Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Komodo Dragon Fly Black IPA

So I just received the final Marq Spusta Dogfish Head seasonal print today. This one commemorates their winter seasonal, Chicory Stout. I'll have it framed in the next few weeks to hang next to the other three. Very cool! There are a few pictures below if you are interested. I actually showed Marq the first three posters, and while he thought the framing job was good, he was able to detect that they were not completely flat. I'll have to talk to the bone-in-ear guy at Michael's about that!

Tonight I'm drinking Komodo Dragon Fly Black IPA brewed by Upland Brewing Company in Bloomington, Indiana. I've mentioned before that I prefer the other style name, Cascadian Dark Ale, for this type of beer based on the fact (my opinion) that this beer has zero to do with an IPA. Don't be fooled! Great art on the label with a flying Komodo Dragon. Could be a movie character and reminds me of some of the creatures you might find from The Neverending Story. Another beer brought to you by Marathon Marie.

Wonderful roasty chocolate aroma, lightly burnt, yet still hoppy. Hoppy flavors with tons of roasted coffee and burnt malts, very aggressive flavors. Bitter chocolate comes next. Then an annoying smoke component. Semi-flat. Very dry finish, kind of like Guinness. I'm sure this is great, but I don't really like it or the style. And shit! I just bought (the very expensive) Cigar City's Either and Or a few weeks ago, too. Yo, Marathon Marie, you said you are in love with this style, right? I'm thinking the next time we agree to do a trade, you can pick Either or Or. Sound good?

Community Coffee Private Reserve Ground Coffee, 100% Chicory, 12-Ounce Bags (Pack of 6)

Cascadian Farms Organic Chewy Granola Bar, Chocolate Chip, 6-Count Boxes (Pack of 6)

Brewing Up a Business: Adventures in Entrepreneurship from the Founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Hey, Baby. Call Me!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Schlafly No. 15 Ale

Today is the second anniversary of this blog. There will be no balloons and no cake, though. I don't really see any accomplishment worth celebrating based on an annual occurrence. After all, even if I posted weekly or monthly this day would have come. The accomplishment I am proud of is the amount of [quality] content and effort I've put into this site. There aren't many blogs that have almost 800 reviews. I hope I've also kept you entertained along the way! Enough on that topic.

Today I'm going to give you a few observations and "pro" tips for visiting Disney World. Some may apply to other parks as well. And I know none of this is really new, so let me try to keep it spicy! If you're not interested, there is a beer review below all of these. Oh, and feel free to share your own tips if you'd like.

1. You should try to be a Florida resident. We get tickets for almost 50% less that everyone else, but Disney will check to make sure, ID's and biometrics and all, so don't try to cheat. Also, we don't need to take airplanes, saving a bundle. Tickets for my family of four on a simple 3-day/3-park pass cost $550, which is still pricey. If I had to pay more than that, I'd feel ripped off.

2. If you are driving, watch out for Roscoe P. Coltrane in every Florida county north of Palm Beach County. Probably there is an "uncivilized" redneck zone north and west of Orlando too, but I'm not sure where those officially start and stop. I saw a guy last Wednesday pass an unmarked car going 80 in a 70 and he got lit up. And I was following him at the same rate. Whew, close one!

3. The Fake Mary Poppins at Disney is much nicer than the Real Mary Poppins. A lot younger too!

4. Make sure you take those plastic rain slickers with you. Not only will they protect you from the rain, but Disney has some cool rides that will drench you and ruin the rest of your day if you don't have protection (Splash Mountain/Giant Innertube Rapids Ride). Disney would be happy to sell you one for around $8 so again, buy ahead of time for a few pennies and a few minutes of planning. Don't give in to the man!

5. Use the FastPass system. And plan how you will use it. Once you get a FastPass, you will need to wait for a while to get another. I'd recommend waiting until that time, printed there on the ticket, then getting another one, maximizing your time. Remember, some rides are super popular and it may be hours until you come back with the original pass.

