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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

New Beer Reviews

The latest and greatest:

(original written works by Kristyn Lier, plagiarism is not tolerated)

Vine & Barley ~ Vote for Sam Adams

Each year Sam Adams Brewery develops two new recipes for the public to sample and vote on. The winning recipe will be mass produced and released to the public. This year the two recipes are a 'Belgian Style IPA' & 'American Rye Ale'.

Come by Vine & Barley this Thursday Sept 2 between 6pm-8pm to be one of the first people to sample the two brews and cast your vote for your favorite one. The samples are free of course, and we will also have other Sam Adams beers on tap at special prices.

See you Thursday!

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1680 SW St Lucie West Blvd

Port St Lucie, FL 34986
772-446-7550
www.VineAndBarley.com

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Reading Mash

I gotta start making more time available for reading. Writing is a given, but reading is just as important, nay necessary, to my muse and in turn, my writing. For pretty much my entire life's awareness of both reading and writing and my Self, the two have been inseparable. Life is always its own fantastical inspiration, but so too are the Life experiences and musings of others. With that in mind...

Finished:
  • Brewing Up A Business: Adventures in Entrepreneurship from the Founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery by Sam Calagione

Currently:
  • Hops and Glory: One Man's Search for the Beer That Built the British Empire by Pete Brown

In Que:
  • Michael Jackson's Complete Guide to Single Malt Scotch 6th Edition
  • Good Beer Guide: Belgium

Simply Beautiful

**Please enjoy and share alike, the heart and soul of the fine women and men who make our artisanal world of beer so great.**

I Am A Craft Brewer from I Am A Craft Brewer on Vimeo.

BEERflections ~ Orlando and Back Again

As a beer ambassador passionately entrenched in the wonderful world of beer and burgundism, keeping the health and wealth in line is a given. There are lots of givens in life, but a given is not necessarily a guarantee or a promise kept. A given is an understanding left to the whimsical will of you and me to value and to actively prosper. And so it is with my life of beer and beer of life. It is here at these crossroads of indulgence and necessity that I balance my life’s work. Just as everything I do involves beer, so too does beer involve everything I do. Somewhere inbetween is where I have found that just because everything I do involves beer, that doesn’t mean that beer has to involve everything I do.

Got it? Good.

What may sound like a fantastical perversion of logic is actually a rather simple and beautiful truth. Promise firmly in check, it was with relished relaxation that this beer ambassador extraordinaire took off for a night of whimsical divergence in Orlando, Florida with my dear friend and beach bum buddy, Rob Callery. Not Robert or Bob, just Rob, a constant point of confusion for friends and family since there are quite a few Robs in my life, all of them different and all of them dear. But let’s not get sidetracked here. Instead let’s get sidetracked in Orlando, land of sun, water, gastropubs, Knightly Spirits, BJs, Redlight Redlight, and one metro hotel fountain.

At 10am sharp we hit the road, destination Orlando International Airport, to bid Cathie Callery adieu as she flew north and east to attend family matters. Since gallivanting around Orlando on a lovely Saturday is no fun with a party of one, Rob called on his girlfriend extraordinaire for a party of two which I gladly accepted. A twinkle mirrored in both our eyes signaled that good times where indeed here again. Though mornings and I don’t usually get along, when there are plans brewing, excitement override’s grogginess and in no time at all I was coffee-fueled, worked-out, cleaned-up, and raring to go. Utilizing my new spifferific green Sierra Nevada tote bag, the minor necessities were packed, loaded, and on the road again.

Once at the airport, we escorted Cathie to her security check-in before turning our attentions outside. Hitting the road once more with designs for a tasty brew, first and foremost we craved a relaxing cruise upon open waters. Specifically, we headed to downtown Winter Park, land of the rich and famously deceased, to broaden my native Floridian horizons. I love Florida; there is no other place I want to live. Having spent a good 30 of my 33 years in her warm embrace, her natural beauty resounds in my heart and soul. Rob shares my love for Florida, so as two peas in a pod we prepared to soak in the sunshine and sites. My first boat tour, it was a fun mix of bright-eyed wonder and cherished experience shared with a smidge of geekery for measure. Expecting a sauna, we were instead met with weather perfect and breeze refreshing as we lazed through the waters upon our pontoon tour boat.

As well as words have graced me over the years, putting elusive feelings to paper as the intangible becomes tangible, today I face a challenge of seemingly insurmountable awe. As my flip-flop clad feet wound down those sun-bleached steps to land upon the worn wood of their boathouse, a vision filled more than just my eyes. Gazing upon the stillness of her waters calm under blue skies and cotton puffs, something inside clicked, a grounding of self which until that very moment I hadn’t realized was lost. Misplaced no longer, my hearth was filled to overflowing so profound was the rightness of place and company. She was within me and around me, a luminance of greens, emeralds, browns, blues, and whites. In her stoic state of preservation, baby blues, little fish-big fish, and algae created a space outside of time. Doubts, worries, fears… all forms of human trivialities washed away under the soothing caress of water and wind. Ears keen to the gentle hum of Florida and Mother Nature, I felt alive and I felt life, not just my own, but my own within another.

In the embrace of native Florida, I noted man’s influence around us and wondered at the intrusive conundrum of bloated excess or unique addition. I cannot deny that there is a certain beauty to man’s creation just as there is to nature. At times there seemed to be a delicate balance of man’s intrusion unto nature and man’s desire to be a part of nature. Too much, too little or just about right? As impressive as many of the multi-million dollar homes were, some old some new, my inspiration was in the expansive greenery and waters surrounding me in a seemingly Zen state of being. Beneath skies blue and tufts white, the richness within was immeasurable and everlasting. Though our tour ride was but one hour within a lifetime of hours, there was never a sense of urgency. Time was not forgotten, time just was. Feet touching land once more, a little piece of me was left behind just as a little piece of she was left with me. Two hearts - One memory.

Farewells exchanged, Rob and I set out to quench our sunny thirst at The Ravenous Pig, an American gastropub of rumored excellence. During our ride there, Rob and I discussed how a tasty brew in hand would have pushed the already awe-inspiring boat tour into unmatched epicness. I still hold this to be true, but as I ponder what beer means to me and what Florida means to me… Maybe it’s not a matter of better or epic but of rightness. Life is beer and beer is life. They are one and the same. They are separate and unique. My Florida is equally beautiful on her own and equally beautiful with a soulful brew in hand, a natural fit and a natural moment of being. I doubt crafty brews and the Winter Park Lake Tours will ever come to fruition and that’s okay. The Ravenous Pig was there to answer our thirsty call with a Smuttynose Big A IPA and Cigar City Maduro for myself and a Smuttynose Big A IPA and Left Hand Sawtooth ESB for Rob.

