Monday, July 31, 2006

Beer Tasting: New Glarus Wisconsin Belgian Red

This Belgian-style Red is from New Glarus Brewing Company in Wisconsin. The 750ml bottle was purchased for $7.99 from Brennan's in Madison, WI and transported back to Pennsylvania where it has been kept refrigerated at approximately 40F since then. (OK, and truth be told, it journeyed with us to Cooperstown for BCTC 2006, but was never consumed and, thus, journeyed back home :) The beer was joined in a food pairing by a butterscotch bread pudding from John Harvard's in Wayne, PA. Adam's Notes:
  • looks like a bloody mary :-)
  • almost no head in my glass, very thin ring
  • this would be great with a chocolate cherry tort
  • tasted ok with the bread pudding Bryan provided
  • I want the beer a bit warmer
  • nose is very obviously fresh cherry not like cherry syrup
  • tart that's balanced or melded rather...with the malt very smoothly
  • seems to get thicker as it warms
  • kinda perfumy like passion fruit
  • Wow! This was delicious. Reminds me of the dinner at Monks with Russian River and Pizza Port
Bryan's Notes:
  • pinkish/reddish haze would definitely describe the appearance
  • little, to no, head
  • nice, quick hit of malty goodness up front
  • quickly introduces real sweet cherry heaven
  • if you like cherries, you'll love this (apparently 1 lb of Wisconsin cherries in each bottle)
  • like Adam said, tastes like real fruit without a doubt, not syrup or other scientific flavors
  • adds a bit of sherbert in 7-UP flavor (you know the kind of non-alcoholic fizzy drinks you get at some parties?)
  • nice bit of carbonation to keep the beer jumping on the palate
  • need to disagree with Adam on the temperature. I feel it's more refreshing and flavorful on the cooler side...not cold, but cool
  • the murkiness and texture loses appeal with rising temperature
  • perhaps, like Adam mentioned, a cherry/chocolate dessert might have paired better than the bread pudding did (not bad, but not great)
  • this is not as wild/tart/sour as some Belgians out there; I'd say this is an approachable, but not aggressive, interpretation
  • very, very, very (get the point?!) enjoyable
  • Mark, please bring more from Madison!

Growing Hops: Where's the Lupulin Hiding?

We know it's in there somewhere!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Brew Pub Visit: Selin's Grove, Selinsgrove, PA

I'm stopping by later today. I'll have a post about Selin's Grove Brewing up in the next few days. Here's where it's located.

Beer Event: Brew at the Zoo : Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown, PA : 7/29/06

The event this year at the Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown, PA was unexpectedly well-attended. Perhaps this due to the recent publicity that the event received, especially at Or perhaps it was just bad planning. What I am trying to say is that roughly half of the breweries were completely out of their sample brews by 8:00-8:30pm. (The event was due to run from 6-10pm). Dogfish Head was completely shutdown and left the premises before we even made our way to their table. In any case, my neighbor, Scott, and I attended the event. I think that just maybe the best thing to come of this event is the many different reactions that I picked up on from Scott. For example: "I can't believe that I'm commenting on the aroma and the flavor" and "I'm actually liking liking some of these darker beers" and "I don't think I like a lot of lagers" and "I'm actually swirling the beer!" But, this is not to say that I didn't get anything good out of this event. The following ranked as the most memorable beers of the evening: Wardell's Raspberry Tripel (homebrew); Weyerbacher's Imperial Pumpkin Ale (see Gene and company, street musicians, at right); Legacy's Midnight Wit; Warsteiner Dunkel. Also represented at this event were: Crabby Larry's; Victory; Troegs; Flying Fish; Appalachian; Dock Street; Dogfish Head; Anchor (see Andy Musser and me, left); Budweiser and Michelob (yeah, seriously); Paulaner; Clipper City; Yards; Stoudts; and Hacker-Pschorr. There were probably a couple of more that I'm just not remembering. The 'Brew at the Zoo' concept is one that seems to have really gained popularity across the country with similar concepts in many other cities. It truly does add something to the evening and makes for a memorable experience when the breweries are situated around the zoo amongst things like the bald eagle exhibit. This event in Norristown, by the way, benefited the Delaware Valley Chapter of the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation. Overall, I'd say that this was the year the Brew at the Zoo event in Norristown experienced its first growing pain. Apparently, the first two years never showed more than a few hundred people. And, most breweries did not seem to plan for more than that. Many attendees appeared to respond accordingly and were clearing out around 9pm. At that point, there were only a few breweries who still had any beers to be pouring at their tables. Surprisingly, though, even with the muggy weather people seemed to take it in stride without much complaint. While I will still think of this evening as a success, I will certainly look forward to next year's event, which I hope will be more well planned for an even better evening of good beer at the zoo.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Brew Pub Review: Otto's in State College, PA

Edit: This post has been a long time coming. I decided that I was just going to finish it today as it stands. So it might seem a bit incomplete in the tasting notes area. As I mentioned in an earlier post I stopped to see a good friend in State College, PA. Along the way I was able to sample some of Otto's beer and get a bite to eat. I must admit the first time I saw this place years ago, I didn't think I was missing much. Who knew that Otto the cat was doing his part to inspire his owner to bring great beer to humans all over State College. Jeff agreed to head to Otto's after we made a stop at the Penn State Model Railroad Club open house. Just as a quick aside, I'm not really into model trains, but, this layout was impressive. I only wish my son could have been there. Back to the beer.. When we walked into Otto's. My first impression was, "This is not some fancy sterile chain." We were seated right next to the glass enclosed brewing area and presented with the beer list and menus. With a long drive ahead I sugested that we share the sampler and Jeff agreed. We looked over the food and decided what to order. When the sampler came out I noticed how distinct each beer looked. No two were colored the same they really looked good. I took this a good sign. We started with the lighter beers and worked our way to the darker ones. Jeff doesn't consider himself an great beer taster, however, he did a great job characterizing these samples. Since I lost my tasting notes I'll just wrap up here and assure you that all the beers were awesome. Each was inline with their styles. This is one of the best brew pubs I've been to. Don't miss it if you are in that part of the state. By the way, they sell small (reg size) and large (2 gal.?) growlers here. That ought to hold you over at your next party :-)

Friday, July 28, 2006

St. Bernardus Abt 12 Special Edition

Last night brought a visit to the Beer Yard in Wayne, PA. Seems that they've come into a little stash of the Special Edition Abt 12 from St. Bernardus. Some quick notes about the brew that I lifted: Crafted by Brewmaster Bert Van Hecke to celebrate the brewery's 60th Anniversary. Brewed with hops from Poperinge: Challenger and Golding, along with black, amber, Munich and pale ale malts. After a quick e-mail around to the fellow imbibers, we had a group to share this case. Each bottle comes packaged in its own collector's tin. Now for the sampling! Of course, I am very torn between how much to drink now and how much to save. At the Beer Yard, they claim people are snapping up multiple cases for just that reason. These are very happy problems indeed!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

