulge again. Now if "Drop Top" turns out to be about some chick taking off her shirt, I might reconsider.

RAGGTOPP Convertible Top Care Kit - Fabric

DaVinci Kalani Convertible Baby Crib

Playtex Women's 18 Hour Original Comfort Strap Bra #4693

Friday, August 28, 2009

Anchor Bock Beer

Beer Pairings have become the new cool thing. What food goes well with a particular beer or beer style, and vice versa. While I certainly can appreciate when a beer matches well with food, I have convinced myself that recently the push in this pairing trend has gone overboard. It's everywhere! Between pairings and being limited seasonally to certain styles of beer, I'm going to scream. So let's hope it's a fad, and people return to pairing beer with another beer. If you stumbled onto this site actually looking for beer with food pairings, well, I hope you are at least getting some entertainment. And I've included some links below to a few books on the subject, if you're still interested.

So, in honor of the hope of the death of so much beer pairing buzz, here are my beer pairings. They have nothing to do with food, but rather which beer names I think are opposite enough to be paired together to do battle with one another. They also have nothing to do with the beer styles, either, although I may use those (and my personal preferences) to help in my rationale for picking the winner. (Hey, it's my site!) So here we go, with a small bracket of eight contenders...

In the first round of this single elimination tournament, we have:

Avery Salvation v. He'Brew "The Chosen Beer" Messiah Bold

Weyerbacher Blithering Idiot v. Rogue Shakespeare Stout
Boulder Beer Sweaty Betty Blonde v. Ommegang Three Philosophers

Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale v. Great Divide Saint Bridget's Porter
And this is how the tourney played out, of course with some commentary. Salvation whipped Messiah Bold. Come on, I had to pick the Christian choice. Blithering Idiot was on his home turf and pulled out a squeaker against Shakespeare Stout. Shakespeare either wasn't on his game or really isn't as smart as he's cracked up to be. The Three Philosophers just told some blonde jokes and easily beat Sweaty Betty. She didn't really care, though, as she was late for a date. The Arrogant Bastard and Saint Bridget went into overtime at which point the fans got tired of AB's attitude. Things started to get ugly, which was when Saint Bridget summoned a lightning bolt and had him struck dead, winning by default.

The four winners then went home to train for their second-round matchups, which the commissioner is still working on scheduling. Enough of this for today. It's Friday and now time for a real beer pairing, Anchor Bock Beer with my hand and lips. Anchor Bock is brewed by Anchor Brewing Company in San Francisco, California. I'm very fond of this brewery and most of their beers.

There is a nice sweet caramel, raisiny, malty aroma, with some light hops noticeable, too. The flavors start out slightly sweet with some chocolate, caramel and a solid maltiness as well. Some dark fruit, coffee and roasted flavors are also in the mix. Those initial flavors are balanced out nicely by some hops, giving this beer a nice crisp finish. Medium carbonation and medium body help make a very smooth drinker. Probably not my favorite from Anchor, but another decent example from them. Try some.

What to Drink with What You Eat: The Definitive Guide to Pairing Food with Wine, Beer, Spirits, Coffee, Tea - Even Water - Based on Expert Advice from America's Best Sommeliers

Sexy Adult Womens Halloween Costumes Beer Maid Girl Heidi Fraulein Dirndl Costume Party Outfit

The Brewmaster's Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Backdraft Brown

A friend of mine sent me a newsletter about an authentic Irish Pub that is opening this Friday down in Miami. That's Waxy O'Connor's Irish Pub, which has a Miami Beach location too, but this one is their new bar in Brickell. Since I can't find anything about the new location on the Waxy website, here is the flyer that was sent to me, complete with slide show. Living in Yonkers, NY for 6 or 7 years, I've been to my share of very authentic Irish Pubs. My favorite Irish Pub experience was being a groupie one year when my wife got roped into their dart league by one of our friends.

Before that time, if I had to think of the most improbable thing ever happening, it would have been "my wife in a weekly ladies' dart league on the Irish pub circuit around the city of Yonkers, NY". But it happened, and she didn't embarrass this gang of super Irish chicks either. One season was enough though before she officially retired.

We have continued to play darts, sporadically. And I have my own darts, too, thanks to a Christmas present from one of my old roommates, but I've never been so anal as to take them to an actual bar. I play with what they have, usually the non-lethal kind. Anyone else like to play?

I just opened Backdraft Brown brewed by Hook & Ladder Brewing Company in Rochester, New York. The label says these guys make a donation to a local burn foundation for every barrel they sell. I guess that's what they are calling "A Penny In Every Pint". Very nice. I love it! Since we're on topic, I bet lots of firemen play darts to pass the time between calls.