Speaking of The Pig, I had heard rumblings of a slightly pricey menu, rumblings unfounded as I perused their fantastic menu of tasty proportions. Let me diverge for a moment here. When a gastropub offers uniquely hand-crafted artisanal foods at prices averaging $12 with the a few in the higher teens and even fewer in the roaring twenties, I feel zero financial remorse. Burgundian first, cheapskate second. Drooling over their menu, Rob and I simply savored our tasty brews while the staff prepared to change over from lunch to dinner. Another time Monsieur Pig, another time for I am sure to not resist your siren’s call. And why should I? Chain mentality need not apply here. Just like the quality and standards of the artisanal beer we know, love, appreciate, and share, so too for artisanal food prepared with quality, individuality, and heart. Tis not a packaged meal The Pig is offering you and me, it is hand-crafted one-of-a-kind foods, atmosphere, service, and memories. That my fellow peeps and peepettes is what it means to be burgundian.

Tending to the taps and spirits that afternoon was Larry, the bar manager. I personally enjoyed talking with one of the gents whose unique person goes into making The Pig who she is. My Big A IPA from Smuttynose was fantastically bitter and refreshing at the same time. As chilled as draft can and will be, she nonetheless took no time in warming up just enough to truly showcase her aromas and flavors in spite of the chilled Dogfish Head chalice she came to rest before me in. A little surprised and a little disappointed, I nonetheless let it slide for now but the mental note has been made for my next Ravenous Pig adventure. Curse you frosted chalice of beer recipience! Give me room temperature or give me a wine glass, at least they don’t chill those. A chilled wine glass?! Abominable! Well, so too for proper beer glasses.

Scornful digression aside, I basked in the cozy ambiance, surrounded by rich woods and earthen tones oozing old class and new flare. I’d also like to note that for the first time ever thine eyes spied upon their cocktail menu that vintage classic, the Sazarac. Amen, hallelujah, and peanut butter! Not just a beer geek (though the bubbly brew reigns supreme) but a cocktail and spirits aficionado too, I appreciated the well chosen attentions paid to their bourbon, single-malt, gin, vodka, and specialty liquor selections. They even had bitters! Not the Angostura or Peychaud variety but real honest to goodness aperitif bitters of French and Italian designs. A love em or leave em passion, for those in the know they are a fantastic fascination.

To all good meetings there must also come partings, and so we bid adieu and departed with hotel and dinner destinations calling. We made it to the hotel eventually, but somewhere along the way we got happily side-tracked by a quaint if not seemingly misplaced English-style pub, The Cricketers Arms. Hidden within a generic strip mall, all outside disturbances disappeared as I stepped into a wee smidge of merry ol’ England awash in wood tones and low lighting. Ogling the hand-pumps, we scooted up to the bar where I ordered a Shipyard Old Thumper and Rob a Fullers ESB. Feeling the pangs of hunger unanswered, a side of Banger Sliders and Black & Tan Onion Rings were in the works. While relaxing at the Cricketers Arms, I added to my collection of beery self-portraits to mixed personal results. I finally managed one nice close-up while Rob snapped a dashing profile of the biggest grin ever unmustered. That’s right, unmustered. I was in vacation paradise with beer in hand and smashing company. Magnifique. Dashing profiles aside, our pub grub arrived to hungry hands. The onion rings were crisp on the outside, tender on the inside, and generously infused with her black & tan beery battered fried awesomeness. The Bangers Sliders was served to us as a sandwich at the sharp recommendation of our bartender along with a side of dipping gravy to end all dipping gravies. You could have just given me a bowl of that with a spoon, maybe a roll for dipping, maybe not, and I would have been an equally happy camper. I now understand why Rob and Cathie make it a regular habit to stop in whenever Orlando beckons. Thanks for sharing and consider me converted!

Sated, we left the Cricketers Arms for one more detour to the renowned and newly relocated Knightly Spirits where much to my pleasant surprise, Alan of RateBeer fame was working. If you consider yourself a beer hunter, be sure to stop in Knightly Spirits while in Orlando, Alan or no Alan, for their beer selection will not disappoint and if you are a spirits aficionado as I am, then it is a double must. Any store with good beer (and good spirits) is a dangerous venture for yours beerly of a limited budget. But I persevered and triumphed, bringing home four bottles: Harvieston Ola Dubh 12yr, Meantime Coffee Porter, Haand Bryggeriet Norwegian Wood, and Weyerbacher Zotten Belgian-style Pale Ale. After all, I still had dinner and beers at Redlight Redlight to consider. Cruising their aisles of beer, Rob and I picked out a choice selection of rare and unique beers currently unavailable in the Treasure Coast. With a cart full of beery treasures, we checked out and loaded up. Thanks for everything Alan. You rock!

Honorably knighted, we finally made our way to the Crowne Plaza that Rob booked using his Priceline savvy. Checked in and freshened up, we hit the road once more for dinner at BJs Restaurant and Brewhouse, another favorite Orlando staple of Rob’s. A brewpub of reasonable measure, I opted to simply enjoy the brews despite the ever-ready presence of my tasting book. Twas a time to drink and taste, not taste and drink, and so I did something rare and unusual when presented with a plethora of un-tasted beers: abscond pen and paper.

Tasting notes notwithstanding, I can tell you what I started with, relaxed in the middle with, and finished with. In that order I savored a Lindeman’s Framboise (sate my sweet and sour tooth), a Wild Turkey 101 on the rocks (sate my bourbon craving), and a Tatonka Stout (sate my BJs thirst). For foodage, Rob and I shared a mini Mediterranean Pizza while I ordered the Thai shrimp lettuce wraps and Rob the Derek’s famous meatloaf dinner. Chowing down, we chatted amongst ourselves while people watching to our heart’s content. People watching is fun. Know it. Do it. Just be sure not to stare otherwise your fun may not be so much. People watching can also include the staff, not just the patrons, so I found it endearingly cute when our waiter introduced the house beers. Starting with their summer seasonal, the Lightswitch Lager, he likened it to the purportedly gravity-defying Bud Select 55 at which point Rob and I burst out laughing. Not meaning to be rude, we just couldn’t help ourselves and so through hearty chortles, we informed our kind young waiter he could skip the light offerings and go straight to the fuller bodied and fuller flavored beers. I’d like to think we saved him some work and some time in the process. After all, it helps knowing what you want. The important step after that is to not be afraid or ashamed to ask for it, demand it if necessary. The market exists for us. We do not exist for the market. Just please try not to be an unreasonably arrogant ass in the process.

Belly full and thirsting to go, we descended unto an undisclosed district in search of that vaunted bar of scintillation and righteous indulgence: Redlight Redlight, a beer geek’s oasis and the love-child of Brent. Since really good beer can be a bit like a woman; nice to look at, tender to hold, lustful to taste, the name is somehow quaintly appropriate. Literally a dive inbetween somewhere and nowhere, as my feet crossed her threshold I abandoned my previous nonchalance and once more embraced the beer ambassador within. For the rest of my night, everything I did involved beer and everything beer involved what I did.

