Tuesday, March 30, 2010

*update* ~ Craft Beers, AB/InBev, and Product Freshness Awareness

Received an anonymous post which resulted in an email and then a phone call from the regional Victory rep for distribution. Nice chap, and it was nice to hear from an actual person. Their beers are good, and the last thing I want to see is their Florida growth hindered by poor distribution decisions etc.

Hopefully the hows and whys as to the massive amount of Out of Date Hop Devil and soon to be Out of Date Prima Pils will be addressed and resolved.

I've seen the floor stacks and displays.
The loss isn't going to be pretty.

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

BEERporting ~ Mulligans Bar and Grill

It’s one thing to savor the ocean view, the salty breeze, the smiling sun all matched by tasty beach fare and a good beer or long drink. It’s another to have the perfect beach ambience but not the good beer and long drinks. I love my locals as much as the next person, Veroites especially. The more I grow in good beer, good food, and overall sustainability of said pleasures the more enjoyable my charming locals are in comparison to the ever boring chains of corporate sameness. But just being a local doesn’t automatically earn you a place on my personal list of hot spots.

High on the list of favorable beach hot spots for a slew of Veroites is Mulligans Bar & Grill in the recently remodeled Sexton Park. Perched precariously along the ocean’s edge, Mulligans is also ironically right across from the Ocean Grill. You couldn’t have two more different drinking and eating destinations. Amazingly enough but not surprisingly so, the two get along amicably, at least as far as a bar hopping outsider such as myself can tell.

The view?

I could sit in a chair watching the ocean from sunrise to sunset and never be bored, not even for a second. The soothing waves rustling along the shore. The chatter of seagulls, pelicans, and sandpipers oh my. The spectacle of beach goers soaking up the rays, sometimes too much so. The surfers, body-boarders, and skim-boarders waiting for the right one. The toes scrunching happily in warm sand. I dare say with the exception of a beer in hand (or cocktail) life doesn’t get any better than this.

Unfortunately when it comes to digging eager toes into warm sand with beer in hand, reality comes crashing down. Unless you happen to be on someone’s private beach, drinks of any alcoholic nature are prohibited. Obviously some backwards fuddy-duddy of societal ill-will concocted that hapless piece of legislation to hinder even that simplest pleasure of life that gives rest to my waking days.

But I digress.

Digging toes in sand with a tasty brew in hand may be prohibited, but I can come pretty close at any number of our beachy locals of spirituous relaxation. Mulligans is a good example of exhilarating ocean view, relaxed Florida atmosphere, and general human conviviality. How can we not smile, let loose, relax, and savor the moment when in the embrace of such surroundings?! I can and I do. But where do the liquid libations and tasty nibblies stand? For some time, they were not on my tiki radar because in years past once was more than enough to leave me sufficiently unimpressed.

Time passes, owners/managers changed, and Mulligans has supposedly reinvented themselves inside and out, kitchen to bar. And so come last Monday afternoon, I decided to cast off my past impressions to newly embrace the Mulligans experience with the only preconceptions to kick back, relax, have a drink or few, some nibblies, and enjoy the beach life. My wonderful life.

Monday morning started cool, wet, dreary, rainy, and overcast. Joy. Already my day was looking swell. The appeal of lonely weather-enduring indoor dullness was none too appealing. Thankfully, by noonish the gray had lifted, blue beckoned amidst a blanket of cottony puffs, and the sun shone upon glittering greenery full of outdoorsing promise. Outdoors in the world of Kristyn equals a beachside (or riverside) view with food and booze, preferably beer.

One upside to lazy mornings is the time to do stuff which gets neglected on work days. Some writing, typing, cleaning, laundry, and a workout later, I primped and preened as much as a Kristyn does, then headed out to eliminate a few overdue errands. Errands accomplished, I moseyed on over to the beach side and Mulligans. Monday is payday, hallelujah, which is good for bills and the occasional playful outing such as the one I was embarking on. My arrival was around 4pmish which was well in time for happy hour. Only one problem, I wasn’t interested in their happy hour specials because more of a lesser quality beer and/or drink is of zero personal appeal.

Backpack slung over the shoulder, I wandered through their main entrance where the hostess promptly seated me outside on their patio. My request of course. No inside for me, nosiree. The great salty outdoors called and wise was I to revel in the zeal of Florida life. There are actually two different outside seating areas: the patio and the cabana. The patio is where I settled, though just a few feet away were beach loungers aplenty of varying Key West colors bordering the sandy dune dropping onto the beach and into the ocean. If I had been there just to drink, cabana all the way, but I was on a beer geek foodie mission to see if Mulligans finally had what it takes to earn a spot in my beachcomber heart.

Looking directly out onto the ocean (patrons’ heads notwithstanding) I was surprised by how calm her waters were. While not a still-glass picture, considering the wind and rain we had previously enjoyed she was in a surprisingly relaxed state. While I people-watched the loungers and walkers make their place along the sandy strip, very few actually braved the water. I noted only one wetsuit clad gent braving the cold waters to skim-board the day away.

My waiter for the afternoon, Brett, did a wonderful job of tending to my needs. Though I mentioned it specifically, with book in hand and nowhere else to be, he noted and respected my desire to relax relatively undisturbed. It is a fine art not all waiters and waitresses possess in such a situation; balancing attentiveness and distance. Brett was in that balance Monday afternoon, so I was sure to leave him a pleasant word and generous tip as thanks. After all, I may very well have been the only Vero Beach resident he waited on that day as he chuckled when checking my ID.

32 years young and still being ID-ed. No complaints here.

I remember nothing of their previous menu, but their current offering is over extensively diverse. All the nibblies were appropriately beachy in some way or another, and so I continued to embrace my love for raw seafood in various forms with a half-dozen of their raw oysters. But before I slip those succulent briny muscles in my mouth, these lips are chapped and my throat parched. What to drink first?

