Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Adam @ The Brew Lounge

Over the last couple years I have put a lot of time and effort into this site. In the beginning it was just a way for me to express myself through home brewing and writing. I already had the background in tech, so I thought I should be able to share my home brewing experience through a blog. beerbits.blogspot.com was born on August 3rd, 2005.

I think one of the catalysts that launched me into this whole endeavor was when a friend of mine Jeremy started talking about home brewing. I said, "I used to brew." Well before you know it we were over at my place boiling the wort. After a few more batches together and a starter kit for Jeremy, he and his friend Gabe brewed their own batches for a sort of a brew off at Gabe's work. See it's contagious :-)

There are many people out there who would try home brewing if they thought they could do it. I know that somehow it seems like magic when turning water, malt, hops and yeast into beer. In a way it is, but, you don't have to be a magician to participate. You just have to let nature take its course. That was the reason I started this blog.

Since then a lot has happened. About a month and a half later Bryan took me up on my offer to be a contributor, nay, partner of beerbits. With that first post came a description of the St. Feuillen dinner at Monks. This was a whole new side of beer I hadn't experienced. My first Monk's dinner was to come much later, but the seed was planted.

This was a very important time for The Brew Lounge. Bryan and I would constantly be mulling over ideas for the site. Soon Bryan and I decided to get a new name for the site.Eventually we landed on a suggestion from Matt, Brew Lounge or The Brew Lounge. We registered the domain and changed the site name sometime in late October '05.

I'll stop the history lesson here. Time to fast forward through dinners, events, topic of the day, tastings, contests, video, growing hops, live video, monthly beer calendars, categories, adsense, flickr, The Session and lots more I'm too lazy to type. I'm sure there will be more of this retrospective as the two year anniversary of The Brew Lounge approaches.

So what am I getting at? Well, I've decided to move on. I'm not sure what I'll be doing. I created a blog called beerbits2 so I have a place to continue my posting & tech fiddling habits ;-)

I do know that Bryan will be continuing to man the ship from here on out. You couldn't ask for a better captain! But, I don't have to tell you. You've read his events calendars, beer bar/pub reviews, event coverage and he ain't too bad at takin' photos either ;-) Yep, that's right Bryan was the expert photographer for this snapshot.

I'm sure you'll see some comments from me from time to time. I have to keep Bryan on his toes ;-)

Here's a big CHEERS to everybody who reads this site.

Tap List at The Drafting Room in Exton, PA - 7/30/07

The Drafting Room in Exton, PA has a decent web presence and quite a huge reputation preceding them. Their beer turns over quite quickly. So, in the spirit of service, whenever we get to The Drafting Room, we'll post the current tap list.

What's on line as of 7/30/2007?

Dogfish Head Festina Peche
Hoegaarden Witbier
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Sierra Nevada Pale Bock
Sly Fox O'Reilly's Stout
Sly Fox First Gold IPA
Sly Fox Slacker Bock
Lindemans Pêche
Troegs/The Drafting Room's 13th Anniversary
Atomium Grand Cru
Victory Hop Devil (cask)
Victory Hop Devil (CO2)
Long Trail Pale Ale

Monday, July 30, 2007

Blind Tiger Ale House in New York, NY

The health and well-being of the once endangered Blind Tiger species has been reported elsewhere over the past couple of months. I was finally able to witness in person the freeflowing taps at this Greenwich Village destination. (If you recall, the last time I was there, no beer was flowing as they were fighting the good fight through the New York red tape of licensing and legislation.)

I stopped in for dinner on my way out of NYC after a business meeting last week. Needless to say, it was happy hour and the joint was packed to the walls. I was able to wiggle my way into a bar seat where I could keep an eye on all of the beautiful tap handles and bar top casks. The prior night they had hosted Dogfish Head and around 15 of their brews. They still had a couple of handfuls of the treasured DFH beers flowing. (The only one I hadn't seen before was Johnny Rawton Pils.) Along with Weyerbacher, Smuttynose, Brooklyn, Southampton, Six Point, Allagash, Magic Hat, Sly Fox, and Victory they've got the Northeast well-represented.

For dinner, I chose the Gazpacho and the Bacon, Mushroom, and Cheddar Quesadilla off the blackboard menu. The gazpacho was one of the chunkiest and creamiest I've probably ever had. But, geez was it good. It took me a minute to realize that what made it so creamy was the addition of avocado. Along with the ridiculous amount of tomato, garlic, and onion it was an appetizer I'd order again in a heartbeat. The quesadilla, which ate more like one of their pressed sandwiches, was perfect especially with the tasty addition of bacon. Hunger...satisfied.

