Thursday, December 31, 2009

Sweetwater IPA

I've got some New Year's Resolutions. Duh! And you are going to hear about them, but not until sometime in January, maybe in excruciatingly slow fashion, one at a time! The reason? I have a few suggestions for some breweries when they are making their lists of things to work on. I mean, I certainly give praise when it is due. This should also be useful.

First, a few rhetorical questions.

Are some breweries that busy and have so much business that they can selectively answer emails and tweets about their products, while seemingly neglecting others?

Do breweries think that questions that come from people out of their distribution zone are not important? If you answered yes, and you work for one of these breweries, you are a fucking idiot!

Do breweries realize that everything they say online is fair game?

I was going to name a few names, but really I think if you are a brewery (or any business online), you can probably figure out where I am going with my questions. In just the past two weeks, I've asked some extremely simple questions. Dudes, I want to buy your fucking beer! Don't you like making sales? If your website has the shittiest beer finder on earth, but says you distribute in San Antonio, and I ask you where in San Antonio I can find it.... Fucking answer me. If I ask you if you bottle a particular beer... Fucking answer me.

It's not like I asked someone who didn't know how to play on Twitter to be a Twit-master. My questions were just clearly ignored. These same breweries were playing "Ha Ha Ha" and "Go to my event" and "Did you see" and "I need attention" type shit all day. Customer service matters! Next time, I'll add your names. People care what other consumers have to say.

Let me finish with a quote from a very well-known and respected person in the beer community. He actually wrote this just a few minutes ago as I was finishing my post, and I could not disagree more! If you care, you can find out who said this. "Complaints don't provide new or interesting information, thus are rarely useful. Real problems that need fixing don't require complaints."

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Nøgne Ø/Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales/Stone Brewing Co Special Holiday Ale 2009

I've got so much to say between these morons passing this ridiculous healthcare bill, breweries that are so busy that they neglect customer service and don't answer questions from consumers, my miracle working at the office, end of the year crap, etc. But tonight, just a beer review. Take those thoughts as mini-previews into the next few weeks.

Tonight I'm drinking a beer that I've been looking forward to for a few weeks now. That is Nøgne Ø/Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales/Stone Brewing Co Special Holiday Ale brewed by Nøgne Ø in Grimstad, Norway. This is a three brewery collaboration and is the second release of this holiday ale; the first was in 2008 in San Diego and I'm guessing that the third release will be in 2010 and brewed in Michigan. Each release uses the same recipe which includes something from each brewery's turf: Michigan chestnuts, white sage from California and Norwegian juniper berries.

The aroma is full of malts and spices, mainly cinnamon, and is also nutty. I'll go out on a limb and say that there is also a lingering juniper aroma in the background, but I could be wrong. Nice aroma, but nothing wow. Flavors start out with big malts, with some roasted flavors too. Spicy nutmeg, caramel, chocolate and maybe some honey also have their day. VERY low carbonation, creamy texture, chewy thick body. You will start to feel and detect some of the 8.5% alcohol toward the end of this pint-sized bottle. The finish is nutty and those flavors last on your palate. All of the flavors do start to stand out a bit more as the beer warms up a bit, but even then, nothing is profound. Those ingredients local to each brewery--not stars like I thought they'd be. The flavors are blended terrifically with lots of nuances, but I guess I was expecting a bit more.

This beer had some super-duper hype, and I'm sorry to say that I believe the beer doesn't live up to that. Its reputation was built on the names of the terrific breweries in the collaboration. Look! Every groupie wants to grab the rock star's sweaty t-shirt, and this beer was like that! But I want to be in the cool clique, though. And if you want your say, you'll need to try this beer and weigh in!

Juniper Bonsai Tree From Bonsai Boy

Galil Roasted Chestnuts, 3.5-Ounce Pouches (Pack of 24)

Indoor Culinary Herb Garden Starter Kit- Start Growing Fresh Cooking Herbs & Spices- Great Gift Idea!- Seeds: Parsley, Thyme, Cilantro, Basil, Dill, Oregano, Sweet Marjoram, Chives, Savory, Garlic Chives, Mustard, Sage

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Santa Fe Nut Brown Ale

Remember the bathroom problem my youngest kid was having in school several months ago? He was one of the last ones to be potty trained, not because he didn't know what to do, but for some reason he just refused. So lots of school-teacher-parent tensions. Well we had an excellent weekend with almost no accidents for the entire long holiday.

