Thursday, September 30, 2010

Left Hand Oktoberfest

One of my online friends who I hadn't spoken with in a while randomly asked me one day last week if I planned on changing my header here. I played along and asked why. That is when she told me that the puke green header I have now "offends" her. I wasn't offended by her typical blunt comment, but it did get me thinking. After five minutes of thinking, she had already designed two new headers to replace what I have now, and she was already bugging me to put them in immediately.

Back to the thinking part. I already knew she was right, but I have always believed that having unique and quality content is better than spending time putting sparkle on a piece of shit. Well, the time has come to balance that out again with some upgrades. I have over 700 posts and as one of my coworkers said, an "amateur" appearance. So over the next few weeks I plan on doing some work behind the scenes to project more professionalism. Pray for me that I don't fuck this up! Shiny Ferrari, here I come!

Today I'm drinking Left Hand Oktoberfest, a Marzen brewed by Left Hand Brewing Company in Longmont, Colorado. I first drank this beer last year on my birthday (write it down) while discussing my trip to Andres Carne de Res in Bogota. Matching my intentions for this website, Left Hand did a major face-lift for their label designs. A mega improvement, I must say! This bottle depicts some mythical dragon-lion-beast with large fangs. Design by Moxie Sozo and Art by Charles Bloom. The bottle says it's MALT LIQUOR. Bottled on 71310.

Malty aroma with orange and tea and bread. Malty sweet flavors are at the forefront as well. Caramel and bread and a honey-flavored consistency, if you get what I mean. Very fruity as well, like pears and apples that are past their prime, almost to a cider state. That was a bit strange. Sweet was then challenged by a slight bitterness and giant spicy nutmeg and vanilla components. A bit all over the place. Strange fruit and that overdone spiciness are what killed this for me. Didn't particularly enjoy this at all.

Oktoberfest Hat With Braids

AXL Badwater SRO Left Hand Electric Guitar, Antique Brown

Invicta Men's 2772 Force Collection Lefty Terra Military Watch

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Lost Abbey Red Barn Ale

Real quick with the bullshit because I got a big beer to review! Plus I'm not much for chit-chat anyway. Tropical Storm Nicole shifted paths slightly during the day so we're not getting much wind from that bitch. However, she has been dumping ridonculous amounts of rain for two days straight now. Next, you all remember my Punkin Ale print story from a few days ago? Well Big Mama and The Goddess of Gear made my story even better today. But you'll need to hold tight for that one. Soon, I promise. Finally, if you didn't hear, the Phillies clinched the NL East division title. I didn't say anything a few days ago mainly because it's no big deal. World Series or bust!

Tonight I am drinking The Lost Abbey Red Barn Ale brewed by Port Brewing Company (aka The Lost Abbey) in San Marcos, California. This beer came back from my friend's business trip to Denver a few weeks back. Thanks, traveler dude! And another score, as this brewery has quite an awesome reputation (for their beer as well as for not being available in Florida).

Now I didn't even know the style of the beer until I opened it up, but I guess had I been thinking, the "barn" part of the name might have given it away. This is a Saison with that funky yeast strain and "farmhouse" component to it. This guy came in a wine-sized bottle so I gotta stop typing and get to the drinking. Hold on! A quaint picture on the label depicts a small barn in a field by a stream. The story on the back goes on to give you the barn's perspective on life. This beer is brewed in honor of summer which happens to be their favorite season.

Big head, enough said. Fruity apple aroma, a little sour and a lot funky, which is when I discovered the style. There is a very large yeast flavor right out of the gate. Yeast and fruity bits along with a distinct bread dough. Lemon, sour apple, pear. Also present are a large dose of coriander and a smaller amount of pepper. Finally the star shows up. Yep, funky big wet dog! All of the flavors are working together in perfect harmony. What a nice creamy texture this beer has as well. Wrapping things up, the light initial bitterness followed by sour fruit and a big dose of wet basement, on any other day you might think you were in the County Jail. But not today, because you're drinking this terrific beer!

IAMS Dog Food Ground, Savory Dinner with Wholesome Lamb & Rice, 12.3-Ounce Cans (Pack of 24)

Wet Dog Man ~ Paul Chesne

Smell of Wet Dogs After a Summertime Rain ~ Aaron Misenheimer

Not spectacular, these pics, but I was fighting darkness and a tropical storm and 120% humidity. Don't like it? I have the bottle here still for you to photograph!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Poet Oatmeal Stout

It's really raining! I'm not even sure this tropical system has a name, but let me tell you a little ditty about Rob and the Rain. It rained most of the day and really started coming down just as I needed to pick up both children from school. As I told local weather anchor Julie Durda this morning, the neighbors that were mocking me this past weekend for doing maintenance on my ark will not be laughing by tomorrow night! (If you don't get it, pick up a copy of Genesis). Anyway, it's raining. And my flood insurance policy was just renewed on time. Thanks for asking.

