Monday, October 30, 2006

The Linwood Grill in Boston, MA...say it ain't so!

I returned from Washington D.C. this weekend from seeing Lisa triumphantly complete the Marine Corps Marathon and what does my inbox behold? This piece of depressing news was reported over at Beer Advocate. From the sounds of it, grim days ahead for The Linwood Grill. This is extremely unfortunate as it was one of the city's shining beer spots. Could it have been in a better location? Sure. Could have they....? Oh, heck, they did a lot of good things right. While I was only there once while visiting, it was on my short list for a return trip, as I wrote about back then. I would highly encourage any of our readers to stop by this Wednesday, 11/1, to see what Matt and company are pulling out of the basement. If I could, I most certainly would.......

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Anderson Valley Brewing Co. in Boonville, CA

Our last stop on the way to the San Francisco airport was at Anderson Valley Brewing. They are nestled in the rolling hills and mountains of Mendocino County. It was sort of a knee-jerk reaction to stop here. Obviously, its reputation far preceded it, but we just weren't sure if we were up for one more stop. After North Coast Brewing and a drive down the coast and through the mountainous terrain, we really had our sites set on the trip back east. But, something pulled us to the left off of CA-128. Oh, who am I kidding? It was my selfish need to go just a 1/4 mile off the main road to find out what AVBC is all about. The scenery down through the hills, the wineries, and beautiful surroundings (plus, the rave reviews from Jeff over at Craft Beer Radio) sealed the deal. It had to be special, right? Absolutely! Just when I thought I had seen some downright spectacular locations for a brewery/brewpub, along comes AVBC. These pictures don't even do it real justice. If you have ever been to a winery and experienced the tranquility of its vineyards and tasting house, you have a sense of what it is like at AVBC. Perhaps this makes some sense, because they are located in the same lush setting as and just down the road from Roederer, Yorkville, Navarro, and Goldeneye. When you first pull into the parking lot at AVBC, there's a lot more going on here than you might first have imagined. To the right is the main brewing operations. To the far left is a disc golf course. Further beyond the parking lot straight ahead is open field with majestic mountains serving as a scenic backdrop. To the left is the tasting and merchandise house with an attached beer garden. Hops grow across trellises over the outdoor beer garden. Sheesh, fresh beer, disc golf, laid back attitude, fresh beer, horse-drawn carriage rides, brewery tour, beer garden...what more do you need to while away a beautiful afternoon?! Maybe more fresh beer? Well, unfortunately we only had approximately an hour to while away. So, it was off to a variety of AVBC's sampler size brews. Most I had been familiar with already. Though, there's always something to be said for tasting the suds fresh from the source. Pouring on this Sunday afternoon for our pleasure included the Brother David's Double and Brother David's Triple (abbey-style, both brewed in partnership with David Keane of San Francisco's venerable Toronado). The deep and rich flavors of fruit and malt make these both very good beers. So good, in fact, that there's a couple of bottles gracing my shelf at home. The Boont Amber, Hop Ottin IPA, and Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout also made their way onto my sampler platter...each a very nice and well done interpretation of their style. Then, there was the Summer Solstice Cerveza Crema. This was the only beer of their's that I had not previously tried. Many reviews have raved about this beer and it has been available here and there across the east coast during this year. Perhaps it was psychological that I had not yet tried it...you know, crema, makes me think cream and I'm just not a big fan of cream ales, creamy nitro stouts, and the like...Cerveza makes me think Corona...ah, the head games that simple marketing can play. Unfair, for sure, but in any case here I was at AVBC finally ready to give it a try. And, whoa, why did I wait so long? This was one pleasant brew with nice taste and body to it. While it did have a bit of softness to the mouthfeel, it wasn't the creamy texture that I originally feared going into it. The medium color and body may not make it a lawnmower beer, perhaps more of a cooler summer evening beer after dinner or early fall after raking leaves kind of beer. The soft fruited flavors came through nicely making certain that this will be a beer that I stock up on next summer. Oh, what the heck, maybe I can find a sixpack to still enjoy this fall. I can't believe that I made it all the way through this little review without mentioning Boontling, a strange and fascinating dialect (of what, I haven't a clue!) still spoken around the brewery and the town of Boonville. So fascinating, in fact, that I bought a pocket handbook that defines some of this curious speak.

Beer Travel: O'Brien's Pub - San Diego, CA

Ok, I'm 3 for 3. This place rocked. Again, Bryan thanks for the tip. I met Mikala and Michelle the bartenders. They helped me pick the beer for the night. Great people and great beer. Seem so be a theme eh ;-) More to come. Thanks O'Brien's!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Beer Calendar: What to do in November 2006

