Dec 13, 2011

For Me, Craft Beer Is Like Folk Music

Earlier this week I was at my local craft beer shop talking with the incredibly helpful beer manager there who regularly likes to show me his latest imported craft beers.  While his descriptions are enticing and the brewers' recipes sound tasty enough, I always seem to decline.  I typically reply "Thanks, but I seem to prefer and stick to domestic (U.S.-brewed) beer".

This time he asked me why, and apparently I wasn't ready for the question.  Frankly, I had never really thought about it.  It was always an automatic, gut reaction.  I own a foreign car.  God knows most everything I've bought in the last few years was likely made in China. I'm far from a radical nationalist.
Why was it that I always gravitated toward American #craftbeer over all other beers?  Even similarly brewed foreign imports?  I wasn't sure when he asked, but on the drive home the answer came to me.

I like music.  I like a lot of styles of music.  I like folk music.  A lot.  Why do I like it?  It's uniquely American.  It makes me reflective.  Reflective of myself, of those around me, the artist, their intentions, how it makes me feel. It's original, deep and seems to speak to me.
Craft beer has a similar feel.  It's folk art.  It's the result of hard-working fellow Americans, many with a background like mine.  It doesn't come from a far away land that I've never visited and likely never will.  It's from my backyard.  From your backyard.

Call me a hypocrite. Call me crazy. Tell me I'm missing out on some of the best beer available.  Tell me I'm plain old stupid.  I understand all of these responses.

That's not to say I begrudge anyone else their right to listen to folk music from Sweden or drink beer from Belgium or Italy or New Zealand.  But unlike a folk song from the Nordic region, American craft beer speaks directly to me.  In my language.  I get it...and then I drink it.


Nov 17, 2011

Best Beers w/Turkey. Help! Sound Off!

So, I'm taking it upon myself to be the official beer sponsor of Thanksgiving dinner at my mother's house.  There will only be a couple of beer lovers on hand, but mostly very casual beer drinkers.
Given the circumstances, which beers would you recommend I bring?  What are YOU brining to your turkey dinner?

Holiday Beers! What's Your Go-To Brew? #craftbeer #holidays #beer

Have you seen the calendar recently?  Mine says Nov. 17th already!  I'm betting yours does too.  Just one week until Thanksgiving, until the jolly old elf pulls up to Macy's, until the Lions and the Cowboys help lull us into a tryptophan-induced-coma!

FullsailYou know what this all means, don't you?  Our favorite holiday beers are coming, if not already here, and you're going to have a lot of choices to make!

So...what ARE your favorite winter holiday/seasonal beers?  Any new brews coming up that have got you worked up into a frenzy?  What are your old, favorite stand-bys that you forward to like and old friend you only get to see during the annual "night-before-Thanksgiving-local-bar-crawl-in-the-old-neighborhood"?  Where are you favorite places or times to drink them?

Let us know...and wherever you are and whatever you're drinking, remember to drink responsibly and don't forget to be jolly. 'Tis the season!  

21st Delirium Harpoon Sierranevada

Nov 4, 2011

Life & Limb 2 via @Dogfishbeer & @SierraNevada


Amazing color and head. A smooooth and dangerous 10.2%.

Black IPA. Delicious but confusing...

I know.  A lot has been made of this oddly named gem of a beer.  How could a "pale" ale be a "black" ale?  Good question, and unfortunately for you, I don't have the answer.  I only know that this beer deserves a new name.  A real name.  A true name.  A name as unique as its flavor.

@TheBeerWench wrote a great article on the issue on her blog titled "That Which We Call A Rose: The Black IPA Name Debate".  She's equally confounded and split on how to handle this obviously delicate and uber-important issue, and that's reflective of many craft beer drinkers.

With all the talk and debate going on, what do you think?  Does it need a new name?  Already got one in mind?  Let the games begin!

Nov 1, 2011

Where did "Black IPA" come from anyway?

So I'm hearing that the term black IPA has become controversial.  Why?  I don't know.  Not much controversy in my eyes.  A misnomer?  Yes.  A controversy?  No.

The @BeerWench summarize the issues and her stance on each in her post on the subject at Drink With The Wench.  Ashley provides a deep enough history to understand the debate as well



Oct 23, 2011

Oct 22, 2011

@RogueAles Voodoo Doughnut


I'm not sure what I was expecting. The label says right on it: bacon and maple. It delivers. Both on the nose but all bacon down the hatch. Maybe I don't love bacon as much as I thought.