So I decided to send the kid to school in underwear yesterday to see what would happen. You should have seen this kid when we walked in first thing in the morning. The first thing he did was lower his pants a few inches to show the teacher he was wearing underwear. A bit of showing off, not unlike when Reggie in 48 Hours opened his jacket to show Cates that he acquired a gun and was packing heat. Anyway, no accidents and everyone was very pleased, two days in a row! 'Bout time, too. Pull ups were cutting into my beer budget!

Tonight I'm drinking Santa Fe Nut Brown Ale brewed by Santa Fe Brewing Company in Santa Fe, New Mexico. First beer from this brewery for me. The aroma is not very strong, but you will smell malty and roasted, nutty scents if you think you will. Concentrate. Smooth texture is the first thing that crossed my mind when I started drinking this beer. You will taste some chocolate and caramel, some malt and nutty, even some fruity flavors. Those are all pretty nice. But there is some strange flavor that follows those, all the way into a weird aftertaste. It's very hard to describe but it has some "hospital" or "old people" and metallic, funky qualities, and that is very hard to get past. The body is thin and watery and the carbonation is prickly. I really can't forget that strangeness!

Fruit of the Loom Boys 2-7 Fruit Of The Loom Boys Batman Briefs Prints

Santa Fe QM2R 900-Watt Quesadilla Maker

Everyone Poops (My Body Science Series)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Raging Bitch

Tonight I'm drinking Raging Bitch, a Belgian-Style India Pale Ale brewed by Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick, Maryland. This beer showed up at BFF Total Wine's house about a week or so ago, so I grabbed one right away. This beer is celebrating the brewery's 20th anniversary. Congratulations! You have become one of my favorite breweries out there! The label has some kind of alien dog that looks as if it could go for a sandwich or two--could be why she is raging. The label goes on to describe this beer, starting with "Two inflammatory words... one wild drink."

I first heard about this beer a few months ago, and I guess because the name sort of sticks out, I immediately searched my blog for the "raging bitch" phrase as it sounded so familiar. I thought that I might have called someone, perhaps even my wife, a raging bitch. To my relief, I didn't say that (at least not in print), but I did refer to a hurricane as raging and as a bitch in one post.

Now that's not to say I haven't crossed paths with several raging bitches, and I don't mean dogs either, but I'll refrain from naming them here. As much as I don't like it, I did use the "C" word one time instead of bitch, but that is still in a draft. I have been unable to publish that story because there are zero synonyms that sum her up quite like that word. So I'm still sitting on it!

As for this Raging Bitch. Wow! Really wonderful, everything! I guess you can skip the rest since I gave it away! The aroma-magnificent hops and grapefruit and pine. The flavors are fruity, not overly bitter, just the perfect amount of grapefruit bite blended with orange and other citrus flavors. There is a light spiciness and some bready flavors, too. Creamy, awesome carbonation. This beer is so refreshing and crisp and smooth, I'm in love! The 8.3% alcohol is nowhere to be found, not good or bad, just an observation. You will finish with a lingering light bitterness on your palate before you wished you had a second bottle. Gonzo Imperial Porter was my favorite until about 10 minutes ago, but now it's a toss up. The one thing wrong with this beer? The name--this is no raging bitch--it is a super-well-balanced awesome beer, not some out of control bitter freak unbalanced alcoholic mess! Jeez! Hey Flying Dog, I'm available if you'd like beer with name pairing assistance.


Gonzo by Hunter S Thompson: Literary Edition

Gonzo Wine Out Stain Remover 12 Oz.

SKO Survival Kit Deluxe Emergency Disaster Preparedness 72 Hour Backpack Kit Earthquake, Hurricane, Fire, Flood, Tornado, Evacuation or Storm. Home, Work or Auto: 4 Person

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Holy Sheet Über Abbey Ale

Several weeks ago I mentioned in passing a complaint I lodged with The Boston Beer Company. Within a one week span, three of their bottle rims broke off while I was opening them. I can hear you already, "were you being too aggressive?" and "do you know how to use a bottle opener correctly?" Hello!?! I am an expert at opening beer bottles; hell, I'd even go as far to say that I am an expert at opening Samuel Adams Boston Lager bottles, the bottle breaking perps.