Here's just a sampling of upcoming events over the next several weeks, mostly in the Philadelphia area, that look interesting to check out. Let us know if you think you might be heading to one of these events or have been to one of them in the past. Tue. 10/24 - An Evening of IPAs @The Drafting Room, Exton, PA (6:00pm-???; pay as you go) Tue. 10/24 - Brewing with Wood with Rob Tod from Allagash @Tria, Philadelphia, PA (6:30pm-8:00pm; $40) Fri. 10/27 - Oktoberfest Beer Dinner @The Farmhouse Restaurant, Emmaus, PA (7pm; $80) Wed. 11/1 - St. Bernardus Month @Zeno's, State College, PA (all month 'til they kick; pay as you go) Thu. 11/2 - Rise of Rome Beer Dinner @Victory Brewing, Downingtown, PA (6pm; $50) Fri. 11/3 - A Taste of German Beer and Art @(Philadelphia Art) Museum Restaurant, Philadelphia, PA (6:00pm-8:00pm; $49; includes Museum admission) Sat. 11/4 - Belgian Festival @Zeno's, State College, PA ($35) Wed. 11/8 - The Dark Side with Tom Baker @Tria, Philadelphia, PA (6:30pm-8:00pm; $35) Sat. 11/11 - Sixtel Saturday @General Lafayette Inn & Brewery, Lafayette Hill, PA (12pm-4pm; pay as you go) Thu. 11/16 - One-year old tapping of Old Salty Bourbon Barrel-aged Barleywine @Old Eagle Tavern, Philadelphia, PA (pay as you go) Thu. 11/16 - Belgian Beer Dinner with Sly Fox and Southampton Publick House @Sly Fox, Royersford, PA (7:00pm-10:00pm; $50/person, $90/couple) Sat. 11/18 - The Rise and Fall of Schmidt's @Yards Brewery, Philadelphia, PA (2pm; free) Sat. 11/18-Sun. 11/19 - 15th Great Brews of America @Split Rock Resort, Lake Harmony, PA (1pm-5pm; $23/day)

Beer Travel: Liar's Club, San Diego, CA

Have you been to the Liar's Club? I was just there tonight. What a great place. Thanks Bryan for the tip :-) I met Tony from Stone, Nate from LC, two local beer fans, uh...Chris from LC and a great bartender (Tony what was her name?) I'll post more later when I get a chance. Let's just say there was more local California beer on tap than you could shake a stick at. I only knew about one thenth of them. I'm two for two...heheh. So, is it O'brien's tomorrow or a new place called Hamilton's Tavern? Hmmmm....

Friday, October 20, 2006

Beer Event: Dogfish Head at The Freehouse in Wayne, PA

When we arrived around 9:00 PM there was a good crowd with room for more. Sam Calagione, founder, and Matt Webster, er beer guy ;-), were there representing Dogfish Head. It was a relaxed atmosphere with lots of beer flowing. Freehouse is a new addition to Wayne and seems to have their head on fairly straight. This is what I remember from the taplist;

  • Strong Bow
  • Guinness
  • DFH 60 Minute IPA
  • DFH 90 Minute IPA
  • DFH 120 Minute IPA (unfiltered and 2 months old)
  • Bass Ale
  • Stella Artois
  • Fuller's ESB
  • Magic Hat #9
  • some others
So this is one of those places that you can go to with your non-beer snob (I mean that in the nicest sense) friends and find something you'll probably like. Of course they sell wine and spirits as well so there's something for everybody. For me this was a chance to meet Sam Calagione and get out on a nice Wednesday evening. I was also happy to see Matt Webster who we just recently hung out with at The Flying Pig in Malvern. Thanks Sam and Matt for the beer. And a big thank you to The Free House owners & management for putting some good beer on tap. We wish you the best of luck in your new endeavor. If you're interested DFH will be at The Beer Yard in Wayne for a tasting tonight :-) Not sure if I'll be there, but, Bryan and the crew will be. Man...I think we're becoming DFH groupies. See what Ommegang does to you. -Adam

North Coast Brewing Co. in Fort Bragg, CA

The last two stops on the wild and wonderful Northern California Beer Trek included North Coast Brewing and Anderson Valley Brewing. However, these were more of the quick visit and sample variety rather than a full visit and conversation with staff and/or brewer. However, it was of course fun to check out the homes of these two solid breweries and have some of their suds straight from the source. (Skip ahead three paragraphs if you just want to hear about the beer at North Coast and not my yammering on about the beauty of northern California and Fort Bragg). First up was North Coast Brewing Co. in Fort Bragg, CA. We made our 30 mile journey from Willits to Fort Bragg in something like 90 minutes. But, you know what I mean if you've ever driven the route. The mountains, the switchbacks, the scenery, and numerous pulloffs all explained the slow pace. Actually, check out below another one my panormic creations for a visual explanation. Seems that this was surely the trip of stunning panoramics! We certainly had no idea what to expect on this particular Sunday morning after the Lagunitas Skunk Beer Train event the prior day. However, we made our way to Fort Bragg and stopped for breakfast on their Main Street at Egghead's (an homage to great breakfast fixins and the Wizard of Oz...not quite sure the history, though). Excellent choice, if I do say so. Then, we strolled Main Street a bit while we awaited the day's opening of North Coast at noontime. Another recommendation in Fort Bragg is Roundman's Smoke House. I bought some great jerky of several varieties to have at our weekly Monday Night Football gathering. Beer and jerky? YES! (Beef; Pepper Beef; Beef Teriyaki; Cajun Death; Beef Jerky "Very Hot"; Turkey; Teriyaki Turkey) Ok, so the pub finally opens at noon. It is a Sunday afterall. The pub is located across the street from the brewery. The pub itself is not really large. It has a bit of a more comfy feel to it than many brewpubs. Off the entrance to the left is a dining room and to the right is a smallish bar area with a casual table seating area. Since time was not abundantly in our favor (evening flight from SFO), I lined up a tasting of four of their beers. I've sampled many of the beers at some time in the past, so the one that jumped out at me most here was the year-aged Old Stock Ale. Now mind you that Old Stock (and Old Rasputin) are somewhere in my Top 20-ish beers, period. Age the Old Stock in a bourbon barrel for a year and, yowzah, what you get is one amazingly great beer. I've learned recently that they are planning to put up another batch from 2005. Plus, rumor says that it may be showing up in bottles as well! Beer Trade anyone?! Another beer that is creeping up my all-time favorite list is the Brother Thelonious. What a treat to have here at its home, along with the Old Stock, R.I.S., and the Pranqster. Sunday morning drive through the woods and down the coast, morning after reminiscing on Russian River and Lagunitas, and North Coast beer. Is there really a better way to end a wonderful California trip? Me thinks not! While North Coast may not be the most conveniently located for may of you except the very most local of all beer travellers, it is such a complete and utter joy once firmly planted in a seat at the pub. As you can tell from my writing, we did not stay nearly long enough to get a sense of their food or the knowledge and friendliness of the staff. Plus, their merchandise "store" had not yet opened so I was not able to leave with any glassware, etc. But, just let the beer speak for itself. Outstanding! (In the spirit of the election season: This message has not been endorsed by North Coast!) p.s. For once, it appears there was more space for pictures than words here, ha!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Growing Hops: Harvest - Time To Meet Your Maker