An old favorite when surrounded by the ocean in all her glory is the Long Island Iced Tea. Far from being a cocktailarian's dream of fancy, I have an unabashed soft spot for this long drink and, believe it or not, there is an art in a good Long Island. Some are made well and some not so much which was the case with the one prepared for me that day by whomever was tending bar. I don’t know if they follow a certain recipe formulation or if the bartenders are allowed a level of mixology creativity within recipe boundaries, but I do know she was lacking in impressionable character. She wasn’t a total reject, but as I was soon to note as par-for-course during my stay: she just was. While I failed to contemplate the lack of spirituous interplay topped with a dash of cola spunk, I browsed the beer selection to see if there lay a few sparks of flavorful inspiration.

Nothing of interest on draft (though I could have settled for Yuengling), but of the 19 bottled beer choices, the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Victory Golden Monkey caught my thirsty attentions. I wholly understand the SN Pale Ale as an offering; grassy and piney hops on top of a crunchy melba toast underbelly with a refreshing citrus snap in the finish. Whether raw, fried, sautéed, broiled, or skewered, the SN Pale Ale is a perfect match any day of the week.

On the flipside, the additional choice of Victory Golden Monkey was a pleasant if not slightly perplexing surprise. The beer is very good, though I would have to order her in advance with a wine glass on the side for enjoyment at a proper flavor friendly temperature. As a craft Belgian-style Tripel, she enjoys a long shelf life along with a spicy yeast character matched by tropical fruit sweetness, a full slightly doughy mouthfeel, and a dry finish to entice further supping ventures. Of the three Victory beers currently in Florida and Vero Beach specifically, the Prima Pils would be my first choice. Finally! A good pilsner to enjoy at the beach. Hop Devil would be my second choice, but maybe they felt it would be too close in profile to the SN Pale Ale. Also, as a big beer she could catch the average consumer unawares and not in a good way. Hopefully in this regard the wait and bar staff would be professionally attentive and informative. Ultimately, a little voice in the back of my conscience didn’t feel like supporting the Southern Eagle empire that afternoon, so I passed on the Golden Monkey for the always classic and always good SN Pale Ale.

Putting aside the frustrations of beer politics and the exhaustive complexities of beer distribution and marking, I came to Mulligans to relax. With my Long Island Iced Tea of unimpressive stylings mindlessly drained, my SN Pale Ale arrived just in time for the raw oysters. Ironically, I noted they came to me served in a tray of white emblazed with “Budweiser” in big blood-red letters. I swear, if it gets to the point where I see Budweiser toilet paper in bathrooms and Budweiser toothpaste in the oral hygiene aisle of my local market…maybe the castaway life on an uncharted deserted island oasis somewhere wouldn’t be so bad after all.

Rambling aside, at least the oysters didn’t also taste of Budweiser…or maybe they did. Unassuming and far too clean, they lacked any flavor or character other than the dab of horseradish and cocktail sauce I eventually had to add for some much needed tastebud stimulation. To the best of my knowledge, they were salt water oysters and not freshwater, but either way they should still exude the watery terroir which nurtured them into adulthood. The oysters at Mulligans may have had size going for them but they lacked any character whatsoever, much like the Budweiser namesake upon which they lay. A quick dip in the ocean mere feet away from where I sat would have done them a world of good.

Halfway through my oysters, I noticed that apparently someone in the kitchen needs a lesson in numbers. (You too Brett; checking a patrons meal before serving should be unquestionably second nature.) Last I checked half-dozen equals six which does not equal five. Amused nonetheless, I pointed out this minor calculation error to Brett who promptly brought me the once lost but now found sixth oyster. Though unfortunately lacking in briny delights, I nonetheless stand firm in my belief that not one oyster shall be left behind or so help me Poseidon.

Inbetween scooping oysters and soaking in the salty view of kaleidoscopic blues, I noticed another gentleman a few patio tables away enjoying the same peaceful respite as I. His reading literature consisted of the newspaper while mine consisted of Fermenting Revolution: How to Drink Beer and Save the World by Christopher O’Brien. Our written word of choice may have been different, but in his relaxed demeanor and slow intentions I found a kindred spirit who understood the simple truth to living life beautifully.

But where was I…oh yes. My SN Pale Ale had arrived around the same time as the oysters so I promptly poured his arctic depths into my non-frosty handled mug. One out of three isn’t bad. The beer bottle may have been stored in subzero temperatures and its destined vessel may have been a chunky glass mug, handle included, but at least the mug in question wasn’t sporting a layer of head-killing beer-diluting mouth-numbing finger-freezing ice. The blessings were one but still better than none. And the beer? Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is always good, though and appropriate glass never hurts.

It’s been said before and it’s worth saying again: I am a conch fritter fanatic. Those lil bite-size morsels of doughy spicy conchy chunks fried to dark brown mouth-popping perfection are a long-standing indulgence and will be so till the very day I die. I foresee sushi, raw oysters, conch fritters, bacon, cheese, bread, and good drinks all being served amidst surviving friends and relatives at my celebration of the afterlife. Why mourn a life lived when it should be celebrated with the same zest and zeal with which it was lived. Now that’s what I’m talking about, so all my precious peeps out there better make note.

Seeing as I am currently still above ground, let’s delve more into the wonderful world of conch fritters, Mulligans style.

While considering the conch fritters as my next nibbly of choice, a passing plate of golden-brown tennis balls caught my eye. Could those be the conch fritters in question? There was really only one way to find out and though the passing size of said conch fritters served up its own plate of concerns, I took the plunge anyway. Seeing as my mug was all but empty, the cocktail craving in me demanded a satisfying answer. To find that answer I enquired as to their gin selection for a possible martini. Of the three drinks ordered, I actually had the lowest expectations for the gin martini. Sometimes though, you just gotta take the chance and hope for the best. This way I could also see how their bartending staff would fair with two very different bar drinks. As a geek of many burgundian pleasures, I can have fun and critique at the same time.

With only three basic gins available according to Brett, a few minutes later my Tanqueray martini arrived in a cloudy haze of shaken, not stirred. I wasn’t always such a stickler in regards to shaking or stirring a cocktail, but stirring makes a noticeable world of difference when it comes to gin over vodka. For a commercial gin, Tanqueray is pretty good and though her rich herbal complexity of flavors had been bruised and diluted somewhat by vigorous shaking, she was still okay. Once more, not bad, not great, just meh.