One night in Chester County, PA

Funny how dropping a car off for servicing can lead to a wonderful night of beer drinking! Actually, it was dropping off three cars for servicing and drinking good beer at two excellent beer establishments. Allow me to explain.... Scott, Adam, and I all had a vehicle that had previously been scheduled for servicing today. So, we wanted to drop them off last night. Through a brilliant master plan by (eh-hem) Scott, we were able to drop off 3 cars, and pick another one up, in less than one hour. Then, we're all together in one vehicle and decided to celebrate our collective problem-solving mastermindness (!) with a beer or two at The Drafting Room in Exton. Then, not satisfied with just one stop, we included a final nightcap at the Flying Pig Saloon in Malvern. Enjoyed last night included: - the smooth and not overly tart or sour Kriek, from the same brewery, Brouwerij Verhaeghe in Belgium, that brings to us Duchesse De Bourgogne - the well-rounded Altbier from Rogue's John's Locker Stock Collection(#15) - the doppelbock brewed for The Drafting Room's 12th Anniversary by Troegs - the pleasantly bitter Middle Ages Wailing Wench - the pleasantly floral Smuttynose IPA - the fan-favorite Russian River Pliny the Elder - the big and beautiful quadrupel called Samaranth from Brouwerij De Leyerth/Urthel Oh, and Patrick at TDR and Steve at "the Pig" were both hanging around and provided us with some pleasant conversation. Now, the race is on to see who will have highest car repair bill today. Mine's covered by a vendor's mistake, so it's between Scott and Adam!

Brew Pub Visit: Barley Creek - Tannersville, PA - Pocono Mountains

I found myself in the Pocono Mountains last weekend. On the way to the cabin a friend of mine suggested a detour in search of Barley Creek. Of course I wasn't going to say no. So off we went. When we arrived I heard an acoustic guitar being played on the deck and enough people to keep the place buzzing on a Friday night. I thought, "What a great place!" So, I looked over the beer menu and asked what the seasonals were. I decide to try their bitter and their IPA. My friend seemed to like the bitter more so we asked for a growler and hurried to meet our families. Once back at the house we warmed up some dinner and poured a few pints. I tipped back my glass and....blech. This is when it hit me. That big skunky nose! What the heck was that all about? I guess the samples were smaller and not nearly as offensive. Well suffice to say we really didn't like it all that much. I think it was a little young. You know, not quite fermented out all the way and that was just part of the problem. So, the growler was left unfinished through the entire weekend. Now that is saying something! On the way home we decided to give it another shot and stop for a sampler. I'll just cut to the chase. The best thing I can say about it was that two of the six beers didn't suck. The black lager was OK and the brown ale was almost passable. We didn't try their food, but, the service was OK. It wasn't very busy and there were plenty waiters and waitresses around. Oh yeah...and another thing....let me just say that the lodge like building looks nice from the outside, but, one you get inside you feel like you just entered a typical college dorm room. Banners, clutter, disco lights, more clutter, t-shirts sagging from the walls and employees with company T-Shirts that say things like "Nice Rack". They need to hire a decorator with taste and try to live up to the image they project on their website. The bathrooms were atrocious with standing water and poor carpentry....OK...I'm done. Maybe I just caught them at a bad time? {shrug} Here's a question for you. Should I say something to them? I mean this could be such a great place. What would you do?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Growing Hops: Hop Cones Appear

As you can see all the plants are doing well. Looks like some Japanese beetles are feasting on the leaves. I'll need to do something about that. And there they are...the hops cones. Ahhhhh....very nice. I didn't even notice them at first. Bryan's wife had to point them out to me. I guess I've been busy. At any rate it is wonderful to see them. I was worried I wouldn't get any this year.

The Irish Bank in San Francisco, CA

The Irish Bank in San Francisco, CA is easy to find, once you find it. Actually, it's really not that bad. Just mosey along Bush Street and look for an alley, home to The Irish Bank. Important note: when in San Francisco, know which street you are looking to head down before venturing out. Because, when you have to search for an alley on one of five streets, unless you know the city well, you never know how steep the next hill around the corner is. Bush was the last street that I checked. Somehow, my recollection had it on any parallel street, except Bush :) When I showed up, the alley street was full of post-happy hour revilers. The location is very close to the downtown business district (along Market, Montgomery, and other streets) and is extremely conducive to after-work parties. The Irish Bank sets up tables and chairs in the street for an alfresco experience, while the inside evokes a homey Irish pub feeling. Sitting at the bar, you can see practically the entire interior space. Not that it's all that small, there is plenty of room for hanging around. The brick walls are covered with framed pictures of all shapes and sizes, across the generations. And, behind the bar are a couple of TVs...small ones. In the back, there's a small room with tables for more relaxed gathering. Then what does the bar have to offer, you ask? Well, it's a respectable, but not overly impressive, lineup that should provide anyone with a night's worth of happy lubrication (ok, get your mind out of the gutter)! On tap on this particular Wednesday evening included: Guinness; Magners; Sierra Nevada Pale Ale; Bass Ale; Harp Lager; Smithwick's; Beck's; Red Hook ESB; Lagunitas IPA; Leffe Blonde; Carlsberg Elephant; Boddingtons; Stella Artois; and Widmer Hefeweizen. Chimay (red) is available in a bottle. The drinks and food are served by friendly and courteous guys dressed buttondown shirts and ties and ladies in casual clothing. I got just a bit of the 100+ year history of the location which apparently has served as a bank, a gay bar, and now an Irish pub. Whatever the case, the building certainly has a charm to it and The Irish Bank definitely fills the space well with a convivial spirit and decent food and drinks. Definitely worth a stop if you are in downtown San Francisco, near Chinatown or the business district. And if you are with a group, it's even better.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Video: Ommegang BCTC 2006 - The Fire Song

We have immortalized the Fire Song :-) Enjoy.

Beer Calendar: What to do in August 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.