- What happened next? - Read about Brewing an IPA with Fresh Hops - The Yeast Starter - So where are we in the "Grow Your Own Hops" journey? Well its harvest time! We smelled them, tasted them, threw them in some beer and well just stood there amazed. I just picked up the ingredients for the IPA these will be added to :-) Here's a recap. I grew four types of hops Willamette, Chinook, Cascade and Centennial. The cascade was the only one that produced this year. We were very happy to get anything at all. Check out the journey -> Growing Hops

Harvested by hand and headed for a homebrew!

5 oz of fresh Cascade hops.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Beer Event (tonight): Dogfish Head at The Freehouse in Wayne, PA

Thanks to Kathleen, loyal reader of The Brew Lounge, for uncovering this little event occurring tonight in Wayne, PA. Seems Dogfish Head is spread everywhere this week with an event in Baltimore at Max's tonight, an educational course at Tria tonight, Chateau Jiahu tomorrow night at Isaac Newton's, and a tasting Friday evening at The Beer Yard. Funny though how this event was found neither under this hat, that hat, nor the other hat. Heck, The Freehouse doesn't even appear to have its own website yet. Though, Mike has covered it briefly over here. But, Kathleen has her sources! (or she got an e-mail via their distribution list). Thanks Kathleen! ============================================================= Dogfish Head Promo At The Freehouse Date: 10/18/2006 Time: 8:30pm - 10:30pm Location: Wayne, PA Dogfish Head Promo Night The Freehouse 110 N. Wayne Ave. Wayne, PA Sam's on the road with the IPAs and lots of giveaways! On tap that night, 120 Minute, 90 Minute and 60 Minute.

Beer Tasting: Founders Red's Rye

This is a rye ale brewed by Founders Brewing of Grand Rapids, MI. This 12oz. bottle was purchased in May 2006 in Boston, MA at Federal Wine and Spirits and transported home (during the days of being allowed to carry liquid on board of planes) and stored in the low 40F since then. We both appear to be in complete agreement that this is one very good beer from a phenomenal brewery. Unfortunately, we don't see much of their beers in Pennsylvania at all. A shame, considering the near legendary status of their brews, especially the Kentucky Breakfast Stout. Adam's Notes:
  • sweet candied hop nose
  • tangy, malty, different
  • carbonation meets up with some kinda zing
  • nothing I've tasted before
  • better than just a hops tang
  • very nice indeed
  • as it gets warmer you can taste the rye
  • if it warms to room temp it's a bit much
  • not a problem...what a great beer :-)
Bryan's Notes:
  • Reddish-Brown color
  • Thick, Shaving cream head; 3 fingers even on a gentle pour
  • Serious lacing left behind on wall of glass
  • Something different, pungent, in the aroma that I can't place; not offputting; hoppy, but something else too
  • Some chunky bits lingering in bottle
  • Solid, medium body; such an enjoyable feeling beer
  • Great malt backbone plays well with hoppy flavors
  • Not picking up much in the way of rye; pleasant bitterness for sure, but not heavy on the rye
  • Quite a snappy, almost tart, finish
  • Would really love to try some more of this brew...Michigan road trip!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Beer Event: The Grey Lodge's Friday the Firkinteenth 10/13/06