Abuzz with well established merriment, we first poked around her small spacious confines before separating at the bar to see who could get a beer request in first. The two main peeps we saw behind the bar were Brent and a cute-as-a-button lady assistant. I never did get her name (or I forgot…which is more likely), but between the two we were in good hands. Space was given when needed and attention was given when needed. People skills and bartending go hand-in-hand, and they were in high form that night. After Rob’s beer of choice, I moved us onto what could possibly be the sour to top all sours. Her name was Cantillon Bruocsella 1900 Grand Cru, a 3 year old unblended Lambic. Art never tasted so good. Slowly savoring our heavenly sour we watched a constant ebb and flow of beer geeks and geekettes mingling merrily. What Matt has given life to and nurtured isn’t just a bar. Redlight Redlight is a social phenomenon wrapped up in the cozy warmth of community.
A moment unto herself.
Time untended.
Beertopia.
If politicians bellowed less and drank more good beer, I wonder what the world would be like… If we were all so lucky, maybe a little bit like what Redlight Redlight lives and gives.

But I digress, again, and most certainly not into the nauseating pit of politics. No, this journey started with the beauty of Nature and shall end with the bounty of Nature as nurtured by Man and Woman: beer. Our last glass savored was the Mocha Cubano from Cigar City Brewing out of Tampa, Florida. Not only does Florida know how to rock the beer drinking community culture, so too do we know how to rock the beer brewing community culture. Cigar City is the latest and greatest and to be sure, she won’t be the last. Feel that buzz? It’s not just the beer talking to you. That is the synergy of positive change and we are here right now a part of it and should we be so lucky, so too will we be a part of it long into an infinite number of tomorrows.

Arriving once more at our hotel, I satisfied my midnight munchies with Thai shrimp lettuce wrap leftovers before crawling under the covers and into sleep. No alarms. No rush. I woke up when I woke up which was around 9amish. Cracking an unwilling eyelid to take in the blur of my surroundings, I rolled over to find Rob lounging awake in his bed. Morning person whereas I am not, it wasn’t much of a surprise. Grunting, snorting, sniffling, hacking, and sneezing my way through the morning wakies, I shuffled downstairs for the giver of life and limb, coffee. Settling back in bed, cup of coffee in one hand, another on the nightstand, and morning schlock scrolling across the TV screen, Kristyn Lier began the morning process. It may not necessarily be pretty, but it is what it is.

Eventually booking it out around 11amish, we hit the road with destination Vero Beach on the horizon. Cruising to the island tunes of station Margaritaville on Rob’s XM/Sirius Radio, we made it home to Vero safe, sound, and soulfully whole. Thank you Cathie for letting me bogart your husband for the day. Thank you Rob for the generous pleasure of your company. Thank you Orlando for all that you had to offer in your vast treasure chest of burgundian pleasures. Thank you Florida for the much appreciated soul-alignment. In life as in beer…in beer as in life…cheers!



(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Abita S.O.S.

**I am very proud to be able to offer the Abita S.O.S. at my place of work, Great Spirits, in Vero Beach, FL. As a native Floridian who spent much of her childhood and a good portion of her ongoing adulthood on and/or around the water, the rivers and oceans that surround our beautiful peninsula are equally beautiful and equally fragile. The latest oil spill fiasco from BP may be capped but the damage and the repairs and the despair are long from over. This is a human tragedy. A natural disaster that affects all life. Help support those on the gulf who need all the help they can get to nurture their livelihoods and the life of the Gulf around them, the Gulf they call Home.**

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New Beer Reviews

The latest and greatest:

(original written works by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

3rd Annual Treasure Coast Beer Fest *update*

Morning my fellow beer fest enthusiasts. A short update on the status of our upcoming Treasure Coast Beer Fest. Tickets are on SALE! You can get them via the website or in a local close to home. Here in Vero you can get them at my place of work, Great Spirits, or my place of wingly beery divinity, Hurricane Grille & Wings VB. The complete list of places selling tickets is:

Vine & Barley in St. Lucie West, Roy’s Liquor in Ft. Pierce, JoJos Raw Bar & Grille in Ft. Pierce, Tobacco Emporium in Ft. Pierce, A Picky Gourmet Supply in Jensen Beach, Great Spirits in Vero Beach, Hurricane Grille & Wings in Vero Beach, Broken Barrel Tavern in Palm Bay, Corner Café in Tequesta, PP Cobb in Fort Pierce.

Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door with a limit of 1000 tickets max. Why a limit? So we don't run out of beer for all our fun-loving fest attendees. Can't have a beer fest without BEER, right.

There will be a few special brews and breweries making an appearance at our September 11th event. If you don't/can't make it...you'll just have to experience it vicariously through me or a friend. So be sure you make it!!

Oskar Blues Brewmaster Dinner @ Town Crier Pub *update*

I am happy to announce that the Oskar Blues Brewmaster Dinner is currently ALL SOLD OUT! Once more my fine peeps and peepettes of the Treasure Coast know how to rock the beer+food world in style. If someone cancels and I get word on an opening I'll try to pass it on stat, but for now...A successful night of good beers, good, food, and good times is booked, primed, and ready to go.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Let the Coveting Begin

**Gonna get me some of that!!! As for the distro side of things, it'll be interesting since the demand is always far more than the production, and that was just when it was available in 6packs and kegs.**

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hoggie's Latest & Greatest

**Gimme some Genny Cream! Yeah baby, yeah!!**
*I think this beer is more legendary than PBR.*

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Oskar Blues Brewmaster Dinner @ Town Crier Pub

**Expect epic beers, epic food, and epic memories. Make sure to RSVP sooner than later because I have a feeling this baby will sell out. Of course, yours beerly will be there with camera flashing and smile gleaming.**

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Friday, August 13, 2010

BEERflections ~ Magic Hat Tasting @ Hurricanes VB

Where there is good beer there will be good times and good friends. All of this and more was recently ripe for indulgement at my local Hurricane Grille & Wings, home to Howard, Nicole, and an eclectic fun-loving staff. There was a time long ago when Hurricanes fell from my good graces and fell hard. That is past though and today Hurricanes is once more a beery destination close to my heart and others. From special events to weekend kick-offs to a regular schedule of tastings, a steadily growing throng of beer peeps new and old have found an oasis in Hurricanes of Vero Beach. Though I have infinite love to share, I also envision Vero as the beer mecca of our sunny south with peeps and peepettes professional and personal all united under the flag of real beer diversity. As vision begets reality, Hurricanes will always hold a special place in my heart as one of the original innovators.

On Wednesday July 14th, 2010 my memories were once more enriched with good times shared at their Magic Hat tasting. Following the lucky trend of scheduling these tasty events on my days off, it was a slow modus operandi of relaxation, writing, and sneaking in a pre-tasting beer or three. Of course, working out was a given. As a burgundian advocate, I believe in a healthy body as well as a healthy mind. All the better to savor the flavor long into my years.

Expectations for a milling throng of Magic Hat tasters and Hurricane VB advocates was righteously realized as I walked through the entrance into my posse of peeps raring to taste and play games long into the evening. The steady ebb and flow of beery minded patrons never faltered until the wee hours of closing, keeping the seats inside and out well worn for a solid showing indeed. Already seated at the bar as I soaked in the atmosphere were Lauren, our roving local Magic Hat Alebassador, and the firmly footed local Southern Eagle Brand Development Manager, Sean Murray. Wisely chowing down on some tasty Hurricane grub before the games and beer flowed in thirsty appreciation, I had designs to do the same. Arriving early, yummy wings in the belly followed by more pre-tasting yummy beers made for a happily revved up Kristyn with no worries as to morning after horrors. Equally important, never forget the water for she is your friend.