Wed. 7/26 - Stewart's 11th Anniversary Beer Dinner @Stewart's Brewing Co, Bear, DE (7pm; $65)
Fri. 7/28 - Friday Night Beer Tasting (Spanish Peaks) @Beer Yard, Wayne, PA (5pm-7pm; free)
Sat. 7/29 - Brew at the Zoo 2006 @Elmwood Park Zoo, Norristown, PA (6pm-10pm; $35)
Sat. 8/5 - Abbey Wright Brew Fest @Abbey Wright, Williamsport, PA (4pm-2am; $30)
Sat. 8/5 - Heavyweight: Down for the Count @The Drafting Room, Exton, PA (12pm-???; pay as you go)
Wed. 8/9-8/13 - Grey Lodge 10th Anniversary 5 Day Weekend @The Grey Lodge, Philadelphia, PA (various events, times; pay as you go)
Sat. 8/12 - General Lafayette Sixtel Saturday @General Lafayette Inn & Brewery, Lafayette Hill, PA (12pm; 10 oz./$3)
Thu. 8/17 - Iron Hill Brewers Reserve: The Delaware Bocce Championship @Iron Hill Brewery, Wilmington, DE (6pm-10pm; pay as you go)
Fri. 8/18 - Brewery Night at Mercer Museum @Mercer Museum, Doylestown, PA (6pm; $20)
Thu. 8/24 - General Lafayette Beer & Local Foods Dinner @General Lafayette Inn & Brewery, Lafayette Hill, PA (7pm; TBD)
Fri. 8/25 - Pliny The Both Night @Grey Lodge, Philadelphia, PA (6pm-9pm; pay as you go)
Sat. 8/26 - Stoudt's 15th Annual Great Eastern Invitational Microbrewery Festival @Stoudt's Brewing Co, Adamstown, PA (12pm-4pm, 7pm-11pm; $26)

Monday, July 24, 2006

Beer Event: Ommegang 2006, Belgium Comes To Cooperstown, These Are A Few Of My Favorite Beers

Through all of our various postings, I don't believe we ever came out to mention our favorite beers from the weekend. While this is a near impossible question to answer, I will take a stab here at listing 5 domestic and 5 Belgian beers that really stuck out to me as some of the best of the weekend. I really don't like putting making these kind of lists because, at this type of stellar event, there were just so many great brews. But, anyway, here goes... Domestic Allagash Barrel-Aged Four (Quadrupel) Cambridge Tripel Threat (Tripel) North Coast Brother Thelonious (Belgian Strong) The Shed Substance D (Saison with Bret.) Stewart's Stumblin' Monk (Tripel) Belgian Cantillon Gueuze Brouwerij Verhaeghe Duchesse de Bourgogne Geants Saison Voisin Hanssens Kriek Brasserie d'Achouffe Houblon Chouffe Doebblen IPA Tripel

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Beer Travels: Traveling Friends from California

Well, like you couldn't have guessed it. A few "friends" from California joined me for my long flight home on Friday. They were almost consumed in the SFO airport during my 4 hour delay. But, fortuitously, my gate was positioned between the Gordon Biersch and the Anchor restaurant/bar locations. And, for a bit of caffeine, the always impressive Peet's Coffee was across the way. Anyway, my traveling friends from California included: the venerable Bear Republic's Racer IPA; the always creative Anderson Valley's Brother David's Double and Triple; and the "new-to-The Brew Lounge" Marin Brewing's Breakfast Stout and Blueberry Ale. Can't wait to pour one of these bad boys. Oh, and if you're interested, they are all 22oz. "bombers" and were purchased from The Jug Shop on Pacific & Polk (at the end of my 9-mile run), please!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Beer and Baseball: San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park

While at the Giants game, it certainly is difficult to pay attention to the game while thinking about which beer to buy next. While you could easily pick any of the quality brews below and stick with it for the night, there are so many different ones that you will probably want to try one of each!
Anchor Steam
Bass Ale
Firestone Double Barrel
Gordon Biersch Hefeweizen & Marzen
Guinness Harp
Lagunitas IPA
New Belgium Fat Tire Amber
Pilsner Urquell
Pyramid Hefeweizen
Red Hook E.S.B.
Mendocino Red Tail Ale
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Speakeasy Prohibition Ale
Stella Artois
Widmer Drop Top Amber & Hefeweizen

In addition to all of these fine beers are the standard macro swill and Beck's, Sol, Tecate, Heineken, Smithwick's, Corona, Red Stripe, Peroni, and Rolling Rock. Are you kidding me? First beer got better in airports and now it's getting better in ballparks too.

I think the world (or at least the U.S.) is slowly catching on to better beer! Especially consider, would you rather pay 7.25 to 7.75 for domestic swill or another 50 cents for a much higher quality craft brew. Duh!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Video: Ommegang 2006, BCTC Short Clip of Blue Method

I know I know its too short!

Passing thought about tasting beer...

Have you ever been intimidated? You know by that guy with the big beard who has some mysterious liquid in his glass that must be beer he made from the most exotic ingredients in the world using brewing methods he has perfected over decades? Or how about that time when you tasted something that sucked only to find out that it was a $7 bottle of beer considered to be the nectar of the gods by those "in the know". I have, but, not anymore. I'm here to say "Relax have a homebrew."....oh wait that was Charlie Papazian. I'm here to say something like that, something in the same spirit. Relax enjoy your experience. You will only get to taste that beer for the first time once :-) Don't let anybody tell you how to taste beer! That experience is yours. Nobody can take it away. Take your time. Don't be in a hurry to become the next Michael Jackson. Enjoy your beer. Hate a beer if you want. Just be open to the experience. Enjoy and don't let anybody tell you what you like.

Beer Travels: Greetings from San Francisco

While the weather creates havoc back home, I am happy to report that San Francisco is beautiful this week! In my off hours from work, I have had time to fit in part of a San Francisco Giants baseball game, a visit to 21st Amendment (Summit IPA, 21st IPA), and Thirsty Bear (IPA, Brown Bear cask). Speaking of beer and baseball, I think I will give you peak at what AT&T Park has on tap throughout the stadium. I thought Philadelphia's Citizen Bank Park had a good lineup of beer available to its fans (and it does), but San Francisco surely ranks near the top too. Check back later today for this recap. If I didn't have such a busy day planned for tomorrow, I would be checking out Toronado tonight for their Summit Hop Summit event. They are featuring 15 (mostly) local breweries who all created their version of a Summit (hop) IPA. I think I'd better exercise some control and skip this event. Just a "normal" night at Toronado is more than most can handle ;-) So, tomorrow night after my work day is over, perhaps I'll visit Magnolia for dinner and cask brew sampling. And, then wander down the street for a nightcap or two at Toronado. Oh, and by the way, it's hard to complain about traveling when the Hilton hotel that I'm staying in has Fat Tire, Paulaner, Anchor, Stella Artois, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale & Celebration, Guinness, Samuel Adams Boston Lager, Pyramid Hefeweizen, Newcastle Brown on tap. Talk about exercising self-control and just walking by on the way to my room!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Site News: Lights Back on at The Brew Lounge :-)

Thanks Bryan for stepping in and taking control from out there in San Fran. We're all jealous. Sounds like your having a good trip. BTW I'm enjoying a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from the sixtel we took to Ommegang. I guess that's as close as I'll get to California today :-) So lights are back on at The Brew Lounge campus (heheh). I'll see what I can do about getting some of those Ommegang videos up now. On a side note, thanks to Kathleen for connecting with our friend Matt (is that really your name?) from Dogfish Head. He sent the girls a few T-Shirts. Thanks Matt :-) What an awesome event!