There is nice caramel and brown sugar aroma, with noticeable hops in there, too. An initial sweet caramel flavor touched by a very light chocolate and nuttiness starts you out. But that is quickly swept away by hops rushing in, which balances this beer out nicely. A much lighter body than I expected, and this beer is a little watery. Medium carbonation followed by a (not unpleasant) bitterness in the end. Backdraft Brown doesn't have a lot of flavors and they are not very strong either, but they are good. Smooth and refreshing, I'd certainly have this beer again.

Winmau Blade III Bristle Dartboard

Three-in-One Cherry Finish Wood Dining, Poker, Bumper Pool Table with Chairs Set

500pc High Roller Style 11.5 gram Executive Poker Chip Set

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fort Collins Chocolate Stout

If I don't say it enough, thanks for stopping by and continuing to pay attention to my website. Whether you read regularly, are a heavy commenter, or just happened upon the site today, I really appreciate your patronage.

Whew! Now that I got that out of the way, I'm in an asking mood. If you've never left a comment before, how about making today the first time? Tell me what you like and what you hate. Tell me what you'd like to see more of or less of here. Not sarcastic enough? Too much or too little cursing? Give me some ideas. I always listen (I don't always act, but I always listen). If you're too shy for some reason to say something publicly, send me an email to daily beer review (push those three words together) AT yahoo DOT com. If you're not smart enough to figure out my email address with those robot-unfriendly instructions, I can point you to the JV website. Just ask.

If you're a subscriber to the site, either by Feedburner emails, as a Follower, or via Twitter (or some other geekier way that I have no idea about), let me know how those services are working for you. Is the Daily Beer Review everything you thought it would be?

If you recently stumbled upon the site or today is your first time, look around a little bit and check out the style. As the header states, I'm going for a sarcastic and interesting storytelling site with beer as the common theme and reason to keep coming back. And I hope you'll identify with some of the situations and stories that I write about, hopefully also getting a couple of laughs. If you still don't know what you're getting yourself into, sign up in the right column to receive an email when new content is posted (daily). It's free. And it's just as easy to unsubscribe if you hate me, thanks to big brother Google owning the Feedburner service.

Finally, loyal lovers, if you haven't already told all of your friends about this amazing place, send them an email encouraging them to see what they think. Come on, you can do it!

You didn't think I was going to forget about the beer today did you? Hell, no! Today I'm drinking my first beer from Fort Collins Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado. That would be their Chocolate Stout. I got this guy on my recent excursion to the Orlando Total Wine. Sounds yummy!

There are some chocolate and malty scents to begin with, not overly pronounced. If you get a deep whiff, you might smell a little plum and dark cherry, too. Taking my first sip, you get mainly burnt and roasted malty flavors, and any chocolate is buried way in the background behind those two. This beer is not sweet at all. Rather, there are some coffee and hops flavors that provide plenty of bitterness. Very subtle dark fruit flavors also appear. The beer is pretty thin for a stout, and it is not that smooth. The carbonation is noticeable, but not bad. I just wish I got more chocolate in my chocolate stout and that this was slightly sweeter. The finish leaves nothing behind and is about the same as the rest of the beer--a bit too bland. That's all, except...

...again, in all sincerity, thanks for reading. Talk to you tomorrow!

Appreciation Marketing - How to Achieve Greatness Through Gratitude

Guinness Wall Mounted Bottle Opener

Passion Brands: Why Some Brands Are Just Gotta Have, Drive All Night For, and Tell All Your Friends About

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Southampton Publick House Double White

Any museum lovers out there? Not me, in general, although I've been to some awesome museums and seen some terrific exhibits. I'm not a hater, just not a lover. I've spent my share of time in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art (mainly against my will) in New York City. But my favorite museum story is my trip to the Louvre in Paris.

My wife-to-be (although we didn't know that then) was living in Paris back in the mid 90's when I went over for a visit. With only a week there and tons of plans, we dedicated just a short time to go visit the Louvre and Musee d'Orsay. First, what is up with the Pyramid? Out of place to say the least. I.M. Pei must have been drinking some strong beers back then. And this place is ginormous! We were going to have to move quickly. Or not! Having a frequent visitor and student pass, my wife had been to the Louvre dozens of times and knew where the most important and famous art pieces were located, so we had that working for us. Venus de Milo? There she is. Mona Lisa? Over there inside that glass box. Winged Victory? It's the one without the head and arms.

That's it, 30 minutes was enough to see and take pictures of all of them. And we spent the next several hours over at Musee d'Orsay. I really like the impressionist paintings. I was trying to refresh my memory of all the art I saw that day, and I came across this phrase (among others) from their website... "These informations are not contractual" Really? Jeez! You'd think the French government would hire a native English speaker to at least proof-read their shit! This isn't some novice, back-ass museum. This place is the bomb, and they should have some pride (in perfection, not that they don't have enough pride in general).

So what museums do you love? Or hate?

