Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Year wrap up

Well, another year seems to have gone. Or it will be gone in about 10 hours.

Let's wrap up what all happened this past year.

I'm currently (as evidenced by the side number) sitting at beer 709. I'll probably add about 20-25 to that list tonight, so I should finish with about 730 beers (other than ones I had last year) for the year.

I visited more than thirty different breweries/brewpubs.

  • Destihl, Normal Il (3 trips)
  • Shoreline, Michigan City IN
  • Mishawaka, Mishawaka IN
  • Barley Island, Noblesville IN
  • Flossmoor Station, Flossmoor IL (3 trips)
  • Barley's Smokehouse and Brewpub, Columbus OH
  • Elevator, Columbus OH (2 trips)
  • Harrisons, Orland Park IL
  • Gordon Biersch, Bolingbrook IL
  • Three Floyds, Munster IN
  • Granite City, Orland Park IL
  • Randy's Fun Hunters, White Water WI
  • Ale Asylum, Madison WI (2 trips)
  • Grumpy Troll, Mt Horeb WI
  • Goose Island Clybourn, Chicago IL
  • Asheville Brewing Company, Asheville NC
  • Highland, Asheville, NC
  • French Broad, Asheville NC
  • Bluegrass Brewing Company, Louisville KY
  • Front Street, Davenport IA
  • Blue Cat, Rock Island IL
  • Bent River, Moline IL
  • Brownings Brewing, Louisville KY
  • Goose Island Wrigleyville, Chicago IL
  • Water Street Brewery, Milwaukee WI
  • Lakefront Brewery, Milwaukee WI
  • Barley's Alehouse #1, Columbus OH
  • Dogfish Head Brewery, Milton DE
  • Dogfish Head Brewpub, Rehobeth Beach DE
  • Weyerbacher, Easton PA
  • Victory, Downington PA
  • Appalachian Brewing Co, Gettysburg PA
  • Iron Hill, Wilmington DE
I almost went in to three more, and I WENT to two of them, as we were in their parking lots, but never went in, because they were closed. 1. a place over by Bristol. 2. New Glarus. The third was supposed to be Two Brothers, up by Chicago, but we couldn't find it.

The event highlights would have to have been Dark Lord Day, because it's just awesome to stand in line for hours waiting to get limited edition beer; and The Great Taste of the Midwest (thanks to Noah for the tix; we'll be happy to go again next year).

I got to see some great concerts this year: Gogol Bordello was outstanding; Ministry with Meshuggah both times was as good as it could be (well, without any older music or guests appearing on stage); Killing Joke with Ascension of the Watchers opening was great and it was nice to talk to John Bechdel before. There were several Cubs games, which led to the gems of GI wrigley, and to West Lakeview Liquors.

I'd like to thank all my friends who contributed to my little beer hobby. Sammons, for the trips to Ohio and going shopping for me. Paddy for going shopping for me on his California trip. Rob, for sending me two packages of great beer and being very patient for my second box that will eventually be shipped back. Frank and Dana, for making (allowing) Kridz and I go to Asheville so many times, and for getting me beer from whereever it was that Frank was at. My uncle Helga for giving me a place that I want to stay at when I go to Georgia. My sister Joy, for a place to stay at that's near Chicago, and is a good launching point for places around there. My girlfriend Kriddy, who drives me to drink... and then drives me home.

I'd like to thank my friends who also got to try some of the beers so that I didn't have to drink all of it. Dirty Steve and Ann, who lets us drink at their place once. Ty and Linds, who did the same. Steve and Renee, who had us over many times. Josh and Audra, who are hosting tonight, and were at many of the other events. Kai and Janelle, who hosted a night, and Kai who tried it anyway, even though it wasn't cold. Skot was great in getting new beers too.

I went to some great liquor stores and met some great owners this past year. My new favorite, Kristina at West Lakeview Liquors, Archer liquors, Friar Tucks, Bruisin Ales, Jamie at From the Vine, and Party Pak Liquors. They provided me with so many great beers and have helped me with my cellar.

As to beer highlights, I think Mikkeller Black was one of the best this past year. Sweetwater Happy Ending was right up there, as was Oskar Blues Ten Fidy (why are they all stouts?). Alsakan Winter Ale (that I just had) was awesome, reminded me of cotton candy. Boulevard the sixth glass Quad was really good. Vanilla Bean Dark Lord was AWESOME. Brewdog's Paradox line (that I've had so far) have been great. Grumpy Troll Brandy Barrel Aged Spetsnaz was so good that I bought a growler of it for $60. Struiselensis Wild Belgian Ale was one of the most interesting and tasty tart beers that I think I'll ever have. Harpoon 100 Barrel Series Session 22 Steve Stewart's Firth of Forth was outstanding, it reminded me of adding hops directly to wort, amazing. Duck Rabbit put out the best barleywine and imperial stout that you'll ever get for less than $3 a bottle. Baladin Xyauyù was FRIKIN AWESOME, that and Avery the Beast, reminded me of Sam Adams Utopias. For the cost, the Beast is the best deal, but while Baladin Xyauyù may cost more, it's worth it if you can get one. The California shipped beers were great, Pliny, Supplication, Blind Pig, Santa's Little Helper, thanks for those again, Rob.

It was a fun year for brewing too. It started slow, but picked up towards the end of the year. Teach a Friend to Homebrew day was a good time, and I hope that the guys there will start brewing their own (the stuff is always at my house; just buy ingredients). The blueberry wheat was cool to have blow. The bean ex-beer-iment failed miserably, but was fun to try. The tap a draft system works pretty darn good, and the new brown bottles that stand on their own are a pleasant change (it's nice to not bottle).

I made some good online friends this past year, almost all are available at the Aleuminati. Check out the twitter people too.

IRL, the CU beer club was a great place to try new beers.

Drinking establishments that have been great this past year have been, Crane Alley, Jups 2, 7 Saints, Billy Barooz, Hooters, Blind Pig, and Radio Maria (locally). Thanks to the bartenders and staff at those places for putting up with me.

It's been a great year. Hopefully next year is just as good, or better. Thanks everyone, be safe.
Hope to see you soon.


*edit* Oh yeah, Wynkoop picked me as the first Rookie of the Year, Beerdrinker of the Year... how could I forget about that?

Days of the Beer, December 31

The beer for today is Deus Brut des Flandres.

It's New Year's Eve. The last day of the year. For many people it's the end of some things, and the beginning of the next. Tomorrow comes your New Year's Resolution, today is the last day for that thing you plan to quit.

If you want to lose weight in the coming year (the majority of resolutions) today is the last day of your gluttony.

If you want to quit smoking, today is the last day (yeah right) of your smoking.

Enjoy your last day of ... whatever it is you think you have to do.

Tonight, in New York city, at 11:59 pm, EST, the ball will start to drop.

The first major New Years celebration is in Sydney Australia. More than 1.5 million people will gather to watch the more than 80,000 fireworks being shot off of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

If you are going to a First Night celebration, you probably don't read this blog... so nevermind.

As to the beer:

Many people consider Deus Brut des Flandres to be the champagne of beers (unlike Miller High Life). The beer is first made in Belgium, then finished in France. The beer comes in at about 11.5% ABV.

First brewed at Bosteels, transfered to the Champagne region of France were it is treated much like a champagne with the bottles inverted and the yeast expunged and bottle recorked.
This beer isn't cheap. Internet wines (in St. Louis) sells it for $38.05. It is available at Friar Tucks, and at the Corkscrew, in the Champaign area.

So, for your New Years Eve toast, raise a glass of Deus Brut des Flandres. It's recommended to be served ice cold, so if you are in most parts of the U.S. tonight, you could probably just leave it outside to chill for a while.

We'll be having this tonight at the New Years Eve Bash.

Happy New Year everyone, and thanks for a great year.


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Beers for New Years (eve)

Well, I've got my inventory of beers for the New Years Eve bash.

(In no particular order... yet)

1. Southern Tier Cuvee Series 1. *
2. Boulevard Bourbon Barrel Quad *
3. Santa Cruz Mountain Amber *
4. Santa Cruz Mountain Dread Brown *
5. Santa Cruz Mountain Pale *
6. Santa Cruz Mountain Peoples Organic Coffee Porter *
7. Santa Cruz Aleworks IPA *
8. Deus Brut des Flanders (ok, this will probably be last) *
9. Rogue Brewers Ale 2008*
10. Mikkeller Stateside IPA *
11. Mikkeller Not Just Another Wit *
12. Mikkeller Santas Little Helper 2007
13. Mikkeller Santas Little Helper 2008 *
14. Sam Adams Chocolate Bock *
15. Iron Hill Sasquatch *
16. Legends Brown *
17. Legends Pale *
18. Olde Richmond Brown *
19. Stone 08/08/08 *
20. Samichlaus Helles
21. Alaskan Smoked Porter

* beers I haven't had yet.