'Topic of the Week': Week In Review; Do you like TVs in bars?

We might have predicted that this subject might not draw all that much interest. The only time I hear people all that concerned about TVs is when they're looking for a game to watch. Me, I generally prefer to watch the games at home, where I can concentrate on what's going on and hear the action as well. Otherwise, it seems that the general feeling is not all too emotional about whether there are TVs in your favorite watering hole or not. Here's a sampling of the some of the comments that we received last week on the subject. Bryan: Let's keep the TVs relegated to sports bars, where they make the most sense. Otherwise, what does a TV need to be on for in a bar, where people are meant to be socializing. Adam: Notices the distraction that people fall into when they gaze off to look at the whatever's on TV; that can be annoying Anonymous: TVs are definitely good for sports and especially for the World Cup action recently; TVBGone would be a "fun" solution Mike: It's not just about TVs, but other distractions as well...pool, shuffleboard, beer pong. But, bars often cross the line between good pub for socializing and sports bar. Plus, can't sports serve as a social catalyst. We'll be back next week with the next installment of 'Topic of the Week'.

Great Dane Brewing Co. in Madison, WI

This will be an uncharacteristically short review of the Great Dane Pub in Madison, Wisconsin. I am keeping it short because the visit was short; so short, there was only one beer consumed. But, on the other hand, the 1/2 hour experience is worth at least telling you the pub is certainly a destination if you are ever in downtown Madison. I informed you recently how The Old Fashioned, a pleasant few blocks away, serves up some of the best local fare, both food and beverage. Great Dane is certainly a local institution as well and serves up around a dozen or so decent-looking beers, respectable pub food, good entertainment, and friendly staff. It definitely seems like they probably draw a decent college and early-20s crowd. During this visit, we enjoyed a porter and a stout before returning back to Mark and Susan's for the night. Both were very nicely done. It had been a long day and a hearty dinner with beers that did us in. Plus, we wanted to stop over at Brocach, a favorite Irish watering hole whose owner's we had met the previous night. But, even then we were wiped out and decided not to stay there. The porter and stout, though, certainly had us making a tough decision to leave. Back to the subject at hand...Great Dane. There is another location in Fitchburg, WI. Obviously, I do not know anything about that one. But, if you can get to the one in Madison, you should not be disappointed. And, if you are flying through the airport and can't get into the city, you will be pleased to know that they have a nice pub location at the Madison airport. Oh, did I mention I got an IPA there before heading home on our flight?!

Site News: Severe Storm Knocks Out Power at Headquarters :-(

Some storms swept through our area recently causing power outages. As a result we may be light on posts over the next day or so if we don't get power back soon. Bryan has some stuff waiting and ready including Topic of the Week and some more Wisconson beer travel tales. I do have some more Ommegang video clips I'd like to share, but, we may need to wait until power is restored at headquarters (my house, the north annex ;-). Maybe our roving reporter, Bryan, will give us some West Coast updates.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Pictures: Ommegang 2006, Belgium Comes To Cooperstown - Gallery

(Click on the picture to see the gallery)
Here are some pictures from the festival. Enjoy :-)

Iron Hill Brewery in Phoenixville, PA - Construction Update 7/17/06

According to well-placed sources at Ommegang's 2006 BCTC, the Phoenxville installment of the great Iron Hill expansion plan is due to present itself for a grand opening on 9/18/06. We're Phoenixville? are you?

Monday, July 17, 2006

Video: Ommegang 2006, Belgium Comes To Cooperstown - Bonfire!

Music, beer, bonfire...Wow! What a great time.

Beer Event: Ommegang 2006, Belgium Comes To Cooperstown (Weekend Wrap-Up)

2006 Belgium Comes To Cooperstown Festival Well, if you've followed our mini-journal here the past few days, you probably have figured that we just returned from the most all-around exhilarating beer adventure that we've been on in quite some time, maybe ever. Sure, we've been to beer festivals, tastings, dinners, and other events, but nothing really compared to Ommegang's 2006 Belgium Comes To Cooperstown (BCTC) event. There have been so many memories created, good times had with old and new friends, and an RV-ing adventure to boot. All this in the name of very, very good beer! Seriously, wine can hold a candle to this? I think not...but, that's a future 'Topic of the Week' :) So, here for ease of navigation is a wrap-up of our postings from the road over the past 3 days. The written word The plans for our trip to Cooperstown We hit the road on Friday afternoon The first night of activities on Friday The morning of Saturday's festivities The afternoon of Saturday's frivolity The evening of Saturday's savagery The day after on Sunday and getting home Images Photo Gallery Panoramic Picture Hula girl extraordinare Fire Song The higher fire Panoramic view of our wonderful experience And the Bands played on Memorable Beers Bryan's List Adam's List Note: We'll add more images and links as we can.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Beer Event: Ommegang 2006, Belgium Comes To Cooperstown (Panoramic Picture)

Click to see the full image :-)
It is a very wide picture of the the grounds. This is a 360 view. If you have a hard time viewing it, in the browser try some of these tips;
  • zoom in by clicking on it in Firefox
  • in Internet Explorer put your mouse somewhere on the picture and look for the zoom sqare, then click on it
  • zoom in on it and use the horizontal scroll bar to move from left to right through the picture
  • right click on it and save it to a file. Then try opening up with a graphics program.
Email me at if you have any problems.