For thirst quenching, I started with Smuttynose Imperial Stout, moved on to Defiant IPA (cask), and finished with J.W. Lees (Calvados cask). How's that for covering styles? I'm not sure if the R.I.S. from Smuttynose is available in bottles, but I'd not seen it before. This brew has rightfully earned its place in their Big Beer Series. Fully of malty sweetness, mild roastiness, and some pleasant bitterness, the smoothness of the weight of the beer sliding across my palate reminded me that it's less than 5 months 'til Christmas! I've had Defiant before, just not sure which style and where. I'm thinking The Ginger Man perhaps. In any case, this hop wonder was awesome from the cask, making me wonder if they threw an extra handful of hops into it before closing it up. The Calvados cask of J.W. Lees was a necessary, albeit quick, final glass before I left to catch the Philly-bound train. So smooth, so apple-y, so woody. Trying this uncommon beer at the Blind Tiger made perfect sense and is further proof why the Blind Tiger should be on the top five list of beer joints in Manhattan for any well-travelled beer lover. Thirst, Taste...satisfied.

Last, but never least...for service, the lovely Kate was behind the bar taking care of the savages on the other side. She worked the crowd so effortlessly, taking care of friends and strangers alike, making sure no one went thirsty or hungry. Even with the demanding customers in her face, she made the effort to be pleasant and friendly. Her demeanor was cool and calm and made it a pleasure to sit at her bar.

Now, if you could all help with one last thing. Kate couldn't decide which picture she liked better. So, for our photo archives of those who make beer and those who pour it, let us know if like exhibit A or exhibit B better. Hm, should we make this an official poll question?!

(Exhibit A)

(Exhibit B)

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Praise for Victory and Flying Fish at the OBF

Nice to hear that the Prima Pils from Victory and the Bourbon Dubbel from Flying Fish have been so well-received at this year's Oregon Brewers Festival. If you haven't listened to Pacific Brew News before, here's a good reason to now. Listening to Rick describe the setting brings me just one step closer to getting my butt out there to Portland. These guys bring a great perspective to the brewing industry, primarily from a West Coast vantage. Also, in related news, you can check out Jay Brooks' impressions of the festival. Download the MP3 podcast file (duration ~31 minutes) See pictures from the OBF Check out Pacific Brew News

Tap List at Flying Pig Saloon in Malvern, PA - 7/28/07

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 usual quality tap and bottle list. If you like this idea, please drop us a note and let us know. On Draft as of 7/28/07 Dogfish Head Festina Peche Sly Fox Ichor Southern Tier Jah*va Stout Southern Tier Unearthly Imperial IPA Affligem Blond Speakeasy Big Daddy Fort Collins Major Tom Pomegranate Wheat New Holland Zoomer Wit Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA Brooklyn Abbey Singel

Beer Event: Brew at the Zoo : Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown, PA : 7/28/07

I limited my carbon footprint this weekend by not going to State College, Portland, or Delaware (though my Union Jack's plans have changed...and, the weekend's not completely over yet!) and instead went 10 miles up the road to Norristown.

Kudos to the organizers of this event to improving on last year's installment. Keeping it brief here for you this morning, so here's a bullet point format of highlights from this year's Brew at the Zoo in Norristown, PA.

- Heat index of 90F and humidity of 51% when the gates opened at 6pm.
- Organizers kept the long line moving quickly and efficiently. Other events could learn from this.
- Greeted by a woman with a snake at the zoo gates. Many more animals to come later.
- Plenty of unlimited cheese, crackers, buffalo wings (Flanigan's Boathouse), hoagies (Main Street Pizzeria), soft pretzels, and water were available throughout the evening.
- Soniq Boom rocking the stage
- Primarily a regional beer festival with all local breweries/brewpubs represented with Anchor, Sierra Nevada, Rogue, Magic Hat thrown in along with imports from Gretz
- Keystone Homebrew brought award-winning beers from outstanding homebrewers: Habenero Porter, Raspberry Tripel, Russian Imperial Stout, Hefeweizen, Robust Porter, IPA, Imperial IPA...keep up the great work folks!
- Iron Hill, unless I somehow missed them, was curiously missing
- Most commercial beers were middle of the road, not extraordinarily out of the mainstream, but good
- For example, DFH brought 60 Minute and Shelter...Victory had Prima, Hop Devil, and Whirlwind
- Two new ones to me that stuck out were the much talked about Steg 150 from The Lion and Kaiser Pils from Penn
- Yards Saison was very nice as usual
- Observed a temperamental cougar looking to start a fight...either we were keeping him up or he must've smelled the beer

- Two areas improved from last year: 1) Food was not limited to just one ticket/one sandwich per person; 2) Event covered more of the zoo property allowing for less congestion and viewing of more zoo animals.