6. Use the singles line. This is an extremely overlooked awesome place. My son and I rode the Expedition Everest roller coaster 9 times with an average wait of 10 minutes per time. Many of you know this line and how great it works in a ski lift line. Personally, that is actually better because the "ride" there is a lot longer and you don't need to be with your asshole brother fighting. But for amusement rides, it's almost as sweet.

7. Don't arrive early for the shows. Well, OK, 5-10 minutes, not the recommended 30-45 minutes. Those suggested times are for Disney's benefit, not yours. Unless you are the Nemo or Lion King nerd geek freak of this lifetime and need to be in the front row, just show up a few minutes early.

8. If you have a car and a choice of using it or taking the hotel transportation, choose the car. I guess there may be some exceptions if you are at one of the super close Disney hotels, but I stayed at a Disney hotel and the $14 parking rate was the best money I spent all day. Come and go as I please, no waiting around for a bus, no smelly foreigners next to me, total convenience. Oh, and very importantly, take a picture of the row and lot you are in, or write it down. Minnie, Pluto, Jasmin, Unicorn... After a full day around all these same characters, you will forget!

9. Take your lunch! Or at least your drinks. Disney allows soft coolers and cans of soda and water bottles and juices are A-OK with security. A backpack might be a better option if you don't have kids and a stroller to hang the cooler on. Juice boxes, by the way, are also OK in Magic Kingdom and probably some of the others, but in Animal Kingdom, they are worried about the straws with their animals, so they are not permitted. I learned this the hard way last year in Sea World (not a Disney Park) when the dude made me throw away 10 straws and we needed to drink without them.

10. I might even suggest bringing a stroller to people without kids. It's great for pushing your bags and cooler around. If you do have kids, don't think "I'll just rent one" because you will get taken for around $13 per day depending on how many days you commit to. And the Disney strollers are industrial and suck Mickey's balls. They are not too convenient or comfortable; rather they are made for daily abuse. When you listen to me and bring your own, be sure to decorate it in some way to make it stand out from all the others. It will get moved around the stroller parking by the staff, and finding it will be worse than any day at the airport baggage claim!

Hey Look! I just made a Top Ten List! Print this list NOW! Seriously, it's that important!

Tonight I'm drinking Schlafly No. 15 Ale brewed by The Saint Louis Brewery in Saint Louis, Missouri. Mine was "Bottled With Love" on 07 08 2010. This will be my first beer from this brewery, sent to me by Marathon Marie a few weeks ago.

Wow, the color is much darker than I was expecting. Hoppy, citrus lemon aroma plus some sweeter fruit all rolled into one, very inviting. Lemon and hoppy flavors mirror the aroma with a pleasant and refreshing citrus start. There are some sweet orange and peach flavors as well, balancing the beer perfectly. Lightly spicy with a good wheat texture and background flavor. What I really am enjoying, though, is this tart and slightly sour flavor that each sip leaves behind, very appealing from both a flavor and tingly taste bud sensation. Good carbonation. Simple and different, I really liked this beer! Check it out for sure!

Update 11/30/2010: I already made a mention of this in the comments, but since several people have told me, I thought it was worth it to add this information here. Schlafly No. 15 has been discontinued so that the brewery could start a new series. Here is a good article detailing their plans. Anyway, if you love this beer or want to try it before it's gone, I'd suggest getting to the store now!

Toy Story 3

Mini Mickey: The Pocket-Sized Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World (Unofficial Guides)

The Dukes of Hazzard - The Complete TV Series (Seasons 1-7)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Industrial India Pale Ale

Went grocery shopping this morning. No sooner did I come home than I was being bullied into putting up the Christmas Tree. That was actually fine. But then I had to string my pre-strung-and-lit tree with more lights since this tree has a bunch of sections burned out and I don't know the solution to fixing them. Later, Big Ass Ham will be prepared and eaten. I've had enough Olive Macaroni Garden McDonald's Grill type crap for a while, which is what we ate in the evenings after Disney the last few days.

Today I'm drinking Industrial IPA brewed by Diamond Knot Brewing Company in Mukilteo, Washington. This is the first beer I've had from this brewery. This and three or four others just recently became available at my local Total Wine. The label says these guys have been "fermenting change in taste since 1994". The label also depicts an old-school underwater scuba suit, old cartoon style, interesting.