Beer Event: Belgium Comes To Cooperstown, Day 3 (Morning)

2006 Belgium Comes To Cooperstown Festival Alas, the weekend must come to a close. We all awake this morning, actually earlier than Saturday morning. Curious given the copious amounts of fine beverage consumed over the past 24 hours. Maybe the B-vitamins, maybe the pacing, maybe the food base? Who knows. In any case, we are all (well, almost all...but I won't out anyone here) feeling pretty well. Well enough to laugh and rehash stories from the previous 36 hours. Now it's time to think about packing up, buying some last minute goods from the brewery shop, and hitting the road. It's a long road ahead of us, especially after the weekend we just had. But, boy, was it a great weekend. No one is going home disappointed. In the spirit of the format that I've been using all weekend, here are some short notes about our experiences this morning and afternoon along the way home. - The flies are everywhere; I think that's how I was awoken this morning - The group of 6 next to us who were so happy and proud of themselves for being the only group still talking loudly in our area in the wee hours was a bit quieter in the morning - The hot sun did not take long to show and make its presence known - People are surprisingly on the move and clearing out; most gone before 11am - At roughly 11am, the brewery shop opens and we pick up some clothing, accessories, and beer - The cave-aged Hennepin is my choice. Others choose the Three Philosophers and Rare Vos - Relatives of Allagash unfortunately have their RV stuck in the rain-soaked ground and create quite a project trying to get out of the ruts - Our's, fortunately, rolls out without incident - After dumping our solid wastes, we're on the road (I don't think you need any other "color" around this little project!) - After I put in the first leg of the journey, Scott aptly finishes the drive home - The RV is emptied and cleaned out before we return it to the dealer; successful mission complete! - "Adam, what does AHA stand for?"

Beer Event: Belgium Comes To Cooperstown, Day 2 (Night)

2006 Belgium Comes To Cooperstown Festival How cruel it is indeed to give us raving beer enthusiasts only a short four hours to try and work our way through 150-200 of the best beers gathered in one place at one time ;-) On the other hand, we may not have sampled as many as we'd like but we did meet some old friends and made many new ones. So it's only 6pm, the taps have been shut off (save for a few trying to drain the last few glasses), and we're now trying to determine what the next course of action and beverage of choice will be. Hm, food would probably be a good idea, eh? We fire up the grill for some burgers and dogs and break out the salads and other accompaniments. We spend the next couple of hours downing some of our stash that we brought with us while recap the day over dinner. The sun is going down and we do a bit of spot cleaning around our campsite. Then, as the jam band continues to rock the stage and fill the grounds with some great tunes, we plan our night. Actually, it's not all that elaborate. It basically consists of us filling our hands and pockets with several of our beers. We are also taking up the Offshore guys for a taste of their barleywine, which was mysteriously absent. But, no matter, we hung with them for a while, chatted, and enjoyed more of their Hop Goddess. Following are more brief tidbits of the remainder of the late Saturday night at Ommegang. - More fires, more pallets - Management putting a stop to the pallet-burning ("we spend good money on these") - Bob Barrar from Media Iron Hill discussing his Russian Imperial Stout that I purchased from North Wales Brewers Reserve - The Iron Hill/Troegs campsite almost up in flames - Axe-wielding Garrett Oliver - Soft glow of the festival lights cutting through the low-hanging fog - "Here, the phone's for you...It's Joe" - Girls Gone Wild on an empty festival table at 1am - Smooth Berliner Weisse with Woodruff from Bob Brower - Lots of walking around, visiting with anyone and everyone - Johnny Cash singalong at 1am - "Did you just call me a Dirty B**ch?"..."No, I said Dirty Bastard"

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Beer Event: Belgium Comes To Cooperstown, Day 2 (Afternoon)

2006 Belgium Comes To Cooperstown Festival Ok, now the reporting is gonna get real fragmented and choppy. We're sure you can imagine how chaotic it's starting to get as the afternoon wears on. We toured the brewery shop for some ideas of beer and clothing to bring home with us. We got the scoop on brewery tours, which we will probably take on Sunday morning before leaving for home. Then, the morning drizzle that we reported earlier turned to the torrential downpours of the afternoon. The weather folks got it completely wrong. When we left on Friday, there was a 10-20% of rain in Cooperstown. Guess we came up on the wrong end of probability this time! In any case, no big deal as the whole event is under two large circus tents. Under one tent is located all of the breweries and under another is the food, the music, and tables/chairs. So, let's get on with it. Here are some sights, sounds, and tasting notes from the afternoon tasting festival, which "officially" ran from 2-6pm. - Offshore is making big waves in New England, finally coming off the island; featured some nice beers, esp. the Hop Goddess - Meeting so many fun people - Garrett Oliver still working the crowd - Patrick from the Drafting Room continuing to show his excitement for the Heavyweight Final Countdown on 8/5 - So much Belgian Beer (esp. from the Shelton importer) - Duchesse. I've had before and raved about. Adam tries one and wholeheartedly concurs! - Hanssens Kriek, a mouthful of puckering cherries - Cambridge Brewing Tripel and Gruit. Will Myers continues to impress. - Allagash Four and 10th Anniversary IPA. Absolute winners! - Stewart's in Delaware now has us thinking we need to check them out - Keegan's Mothers Milk. Ladies are a bit perplexed by the name, but the surprisingly smoky milk stout was a crowd pleaser - Got the story behind North Coast's Thelonious Monk. Not a collaboration on the recipe, more of fundraiser for the foundation - The Shed's Black Saison is more fully-rounded flavorful saison - Gotta give more domestic props to Brewer's Art (can't get enough of the Resurrection and Ozzy); Bullfrog (Busted Lawnmower); Troegs (Naked Elf) - And from overseas, the gueze from Cantillon, the Saison Voisin from Geant's, the tripel IPA from Houblons Chouffe, and the tripel from Val-Dieu Tripel were favorites Late night frivolity to follow.....

Beer Event: Belgium Comes To Cooperstown, Day 2 (Morning)

2006 Belgium Comes To Cooperstown Festival It would be nice if I could accurately describe to you the beauty of waking up on Ommegang's farm-like property during a weekend-long beer festival. I'll try, but I'll probably come up a bit short. So, here goes. I wake up and wander out of our RV around 8am. Adam follows shortly behind. We look out over the rolling property. It's a bit damp, and it actually turns to a light rain after an hour or so. Fortunately, we were able to get the large screened-in tent erected just in time for the rain. The RV is spot-cleaned and the sixtel of Sierra Nevada is checked and adjusted. Bagels, fruit, coffee, gatorade, water are all in order. That doesn't last long though as the real breakfast of champions, Brooklyn's Black Chocolate Stout, is poured to give us an excellent start to the festivities about to begin. More later today as time (and connection) permits.....