Another Friday the Firkinteenth in the books for Scoats and the crew at The Grey Lodge in northeast Philly. How can one go about telling the story of how festive and enjoyable a day can be with almost 20 cask-conditioned beers perched on the bar with fellow beer lovers gathered 'round? One cannot. So, I'll let a few of these pictures do the talking and a short list below of my faves of the day. Don't get me wrong, though, there were no clunkers in the bunch. Spotted in the crowd partaking in the celebration on this perfect fall weather day included Brian O'Reilly (Sly Fox), Don Russell (aka Joe Sixpack), Woody (aka John!) Chandler, Lee Marren (Legacy), Tracy Mulligan (Victory), Matt Webster & Mike Gerhart (Dogfish Head), and many BAs. Oh yeah, and a guy named George that I used to work with 15 years ago at The River Cafe in Manayunk! Troegs HopBack Nodding Head 3C Extreme Gen'l Lafayette Malted Oat Stout Stoudt's Fat Dog Rock Art Red Lancaster Hog's Milk Kudos to Scoats and staff! Early in the day, a comfortable crowd gathers 'round the bar. As another one bites the dust. Scoats lines up the next cask. Tough to choose between excellent cask conditioned beers of the day and a decent (as usual) standard tap lineup. Staff holds up well under the pressure of the demanding masses. An esteemed lineup of quality brews you must admit. The back of the downstairs bar fills up late in the afternoon. A sharp eye will spot Mr. O'Reilly. The front fills in quickly, too. Your's truly with the esteemed Mr. Chandler. Gotta get me my own personalized moose hat! As night falls, the pleasant and well-behaved crowd enjoys the crisp fall air.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Beer Event: Brazen Head's Cask Ale Festival

Now they've gone and done it. "They" are Brazen Head and they done gone too far to smash my worlds of beer appreciation and running together. Especially, on the weekend that I'm trying to run in the NYC Marathon on 11/5. Don't they know that I'll be running through Brooklyn only a few blocks away? Ugh! Well, perhaps a post-marathon celebration will be in order over in Brooklyn. Or, some "carb loading" the night before! Or maybe a well-timed "bathroom break." ;-) =========================================================== The 10th Tri-Annual 'Cask Head' Cask Ale Festival will take place Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th November 2006 at The Brazen Head, 228 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY. Expect 20 to 25 casks to be pouring over the weekend, at least 10 at a time. Many will be rare offerings not normally seen in cask in NYC. Beer will come in 10oz and 16oz measures, there's no entry fee and you pay by the glass - and prices will be a little cheaper than normal ($5/$3)! Opening hours: Noon to late. Provisional list of casks: Brooklyn Blast! Captain Lawrence Pleasantville Smoked Porter Captain Lawrence Captain's Reserve Sly Fox Magnum IPA Legacy Brown Aled Girl Legacy Reading Pilsner (dry hopped) Legacy 3H/Heavy Handed Hops Legacy Hoptimus Prime Greenpoint Beerworks-Heartland Smiling Pumpkin Greenpoint Beerworks-Kelso Nut Brown Lager Paper City Holyoke Dam Ale Paper City India'n Pale Ale Paper City Ireland Parish Gold Paper City Blonde Hop Monster Chelsea Cream Stout Chelsea Catskill Hop Harvest IPA Sixpoint Grand Crue (wood aged) Sixpoint *Ginger* Righteous Ale - festival special Blue Point Porter(?) Blue Point Sour Cherry Imperial Stout Butternuts Pork Slap Stoudt's *Juniper* Scarlet Lady (dry hopped with Summit) Stoudt's *Licorice* Fat Dog (dry hopped with Summit) Thomas Hooker Imperial Porter Defiant ESB (name?) Defiant Christmas Ale (name?) plus Warwick Valley Doc's Draft Cider and/or Perry

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Beer Tasting: Iron Hill Russian Imperial Stout

This is a Russian Imperial Stout brewed by the Media location of the Iron Hill chain of brewpubs in southeastern Pennsylvania and Delaware. This 25oz. bottle was purchased direct from the brewpub in early 2006 and stored at approximately 50F since then. Congratulations to Bob Barrar and Iron Hill for bringing home the gold medal of the Imperial Stout category at the 2006 GABF. Just another good reason to sample this luxurious delight, in addition to celebrating Bryan's birthday and the Eagles win over the Cowboys. Adam's Notes:
  • Holy Smokes! What a wonderful nose
  • Sweet, Roasted Marshmallow, pecan pie
  • tastes like an imperial oatmeal stout
  • alcohol not very present at all
  • not very hoppy at all
  • reminds me of a balanced Belgian gone Russian Imp Stout!
  • lingering sweet roastyness
  • you just keep going after it...till its all gone
  • Thanks for sharing Bryan :-) I'm happy you cracked this one open tonight!
Bryan's Notes:
  • a nice, tan head
  • typically dark looking, smooth pouring stout
  • wonderfully smooth brew with big presence of roasted coffee and rich chocolate
  • carbonation just right for this style
  • alcohol is moderately present while hop presence is low
  • finishes so nicely, leaving behind some of the burnt-like flavors
  • too strong to be a session beer, but easy enough to finish a full 750ml on your own!
  • expensive at $20/bottle, but in this case well worth it

Friday, October 13, 2006

8:10 !FINAL UPDATE! - Friday the Firkinteenth at Grey Lodge Pub in Philadelphia, PA - !FINAL UPDATE!