Ok, I guess it would have been easier to put the asterisk next to the beers I have had.

All the bottles are bomber or 750's so that's gonna be heavy.

Days of the Beer, December 30

The beer for today is Yazoo Dos Perros.

On December 30, 1972, Kerry Michael Collins was born in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. Collins is currently the starting quarterback for the Tennesee Titans of the NFL. He was drafted with the fifth pick of the 1995 draft, and was the Carolina Panthers first ever draft pick. He played college football at Penn State, where he was a Heisman Trophy finalist during his senior season.

Before the 1997 season, Collins was drunk in a bar and used the "n word" in reference to teammate Muhsin Muhammad. Later, he racially slurred offensive lineman Norberto Garrido, who then punch Collins in the eye. On November 2, 1998, Collins was arrested for drunk driving in Charlotte, North Carolina. Collins entered a rehab clinic in 1999.

As to the beer:

Yazoo Brewing Company is in downtown Nashville, Tennesee, about 2 miles from The Coliseum, the home of the Tennesee Titans. Three of their beers are available in 6 packs; Pale Ale, Dos Perros, and Yazoo Hefeweizen.
Many Mexican beer styles today are descendants of old Austrian styles, from when Austria ruled Mexico in the late 19th century. Our Dos Perros is made with German Munich malt, English Pale malt, and Chocolate malt, and hopped with Perle and Saaz hops. To lighten the body, as many Mexican brewers do, we add a small portion of flaked maize. The result is a wonderfully bready malt aroma, balanced with some maize sweetness and a noble hop finish.
The beer comes in at 3.5% ABV, so it would probably take quite a bit of them to get a dui.

So, for Kerry Collins, who probably won't be having a beer on his birthday, have one for him. If you have a Dos Perros, try not to make a racial slur about their beer while you are drinking it.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Days of the Beer, December 29

The beer for today is Lone Star.

On December 29, 1845, Texas was admitted to the United States as the 28th state.

Texas, which is nicknamed the Lone Star State, currently has a population of more than 24 million people. It is second in the U.S. for total area and for population. Austin is the capital city, while Houston is the largest city, Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington is the largest metro area.

As to the beer:

Lone Star Brewery was built in 1884, it was the first large mechanized brewery in Texas. It was founded by Adolphus Busch (of AB). Lone Star Beer was first produced in 1940. It was purchased by Olympia in 1976, but then was went to Heileman in 1983. Strohs purchaed Heileman in 1996, and Pabst purchased Strohs in 1999.

Production of Lone Star (by the owners) stopped in Texas in 2000. It is currently contract brewed by Miller in Fort Worth.

Born and brewed in Texas, Lone Star helps keep the culture alive by supporting today's Texas musicians, outdoorsmen and everybody's friend, the Armadillo. When it comes to great beer for life and the way we live it down here, Lone Star really is PURE. TEXAN. BEER.
So, for Texas, have a Pure. Texan. Beer.

Here's what Dave Barry said about Texas.

Texas: Big, old and irregular

Texas used to be the largest state, but because of Alaska, it no longer is. Texans are still very touchy about this, so you should be sensitive when you discuss it with them. "What a large state this is, despite being nowhere NEAR as large as Alaska!" is a sensitive remark you might want to make.

Although today Texas is modern and of course dynamic, it is proud of its cowboy tradition, which can still be seen in the form of men wearing comical hats. One of the most important historical attractions is the Alamo, the famous San Antonio mission where, in 1836, a small, brave band of Texans formed the nation's first car-rental franchise, which still can be seen today. Visitors are welcome at the Lyndon B. Johnson Library, but they avoid it anyway.

The Official State Symptom is irregularity.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Days of the Beer, December 28

The beer for today is Molson Canadian.

On December 28, 1763, John Molson was born. Molson was born in England, but immigrated to Canada in 1782.

The Molson brewery was founded in 1786. It is the second oldest company in Canada. It is the Canadian division of the world's fifth-largest brewing company, Molson Coors Brewing Company.

Molson's beers quickly became a favorite of people in Montreal, which led to his business expanding. This expansion allowed him to follow some other business ventures, including steamships, hotels, banking, and railroads.

Molson died on january 11, 1836.

As to the beer:

Molson Canadian is a Canadian American-style lager. The beer was introduced in 1959, and is characterized by its balance of sweetness and a slightly hoppy bitterness.

Using crystal clear water, the finest hops and Canadian-grown malted barley, Molson slowly ferments each brew to produce a smooth, refreshing beer with genuine Canadian taste.
So, for John Molson, who was born in England, have a Molson Canadian.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Days of the Beer, December 27

The beer for today is Beck's.

On December 27, 1822, Louis Pasteur was born. Pasteur was a French chemist and microbiologist best know for his breakthroughs in the causes and prevention of diseases.

In 1857, he proved in the paper "Mémoire sur la fermentation alcoolique" that alcoholic fermentation was conducted by living yeasts and not by a chemical catalyst. He also showed that by bubbling oxygen into the yeast, that cell growth would be increased, but fermentation inhibited, the Pasteur effect.

(Antonie van Leeuwenhoek first microscopically observed yeast in 1680).

As to the beer:

Beck's beer claims to follow the Reinheitsgebot, German Purity Law of 1516. It required that beer only be brewed with three ingredients, barley, water, and hops. This is just a marketing ploy, as yeast is an ingredient in beer.

Adding to the greatness, Beck's is sold in green bottles, which causes a breakdown of hops when exposed to sunlight or fluorescent light, and produces the skunky flavor that is so often evident in Beck's beer.

Beck's Brewery (Brauerei Beck and Company) is located in Bremen. It was founded in 1873, and was locally owned until 2002, when it was sold to Interbrew (now AB-InBev).

So, for the guy who proved yeast's importance to alcohol, have a beer from a brewery that was founded 16 years after Pasteur proved yeast was an ingredient, yet still claims (kinda) that they don't use yeast.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Days of the Beer, December 26

The beer for today is Sam Adams Double Bock.

It's December 26, so that means... It's Boxing Day! (also known as the day where you go stand in line with gift receipts because you didn't like the crap that you got for Boxing Day Eve)

Boxing Day is a day when the wealthy give gifts to their employees or people in a lower social class (household servants, or other service people).

No, Boxing Day has nothing to do with the Festivus "airing of grievances" or the "feats of strength".

Boxing Day is on the same day as the Feast of Stephen, but in the religious dumbing down (secularization) St. Stephens Day was replaced by the less religious Boxing Day (at least in the U.K. and their territories). In the Christmas carol, Good King Wenceslas, that happened on Boxing Day.

As to the beer:

Sam Adams Double Bock, is a Doppelbock, produced by the Boston Beer Company.

Dark ruby color, strong malt and caramel character; very smooth, full-bodied, low/medium bitterness.
The beer comes in at 8.8% ABV, so if you have enough, it will knock you on your ass.

If you see a panhandler today, give him a buck that you normally wouldn't. Be thankful for what you have. Then go have a Sam Adams Double Bock. Boxing Day will thank you.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Days of the Beer, December 25

The beer for today is Delirium Noël.

On December 25, 1628, Noël Coypel was born. Noël was a French painter.

He was employed by Charles errard to paint some required pictures for the Louvre, and gained his fame by producing other pictures for the king. In 1672, he was appointed director of the French Academy at Rome. Four years later he became the director of the Academy of Painting.

One of his more notable works was "The Martyrdom of St James", which is in Notre Dame.

He died on December 24, 1707.

As to the beer:

Delirium Noël is produced by Brouwerij Huyghe, the makers of Delirium Tremens and Delirium Nocturnum. It is listed as a Belgian Strong Dark Ale.

When the seasons' spectrums have changed from a vivid rainbow of flora, fauna and fair weather to a monochrome blanket of snow, slush and frigid temperatures, so must one's beer. A spicy, crimson brew that completes the Delirium Trilogy (including Tremens and Nocturnum), Delirium Noel will bring color and zest back to the cold winter months and to your cheeks. With its combination of an invigoratingly sharp and peppery character, stirring bitterness and that rare, crisp winter freshness of flavor, your inevitable fondness for the subtle, yet familiar nuances of piquant Delirium Noel will last through the seasons! Be sure to make plans to stay in when you pour out this memorable holiday beer, as its stout 10% alcohol content should keep you from going out in the cold more so than any blizzard ever could!

So for Noël, have a Noël.