Beer Event: Belgium Comes To Cooperstown, Day 1 (Night)

2006 Belgium Comes To Cooperstown Festival Good morning from Ommegang! If today turns out to be even better than last night, then you may you see us until Monday! With our spotty wireless service, it's probably better to just give you a quick listing of events, happenings, meetups, and those just generally quirky types of things that happen at beer festivals in the middle of the night. We will probably just put up text for the time being, then update with pictures when we return home. So, here's the recap of last night (to the best of our collective memories ;-) - Ommegang doing complimentary pouring of Rodenbach, Redbach, Duvel, Rare Vos, and Witte - Garrett Oliver working the scene like a pro - A complimentary cask of Fortitude (strong belgian ale, saison? not even Garrett could exactly put a finger on it) showed up on tap from Brooklyn - American Flatbread brewer, Paul, pouring growlers of his Maibock and Pilsner - Sightings of and socializing with Iron Hill, General Lafayette, Troegs, Victory, Heavyweight, Dogfish Head (Matt Webster, anyone?) - Speaking of whom, is Matt Webster real or fiction? Maybe tonight will bear out some more answers on the topic - Street musicians with their one-hit wonder "Fire Song" and their unfinished ode to Tracy - Only to be outdone by mandolin-wielding guy - Pallets, pallets, and more pallets for the never-ending bonfire

Friday, July 14, 2006

Beer Event: Ommegang Hula Dancer ;-)

We saw this girl on the road. Man can she move :-)

Beer Event: The Brew Lounge is finally on the road to Cooperstown, NY

2006 Belgium Comes To Cooperstown Festival Bryan's Thoughts & Expectations - Taste new and exotic (read: Belgians, esp. wild) beers; though, I guess given the name of the festival, that's a big "duh"! - Meet new and interesting friends - Have an awesome RV experience with good friends Adam's Comments Bryan's piloting the RV. Everybody else is snacking and having a grand old time. We'll keep you up to date. We'll probably post something in a few hours.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Beer Event: Belgium Comes To Cooperstown; Our Plans

So, the workday is nearly done and last minute preparations are being made. The RV is being picked up tomorrow morning and we'll be on our way. We plan to arrive in Cooperstown late afternoon in time to set up for dinner and nighttime "festivities." Our plan (if you want to call it that) is to provide you all with short snippets of sights and sounds of the weekend at Ommegang....wireless connection permitting. If no connection can be made, you'll just have to wait until next week to get our updates. (Of course, if we find ourselves in a drunken stupor all weekend, either the stories will be very strange or not submitted at all ;-) We'll hope to get information out to you 3 times a day recapping all the fun and frivolity. If you'd like us to check out a particular brew for you, let us know. The full list can be found over here. In the meantime, let us know if you might also be there. Or, just raise a glass on Saturday to the awesome craft beer industry that we're fortunate to be a part of. Let the adventure begin!

The Old Fashioned in Madison, WI

The next time you are in Madison, Wisconsin......oh wait, that might be a stretch for many of you. But, seriously, if you ever find yourself in Madison (and, you really should...for many reasons even more than beer, which I don't have space to go into here), make sure that you stop by The Old Fashioned.

You will find it located across from the State Capitol building on Capitol Square in the heart of downtown Madison and within walking distance of the University of Wisconsin. They bill themselves as a "supper club".

I am not very well-versed in supper clubs, so I'm a bit disadvantaged to comment on how true to supper club nostalgia they really are. But, the one thing they appear to do very, very well is remain loyal to local Wisconsin food and beverage. Especially on the beer side of the bar, you will find well over a dozen of the State's beer representatives. Some of them great, some of them average. This was quite fortuitous for me, because other than Great Dane and New Glarus,

I was not quite sure how to go about knocking down some Wisconsin beer while we were visiting our friends Mark and Susan. Perhaps the only mistake in hindsight was that we did not have more time to spend on a few other beers. So, as you can imagine, I acquired a few to fly home with me in my carry-on luggage.

Ok, back to the restaurant. I do not quite remember how we came upon The Old Fashioned. Whether Mark and Susan had been there before or if it was recommended to them, I don't recall. In any case, we wound up there on a Saturday night in June. We waited approximately 20 minutes at the bar with a drink before being seated at our table for dinner.

So, how's this for a choice? Perhaps for you locals in Wisconsin, this isn't all that impressive. But, for a visitor looking to try new and indigenous brews, this was awesome. Huber, Capital, New Glarus, Fauerbach, South Shore, Wisconsin Black River Falls, Hausmann, Harbor City, Sand Creek, Falls, Leinenkugel, Slab City, Viking, Gray's, Sprecher, and Lakefront.

Even Wisconsin-bred Rhinelander, Schlitz, Hamm's, Oscar's, Pabst, and Miller earn spots on the menu. Humorously, Budweiser and Bud Light show up as the only two "imports!" Over the course of the night, we sampled several of them and the one that rose to the top of my list of favorites was the Rhodes Scholar Stout from South Shore Brewery. This is a delicious, rich stout full of roasted coffee and chocolate flavors.

Beers making their way home with me, and yet to be sampled, included Sand Creek, Capital, and New Glarus. Maybe this weekend while camping at Ommegang.

The food scene at The Old Fashioned was interesting to say the least. Let's see, for starters, there is an order-by-number type of thing going on. The prices overall are fairly reasonable.

And, there's definitely a midwestern/Wisconsin/German thing going on too. None of this is a criticism, of course. There is a "lazy Susan" section to the menu where you'll find a potpourri of items (wurst, sauerkraut, braunschweiger, potato salad, pickles, deviled eggs, ring get the picture) all meant for sharing. The main menu is very heavy on sandwiches (all shapes, sizes, and styles), fish (esp. Walleye), and meat (burgers, wurst, and turkey). And, the mac & cheese side dish is something you probably want to experience too. And, of course, there is the ubiquitous cheese available as a course in and of itself. This is Wisconsin, afterall!

And, that, as I began with, is really the theme here. A comfortable, somewhat trendy, atmosphere with friendly staff serving a good representation of local food and drink. A requirement, in my opinion, if you ever find yourself in Madison, Wisconsin. Oh yeah, and the Great Dane brewpub is only a few blocks away to give you a chance to walk off your dinner before diving into some more good local beer! (Madison is such a great walking, biking, health-conscious city.)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

'Topic of the Week': Week In Review; Can the Macro Segment do Craft Beer well?

The second Topic of the Week provided interesting perspectives on the subject of the macro segment trying their hands at craft-style beer. Following is a summary of the various responses that we received. Adam: Is really concerned about the "big guys" coming in and cannibalizing the "little guys"; like a Wal-Mart analogy Chris: Doesn't find it too far-fetched that the macro attempt at craft beer will forever prevent macro lovers from converting over to micros JJK: Has some concerns, but ultimately does not believe that the macro attempts will prevent continued growth in the micro segment, and certainly will not result in lost micro customers Bryan: Figures it doesn't really matter, because growth in the micro segment comes from within and from the wine/spirits world, not so much from the macro side. Plus, these attempts generally are not that stellar, so the fear of losing micro customers is not that great Mike: Is more concerned with the concept that macros like A-B are starting to employ...buying some type of interest in macros. His fear is that this has the potential to ruin the business model and reputation that the macro brand has created. {This is a related and future 'Topic of the Week'} Anonymous: Feels that the macro interpretations, like Blue Moon, have real potential to be "gateway" beers for newcomers. He also sights the potential for concern in brewers switching between micro and macro brewhouses. (Certainly, a potential for future 'Topic of the Week' discussion} Brian: Sees the potential for a larger, more stable, distribution network being advantageous to the micros Thanks again for another stimulating discussion!