Since I was looking at this beer right next to one just called IPA, no "Industrial", I asked the brewery via Twitter about the difference. I got this prompt reply (you'll see that the reply is over 140 characters, but don't bother calling me a liar. I combined a few tweets to make it better for your viewing pleasure. Trust me, this is all about you.): "IPA is a traditional NW IPA, hits of grapefruit and ceder imparted by heavy-handed adds of Galena and Columbus hops 40 IBU 6.2% ABV. Industrial IPA is the surly big brother, dark copper, a distinct malty sweetness with an intensely hoppy middle, dry hopped 80 IBU 8.2% ABV."

Malty bread aroma with some spiciness in the background. Sweet and malty and fruity start. Bread and flowers are my first thoughts. Nice orange and caramel flavors are dominant. There are also herbal tea and woody nuances in the background. A weak black pepper spice also dodges in and out. Now I do like a sweet balance to my IPA's and even more to my Double IPA's, but this was too sweet. I expected some kind of kick and bite and bitterness, but this beer was missing those components. A little weak in the carbonation category as well. Dry finish shows just a little bit of the 7.9% alcohol (not sure why Twitter told me 8.2% but I can certainly read 7.9% in front of me now). Industrial IPA certainly was flavorful and it was certainly easy to finish all 22 ounces. I was just hoping for a little more balance the other way, which is a pretty odd DIPA statement. Check it out.

Sterling Silver Diamond Love-Knot Pendant (1/4cttw), 18"

Toysmith 4M Tin Can Robot

8" Mark V Brass Dive Helmet: Navy Diver

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Lucky U IPA

Tonight (which was a month ago, tonight) I'm drinking Lucky U IPA brewed by Breckenridge Brewery in Denver, Colorado. This beer is "A Hoppy Homage To A Denver Landmark, The Tivoli Brewery". "DRINK UP FORTUITOUS ONE!"

For me, the Lucky U name made me think of these jeans that I bought in college. The fly actually had those words printed on it. Unfortunately, I never got to use that line, though not for a lack of trying!

Well, the beer color is identical to the label color, so hopefully you have your computers (or phones, jeez) adjusted appropriately. Mostly tropical fruity aroma with a hint of spice behind it. Wow, the flavors are not very powerful at all! A little lemon and orange citrus plus a little black pepper spice. And that, folks, is just about it. Balanced yet watery and fairly bland. Light body, medium carbonation, refreshing. Bitter left on the palate at the end. Hmmm. Big Bro 471 kicked this little brother's ass all around town! Pass on this one as there are plenty of other alternatives.

Lucky Brand Men's 181 Jean

Feng Shui Lucky Cats

Zippo Lucky Ace High Polish Chrome Pocket Lighter

Friday, November 26, 2010

Newcastle Brown Ale

Remember when I reviewed Newcastle Summer Ale a few months back? Well this was the same deal--the same account representative from Formula PR sent me two bottles of Newcastle Brown Ale. Again, no strings attached and I am not being compensated.

I have had this beer numerous times, just not for a few years. If my memory serves me correctly, I am going to worship this beer in comparison to the Summer Ale. As you can see, this one comes bottled in clear glass and there is a story on the back label which you can read below (if you can read, which makes me adding these extra comments even more ironic because you wouldn't be able to read this either. Hmmm.)

So I did the taste test recently... Earthy, grassy, nutty aroma with a corn and grain background. I DID NOT enjoy the smell. Quite a bit sweeter than I remembered this beer, yet not overly sweet. Tea flavors mix with some faint nuttiness. Bread and caramel try to make a go of it too. Smooth, with butter texture even making me think butter flavors. Decent, but no where near great or extraordinary. I guess that says a lot for my memory, too. Many much better options.