Somehow I knew it was going to be a friendtastic evening before I even crossed that gilded threshold. In parking my car and hitting the ground walking I ran into Susan and Cathy also making their way inside where what should thine eyes see but my dynamic duo (minus the tights) Rob and Cathie already seated along with Marty, Bev, and Robert. Beers in hand and food orders on standby, I was behind but not for long. Mere minutes later a Flying Dog Raging Bitch Belgian-style IPA was pressed firmly to these eager lips, her zesty spicy fruity nectar dancing across my tastebuds and down my throat. Happy days are here again. As I settled in my soon-to-be well worn seat, a steady stream of friendly familiar peeps found their own stoop while Rebecca and Gary landed at our generously expanded table. By the time the smoke cleared, our long table consisted of five or six high-tops pushed together in jolly communion amidst a steady din of laughter and merry-making.

Inbetween doing my share of merry-making with my posse of peeps, I broke away whenever possible to great other peeps as they too joined in the magical mystery ride going down that night. Steve, Kris, and Mary, it is always a pleasure to see you out and about. As for the tasting itself, starting time was set to the usual 7pm and featured the #9 Not Quite Pale Ale on draft and an assortment of bottled beers: Wacko, Blind Faith IPA on Tour, and my personal favorite, the Summer Odd Notion Ginger Ale. I first fell in love with the Ginger Ale during the Magic Hat Brewmaster Dinner at Town Crier Pub and she was as delicious as I remembered. Unfortunately, it’s just my luck that the one Magic Hat beer available in Florida that would happily grace my fridge in all her six-pack glory is only available in a mixed twelve pack. Such is my lot in life, I guess. Still, tis far better to taste and want than to not taste at all.

A different and fun feature of this particular tasting was the inclusion of various beer games instituted by the always beaming Lauren. Roving from table to table, she engaged the beer-curious with enthusiasm which was mirrored by those she engaged. Our table was no different as we captured Lauren for ourselves multiple times throughout the night. Bev won Magic Hat sunglasses early on which she sported in hip retro fashion. Later, those of us that remained were challenged and crushed by a fiercely imposing box of matches. That’s right: matches. Our posse of educated rational creatively minded thinking human beings was defeated by sixteen individual sulfur-tipped black matches. Psht! Might as well retire now and head for that quiet home on the hill. Heads hung low in shameful embarrassment, it was only through the due diligence of Howard and the genius of the iPhone that we were able to regain a shred of dignity and defeat the taunting matches aplenty. Was it fair? Maybe not but sometimes in life one has to fight dirty with the tools at hand to persevere yet another day.

Dirtily or creatively, the lesson learned here is: should you see Lauren walking your way with a box of matches in hand and the glint of evil in her eye, turn around slowly and run away as fast as you can lest your dignity be left in tatters, too.

Early before the matches of shame, we duly savored our burgers, salads, and wings amidst glasses of tasty beers, #9 included. All the bottled Magic Hat offerings were for sampling only as the supply was precious but limited. Thankfully, my tower of power Howard hooked us up with a few taster bottles and Sean hooked me up with a bottle of the Ginger Ale. Puppy dog eyes and friendly coercion do work. Know it.

Usually I suffer a severe case of wanderlust at these tastings, moseying from table to table, barstool to barstool, all as I capture photos and emotions for my treasure chest of memories. This time around though I stayed fairly rooted at my table of awesomeness. Surrounded by ladies and gents I have grown to know and cherish in just the few short years we have worked and hung out together, this beer ambassador was already home. A better group of people I call friends could never be. Life is beer and beer is life. Through generous designs of burgundian indulgence, what I have here is life at her finest with beer in hand, fork in the other, and pen at the ready.

Knowing full well I would be amongst a myriad of beer aficionados, a special raiding of the beer cellar was in order. In perusing my boxes of corked delights, one beer in particular beckoned. With tender care and humble reverence I placed two bottles of Ommegang Biere de Mars, vintage 2008, into my fridge to properly chill in anticipation of her late night premiere. A beer-bearing Kristyn is always a welcome sight as evidenced by the puddle of drool polling beneath Howard, Nicole, and Rob while they watched me tuck away the two bottles for a later unveiling…an unveiling that was now nigh.

Feeling the inevitable downward shift as the night waned and closing time crept ever closer, I asked Howard to bring forth the two bottles. But first, let me take a moment to diverge deeper into the meaning of Biere de Mars.

Biere de Mars, or as it is better known, Biere de Garde (literally “beer for keeping”) is a style which emerged from the Pas de Calais region of France. A rustic beer, they were typically brewed on and for the farms in which they originated. A product both of and for the working man and woman, they were typically brewed in the winter and spring then lain down to keep, or cellar, during the hot months of summer when brewing was next to impossible. Bottled live in champagne-style bottles with cork and cage to withstand the rigors of bottle-conditioning, they were at their best when aged, hence Biere de Garde. Some can even withstand years of proper cellaring with tastetastic results as proven by the 2008 bottles of Biere de Mars and lovingly crafted by the fine folks at Ommegang in Cooperstown, New York.

Now empowered with the awesome gift of beer wisdom, next comes the best part: partaking of these blessed bottles woken from their cellared slumber by engaging all our senses. Or in simpler terms: drinking it. The finest imbibement in the world is all for naught if that tasteful treasure is cruelly hoarded and never enjoyed.

She popped in joyous celebration before filling eagerly awaiting cups with her copper and amber hued brew. Topped by a playful head of mousse and bubbles, lace lingered, a wistful reminder of her passing. My cup running gleefully running over, attentions were turned to my tablemates along with Howard, Nicole, Al, Lauren, Sean, Chris, Chris, and Dave. There may have been others but those are all I remember for now.

A deep sniff…a luxurious sip…and WOW!!!

Time has done you well my friend, done you well indeed. Essence of dust, leather, barnyard and funk, dried fruits, citrus peel, spice, and oh so many things sent me spiraling into beervana. I knew it was truly wowtastic because Dave, who swears off all things Belgian the poor silly boy, actually liked it. A lot. For Chris Martin it was the best beer of his night. Lauren and Sean were bedazzled, and of course Rob and company found it tastefully fascinating. Happy news all around but my own glass of Biere de Mars beckoned softly, and so it was back to my table of awesomeness I returned. One last sup…and that be all she wrote. For two 750ml bottles filled to the top with beautiful beery nectar, they sure did disappear quickly. A sign of a beer well enjoyed in my opinion, anything less would be a sacrilegious insult to the beer goddesses and gods.

Beers savored and lights dimming, heartfelt goodbyes were exchanged as sated feet shuffled out to their various modes of transportation. Fret not though. No one drove who shouldn’t have and all my peeps made it home safe and sound, yours beerly included. With another successful beer tasting come and gone, it is with ready anticipation I set my eyes towards the next. Cheers and thank you!