Tonight I'm drinking The Poet Oatmeal Stout brewed by New Holland Brewing in Holland, Michigan. This might be the last one to come back from my Pittsburgh trip last month. The label depicts an angry raven on a branch in front of a bright full moon. I'm guessing you're supposed to be thinking back to high school literature class and Edgar Allen Poe's classic poem.

Chocolate aroma. Oh and roasted honey if that makes any sense, like a kid's cereal. The flavors start off a little more bitter than I was expecting. Roasted and slightly burnt bitter chocolate are pretty much the prevailing flavors from start to finish. The beer does seem to sweeten and show a little more caramel character after it warms up a bit, and for me that was a big plus. Creamy texture but not particularly smooth as there is a hoppy bite as this one goes down. If you love that roasty malt flavor in your beer, this one's for you. You will get that no matter what, but my suggestion is to let this one sit around for between 10 and 15 minutes, depending if you live in Canada or Hell. Pretty solid beer. Check it out! The End.

The Best of Poe: The Tell-Tale Heart, The Raven, The Cask of Amontillado, and 30 Others

Set of 10 Baltimore Ravens Pins 1.25" Buttons

Manic Panic ~ Semi-Permanent Hair Dye ~ Raven Black

Sorry for the slightly crappy pictures, but I didn't want to use the flash and it was dark outside at 5pm due to the weather. Ya dig?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale 2010

Tonight I'm drinking Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale brewed by Weyerbacher Brewing Company in Easton, Pennsylvania. I first tried this beer on a day many of you would like to forget. No, stupid, not Valentine's Day or even Christmas (for you non-believers)! It happened on the day I joined Twitter! If you don't know what I'm talking about, feel free to follow me for basically the same stuff you find here, just in 140 characters or less and in real time.

So the bottle depicts the Pumpkin King with his robe and crown and scepter leading his minions into Halloween battle! Very strong nutmeg and cinnamon aroma. Spicy flavors also kick things off with a little sweetness as well. But there is also a nice hoppy and slightly bitter contrast. The 8% alcohol is a secondary player which also complements the spices. I'd say that I don't taste any pumpkin. The body is pretty decent but the malty flavors are more like pancake syrup and dough and brown sugar with a touch of pear juice. Those flavors are pretty nice, though, so I'm not really doing anything except making an observation. The spices, however, well they went slightly overboard. I wish they were just a little more muted. Anyway, I thought this beer was very good and is definitely in the top bracket for the style.

Philadelphia Eagles Pumpkin Carving Kit

Pumpkin, a Super Food for All 12 Months of the Year

Mullins Square Pumpkin Baby Costume, Orange - 6-18 Months

Sunday, September 26, 2010

4 Seasons IPA

I just spent three hours doing yard work. That totally sucked, but it did get me out of going to Chuck E Cheese's, which is one of the absolute worst places on earth. Not even on an empty Sunday morning can I stand the sight of that place.

Today I decided on 4 Seasons IPA brewed by Voodoo Brewery in Meadville, Pennsylvania. This one came back from my trip to Pittsburgh a month ago. The idea here is that Voodoo will brew four different IPAs, one for each season, with different hop and malt profiles to reflect the changing season. OK, not a bad idea. I am guessing this one is for summer as there are three people fishing from their boat on a lake on the front  label. I have been known to be wrong though.

Heavy citrus, mainly grapefruit and lemon, with some faint bread aroma behind that. The flavors are very lemony, to the point of puckering my mouth. Extremely astringent with medicinal alcohol just bullying the entire beer around. Strong carbonation, too. Seriously, this is like chewing a lemon peel. Finally, everything begins to taste sour in your mouth. No balance whatsoever and not very enjoyable.

The Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook

Kheper Games, Inc., Ex-Husband Voodoo Doll

West African Voodoo Juice Hot Sauce with Voodoo Doll and Pins

Click me to make me large enough to read the story!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

DogZilla Black IPA

This afternoon I'm drinking DogZilla Black IPA brewed by Laughing Dog Brewing in Ponderay, Idaho. The label depicts vicious dog beast DogZilla wreaking havoc on beer-bottle city. Good thing this is a big 22 ouncer; otherwise he might not have fit the dimensions. I'm betting the two bi-planes buzzing around will not be able to shoot him down either. There is also a story.