Leaving my Tanqueray martini to settle, the plate of tennis balls arrived. My previous concerned curiosity had been answered. Served with a bowl of remoulade for dipping, my gargantuan conch fritters required the unusual addition of a fork; hold the knife please. Though inordinately large, they were soft to the touch which allowed the cutting of each conch fritter into threes an easy task to accomplish. In fact, they were overly doughy soft with little crunch to the outer layer, minimalist conch bits, and little discernable spice character. They were eatable as evidenced by my eventually barren plate, though not necessarily enjoyable. Once more average and mediocre strike a forgettable blow to my palate. Like the raw oysters, Long Island, and Tanqueray martini, they were there in form but certainly not in spirit.

While the food certainly won’t call me back to Mulligans, there is a slim chance the cabana with a beer or two may bring me back again so long as they keep at least the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Victory Golden Monkey. But Mulligans isn’t the only ocean view along Vero Beach’s sunny sandy strip, so maybe not. In the end, the most memorable part was the one provided free of charge by Mother Nature in all her unencumbered splendor. What sandy strip shall next indulge the beer geek foodie cocktailarian in me remains to be seen. Until next time…


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

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Spring with a Kiss of Aprihops

Now I'm extra excited to taste this year's batch and compare it against my tasting notes for last year's batch. It's a hard job but someone has to do it ~winkwink nudgenudge~

Just Another Friday @ Hurricanes

This is going to become a goodly habit of mine if I'm not careful...but then again, such goodly habits must not be denied.

Myself and a small group of fellow Vero Beach beer peeps descended upon Hurricane Grille & Wings after 8pm for some much needed beer flavor inspiration and satisfaction of diversity. As usual, I was there until after closing with Rob and friend; not part of my original group because they had to call it a night sooner than I did.

Suffice to say I tried another flavor of wings which had not yet crossed these lips and teased the tastebuds: Mojo Glaze. Good stuff, though so far not my most favorite flavor. No worries though because I easily have 20+ more flavors to explore. Not included in that list though will be the Category 5 and possibly some of the Category 4. I'm sure they are fantastic, but I have trained my precious loveable tastebuds to savor the flavor as much as possible as often as possible which has resulted in a heightened sensitivity which ultimately doesn’t mix well with extremely hot stuff.

It's all good though.

While laughing and relaxing and having a grand ol' time, two of my beer tasting regulars (who are also seasonals) stopped in. Hugs and kisses were exchanged as we gabbed for a few before I made it back to my table. Shouldn't I know it but just a few minutes later who should pass before my wandering eye but Randy...followed soon after by Linda, Mary, and a passel of other local Vero Beachans and all around good peeps. Rob and Cathie eventually arrived to my delight, including more hugs and kisses and jovial gabbing.

At the crest of the night, I knew personally a goodly amount of the people who had descended upon Hurricanes that Friday night (yesterday) for good beer, good food, and good times. You know that saying "if you build it they will come"; well when it comes to good beer diversity and availability in Vero Beach, FL (and the Treasure Coast) it goes a little something like this:

"If you pour it, we will drink it."

...and so I do believe we are going to make this at least a once a month habit. Slowly but surely good beer diversity (and food) is taking hold and as a fun-loving sociable small community such as Vero Beach, we are more than ready. Bring it!

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

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Cigar City Jai Alai IPA 6packs

...have officially landed in Vero Beach, FL. Such a beautiful IPA, I felt the need and desire to represent in two different places within the craft/import/specialty corner of Great Spirits:

the cooler:


Craft Beers, AB/InBev, and Product Freshness Awareness

Seeing as I just finished putting away my AB/InBev order of Southern Tier goodness and Victory, I figured a few potentially unknown facts about those beers need to be pointed out. Goodness knows I have no idea if Budweiser and their sales reps will bother to and/or the average retailer will bother to look, inquire, etc.

All Victory 6packs (Prima Pils, Hop Devil, Golden Monkey) have on the front label a "Best By" date. When shopping your b&m, make sure to check the dates to ensure you are getting a fresh beer. Granted, I doubt my Hop Devil and Prima Pils will suddenly take a turn for worse if they are a few days past date and as a beer geek I am aware of this, but there may be many a store and many a consumer who is unaware of the Best By date as a whole. As a result that beer could sit there for months before being swapped out before and after an unaware and unlucky consumer takes it home to drink and ends up with a bad beer. Golden Monkey has a longer shelf-life being a bottle-conditioned Belgian-style tripel, but even it will eventually suffer when consumed too long after its Best By date.

What prompted this in depth consumer notification?

The case of Victory Hop Devil marked with a Best By-March 20th 2010 that was delivered yesterday while I was not at work. Also of concern is the case of Prima Pils that was delivered with a Best By date of April 10th 2010. Of an even bigger concern is why the out-of-date Hop Devil was even loaded on the truck and subsequently delivered to me in the first place. It shouldn't have left the warehouse and that being said, how much of what is left in the warehouse from Victory is out-of-date and/or close to being so. Very troublesome...

Southern Tier:
No noticeable best-buy dates on any of them, though a few such as Phin&Matts, their standard IPA, and the 422 Pale Wheat will be good for about a year before they will start going stale. By then they really should be picked up. Hopefully though, they are selling well enough so that a 6pack of any the above are not still sitting on a shelf (or in a bar/restaurant cooler) a year later. Freshness on non-dated beers (of which there are hundreds) relies on the awareness, knowledge, honesty, follow-through, and all around good business practices of all non-consumer parties involved in getting the beer to the consumer.

Magic Hat #9 Not Quite Pale Ale:
Firstly, tis the only beer currently being distributed in Florida from Magic Hat Brewing. I can't speak for the kegs, but I do know that on the back of the 22oz bomber bottles of #9 there is a Best By/Consume By date. They use the old system of having the first letter of the Month which is then notched according to when the beer should be drank by as to enjoy it as fresh as possible. Magic Hat goes by the end of the month notched where many go by the beginning of the month notched. Either way, it doesn't change the fact that the #9 from Magic Hat is Best-By notched.

Sure, AB/InBev will pick up out-of-date beer, but it's far more damaging to the brewery in terms of production, sales, growth, and reputation to have their beer going out of date on a far too regular basis and then being picked up by the distributor to then be sent back to the brewery. An all around waste when one really takes the time to actually stop and think about it.