Noël means "christmas" in French. It comes from the old French natalis, meaining "birth".

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Days of the Beer, December 24

The beer for today is Schloss Eggenberg Samichlaus.

It's Christmas Eve. Today is traditionally the day (well tonight) where kids leave out cookies and milk for Santa Claus. This year, instead of milk, leave Santa a nice beer that will warm him up ... IMMENSELY!

While you are at it, leave some cookies made with beer.


* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/2 cup butter
* 1 1/4 cups room temperature beer
* 1/2 cup chopped walnuts


1. Cream together the butter or margarine and the brown sugar. Cut in flour, baking soda and spice. Blend in beer slowly to form a soft dough.
2. Drop by teaspoonfuls and top with a walnut piece.
3. Bake 12-15 minutes at a 350 degree F (175 degrees C) oven until lightly brown. Cool one minute on cookie sheet and remove to wire rack.

About the beer:

Samichlaus is one of the strongest lagers in the world, at 14% ABV. The name means Santa Claus in Swiss German. Samichlaus was first brewed in 1979, for sale in 1980. Production went until 1997, until the Hürlimann Brewery in Zürich, Switzerland, closed. It started up again in 2000 when Schloss Eggenberg collaborated with the original Hürlimann brewers, using the original recipe.

It is considered to be a doppelbock.

The once strongest beer in the world is back! Brewed only once a year on December 6. Samichlaus is aged for 10 months before bottling. This beer is perhaps the rarest in the world. Samichlaus may be aged for many years to come. Older vintages become more complex with a creamy warming finish. Serve with hardy robust dishes and desserts, particulary with chocolates, or as an after dinner drink by itself. Brewed under the exclusive licence of Feldschlösschen-Hürlimann-Holding, Switzerland.
So, make yourself some beer cookies, and leave a Samichlaus out with those cookies, if Santa is passed out on your living room floor by the fireplace, it's not my fault.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Days of the Beer, December 23

The beer for today is Sonaran Festivus.

Happy Festivus.

Festivus is an annual holiday created by Dan O'Keefe, and was introduced to popular culture by Daniel O'Keefe, who was a scriptwriter for Seinfeld. Originally Festivus was held in February, but was moved to December 23, based on the December 18, 1997 Seinfeld episode "The Strike".

The holiday includes the "Airing of Grievances", the "Feats of Strength", the "Festivus Pole", the "Festivus Dinner", and of course "Festivus Miracles".

Remember, Festivus is a holiday for the rest of us.

As to the beer:

Our most popular seasonal brew ever.... big malt and hop flavor... doesn't fit any particular style, but loads of whole fresh hallertau hops makes this beer one-of-a-kind and not to be forgotten....
Sonoran Brewing Company is located in Phoenix, Arizona. I am not sure if Festivus is still being made, however it is listed in their seasonal brews.

There are several Festivus beers out there, so if you find one, have a dance around the Festivus Pole.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Beer Review, Maredsous Dubbel; Triple

Last Saturday, not this past Saturday, but the one before, I was out at Kriddy's for a family birthday, I think it was her niece's. I had recently picked up the Maredsous gift pack from Friar Tucks, and thought that night would be as good as any to try them. The gift pack contains their dubbel and triple, along with a nice gold rimmed glass.

I had the Dubbel first, this one poured the color of coca-cola. It was a dark brown, with a huge fluffy head. It smelled bready, yeasty, malty. It felt somewhat thin and bubbly.

It tasted of alcohol, even though it was only 8%, (is 8% too low for something to have an alcohol kick in the taste?). Also there was evident malt, and a roasty flavor. Searching around there was a bit of coffee in it as well. As it warmed, it seemed to take on characters of white bread that had been toasted.

All in all, this was a pretty good beer. It reminded me alot of Corsendonk's Abbey Brown (pater). Granted the last time I had Corsendonk Abbey Brown, I didn't enjoy it, but I'm pretty sure that my tastes have changed a bit since then.

I followed it up with the Triple. This one was much lighter, a light golden brown with hazel, tan. It smelled of alcohol and kind of fruity. It felt light, with a little bit of syrup; additionally, it was rather effervescent. It tasted of alcohol and light bread. The triple was 10% ABV.

It (to me) wasn't as good as the Dubbel, but it was still a solid triple.

I'm not sure where all this is available (it's not listed on either Archer Liquors or West Lakeview). I know it's at Friar Tucks, and at the Corkscrew. It seemed to be a decent value, and did have the nice glass. They are both 750 ml bottles, so there's more than enough to share, if you do wind up drinking both bottles by yourself, ensure your brain-mouth filter is engaged, or you might wind up regretting some things.

Days of the Beer, December 22

The beer for today is Carlyle 5 Malt Ale.

On December 22, 1946, in Rockford, Illinois, Rick Nielsen was born. Rick is the lead guitarist, backing vocalist, and primary songwriter for the rock band Cheap Trick. Rick is know for having custom-made guitars from Hamer Guitars, including the famous five-neck guitar.

Rick formed Cheap Trick in 1972 with bassist Tom Petersson, also from Rockford. Bun E. Carlos joined in 1973, and Robin Zander in 1974.

Rick also played guitars on the 2006 Revolting Cocks album Cocked and Loaded. (At the May 8 Ministry show, I saw Rick at the House of Blues, as I was leaving the men's room, and I said "Hey, you are Rick Nielsen, hi Rick". He shook my hand then walked away.)

As to the beer:

There is no "official" description of this beer, so I'll just pull some comments from Beer Advocate and Ratebeer.

Unique offering, this. Pours as black as can be with a giant black head that is just simply gorgeous.

Smells of a strong all malt ale with absolutely no off nodes (how difficult must that have been!?!) along with a very like, dark smoked scent of a Schwarz beer. Mixed in we have strong nodes of biscuits, nuts, and toffee. No hops, really, but they're not needed since the malt's so fine and complex.

Tastes like a big old ball of tasty malt. Biscuits to start, moving into a rich, sweet butter caramel, then a light coffe node that's filled with porter rawness and then it ends on an earthy kick of a black ale. Raw and weird and wild and just like I like them. --- mynie

This one pours a fairly opaque dark brown color. There was a good thick 1 finger tan head on it. The aroma was good. Lots of malts, but not sweet. There were hints of roastiness, chocolate and coffee as well as caramel. The taste is very similar. It is a bit roasty, with a subdued malt sweetness. Also notes of chocolate and coffee. Very drinkable - Boto

Dark caramel color, bordering black, with an average light brown head. Spicy hop aroma with slight cocoa powder bite. Grapefruit and peach notes as well. Nicely hopped flavor, some chicory coffee notes in finish. Nice balance of roast and bitter hoppiness. - JMerritt
Carlyle Brewing Company is Rockford's only brewery. They currently have 11 beers listed on their website as being on tap, including 5 Malt Ale.

So, if you can get to Rockford, have a 5 Malt Ale; for the guy who was born in Rockford and plays a 5 necked guitar.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Days of the Beer, December 21

The beer for today is Anderson Valley Brewing Co. Winter Solstice.

December 21 is the solstice (winter in the Northern Hemisphere, and summer in the Southern Hemisphere). On the solstice, the Earths axis is most oriented toward or away from the sun. The word comes from the Latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still).

The solstice is the shortest day of the year. Additionally, it is the first day of winter (or summer in the southern hemisphere, where it is their longest day).

The solstice has a LOT to do with sun gods. For more information on sun gods, watch the first part of Zeitgeist, The Movie.

As to the beer:

Anderson Valley Brewing Company is located in Boonville, California. They are a solar powered brewery. They produce 11 beers including Brother Davids Double and Triple. They are famous for having things printed underneath their bottle cap.

Each year, when people are starting to unpack their winter clothes and replenish their firewood, our tiny brewery in the coastal redwoods of Northern California makes seasonal preparations of a different kind. As the cold arrives, we release a unique beverage created to add warmth to even the coldest and darkest of winter's days. Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale begins with a very high original gravity to create a hearty and spicy brew with a deep amber hue and a smooth finish. Anderson Valley Brewing Company wishes you the very best for the holiday season and the New Year.
If you collect 50 of their different bottle caps, you will win a prize (bumper sticker and keychain). So far, 33 people have done this. Anderson Valley beer is available in about half of the U.S. It is available in Illinois, Michigan, New York, and Colorado (to name a few places).

So for the Winter Solstice, have a Winter Solstice.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Days of the Beer, December 20

The beer for today is Flossmoor Station Panama Limited Red Ale.

On December 20, 1989, United States forces invaded Panama to overthrow the government of Manuel Noriega (am I supposed to say "strongman" I think so). The invasion was codenamed Operation Just Cause.