Kitchen Installed & Wife Approved


Jul 25, 2011

Southern Tier @stbcbeer Pale Ale


Pale ales are refreshing, I think we can all agree. Maybe it's the weather, but this one seems especially so. Yeah beer!

Jul 23, 2011

Brewery-fresh @dogfishbeer Shelter Pale Ale


Spent the day in Delaware yesterday sampling the best Dogfish Head has to offer. It was a good day.

Jul 19, 2011

@BPbrewing Victory at Sea


A dark, smooth, flavored porter...pairing really well with this slice of dark chocolate cake.

Jul 14, 2011

@BoulderBeerCo Hoopla Pale Ale


Ok. It's pale. It's an ale. A little too much aftertaste for my liking, and certainly not Boulder Beer's best. Perhaps I'm just not a huge fan of Glacier hops. Or maybe I'm just too damn picky.

My wife agrees with the latter.

Jun 22, 2011

#SamAdams Latitude 48 IPA Deconstructed Zeus


A sweet, sticky, "bready" IPA. Still enjoying this single hop collection.

@RogueAles Dad's Little Helper Black IPA


Well if this isn't the darkest, creamiest, "stoutiest" IPA in the country then I'll be damned. I'm thinking I shouldn't end this with an "amen".

Jun 14, 2011

#SamAdams Latitude 48 IPA Deconstructed Ahtanum


Like I tweeted earlier, I've yet to meet a hop I don't like. This one has got a lot of mouthfeel tho...and is rather sweet for a hop.

Jun 7, 2011

#SamAdams Latitude 48 IPA Deconstructed Hallertau Mittelfrueh


Love the idea Sam Adams! Take the classic IPA and brew a single beer with a single hop type. This Hallertau is actually pretty nice. Smooth. Would go REALLY well with a sharp cheddar.

May 28, 2011

Buffalo Bill's Orange Blossom Cream Ale


Nice, little treat here. Light. Crisp. Refreshing. Just a hint of orange cream. A great crossover brew for the holiday weekend.

May 27, 2011

@RiverHorseBrew Summer Blonde Ale


Light, clean, crisp ale perfect for the upcoming, hot, holiday weekend. Might even convert some of your macro-loving friends.

May 24, 2011

@RogueAles Chipotle Ale


This nice, reddish ale contains actual chipotle peppers. Unlike any other beer you've tried. Makes me want to cook up some tacos tonight!

@FortCollinsBrew Double Chocolate Stout


All I can say is wow. That's a LOT of chocolate! Really well done.

May 19, 2011

@SlyFoxBeer Route 113 IPA


My first venture into canned craft aside from @OskarBlues. First impressions are "eh". Really like other Sly Fox brews.

May 14, 2011

@GreatDivideBrew Hercules Double IPA


Nice and smooth for a double. Just a little bite at the end. Think I'll have another.

May 9, 2011

@RogueAles Mogul Madness


Sure, it's past the skiing season but age has never stopped me from trying a beer. Rogue didn't disappoint. Nice. Smooth. Mildly hoppy. Wintry.

May 1, 2011

@SierraNevada Hoptimum 2011


There are few beers (less than 4 to be exact) that grab my tongue and make it their bitch. This is one. Drink it if you haven't already.

Apr 27, 2011

@SaranacBrewery High Peaks Series Imperial IPA

Saranac Brewery is branching out to try their hand at bigger beers.  This imperial IPA and an imperial stout join the lineup at Matt Brewing.  My first impressions are positive.  Not as balanced as the stars in this category, but tasty in its own right.


Apr 26, 2011

Apr 12, 2011

So What #CraftBeer IPA Would You Recommend?

Believe it or not, I recently had one of my Miller Lite swigging friends come to me and say "Hey, I've been doing some reading and I think I want to try an IPA.  I'm thinking about Dogfish Head 60 Minute.  What do you think?"  The perfect conversion opportunity!  I suppose a nice IPA is as good a place to start as any.

That got me to thinking.  What is the best IPA to use to introduce a mass market drinker to craft beers?


Because I'm a fan, I'm keeping the @DogfishBeer 60 Min. in the running, thought it might be a bit hoppy for the average bland lager drinker.   I've added the @StoneBrewingCo IPA and the @GreenFlashBeer West Coast IPA.  They're very approachable yet a big enough departure from the mass-produced domestics.

So, what do YOU think?  What are the best introductory craft beer IPAs for the yet-to-be-converted?