Check back every hour for updates of new casks and expired casks and surprises, to be sure. Then, get your butt over here and join us! Ok...THIS IS THE FINAL POST! These seven were confirmed to be on tap around 8:00! As Bryan was leaving the gong sounded...so there must have been something else being tapped. :-) So if you hurry you might get to try some cask ale. CASKS ON TAP RIGHT NOW Legacy Nor'easter (second kilderkin?) Rock Art American Red (dryhopped and oak aged) Sly Fox ESB Sly Fox Simcoe IPA General Lafayette Malted Oat Stout Appalachian Cherrypacker Porter Yards IPA CASKS WAITING TO BE TAPPED no more that we know of ;-) Kicked Legacy Nor'easter 3:20 PM (first kilderkin?) Stoudt's Scarlet Lady ESB (dry-hopped with Summit) 4:40 PM Troegs Double Hopped Hopback (unfiltered and two bags of Nugget Hops) between 5 & 6 PM Nodding Head 3C Extreme between 5 & 6 PM Dogfish Head Punkin Ale - ? PM Iron Hill Pumpkin - ? PM Flying Fish Farmhouse kräusened with Grand Cru and dry hopped with Summit and Chinook - ? PM Victory Dr. Decibels ? PM Brewers Art Resurrection Ale ? PM Lancaster Hog's Milk ? PM Weyerbacher Double Simcoe ? IPA

6:10 !HOURLY UPDATE! - Friday the Firkinteenth at Grey Lodge Pub in Philadelphia, PA - !HOURLY UPDATE!

Check back every hour for updates of new casks and expired casks and surprises, to be sure. Then, get your butt over here and join us! Ok...four more on tap. Bryan says things are hopping! Four should be taken off, but, we didn't get them all so here's a list of 10, but, only 8 are really on tap. CASKS ON TAP RIGHT NOW Dogfish Head Punkin Ale - Tapped after 5:00 Rock Art American Red (dryhopped and oak aged) - Tapped after 5:00 Iron Hill Pumpkin - Tapped after 5:00 Sly Fox ESB - Tapped after 5:00 Flying Fish Farmhouse kräusened with Grand Cru and dry hopped with Summit and Chinook - Tapped around 4:30 Victory Dr. Decibels - Tapped 3:20 PM Brewers Art Resurrection Ale General Lafayette Malted Oat Stout Lancaster Hog's Milk Weyerbacher Double Simcoe IPA CASKS WAITING TO BE TAPPED Appalachian Cherrypacker Porter Sly Fox Simcoe IPA Yards IPA Kicked Legacy Nor'easter 3:20 PM Stoudt's Scarlet Lady ESB (dry-hopped with Summit) 4:40 PM Troegs Double Hopped Hopback (unfiltered and two bags of Nugget Hops) between 5 & 6 PM Nodding Head 3C Extreme between 5 & 6 PM

4:40 !HOURLY UPDATE! - Friday the Firkinteenth at Grey Lodge Pub in Philadelphia, PA - !HOURLY UPDATE!

Check back every hour for updates of new casks and expired casks and surprises, to be sure. Then, get your butt over here and join us! Two casks are kicked now and two more tapped! In non-cask news, Stoudts' Fat Dog with licorice root is now on CO2. I think there was another little surprise too....awe man...I forgot what Bryan said. Figures. Oh yeah, how could we forget.... Happy Birthday Wendell!!!! :-) (I hope I spelled it right) CASKS ON TAP RIGHT NOW Flying Fish Farmhouse kräusened with Grand Cru and dry hopped with Summit and Chinook - Tapped around 4:30 Victory Dr. Decibels - Tapped 3:20 PM Brewers Art Resurrection Ale General Lafayette Malted Oat Stout Lancaster Hog's Milk Nodding Head 3C Extreme Troegs Double Hopped Hopback (unfiltered and two bags of Nugget Hops) Weyerbacher Double Simcoe IPA CASKS WAITING TO BE TAPPED Appalachian Cherrypacker Porter Dogfish Head Punkin Ale Iron Hill Pumpkin Tapped - Rock Art American Red (dryhopped and oak aged) Sly Fox ESB Sly Fox Simcoe IPA Yards IPA Kicked Legacy Nor'easter 3:20 PM Stoudt's Scarlet Lady ESB (dry-hopped with Summit)

3:20 !HOURLY UPDATE! - Friday the Firkinteenth at Grey Lodge Pub in Philadelphia, PA - !HOURLY UPDATE!

Friday the Firkinteenth at Grey Lodge Pub in Northeast Philly has officially begun. Check back every hour for updates of new casks and expired casks and surprises, to be sure. Then, get your butt over here and join us! One cask is kicked! Crowd is getting bigger. CASKS ON TAP RIGHT NOW Victory Dr. Decibels - Tapped 3:20 PM Brewers Art Resurrection Ale General Lafayette Malted Oat Stout Lancaster Hog's Milk Nodding Head 3C Extreme Stoudt's Scarlet Lady ESB (dry-hopped with Summit) Troegs Double Hopped Hopback (unfiltered and two bags of Nugget Hops) Weyerbacher Double Simcoe IPA CASKS WAITING TO BE TAPPED Appalachian Cherrypacker Porter Dogfish Head Punkin Ale Flying Fish Farmhouse kräusened with Grand Cru and dry hopped with Summit and Chinook Iron Hill Pumpkin Tapped - Rock Art American Red (dryhopped and oak aged) Sly Fox ESB Sly Fox Simcoe IPA Yards IPA Kicked Legacy Nor'easter 3:20 PM

2:30 !HOURLY UPDATE! - Friday the Firkinteenth at Grey Lodge Pub in Philadelphia, PA - !HOURLY UPDATE!