Bauer Wines and Spirits in Boston, MA

I just wanted to take a few sentences here (ha, believe it?!) to echo other sentiments on Bauer Wines in Boston, MA. They get referred to as one of the better beer stores in Boston and certainly lived up to the reputation during on of my recent visits. They are located in a subterranean space on Newbury Street, one of the most fashionable/trendy areas of Boston. The staff was extremely helpful, though if not particularly expert, in the arena of beer...but no big deal. Actually, one of their comments was something to the effect of "how lucky I was to live in Pennsylvania, home of Yuengling." But, I digress. During my visit, these were just barely some of the many fine brews in current inventory across the floor and (somewhere around) 10 coolers. You probably recall seeing in an earlier post the ones that found their way home with me. Next time, I'm driving to Boston (more cargo space in the trunk ;-), like I did back in May. Only wish I had stopped at Bauer back then. Dogfish Head Golden Shower; 60 min; 90 min; Aprihop Stone Vertical Epic 06-06-06; Imperial Stout Great Divide (many) Sprecher Russian Imperial Stout Founders Dirty Bastard & Curmudgeon Harpoon Offshore Unibroue (many) Several trappist and other Belgian ales

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Beer Tasting: Speakeasy Brewing Untouchable Pale Ale

This pale ale is from Speakeasy Ales & Lagers of San Francisco, CA. It was purchased in a 12 ounce bottle from Ron's Schoolhouse Grille in Uwchlan Township, PA. Bryan's Notes:
  • a very approachable ale
  • medium-bodied
  • not an overwhelming aroma, but pleasant
  • a respectable, low on hops, good "gateway" beer
Adam's Notes:
  • nice clean looking golden
  • light almost fruity ale
  • dry and light with enough hops to make it worthy
  • not something that stands out as different
  • good solid pale ale
  • have a friend try it

The Brew Lounge 'Topic of the Week': Televisions in Bars

I don't have a long diatribe to pursue on this topic. The topic is televisions in bars. Basically, my opinion is that televisions have a place in sports bars, but that's it. I really think the idea of a TV (esp. anything larger than a 13" screen) in the bar is counterintuitive to the role that bars are meant to fulfill. That is, as a social gathering space where people can communicate and socialize with each other. A television usually serves as a distraction and discourages conversation. I can think of only one time when I was happy for television in a bar. It was at Garrett's in Georgetown area of Washington, D.C. when O.J. Simpson was on the run with his buddy Al Cowlings. But, the car chase had nothing to do with murder, right?! Once again, I digress... But, that was a night when a major news event (I use the term 'major' very loosely here) was out there and provided plenty of conversation for the people at Garrett's. {Flashback} Hhhmmm, Garrett's...where you could always find a Foggy Bottom brew, one of my original microbrew loves...Foggy Bottom, R.I.P. What do you think? Do you like TVs in bars? Or is this a trivial debate?

Monday, July 10, 2006

Good Times and Great Beers at the Flying Pig in Malvern, PA

Seriously, these guys at the Flying Pig don't get as much publicity for their beer as they should. But, maybe it's better for the rest of us ;-) Here's what was on tap last Thursday evening. The list is always remarkable; on this particular evening it was even better. Victory Whirlwind Wit Sea Dog Raspberry Wheat Dogfish Head Chicory Stout Three Floyds Gumballhead American Wheat Brasserie Des GĂ©ants Gouyasse Tripel Lagunitas Undercover Investigation Shut-down Ale Ramstein Blonde Wheat Stone Arrogant Bastard Oskar Blues Dale's Pale Ale Russian River Pliny the Elder Unfortunately, the Tripel Karmeliet (Brouwerij Bosteels) had already been kicked.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Friday, July 07, 2006

Ommegang, Here We Come!

The plans have been laid, the reservations have been made, and the excitement is growing. Belgium is coming to Cooperstown and so is The Brew Lounge. And, Scott, Kathleen, Patty, and Lisa too! To top it all off, we'll be travelling in an RV that has been rented for the weekend. Starting to sound scary, you say?! I think we'll make it just fine and have a blast while we're there. It's the first festival at Ommegang for all of us and we just simply cannot wait any longer! From the advance billing that this festival has received it will be everything we're expecting and hopefully more! We will attempt to put together some updates from the festival in between and during the weekend. Mmmmm, Hennepin, Three Philosophers, and all of their friends......

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Brew Lounge 'Topic of the Week': Can the Macro Segment do Craft Beer well?

Ah yes, the topic of the macro segment of beer making. Can they do craft beer imitations? Of course they can. Are they permitted to do it? Yes. Will they do it? Certainly. Should they do it? Well, I suppose, that based on their business model and the direction of their current economic position, they definitely will. Do I want them to? Absolutely not! But, really, why should we care that much about what the macros are doing? In all honesty, I don't know if it much matters. Though, I do think it would be interesting to understand how much of the growth in craft beer that we hear so much about is due to new customers coming over from the macro side (the dark side?). Because, if the answer is that there are really not that many converts, then let the macros do whatever they want to confuse their customers who just love light, fizzy crap. And, let us continue to enjoy the phenomenal work that so many brewers are doing in the realm of craft/microbrewing. I will admit that I don't have statistics to support my argument. But, it goes something like this. Whether a brewer/operator is taking home $20k, $50k, $100k, or $200k, I don't get the sense that the folks who are doing craft beer at least moderately well are cashing welfare checks. What I'm trying to say is that even for the brewers on the less well-compensated end of the spectrum, they are doing well enough to survive. Would I like to see them taking home more reward for their efforts? Hell, yes! But, do I think that the macro segment doing craft-imitation beer represents competition that they need to match both on style, quality, and/or price? No way! As the well-publicized numbers show, craft beer continues to grow impressively on a annual basis, while the macro segment continues to lose business. If I'm not mistaken, the belief is that the wine and spirits segments are absorbing most of their losses. So, really, I'm not that concerned with what the macro segment is doing in terms of different styles. I mean, after all...Blue Moon, Bare Knuckle, B-to-the-E, Demons these interpretations really give you any pause to think that someday you'll switch over from a Belgian or German wheat, an American or Irish stout, a fruit or lambic beer, or an American IPA that you have been enjoying for all of these years? It's not like we've been waiting for a new interpretation because a better one hasn't existed. And, I would bet that the an overwhelmingly large percentage of the A-M-C crowd may simply give one of these "new" styles a try and then go back to their macro muck. I don't see much changeover in tastes from someone sworn to yellow swill to real beer. The other perspective on this issue of macros dabbling in craft beer is their financial involvement in companies like Red Hook, Widmer, and Goose Island. We'll make this a subject of a future 'Topic of the Week'.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Growing Hops: Timelapse Video