Well, last night, my son brought in an envelope the mail man brought from the Sam Adams guys. This must be related to that complaint, no other way. Inside, a t-shirt, a baseball cap and a cool bottle opener, each suggesting to "Take pride in your beer." That is the way to do customer service! They could have sent me some bullshit apology letter and even some kind of coupon or voucher for their beer. Instead, I got a bunch of stuff, and I'm guessing they somehow know I will be a walking billboard for them. And this ad campaign cost them less than $15 or so. Little did they know that I'd also be writing about it to you guys (all four of you, thanks mom). Anyway, nice job! I made sure the first beer the new bottle opener touched was a bottle of Sam Adams, too. Karma.

So I'll be the guy in the Sam Adams hat, unless there is some unforeseen falling out. Funny, that's what my boss does. He loves this one well-known internet company. Rhymes with bamazon. When they do something he doesn't like, he wont wear his favorite hat for a while, I guess in protest.

Today I'm drinking Holy Sheet Über Abbey Ale brewed by Clipper City Brewing Company in Baltimore, Maryland. This is one of their Heavy Seas beers. I must admit that looking at the date on the bottle, this beer has been aged. It says to purchase before January, 2009. I am quite sure I purchased it after that date and that I've had it for at least four months, so the retailer is also to blame. I am, however, a skeptic for believing that short-term beer expiration dates mean anything (the same as I am for drugs; the acetaminophen in the medicine cabinet expired 3 years ago). Isn't this style supposed to age well anyway? Anyone?

The aroma is inviting with lots of dark fruits, mainly raisins and prunes, along with caramel. Flavors follow the aroma. Lots of caramel with awesome dark fruit, raisins and a hint of chocolate. The initial alcohol flavors really enhance the dark fruits nicely. There are also some spicy black pepper elements in the background. Medium to upper-level body with a decent yet maybe slightly low carbonation. That initial alcohol assessment turns ugly by the end, as the booziness becomes much less welcome and overwhelms those great dark fruit flavors. It starts to be harsh and hot on the palate; rum + sweet + spice = Captain Morgan. If that alcohol was toned down a bit or blended for the entire experience, this would be a terrific beer. As it stands, Holy Shit! Was good, not great.

Beer Wars ~ Sam Calagione (as himself), Anat Baron (as herself), Rhonda Kallman (as herself)

Oster 4207 Electric Wine-Bottle Opener

Harley-Davidson Wall Mount Bottle Opener 99333-08V

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Abbey

Went grocery shopping at Publix this morning. It is pretty obvious that they, as a store in general, were pretty hung over from their day off yesterday. It's not like I walked in on them at 7 am. It was around 10:30 when I got there, and there were so many things not where they belonged. I had to ask them to fetch me some green beans. I had to move three palates of lettuce to get to the cucumbers. Meat section--decimated. And a huge disappointment, the one thing I really wanted to buy was one of those nice hams they've had out for the past few weeks. THAT was dinner tonight. But nope, the "ham area" was empty and the butcher confirmed they had no more. Shit!

So I came home and took my frustration out on my neighbor's yard. No, stupid! I didn't do any property damage. They moved out like four months ago and haven't cut their grass since then. So, I guess in the Christmas spirit, or maybe because if you want something done..., or maybe because I'd like someone to actually buy this place, I spent an hour cutting their grass. By the time I was finished, my lawnmower actually turned around and said to me, "Are you fucking done abusing me for today?" I was shocked!

Today I'm drinking Abbey, a Belgian style ale brewed by New Belgium Brewing Company in Fort Collins, Colorado. All the New Belgium beer reviews I have done have been made possible by my friends, as this brewery does not have any presence in Florida. This one is no exception as it came as part of a Christmas present! I just took this out of the fridge, but am waiting just a bit as it's supposed to be served cool, at 50 degrees.

The aroma has a caramel sweetness, with lots of bananas and a lesser amount of pears and raisins. Huge banana and pear flavors to start, extremely fruity. There is also a very noticeable bready quality you will taste. It's hard to describe, but the overall flavor profile is cotton candy and pink lemonade sweet, and it tastes manufactured. Right from the beginning, and mixed with the fruits, these flavors start to be pretty annoying. You finish with more banana and some cloves which linger on your palate. The 7% alcohol wasn't a factor, and my "best by date" was July 23, 2010 for the record. I didn't really like this beer that much, if you didn't notice.