(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. pagiarism is not tolerated)

3rd Annual Treasure Coast Beer Fest *update*

As of today I have tickets on sale at Great Spirits. Tickets in advance are $25 which is payable in either cash or check, though cash is preferred. If planning to pay with a check, please make sure to have proper identification with you (IE: drivers license) at time of payment. Tickets at the door will be $30.

Tickets were dropped off at Hurricanes of Vero Beach, also. The same rules as above apply at Hurricanes who are also sponsoring the spiffy mugs you will be tasting from on the actual day of the event.

JoJo's Raw Bar & Grille will be hosting the after fest bash which starts at 6pm, an hour after the 5pm finale of the 3rd Annual Treasure Coast Beer Fest. Starting time for the fest is 1pm. It is a 21 ONLY event; no minors, children, and animals allowed.

Expect an easy 150 different beers, though I have a feeling it will be over 200 by the time September 11th, 2010 is upon us. Our three main contributing beer distributors are JJ Taylor, Southern Eagle, and Republic National. There will be music, games, food, water, restrooms, and more.

Specialty beers? Of course! There will be a few special guests and a few special beers for this year's fest. If you don't make it then, well, sad though it may be you won't be able to try that beer. Expect the special and limited releases to go the fastest so plan your table hopping accordingly.

It's less than a month from now and the number of tickets to sell is LIMITED! Be sure to get yours sooner than later, and don't tear off any stubs on your ticket. They need to be in one whole piece for the event.

Oskar Blues Tasting @ Hurricanes VB

**You better bet your mash tun I'll be there. Mm... good beer in a can. Gotta love it!**

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

WaZoo 2010 Beer Judging Results

Winners by Category:
  • Ambers – Brooklyn Lager
  • Bitters/Browns - Sam Smith’s Nut Brown Ale
  • Ciders/Malt Alternatives – Strongbow Cider
  • Fruit/Spiced – Lindeman’s Framboise
  • Dark Lager – Ayinger Alt Bairsch Dunkel
  • IPA – Harpoon Leviathan
  • Pilsner – Radeberger Pilsner
  • Light Lager US – Saranac Helles Light
  • Lager Import – Esteralla Damm
  • Specialty – The Bruery Rugbrod
  • Pale Ales – Terrapin Rye
  • Porters/Stouts – Marshall Zhukovs Imperial Stout
  • Strong Ales – Anchor Old Foghorn
  • Wheat – Franziskaner Hefe Weiss
  • Wit Beer – The Bruery Orchard White

Draft Beers – Dunedin Summer Buzz


Top Three Overall Winners:
  1. Dark Lager - Ayinger Alt Bairsch Dunkel
  2. Specialty – The Bruery Rugbrod
  3. IPA - Harpoon Leviathan

WOB Viera News

Introducing Swamp Ale IPA!
Wednesday, August 18th, Florida Beer is introducing their new IPA at WOB. We will have it on draft all day but if you would like to speak to the brewers, Florida Beer will be here at 5 pm. Don't miss this oportunity to be the first to try this IPA because it will be here and not anywhere in the world!

Blue Point Brew Party!
Mark your calendar now because at the very end of August, Blue Point Brewery is taking over WOB. We will have eight different beers on draft including thier 10th anniversay ale. Keep reading your newsletters for more information.

Stone Dye-Hards for Charity!
Have you seen our Product Manager, Drew, lately? He dyed his hair green for charity. Drew is collecting pledge money through the end of August to donate to four worthy charities Palomar Pomerado Health Foundation, Looks Like Me, the Boys & Girls Club of San Marcos and the Palomar Family YMCA. To donate see Drew for the sign up sheet or you can click here to go online and don't forget to put in Drew's participant #58. Let's help him out. The faster he collects his goal of $1500, the faster his hair will return back to his natural color.

Biere De L'Amitie!
During a recent twelve day Great Belgium Beer Tour, brewers from Green Flash Brewing Co. of California, and Brasserie St. Feuillien of Belgium teamed up to produce thier first ever collaboration ale. This beer, or Friendship Brew has been released and we have been able to obtain a keg of it. We are the only place to have this beer in Brevard County. It will be on draft soon and it won't last long. We will send out a text when it goes on. If you haven't signed up for text messaging yet, just text WOB4 to 74700 and answer yes when you get a message back. Don't worry, we only send eight messages a month.

Are you ready for some football?!
We are! We will have all your professional and collegiate games this season. All you fantasy footballers watch every game on Sunday with the NFL Ticket. Also, all your local college favorites will be on our ESPN Game Day Pass.

New Bottles
  • Cidre Bouche, 5% (France)
  • Harpoon Octoberfest, 5.5% (Massachusetts)
  • Heavy Seas Great Pumpkin, 8.5% (Maryland)
  • Samuel Smith Cherry, 5.1% (England)
  • Samuel Smith Raspberry, 5.1% (England)
  • Samuel Smith Strawberry, 5.1% (England)
  • Stone 14th Anniversary, 8.9% (California)

New Drafts
  • Anchor Old Foghorn, 8.7% (California)
  • Harpoon Octoberfest, 5.5% (Massachusetts)
  • Left Hand Oktoberfest, 6% (Colorado)
  • Southampton Pumpkin, 6% (New York)
  • Spaten Oktoberfestbier, 5.9% (Germany)

Live Music This Week
  • Thursday - Micah Reed
  • Friday - C-Lane & Beav
  • Saturday - Greg & Brian

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

US Craft Beer Topping UK

**Good news to hear, though I wouldn't rule out the UK and Britain yet. There's a long history and tradition of great brews there. I see continual growth, interest, and a broadening of diversity in the UK just as we've been experiencing here...with their own unique British flair, of course.**

Monday, August 09, 2010

BrewDog Night @ Coasters Friday 13th

**Obviously a copy&paste, but for more details click HERE.**

Hey folks,

I wanted to pass along the message that we’ll be hosting a Brewdog Day at Coasters Pub in Melbourne this Friday the 13th.

On tap we’ll have:
  • 5am Saint Red Ale
  • Punk IPA
  • Hardcore Double IPA
  • Zeitgeist Black Lager
  • Paradox Isle of Arran Double Stout

additionally, Tokyo Stout (18%) will be available to purchase in sample glasses.

The good news is that Brewdog makes some really tasty beers and I can’t wait to tap all of these kegs. The bad news is that the also may be the most expensive, ounce-per-ounce kegs that I’ve ever purchased, so, while it may not be a cheap night out, you won’t care about it after a few BrewDog Beers!

Dave @ Coasters
Corner of A1A and Eau Gallie Blvd, Beachside Melbourne
http://www.coastersbrewpub

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Hoggie's Latest & Greatest

**Another excellent beer from Oskar Blues which is no longer a seasonal and set to debut as a year-round beer thanks to their very recent expansion.**



Friday, August 06, 2010

A Match Made in Heaven

**Ohyes. I am very excited. Sierra Nevada is top-notch and I have absolute faith they will work truly beery miracles with the monks of Trappist-Cistercian Abbey of New Clairvaux. As I find out more juicy details I will of course pass them on. Until now consider your anticipation sufficiently stimulated.**

Sierra Nevada joins with Trappist Monks to brew Authentic Abbey Ales.