I'm hoping to shoot another where I can get a better shot of the bine getting longer :-)
If you do not see the video above, click here.
You can also right click the link and save it to your computer and play it.
This time lapse was taken with my Canon Powershot SD110 on a tripod. I used the remote capture sofware that comes with the camera, a usb cable connected to the camera and my laptop. There were over 480 jpg images taken once per minute over an eight hour period. I used the free software VirtualDub to splice all the images together into a small avi file and resize the pictures. Then I used another free application, VideoLan, to encode it as an .m4v file.

More tasty beverages from the road

They say Ocean City, NJ is a dry town, right? Well, that's true enough, but just across the bay in Somers Point is Circle Liquors with a nice variety of single bottles. Of course, I had to do my duty in the spirit of better beer hunting and return home with several bottles for later enjoyment. Of course, you've already read a bit about Saturday's escapades to Heavyweight along the way to the Shore. At the top here, you will see the new friends I made with Thomas Hardy, Dogfish Head, Samichlaus, Saison Dupont, and yes, you have read correctly....Michelob. Seems that I was tempted by the artfully arranged words of oak-aged, vanilla beans, premium lager, and bourbon barrel. Should be interesting!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Beer Event: Heavyweight's Final Open House : 7/1/06

While I technically was not at the final open house (that was actually on Sunday) at Heavyweight's Ocean Township brewery, I was there on Saturday July 1st. On my way to Ocean City, NJ (approximately 80 miles south of Heavyweight), I picked up my brother-in-law Michael and nephew Matt. This was their first experience with Heavyweight and I was, of course, more than happy to introduce them. We showed up a bit too early and went across the street for a sandwich at Wegmans grocery store. Peggy, Tom, and company finished setting up the beer and munchies. As usual, the crowd that showed up brought generous amounts of non-perishables for the local food bank and tasty beverages for the owners and other guests to enjoy. On tap for Saturday's open house included: the usual suspects (Lunacy, Perkuno's Hammer, Baltus, and Stickenjab); Bock Bock; Black Ocean; Slice of Bread; Ivy League Pils; Doug's Colonial; and Jakeldricka. And, for sale to take home, the beers available in 750ml bottles included: Jakeldricka; Biere D'Art; Doug's Colonial; Black Ocean; and Slice of Bread Rye. Also, for sale were specially-made t-shirts commemorating the final open house weekend at the brewery. All in all, it was another fine open house in northern New Jersey. Michael and Matt enjoyed their experience even more than they expected too. We were all pleased with the beers that we had not previously tried. It's these kind of experiences with Heavyweight that I think will be missed the most. But, hopefully, the recipes will live on in the next incarnation of Tom Baker!

Topic of the Week: Can the macros do craft beer?

This topic has come up quite a few times. Devil's Hop Yard is one of those (um...yeah...I messed up the link on purpose) beers that I am suspicious of. I mean...come on...a beer from Anheuser Busch that has taste? What about all those years of training? I mean I thought beer was supposed to have rice in it {wince}?!!! What's this stuff called hops? I mean come on. I feel like an institutionalized beer drinker who just got out of Anheuser Busch macro jail and I don't know how to choose my beer anymore! Ok, enough of the sarcasm. Anybody taste this stuff? I don't want to come off as a craft beer geek who is scared of the big AB, but, I can't tell you that I'm not a little concerned. I really do think I've been conditioned to think AB sucks. Maybe they're really just misunderstood (oops more sarcasm). So what do you think? Is craft beer doomed? Is AB evil? Why does or doesn't this matter?

Sunday, July 02, 2006

'Topic of the Week': Week in Review; Smoking Ban in Bars

The first weekly 'Topic of the Week' is off to a successful start. On the topic of smoking bans in bars, the responses mostly went to the side of joy for the banishment of smoking in bars and restaurants. Everyone made quite compelling arguments and I have taken the liberty to try and summarize some of the more salient points below. Thank you all for the continued interest you show in our site. Look forward to the next 'Topic of the Week' coming soon. Bryan: Business owners should be allowed to set their smoking policy in keeping with current laws; let the market decide which business succeed and which businesses fail Jeremy: Interesting suggestion to allow special permits for smoking bars in light of a system-wide ban; plus, women are more attractive without a cigarette in their mouth Mike: Dramatically increased chance of health-related problems when people are confronted with smoke in enclosed areas. Government has every right to enact legislation to uphold public welfare Mark: The quality beer experience is greatly improved in non-smoking establishments Adam: Discussion between smokers, non-smokers, and business owners should be able to facilitate cooperation Lisa: Honey, you're nuts :) Today's society has evolved to a point where, at least on this topic, rules need to be made in order to be enforced.

Some new treats brought home from Boston

My 22 hours in Boston yielded some nice results. A good business trip and good beer brought home with me. Here's a picture of the goodies that fit into my carry-on bag. Heavy, but well worth it. Especially, the Founders brew which is not yet available in eastern Pennsylvania.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Beer Culture: What's on hand in your house?

We do taste all kinds of beer. Did you ever wonder what we usually have in the fridge? Right now I have a case of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. I was at the local distributor (it's a PA thing) wondering what to get. Well since Scott, our neighbor, likes their pale ale I thought I would get a case. You see I already had some Hoegaarden witbier and some Three Floyds Alpha King in the fridge at home, but, those are not what most people like to drink. Not to mention they are a little pricey. So why force people to drink beer that is outside their tastes and expensive for me? Enter the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. This is a great beer with a good hoppy profile and a clean crisp mouthfeel balanced with a solid malt backbone. It was just voted one of the best beers by Zymurgy readers too. It is a little cheaper than the others I mentioned too. So now when Scott comes over I have something he likes and I save a buck or two. I also get to stretch my cases of Hoegaarden and Alpha King :-) As and extra bonus I always have the Alpha King to scare Scott away if I need it! Bryan, what's on hand in your house? How about everybody out there?