I just started drinking Southampton Publick House Double White brewed in "The House That Beer Built" which I am guessing is the Southampton Publick House in Southampton, New York. Seems they shipped it out of state to bottle it at Southampton Bottling in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Hey, right up the road from where my buds at The Office live and work. The back of the label has a story about their Brewmaster, Phil Markowski. Apparently, Phil likes to take his work home with him to perfect the beers in a homebrewing setting. So here goes my first beer from this brewery.

Lots of citrus and spiciness for an aroma, with orange and coriander as the standouts. The first thing I notice in my first sip is how bubbly this beer is. It's not crazy Unibroue-style carbonation, but effervescent and just enough to fill the mouth. A very nice attribute. Flavors include plenty of sweet orange, some wheat and some lemon. There is a little banana after those start to fade, and that takes you to the end of the beer. A little tangy and tart, and again, those bubbles give a really nice feel in the mouth. Very refreshing, I really liked this beer!

Paintings in the Louvre

A History of Photography: The Musée d'Orsay Collection 1839-1925

Loving Sex - Modern Kama Sutra 3 DVD & 3 CD GIFT SET

Monday, August 24, 2009

Salvation

It's the most wonderful time of the year! That would be the start of the new school year, duh.

I remember my first day of school, ever, when I was starting kindergarten. There I was on Ft. Dix Military Base at the bus stop waiting to be picked up. Of course we had climbed on top and all around this little wooden house all summer long, like a jungle gym, always joking with the bigger kids that the police were going to arrest us for doing that. Then it happened. The military police came around the corner, stopped, and I and one other kid got our "don't let me see that again" lecture. Seriously, if you talk about something bad happening to you enough, it will eventually happen. But at least I wasn't cuffed and taken to jail. But scared shitless, yep!

Today was the first day of school in our area. For my youngest son, it wasn't that big of a deal for him. Yes, he got a new teacher and classroom and group of friends, but since his school is officially a daycare (that we call school), and we pay weekly for him to attend, he goes year round. Same shit, different day, and yes, there was literally shit involved, I am sad to say. (Without even trying, an awesome rhyme!)

My older son, however, is starting the usual transition from a summer of fun back to school, homework, etc. He had heard the name of his teacher before but missed meeting her last week at the school's open house while we were on vacation. Nickelodeon or meet your teacher early... Pretty easy decision. Over the weekend, he did find out from one of the neighbor girls that they'd both be in the same class. And a handful of others remained in his class. I can't get him to say much more than "good" to every question right now. I need to go check out what he has to say.

One more unrelated but equally important comment. The World Champion Phillies turned one of only 15 unassisted triple plays in Major League Baseball history yesterday. Kick Ass, especially considering it was against the Mets. And they won again today, putting up more runs in the first inning than the Mets did all day.

Today my beer is Salvation brewed by Avery Brewing Company in Boulder, Colorado. Perhaps this might have been a better choice for a beer, at least name-wise, than Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout on Easter Sunday. It didn't turn out that way, however. But I loved my Old Rasputin that day and will go back for sure. Anyway, whoever at Avery put the labels on this bottle must have been drinking a few too many that day. The upper logo label is at least 20 degrees off center from the religious scene on the main logo. I'm guessing that wasn't on purpose. They also have a quote, "Salvation is discovering your passion, purpose, meaning in life. We brew, What about you?" Well, I don't brew, but I do consume. Is that good enough?

Fruity apple and pear with malt and caramel and a light spiciness for an aroma. Flavors start out with some pears and other light fruits, pretty sweet to begin. Some hops and spiciness balance out that sweetness. I mainly taste black pepper and ginger. This beer is a lot lighter than I expected it to be, which made hiding the 9% alcohol quite difficult. Avery did a so-so job at that. Light yet still buttery. The finish is oily and provides the lovely alcoholic aftertaste. Decent but not a star in my book. However, I will say it... Back to school is parents' Salvation.

JanSport Classic Big Student Backpack

Crocodile Creek's Dinosaur Lunchbox

Casio Men's G-Shock Classic Digital Watch #DW5600E-1V

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Snake Dog IPA

So I went to a party in deep Hialeah this afternoon, with some former neighbors. Sorry to disappoint you, but there were no cock fights this afternoon. But these guys did barbecue an entire pig, head on and all. Not your normal everyday stuff. When my Colombian wife said that "this is even too Latin for me" I knew I wasn't crazy. English? What is that? Dude, I broke out the broken Spanish handbook from my mouth for this gig. But these guys are super nice people. AND they had a beer fridge on their back porch--I want one of those. Presidente, Heineken, Corona, and a stray St. Pauli Girl--typical choices, but I submitted.

What did my Gringo kids do? They and the Americanized kids there played some version of Guitar Hero, but with singing. I walked in on a 5 year old singing some angry power rock song, and scoring quite nicely, I must admit. My kids also decided that the food was not for them, what a surprise.