Giant fluffy head which never really goes away completely.  I was pretty careful pouring too. The aroma is malty, but there is also a large amount of citrusy orange and lemon behind it. Burnt nutty and bread flavors start things off while some sweet caramel tries to poke its head in there. At the same time, hoppy and bitter are also making sure that they have your attention. Sweet and bitter are both present and rather than blending to a balanced neutral, they remain distinct, playing off of each other. More bread, then some big lemon citrus bite, pine and sharp spiciness. Bitter finally dominates and bitter lemon is left behind on your palate. Nice carbonation. Pretty good beer, too!

LARGE - Dogzilla Dog Costume

Dogzilla - Chef Dogs Salt & Pepper Shakers

Dogzilla Big on Dogs Magnets, Candace Reiter

Friday, September 24, 2010

Smashed Pumpkin Ale

Perhaps it's finally not rumor anymore since Brewkkake broke the story earlier today that Allagash Brewing decided to stop distributing their beers to Florida. Now I was expecting a better "Pulls Out" joke from Brewkkake in his narrative, but you could see he was clearly shaken from the news. Apparently this brewery was his introduction to good beer. (BTW, I neglected to use the word "Craft" there because, despite good intentions, I think many people might construe that as a totally snobby exclusive clubby word!) For me, Allagash was limited here and was decent, but whatever. There are other beers that easily replace what was available! No tears!

For example, tonight I'm starting my weekend with a little help from my (other Maine brewery) friends. Those friends work at Shipyard Brewing Company in Portland, Maine, and my selection is Smashed Pumpkin Ale. This beer is a member of Pugsley's Signature Series, and in fact Alan Pugsley is pictured on the back of the bottle (and blurrily below).

I recently had the XXXX IPA from this Pugsley series and was amazed. Terrific! I even used that beer as exhibit A in a First Grade math lesson. The 22 ounce bottle has a beautiful presentation with dark grays and whites standing out on top of a rich Flyers Orange background. Cute little pumpkin in the middle too. The cap and neck is (was) covered with gold foil as well. Drink at 55 degrees F.

Now this guy has a nice pumpkin aroma and a strong nutmeg and ginger spicy complement to that. The flavors start out quite rich and malty, distinctly pumpkin all around. The initial profile is sweet, yet a whopping wave of 9% alcohol rolls in to kick that down a notch or five. Balance returns. A sweet orange flavor also persists throughout the entire experience. Brown sugar and plenty of spices abound, but not just the nutmeggy pie types. There is also a definite hoppy black pepper bite. Not a smooth beer; rather, prickly in the mouth with the alcohol and spices and carbonation. Overall, a little rough around the edges, a little boozy by the end. However, I really liked this one. Nice job, Shipyard!

Pug Dog Plush Toy "Pirate Pugsley" 7"

The Good Beer Guide to New England

Primal Wear Men's Mojo India Pale Ale Beer Short Sleeve Cycling Jersey - MOJJER

 Again, pictures inside due to torrential rain. Sorry you're so blurry, Alan, but we get the general idea.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Breckenridge Oatmeal Stout

Today I'm drinking Breckenridge Oatmeal Stout brewed by Breckenridge Brewery in Denver, Colorado. This brewery has had their beers in Florida for a while, but not in South Florida until very recently. The bottle depicts a moon wearing a cap and grinning a suspicious smile while seemingly saying DARK. The bottle caption goes on to call this beer "a tall, dark, and dreamy stout worthy of the title".

The aroma is pretty weak, with faint hints of burnt and roasted chocolate. The flavors? Much better. Roasted malt with bitter chocolate starts things off, with some lightly burnt nuttiness right behind that. I also noticed from the beginning how smooth this beer is, considering some in the style have that harsh angry bitterness in your mouth. Definitely a smoky beer with just a hint of spice. Low to medium carbonation is OK. Not a bad beer though I'd prefer less burnt and much less smoke, but that's probably just me. I know others enjoy those aspects and that I should just keep my personal preferences out of it. Am I right? To stay with the label theme... Dream On! Check it out!

Breckenridge: A Guide to the Sights and Slopes of Summit County (Tourist Town Guides)

Irish Setter Men's Breckenridge Jacket

Northside Women's Breckenridge Zip Front Winter Boot,Glacier Blue

Sorry the pictures aren't up to their normal fabulousness. Had to take them indoors. There's been a monsoon outside all day long.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Punkin Ale 2010

Marq Spusta Punkin Ale

First, this is my 700th post on this blog. Thanks for reading and putting up with me.