As of right now, my bottles of #9 are Best By the end of April 2010. I should sell out by then, but will my order meant to replenish be another case of Best By April 2010? Will it be a fresh batch? What about b&m stores and/or bars where the beer was ordered/delivered in massive quantities appropriate to or not appropriate to their demographic demand and sales potential?

Some Concluding Thoughts:
And so when I walk into a store and I see those mile high floor stacks of Victory, Magic Hat #9, and now Southern Tier, I worry and rightly so. I can't do much about the distribution and retail end other than my own which I can assure you will be lovingly and wisely maintained, but at the very least, hopefully this blog post (and any others that may come along in the future) will enlighten the beer drinkers out there who read my humble semi-worthy blog of beerness.

Life is short. Drink good beer.

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

Cigar City Brew News

1st Cigar City brewing and Whole Foods Cask Ale Tasting

This Saturday from 4-7 PM at Cigar City Brewing will likely be the largest assortment of casks, ever tapped at once in Tampa. If you are fine of cask ale, limited craft beer or just great food and music we'll have all in abundance March 27th.

The info:
Saturday, March 27th Cigar City Brewing and Whole Foods Market 1st Ever Cask Ale Tasting 4:00-7:00pm $10.00

Tampa beer lovers please join us at Cigar City Brewing for a blow out Cask Ale Tasting. A menu of twelve select beers will be showcased along with an outdoor grill, and entertainment provided by World Wide Zoo. There will be a $10.00 entrance fee that will include a branded glass and first beer. Additional tickets may be purchased for $2.00 each to be used towards beers and food at the grill station. 100% of the proceeds raised will be donated to the Whole Planet Foundation.

For more information please reach The venue is located at
3924 Spruce Street West Suite A
Tampa, FL 33607

Casks will include Local: Cigar City Brewing Cubano Espresso cask, Saint Somewhere, Tampa Bay Brewing Company, Dunedin Brewery, Peg’s Cantina and Swamp Head

As Well As: Lagunitas Wilco Tango Foxtrot, Bell’s Hop Slam, Brew Dog Punk IPA , Sierra Nevada Brown Saison(keg), He’Brew Barrel Aged Lennie’s Rye Pale Ale, Wintercoat Double Hop, Pugsley XXXX IPA

Since Whole Foods is providing the grub there will assuredly be some vegan/vegetarian food options.

See you Saturday. And starting Wednesday in the Tasting Room:
  • Jai Alai IPA
  • Maduro Oatmeal Brown Ale
  • Patio Tools Dry Stout
  • Marshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout
  • Big Sound Scotch Ale

Guest Taps:
  • Blue Point Rasta Rye Ale
  • Southern Tier Iniquity Imperial Black Ale

and as soon as something kicks:
  • Peg's Cantina Ich Bin Ein Rainbow Jelly Donut (Lime and Raspberry aged Berliner Weisse)

CCB Staff

WOB Viera News

World of Beer Bracket Challenge
The World of Beer Bracket Challenge is under way. If you would like to check your standings click here for listing or visit

Wobster Eggstravaganza
On April 4, Easter Sunday, we will be hosting a beer hunting contest. Come by and purchase a bottle beer. If it is one of the 100 select "Easter" beers, you can pick from the Beer Basket and win a prize. Prizes range from stickers to gift cards. But if you find the "Golden" beers, you will win extra special prizes. We will be open our normal hours that day, 12 pm to 2 am. Come join us for some "Wobster" fun.

Customer Appreciation
On Sunday, April 25, we are going to barbeque for all of our customers. We appreciate all of you and we want to give back. Stay tuned for more information.

New Bottles
  • Gaffel Kolsch, 4.8% (Germany)
  • Lagunitas New Dog Town, 6.4% (California)
  • Lagunitas Wilco Tango Foxtrot, 7.8% (California)
  • Laughing Skull, 6% (Georgia)
  • Mendocino Spring Bock, 7% (California)

New Drafts
  • Bira Moretti, 4.5% (Italy)
  • Dogfish Head Indian Brown, 7.1% (Delaware)
  • Gaffel Kolsch, 4.8% (Germany)
  • Hofbrau Maibock, 7.1% (Germany)
  • Hurricane Reef, 5.1% (Florida)
  • Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, 5.6% (California)
  • Terrapin Hopsecutioner, 7.2% (Georgia)
  • Yuengling Bock, 5% (Pennsylvania)

Live Music This Week
  • Thursday - James Johnson
  • Friday - Wilcor
  • Saturday - Matt Adkins & Jay DiBella

Orlando Brewing Brew News

Orlando Brewing's 4th Anniversary Party:
Wednesday, April 7th

Orlando Brewing invites you to join us in celebrating 4 years of business on Atlanta Avenue. This day is to celebrate our patrons support in doing what we love most, making great beer. Not only is it great beer, but it's certified organic.


Live Music @ 8pm by: Scholars Word

Broken Barrel 1 Year Anniversary

For now, these are the details I have. Anything more I find out will of course be updated/posted here. Seeing as April 17th is a Saturday...I forsee no beer tasting at work. Instead, I'll see if I can round up a posse of beer peeps to descend upon Broken Barrel Tavern for the day and long into the night.

Hey there ladies and gents,
I mentioned earlier that we were doing a little shindig for the 1 year anniversary, April 17th. Here’s the run down on what we’ll be doing, and of coarse the important part, some of the beers we’ll be tapping that weekend.

I had wanted to do something to thank everyone for taking us in in such a hard economy, so we will be giving away a free pint of Sam Adams to everyone who brings in our advertisement from the Florida Today TGIF the day before, April 16th. There will be live music from 1pm until 10:30pm outside, and Live music inside from 11pm-close. We will have raffle prizes, including chances to earn cash in a money machine, glasses, shirts, pullovers, a 42" Flat Panel TV & a bottle of Sam Adams Utopias 2009. With every purchase there is a raffle ticket, and there will also be a coupon in our April ad for Brevard Live to get a free raffle ticket. I cannot thank everyone who helped a five year in the making dream come true, and i am forever grateful.