Chico, CA (08/06/2010)—Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. announced a partnership with the Trappist-Cistercian Abbey of New Clairvaux to create the only authentic Trappist-style Abbey ales in America.

For nearly 1000 years, monks have been brewing ales behind monastery walls. Their closely guarded traditions and techniques produced styles of beer unlike anything else in the world. These unique Trappist-style Abbey ales are known for their uncompromising quality and compelling flavor. In 2011, Sierra Nevada and the Trappist-Cistercian Abbey of New Clairvaux are working to bring this centuries-old tradition to America with Ovila—the nation’s only authentic Trappist-style Abbey Ale.

This series of three Belgian -style Abbey ales is made in accordance with the centuries-old tradition of the monks. Each beer will be only be available for a limited time and will rotate through the seasons. The first beer in the series, scheduled for release in March, will be a Belgian-style Dubbel brewed with authentic Trappist yeast. The second beer in the series, scheduled for release in July, will be a Saison, the traditional Belgian-style farmhouse ale made in honor of the Monk’s dedication to labor in the fields surrounding their abbey. The third will be released in time for the holidays. It will be a Trappist-style Quadrupel rich with dark fruit flavors and the unique wine-like characters of these strong Abbey ales.

Proceeds from this project will benefit the monks of the Abbey of New Clairvaux in their efforts to rebuild an architectural marvel—a 12th century, early-gothic Cistercian chapter house—on their grounds in Vina, California a few miles north of Sierra Nevada’s home in Chico. The medieval chapterhouse—Santa Maria de Ovila—was begun in 1190, near the village of Trillo, Spain. Cistercian monks lived, prayed, and worked there for nearly 800 years. In 1931, California newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst purchased the abbey and shipped it to Northern California. Hearst’s plans were never realized, and the stones fell into disrepair. In 1994, the Trappist-Cistercian monks of the Abbey of New Clairvaux, gained possession of the ruins, and began the painstaking stone-by-stone reconstruction of the historic abbey.

Located in Vina, California, the Abbey of New Clairvaux is a Cistercian Abbey of Strict Observance (Trappist). The abbey was founded in 1955 on 590 acres of Leland Stanford’s famed Vina Ranch. The monks follow the Rule of St. Benedict—Ora est Labora (Prayer and Work) and spend their days in prayer, meditation, and tending to the labor of the working farm located at the abbey.

Founded in 1980, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is one of America’s first microbreweries and remains highly regarded for using only whole-cone hops and ingredients of the finest quality. Sierra Nevada has set the standard for artisan brewers worldwide as a winner of numerous awards for their line of beers and ales including the flagship Pale Ale, Torpedo, Porter, Stout, Kellerweis, four seasonal beers, Estate Ale, Harvest Ale series and a host of draft-only specialties.

Recent Beer Reviews

The latest and greatest:

(original written works by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Wizard of ID

**Further proof that good beer continues to permeate all aspects of life, even those which are tongue-in-cheek. Personally, I laughed my booty off.**

Wizard of Id

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Recent Beer Reviews

The latest and greatest:

(original written works by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Ballast Point Brew News

From one Floridian to one Californian, WELCOME!!!!

Growing up on the Indian River and literally less than 5 minutes away from the ocean which I also spent a great deal of time on, fishing of course, I am extremely pleased to welcome the Ballast Point Brewing Company out of San Diego, California to the Treasure Coast. Not only do they consistently brew award-winning beers, they also micro distill which is a win-win in my book. Beer is my #1 passion, but anything tastefully spirituous follows in close second. Mix in my love for all things oceanic, watery, fishy, and beery which Ballast Point encompasses with artisanal aplomb, and all is well in my world.

I'm not sure if Ballast Point's spirits will also be available, probably not, but I am working on finding out. I am also looking into which of their beers will be making their merry way to our oceanic coast of tropical paradise, aka Vero Beach specifically and the Treasure Coast generally.

The distributor of such fine beers is one JJ Taylor Distributing, a smart choice indeed.

Just how good are the fine folks and beers at Ballast Point Brewing? Well for starters, let's look at the 2010 World Beer Cup results:
  • Tied with Baird Brewing for most number of gold medals with their Bourbon Barrel Aged Piper Down Scottish Ale; Fathom IPL; and Sculpin IPA.
  • Named Small Brewery Champion Brewery/Brewmaster

Keep an eye out here for more Ballast Point updates as I get them. Prosit!

(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

French Quarter Beer Dinner ~ August

Well folks, I have here in my hot little hands the official menu for our second beer dinner at the fabulous French Quarter. Featuring the culinary talents of Ed, hostess with the mostest Debra, entrepreneur extraordinaire Spencer, their friendly capable staff, and your beer ambassador truly, Kristyn Lier, it will be a night to remember. And so without further ado, the mouth-watering details:

Date: August 15th, 2010
Time: 5pm – 9pm
Location: French Quarter in downtown Vero Beach
RSVP: yes please!!! 772-770-4870
Cost: $29.50 per guest (tax & gratuity not included)
Menu du Jour:

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Recent Beer Reviews

The latest and greatest:

(original written works by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Monday, August 02, 2010

Vine & Barley ~ Kegs Like Clockwork

**I WILL BE THERE!!!! KNOW IT!!!! EPIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!**
*to find Vine & Barley, click me**

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Recent Beer Reviews

The latest and greatest:

(original written works by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

BEERflections ~ Southern Tier Brewmaster Dinner @ Town Crier Pub

It’s really pretty simple. When one takes lipsmackingtastic beers and pairs them with lipsmackingtastic food, the end result is nothing short of mind-blowing tastebud-tingling fanfreakingtastic beer+foodvana. Or in simpler terminology, burgundian bliss. Well, that bliss was for one wonderful evening the stuff of legends as myself, Marc, Joe, Linda, Mike, and Paula indulged all our senses shamelessly at the Southern Tier Brewmaster Dinner at the Town Crier Pub.

Southern Tier may hail out of Lakewood, New York while Town Crier calls Tradition of Stuart home but a better match could not have been. The third Brewmaster Dinner to date with the first being Brooklyn Brewery and the second Magic Hat, I had unwavering faith that this dinner would easily best the second while coming close to equaling if not topping the first. Remember, it really is pretty simple.

Beer dinner common sense may be simple but trying to battle a nasty bout of bronchitis coupled with a cute and furry new addition in the form of a rescue kitten along with working a three week straight grind and sure enough, I had the perfect setup for some serious hurting. Disease-shmease, not even the bubonic plague could have kept me from this epic beer dinner. Know it. I have been a fan of the Southern Tier portfolio of tastetacular beers almost as long as I have been a fan of the tastetacular culinary prowess of Town Crier and their chefs. Antibiotics would have been nice, but those are the privilege of the insured and benefits I have not so over the counter drugs it was. A lot of them. With nary a doubt, during the virtual month it took me to kill the bronchitis and find a forever home for the cute and furry new addition, I single-handedly boosted the drug industry’s profit margin by a few solid percentiles. That and the Puffs with aloe tissue industry saw golden numbers those long debilitating weeks, yes indeed.