One teenager dude in the corner, had to be related and dragged there, had on Prada sunglasses, some kick-ass Nike basketball shoes and an awesome Bulova watch. No way this kid had a job to pay for that stuff, but I resisted asking the oh so obvious questions. Anyway, it was a nice afternoon, and I always enjoy being with these people.

Today I'm drinking Snake Dog IPA brewed by Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick, Maryland. I'm pretty confident saying this is the first time I've had a beer from this brewery, not for a lack of desire, though. First, the label. What the hell is with that weird-ass picture? Well, I guess it's obviously some prehistoric dog with a snake head coming out of the body, but jeez. Very original to say the least. The back of the label also tells a story about your psycho ex and how the annoying qualities of that ex actually go into making this an awesome beer. We'll see.

Hoppy, grapefruit and citrus aroma, nice yet not super powerful. The flavors are stronger, with lots of grapefruit and hops, giving this beer a nice solid bite. There are some piney flavors as well. Snake Dog has just enough sweet orange to balance out that bitterness. Medium carbonation and very smooth, this beer is refreshing, crisp and I can't taste any of the 7.1% alcohol in here. The bitterness lasts all the way to the finish, just right. This is a really good beer that I'd say you should certainly get for yourself.

Fighting Cock Kentucky Bourbon BBQ, 12.7oz.

High Polish Chrome Engraved Zippo Lighter - Hialeah

Little Tavern Deluxe Wine and Beverage Cooler

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Stone Thirteenth Anniversary Ale

This day has been exhausting, starting around 2am. That's when my wife asked me if the air conditioner was working. I got up, the unit was running, but it was 80 degrees in the house, so nope, it wasn't working. And in Miami, air conditioning is NOT a luxury. After a week of frigid room temperatures at Nickelodeon, we were now burning in Hell (not really, but I knew you'd appreciate that). So I turned on the computer to find this company's number that I had heard about on the radio. They have a name that makes it obvious that they consider no AC an emergency, and their radio spot pushes that point home. Guess what? At 2am I got their answering service, which told me that they are closed until 8am. Now I don't want to name the company, especially since my AC just started working an hour ago thanks to them, but if your name says something like "every hour on the clock" and your advertisements say the same, well, come when I call you.

Even in my sleepiness, I couldn't help but ask the answering service lady why they weren't open considering their name. I think she agreed with my assessment but with attitude said "I wouldn't know". At 8:03am I got a prompt call, and scheduled an appointment for between 2-4pm this afternoon. It was already 83 degrees in the house. So extended Publix trip, McDonalds, and arrive at 1:30 only to wait until 3pm for this guy's arrival. I am super happy that they kept their proposed arrival time, which never happens (think Satellite TV service). Anyway, my AC is fighting now to drop me back down from 89 degrees to a comfy 76, but with the money I spent, I could have doubled my windfall of beer from Orlando. Such is life!

To celebrate finding that treasure box of beer in Orlando, the first beer I am pulling out is Stone Thirteenth Anniversary Ale brewed by Stone Brewing Company in Escondido, California. I guess we're both celebrating together. The bottle has the typical long story on the back, talking about how Stone is now a teenager, at an unpredictable age, yet with unmistakable maturity. The 2008 stats put them as the 18th largest craft brewery in the US--pretty cool. The headline says, "Triskaidekaphobia sufferers beware" right next to the part where they give the Prop 65 Warning that some of the materials used to color the bottle decorations contain Cadmium, which is known by the State of California (and Governor Schwarzenegger) to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm. I'll take my chances and not lick the pic.

Lots of hoppiness and grapefruit on the aroma, lovely. Flavors follow suit, with strong grapefruit, plenty of hoppy goodness, and some pine. Nice little bite, too, before that is balanced by a subtle sweetness. The astringency, however, never goes away and bitter certainly prevails. Sticky, thick, and completely covers the mouth with each sip. The 9.5% alcohol shows through, at first in a mild way, but by the end of big 22, the alcohol is much more pronounced. I really liked this beer and am super happy for Stone hitting puberty. Remember, I did have to bring this guy back from Orlando to Miami, so I can't wait for them (or their distributors) to grow up a little more. For sure, check it out!

Frigidaire FAH106S2T Through-the-Wall 10,000 BTU Air Conditioner

In the President's Secret Service: Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect

Freya Arabella luxury thong

Friday, August 21, 2009

Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale

We left Nickelodeon this morning and are back home. I forgot to tell you all that I was "slimed" when I was there, a major part of the experience. Imagine standing by a giant bucket for 20 minutes with your 3 year old in your arms and your 7 year old next to you surrounded by a few hundred other kids. Also, the giant bucket was about 30 feet up ready to dump green slime on you. Then the chant "We want slime!" Followed by a river over your head for 10 seconds. It was not really that slimy, more watery. But it was certainly green and a little sticky.