Beers to be tapped...
SmuttyNose Imperial Stout
Terrapin Side Project 9, The Dark Side
Lagunitas Hop Stoopid
Alagash Black
Ommegang Belgian Pale
And a few of our 2009 Vintage Kegs

See you guys there, and thank you again so much for the support!


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Facebook breakdown

...well, I finally broke down and actually did something with my facebook page. My blog (here) and my livejournal are still my main focus, but I figure the more cross traffic I can generate/create/maintain, the better in the long-run. Plus, there are some benefits that are unique to Facebook that Blogger and Livejournal do not offer.

Reading Mash

Still reading off&on the Ultimate Guide to Spirits and Cocktails by Andre Domini. I've taken a break from that to read Fermenting Revolution: How to Drink Beer and Save the World by Christopher O'Brien which I am easily more than halfway done with.

Next in the reading cue... not quite sure yet, but I did get a phone call from the Vero Beach Book Center that my special order of 1001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die by Adrian Tierney-Jones is in. I'll be swinging by next week to pick that up.

Three Floyds Brewing Mural

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Samuel Adams Brew News

Bohemian Hopsidy!
Samuel Adams Noble Pils, our new spring seasonal has met with great reviews. We crafted this beer to pay homage to a classic beer style loved round the world, that has been dumbed down over time. A true classic pilsner, we start with native, floor malted Czech barley which serves as the backbone to this beer which contributes a nice cereal note to the beer. We then add all five Noble Hops: Saaz, Spalt-Spalter, Hersbrucker, Tettnang-Tettnanger, Hallertau-Mittelfreuh. Each of these aroma hops adds different layers of hop complexity to this beer. The aroma as the glass is raised for that first sip makes us feel as though we're back in Bavaria during the hop harvest. Samuel Adams Noble Pils is drinkable in the tradition of the pilsner style, but it has the big flavor characteristics that you would expect from a Samuel Adams.

~Kristyn insert: To heck with seasonal, I want Sam Adams Noble Pils year round! Know it baby! Make it happen! Pretty please with noble hops on top~

This year's Samuel Adams Longshot - American Homebrew Competition will be coming soon. Get out your creative recipes as this year's competition will focus on Category 23 - the specialty beer category. Each year two amateur homebrews are selected along with our employee homebrew winner to be featured in a mixed 6 pack and distributed nationally as part of our Longshot competition. The competition is fierce as there are some damn good brews sent in each year. So heat up some wort and wash out your carboy but remember our good friend Charlie Papazian's golden rule: "Relax, have a homebrew.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Cigar City Brew News

Cask Big Sound Scotch Ale in the Tasting Room Today/Hunahpus Wrap Up

$3 a snifter for Big Sound Scotch Ale on Cask starting Friday 3-19-10 at 1PM. For all those beer purists I hear griping about the lack of cask ale in the Bay you go, cask ale and only 3 ducats a snifter!

The Hunahpus release went over well. It was great seeing so many new and old faces and everyone was very patient with our staff as we scrambled to serve everyone. I was also impressed with how generous everyone was with the beer they brought and how conscientious folks were about cleaning up after themselves (Billy Burns aside). Thanks to everyone who helped pull the Hunahpus Release Party off and everyone who came out to try our beers.

Over half of the 3,200 bottles of Hunahpus produced sold on the day of the release party and we have since sold several of layers from the remaining pallets. Leaving us with about 70 cases to sell, which will remain on sell at the brewery at $20 per 750 ml until they are gone.

CCB Staff

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

WOB Viera Beer News

World of Beer Bracket Challenge
Last chance to play the World of Beer Bracket challenge. Register online NOW and pick your fovarite teams by March 18th, 12pm. You could win free beer, bragging rights and a 42" Plasma HDTV. You will be able to track your standings and results throughout the tournament. Stop by the World of Beer to see who's in the top ten and route for your team. We will have all the games for you to watch along with your favorite beer. Click here for more details.

Ingram Hill
On March 20th, 9 pm to 12 am, national recording artists Ingram Hill will be here. They are currently on tour and will be stopping here at our own World of Beer. You have heard them on the radio so don't miss this opprotunity to see this group up close and personal. Click here for the flyer or visit

Beer and Cheese
On March 23rd, starting at 7pm, Florida Brewery and World of Beer will be hosting a beer and cheese pairing. Come by and see how great they go together! You will be surprised how cheese can enhance the flavor of beer. If you like this pairing, next month we will have beer and food pairing.

New Bottles
  • Abita Strawberry Harvest, 4.2% (Louisiana)

New Drafts
  • Anchor Porter, 5.6% (California)
  • Coney Island Human Blockhead, 10% (New York)
  • Hofbrau Maibock, 7.2% (Germany)
  • Kwak, 8.4% (Belgium)
  • Lost Coast 8 Ball, 5.8% (California)
  • North Coast Old Rasputin, 12% (California)
  • Shipyard Blue Fin, 5% (Maine)
  • Sierra Nevada Glissade, 6.8% (Calirfornia)
  • Stone Ruination, 7.6% (California)
  • Triple Karmeliet, 8.4% (Belgium)

Live Music This Week
  • Thursday - Micah Reed
  • Friday - C-Lane & Beav
  • Saturday - Ingram Hill

Drinking Local @ Hurricanes

As much as I don’t mind travelling to find good beer (and good food), so do I cherish having a local haunt or three where both my wishes come true. Some may go, some may stay, and some may linger lost and alone without the charming allure of good beer. On the very rare occasion, a local having seen both the light and the dark will find themselves back on the illustrious path. A path rich with artfully crafted beer, lots of it, wings, burgers, salads, OH MY! and a jovial atmosphere to bring it all together.

I’m talking about my local Hurricane Grille & Wings which has wonderfully spoiled me for all other Hurricane Grille & Wings. There can be only one, and it is in Vero Beach, FL. Know it!

Our affair has been an on-again off-again journey, but reconciliation has been made, peace reigns, and good will flows. I’m not particular with numbers, but since we last made up, the drafts have doubled and plans for even more have my eyes aglitter and my heart aflutter.