- Two areas for improvement next year: 1) Make the water available throughout the grounds, not just under the big tent; 2) Make the event shorter or breweries bring more beer...most were shut down one hour before official closing time.

(T-shirts worn to beer events are the best, are they not?)

(The fine folks pouring Penn and its Kaiser Pils)

(The happy crowd mingling throughout the zoo property)

(Bill Moore pouring Lancaster's Strawberry Wheat and Fest Lager)

(Always a welcome sign!)

(Hacker Pschorr, Paulaner, and Rogue)

(Air is always fresher with Yards)

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Beer Tasting: East End Ugly American

The Beer: East End Ugly American
Style: A "corrupted Belgian Tripel" (hence the Ugly American!)
Reviews: Beer Advocate Rate Beer
Packaging & Date Stamping: 1 liter swing-top brown bottle; no date stamping

From where & how stored: Purchased from the brewery by Adam, who made a personal visit in March '07; stored at 48F since then

Pricing: $x.xx

Availability: Late 2006, Early 2007, likely not again until 2009

ABV, IBU, and Other Available Stats: 7.8% ABV
Bryan's Notes
The Look:
- Slight cloudy, golden color
- Very thick, tight shaving cream type head
- Drapes all over walls of glass long after the liquid is gone
- thick sludgy sediment on bottom of bottle

The Aroma:
- hops not so noticeable in the aroma
- sweet dubbel aroma; yeasty

The Taste:
- a bit slick like a triple IPA
- hop presence is subdued up front but catches you in the finish and lingers pleasantly
- pepper, clove, and orange citrus easy to detect
- drink on the cooler side, since the flavors and overall taste profile is cleaner and more enjoyable than at room temperature

The Verdict: Scott Smith would be disappointed if you tried to call this beer (or maybe any of his) by a particular style. He sticks by the credo with this brew which, to me, was flip-flopping back and forth between an American triple IPA and a Belgian dubbel (as opposed to the double IPA and tripel). Ah, those crazy Americans, always flip-flopping!
Adam's Notes
The Look:
- straw color

The Aroma:
- sweet nose as it warms

The Taste:
- not severe but big
- not ugly
- round hops too
- bitter finish
- a little peppery alcohol
- slight grapefruit
- malt is there to support
- double er triple
- clean when cold

The Verdict: Ran out of beer to taste, note to self, don't share with Bryan next time ;-) I think this one deserves a second tasting. Lively and interesting, marketing makes you think it is a frankenstein of the the Belgian tripel and American Double IPA styles. It is truly something outside of those styles. This is what we need more of. You can tell Scott likes to experiment. I'm happy to taste the fruits of his labor.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Victory Barleywine News

New to Victory in Downingtown, PA this week is a vertical barleywine tasting. You can choose from the '04, '05, or '06....or, of course, all three at once for side-by-side comparison. They have one keg of each serving in 10oz. glasses, so they won't last long. One man's opinion? '04, '06, '05...in that order. Adam's Note: Stopped by with the family tonight. Only had the '04 and it was delicious...less hoppy than the most recent Old Horizontal I've tasted. Probably makes sense considering the age. I think it was kinda buttery. I wonder if they use the Ringwood yeast?

Beer Calendar: What To Do In August 2007

After a furious few months of festivals, tastings, and downright great beer, I'm ready for a bit of a break and it looks like August might provide that for me. Plus, I need to ramp up my marathon training for the fall, so the dog days of August should allow me some time to that, given this lighter-than-average month for beer events in the Philadelphia region. Got a couple from outside the region, too, for any of you that might be travelling to the D.C., upstate New York, or California areas of the country.

