Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Beer You Can Wear

I think this news is pretty cool.  I love that Dogfish thinks outside the box when it comes to craft beer.  The industry can'y survive on beer nerds alone.  Teaming up with other brands and industries puts the idea of good beer in more people's heads.  This actually isn't the first time Dogfish has crossed over into fashion.  Squall, one of my favorite beers pictured above, was a collaboration with Rogues Gallery to honor their clothing line back in 2009.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Olde School Returns

2011 Dogfish Head Olde School Barleywine is being released in the coming weeks.  The company has provided a little guidance on how to enjoy this offering.  My suggestion, def-o age it, you will thank me.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Rob v. Funerals


(Or “why I loved my grandmother, but hated her wake – and hope that when I die, I’m outlived by at least one friend who will have the balls to notify everyone of my demise by altering the voicemail prompt on my cellphone to say, “If you want to pay your last respects to Rob, please come to the White Sands dunes of New Mexico where I plan to burn his skinny, pale carcass, drink Hendrick’s gin and read some of the more difficult passages from ‘Infinite Jest.’”)


I almost wrote this column about the lack of transparency/sincerity in the arts (after finishing a freelance job for which I had to answer a magazine Q&A for a very gifted/successful photographer who felt pressured to sound “smarter” and “more conceptual” to impress a bunch of art-world bozos) or the inefficiency of the internet to help one definitively self-diagnose abdominal pain (after a week of wondering if the dull ache in my right side was the byproduct of the 5k I recently ran or the night of pounding beer, beer, beer that followed at Spitzer's, Vol de Nuit and Rabbit Club).

But how much can you really write about the unfortunate necessity of appealing to superficial would-be patrons/curators or the effects of fat deposits on the livers of surprisingly fast short-distance runners? And wouldn’t laying out some oblique wishes for my funeral be more important if I am, in fact, killed by cirrhosis/ hepatitis/ swallowing a blue Lego than some swan-song screed about how “juxtaposition” is just a douchey way of saying that when something is next to something else it changes the perception of each?

I think so too...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Beer, Beer, Beer

There are very few things in this life I love more than beer. Family is one of them. And then that's really it. Sports are tied with beer for second though. And women. So there's a three-way tie for second.

Sports, women, and beer.

All other things are mostly average and pale in comparison to my love for beer. Ever since I turned,ahem, 21, I've loved me some suds. But like most of you, the great unwashed that you are, I stuck with the basics. The 'ol BMC, if you will. Bud, Miller, and Coors.

Why? Because it's cheap, available, and constantly in your face. These days, I can't exist for eight consecutive seconds without an advertisement for some crappy light beer entering my line of sight. And according to these commercials, these beers are known for their crisp taste, triple hops, smooth finish, and ability to be cold (or even, super cold). But if you've ever sat down and drank one calmly by yourself and actually TASTED the damn thing, you'd realize you'd be ingesting high-quality urine. True, it IS cold. But that's all it has going for it.

And I think people are catching on. The bottom-line numbers for all three of these mega-breweries have been declining for quite some time now. Each one of them sees the writing on the wall too. Now, they're trying to adapt by catering to the craft drinker. Someone like me. Someone who actually drinks beer for the taste and not to fulfill some Freudian oral fixation.

So I tried their weak attempts at craft brewing. The "bocks", the "ambers", the "stouts". I use quotations because I need to. They aren't real beers. They are sad derivatives of something that could've been a beer. But since they are so mass produced, the cost-cutting measures have destroyed the quality of it. They are a waste of time. And if you consider yourself a craft beer drinker, you wouldn't be caught dead drinking one.

So what I'm basically saying is that craft brewing is where it's at. If you'd like, I could name about 300 breweries better than the 3 Horsebreweries of the Apocalypse I mentioned earlier. Breweries like Founders in Grand Rapids, Michigan or Cigar City in Tampa, Florida are doing things with beer that are unheard of. And it's not just the experimentation that's wonderful, it's the care they put into every beer they bottle. Each beer they brew represents who they are and what they pride themselves on. They want to be taken seriously by the beer-loving community. A community, I might add, that has very discriminating tastes and can sniff out a fraud fairly quickly.

One of my goals in life is to please this community with one of my own. That's why my father and I have started brewing our own beer. The process isn't as hard as it seems. It just takes patience, cleanliness, and diligence.

Our first brew will be an Irish Stout. The site we ordered the supplies from gave the proper ingredients and very clear directions as to how to brew it properly. As I type, the primary fermentation is taking place. After about a week, we will transfer the wort (batch) into a secondary fermenter to sit for another two weeks. Finally, after those two weeks, we bottle and cap the beers and let it sit for a final two weeks. Then it's up to us to drink or bash each other over the head with them. I'd like to think we will do the former.

Hopefully over time my dad and I can perfect and refine the process. Eventually leading to something that's truly our own and something others can enjoy.

As seen on: My Other Blog

Friday, September 23, 2011

My Latest Purchase Part 2

I constantly write-off breweries. Constantly.

"Ew, Left Hand Brewery? I had one of their beers 5 years ago. It tasted terrible. I'll never have another one of their beers again. I'm assuming everything else they make is disgusting and they have not improved since they started."

That (see above) is me. I have a penchant for never giving a brewery a second chance. Which is the exact opposite of what a craft beer lover should do. Craft brewing is about experimentation and obviously, some beers are not going to hit the mark. You make mistakes so you can learn from them, avoid them in the future and evolve as a brewer.

What does this have to do with The Bruery? For about a six month period recently, I wrote them off altogether. And that was because of their beer Orchard White. I couldn't stand it. It was dull, overtly sour, and just not pleasing to the palate. And after the first few sips, I did what I had to do:

Poured it down the drain.

From that day forward, I promised myself I would never try another Bruery beer. But by my purchase today, I'm going to break that promise. In the photo above you will see Bruery's fall seasonal, Autumn Maple. While most breweries tinker with pumpkins this season, Bruery has decided to mess with another vegetable: yams. That's right yams. This beer is brewed with 17 lbs. of yams in each barrel alone with cinnamon, nutmeg, molasses, and maple syrup.

I'm very much looking forward to it and will report back on how it tastes.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Tupac Was Right, West Coast Bitches

So I still have to post my story San Fran drinking trip (above pic via my girlfriend from said trip) but in the meantime here is a list of the essential west coast beers by none other than Stone Brewing's co-founder, Greg Koch.  As you can see, Greg's affiliations show through on the list.  Also, lots of surprises on what was missing from his list.  I guess good beer, like everything else, is always open for debate.  Anyway, this was a good excuse for me to post a picture of Tupac just after the anniversary of his death and for me to feel like a gangsta.  I'm actually the complete opposite of a gangsta, if such an opposite exists, and even feel uncomfortable writing the word gangsta.  I actually look around the room as I type to make sure there are no black people seeing me do it.  Just like when I blast hip-hop in my car.  Well I'm out bitches, Freaktoberfest tonight, wish me luck.