Just last Friday, I met up with some dear and very late friends and promptly proceeded to close down the joint. In other words, we were the last ones to leave long after the door had been locked, chairs stacked, and the cleaning commenced. To Howard and his staff, a very generous Thank You for graciously putting up with our extended stay.

While waiting for Rob and company, I ran into Roger and his girlfriend and fellow beer geek, Jessica. Recent expats from Miami without the vice, a new influx of beer friendly folks is always welcome in my cozy hometown. Nestled in the corner, we chatted our way through my overextended wait. Eventually my mild aggravation turned to sincere concern; Rob is usually very punctual. For him to be almost two hours late is cause for the mind to wander to places of tortured metal, blood splatters, and flashing lights. Thankfully they arrived safe, sound, and sated. Turns out dinner took far longer than anticipated. Normally I am a bit envious of Rob’s cellphoneless life, but in moments like these, I stand firm on the other side of the fence where cellphones are required and everyone carries one. No ifs, ands, or buts allowed.

But I’m rambling.

I brought a bottle of Hottenroth from The Bruery which I shared with my passel of peeps, Howard, Roger, and Jessica. Rob especially enjoyed it, as he better have considering 1) I brought it with him in mind and 2) as a Berlinerweisse, she is deliciously sour and cheek-tingling tart. Facetiousness aside, I knew Rob would enjoy the Hottenroth. Even better yet, so did everyone else. Tart/Sour beers are a hit or miss with both beer geeks and beer newbs alike. You just never know who is going to catch the sour bug and who is not, and once you are bitten there is no cure but, of course, a glass or two of sour beervana. Take it from me, a sour professional.

As always the wings were fantastic; Thai Ginger & Garlic was the flavor of my night. Whilst savoring my wings, I received a sad bundle of news; they are going to be replacing their chunkarific blue cheese dressing with an alternate and inferior model of lesser chunks. Sacrilegious! Apparently too many people complained about those huge chunks of deliciously funky blue cheese in their dressing.

Those people are wrong. I am right. Accept this and all will be well in the world.

Obviously the “blue cheese” in blue cheese dressing didn’t ring them a clue. I say put those flappy lips to better use by eating those blue morsels all by themselves as to better savor the flavor. Equally relevant to this little tangent of mine is the magnificent flavor diversity of Hurricane’s wings. The saucy flavors that generously lavish love on said wings must be savored one finger-licking lipsmacking wing at a time. Save the blue cheese dressing (or whatever your dressing of choice is) for celery dipping ala palate cleansing. Don’t waste those tasty sauces atop tender wings by bastardizing them with dressing. If your flavor is the basic Mild, Medium, or Hot…you’re an acceptable exception…maybe. All other flavors though must fly solo. Through years of extensive wing research resulting in extensive wing wisdom, this is the single truth I have achieved.

Thai Ginger & Garlic wings aside, I started the evening with a Cigar City Brewing Maduro Brown Ale which was eventually followed by…well goshgollygee, I don’t remember. I do know I ended the night with a Rogue Dead Guy Ale. Somewhere in the middle, the Hottenroth was trotted out to much joyous fanfare and rejoicing. It takes me a few to savor a 750ml bottle of beer, but with 7 thirsty beer peeps, she disappeared in prompt order. A happy beer is one being drunk, and even better, one being shared.

The evening waned and we all slowly parted ways; my passel of peeps to bed, Howard and staff to finish closing now that we had relinquished our table. The 10 new tap handles I was witness to during a mini-tour enthusiastically executed by Howard were all tasty selections (Starr Hill and Gordon Biersch not so much) that will hopefully be proudly dispensing their beery bounty during my next sooner-than-later visit.

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

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Brooklyn Brewery Brewmaster Dinner @ Town Crier Pub

I'll be there. Will you? Waste not and make your reservation ASAP!
Tell them Kristyn sent you ^_^

The Menu
Amuse Bouche
Beer and Cheese Spread with Pretzel Bread
Beer: Brooklyner Weisse

First Course
Thyme and Beer Steamed Mussels with Olive oil Grilled Crostini
Beer: Brooklyn Lager

Second Course
Beer Battered Seabass Beignets with Parmesan Gaufrettes and Malt Vinegar Aioli
Beer: Brooklyn Local 1

Beer Granita

Third Course
Petite Shephard’s Pie with Scallion and Gruyere Gratin
Beer: Brooklyn Brown Ale

Fourth Course
Beer Basted Lamb Loin Wrapped in Phyllo with Mushroom Duxelle over Barley Risotto withHerbed Lamb Au Jus
Beer: Brooklyn Local 2

Fifth Course
Chocolate Stout Cheesecake with Stout Chantilly Cream
Beer: Black Chocolate Stout


    • 1871: Jan Leonard Moortgat raises brewey Moortgat
    • 1900: Both of his sons are expanding - with enthusiasm - the brewery
    • 1900-1915: They see it as a mission to create a real special beer
    • 1918: An extensive quest produced a unique yeast strain from Scotland
    • 1918-1923: The brothers keep searching and experimenting until the recipe is perfect.
    • 1923: This innovatory beer surprises everyone "This is a real Duvel (Devil)"
    • 1958: Everything about this beer is different. This caught some attention, also on an international scale.
    • 1960: The 3th. Moortgat generation designs a unique tasting glass for this beer (tulip shaped)
    • 2000: The 4th. Moortgat generation does a lot of investments: Duvel becomes THE reference for Belgian speciality beers.
    • Today: Worldwide, people enjoying Duvel, brewed today still according the original recipe.

    *thanks to Trappistenbier for the translation*

    Cigar City Brew News

    CCB Tasting Room Open For St. Patrick's Day

    St. Patrick's Day falls on a Wednesday and while we usually aren't open Wednesday evenings, we have this really great Irish-Style Dry Stout called Patio Tools and we can't think of a better day to drink it then on St. Patrick's Day. So we'll be keeping the Tasting Room open till 9PM on St. Patty's Day. So stop by and quaff of a pint of Patio Tools Irish-Style Dry Stout (or one of our other fine ales) or just grab a growler to take home for your St. Patty's Day revelry

    Sunday, March 14, 2010

    RBWG Pics ~ Part 02

    Click ME for the second half of the photos from the first RBWG 2010. I'm already looking forward to the second annual RBWG 2011, since I missed out on this one and all. On the other hand, I'm making steady progress on the massive stockpile of untasted beers at home thanks in large part to the overwhelming generosity of my sis, with a sprinkle or two in thanks to Mom. Add to that over 30 beers at Jenn's house that will take about 3 separate shippers to get them home...all is well in Kristyn's bachelorette pad of beer paradise, and spirits too.