Thu. 7/26-Sun. 7/29 - Oregon Brewers Festival @Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Portland, OR (see website for details)
Fri. 7/27-Sun. 7/29 - 12th Anniversary Party @Stewart's Brewing Co., Bear, DE (all weekend; pay as you go)
Fri. 7/27 - Cask Conditioned Friday (Sly Fox Phoenix Pale Ale) @General Sutter Inn, Lititz, PA (4:30pm-'til it kicks; pay as you go)
Fri. 7/27 - Munich in Mayfair 8: Franzensteiner-Lodge of the Living Dead, Halloween in July @Grey Lodge Pub, Philadelphia, PA (6pm-8pm; pay as you go)
Fri. 7/27 - Friday Night Tasting (Lagunitas) @Beer Yard, Wayne, PA (5pm-7pm; free)
Sat. 7/28 - Brew At The Zoo @Elmwood Park Zoo, Norristown, PA (6pm-10pm; $35)
Sat. 7/28 - State College MicroBrewers & Importers Exposition @Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, State College, PA (12pm-4pm, 6pm-10pm; $40)
Sat. 7/28 - Summer Beer Dinner & Anniversary Ale pre-release party @General Lafayette Brewery, Lafayette Hill, PA (12pm-4pm, 6pm-10pm; $40)
Fri. 8/3 - Friday Night Tasting (Stoudt's) @TJ's Everyday, Paoli, PA (6pm-8pm)
Sun. 8/5 - Middles Ages 12th Anniversary Party @Leavenworth Park, Syracuse, NY (2pm-8pm; free)
Sat. 8/11 - 10th Annual IPA Festival @The Bistro, Hayward, CA (11am-7pm; pay as you go)
Thu. 8/16 - For The Love Of Ale @The Farmhouse, Emmaus, PA (7pm; $24)
Sat. 8/18 - It's Not The Heat, It's The Hops @Ortino's Northside, Zieglerville, PA (check website for details)
Mon. 8/20 - Victory Dinner with Brewmaster Bill Covaleski @Pizzeria Paradiso, Washington D.C. (call for details; 202-337-1245)
Thu. 8/23 - Thursday Night Tasting (Samuel Smith) @Isaac Newton's, Newtown, PA (7pm-9pm; free)
Thu. 8/23 - Firkin Special (Stoudt's Scarlet Lady ESB) @The Drafting Room, Spring House, PA (pay as you go)
Thu. 8/23 - Garrett Oliver @Di Bruno Bros., Philadelphia, PA (6pm-8pm; $45)
Thu. 8/23 - Brew At The Zoo @National Zoo, Washington, D.C. (6pm-9pm; $40/$55)
Fri. 8/24 - Friday Night Tasting (Long Trail) @Beer Yard, Wayne, PA (5pm-7pm; free)
Fri. 8/24 - Brewery Night (w/ Victory Beer & Rich Wagner) @Mercer Museum, Doylestown, PA (6:30pm; $20)
Sat. 8/25 - Boulder Brewing Cold Hop Release Tasting @Bella Vista Beer Distributors, Philadelphia, PA (all day; free)
Sat. 8/25 - Great Eastern Invitational Microbrewery Festival @Stoudt's, Adamstown, PA (12pm-4pm, 7pm-11pm; $27
Fri. 8/31 - Friday Night Tasting (Boulder) @Beer Yard, Wayne, PA (5pm-7pm; free)

Ommegang's BCTC 2007 - The Words, part 2

Jump over here for a full gallery of our pictures from the weekend at Ommegang BCTC 2007.

And, jump over here for a recap of Ommegang's BCTC 2006 installment.

Day Two
Saturday morning brought vigor for me (why, I'm still not quite sure) and cobwebs for others. Two travelling companions (Scott and Kathleen...yes, "the Blonde"!) and I made our way to into town for a quick Hall of Fame tour. So happy I was to do this, since it has been almost twenty years since I've last been to the HOF. The town is all dressed up and ready for this year's inductions during the last week of July. They play such a great host. If you haven't been to the lovely village (yes, I said lovely!) of Cooperstown, make plans to do so. For as much of a baseball industry town that it is, Cooperstown has so much more going on to provide enjoyment for even the non-baseball traveller.

We arrived back to the brewery just in time to get ready for the afternoon session of tasting Belgian-style beers from over 50 Belgian and American breweries. Here presented me with my second (mild) criticism of the event. My plan was to check-in for the event and get my tasting glass and event directory/map/menu. Lo and behold, no such document existed. Last year's menu was so, so, so valuable to me....for three reasons. First, it allowed me the ability to plan my hit list of breweries and beers that I wanted to try during the event. Second, it provided me with a pre-printed (and heaven help me, legible) list of all breweries and beers in attendance. All I needed to do was make shorthand notes....stars, sequential numbering, and other notes to remind me later of favorites and other opinions. Last, it served as a reference point during the following year and even in the week leading up to this year's event. It made recalling and writing about the event down the road so much easier.

My plan was to take this menu back to the campsite and review it for 15 minutes planning out my approach to visiting the different breweries and tasting the beers. Now this set me back. What should I do? Should I go full geek with my notepad and pen, furiously scribbling notes hoping that I'll later be able to read them? Should I take along a recorder and speak into it and replay it later to transcribe? Should I get over it and just enjoy the event? I chose the latter. Though, now I'll tell ya, it ain't easy dredging up 4 hours of memories of actual beer names, the breweries that were there, and rankings of my personal favorites. So, what follows is a loose interpretation of my memory of beers that stuck out. I've alphabetized them by brewery name so as not to imply favorites.