The invasion began at 1 a.m. local time. It involved 57,684 U.S. troops and more than 300 aircraft. These forces were deployed against 46,000 members of the Panama Defense Force. The US lost 24 troops and had 325 wounded. The estimate of Panamanian military dead was 205. Estimates for Panamanian civilian deaths were between 2000 and 5000.

The General Assembly of the United Nations voted 75-20 with 40 abstentions to condemn the invasion as a flagrant violation of international law.

As to the beer:

Flossmoor Station Restaurant and Brewery is located in Flossmoor Illinois, about 5 miles off of interstates 57 and 80. Flossmoor Station was named the 2006 Small Brewpub of the Year, and brewer Matt VanWyk was named Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year at the Great American Beer Festival.

Our Panama Limited Red is a hoppy, robust yet smooth amber ale brewed with nine different malts and four types of hops. With its deep amber color and rich malty body, our Panama Limited Red will smoothly transport you into the wonderful world of complex and flavorful handcrafted beers.
Panama Red doesn't seem to be one of the bottled offerings from the brewery, so it would only be available there, or if you pick up a growler. Pullman Brown, Stationmaster Wheat, and the IPA are available at Archer Liquors, and at other locations.

So for the invasion of Panama, have a Panama Red.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Big Brad's Birthday

Last night, Skot, Big Brad, Kriddy, and I (later joined by Paddy) went to the Blind Pig Co. for some alcoholic beverages in celebration of Big Brad's 51st Birthday Bash.

Brad and Skot started their evenings off with tulips of Samichlaus '08 (at least the bartender said it was '08). I went with a Duchesse De Bourgogne. The Duchesse was better than I remember. It was a lot sweeter than I thought, and did have a drying red wine feel to it.

My next beer was the Flensburger Weizen. This one was ok. It didn't quite have the fruity banana flavor to it that I had hoped, but it was still passable. While I was drinking this, Skot went with the Brugse Zot. That beer had LOTS of floculation, probably too much. I saw him stir up the bottle at the end of his pour, but he claims he didn't. So, I think it's party his fault for the cottage cheese consistency he got out of the beer.

Next, Skot and I split a bottle of Altenmunster Maibock. This one was ok too, not that great, and hardly memorable. At some point Kriddy showed up and got a glass of Founders Breakfast Stout. It's not a bad go-to beer, when you don't know what else to have. Nothing looks too appealing... fine, I'll have a b'fast stout. Wouldn't you possibly kill to have that kind of let down?

Brad then got a sampler platter of all the beers he hadn't had yet. There were 7 glasses in front of him, so I'll see if I can find them all.

Atwater Voodoo Vator, came out being very smokey.

Unibroue Maudite, for being a belgian strong ale, it had better hefeweizen qualities than the weizen that I had earlier.

Delerium Noel, surprisingly good, considering my pure hatred for the DT, and DNoc.

Two Brothers Northwind, seemed way to smokey. Wasn't bad, just had a lot of smoke in it.

While Brad was drinking these, Skot and I started to split a bottle of the White Winter Sweet Mead. Brad demanded we get him a glass, so we did. As it was a mead, it did have the appearance, and some of paint thinner. But, it was one of the most deliciously sweet paint thinners you'll ever huff.

While drinking that, we headed back and played some cutthroat cricket. I somehow managed to win the first game, and then when we abandoned the second game, I think Brad was in the lead.

The beer following the mead for me was Samichlaus. Either this years seemed better to me, and had fruity undertones that were rather delicious, or the mead was still coating my tongue. It was WAY better and more drinkable than the last time I had it. I'll need to try it again, to see if it's as good as it seemed yesterday.

Paddy showed up during darts, and he walked in with a Duchesse. Kriddy finished her Bfuzz, and went with an O'fallon Smoked Porter. This one had lots of bacon in the flavor. More than she expected. She really liked the Pappy van Winkle barrel aged version, but doesn't like the plain, as much. The aged, is just soooo much smoother. Skot then switched to a Scaldis Noel. I don't know if I tried any of it, or remember the profile. Brad was given a Founders Backwoods Bastard from the bartender for his birthday.

We closed out at Blind Pig, and went searching for food. We settled on (as though settling is a bad thing) Guido's. I, of course, went with the prime rib sammich with onion rings, Kridz got a grilled cheese with bacon and fries, Paddy left (I think) as he ate at the house before leaving, Skot and Brad split some chicken nachos and chicken wings. I drank a Sierran Nevada Pale, Brad and Skot both had Dark horse Skotty Karate's, and Kriddy had a North Coast Red Seal.

It had started to rain, or, I guess ICE when we left the Pig, and conditions were getting bad quickly, so Kridz and I closed out and headed home around 9. From Guidos, to my place, to Kridz, it's 12.3 miles. With the conditions last night, we made it in 45 minutes, and the ass end of her truck only tried to put us in the ditch like 3 times.

So, if you see Big Brad, tell him happy birthday, and let's hope he can make it to 52.

Days of the Beer, December 19

The beer for today is Rock Bottom (Denver Downtown) Molly's Titanic Brown Ale.

On December 19, 1997, Titanic was released in theaters. This movie would become the most financially successful movie in U.S. history, grossing about $1.8 billion worldwide.

The film was directed, written, co-produced and co-edited by James Cameron. It features Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio. It also has Billy Zane and Kathy Bates (as Molly Brown).

The movie won 4 Golden globes. It tied for most Oscar nominations in history, at 14. It won 11 Oscars.

As to the beer:

Rock Bottom is a chain and has locations in 15 states. Each restaurant has a brewmaster and each produce their own beer. Molly's Titanic Brown Ale is available at several of the Colorado locations.

Unsinkably malty, Molly’s Titanic Brown Ale draws its inspiration from the classic brown ales of England. A multi-dimensional beer finely balanced between the malt flavor and hops. Imbibe, whole-heartedly with one of our big, juicy steaks.
So, for the biggest grossing film of all time (so far), if you can get to a Colorado Rock Bottom, have a Molly's Titanic Brown Ale.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Days of the Beer, December 18

The beer for today is Mayflower Brewing Company Pale Ale.

On December 18, 1620, the Mayflower landed in present-day Plymouth, Massachusetts with 102 Pilgrims on board. The Mayflower left England on September 16, and took a 66 day journey to the new world. They were originally headed for an area near New York City, but went off course and landed in Cape Cod Bay, on November 21.

The Pilgrims remained on board the ship avoiding a harsh winter until March, 1621. Only 53 of the original group were still alive, most died from an outbreak of a mixture of scurvy, pneumonia, and tuberculosis.

The Mayflower probably had a crew of 25-30 people, but only the names of five are known, including John Alden, the cooper, barrel maker.

As to the beer:

Mayflower Brewing Company is located in Plymouth Massachusetts. It was founded in 2007, by a tenth great grandson of John Alden, the cooper on the Mayflower.

Traditional English pale ales have mild malt character and aroma offset by pronounced hop bitterness. Mayflower Pale Ale offers a New World take on this Old World favorite. It combines a slightly sweet and toasted malt quality from caramel malt with floral and citrusy aromas from the finest quality English and Americangrown hops. The result is a well-balanced, highly drinkable ale.
The pale is 4.9% ABV, and has 40 IBU. Mayflower beer is available in Massachusetts, mostly Plymouth, Boston and the Cape Cod areas.

So, for the landing on Plymouth, have a Mayflower. As to what did the Pilgrim's drink? Read Deege's post on the subject.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Days of the Beer, December 17

The beer for today is Brasserie de Bellavaux, Black.

On December 17, 1944, 90 unarmed American prisoners of war were executed by their German captors. This became known as the Malmedy massacre. It happened during the Battle of the bulge.

This war crime was committed by part of the 1st SS Panzer Division, under the command of Joachim Peiper.

Around noon, an American convoy of around 30 vehicles, mostly from the American 285th Field Artiller Observation Battalion, were around Malmedy, when it was attacked by Peiper's troops. Peiper immobilized the first and last vehicle, which forced the column to stop. The American's were forced to surrender.

Shortly thereafter the P.O.W.s were led to a field, where they were joined by others captured that day. For no apparent reason, the germans suddenly opened fire on the prisoners. Eventually, 43 survivors managed to reach the Allied lines.

It wasn't until January 14 that US forces reached the site and could perform an investigation. The bodies showed that several had suffered fatal gunshot wounds to the head from very close range. Others had fatal crushing or blunt trauma injuries most likely from a rifle butt. Some only had a single wound in the temple or behind the ear.

As to the beer:

Brasserie de Bellavaux is the only brewery in Malmedy. Black is their winter offering that comes in at 6.3% ABV, and is designed as an English black beer.