    Maui Brew News

    Save the Date! On Saturday, May 15, 2010, the second annual Maui Brewers Festival will be held at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center (MACC) grounds in Kahului. As Maui's only brewery, Maui Brewing Co. (MBC) is proud to announce sponsorship in this exciting event which benefits the MACC's excellent community programs.

    As was done last year, Maui Brewing Co. and other breweries will bring in their craft brew products. "We are stoked to welcome back Caldera, Deschutes, Oskar Blues, Pizza Port, Sierra Nevada and Stone Brewing Co.", says MBC's Garrett Marrero. "And, in our continued efforts to grow this festival, we have invited and received confirmation of inaugural participation by Ballast Point, Bear Republic, Coronado, Hawaii Nui, Moylan's, Santa Cruz Mountain and Waimea. We also expect a few more to jump on board! This year's festival is an unprecedented opportunity for residents and tourists alike to sample an abundance of award-winning, authentic craft brews right here on Maui". MBC is sponsoring the shipping of their "brothers' " mainland beers, the Designated Driver's Booth (serving their handcrafted root beer) and a food booth. In addition to craft brews, attendees will enjoy local food from many different restaurants and music from several different local bands, all in one ticket price. Tickets to this event will be available through the MACC soon.

    For more information, visit their website at

    Saturday, March 13, 2010

    BEERflections ~ Minneapolis and Back Again

    You see it all the time; those lovey-dovey sister relationships. From real life to television exaggeration, sisters love each other through thick and thin until death do part. It’s natural. A given. The best.

    Obviously those pundits missed out on over a decade of the Lier sisters not so lovey-dovey relationship. Downright hostile comes to mind. I’m sure there are a forest of white hairs between Mom and Dad that we are responsible for. Years passed in tense civility and then something strange happened, something unexpected and a little bit wondrous.


    I’m no angel of mercy, but it really is amazing what a dash of time and a sprinkling of maturity can do for a person. Now we are friends, equals, peers, and our own individual persons, too. All it took was a little bit of happiness, some beer, and my new baby niece.

    When Jenn decided she was going to bring her new bundle of joy, her trusty beagle Skyler, and herself down to Vero Beach for a much needed reprieve, it was immediately agreed upon that she wasn’t going to make the drive alone. Mom road down with Jenn and the gang for the first part of the trip, but who was going to ride back?

    The answer was a phone call away.

    There I was at work minding my own business, alternating between work-time and play-time when my cell phone rang. It was the sis. We chittered for a few about this and that, and then Jenn delivered unto me a different kind of joyous bundle. She asked if I would like to make the return trip with her. A brief moment of surprise quickly morphed into joyous excitement. Heck yeah! Work wouldn’t be a problem; Sharon and I could work it out between us. As long as shifts were covered, Toby should be OK with it. Right on! Jenn generously took care of planning the routes, hotels (thanks Josh and Marriott rewards), and my plane ticket home (thanks Jenn). A few hiccups later, the plan was solid and I immediately started researching must-see beer destinations in and around Minneapolis. Wherever I go and whatever I do somehow someway involves beer. Jenn and Josh are also beer aficionados so it was a win-win for all.

    Time moved along as it always does and soon the moment of our departure arrived. Bags were packed, Skyler loaded, baby strapped in, hugs and kisses exchanged, and off we went. Mom held herself together admirably well and even Dad was a wee bit misty eyed. Our first stop was at Doc’s so I could visit with my baby, Mr. D, who was quite sick and spent the majority of my trip in their tender care. Huge hugs and thanks to Doc Johnson and his staff at the Indian River Animal Hospital for taking such good care of my baby while I was a worried mom away.

    When embarking on a road trip, I am usually the one driving. This trip though, Jenn did all the driving for our trek home to Minneapolis, side-trips included. Being the wide-eyed passenger this time around, I sat in the back with the lil munchkin while lazily soaking in the passing scenery. It’s a whole different world out there road-tripping as a passenger versus as the driver. Many of my mornings en route were spent reading my way through more of The Ultimate Guide to Spirits and Cocktails by Andre Domine and his host of contributors and editors.

    The first leg of our drive was to Macon, GA and like a disillusioned fool in desperate denial of the impending cold, I decked out in shorts and a t-shirt. It’s only to Georgia; that’s not too far north of Florida so sunshine and warm weather awaits. Hah! Was I ever wrong. Cold, rain, and general nastiness was my cruel Georgia reality. Brr! I could do nothing else but stubbornly tell myself it wasn’t all that bad in my mental war against the miserable wet cold conditions. Nearing our first destination, we stopped at a Kroger so I could pick up a couple six packs of beer for the trip. Ah Kroger, how you shine high above the dim flicker that is Publix. Publix may reign in the south, Florida specifically, but in regards to cleanliness, layout, selection, and overall classiness, Kroger has them beat hands-down. Scouting out their beer selection, what did my thirsty eyes find but New Belgium beervana. Hallelujah and peanut butter. A 6pack each of 1554 Black Ale and 2* Below tucked under each arm, I skittered across the parking lot to the blessedly heated car patiently awaiting my return. Only later did the sad irony of New Belgium being distributed in Georgia but not Florida hit me. We are neighborly states, after all. Hopefully it is a positive portend of distribution to come, but as of now New Belgium is not to be found in my home state of sunshine, sandy beaches, tiki bars, and thirsty beer geeks.

    To side-step for a moment, I still want to know what that “Warning: Drinking distilled spirits, beer, wine, coolers, and other alcoholic beverages may increase cancer risk, and during pregnancy can cause birth defects” sign in the hotel lobby restroom was really all about. Bad grammar notwithstanding, I thought about asking but was afraid a herd of rapture-crazed teetotalers would descend upon me like a swarm of locusts in a perverted attempt to brainwash, er, save my errant soul. Whatever. I think I’ll have a beer.