Victorinox Swiss Army Classic Pocket Knife

Gibson Custom ES-165 Herb Ellis Electric Guitar, Vintage Sunburst

Indoor Culinary Herb Garden Starter Kit- Start Growing Fresh Cooking Herbs & Spices- Great Gift Idea!- Seeds: Parsley, Thyme, Cilantro, Basil, Dill, Oregano, Sweet Marjoram, Chives, Savory, Garlic Chives, Mustard, Sage

Friday, December 25, 2009

Warmer Winter Winter Warmer Ale

Merry Christmas! I pretty much started my holiday yesterday afternoon. Right before I quit work for the day, I shared a great RUN-DMC Christmas video with one of my coworkers. All that she asked me was, "Is Hollis in Pennsylvania?" which made my day. I didn't stop laughing for a long time!

We were out late at our friends' house for Christmas Eve. So although "up at 730 AM" didn't rival what we used to do to my parents, they didn't have us out after midnight and they didn't drink a ton of whiskey and wine either.

What a terrific morning! Great presents, my kids loved them, but we had some setbacks, nonetheless. Nothing super-dad can't overcome! Son's Netbook does not work without some network setup here. That is NOT my forte. Anyone? Chinese directions on the remote-control helicopter could prove fatal for the copter this afternoon. (hint: I don't read Chinese). Apparently the keyboard didn't come with it's A/C Adapter so it looks like I'm going to be battery poor by the time I call Casio and complain about the missing item. But heck, lots of work putting stuff together. Yet the smiles are totally worth it.

One more thing I plan on doing is sponsoring a child. We have been fortunate for so long and Christmas is one time to make sure your children get involved with charity and giving. I have a few charities in mind, but if you have further suggestions, I am open to them. I'd like a charity that has an impact in bringing children out of poverty, so anything linked to that, awesome!

Now it's my turn! My older kid on the streets somewhere with some remote control something with some other kids. Younger kid in my bed watching Toy Story 2. Me, I'm in the middle of a wine-sized bottle of Warmer Winter Winter Warmer Ale brewed by Cigar City Brewing in Tampa, Florida. Finally a Florida beer I am looking forward to, but although they are only across the way in Tampa, this is the first I've seen their beers here. I even asked their owner several months ago about that, and he mentioned they are working on expanding to the Miami market. The bottle mostly talks about what to expect in the beer, but does mention that the name of the beer is a little bit of play on words considering our 80 degree Christmases.

There are malty caramel and dark fruit scents to start. Very inviting! Mmmm. Chocolate with dark fruits, berries, and raisins open the flavors up so wonderfully. The 10% alcohol shows its way in right away as well, but like a candy with alcohol in the center or some beautiful cordial. Just works great! Caramel and malty, too, but any initial sweetness is balanced out by some citrus, orange and hops. As this (did I mention) wine bottle warmed up a bit, some definite smokiness crept into the profile, along with some light burnt and toasted flavors. Medium to full-body, nice and chewy. Great for winter, as I just turned up the air conditioner. Still rich toward the end, and the alcohol is still noticeable, but it's not really a burner or a warmer (YET). Just a super-great compliment to the entire experience. Smokey chocolate is left on your palate and lasts forever! I'm not sure that Cigar City has that great of distribution, considering they barely get to my local market. (I could drive there in less than 2 hours). But if you can get your hands on this beer, or are willing to import yourself to their extremely local territory, you should try this beer! Hands down terrific! I have another bottle. Call me if you want to split it!

Ten Dollar Donation to any Charity - Vary the quantity to customize gift

Dubble Bubble It's A Boy Bubble Gum Cigars, Packages (Pack of 36)

Cigar City Mafia: A Complete History of the Tampa Underworld

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Breckenridge Vanilla Porter

Christmas Eve. Or if you're Hispanic, you probably think Christmas is today like all of my neighbors, my wife and like 60% plus of Miami. I still had some last minute things to pick up today for stocking stuffers and for my wife, so this morning I spread some of my holiday cheer with about 20,000 of my closest friends.

First, Target. Was actually terrific. I had never been in this particular store, but easily found everything, the mob wasn't horrible, the place wasn't trashed and I didn't need to wait for even one other customer to pay despite a fairly busy checkout area.