The Black is a beer out of the ordinary. The origin of this beer is a memory. A 'taste memory' which recalls a trip in the Yorkshire countryside in the seventies of last century and especially beers like Old Peculiar of the Theakston Brewery.
So, for the 90 US troops killed at Malmedy, have a black beer from Malmedy.

I'm not sure where you can find this beer.

Bill O'Reilly, in October 2005 and May 2006, claimed that the Malmedy massacre was committed by US troops instead of by Germans. He has never corrected his mistake.

"General, you need to look at the Malmedy massacre in World War II and the 82nd Airborne that did it."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Days of the Beer, December 16

The beer for today is Fullers London Pride.

On December 16, 1775, Jane Austen was born. Jane was an English novelist most famous for her books, Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park, Emma, and Pride and Prejudice.

Austen's books deal with the dependence of women on marriage to secure social standing and economic security. He books are concerned with moral issues. She published her books anonymously during her lifetime.

Jane died July 18, 1817; posthumously, it has been said she died of either Addison's disease, or Hodgkin's lymphoma.

As to the beer:

Fuller's was founded in 1845 at the Griffin Brewery in Chiswick, West London.

London Pride is a smooth and astonishingly complex beer with a distinctive malty base complemented by a rich balance of well-developed hop flavors from the Target, Challenger and Northdown varieties. London Pride is 4.1% alcohol by volume in cask (4.7% alcohol by volume for bottle and keg).
As well as producing beer, the brewery is famous for having the oldest wisteria plant in the UK.

So, for the Brit Jane Austen, who wrote Pride and Prejudice, have a Fuller's London Pride.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Homebrewing Adventures (misadventures?)

I've been on kind of a homebrewing kick recently, probably because of the new beer fridge, and hoping that some day, I'll be filling it up with soda-kegs of homebrew. Two weeks ago, Paddy and I tried an ex-beer-iment with some water that was used to boil beans... we thought about trying to drink it Saturday, but when we took off the air lock, it smelled like a carboy full of vomit.

So we fertilized one of my trees with it (yes, it's a tree I hope to kill).

Also on Saturday, we transferred a kit Russian Imperial Stout into secondary. That one had an starting gravity of 1.080 and when we transferred it, it went to 1.030. We re-pitched yeast in it, and will let it sit for another couple of weeks, and hope if drops a little lower.

Additionally on Saturday, for the first time, I made a yeast starter. I was mesmerized watching it create carbon-dioxide. So many bubble from only 650 ml of wort and yeast.

Sunday was brewing day. This one was going to wind up being an Imperial Blueberry Wheat. I had purchased the supplies for this last weekend. We went with 2 cans of Muton and Fison Wheat syrup, and 4 lbs of wheat dme. We used an ounce of hops at the boil, and another for finishing (I'll get the names later). After the brewing hour was done, Paddy used a potato smasher to pulverize the blueberries.

We chilled the wort down to about 80, and added the rest of the water, topped off to 5 gallons. I stirred up the yeast that I had started on Saturday, and poured it into the beer. Paddy added the blueberries, and we took a gravity reading of 1.087. This was thicker than the stout from the week before.

We capped it, and set it on the kitchen table, this was about 6 p.m. We went to our beds around 10:30, and there was no activity in the bucket. I woke up, for no reason, around 2:30 and checked, still no activity, I wondered if I had killed the yeast somehow.

When I got up at 6:30, this is what I found.

The lid had blown off the bucket. It was actually (conveniently) in the box, with the airlock still in place.

So, I cleaned off the lid, and took a foam paper plate and scooped off the krausen. Then put the lid back on... it foamed up and out of the airlock.

I left for work at 9. Before leaving, I removed the lid about 4 times, and scooped out the krausen. Before I left, I moved the pail into the bathtub. If this thing was gonna blow up, I'd feel bad about losing the beer, but I'd feel worse about having 5 gallons of blueberry sugar water on my kitchen floor for 9 hours.

When I get home, I'll update the status of my bathtub, and what the hops varieties were.

Coincidentally, Paddy asked what the clever name for this was gonna be, after we finished brewing.

He came up with BleWit.

Blew (blueberry) Wit (wheat).

As to the lid, the beer BLEWIT off the pail.

*update* I got off work at 3:30 today and ran home to check the beer. Hoping that the pail didn't asplode. Well, the lid had blown off, at some point. My bathtub looks like someone had bad diarrhea and shat all over it, but that's just from the foam.

I don't know how long the lid was off for, but here's a pic.

I cleaned up the lid and the rim of the pail, and with another paper plate, scraped off the top of the krausen (don't worry, it'll make more). Then I moved it back onto the kitchen table, put the lid on it, and re-set the airlock. (Not that it really matters now, does it?) Within seconds, the airlock started bubbling, so it's been about 20 hours since this thing was first pitched, and it's blown the lid twice, and had 2-3 inches of foam scraped off five times. It's a little aggressive.

The foam does smell nicely of blueberries, so that's good. It also has some blueberry chunks in it, I feel a bit bad about washing that away, but we'll be putting more into it later.

I'll get another gravity reading, should it ever stop blowing up.

Hops were Wilamette (bittering) and Spalt (finishing).

Days of the Beer, December 15

The beer for today is Ridgeway Lump of Coal.

On December 15, 1914, a gas explosion at the Mitsubishi Hojyo coal mine in Kyūshū, Japan; killed 687 people. This was the worst coal mine disaster in Japanese history.

Initially, Mitsubishi was a shipping firm, in 1834. It started to purchase coal mines in 1881, to provide coal for their extensive steamship fleet. Eventually, the coal mines outgrew the shipping industry, and was the main provider of income for the company, up through World War 1. When WW1 started, the company profited more from ship-building, and that turned the company into a more industrial one.

Mitsubishi's coal mines were manned primarily with prison laborers, with little to no salary, this gave the company huge profits. During wartime, Mitsubishi "employed" POW's to work in their factories and mines.

As to the beer:

Ridgeway Brewery produces 14 beers, but is probably best known for its winter lineup. Bad Elf, Criminally Bad Elf, Pickled Santa, Lump of Coal, Santa's Butt, Seriously Bad Elf, and Very Bad Elf, are some of their winter offerings.

Looking forward to a depressing holiday? Here is liquid consolation. This 8% bittersweet chocolate stout is the best you could hope for in these dark times. Actually, come to think of it, considering how bad you’ve been, this little coal-black gem is more than you deserve for Christmas this year.

The handiwork of vastly talented (but altogether too cheery) master brewer Peter Scholey, Lump of Coal is the perfect stocking stuffer for the beer lover or manic depressive in your family.

So, for the unhappy forced laborers who died in a Japanese coal mine; drink your lump of coal, you've probably earned it.

Lump of Coal is available at Crane Alley and Friar Tucks.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Days of the Beer, December 14

On December 14, 1947, in Daytona Beach, Florida, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) was founded.

Stock car racing in the U.S. has it's origins in bootlegging during Prohibition. When prohibition was repealed in 1933, these drivers continued to improve their cars, and started racing each other.

On December 14, 1947, William France, met with several other influential racers and promoters at the Ebony bar, in Daytona Beach, as a result of those meetings, NASCAR was officially formed on February 21, 1948.

NASCAR is the second most popular professional sport in the U.S. based on television ratings. Their races are broadcast in over 150 countries. It holds 17 of the 20 top attended sporting events in the U.S. It boasts more than 75 million fans who purchase more than $3 billion in annual licensed products. These fans are considered the most brand-loyal in all of sports.

Coors Light is the official beer of NASCAR. Coors replaced Budweiser as the official beer, starting in the 2008 NASCAR season. Coors paid $20 million to be called that.

As to the beer:

Coors claims it is the world's most refreshing beer, and has trademarked that statement. Coors apparently is proud that their beer is really cold.

So, for NASCAR, if you want, have their Official Beer. If you don't like roundy-round, then don't get a coors light. You'll be glad you didn't.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Days of the Beer, December 13

On December 13, 1862, the Battle of Fredericksburg was fought during the American Civil War. General Robert E. Lee defeated Union Major General Ambrose E. Burnside. The battle lasted from December 11 to December 15, but December 13 was the day that the Union Army suffered it's worst casualties. The battle is considered one of the most one-sided during the American Civil War.

Burnside had attempted to send six union divisions into Fredricksburg, across an open plain of 400 yards that was covered by Confederate infantry and artillery. All of the attacks failed, and produced 6,000 to 8,000 casualties.

A month after the battle, Burnside would be relieved of command.