Friday the Firkinteenth at Grey Lodge Pub in Northeast Philly has officially begun. Check back every hour for updates of new casks and expired casks and surprises, to be sure. Then, get your butt over here and join us! CASKS ON TAP RIGHT NOW Brewers Art Resurrection Ale General Lafayette Malted Oat Stout Lancaster Hog's Milk Legacy Nor'easter Nodding Head 3C Extreme Stoudt's Scarlet Lady ESB (dry-hopped with Summit) Troegs Double Hopped Hopback (unfiltered and two bags of Nugget Hops) Weyerbacher Double Simcoe IPA CASKS WAITING TO BE TAPPED Appalachian Cherrypacker Porter Dogfish Head Punkin Ale Flying Fish Farmhouse kräusened with Grand Cru and dry hopped with Summit and Chinook Iron Hill Pumpkin Tapped - Rock Art American Red (dryhopped and oak aged) Sly Fox ESB Sly Fox Simcoe IPA Victory Dr. Decibels Yards IPA

2:00 !HOURLY UPDATE! - Friday the Firkinteenth at Grey Lodge Pub in Philadelphia, PA - !HOURLY UPDATE!

Friday the Firkinteenth at Grey Lodge Pub in Northeast Philly has officially begun. Check back every hour for updates of new casks and expired casks and surprises, to be sure. Then, get your butt over here and join us! The current time is 2:00pm. This is what they have in casks. We'll have a list of what has been tapped/kicked shortly. Appalachian Cherrypacker Porter Brewers Art Resurrection Ale Dogfish Head Punkin Ale Flying Fish Farmhouse kräusened with Grand Cru and dry hopped with Summit and Chinook General Lafayette Malted Oat Stout Iron Hill Pumpkin Lancaster Hog's Milk Legacy Nor'easter Nodding Head 3C Extreme Rock Art American Red (dryhopped and oak aged) Sly Fox ESB Sly Fox Simcoe IPA Stoudt's Scarlet Lady ESB (dry-hopped with Summit) Troegs Double Hopped Hopback (unfiltered and two bags of Nugget Hops) Victory Dr. Decibels Weyerbacher Double Simcoe IPA Yards IPA

Russian River Brewing Co. in Santa Rosa, CA

Russian River makes you think wine, right? Wrong. If it does, you're at the wrong site. Let's try this again. Vinnie, Natalie, GABF, WBC, Pliny, Redemption, Salvation, Damnation, Blind Pig, -tion, -tion, -tion. Now what are you thinking? Russian River Brewing Company, of course. On the way between our afternoon adventures in Marin County and our overnight stay in Ukiah, CA, we stopped for dinner and a few early evening brews straight from the source at Russian River Brewing in Santa Rosa, CA. (Yes, we somehow did manage to drive by Petaluma without stopping at Lagunitas.) Located in a downtown environment on 4th street and a handful of blocks from US-101, the brewpub is easy to access by car. Maybe it was my high expectation and anticipation, but it immediately felt like I was surrounding by forward-thinking beer enthusiasts. Out front of the building on the sidewalk, people were enjoying the beautiful Friday afternoon weather, the end of the work week, and the beginning of the weekend. The weather was perfect and the beers were flowing fresh from the taps. Everyone looked, in a way, enlightened. (Don't ask me what that means!) We went inside and soaked up more of the same atmosphere at the bar before getting a table for dinner. It is fairly obvious to see that the locals (young and old, professional and not) have certainly embraced Vinnie's and Natalie's brewpub. And for good reason. It would be an insult to call even the most "average" beer here pedestrian. The food follows right in line with its own excellence. A primarily pizza-driven menu can satisfy most any palette and appetite. From plain to creative, a couple of glasses of beer and a pizza at Russian River is an excellent way to begin the weekend. The interior layout of RR is much like your typical bar, complete with walls adorned with various beer paraphernalia and brewing supplies. However, perhaps the most distinctive touch is behind the bar. There you can see through windows that give customers a glimpse of wooden barrels tenderly aging some of the more adventurous RR brews. During our short stay we enjoyed Pliny the Elder, Blind Pig IPA, Aud Blonde (a 2006 Gold winner at GABF), and Damnation (Belgian Strong Ale). And, somehow, I still feel cheated! I wanted to stay for more. I wanted to run down the list from top to bottom, sampling everything they had from the source. Of course, a tour of the operations and a meet-up with Vinnie and/or Natalie would have been the icing on the cake. But, alas, the road beckoned, we purchased glassware and a t-shirt, and we departed for our overnight stay in Ukiah. p.s. If this is your first time hearing of Russian River and are not getting a sense of their status in the craft brewing industry from my writing, then I suggest you check out a review of the "-tion dinner" held in their honor at the Cathedral Hill Hotel in San Francisco, CA. Judging from the event list, Cathedral Hill seems like a great place to keep an eye on for future beer dinners when visiting San Francisco. If you're interested in a poor quality 360-degree video of the inside of Russian River, you can check it out with the link below to YouTube.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Monk's Beer Dinner 10/10/06 : Oktoberfest Feast