On the way up and back, we played the license plate game, finding as many States, Commonwealths and foreign plates as we could. We did pretty well, finding 32 from the US, two Canadian provinces and Mexico. Try explaining the difference between a State and Commonwealth to a 7 year old. I told him to ask Google!

One last observation that I can't believe hasn't hit these pages yet. On the way home, we stopped for lunch at Wendy's. I really like this fast-food joint, but they have one extremely obvious omission from their menu, one which they could add tomorrow if they so choose. No bleeping juice! No apple, no orange, no nothing. Just fruit punch. How many families eat at this place and ask for that? It can't be just me, and it is oh so appropriate. To the beer!

Since I'm back home, today is obviously a live review. I'm starting with one I had in my fridge since before my vacation. That's Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale brewed by Smuttynose Brewing Company in Portsmouth, New Hampshire (which made the license plate list). There is a nice picture of a pumpkin on the label, labeled with its scientific name as well, Cucurbita pepo. Another pumpkin beer in August, huh? Well, I am game. I had the Smuttynose IPA previously and didn't like it, so I'm hoping this is a different experience today.

Very strong pumpkin and spicy cinnamon and clove aroma. Smells sweet as well, very inviting. Good pumpkin and cinnamon flavors right off the bat, but not nearly as much as the aroma led me to expect. That's not a bad thing, just an observation, as this beer was smoother and more refreshing than I'd have thought. That's probably due to a high amount of hops providing some cleansing bitterness that is very noticeable. There are also some orange and citrus flavors in this beer. Tangy but not sweet at all, with a medium carbonation. The finish was a little disappointing as the flavors all dissipated and left only a slight metallic aftertaste on my palate. Overall, a good beer, nicely crafted and balanced with high drinkability. I'd try one if I were you.

Dills Atlantic Giant Pumpkin 15 Seeds -HUGE-

Slime COMP06 Pro Power Heavy-Duty Tire Inflator

Nickelodeon Slime Can in Green

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Samuel Adams Hefeweizen

Hurricane Bill is a Big Hoppy Monster (and no I didn't find that beer here in Orlando, despite it being on the catalog list here and in Pembroke Pines, what gives?), but it looks like Florida and the US are basically safe, but even Canada could get a hurricane. Crazy shit! Warm water fuels hurricanes and I'm not sure Canada has any of that!

Today we had awesome weather in Orlando, but there was supposed to be some big time electrical storms this afternoon. Didn't happen. We went to Aquatica and spent like 7 or 8 hours there. The lines were never terrible, there were plenty of places to put our stuff and relax comfortably, the rides were pretty terrific, etc. One of the best attractions I've been to in several trips up here.

I was trying to get my three year old to follow me or something at one point when I bumped into this big tattooed dude. I said sorry, and got the reply, "Sorry, Mate!" Wow, I think that's the first time I've ever been called that. Lots of Australians there today. And there were even more people from the UK, but although it was on the tip of my tongue, I declined to try out a few "bloke" comments on them, although I really struggled to control myself.

We're headed home tomorrow. My recommendation for world travelers is to stay in a decent but cheap hotel near the attractions, skip the Nick Hotel unless you have self-sufficient teens that can take advantage of every moment you're at the hotel. Skip Sea World. But definitely do Aquatica during a weekday, plan to stay 6-8 hours, the lines will die in the afternoon. Skip the beach at Aquatica and park yourself under one of the many umbrellas by the lazy river. And without actually venturing into Disney, go to Downtown Disney one of the nights you're here.

Last night with pre-recorded (yet new and unique) review content. Here we go.

Up for today--Samuel Adams Hefeweizen brewed by the Boston Beer Company in either Boston, Massachusetts or Cincinnati, Ohio. These guys, as much as I love them, have gotten so corporate that their brewery website takes you to their investor relations page, and I'm not sure if you can even get to their beer selection from there--SEC Filings, Board of Directors and News.

There is a wheat and banana aroma. The flavors mimic that aroma, sporting lots of wheat, some banana and other fruitiness, and a bread aspect too. There is a bit of a sweetness, I can't put my tongue on it, but it's a little tangy and after a few sips gets a little annoying. Some bitterness takes some of that away and a little lemon, and very light hops and even lighter spices show up too. You are left with a bit of lemon on your palate as you finish this guy. Plus that tang remains, too, which is a big turn off. For sure not a favorite and I'll go have a Boston Lager instead now and forevermore. The End.

Men's UV Swim Shirt--Short Sleeve

Braided Money Tree - Bonsai Plant in Cobalt Blue Pot

Honeywell HW2000i Portable Inverter Generator, 2000W Rated, 2100W Max Output (CARB and 50 State Compliant)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Black Hawk Stout

Oh, what a day here in Orlando! We decided (incorrectly) not to tempt the weather fate gods and go for a day at Aquatica. Probably tomorrow when we go the sky will be filled with lightning bolts.