Almost exactly a year ago, I had my first Punkin Ale from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Milton, Delaware. I recently picked up their 2010 version and decided tonight was the night to drink it. Why, you ask? Well let me tell you.

I recently purchased my second Marq Spusta print in his series commemorating Dogfish Head's seasonal beers. I missed out on Aprihop (but would love to grab that), but I was able to purchase the Festina Peche print (pictures of it framed, with review). The second one (for me) I mentioned is Punkin Ale, which I received today. Is that enough reason for you? Yeah, I didn't think so. Jeez, so demanding!

So let's amp this story up a notch with a little drama. Mr. UPS guy rang my doorbell a few days ago and started to hand me a poster package. Yeah, I knew what was in it. Just as I was about to take it, a piece of paper fell out of one end. Oops! One end of the tube had nothing on it (and therefore nothing was inside the package, duh). He took it with him and marked "refused" on his little pad while suggesting I contact the shipper.

Having previously purchased the Festina Peche print, I had a few email addresses from Dogfish Head that I reached out to right away. I had barely pressed send when I received a return email from a lady who signed her email Big Mama and has the title Celebration Specialist/Brewceptionist. Just another indication of what I love about this brewery and their creativity, highlighting their slogan "Off-Centered Ales for Off-Centered People"!

Anyway, Big Mama felt my pain and disappointment from over a thousand miles away and made sure that a replacement was sent out that same morning. That was two days ago. Today I received my Punkin Ale print from the same UPS guy, and this time he was grinning. It is awesome! Thank you, Big Mama and Dogfish Head! That is why today is the day to drink and review this beer!

The label is simple. My Punkin Ale was bottled in 2010 23C. The aroma is malty Thanksgiving, fairly light. The flavors, however, are much more prominent. Pumpkin is not necessarily a strong flavor though. You start with some brown sugar, and if you use your imagination, it's baked into the pie crust. Granted the pumpkin flavors come next, but I feel they are a little more like your garden-variety vegetables than pumpkin, mainly because there is no sweetness. Large doses of nutmeg and cinnamon flavors do easily help you remember your Thanksgiving dream a few seconds later. Good balance in this beer, not annoyingly sweet or overly spiced, and the 7% alcohol gives just enough nip at the end to remind you that you always take the day after Thanksgiving as a personal day! Good body, nice carbonation. Very pleasant beer. I might try to cook with this one this Thanksgiving if I don't end up in (Thanksgiving-less) Colombia!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Big Sound Scotch Ale

Tonight I'm drinking Big Sound Scotch Ale brewed by Cigar City Brewing in Tampa, Florida. I think this was the second beer to make it down my way in SE FL, only after their Warmer Winter Winter Warmer Ale. So I've been sitting on this one for a while, and we've had half a dozen others since I purchased this one. Not sure why I was waiting, but it never seemed like the right time. Until tonight!

The wine-sized bottle is cool, but without the story on the back, you'd have no clue what everything means. Unless of course, you are in their cool Tampa clique. Mainly, you are viewing plaid-covered bagpipes decorated with strange band stickers. REMANES sticks out oddly. Finally you will discover that this beer is dedicated to Punk Rock Bagpiper buddy Gino, who plays with the Tampa Bay Pipes and Drums. Label design by Matt Callahan at Man Made

Big Head! That was probably partially my fault, see the picture, but it was definitely aggressive despite my pour. Caramel aroma, rich, sweet and inviting. Sweet caramel and toffee flavors start things off. Some toasted nutty flavors come in to play shortly afterward, slowly taking away a little of that sweetness. So far, rich and thick, luscious, creamy, smooth.

Having a full wine bottle to figure this beer out, you start to taste some chocolate and light spiciness in the background. It also took me a while to pinpoint one other flavor--Fig Newtons. And once identified, it was perfectly clear. The 8.5% alcohol is complexly intertwined and really works well with all the flavors, and actually also helps to balance the initial sweetness. By the end of the bottle, the toasted toffee and Fig Newton flavors are really persistent. They were and remain sweet, but you will never think this beer was too sweet (you = me). Great carbonation, too, which you probably figured from my opening statement. Excellent beer! My favorite in this style by a long shot! Visit me and we'll split a bottle. I promise.

Take To The Field ~ St. Andrew's Pipes & Drums of Tampa Bay

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

MLB Temporary Tampa Bay Devil Rays Tattoos