I'm in a list mood lately, so here's a wrap-up of Monk's recent beer dinner, the Oktoberfest feast. Apologies in advance again here for dropping the ball on pictures. Course 1 ~ Weltenburger Kloster Barock Hell Course 2 ~ Stoudt's Pilsner & Spaten Oktoberfest ~ Fried Lobster Tail w/ German Mustard Mayonnaise & Marrow Balls Course 3 ~ Dogfish Head Punk'n Ale & Paulaner Oktoberfest ~ Salmon Strudel w/ Toasted Almonds & a Rosemary-Infused Bechemal Sauce Course 4 ~ Troegs Troegenator Dopplebock & Weltenburger Kloster Asam Dopplebock ~ Sauerbraten w/ Warm German Potato Salad & Asparagus Course 5 ~ Aventinus Eisbock ~ Warm Apple Dumpling w/ Caramel Sauce Pre-show beer at Nodding Head: 3C Extreme (extremely good!) Attendance represented by our table: 28.57% Amuse-bouche Surprise: Duck & cheese on baguette slice Most Memorable New Beer (new to me): Weltenburger Kolster Asam Doppelbock Best Food/Beer Pairing (t): Paulaner Oktoberfest & Salmon Strudel Best Food/Beer Pairing (t): Aventinus Eisbock & Warm Apple Dumpling Best Beer perhaps better on its own: Stoudt's Pilsner Most Curious Concoction: Lobster Marrow Balls Great Beer Overshadowed: Troegenator by Weltenburger Doppelbock Question of the Night: Is Oktoberfest sexy enough in the Monk's arena to get people to come out for a full dinner themed around the subject? Or are they just parcelling out their Monk's allowance for the Van Steenberge dinner in less than two weeks?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Beer Event: Lagunitas Skunk Beer Train 2006; the Videos

I thought I'd finally start the story here of our ride on the 2006 Lagunitas Skunk Beer Train on September 9, 2006. I figured I must have teased it enough by this point...here...and here...and here. So, let's start out with the videos. They're not the best quality. But, they should certainly give you an idea of just what a wonderful annual event this. And, it supports a good cause too. I'll get into all that in "Part II; the Stories". Ok, for starters I thought that route 20 between Willits and Fort Bragg was crazy with ups and downs, twists and turns, switchbacks and hairpin turns. Then, we rode the Skunk Beer Train and, well, just take a look at the picture above for a section of the tracks we travelled along! And, now without further delay...the videos. (1:26) just after leaving Willits. A sharp eye will catch Tony Magee on guitar. (1:58) arriving at the KOA campground just outside of Willits, CA. A little Johnny Cash? (1:09) going deeper into the redwoods. (1:45) lunching and lounging for 2 hours in the middle of the redwood forest. (1:31) heading back to Willits after lunch.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Beer Event: 9th Annual Kennett Brewfest : Kennett Square, PA : 10/7/06

Let's just say I was in a bit of a daze even before the Kennett Brewfest started. My disclaimer for my spotty coverage (both written and pictorial) of this event is that I finished running 21 miles just a couple of hours prior to the festival. See, this marathon training "stuff" is really causing a conflict here ;-) In any case, we showed up around 2:30pm and were fortunate to buy tickets at the gate. Not a long wait at all to buy tickets, then less than 5 minutes later we were queuing up for our first tasting. Scratch that, my first tasting was going to be The Shed from Vermont. How excited was I when their banner was one of the first I saw after passing through the gate? I asked the man behind the table if he was just setting up. He said that he was packing up because they kicked what they brought. He pointed to two empty sixtels. Now, I gotta say, this is one extremely popular event and there's not much to point at for improvement here...but, come on, two sixtels for the Kennett Brewfest? I know, too, The Shed is popular but why only two sixtels? I first tasted their beer at Ommegang's festival this summer and had no idea the next time I may come across some. So, you can see my disappointment. Moving along.... I think I'll turn the rest of this event review into a bulleted format. Based on my commentary, it's probably easier (for me to write and you to read!) - Top 5 most memorable beers (never before tasted): Stewart's Smoked Porter; Erie Fallen Bock; Stone 10th Anniversary; Weyerbacher Double Simcoe - Most memorable t-shirt (worn by a female) : "Say Hello To My Little Friends" - Biggest Disappointment(t): The Shed runs out of beer 1/2 hour into general festival (guess I'm going Connoisseur next year!) - Biggest Disappointment(t): 25 minute wait for porta-john - Most Curious Head-scratcher : A cigar vendor? I like a good cigar from time-to-time as much as the next person, but... - Why, oh why, could I not find?: Twin Lakes; Anchor; Flying Dog (man, I must've been in a daze or they just weren't there...I understand that 7 cancelled) - Why, oh why, could their line never seem to shorten?: Ommegang (3 Philosophers); McKenzie (Dude sure draws a crowd) - KSBF-inspired brew by DFH : "Shut Down, Go Away, and Don't Ever Come Back...or Else Ale"; State Troopers were quick to swoop in and ensure that not one more bottle, keg, etc. was cracked open, under threat that they never be invited back to Kennett Square - C'est la vie : A parking lot may not be the most aesthetically pleasing location for a brewfest, but compared to the cramped quarters of downtown streets, according to most this was a good move