But when my wife decided she was going to go to these shopping outlets, I jumped on the chance to carry out my mission to Total Wine in downtown Orlando, only 10 miles (and a maze) past those stores. My contact provided to me by corporate was there, but I didn't have time to say hello. I was being a mystery shopper. I did make it known to a few workers there (when they gave my shopping cart the look) that I was on this mission to get all the beers not available in Pembroke Pines. So I and three year old co-pilot filled three boxes with new singles, I'm guessing like around 70-80 or so new beers. I can't say I got every single one that was new; there were a few that would have broken the bank. Hey, RH, can you pass the word on at corporate that I'd love a few coupons? I did say hello to Diego for you since Spongebob is seemingly on vacation (I am guessing, since he's been MIA).

So, yep, I'm totally psyched with my Total Wine experience. I'd say that the service was pretty good, too, although I've been more impressed by my local PP store all-around. Could be they are just my home team, but I doubt it. Here's another review from last week, so pardon any time line inconsistencies. I have a great lineup on the way!

This evening I am drinking Black Hawk Stout brewed by Mendocino Brewing Company in Saratoga Springs, New York. This brewery is 25 years old, so they must be doing something right. The label says "The Legend Grows". We shall see.

Chocolate and dark fruit aroma, mainly plums and raisins. The flavors start out mostly dry and bitter with plenty of dark chocolate. There is also a coffee and malty flavor that persists throughout this beer experience. Burnt flavors including the smoke round out what this beer gives you. All of that was wrapped up in a thin and watery, light-bodied, low-carbonation beer. Lots of bitter coffee keeps coming in the finish and aftertaste. I'd have preferred something a little thicker, because although the label basically said to expect this type of stout, they also said to expect something refreshing and crisp. This was neither of those. But despite its limp body, the flavors were decent. I'd go with something else, personally.

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Saeco 00347 Aroma Espresso Machines

Black Hawk Havoc Heli Stealth - Grey/Blue Helicopter

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Brother David's Triple

A few more Nickelodeon Hotel observations and the ramifications. First, every five steps you see a plaque posted saying how much they value the health of our children so make sure you smoke in the designated spaces, which I totally appreciate. Funny thing is that at least half of the designated spaces are right next to employee-only entrances and workplaces. Do they value their employees' health less than their guests?

Second, the elevator for my building is Out of Order, which is such a beautiful thing. And we're on the fourth floor. So, health experts, a question for you. How many calories can you burn walking up (and down) 46 stairs? Let's add some complexities to that question... how about if I add two trips and three bags with a total weight of say 150 pounds. And how about if I do those steps with a gross of beer ounces (plus the 12 bottles and the Yeungling box)?

OK. Enough Seinfeld type crap. It rained 8 times according to my son today at Sea World, and every time they shut down the rides. I did overhear a 16 year old rant that every ride says that pregnant women should not ride certain rides. (My guess is she was 15, no shit, but my age radar is failing so she was probably 17). And I heard this right next to the Manta, the same ride with the recorded warning of super G force and improbable tensions on your body. I swear to God! My wife finally got on it between storms and was dizzy and puke-ready for hours afterward. No wonder fetuses are not welcome.

Finally, Dinner at Miller's Ale House, at the outside bar (inside minus the windows) during super-torrential rain, over a bunch of $2 Foster's drafts, getting lost on the way around an Orange County Sheriff's accident roadblock, teaching another Publix rookie how to ring up single beers, and then home. My feet hurt (and brain too)! Well, I have purchased 8 new bottles this week, but had no chance to review them. But here is one from just a week or so ago, this time more interesting than Bud Lite Lime from yesterday. Pardon the lies about me opening it now-everything was true at the time.

I'm opening big 22 of Brother David's Triple brewed by Anderson Valley Brewing Company in Boonville, California. The first thing I think of when seeing this bottle is "everyone has a brother David," including me. Everyone has an Uncle David, too, also including me, but that, my friends, is another long chapter that I don't have enough internet space to write all of those volumes.

The aroma is fruity and yeasty, and you can detect some alcohol, like a brandy or something. Malty and sweet caramel mixed with light fruits, mainly pears and apples, open up the flavors. There are also some sweet honey flavors in there. Some spiciness then really comes to the forefront, with cloves and black pepper being the main contributors. All of those flavors are decent, but then big brother alcohol and his 10% muscles take over the playground, in a rather unpleasant way. The body is medium to full, with a syrupy consistency. I'm about 2/3 of the way through this bottle and the drinkability is dropping by the second and sip. The alcohol is super prominent, if you didn't hear me the first time. There is a drier finish and more of that boozy aftertaste left behind. If the alcohol was hidden much more, the other flavors would have made this a decent beer, but it wasn't so I don't think I'll have this again.