Bullfrog Brewery Diabolique, Williamsport, PA
- Man, these guys have changed for the better since I was last there 4 years ago. Their whole lineup was great (El Rojo Diablo, Raspberry Wheat, and Unique as well)...were they the ones also pouring the Black & Blue (or something to that effect?) Don't know there wasn't a "menu"

Cambridge Brewing Company, Cambridge, MA
- Anything they brought was simply beautiful. They win my award for best overall lineup at the event. I've written about a visit to their place in the past, and seeing Will Meyers (above) reminds me to tell you again.....get there to Boston, er Cambridge, and pay them a visit!

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, DE
- I didn't sample anything new from DFH this year and I'm not over-the-top crazy about the Festina Pêche, though it is a better-than-average beer. But, what DFH does win this year is best presentation and most hype around a particular beer. Sure, there was the Pannepot vs. Pannepot (is that kind of like Spy vs. Spy?!) but DFH is in a class of its own. Somewhere around 4pm or so, they rigged up the Randall full of peaches and ran the Festina Pêche through it, then served it in a glass with a fresh peach sliver. All throughout the tasting tent you could hear the chants of "...peach, peach, peach..." and "...randall, randall, randall..." and various other unprintable things! The crew at the DFH table was a new batch from last year (where have you gone Matt Webster?). Crazy kids, I tell ya!

Iron Hill Heywood, West Chester, PA
- The West Chester folks should be happy to have Jean on board (by the way, that's not Jean in the picture, in case you were wondering). Weyerbacher's loss is their gain. He's quite proud of this oak-aged, brett-fermented sour ale that he participated in building and he rightfully should be. OG=1060; IBU=29; ABV=6.2%

Lost Abbey Ten Commandments, Carlsbad, CA
- Why? Days later, I can't tell you why I liked this beer. All I have left in my noggen is seeing Tomme Arthur and the remembrance of joy when I tasted this beer. So, you'll just have to trust me...moving along to...

Stewart's Saison de l'Ours, Bear, DE
- Fermented with Dupont yeast and highly drinkable to quench your thirst on a summer day; hard to believe the ABV weighs in at just over 7%. Come to think of it, similar stats as the sixtel of Saison Vos from Sly Fox that we took along for our campsite. (Camping next to the Stewart's crew had it's benefits as we were able to do side-by-side samplings of both!)

Three Floyds Gorm Noire, Munster, IN
- This had to be one of the most intriguing beers of the day. Did I taste lavender...cardomom? Could be. Other spicy and piney notes were noticeable too. It was a dark beer of medium weight and a delicate flowery taste that came and went without being overwhelming.

2 Belgian Pilsners
- Now, could someone please, please help me here? After an afternoon of drinking beers ranging from dubbels, to tripels, to quads, to strong ales, to Belgian-inspired hoppy beers, to Flemish sours, and on and on and on, I came across two different Belgian Pilsners. Either my palate was just ready for something different, or these were both flippin' awesome. (Probably both) If I could only remember who made them? A little help anyone....please? I'm looking at the event t-shirt (sort of like a concert t-shirt, no?) and it's still not helping....Bel Pils? Floreffe? Boy, I wish I had an official checklist instead of a t-shirt.

All during the course of the 4 hour tasting event, horses, falconry, Leo's Belgian waffles, burgers, brats, music, etc. kept the crowd well-fed and well-entertained. My favorite music of the day started with the rockin' Newspaper Joe Blues Band (left) and finished with the late night Mecca Bodega. This year's absolutely perfect weather allowed the horses to be out and about, as well as the falcons. Plus, for the kiddie set, their were carriage rides being given around the property.

As night fell over the property, the music turned from folk/rock into the percussion grooves of drums and bass. Into the wee hours, the music raged, the fires burned, and the super-awesome beer karma spread as folks went from one campsite to another sampling left over commercial beers and homebrew alike. Sunday morning wasn't as kind to me as Saturday morning was. It took until about half way home on Sunday before the cobwebs were completely gone.

Two of the three more memorable comments that I overheard came on Saturday morning. Let's see, one went something like "Those aren't pillows!". Another one, "f no!", was a reply at 9am to the question "Would you like some Avery Mephistopheles for breakfast?"

The third was suggested to me as a wrapup on his feelings of the event on the final day as folks were leaving: "Do I think they still have some kinks to iron out and will continue to work to make this an even better event? Sure. Will I be back next year? Abso-effin'-lutely."

Meet you there!

Click here for a review of Day 1 of the Ommegang BCTC 2007 event.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Nate says he wants one. Who wouldn't want a Randal?

Note: Ok, I totally misread this. Nate said he wanted to "get to one of these" not "get one of these". Ahhh...well, I'm not takin' it down now. Who wants a Randall?! Just read a comment by Nate. Do you think he's talking about Randall the Enamel Animal from DFH? I just threw together some links that I found while searching for articles on making your own. Came up with some good stuff. Dogfish Head "organoleptic hop transducer module" aka "Randal the Enamel Animal" : Maltose Falcons build your own Hashback : Lew Bryson interview with Sam : Build your own Randall grove's beer log : Article at BA by Sam Nate, wanna build one? I'm seriously thinking about it.