So why the long grind?

My coworker and good friend, Sharon, was enjoying a much needed and deserved vacation visiting with her family in Yorkshire, England and soaking in the sights. During her absence, I volunteered to work the three weeks straight through. It’s not the first time I have worked a long stretch and pretty sure it won’t be the last. In life sometimes you just never know. Unfortunately, this particular long stretch of work and play and monies was compromised by my aforementioned illness. All’s well that ends well though, and I wouldn’t change a single moment of those hectic 504 hours of my life.

Worn, tired, and inundated in drugs and Puffs, lucky for me my boss is a hip chap and agreed to my closing the store an hour early for the Southern Tier Brewmaster Dinner, July 12th 2010. I live and work in Vero Beach. Town Crier Pub is further south from hearth and home, a good 30-40 minutes drive on I-95 depending on traffic. A Monday as always, the dinner extraordinaire started at 7pm. Great Spirits closes at 7pm. Since time-travelling DeLoreans are out of the picture, the only viable option was closing at 6pm which is exactly what I did with Toby’s blessing. Store closed with a brief notice of apologetic “unforeseen circumstances”, I booked it home to get Badge settled (the rescue kitten), take some more drugs, drink some more water, then hit the road to beer dinner destiny. Along the way I picked up gal-pal Paula and off we went.

Woes irrelevant, this was a day to savor the sublime marriage of beer and food. Though I may have slowly began my upswing to normal healthy burgundian living, I was far from perfect so it was a private blessing the featured Southern Tier beers had all previously passed these lips. Mental preparation goes a long way to sensorial enjoyment though, so consider this beer ambassador locked and loaded with eyes, ears, nose, and tongue fully at the ready.

Pulling in to the knell of 7pm exactly, I parked and off we trotted to the front entrance where the smiling faces of JW, Marc, Joe, Linda, and Eric awaited. Hugs and kisses later, we strolled in just as dinner was about to start. I do like to be early whenever possible but considering my slew of extenuating circumstances, I’ll settle for on time this round. Before joining my table of peeps, I made sure to share the love with Sean Murray of Southern Eagle Distributing and Dave Nardi, our Town Crier host with the most. Pleasantries exchanged, I was happy to note the always welcome addition of fellow pirate alumni and friend, John Colontrelle. Keeping his table company was his younger brother Danny, Uncle Dennis, and friend Brian. Seated by the main entrance were my buds Eric, Randall, and Allyson. Drink well my peeps and peepettes; drink well, eat well, and live well.

Finally seated with my tablemates minus two, sad but true, JW set about prepping everyone for a tantalizing evening of scintillating proportions. With skillful aplomb and genuine congeniality he accomplished all including embarrassing your blushing beer ambassador with a very public thank you of gratitude and appreciation. Humbled and honored, it is my pleasure always and truly.

Being the 3rd Brewmaster Dinner, I was nonplussed to see a comfortable rhythm emerge as all things do with practice making for perfection. It is in the living, learning, and applying of life which Dave, JW, Chef George, and staff have applied with ample aplomb. Even some of the seasoned beer dinner patrons have found a pleasant rhythm at these lovely social affairs, our table being one such example. And social affair is exactly what these brewmaster dinners are. What better way to get out, have some fun, try something new and different, meet interesting people, and all for a ridiculously reasonable price, too. Nothing comes to mind and that’s quite alright.

Seated comfortably with my bag of drugs and Puffs safely stored in one of the two empty seats next to mine, it was with thirsty eyes I watched the first of five Southern Tier beers make their way around with the first of five decadent courses following close behind. Rubbing hands together in giggling glee, I took in the luminous glow of the 422 Pale Wheat Ale as she slipped into my glass under the cover of sensual fluff. Delight bubbled over as Sean started the evening with tantalizing tidbits regarding the first beer which was paired with the amuse-bouche of hot and spicy consommé presented in the always classic martini glass. Once more our chef du jour was George Citron who with this brewmaster dinner was allowed absolute creative freedom and each dish excelled because of it.

But first a disclaimer.

For all the pomp and circumstance a classy beer dinner proffers, it should also be ripe with amiable charm and genuine fun. It is beer after all, not peace negotiations or the second coming. That being said though, there is still a level of common courtesy and etiquette that should be extended by the patrons to both their hosts and their fellow diners. When your gracious host is speaking please keep those little flappers known as lips shut and those adorable organs known as ears open. This is not a topic to debate or susceptible to exceptions. This is truth. This is courtesy, manners, respect, and consideration…to name a few. On the flip-side, it is up to the host to project his/her voice so that all those eagerly attuned adorable ears can catch each tantalizing morsel of information while those little flappers remain shut, to be opened only after the host has bowed out and hungry appreciation resumes. While George and Sean could have used more oomph in their decibels, there were also those who should have utilized the art of silence. It is golden, after all.

Ok. Diatribe disguised as a disclaimer now over, let us move onto the mouthwatering sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of our night of pleasures tangible.

As previously mentioned, our first course was the amuse-bouche which is fancy terminology for a single portion appetizer ala starter. Her partner in taste was the 422 Pale Wheat Ale, a gentle American-style wheat beer featuring a softly sweet palate accented with herbal notes and sweet rolls. She was the perfect mate to the hot and spicy consommé, a reduction whose creation process still boggles the mind. I shall digress to the powers of Wikipedia for further enlightenment: a type of clear soup derived from a richly flavored stock or bouillon of sorts which is clarified through an intense fining process involving egg protein and hours of patient simmer. Renowned in the culinary world as one of the hardest dishes to prepare, a well-made consommé is an indisputable mark of absolute expertise. Having tasted George’s spicetastic consommé, I can say in absolute confidence he deserves the highest culinary regard. Crystal clear with the natural hue of broth, little cubes of red and green peppers rested in the cusp of my martini glass, each one a burst of tastebud tingling flavors. Served appropriately lukewarm to highlight the spice while the sweetly herbaceous 422 whispered sweet nothings, we were off to a grand start.

Personally I am not one for spicy foods. Through fine-tuning my most valuable tasting instrument, the tongue, my sensitivity to spicy heat has been indubitably heightened. As a result, there are few hot and spicy dishes which I can both tolerate and enjoy. George’s consommé was just right with flavor aplenty resulting in a masterpiece I would gladly enjoy over and over again.