John Adams (HBO Miniseries)

Hungry Girl: 200 Under 200: 200 Recipes Under 200 Calories

Ingrid & Isabel Women's Maternity Everyday BellaBand

Monday, August 17, 2009

Bud Lite Lime

Hey there! I'm on vacation in Orlando at the Nickelodeon Hotel. Yep, we got up this morning and drove the 3.5 hours. First impressions, unimpressed to say the least. They have some pretty decent big kid slides that are nice for my seven year old but my three year old is not tall enough for them, and the junior kids' slides are such pussies. Nothing in the middle.

Over at the baby slide, there were two other little kid twins with mohawks, and their dad said to one of his friends, and I quote (minus the fake name), "You got your knife with you, Russ?" I forgot that anything north of Palm Beach County is like living back home in PA (there are exceptions, but lots of rednecks). After a few hours in the water park, we got cleaned up for a Dora-type marketing show. On the way, we went to the bathroom. Kids resort, only one urinal low enough for my kids, while four were at the adult level. I think these guys could have used some professional planning. Call me next time.

Back in the room, internet doesn't work. So I call the number on the cable. Those dudes told me they lost the Nickelodeon contract but gave me the right number. That tech support had me almost there, but I couldn't figure out where to plug in the cable, so while we were at dinner, it got fixed. And, whoever visited (coulda been Santa) also replaced the clip that holds the cable in the computer (the dude on the phone told me that none of the rooms had that clip and that it should work fine if I just push it in; I find that to be total BS). As you can see, it works now.

Dinner out in Orlando, what a mess. The traffic, zero U-turn ability, 5000 Denny's. We ended up at a low-atmosphere, high-service Red Lobster. Pretty good. On the way home, I insisted on a Publix run. I decided to press the new cashier on buying six different singles. Nope, she needed the supervisor. Turned out ok. I bought those six, all new for me, for $1.79 each. Watch for them. Sea World tomorrow. My beer for today, I must admit, was Sam Adams Boston Lager, on tap and now direct from Publix. But I prepared a few reviews last week in case I didn't have the chance this week. Here you go.

Not being a beer snob, I am now (last week) going to drink and give my opinion on Bud Light Lime brewed by Anheuser-Busch (good luck finding anything about this beer there easily; try Google again with better keywords, or just listen to me below) in St. Louis, Missouri. My wife thinks this beer is pretty delicious, and she's probably gonna kick my ass when she sees one of her sixer missing (she didn't notice, doesn't really care).

Lots of lime aroma, but it smells a little fake. Grainy flavors, again with a lot of lime, but the lime tastes like what you get from those green limes (the plastic ones with juice in them). Besides those flavors, it's an incredibly boring lager with no flavor, yet not watery. Very carbonated and bubbly. Not a very good beer, even for the cheap stuff. And the lime actually makes this beer annoying and less refreshing. I felt like I was drinking some lemon-lime dishwashing detergent by the end of only one beer. Let me see what happens with the backwash on my dirty plate here (nothing worth waiting to see). Try something else.

Spongebob Square Pants Big Face Yellow T-shirt Tee

Men's UV Sun Protective, UPF 50+ Short Sleeve Rashguards

Nick Jr Character Luggage - Diego The Rescuer Rolling Backpack with bonus ID Holder

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Terrapin Coffee Oatmeal Imperial Stout

Rained like hell yesterday, all day. I was caged in the house with my wife and kids all day! Apparently we have a low-pressure system on top of us giving us this crappy weather. All I can say is that it better go away for our trip to Nickelodeon, which starts tomorrow morning. But this weather is expected to continue considering that this bitch Ana and her asshole brother Bill were named as the first and second tropical storms of the season.

I am a little concerned about these two (for now) tropical storms and the timing of our trip. We're really going to need to pay attention to their projected paths today. As of now, Ana seems to be headed over Hispaniola and Cuba as a tropical storm, and hopefully the mountainous terrains there will kill her. Bill, on the other hand, is predicted to be a raging 120 mph hurricane by Friday morning, headed toward the Florida coast. And these things are so unpredictable that the paths change every advisory. Sucks. Anyone have property in North Carolina for sale? I know, stupid question, lots of people do. But considering I got my proposed property tax bill yesterday with my house appraising for about 100 grand less than last year, well, it might need to wait. The good news is that my taxes will be lower, at least.

Anyway, I guess I will evaluate next Friday (and watch the advisories throughout the week) when I'm back to see if the hurricane shutters need to go up. I really do not want to do it because of the horrible effort it takes. And once they go up, we live in a cave until the end of November. Once a season, dudes and dudettes. Except for one or two panels as exceptions, I will not take them down until every reasonable threat is exhausted.