Ommegang's BCTC 2007 - The Words, part 1

Jump over here for a full gallery of our pictures from the weekend at Ommegang BCTC 2007.

And, jump over here for a recap of Ommegang's BCTC 2006 installment.

Belgium came to Cooperstown and we were there to witness it. Special thanks to Jack Curtin for giving us the heads-up back in early spring that tickets were about to become available. And, also to Larry Bennett of Ommegang for helping us through some on-line ticket ordering difficulties. I've heard of "work-arounds", but sheesh Larry walked me through a workaround to make the Shopping Cart thingy work like I've never seen before. We made it there and so did many hundred other better beer enthusiasts.

Day One
Our trip began early Friday morning in the rented RV. Our plan was to get to Ommegang with enough time to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame in the quaint village of Cooperstown before joining in the evening dinner that Ommegang had planned. We arrived at the brewery's property shortly before 3pm, but decided instead to setup camp, relax, and socialize with the several friends we immediately ran into. Greg (from Paoli, and soon from Luxembourg, as he'll soon be called), Greg (from Exton, as he's always been called), Patrick (of Suburban Tom Peters fame), and Ric (brewer extraordinaire) became quick neighbors. Before we knew it, we were setting up camp, drinking some brews, and calling off the HOF trip until the following day.

If you've never been to Ommegang's BCTC event, you need to start by understanding that it's so much more than a beer-tasting festival. A four hour festival is just a small part of what this weekend event is all about. Are there things that could improve? Sure...is anything ever "perfect?" But, all the good parts add up to create an aura that not even torrential rain (last year) could dampen.

On top of that, the event's organizers took a wise path this year to ensuring longer-term viability of this event. They restricted ticket sales on Friday to 200 campers and an advertised 800 ticketholders for Saturday's tasting event. How close they came to those numbers is anyone's guess. What I'm saying is that there's no doubt they definitely made those numbers, just how far over is the question. But, with their property size and the layout of the event (eating, music, drinking, horses, falcons, camping, etc.), it was way more than comfortable being a part of this event. Funny thing is, I didn't think last year was all that bad. More jerks, yes, but not uncomfortably overcrowded.

After surviving gusty winds and occasional drizzle on Friday afternoon, we settled into the dinner under the big tent. Long tables of place settings were setup for us to sit wherever we pleased. Here's where the story gets good. On each 8-foot table was a bin of Ommegang liquid swag. When you hear me say that I felt the $120 was a bargain, allow me to make observation number one. The bins were filled with Witte, Rare Vos, Amber, Grand Cru, Duvel, Maredsous 10, and Three Philosophers. And, let's just say there was way more than enough for everyone at the table. Add to that the complimentary bottle of Ommegeddon for each attendee (complete with Ommegeddon glassware) and you know that they weren't going to let us go thirsty on this weekend.

The dinner, ah yes the dinner. This was real food, folks. Here's one area that I think the brewery may have reached a bit too far. In changing up the format this year and going for a Friday night six-course dinner (seven if you count the appetizer course) and seeming to be short staffed, the dinner seemed to draw out interminably. This wasn't bad for all of us, though a few of our party did finally have enough and retreated to the campsite. For those of us that stuck around to the end, there was the treat of Ommegang's new stout and kriek beers that accompanied the last two courses. While they weren't nearly my favorites of the weekend, it was nice to see a couple of new styles from this Randy and crew at the brewery.

I wasn't keeping track of time, but I too was starting to feel the long day weigh down upon me. Needless to say, I believe the organizers recognized this, will learn from it, and if they do it next year either cut back on the number or courses or beef up on the service aspect. But, the few waitstaff that were there were certainly busting their butts. Thanks, for sure!

Click here for recap of more fun from Day 2 of Ommegang's BCTC 2007 event.

Ommegang's BCTC 2007 - Photo Gallery

Well we have sifted and sorted and filled in and well you get the idea. This is the best of the best folks. A big thanks to Jeremy, Jackie, Kathleen, Scott, Lisa, Patty and of course Bryan for the ton of pictures we had to pick from.
NOTE: If you are having problems with the flash based version try the HTML Gallery instead.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Ommegang BCTC 2007 photo teaser :-)

We're not quite ready to post the full account of the weekend. Lotsa pictures to sort through. Many innocent people to protect ;-) As I was flipping through I couldn't resist sharing some pictures now. More to come later.