Across the street, the mall. Ugh. I've been there twice this week already just for lunch so I knew what I was about to encounter. Confidently browsed Victoria's Secret. I was already buying a gift card but wanted to pick out something sexy in addition to that. But alas, if you can believe this, the clerks would not model their clothing. That just left too much to my imagination, so I only got the card! The cashier did say, "Merry Christmas, I hope you get some!" as I was paying, though, so that made up for not helping with the wardrobe. She didn't really say that, actually. It was more of a forced Happy Holidays with an attitude. But I can dream!

Yesterday I got a really nice gift from a friend of mine, unexpectedly. At 6pm, the door bell was ringing. I was just about to tell the little neighbor girl to go home because it was dark outside already when I realized it was FedEx dropping a package off for me. Yep, 8 beers from out of the area. I'm about to drink the first one right now, the one that caught my eye most. And yes, I'm going to do it at work. Alone! So there!

I am drinking Breckenridge Vanilla Porter brewed by Breckenridge Brewery in Denver, Colorado. The label says "Remarkable" and "Partakable" and "Seldom Seen Never Duplicated". I did have to do a little bit of improvising as I don't have a bottle opener handy here. So I cracked this guy with the back of a mini screwdriver. Worked well!

Caramel with vanilla aroma, sweet, with light hops in the background. The flavors start out with caramel and malts at which point vanilla will start popping in and out constantly. Very noticeable. Not too sweet and actually a little bitter and even slightly sour. I took another whiff of this beer and damn! Lots of powerful vanilla, very intriguing! Very low carbonation, borderline flat, medium body, dry vanilla left behind on your palate. Despite being very vanilla focused and one-dimensional, I did enjoy this beer. I could and would drink it again for sure!

Lickety Split! Crotchless Panty

Votivo Aromatic Poured Candle 50 Hours

Forzieri Vanilla - Swarovski Crystal & Black Hair-Calf Dress Watch

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Doggie Style Classic Pale Ale

Did everyone get out their aluminum poles today? Why you ask? Today is Festivus, of course. If you haven't seen this Seinfeld episode, I'm not sure how you are reading this (considering you have a computer and electricity and therefore must be at least close to civilization). This holiday is so funny, but as LoadedSanta on Twitter says, "Christmas isn't just for Christians! It's a time of celebration for all religions. Even the hilarious ones." Best parts of Festivus: the "Airing of Grievances", where each person tells everyone else all the ways they have disappointed him or her over the past year; and a must round of "Feats of Strength" is great!

Tonight I picked out Doggie Style Classic Pale Ale brewed by Flying Dog Brewery in Denver, Colorado and/or Frederick, Maryland. The skinny yet vicious-looking dog on the label drawing has rigged some kind of colorful winged helicopter type contraption to help him get around.

The aroma is hoppy with lemon and citrus and tea and floral type scents. The flavors start out a bit more malty, with some light caramel, bread and toasted flavors being the most prominent. Not quite sure why but this reminds me a bit of shampoo--specifically my Suave Refreshing Tangerine--a little because of the aroma, but also the texture in my mouth (not that I eat shampoo). Some hops are present and add some bitterness, yet this is nicely balanced between sweet and bitter. Lemon, floral, and more tea flavors stick around before a drier finish. Bread left on the palate. This was a pretty decent beer, the kind you could drink all day!

Festivus For The Rest Of Us T-Shirt :: Seinfeld Festivus Frank Costanza #38

Screw My Wife Please and do her doggie style #13

Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Winterbraun

Two things tonight. Then I do a review.

First, I've been told by Total Wine's Santa that two great breweries will be shipping their beers to my area starting in February. Those are Southern Tier Brewing and The Bruery. I'm not sure which beers, surely not all of them, but any are a great start, so check out their lists that I linked to. Now these are well-respected breweries with kick-ass (so I'm told) beers; this isn't BillyBob's Brew Shack we're talking about here. Enough said!

Second, I really need to lock myself in my room tonight. No, it's just so I can wrap Christmas presents away from prying eyes. A handful of Sammys and three or four episodes of The Office will help!

Today I'm drinking Winterbraun brewed by Lost Coast Brewery & Cafe in Eureka, California. As usual, their label has a crazy design which makes it incredibly difficult to take seriously these offerings. I must concentrate! Today's picture is Picasso-head-snowboarder-dude with skull on his board going over an icy cliff happily.