Time to pack and prepare for my trip to Orlando. Don't worry, RH, I plan on hitting the Total Wine up there. I am a little disappointed that the local store there is like 25 miles from Nickelodeon, but I guess I can still swing it. I hope!

This afternoon I'm drinking Terrapin Coffee Oatmeal Imperial Stout brewed by Terrapin Beer Company in Athens, Georgia. I haven't had a big stout in a while, so am really looking forward to this. This is the "Winter Tour" part of the Terrapin Monster Beer Tour. Go figure in August, but if I must repeat myself, I'll drink any beer any time of year. That seasonal label is so overrated. Seems that Terrapin Beer teamed up with another local business when working on this beer. That would be Jittery Joe's Coffee, and I'm guessing if you made it to this page you are smart enough to figure out their contribution. Finally, there is a turtle dressed as a chef on the label, and he's baking cookies and drinking a pint of beer at the same time. Multitasking reptile!

Wonderful aroma consisting of a lot of dark fruit mixed with a lot of coffee and a little bit of chocolate. Mmm. The flavors are equally delicious. You start with a lot of roasted coffee and plenty of nutty flavors. Mixed in you'll also taste toffee, molasses and chocolate, plus a hint of raisins. This is oh so rich and creamy. A noticeable 8.1% alcohol comes in and knocks those flavors down a little, while at the same time warming you up. The coffee flavors still remain and actually take another turn on your palate, bringing back a little more bitterness. Carbonation is very low, which seems fine to me; body is medium-high, perfect. A chocolate and coffee mixture is left on your palate when all is said and done. Terrific beer, one of the best I've had in a while!

Jittery Joe's Espresso Blend, Dark Roast 12oz whole bean

Louis Garneau 2009 Men's Equipe Short Sleeve Cycling Jersey - Jittery Joe's - 9820318-91U

Grateful Dead Terrapin Station Hoodie Sweatshirt

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Good Stuff #2: Old Stock Ale 2009

After launching my Good Stuff series a little over a week ago with Lagunitas Hop Stoopid Ale, I'm ready to jump in to highlight a second of my very favorites.

Today I'm drinking Good Stuff Beer #2: Old Stock Ale 2009 brewed by North Coast Brewing Company in Fort Bragg, California. I originally reviewed this beer back at the end of April, while talking about my counterfeiting son, Schrute Bucks and The Office.

Today's review: I couldn't wait to open it up as it's been over 3 months since my first review. Lots of dark fruit, raisins and plums with just a hint of alcohol on the aroma. But that hint of alcohol makes itself very powerfully and prominently known with my first sip. A strong bourbon-like flavor superbly balanced by some soothing honey along with ripened plums and raisins. I also taste a slight caramel and just a little nutty flavor as well. Some spicy cloves and cinnamon also make an appearance. Very warming, even burning from the alcohol, but it's not harsh like those words; rather, it is a great sensation. Medium carbonation, a medium-full body and a wonderful creaminess in my mouth make this a terrific treat. However, all of that praise aside, one is certainly enough. The 11.5% alcohol is powerful and a clear and present danger!

What the brewery has to say about this beer: "Like a fine port, Old Stock Ale is intended to be laid down. With an original gravity of over 1.100 and a generous hopping rate, Old Stock Ale is well-designed to round-out and mellow with age." I'm drinking the 2009 edition, so I guess you can see what skills I have at keeping beer around the house for years (in my cellar). Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.

These guys have a Taproom and they are most certainly on Facebook. They even highlighted some of my reviews of their beers over there. We were buds until Facebook came in and tried to steal her away from me. Bitch! Speaking of Facebook, before I was ejected, I was also friends with one chick (I was gonna call her a lady, but I think she'd be pissed off as she likes to curse every chance she gets and is super non-PC) who was very active in the North Coast pages. I asked her once what her favorite North Coast beer was to which I got the BS reply, "I love all North Coast beers. My dad works there." Good enough, but my dad works for a major hospital, and I don't like all the nurses, patients, procedures, or even some of the other doctors. Whatever, it's not exactly apples v. apples. It is BEER, and I almost completely concur about the ALL part. I guess she should have just left the two statements stand alone.

What else is interesting about this brewery? Besides lots of great beers, they are totally surrounded by jazz, supporting the Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz, brewing Brother Thelonious Belgian Style Abbey Ale in its honor.

I've had every North Coast beer that is available in Florida, I think. Although there wasn't a bad apple in the bunch, my absolute favorites are Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout, Brother Thelonious Belgian Style Abbey Ale (mentioned above), and, duh, of course this guy.

It was my pleasure to drink this Old Stock Ale 2009 again today. I highly recommend you get yourself a few bottles--one for today and a few for 2014. Not! I'm not sure which beer is up next for this series, but stay tuned. It wont be long.

Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall

The Art of Making Money: The Story of a Master Counterfeiter

Night Owl Explorer Binoculars