BTW a big thanks to our expert photographers. You know who you are.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Tap List at The Drafting Room in Exton, PA - 7/23/07

The Drafting Room in Exton, PA has a decent web presence and quite a huge reputation preceding them. Their beer turns over quite quickly. So, in the spirit of service, whenever we get to The Drafting Room, we'll post the current tap list.

What's on line as of 7/23/2007?

Dogfish Head Festina Peche
Hoegaarden Witbier
Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Sierra Nevada Pale Bock
Sly Fox O'Reilly's Stout
Sly Fox Abbey Dubbel
Sly Fox Slacker Bock
Troegs Mad Elf
Troegs/The Drafting Room's 13th Anniversary
Boulder Brewing Co. Hazed & Confused
Dupont Biere de Miele
Atomium Grand Cru
Victory Hop Devil (cask)

We're back from Ommegang 2007 BCTC! Panoramic Picture

We managed to make it through the weekend, but, not without some serious challenges. Nothing too lengthy to post here yet. Let me just say, it was truly awesome. We went with a bunch of friends and had a great time. Hats off to the organizers for keeping the vibe alive and well. Thanks to everybody who shared their beer.
I managed to not forget about the panoramic. So here it is :-)

Friday, July 20, 2007

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Tap List at The Drafting Room in Exton, PA - 7/18/07

The Drafting Room in Exton, PA has a decent web presence and quite a huge reputation preceding them. Their beer turns over quite quickly. So, in the spirit of service, whenever we get to The Drafting Room, we'll post the current tap list.

What's on line as of 7/18/07? Funny you should ask.

Corsendonk Christmas Ale
Dogfish Head Festina Peche
Avery Fourteen
Hoegaarden Witbier
Brasserie Dupont Foret
Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Sierra Nevada Pale Bock
Rogue Integrity IPA (John's Locker Stock)
Sly Fox O'Reilly's Stout
Sly Fox Abbey Dubbel
Troegs Mad Elf
Troegs/The Drafting Room's 13th Anniversary
Victory Hop Devil (cask)

Countdown to Ommegang BCTC: 1 day...

Wouldn't ya like to drive a truck in here and
pickup a hundred cases of Ommegang beer?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Excuse me, do you know the way to Moe's?

Who doesn't like The Simpsons? Well, I suppose since I've woven Moe's into this story, it's not really off-topic, now is it?!

What a cool site....Simpsons goofery....and the chance to create your own Simpsons-like avatar. Whaddya think? Is mine anywhere close to reality?

Have fun, relax, and have a Duff!

Countdown to Ommegang BCTC: 2 days...

Anybody know these guys? ;-)

Ommegang BCTC...more details

File this under "just in case you're not excited for this weekend in Cooperstown"....Overheard at BeerAdvocate: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Notes on BCTC 2007 Ommegeddon will be here. We have another new beer coming. We taste-tested the second pilot batch last week and expect to release it by October. There will be some limited availability at the brewery and at select beer fests before then. Not to give it away but it involves chocolate malts, real Belgian chocolate, and has a sturdy body to it. We'll do a preview tasting of this latest pilot batch this weekend at Begium Comes to Cooperstown. Regarding what beers and breweries will be at BCTC. It's impossible to list them all here but they are all Belgian or Belgian-style. Among the import standouts: Shelton Brothers, Artisanal Imports, Belukus Imports, Merchant du Vin, Manneken Brussels Imports, D&V International Imports, and 13 beers from Duvel Moortgat USA. Among the 46 American breweries: Ommegang with 8 beers. Along with Allagash, Avery, Boulevard, Brewers Art, Brooklyn, Cambridge, Captain Lawrence, Cisco, Dogfish Head, Harpoon, Iron Hill, Jolly Pumpkin, Lost Abbey, Middle Ages, Magic Hat, Offshore Ales, Otter Creek, Port Brewing, Russian River, Southhampton, Stone, Troegs, Unibroue, Victory, Weyerbacher, Wolavers, and 20+ other breweries. As I said, I can't even list all the importers and breweries here let alone all the beers. We will easily exceed 200 beers on the list. Come rested and thirsty. At 2 ozs. per pour you'd have to consume 25 pints just to try them all once. I'm sure some of you will make the attempt. May your chosen deity have mercy on your soul. Cheers! Larry Bennett Brewery Ommegang / Duvel USA ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Monday, July 16, 2007