The aroma is full of chocolate and caramel, malty with just a touch of vanilla. Flavors start out with chocolate, dark fruits and tons of nuttiness. Roasted and Toasted twins keep wrestling in my mouth, too. Some hops and a good dose of citrus orange balance this beer's flavors really nicely. The finish is more bitter and dry with a lingering nutty aftertaste. Just a light hit of the 6.5% alcohol shows through at the end as well. I really liked this beer. What did it for me was the unique orange and hoppy balance that came along after the big dose of nutty flavors, really a nice combination. Try this beer!

Ripstik Caster Board

HeatMax Hot Hands 2 Handwarmer (40 pairs)

High Sierra U.S. Snowboarding Team Single Padded Snowboard Bag

Monday, December 21, 2009

Hibernation Ale

Christmas is on Friday, in case you haven't heard. I've been holding off wishing you a Merry Christmas, but enough already. Here is a special Merry Christmas to all of you! I guess this was before Mr. Garrison became Mrs. Garrison.



Today I'm drinking Hibernation Ale brewed by Great Divide Brewing Company in Denver, Colorado. I've heard people rave about this beer over the past few months, and although we get some of Great Divide's beers here, this guy wasn't one of them. Until last week, what to my wondering eyes should appear? Yep, you guessed it, on the shelf at Total Wine. Sweet! This has been their winter beer since 1995 and it has won a gold and two silvers at the Great American Beer Festival since then. This bottle happened to be bottled on November 12, 2009. I'm really looking forward to this!

Dark fruit and raisin aroma, candied and smothered with booze, lovely. There is also a wonderful sweet caramel aroma to this beer. Caramel and malty flavors to start, sweet. Some brown sugar and dark fruits and molasses are also prominent flavors. The medium to upper-level body is perfect for this beer. Some hops present themselves and balance out the sweet just as you get a good little nip from the 8.7% alcohol. The alcohol, however, is perfectly matched with the dark fruit flavors. Things are a also a little spicy on the back end. The finish is drier along with more boozy alcohol--it's still a welcome warmer yet is nearing the annoying cliff. Excellent beer! I'd recommend you try this if you can get your hands on it!

Christmas Time In South Park--Matt Stone

South Park - Don't Kill Kenny Lounge Pants for men

South Park Men's Kuban Collection Towelie Black Leather Watch #D1527S060

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Chocolate Indulgence

I solicited some feedback from some of my friends on a few beer social networks. I asked what the best beers they've had lately were. Wow, what a response, and it makes me super-duper jealous what I don't have here in Florida. You know that Biblical lesson about not coveting, the one David didn't learn too well when he slept with Bathsheba? Well, screw that, I covet all the beers I can't get here.

For my review today, I was chilling in my front yard in the cool 65 degree Florida afternoon, watching my sons play. Covet that, bitches! (Or at least most of you snowed-in people).

Today I'm drinking Chocolate Indulgence, a "True Belgian-Style Chocolate Stout" brewed by Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, New York. This is a wine-sized bottle, cork and all, brewed with real Belgian Chocolate. The label is also touting their 10th anniversary in 1997 and says "cellared at the brewery" so maybe this guy is two years old? I don't know. Finally, since I have to serve this at 50 degrees, a Dickens quote on the bottle. "There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with chocolate." Needless to say, I have very high expectations!

The aroma is full of rich chocolate, not really like a Hershey bar, not milky, but quality European chocolate that costs an arm and a leg. Might explain the $11 price tag for this guy. There are also dark fruit and alcohol scents in the background. Flavors start out with lots of roasted chocolate and coffee, slightly sweet in the beginning. Surprisingly, the 7% alcohol shows up right in the beginning, nicely highlighting some orange rind and other spicy flavors. There is also a very noticeable burnt flavor that persists throughout the entire experience. A light amount of hops and bitterness keep the other flavors in check and balanced. Carbonation is medium with some fine bubbles and the body is medium as well, not a heavy stout.

With a name like Chocolate Indulgence, I was expecting a buttery smooth and silky texture which never arrived. I mean, well, it was OK but not worthy of the name. The alcohol was a little more prominent than I expected or desired as well. I must admit that I was a little disappointed with this beer. It's good, perhaps bordering or great, but not all I was hoping for. Check it out if you desire. I have another bottle I'll trade you!