Monday, October 09, 2006

Friday the Firkinteenth at Grey Lodge Pub in Philadelphia, PA - Casks announced

The Weather Forecast : Cool, but dry The Place : Grey Lodge Pub, Northeast Philly The Time : As early as possible (well, you should probably eat lunch first!) The Beer : See below, scraped from GLP's homepage ============================================================ Fri 13 Oct - Friday the Firkinteenth. Once again, we will start tapping firkins at noon. We will have 7 tapped at a time till they all kick. Last time we had 18 and half, and they all kicked by 9pm. We expect to have at least that many this time too. Lined up so far are: Appalachian Cherrypacker Porter Dogfish Head Punkin Ale General Lafayette Malted Oat Stout Iron Hill Pumpkin Lancaster Hog's Milk Legacy Nor'easter Rock Art American Red (dryhopped and oak aged) Sly Fox Simcoe IPA Sly Fox ESB Stoudt's Scarlet Lady ESB (dry-hopped with Summit) Troegs Double Hopped Hopback (unfiltered and two bags of Nugget Hops) Victory Dr. Decibels Weyerbacher Double Simcoe IPA Brewers Art Resurrection Ale Flying Fish TBA Nodding Head 3C Extreme Yards IPA

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Tap List at Flying Pig Saloon in Malvern, PA - 10/8/06

On an attempted regular basis, we'll post the tap list here to the Flying Pig Saloon in Malvern, PA. We have no affiliation with the establishment other than living within 2 miles of it and appreciating the usually quality tap and bottle list. If you like this idea, please drop us a note and let us know. On Draft as of 10/8/06 Ayinger Oktoberfest Felinfoel Wales Double Dragon Ale Flying Dog Oktoberfest Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout Brouwerig De Regenboog Belgian Blonde Middle Ages Wailing Wench Oskar Blues Dale's Pale Ale Paulaner Oktoberfest Lancaster Strawberry Wheat Ale

Friday, October 06, 2006

GABF 2006 Print Journalism Award goes to Joe Sixpack

In all the hype surrounding the beer, brewer, and brewery awards at this year's GABF, it was perhaps easy to overlook the Print Journalism award. It was awarded (more correctly, earned) by Philly's own Don Russell, aka Joe Sixpack. Don can be heard locally on Saturday afternoons on AM radio 1210 and weekly in the Friday Philadelphia Daily News. He has also begun writing for Draft Magazine. Congratulations, Don; it's good to have a champion in this title-deprived town. Though, I hear Bernard Hopkins is making a comeback to try and claim the heavyweight crown :-O Here are a couple of quick links. The first is a subscription link to today's article in the Daily News. If that doesn't work for you, go directly to the second link, Don's homepage. http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/entertainment/columnists/joe_sixpack/15692346.htm http://www.joesixpack.net/currentColumn.htm

Home Brew: Wee Heavy, Scotch Ale

Do you rememember this beer that we brewed? Well to make room for the Oktoberfest in one of the kegs I had to do something with this. I decided that it would probably do well in a growler since it is well carbonated, hoppy and high in alchohol content. I was able to fill two growlers with the Wee Heavy. One was taken to the Oktoberfest gathering last Friday. The other is still in my fridge. So, 10 months later, how does it taste? Very heavy! It is just about as sweet as I could stand it. Not something to drink in the middle of the summer, but, it sure does taste good now with the chill of Autumn knocking on the door. I'd like to try it next to McEwans. I might want to dry it out a bit more next time like I did with the barleywine. How's the barleywine? It is awesome! It is sooo good that I'm going to try to save two bottles for each of the next ten years. I have one big bottle that I'll save as the final one. (What?! You don't think it will make it?) Well, that's my intent. Mmmmmm...I love it when a brew turns out so well. :-) Hmmm...I wonder what I'll be doing in ten years?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Beer Growler: Half Moon Bay Brewing Co.

Adam reminded me the other day that I hadn't uploaded a picture of my most recent growler purchase to Flickr. It is one of the more distinctive ones that I now own, even if the beer that was inside of it was not so extraordinary. Here it is for the time being, soon to Flickr.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Iron Springs Pub & Brewery in Fairfax, CA

After a phenomenal start to our afternoon at Moylan's and Marin, we triangulated our way over to Fairfax, home of Mountain Biking and the Iron Springs Brewery. This turned out to be a real nice finish to our afternoon with Jay in Marin County. At Iron Springs, we met with owner, brewer, and soon-to-be-father Mike Altman. In keeping with the afternoon's M.O., we made our way through another sampler, this time of Mike's fine brews. Coming to the top of my list was the Barstow-Lundy Barleywine, a very malt flavorful concoction, with noticeable but not overpowering hops, and tipping the ABV just enough to get attention. Following closely behind were the Epiphany Ale (such a well-rounded brew), the Casey Jones Imperial IPA (hello, tasty and distinctive west coast hops), and the Bootjack Brown (simply a nice, solid brown ale). Mike was the consummate host, chatting us up during the slow part of the afternoon and taking us on a short tour of his operations behind the bar. We learned of his Long Island days and his brief flirting with the Pennsylvania area for opening a pub before heading west. The day was beginning to get a bit long and we had an hour long trip up to Russian River in Santa Rosa ahead of us. Mike seemed to be getting a bit busier, so we decided to call it a day. While it wasn't quite dinnertime, we didn't sample any of the food menu. Though, judging from the typical brewpub fare of salads, sandwiches, and heartier fare, it would certainly be a good destination for dinner and beers. The kids menu should even keep the young ones happy ("make your own sundaes"). With decent beer, friendly owner/brewer/staff, and pleasing menu, who could complain?