As to the beer:

Olde Burnside Brewing Company is located in Hartford, Connecticut. They brew mainly Scottish style beers.

Our popular “Dirty Penny Ale” (5.7% ABV) is a hearty, but never heavy “black’n’tan” style* which is mixture of 60% Ten Penny/40% our own signature stout. This beer is also available year-round at your local bar or favorite beer store.
(Motto: Dirty Penny Ale …Polish One Off!)
The beer is available in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. General Burnside died in Bristol, Rhode Island, on September 13, 1881. He is buried in Swan Point Cemetery, Providence, Rhode Island. You can pick up Olde Burnside beer, at Swan Liquors, which is .6 miles away from the cemetary.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Days of the Beer, December 12

The beer for today is (Rogue) Issaquah Bullfrog Ale.

On December 12, 1724, Samuel Hood, was born. Samuel was a British Admiral known for his service in the American War of Independence and the French Revolutionary Wars.

In 1792, Lieutenant William Broughton named Mount Hood, in Oregon after Admiral Hood.

Hood died on January 27, 1816.

As to the beer:

Issaquah Brewhouse is located in Issaquah, Washington. They were acquired by Rogue in 2000. Bullfrog is the Issaquah flagship beer.

An American style wheat beer and an Issaquah Brewhouse original. Light in color and body and served with a lemon, Bullfrog ale is crisp, refreshing and goes down easy. Take a flying leap!
Bullfrog is made with Saaz, Horizon and Hood hops.

So, for Admiral Hood, have a beer with hops that ultimately, is named after him.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Days of the Beer, December 11

The beer for today is Labatt Blue.

On December 11, 1838, John Labatt was born in Westminster Township near London, Ontario. John was the son of the founder of the Labatt Brewing Company. When John's father, (John) died, he assumed control of the company, eventually growing it to be the largest brewery in Canada.

As to the beer:

Labatt Brewing Company was founded in 1847, by John's father. In 1995, it was purchased by Interbrew, who later became InBev, currently ABInBev. While it was once the largest brewery in Canada, it is currently in the second spot.

Pilsener-style Lager, 5.0% alc./vol. (4.9% ABV for Bleue in Quebec)

Labatt Blue is the best-selling Canadian beer in the world. Introduced in 1951 as Labatt Pilsener, it was named for the colour of its label by fans of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers football team. Blue was the first brand in Canada with a twist-off cap and won the silver medal in the International Lager category at the 1998 Brewing Industry International Awards. Labatt Blue, brewed using specially selected aromatic hops, is a well-balanced, fully matured, full-flavoured beer with a fruity character and a slightly sweet aftertaste.
Remember folks, coldness in beer hides flavor.

Labatt Blue shouldn't simply be cold - but extra cold

Labatt Blue has developed a state-of-the-art draught tower to chill your Blue all the way to the spout to ensure your beer is only served between 35.60F to 37.40F.
Cold masks aromas.

So, for John Labatt, who once turned Labatt into Canada's largest brewery, have the best selling Canadian beer in the world.

Or just have something from Unibroue, it's from Canada too.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Beer Review, Lost Abbey Avant Garde Ale

Last night, while watching Creation in the 21st Century, Paddy and I drank The Lost Abbey Avant Garde Ale.

this one poured out crystal clear. It was a lovely yellow golden-brown color. It had some residual bubbling inside the glass, and had a decent head. Finishing off the bottle later produced a much hazier beverage.

It smelled sort of farm house funky, with some sour in the nose. There was a little bit of hops present, and also a yeast smell. To me it felt, initially thin, but then when compared to how clear it was, I decided it was rather thick, not quite syrupy, but almost as thick as a double IPA.

The taste had some bitter, and of a light colored bread. There was also a little bit of citrus. Paddy said it tasted malty (which added to the thickness). As it warmed, and got cloudy from the bottom of the bottle, it started to get some vanilla notes, and also some woody, oaky flavors. I finally determined it had a taste of the Popcorn Jelly Belly (Paddy said "it's a Buttered Popcorn Jelly Belly"). We also compared this beer (favorably) to a nilla wafer.

Paddy also said it reminded him of the recent beers that we've had that have also had grape in them (I believe he was thinking of the Allagash Victor and Victoria Ale's).

This was a darn good beer, that I picked up at West Lakeview Liquors, on the Turkey Day Beer Run. I'll be picking up some more of these and stashing them away in the basement, as it's a Biere de Garde (beer for keeping), I'll be keeping a bunch. *Note* It's biere de garde, not biere de share!!!

Days of the Beer, December 10

The beer for today is Bar Harbor Peach Ale.

On December 10, 1956, Milorad R. Blagojevich was born. "Rod" as he's known, is the current governor of Illinois. Rod was the first democrat to be elected governor in 30 years, since Daniel Walker in 1972.

Walker was sentenced to seven years in federal prison, but served 18 months, for fraud, perjury, and making false statements.

Blagojevich, was arrested on December 9 (yesterday) and charged with various crimes, most in connection with attempting to sell the senate seat left vacant by president-elect Barack Obama. Blagojevich has been the target of many federal investigations, and has very low approval ratings in Illinois. He has been called "America's Least Popular Governor".

He was first elected in 2002, and was re-elected in 2006.

I anticipate, if he doesn't spend the rest of his term in office, he'll be impeached.

As to the beer:

Bar Harbor Brewing Company is located in Bar Harbor, Maine, about 3 hours north of Portland. The brewery was established in 1990. They produce only 260 barrels of bottle-conditioned beer each year.

A peach beer? Yes. When you give peach a chance, you'll discover a mildly aromatic, subtle brew unlike any other.

Rich chestnut hue. Pours with an off-white head. Aromas are suggestive of real peach. On the palate this has a lovely nutty roast character with an aromatic suggestion of peach and a clean, lightly toasted finish displaying subtle hay-like hop flavors. Wonderfully drinkable and not remotely sweet.
So, for governor "Rod", have a "Bar", and since he'll probably [expletive] be [expletive] impeached soon, have a Peach.

*Edit* *Bump*

It took less than a month from his birthday for him to be impeached. It was exactly a month from the day he was first arrested.

Reps Milton Patterson and Elga Jefferies, hopefully will be remembered by their constituents, or hopefully the people running against them next election will remember them.

They have campaign slogans against them already. Patterson, he stood alone behind blago...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Beer Event Wrapup, Lefthand Beer Dinner

Last night was the Left Hand Brewing beer dinner at Crane Alley.

Each beer was presented by Mike Walters, the Midwest sales manager for the brewery.

The first course was the panko crusted salmon cake, stuffed with spiced cream cheese. This was paired with Ju Ju Ginger.

The salmon cake was awesome. It looked, and tasted kind of like a crab-cake, but it was better. The spiced cream cheese in the middle was outstanding. It went pretty good with the beer. The salmon cake might have been my favorite dish of the night.

The second course was served with Sawtooth Amber, and was a salad, served with jumbo lump crab. The salad wasn't really anything that looked like "salad". It looked more like a plate of clover, but it was really tasty. It was served with a remoulade and smoked sea salt. The smoked salt was great, I need to find some, or figure out how they made it.

The third course was a duck breast with wild rice, grilled zucchini and squash. It was served with the Snowbound Winter Ale. The duck was outstanding. I didn't think it went very well with the Snowbound. The beer was a little bit spiced, and reminded me of a darker version of the Ju Ju. When the beer was drank with the food, it completely changed the flavor of the beer, and cut the spices right out, making the beer go better with it. Looking through the Left Hand beer lineup, I thought the Deep Cover Brown or the Black Jack Porter, might have been a better choice to go with the darker duck, and the rice.

The fourth course was the Alligator on creole cous-cous, with a spicy trinity broth. It seemed that the alligator was what everyone was most interested in trying. I was a little disappointed in it. It was a little tough and stringy, but then what do you expect from a creature that is pure muscle. When it came out, it almost looked like boneless buffalo wings. The smaller pieces were ok, but the larger ones seemed to have a flavor and sort of wet/squishy texture that reminded me of deep fried catfish. The cous cous was good, and the trinity sauce was great. This was presented with Warrior IPA. The warrior did a good job of cutting the spice of the sauce.

The final presentation was a pistachio infused Tres Leches cake with a Milk Stout Reduction, served with Milk Stout. The cake itself was outstanding, the milk stout reduction worked like a chocolate syrup. It also came with some edible flower petals, that were pretty good in the sweet (i think it was cream) sauce that was also drizzled on the plate. The beer was a good compliment to the cake, washed it down nicely without upsetting the sweetness that was already quite present in the sauces.