Leonidas Belgian Chocolates: Signature General Assortment

Endangered Pleasures: In Defense of Naps, Bacon, Martinis, Profanity, and Other Indulgences

Cuisinart ICE-30BC Pure Indulgence 2-Quart Automatic Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet, and Ice Cream Maker

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Monk in the Trunk Organic Amber Ale

Trifecta. Wal-Mart, Target and Toys 'R' Us in one afternoon. I'm probably going to need counseling. And my tongue is so very sore from biting it a hundred times. Ugly!

Similar situations happened in all three stores, and each handled things differently. Wal-Mart product didn't have a code to scan, I told the cashier it cost $5, she asked me if I was sure, I said yes, I am clean-shaven, the price sounded reasonable, we were spending $100 more, she rang it up. Target register rang up a product for $2 more than it was supposed to be, I called that out, supervisor came, I told her it was a mark-down-thingy-doodle, still clean-shaven, she said OK, I got my $2 back. Finally, Toys R Us, person in front of us buying one of those plastic bouncy balls, I'm guessing the price is like $3 or something like that, this is where I really had to muster all of my patience, Holy Fuck, price check, manager, THE fattest manager then went all the way to the back of the store and returned with a piece of paper 10 minutes later, manager walks away, cashier tries to enter code, it doesn't work, pregnant cashier needs to walk all the way over to the manager's station again, manager comes and enters the magic code for ball, terrible!

Today I'm opening up Monk in the Trunk Organic Amber Ale brewed by Thomas Creek Brewery in Greenville, South Carolina for Inlet Brewing Company in Jupiter, Florida. The bottle has a picture of a monk holding a beer and standing in a trunk with a lighthouse in the background. The label goes on to tell the story about a Belgian monk roaming the earth for the best ingredients for his beer. After being led ashore by the Jupiter Lighthouse, he found the missing component to create the best beer. I'm not sure but maybe brewing the beer in South Carolina instead of Florida was that final component. We'll see.

Caramel sweetness, with a little spicy nutmeg for an aroma. Flavors start out earthy, grainy, dirty and yeasty, hardly a great introduction. You then will taste a little light citrusy lemon and orange, along with some bread flavors. But mostly, just uninspiring, bland, boring and as I mentioned dirty. Could be the organicness. OK, I'm sure it's not so keep the comments to yourself. But get a different beer to drink tonight. This is not it!

Sports Illustrated (1-year)

Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original

Mansilk Silk Boxers Underwear

Friday, December 18, 2009

Sunray Wheat Beer

Since the Sixers and Flyers are sucking (and don't get me wrong, I still expect playoff runs from each), let's talk a little December baseball! You've probably heard that the Phillies got pitching stud and Cy Young Award Winner Roy Halladay this past week. It's too bad they decided they didn't have enough cash or prospects to keep Philly favorite (and also Cy Young winner) Cliff Lee, too. What a dynamic duo they would have made! But in the end, I guess they were worried Lee was going to leave for nothing after next year so better to get Halladay while they could. This guy kicks ass, and I fully expect the Phillies to avenge their World Series loss in 2010. If you don't like the Phillies, well, hmmm, I guess you can learn!

Starting the weekend off with a Sunray Wheat Beer brewed by Terrapin Beer Company in Athens, Georgia. Wasn't sure which beer to choose tonight but considering the two days of big rain we've had here, I decided on the one with the turtle on the label chilling out in the sun on his sunflower perch. The label also says "TASTE THE SUNSHINE!"

The aroma is mild with wheat and light honey. Flavors start out with wheat and banana as the most prominent. You will then taste some honey, fruity pear and even bubble gum flavors. The light initial sweetness is then taken away by some hops, balanced nicely. The flavors are very nice, and this is a super easy drinker. You finish with honey left on your palate. A pretty simple beer, but I liked it and you will too!

Christmas Jollies

Pack of 5 MLB Philadelphia Phillies Wind-Up Mascot Drinking Cups

Philadelphia Phillies Ryan Howard Forever Collectibles 9.5" Super Bighead Bobble Head

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Eel River Porter

When I left my office, I had nothing to say. Then I went to Total Wine on the way home, and that all changed. I've been bugging a few guys there and even online about getting some Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence for a while now. Then Santa (aka Total Wine Twitter guy who doesn't even work in my store except for beer classes) sent me a message earlier this week that 12 bottles would be delivered to my store on Wednesday (yesterday), and one of those bottles would be set aside in my name. What an awesome gesture! And 12 bottles? They may as well not send any. Have you seen Total Wine? They could lose 12 bottles in a corner somewhere of this monster place! 12 = 0! OK, maybe not.