Amuse-bouche came, saw, and conquered. As such it was onto our second course featuring the IPA (Iso-Alpha Experience) along with three delectably dainty lobster-stuffed shells. I’m a sucker for seafood so Town Crier had me at lobster along with my tablemates and other seafood minded patrons whose murmurs of pleasurable delight filled the air. Served in a mini casserole dish, the three shells were stuffed with fresh lobster finely chopped though still sporting a few chunks here and there while herbs, ricotta cheese, and the best creamed spinach puree ever kept the lobster company in her shell-struck shelter. Spicy arrabiata (a Roman sauce of garlic, tomatoes, and red chili cooked in olive oil – Wikipedia) made a tasty showing atop, under, and around the shells for yet another mind-blowing orgy of food and beer. Oh yes, let us not forget the beer. The IPA from Southern Tier is a bright and hoppy India pale ale ripe with freshly dew-dropped blades of grass, a kiss of citrus rind and pith, and a solid undercurrent of crunchy bread crust and melba. Her dry finish cleanses the palate for each ooey-gooey morsel of lobster, cheese, creamy spinach, and arrabiata making sweet love to my tastebuds. Yum and yum!

At this point in my brewmaster dinner musings, I would like to address another minor complaint of mine. It may be minor, but it has been a noticeable trend in the last two dinners. That my friends would be the pace at which these burgundian extravaganzas have been carried out. The first dinner was too big, but it also covered the courses and the beers in a slower more palatable pace. All the better to savor the flavor, my dears. Both the Magic Hat and recently passed Southern Tier dinner felt rushed. I enjoy a bit more time spent in the holy matrimony of beer and food. Something as simple as an extra 10 minutes (or there about) with each course would go a long way in a relatively short amount of time to enhancing the enjoyment of each course while nurturing the overall relaxed atmosphere of an evening indulged. Food and beer for thought.

Lobster-stuffed shells snarfed and IPA supped, JW once more proved he is just wonderful, showering our table with his magical touch while out strode our third course and our third beer. Enter Phin & Matt’s Extraordinary Ale and a personal guilty pleasure thanks to many a family dinner: the Cornish game hen. Silverware absolutely did not apply to this dish as we all drooled in awesome wonder before digging into her succulent flesh marinated in love, lime, and Thai chilies roasted and served over rice infused with more love, lime, and cilantro and all garnished with a sweet chipotle drizzle. By now it is abundantly clear George likes his spice and if he continues to have his way with me, so will I. Once more an amazing balance of just enough heat matched with spice, flavor, and savory sweet. The beer? An interesting inbetween considering the previous IPA and the upcoming Unearthly IPA, the gentle spice of her hops stood up to the Thai chilies and chipotle while her malty body helped soothe these tastebuds just in time for the next bite.

Just as the spicy heat of the consommé never outstayed her welcome, neither did she with the third dish. Instead, she chose to gently usher me into the fourth and final course before the dessert to die for. In fact, I want the dessert to die for both on my death bed as I utter one last breath and in my coffin as I return to the earth.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Four courses in, my table is still in high spirits and with the exception of one table which doesn’t seem to understand the really simple respect of silence when our hosts are speaking, there was nary a hitch or hindrance. I could see by way of John’s table that all were in high spirits, and though Eric’s table was far removed, ample smiles were glimpsed and laughter overheard. Gracious host with the most, Dave made sure to visit at least a couple times during the evening’s festivities. Sean even found time to stop by and share in the good vibrations. Times like these help remind me just how truly lucky and blessed in life I am and I owe it all to good beer.

Slowly winding down though far from full, our fourth and last course arrived to cheerful anticipation. As previously mentioned, our beer du jour was the Unearthly IPA, a huge sticky sappy hoppy malty India pale ale of epically deceitful proportions (she is not for the thin of blood) while the dish du jour was lamb au poivre. I must say, thanks to Town Crier Pub and their Brewmaster Dinners, I have learned more culinary terminology in just this year than ever in my whole life including my four years of culinary club. Thanks bunches! I am a better burgundian because of it. Now where was I… Oh yes! The lamb au poivre was not just any old bah-bah black sheep. Oh no, she was New Zealand rack of lamb lavished in spices and cracked peppercorns. Her dressing was a divine reduction of blackberry wine which featured prominently on the rack of lamb. Her plate-mates were spinach and roasted tomato polenta cake which was the only unextraordinary dinner feature. Personally never having tasted polenta before, I have no basis for comparison but according to my table of polenta aficionados, it lacked Shazam. In fact, it lacked much of anything significantly flavortastic, but the pinkly moist lamb racks more than made up for that particular lackluster feature. Looking back, we all still had it really good, superfantastic in fact.

Dessert featured last and shone the greatest. Having been disappointed by the Magic Hat dessert, I was hoping for an earth-shaking redemption which I got and then some. What I experienced in those slowly savored moments of eye-rolling mouth-molesting orgasmic indulgence was the Dark Chocolate Sabayon.
Or as it should be called: food porn.
One taste and I was flushed, flustered, and fantastic all at the same time. Looking through heavy lidded eyes at my peeps, so too were they. A slow moan of pleasure rumbled with each subsequent taste of sexual dark chocolate sabayon atop beer macerated berries and figs under a dollop of fresh whipped cream.
Naughty and nice, may I have another please and thank you.
Her bed-mate was Iniquity, a decadent tryst of rich dark chocolates, fudge, espresso, subtle forestry hops, and darkly earthen designs resulting in a fanfreakingtastic indulgence of all senses.
With the last spoonful shamelessly licked clean, the fingers were utilized to gather every last bit of tastiness. There shall be no dark chocolate sabayon left behind on my watch. You can count on it. There were six of us at my table, yours beerly included, and the martini glasses she rode in on rode back clean as crystal thanks to our diligent efforts.

Lips smacking in sated satisfaction, we lingered for a while before wandering out into the warm night air. While I did not utilize the opinion cards previously due to shameful absentmindedness, this time I used them to their full advantage. After all, it is to everyone’s benefit to seek and offer fair feedback and I want many more brewmaster dinners to look forward to. In the meantime, I will continue to do what I do best and enjoy the most: share my love for good beers, good food, and the beauty of enjoying both in tandem.

Not wanting to push my luck in regards to my still recovering body of ills and drugs, I bid farewell to my lingering peeps before cruising home to bed, more drugs, and hopefully a decent night’s sleep. While truly tasteful beers and food are not a medically approved cure for one’s ill health, I can say that for those few hours of burgundian bliss, all was well and bright in these life and times of mine.



(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Cigar City Brew News

Good Times! 2 beer festivals in two weeks? Sounds like a blast to us! This past weekend we had tons of fun sharing our wares at the Craft Beer Expo and met tons of thirsty beer loving folks. If you missed out on that one; there is still time to get your tickets to Wazoo, which is going on this Saturday (August 7th) at Lowry Park Zoo. We'll be there along with our friends brewing around the Tampa Bay area as well as a huge assortment of other craft and specialty brews from all over the country. This is a fest that is not to be missed, seems like it always rains in the afternoon before just in time to cool it off for the party!

Starting today at the tasting room we will be pouring Humidor Series 110k+OT Batch 3 so be sure to come by and get it while you can! We will also begin filling growlers of The Sound of Big Wood and The Sound of Big Nuts (quarts only). The Twig n' Berries is still pouring strong too so if you haven't tried that then get on over and taste all of these wonderful, and limited brews!

Cheers!
Travis