Overall it was a good menu, with a good beer selection, there was only one of the beers that I would have tried to change, but it still worked well with the food. The food was all good, with the two cakes (first and last) being great. I asked Aaron if they would be putting the salmon cakes on the menu, and he said they probably wouldn't. If they put the Tres Leches cake on the menu, I wouldn't complain about that, and it might even turn me into a desert person.

Days of the Beer, December 9

The beer for today is Dogfish Head Raison D'Extra.

On December 9, 1608, John Milton was born. Milton was an English poet best know for his epic poem Paradise Lost.

Paradise Lost was composed by Milton from 1658 to 1664. At the time he was blind, and the poem was dictated to several of his aides. Paradise Regained was published along with Samson Agonistes, in 1671.

Milton died November 8, 1674.

As to the beer:

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery is located in Milton, Delaware. Their tasting room is open Tuesday - Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. They offer tours on those days at 3 on T,W,Th, and 3 and 4 on Friday and Saturday. It's recommended to have reservations for the tour.

Dogfish Head Raison D'Extra was last released in March of 2007. It is currently listed as "On Hiatus" by Dogfish Head.

A bigger, bolder version of our Raison D'Etre.

This is a bulbous, brown ale brewed with a bunch of malt, brown sugar and raisins.

This outstanding beer was 18% ABV (or higher). If you look around in the right places, you might be able to find a couple of bottles.

So, for the Birthday of Milton, who wrote Paradise Lost, see if you can find an out of production bottle of Raison D'Extra by the Milton brewery.

(I have 4 bottles in my cellar). (Kriddy and I toured the brewery on October 24).

Monday, December 8, 2008

Days of the Beer, December 8

The beer for today (isn't a beer) is Original Sin Cider.

On December 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX declared the Catholic dogma of Immaculate Conception, that states that the Virgin Mary was born free of original sin.

The Catholics believe, that Mary was born without any stain, "macula" in Latin. They state that from the first moment of her existence, she was preserved by God from the lack of sanctifying grace, and was instead filled with divine grace. They also believe that she lived a life completely free from sin.

Pope Pius XII said "she was free from any personal or hereditary sin". Her immaculate conception by normal sexual intercourse, should not be confused with the virginal conception of Jesus.

This whole concept sort of goes against the teachings of the rest of the Bible.

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Now, lets get into a bit of theology, shall we? If Mary never sinned, then why did she take the offering of the turtledoves to the temple? Having a child was considered unclean (is uncleanliness sin?)

Luke 2:24 And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.
One of two things would have happened here, either she had to offer them as the sin offering, or she lied to everyone about why she had to offer the pigeons. (Additionally, what was Jesus purpose, if not to get people from following the letter of the law, but to follow the spirit of the law?) Why would his mother (who is supposedly sin free) have to give that offering?

Leviticus 12: 6 And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest:
8 And if she be not able to bring a lamb, then she shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons; the one for the burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for her, and she shall be clean.
You see, it was for a sin offering. So, did Mary sin?

As to the cider:

Original Sin Cidery is based out of New York, New York.

Original Sin Hard Cider is a 6% alcohol cider made from the finest domestic apples. Light and crisp with a smooth finish, Original Sin contains no artificial flavors or colors, allowing the natural flavor of the apple to speak for itself.

Original Sin is gluten-free.

Original Sin is available in bars, restaurants, and gourmet markets throughout New York, and is now available in MA, VA, MI, DC, OH, NJ, MD, NC, KY, IN, GA, SC, IL, and KS as well. Coming soon to TN and WI!
So, for the girl born without original sin, have an Original Sin yourself, heck, have a couple, make up for all those who believe in that too.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Days of the Beer, December 7

The beer for today is Warbird Brewing Company WarHawk Pale Ale.

On December 7, 1941, the Japanese launched a surprise military strike on the United States' naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The result of this attack brought the United States into World War II, with a declaration of war against Japan on December 8, and against Germany on December 11.

Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.
The events that led up to the attack included the 1940 U.S. Export Control Act, that halted shipments of airplanes, parts, machine tools, and aviation gasoline; this was taken by Japan as a provocation. In the summer of 1941, the U.S. ceased oil exports to Japan, who was getting 80% of their oil from the U.S.

The attack led the U.S. from isolationism to the public accepting participation into the war.

The United States was at peace with that nation, and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island of Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our secretary of state a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack.
The McCollum Memo...

The "McCollum Memo" was an 8 point action plan, that was devised by Lt. Commander Arthur McCollum, of the U.S. Navy. In the plan, he outlined 8 steps that the U.S. would have to take that would cause Japan to attack the U.S. The memo was given to U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt around October 7, 1940. On October 8, 1940, the Japanase Ambasador warned the U.S. that the (before mentioned) Export Control Act, would be considered an "unfriendly act".

Four battleships, three cruisers, one minelayer, and 188 aircraft were lost that day. There were 2,345 military deaths and 57 civilians killed. More than 1000 people were wounded.

Many of the 188 planes lost that day were P-40 Warhawks.

As to the beer:

Warbird Brewing is located in Fort Wayne, Indiana. They love beer, and retired military airplanes.

Warhawk Pale Ale is the best pale ale I've ever tasted. It is a truly "drinkable" pale ale. Warhawk Pale Ale is an American-Style Pale Ale, which means that it has assertive American hop character. You can really taste the Cascade hops. But what makes this a "drinkable" pale ale is the malt. We use premium 2-row malt and 3 specialty malts to give this beer the full malt complexity required to balance a "hoppy" beer. If you're a Pale Ale fan, you will absolutely love this beer. I guarantee it.
I'm not sure who said that, but it's on their website.

The beer comes in at 7.3% ABV.

So, for the lives (and planes) that were lost in the day of infamy, have a beer named after those planes.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Days of the Beer, December 6

The beer for today is Penn Brewery, St. Nikolas Bock.

On December 6, 346, Saint Nicholas, died. Yes kids, Santa Claus is dead. Nicholas of Myra was the bishop of Myra in Lycia of Anatolia (Turkey). Nicholas had a reputation for secret gift-giving.

There are a couple of miracles and legends attributed to Saint Nick. The first deals with how he became a bishop. Nicholas was said to have been on a ship traveling from Alexandria to Myra, and a sailor on the ship fell from the rigging, and was saved by Nick. After they arrived, Nick went in to pray and the sailor went around and told how he was saved by Nikei-Laos. It just so happened that the previous bishop had just died, and the church fathers were told in a dream that the next bishop would be a "man who conquers" (Nike is Greek for conquer/victory). Suddenly, Nike-laos is in their midst, so they elect him as bishop.

Another story is about how there was a famine on Myra, and a butcher had taken three children (or clerks) and chopped them up, put them in a barrel and intended to sell them as meat. Nick realized that the meat was children, so he prayed for them, and they came back to life.

One of Nick's most famous stories is about a poor father who had three daughters, but couldn't pay their dowry. Because of that, they'd remain unmarried and (obviously) have to become prostitutes. Nich helped them out by throwing three bags of gold through the window. This either happened on one night, three consecutive nights, or over three years. In one version of the story, the man was trying to figure out who was giving the money, so Nick snuck onto the roof, and dropped the money down the chimney. When it came down, it landed in the third girls stocking, that she was drying by the fireplace.

As to the beer:

Penn Brewery was founded in 1986 in Pittsburgh's North Side. It was established to brew authentic German beers.

A very rich, dark bock beer. Dark ruby in color with subtle tones of chocolate and burn malt. It will warm you on a cold winter night and brighten your days. The perfect holiday gift for the beer drinker.
So, for Saint Nick, have a Saint Nick. There are many different Santa beers out there, so just find one and suck it down for the bishop.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Brewing on Sunday

Sunday afternoon around 3:30 or so (around the start of the second round of football games) we're going to be brewing at my house.

We'll be making a Blueberry wheat, hoping to get an ABV of about 8% and I think we might be able to get that.

So, if you want to come out and play, look me up.


Days of the Beer, December 5

The beer for today is Russian River Blind Pig.

On December 5, 1933, Utah became the 36th state to ratify the 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave the 75% of states needed to enact the amendment. The 21st Amendment overturned the 18th Amendment which outlawed alcohol in the U.S.

There are two methods to approve amendments to the U.S. Constitution. 1. Ratification by the state legislatures of 3/4 of the states. 2. State Conventions. The 21st Amendment is the only one to have been ratified by the State Convention process. The amendment was passed this way because state legislatures were fearful of the still strong temperance movement.

The Amendment was proposed on February 20, 1933. Michigan was the first state to ratify the amendment on April 10. Wisconsin was next in April 25. Ohio, Pennsylvania and Utah all passed it on December 5. Maine and Montana ratified it after, on December 6, and August 6, 1934. South Carolina rejected it, on December 4.