Not only did I get my expected beer (and actually grabbed two since I'm selfish like that), but WOW! I also got: Hibernation Ale, Double Bastard, Squall IPA, Jolly Pumpkin/Nøgne-Ø/Stone Special Holiday Ale (or whatever order that crazy name goes in) and a Cigar City beer which even though they are in Tampa hadn't reached the East Coast yet (until now, obviously, duh). I did chat with a guy from TW that was taking beer inventory and said he prefers Heinys and I did have the courtesy to tell the manager to put my reserved beer back on the shelf since I took mine from there (not sure he knew what the hell I was talking about). Anyway, great trip! I was so happy that when it rained like a MoFo on the way home, I still had a smile on my face. (Funny thing, when I was searching for an image today, try Total Wine Beer in Google Images and you will really see how much I love my BFF).

Tonight I'm drinking Eel River Porter brewed by Eel River Brewing Company in Scotia, California. This beer is Certified Organic and in fact the label says that the brewery is America's 1st Certified Organic Brewery. You all know how important that is to me!

There is a sweet caramel and brown sugar aroma with some dark fruits there too. Smells luscious, if that is possible! A sweet beginning in the mouth as well--chocolate and toffee and brown sugar and honey and malty. Great flavors, maybe a bit too sweet. However, some hops and citrus do come in and provide some bittering relief and even some tartness. Some light fruits and burnt flavors also step forward as the sweetness subsides. A little syrupy yet not super thick and just the right amount of carbonation. Although this beer was on the sweet side, it was enjoyable and I would certainly drink it again. You should check it out too!

Sports Illustrated (1-year)

The Winter Harvest Handbook: Year Round Vegetable Production Using Deep Organic Techniques and Unheated Greenhouses

ToeSox Yoga / Pilates Toe Socks, Organic Cotton

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Never Summer Ale

I got my credit card statement today. Let me ask you something. Am I the last one to know that using a credit card is better than exchanging money in foreign country?

Don't get me wrong. You NEED cash in a foreign country. In Colombia, it's mainly used to pay off kidnappers so they don't kill you for not having any cash (seriously, that happened to my cousin-in-law). But you don't need to trade major amounts of currency (unless of course your are purchasing drugs and hookers and casino chips, then you need cash).

For you MBA business student geniuses, let me build you a case study. It was a hassle to get this stupid woman at the local grocery store to trade $200 at at rate of 1800 pesos per dollar, despite the fact that she was raping me of my money. Two days later, my mother-in-law got me 1870 pesos per dollar at some other rip-off place. But my statement today told me that I got 1974 pesos per dollar on the one credit card transaction I did while I was there, and that included a 1% fee they charged me for the privilege. (That's a significant increase, math wizards!) And the only reason I did that one transaction was because I got a 15% discount on admission for using Mastercard, so they got me that on top of a great rate. Duh dudes. Learn from my story!

Tonight I'm drinking Never Summer Ale brewed by Boulder Beer Company in Boulder, Colorado. The name intrigues me, mostly because I have the exact opposite problem, Never Winter State. Anyway, this is their winter seasonal and the third release in their Looking Glass Series.

Hoppy and fruity with a faint caramel and spicy smell in the background. Flavors start out hoppy, a lot of hoppy, with a nice grapefruit bite and some citrus in there too. Some black pepper adds to the already pushy flavors, but some caramel and malts come around and ease those flavors back to a very nicely balanced beer. This beer has a bit of an earthiness to it as well. Carbonation is another aggressive aspect in this beer, and then toward the end you get a little kick in the ass from the alcohol. Medium body. Right on target bitter finish. Lots of big players in this beer. None are, say, UFC champions, but each is a big school-yard bully. However, their teacher somehow makes them play nicely together. An all-around nice beer. Try it this winter season, even if you (are unfortunate enough to) live in Florida.

Priceless: The Case that Brought Down the Visa/MasterCard Bank Cartel

Victorinox Swiss Army Champion Plus Pocket Knife

Ove' Glove Hot Surface Handler, 1 Glove (Pack of 2)