Blind Tiger Christmas in July

Let's see now....questions....questions.... ~ Is Manhattan on the way to Cooperstown? ~ Can an RV find a parking spot on Bleecker Street? ~ Can we extend the Ommegang BCTC event to leave earlier and come home later to hit both of these fine looking events at The Blind Tiger? ~ How many "big" events can one calendar month hold? Oh, so what am I rambling on about? Just another tempting e-mail from our friends in NYC. Read on.... ================================================================= Dear Tigerites, This Christmas in July is so good, that all I need to talk about is the LIST... Bad Elf Seriously Bad Elf Very Bad Elf Criminally Bad Elf Warm Welcome Santa's Butt Lump of Coal Stout De Ranke Noel Sierra Celebration Slyfox Christmas Smuttynose Winter Chelsea Hoppy Holiday J.W. Lee's Calvados Cask (yes, another wood pin) And there is much more... Come join us for Christmas in July, Wednesday July 18th @ 4:00PM... We will have food and cheese galore for your tasting needs... Also, July 25th @ 4:00PM Dogfish Head will be doing an event to beat all Dogfish events...seriously... More draught lines than ever... Sam, beers, and gifts... Call off work, talk to your family, whatever you need...just show up... =================================================================

Countdown to Ommegang BCTC: 3 days...

Twilight on Saturday last year.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Countdown to Ommegang BCTC: 4 days...

Anybody remember this from last year?
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 adam@brewlounge.com if you have any problems.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Friday, July 13, 2007

Buy Fresh, Buy Local, Start Now

What will you be doing to participate in Buy Fresh, Buy Local Week? This is one of those things that you can't help but be a part of. After all, food and drink are basic needs for all of us, right? And, don't many of us live in close proximity to farms or at least have access to fresh, local produce? Then, why would you rather go to the mega supermarket to buy your meats, dairy, and produce? Where it comes from potentially thousands of miles away. And, through a production and delivery process that in some cases has degraded the quality of the product beyond what good sense says it should be. Speaking from my little corner of this great planet in southeastern Pennsylvania, wonderful fresh food and beverage are available from South Jersey to Bucks County, to Chester County, Lancaster County, the Lehigh Valley, and beyond. Here's your assignment over this next week. On your way home from work, on the way to The Shore, or to the Poconos, (or grandmother's house you go) stop at the family farm stand along the road. Go to a fresh produce store. Go to a farmer's market. You don't have to get all caught up in conversation with the farmer if you don't want to. You don't even have to understand anything more that when you buy locally, you buy fresh. And, when you buy fresh, you live healthier. And, when you live healthier, you live happier. Is it really that easy? Oh, and to wash down these good eats that you're picking up, stop in at Lancaster Brewing (Lancaster), Triumph (New Hope), Victory (Downingtown), Allentown Brew Works (Allentown), and get some fresh brewed beer. Get a six-pack or get a growler. Take it home, sit outside, eat, drink, relax, and enjoy the summer in this great world that we live in. If you are in the Philadelphia area, I've listed below a few events that are contributing to the awareness of this worthwhile mission. So, just do it.....and let us know what you discovered. Kickoff to Buy Fresh, Buy Local Week @ Yards Brewing Sunday 7/15 2pm-6pm http://www.yardsbrewing.com/agenda.html Fresh & Local Happy Hour (Sly Fox Beer & Bluecoat Gin) @ Southwark Wednesday 7/18 5pm-7pm 215-238-1888 http://www.localfoodphilly.org/events.php Good Food, Good Beer, & The Rest Is History @ The Shambles at Headhouse Square Saturday 7/21 5:30pm-8:30pm 718-260-8000 http://www.localfoodphilly.org/events.phphttp://www.farmtocity.org/

What was I thinking? We have a bonfire video from BCTC 2006 :-)

I just remembered we posted a short video of the bonfire from last year. Here it is in all its glory!

Countdown to Ommegang BCTC: 6 days...

Less than a week to go. We're gearing up around The Brew Lounge campus. This is a picture of a campfire from last year. Just imagine what the big bonfire would be like. :-)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Tap List at Flying Pig Saloon in Malvern, PA - 7/11/07

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 usual quality tap and bottle list. If you like this idea, please drop us a note and let us know.

On Draft as of 7/11/07
Magic Hat Hocus Pocus
Flying Dog No Apologies IPA
Blue Point Pale Ale
Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier
Dogfish Head Festina Peche
Troegs Sunshine Pils
Pyramid Apricot Weizen
Gaffel Kölsch
Sly Fox Ichor
Urthel Samaranth

And, if the draft list doesn't offer you enough, try these bottles on for size...

Avery The Beast
Avery Maharaja
Dogfish Head Raison D'extra
Dogfish Head Red & White
Fort Collins Kidd Lager
Middle Ages Beast Bitter
Great Divide Hercules
Flying Dog Double Dog
Southampton Publick House 10th Anniversary

Countdown to Ommegang BCTC: Send us pictures!

Ok eight days to go everybody! We'd like to post a picture everyday leading up to our departure. If you have an Ommegang BCTC picture that you would like to share, just email it to beerguys@brewlounge.com. Eight more days to go!