Mar 18, 2011

Tomorrow Marks My First Visit to @RattleNHumBar

I'll be in the city for a friend's bachelor party (better later in life than never!) and I'm making a point to spend some quality getting acquainted with the bar stools at this well-respected craft beer bar in Manhattan.  Needless to say, I'm pretty psyched and can't wait to wake up and see what the tap list is for the day.  I know it's also Get Real NY, so I'm hoping maybe there's a surprise cask being cracked?!  Maybe?  A fella can dream, can't he?  Look out Rattle N Hum...


Mar 4, 2011

Pour Me #3: Storm King Stout by @VictoryBeer

One of my favorite local brewers here on the East Coast...Victory!  Storm King being one of the finest Imperial Stouts ever to find its way to your lips....assuming you're lucky enough to find IT first!

Feb 26, 2011

Pour Me #2: Tripel by Allagash Brewing Co.

Never had the chance to check out Allagash's highly regarded Tripel. Check it out here! Like what you see? Then get out there and find it!

Cheers & can I get an amen?!

Check out the YouTube channel @:

Pour Me #1: Out of Bounds Stout by @AveryBrewingCo

Enjoy the first entry in the Pour Excuse video series meant to give you a visual introduction to great craft beers.  Don't be shy to drop a note with any brews you'd like to see poured!  Many more to follow!

Cheers & Amen!

Check out the YouTube channel @:

Feb 14, 2011

Weyerbacher Verboten @weyerbacher

Weyerbacher, while relatively local to me, consistently produces some of the finest tasting craft beers I've ever had...from anywhere.  Not only is Verboten no exception, it just may be their finest brew.
Originally part of their NATO alphabet series and known as "Alpha", this beer made it into the regular rotation as Verboten.  It pours a nice orange/amber with mild clouding and a firm light head.
There may not be a more drinkable Belgian-style pale ale around.  So crisp and refreshing yet it doesn't let you forget that this is a true, bottle conditioned, craft brew with it's amazing flavors.  Try it to replace any of the other "non-light domestic lagers" from the big boys that you may be drinking now.  It may make you a craft convert!
Ignore the name...this beer is not forbidden.  In fact, it's required drinking for the craft beer lover.
Amen & Cheers!

Weyerbacher / Easton, PA
Verboten / Belgian Pale Ale / 5.9% ABV / 12 oz. bottle

Feb 9, 2011

Flying Fish Exit 13 @jerseyfreshale

Well lookie here...right in my own NJ backyard the folks at Flying Fish Brewing Co. are cooking up some of the tastier craft brews in the country!  Their Limited Series Exit 13 Chocolate Stout is a smooth, dark stout with a thick pour.  A thin, parchment-colored head leave a nice, "lacy" residue on the sides of the glass.

If chocolate and/or stouts call your name then this craft brew is for you.  Deep, dark, rich cocoa notes on the nose and complex chocolate and coffee notes await you.  This flavored stout gives the more nationally known craft brewers' chocolate stouts a serious run for their money.  And in fact, beats a lot of them in the quality category.

Check with your local liquor store, and if you can still find this increasingly hard-to-find bev, snap it up quickly & enjoy!

Amen & Cheers!

Flying Fish Brewing Co. / Cherry Hill, NJ
Exit 13 / Stout / 7.5% ABV / 1 pint 9.4 oz. bottle

Feb 6, 2011

Ten Months of Hard Work!

What you're looking at here is nearly 10 months of my beer drinking life captured in one epic collage.  I tried to record each new beer I drank.  My journey began in the early spring of 2010.  I tried to focus on domestic (U.S.) craft brews, though you'll see a few imported brews, and tried to span the full range of quality, craft brews available to me here in the Northeast.

Over the following many, many posts I plan to describe (quickly at first) each beer.  I don't like to say I'll be reviewing them.  That seems crass.  Each of these beer crafters has made these beers with love.  Who am I to pooh-pooh any of them?  Nobody!

Keep your head on a swivel....plenty more to come!


Feb 4, 2011

Oskar Blues Ten Fidy @oskarblues

A DARK and thoroughly opaque imperial stout not for the faint of heart.
Pouring like some of the finest motor oil you can’t mistake this for anything other than a world class beer.  Don’t ask me how Oskar Blues Brewery works this smooooth stout into a can. Dark magic? (Pun mildly intended.)
Chocolate and coffee notes reign supreme.  A touch of bitterness, not uncommon with imperial stouts, hits the back of your throat on the way down.  Don't let the drinkability of this brew fool you.  You're looking at a full 10.5% ABV in a very nice package.  Pace yourself!
Sweet, dark and desirable. Oskar Blues Ten Fidy? It’s Lando Calrissian in a can.

Amen & Cheers!
Ten Fidy / Stout / 10.5% ABV / 12 oz. can