Newcastle Brown Ale Bar Wall Mirror

Newcastle United 10/11 Home Soccer Jersey

Ed Hardy Men's Hr Newcastle Highrise Sneaker

Thursday, November 25, 2010

K-9 Cruiser Winter Ale

Happy Thanksgiving! This is the third review I've published today of beers you should skip this holiday season. Festie, Southern Tier Harvest and now this one. I am, however, considering purchasing a Ralph Steadman print. What a fabulous artist. But for today, stick to my beer recommendations! BTW "Tonight" (below) is not "tonight"!

Tonight I'm drinking K-9 Cruiser Winter Ale brewed by Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick, Maryland. Psycho dog on the label snowboarding on one leg down a 60 degree slope. Nice shades too! There is a wishful thinking story about what a dog could do for you on the slopes, see picture below. This guys has 7.4% alcohol and 30 IBUs.

Nutty, herbal, malty, dark bread aroma. Not bad. Big prickly carbonation is what you get in the beginning, or at least what you'll notice most in your mouth. Malty, with a touch of bitterness in the background. Bready, herbal tea, cherries. There is also quite a bit of spiciness. After a few sips, the dominant flavor sticks out and it's just a weird medicinal thing. The alcohol is warming, as promised. More of the strange hits the palate in the finish. I can name six other beers from this brewery I'd rather have in my glass right now. What I'm saying is skip this guy!

Gonzo: The Art ~ Ralph Steadman

Pelican Space Scooter Snowboard

Powersports Motorcycle Ski & Snow Goggles

Southern Tier Harvest Special Ale

Happy Thanksgiving! This is the second beer to skip this holiday season. Check out Festie for the first, which I published this morning. There will be a third later this afternoon as well. Stick around, or subscribe via email or a feed in the right column. This is good advice! If you missed it earlier, you should also not pay attention to "today" type time references.

Today I'm drinking Southern Tier Harvest Special Ale brewed by Southern Tier Brewing Company in Lakewood, New York. This is their fall seasonal.

The aroma is quite bitter with grapefruit and pine, yet fruity too. Hoppy bitter start, yet there is a sweet answer right away. A bit like drinking flowers, if you can use your imagination. Citrus is paired with bread and tea, not bad initial flavors. But after a few sips you will start tasting some dirty and medicinal flavors. There is also one other flavor that I can't quite put my tongue on, but it's very persistent. All I can think of is that it is like chewing on the green parts of some plants. Dry finish. Good carbonation. Not the most horrible beer ever, and there are glimpses of good flavors, but I can't get past those bad aspects. Pass!

Harvest ~ Neil Young

Charlie Brown Christmas Tree - 18"

PowerBar Harvest Whole Grain Energy Bar, Apple Cinnamon Crisp, 2.29-Ounce Bars (Pack of 15)


Happy Thanksgiving! Based on the amount of you that didn't show up last Thanksgiving, I'm going to give you a reason to stop by today, a must read series on what not to drink this holiday season, starting today with turkey day. I'll be publishing three reviews today of below average beers I've tasted over the past month. Be sure to take notes! (Oh, and don't bother commenting on the "today" or other time references. I'm not drinking these today. I'm at Magic Kingdom!)

Today I'm drinking Festie brewed by Starr Hill Brewery in Crozet, Virginia. The label depicts a Ferris Wheel with the Starr Hill star as the center structure of it. "Life is a carnival" says the label. Purchase before February, and I'll just guess they mean 2011.

Not much for an aroma, perhaps a little spice is all. Tart and a little sour apple and orange start things off. Bread and grain and caramel and earth. Very manufactured! Nothing is working together at all. Prickly carbonation. Kinda yuck, chewing on an ugly stick of butter. Didn't finish it. Pass every time!

K'NEX Thrill Rides - Light-Up Ferris Wheel

Ferris Bueller's Day Off Bueller...Bueller... Edition (Special Collector's Edition)

Olde Thompson 20-Jar Ferris Wheel Spice Rack

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout -- Beer Pancakes Guest Post

Beer Pancakes didn't get a beer photo for this review, but this is where he drank it!

So I'm on my way to Disney for a few days. You know nothing says Thanksgiving quite like Cinderella and Mickey! Anyway, I think my hotel has internet access but in case not, I've programmed a few special posts for you guys between now and Sunday.