The amendment put alcohol control in the hands of the states. Mississippi was the last dry state, that lasted until 1966.

As to the beer:

Blind pig, has two meanings. The first is as an establishment. Blind Pig's were saloons like a speakeasy. A speakeasy was normally a higher class venue than the blind pig. At a Blind Pig, the saloon keeper would charge customers to see an animal and provide a "complimentary" alcoholic beverage.

The other definition is of a mason jar. A mason jar was known as a pig, and an un-marked mason jar was known as a blind pig.

Blind Pig IPA: Blind Pig IPA was originally brewed by Vinnie at Blind Pig Brewing Co. in Temecula CA. Inspired by the original Blind Pig IPA, this beer is loaded with hop character but only has 6.0% ABV.
So, for the end of prohibition, raise your glass to the people who stood up to the temperance movement. Have a drink for Utah, even though it's got some of the most restrictive laws about bringing beer into their state. Drink it out of a mason jar, just say it's a blind pig.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Days of the Beer, December 4

The beer for today is Shoreline Foggy Loggy Lager.

On December 4, 1952, a fog covered London, England. It lasted until December 9. The fog directly caused, or contributed to the death of around 12,000 people. It became known as the Great Smog of 1952.

The fog was the result of a cold pressure system, that caused people to burn more coal than normal to heat their homes. The cold trapped the smoke lower in the atmosphere close to the ground. Coal at the time in London was low in quality and high in sulfur, as the higher quality coal was being exported to help the post-war economy.

Shortly after the fog lifted, medical services found that the fog had killed 4,000 people, many of which had pre-existing respiratory problems. Most of the deaths were from respiratory tract infections or from hypoxia (low oxygenation of blood). Others died from being suffocated by pus, from lung infections. In the weeks an months that followed, another 8,000 people died from the fog.

As to the beer:

Shoreline Brewery is located in Michigan City, Indiana, on the coast of Lake Michigan. Foggy Loggy is a pale lager and comes in at 4.4% ABV.

Shoreline's lightest offering. This lager is styled after the first beer brewed celebrating King Ludwig's wedding to Princess Teresa of Saxon which turned into the modern day Oktoberfest. It has a nice white lacey head followed by a beautiful golden blonde hue.
As far as I know, this beer is only available at the brewery. I had this beer on March 5, when Kriddy and I went on our Indiana brewery/brewpub tour.

So, for the Great Smog of 1952, have a Foggy Loggy.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Days of the Beer, December 3

The beer for today is Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA.

On December 3, 1984, in Bhopal, India; a methyl isocyanate leak from a Union Carbide pesticide plant killed more than 3,800 people and injured 150,000 - 600,000 others (more than 6,000 would later die from their injuries).

During the night, large amounts of water entered a tank that held 42 tonnes of methyl isocyanate. This caused a chemical reaction that raised the pressure and the temperature inside the tank to over 400 degrees F. The tank wasn't designed to hold the pressure, and released the gas. The plant was located in the center of Bhopal, and the gases flooded the city. People woke up in a cloud of gas that burned their lungs.

The cause of the incident, which is labeled as one of the worst industrial accidents in history, is unknown. Some think that peopel were cleaning pipes out with water that leaked into the tank, others think it was an act of sabotage by a disgruntled worker.

As to the beer:

I had this beer recently, and it was awesome.

The newest member of the Firestone family, Union Jack is the aggressive IPA that you’ve been searching for. Citrus, pineapple, and a full chewy malt profile finish clean on your palate. Over 70 IBUs and 7.5% alcohol by volume, Union Jack won’t have any problem competing with the big India Pale Ales. A beer true to its origins; deeply hopped and bolstered for a long voyage.
The beer is currently only available in California, so unless you have a hook-up, you'll just have to wait.

So, for the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal, India, have a Firestone Walker Union Jack India Pale Ale.

*the incident was commemorated in song by the Revolting Cocks*

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Days of the Beer, December 2

The beer for today is Magic Hat Circus Boy.

On December 2, 1863, Charles Edward Ringling was born in McGregor, Iowa. Charles was one of the Ringling Brothers who owned the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. While there, he was in charge of production.

The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus was started in 1919, after the Ringling brothers had purchased the Barnum & Bailey Circus in 1907. The circuses ran separately for several years, but finally merged.

The Ringling brothers originally had four brothers, but by 1919, only Charles and John Nicholas Ringling were remaining. The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus debuted on March 29, 1919, in Madison Square Garden.

Charles died December 3, 1926.

As to the beer:

Magic Hat is based out of South Burlington Vermont. They began in 1994. Magic Hat is known for puting short phrases on the underside of their bottle caps.

THE Hefeweizen: Unfiltered and unfettered, Circus Boy is a unique and refreshing American-style Hefeweizen.

Is he a who? Or a what? Or perhaps some of both?

ABV: 5.4
Gravity: 1.055
Bitterness: 18
SRM: 5.0
Yeast: Hefeweizen Ale
Hops: Cascade & Warrior
Malts: Wheat, Pale

So for one of the men who started one of the great circuses, have a Circus Boy.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Beer Review, Lost Abbey Judgement Day

After finishing up the first series of football games at Hooters with our 50 free wings, headed home to watch the afternoon game. Sadly, the televised game was the Jets versus the Broncos, I have no idea how that one wound up being the best option for East-Central Illinois, but it's probably the Favre connection.

To wash the game down, I split a bottle of The Lost Abbey Judgement Day with Paddy, as Kriddy was taking a nap.

The bottle said this one was a Belgian (style) Dark Quad. It poured almost purple, it was dark, and let some light through. I thought it looked kind of like tea, maybe a purple tea? It smelled winey, yeasty, and a bit of alcohol. There was some grape in it, that made it almost smell like grape bubble gum.

It had a medium to thin thickness, and was slightly effervescent. It also was very drying.

It tasted of grape, bread, raisin, and coffee. I thought I might have gotten some prune or fig in the flavor, like drinking a slightly grape-y fig newton. There was no perceivable hop bitterness in the flavor. Paddy said it was "wicked sweet". As I got down to the bottom of the glass, it started to feel very familiar. At first I couldn't place it, but I think it reminded me of Grape Mad Dog 20/20. To which Paddy said, "WTF? this high end delicious bottle of beer reminds you of $3 swill?"

Sadly, just a bit. He then said, ok, well, at least it didn't remind me of purple passion.

This beer was awesome. It came in the Port/Lost Abbey gift pack from Rob. Sadly, I won't need my California hookup for these beers anymore. Happily, it is available in Illinois, if you are willing to travel to Chicago. The beer is currently available at West Lakeview Liquors, who also will ship. It is also at Archer Liquors, who also do shipping.

Oddly, the price tag on the bottle that came from California, was the same price as I picked it up for in Chicago on Thanksgiving. I do have another bottle of this in my box from Thursday, and I think I'll be putting it down in the basement. I'll be stocking up on this one.

Days of the Beer, December 1

The beer for today is Pabst Blue Ribbon.

On December 1, 1981, the AIDS virus was officially recognized. Prior to being named AIDS, it was known as GRID, for Gay-Related Immune Deficiency (I am no relation).

December 1, is World AIDS Day. Now, granted, you are supposed to wear a Red Ribbon to show your solidarity with HIV-positive and people with AIDS, but I can't find a Red Ribbon beer, so a blue one will have to suffice.

AIDS has killed more than 25 million people between 1981, and 2007. It is estimated there are 33 million people worldwide who have HIV. In 2007, AIDS claimed an estimated 2 million people, of which, about 270,000 were children.

World AIDS day originated in 1988 at the World Summit of Ministers of Health on Programmes for AIDS Prevention.

The theme this year is Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise - Lead - Empower- Deliver.

As to the beer:

PBR is produced by the Pabst Brewing Company. Their beer is currently produced on a contract by Miller Brewing Company.

Here's Charlie Papazian's notes on it.

"A contrasting counterpoint of sharp texture and flowing sweetness is evident at the first sip of this historic brew. A slowly increasing hoppiness adds to the interplay of ingredients, while the texture smooths out by mid-bottle. The clear, pale-gold body is light and fizzy. Medium-bodied Blue Ribbon finishes with a dusting of malts and hops. A satisfying American classic and a Gold Medal winner at the 2006 Great American Beer Festival."
If you look at the PBR logo, you will notice a red strip behind the blue ribbon, this was put there in 1958, to commemorate the sale of 100 million barrels since the beer was first brewed.

So, for the day where you are to show your support for AIDS and HIV folks by wearing a Red Ribbon, have yourself a Blue Ribbon.