The first treat is a guest post by Beer Pancakes, who you'll remember from such hits as Founders Breakfast Stout and Frye's Leap IPA. Well, he's back with another review. Give him your undivided attention and let him know what you think. Oh, and you should follow @BeerPancakes.

Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout

My first guest post here was an encouragement to drink beer with breakfast as well as a review of one of the most well known breakfast beers: Founders Breakfast Stout. Today, I bring you the sequel…a review of the much sought after KENTUCKY Breakfast Stout. My adventure to get this beer had many ups and downs. Things started out great, I found out that my local bar, Zeno’s, was planning on getting a keg as soon as possible. I would excitedly go in and ask when they were going to get KBS and the answer was always “I don’t know.” Then came a brief scare that Founders wasn’t going to be sending it to Pennsylvania at all! The longer I waited, the more I saw others getting their hands on it (my fiancĂ©e even bought a few bottles, without getting any for me, *%&$#!) and the more frustrated I became. Eventually, a tweet went out…Zeno’s was going to tap KBS. I left work, and went to get a taste…

Poured from the tap, my KBS was very black with a thin tan head. I normally prefer a nice inch of head, but considering how long I had waited for this beer, I was happy for a full glass. It smells of stout and whisky and chocolate and creaminess…in short it smells exactly like an Irish car bomb. The aroma was very dynamic, going from chocolate milk to bourbon and back again. This thing smells delicious and it was about 5 minutes before I actually took a sip. Here comes the disappointment…the taste went from bourbon, to bourbon, then back to bourbon again. It was kind of thin, and very boozy. I would highly recommend it for all you bourbon lovers out there, but this one is not for me. It was not very drinkable, although I enjoyed the smell a lot. KBS took me through a lot of extremes: excitement that learning Zeno’s was getting a keg versus the disappointment that it took forever to get here, and the excitement of the delicious smelling nose to the one dimensional boozy taste.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Moo-Hoo Chocolate Milk Stout

No stories on here tonight, at least none that I thought of yet. They are all in my head but my fingers and brain are tired. Perhaps later I'll tell you a bedtime story on Twitter, though my live tweeting of Grease lost me a few followers a month or so ago. Jeez! I'll be going to Disney tomorrow, but hope to be online in the evenings. Don't worry, I have a full end-of-week schedule programmed for your delight.

Do me a favor. If you like the blog, either sign up to receive ONE email each morning from me with ONLY fresh content OR become a follower and use Google Reader or whatever you nerds are doing these days.

Tonight I'll be drinking (actually it's already gone, LOL) Moo-Hoo Chocolate Milk Stout brewed by Terrapin Beer Company in Athens, Georgia. This is a 2010 Seasonal and the name alone is reason enough to drool all over the chance to drink it. Terrapin got the chocolate used in this beer from Olive and Sinclair Chocolate Company. "IT'S UTTERLY DELICIOUS". As usual there is a turtle on the label, this time dressed in a cow costume with udders and a cow bell, and eating chocolate in the barn yard. How clever!

Rich milk chocolate aroma, sweet and freakin' delicious. There's also a hint of vanilla in there. If the aroma were more powerful, I'd compare it to Southern Tier Creme Brulee Stout, though it is certainly luxurious as is! Milk chocolaty flavors start things off as well, but I was a bit surprised to find a roasty, burnt, nutty malt presence so prominent as well. Coffee flavors creep in with just a hint of both vanilla and licorice poking through. Sweet but not obnoxiously sweet, actually pretty well balanced. Good medium-well body with a creamy smooth texture. Medium carbonation is also spot-on, and I'm so happy this isn't flat like so many in the style. A lasting choco-coffee aftertaste rewards you long after you have finished your sip. For sure you should go find this beer. Absolutely delicious (but I can't force myself to utter UTTERLY)!

Horizon Organic Reduced Fat Milk, Chocolate, 8-Ounce Aseptic Cartons (Pack of 18)

M&M's Milk Chocolate Adult Lounge Shorts

HT-7450 ZERO GRAVITY Human Touch Home Massage Chair / Dark Chocolate Recliner + Heat