    Before I delve into the next leg of our trip, let me mention once more the awesomeness that is Kroger. After leaving Macon, GA the next morning, we spent a few on the road before stopping over in Dalton, GA for some gas, lunch, and a general stretching of the legs, all ten of them. We purposely stopped at the same Kroger that Mom and Jenn stopped at on their drive down. Besides having the largest selection of Tsunami Sushi I have ever seen and was more than happy to eat (mm… baby octopus), they had one of the most impressive beer selections I have seen in a grocery store, let alone a large chain like Krogers. Remember, I am talking about a grocery store and not a specialty liquor store. From a full endcap dedicated to mix and match singles to snappily placed floor stacks of Samuel Adams and New Belgium to two heartily stocked rows of beer with a purpose, I was humbly impressed as evidenced by a growth spurt in my collection of beer. Well done Kroger, well done.

    Moving onward from Kroger beer and sushi paradise, we landed in Indianapolis. Along the way I spotted Bourbon Trail signs aplenty that set my heart aflutter and my mouth awatering. One of these days I’ll be doing more than just sign-spotting from the interstate. I’ll be touring, supping, and savoring each and every one of them while bringing a bottle or three home for extended supping enjoyment.

    But I digress, though happily so.

    Have you ever heard of Dark Lord Day? No, it’s not the second coming or some religious schlock like that. It is simply one of the most coveted release days for a beer (Dark Lord) that draws in beer geek aficionados from all over the USofA to the little town of Munster, Indiana. Three Floyds Brewing (FFF) is their name and brewing damn good beer is their game. A detour and a relative later put us on the trail to FFF and their Brewpub of gastronomic delights. I could easily vacation for a week or two in Munster (during the summer) so I could heartily drink of their beers and eagerly eat of their food before bidding a tearful yet sated farewell…till next time. Plans will indubitably be executed. Huge thanks to Jenn for devising this brilliant stopover on our way to Chicago. If you live in Chicago and haven’t been to FFF, there is something wrong with you. The drive is minimal and the reward enormous.

    I discovered something interesting while casually browsing the Brewpub’s chalkboard of FFF and guest drafts: babies aren’t allowed in Indiana bars. After a very earnest bartender enlightened my ignorance, I shamefully retreated to the family-friendly side of the Brewpub. On one hand, laws are laws, but at the same time it was laughably ridiculous. She is three months old. Three. It’s not like I was going to bottle feed her beer or something outrageously unthinkable like that. Other than silly semantics to please the beer (and alcohol) prejudiced, there really is no discernable difference other than a few feet of floor space between me browsing a beer menu in the bar versus browsing a beer menu in the dining area. Silly yes, but that’s just the way it is, I guess. Moment of embarrassment aside, I had as much fun geeking out as Jenn did watching me geek out.

    Beer in hand, our rumbling stomachs were addressed in proper order by a couple selections from the small plate menu. Jenn got their fries with a side of house-made horseradish while I got their mussels steamed in Gumballhead with diced celery, onions, and herbs. Lipsmackingfanfreakingtastic. When my mountain of mussels arrived, the concept of small plate achieved new heights. If this is their small, I’m glad I didn’t order from the large plate portion of the menu. Complaining I am not, but Wow! Of course, I needed no help in polishing off those mussel morsels along with a glass each of Ham On Rye, a smoked rye ale, and Scarf Patrol, a bourbon barrel-aged Oat Goop. From their take-home beer menu, also on a chalkboard but thankfully in the family friendly dining area, I scored a 22oz bomber each of Brian Boru and Behemoth. On their guest bottle list was the Cantillon Classic Geueze so she was added to my travelling stash of beer. Mm… Cantillon, how you make my heart sing.

    We wiled away a few good hours at the FFF Brewpub partially in hope of missing out on some of Chicago’s rush-hour. Hah! Irrelevant traffic concerns aside, the FFF Brewpub was time well spent. I marveled at the steady flow of patrons from all walks of life. Just like the delicious beers they brew and tasty food they cook, variety was the spice of life and good times were obviously being had by all. Before parting ways, I bought a FFF tulip-style pint glass but struck out in the t-shirt department for both myself and Tim. Sheesh! What is it with me, brewpubs, and t-shirts? Where is the love? ~hugs glass~ At least I have you. You love me don’t you. Yes you do.

    One last stopover before Minneapolis involved Glenview, Illinois and relatives I haven’t seen in years. Our troop of road-weary persons made one last visit with Karen, Bill, Tom, Lisa, Sandy, and a passel of noisy yet well-behaved kids; kids will be kids after all. The lil munchkin was the undeniable star of the stay, and though I tend to shy up in a crowd of people, even relatives, it was good seeing everyone again and doing well. I know I mentioned it before, but I haven’t seen some of them in ten years if not more. These are relatives I’ve laughed with, cried with, played with, and been to weddings with. Definitely going to have to work on not being such strangers, whether it means a visit up north or even better yet, getting them back down in Vero Beach for some more fun in the sun.

    On par with my FFF Brewpub visit, the Historic Casanova Liquors in Hudson, Wisconsin was my other extreme highlight. And not just for me either, Jenn and Josh dug the digs which truly are historic, having been established in 1896. They even have beer caves, real beer caves right next to the store where Casanova Liquors hosts beer cave dinners and beer cave tastings. I reflect in humble awe and shameless envy. Being the dead of winter, the St. Croix River may have been frozen over and the boats covered in blue, but the town was still aglow in life and small town charm. Hudson, Wisconsin has been officially added to my growing list of beercation destinations to do sooner than later, during the summer time of course. She has it all: beer, food, local life, water, boats, mountains, and a view. Shazam!

    Three weeks in Vero Beach soaking up the sunshine and mostly warm weather spoiled the lil munchkin for her inevitable return to said cold weather. She does not like the snow and the cold anymore, no she does not. After I left Historic Casanova Liquors with a box of beautiful beery bounty, we all loaded up and puttered back home. I didn’t get to visit their bar, Nova, to sample the spiritous wares or their food, but that’s just one more thing to look forward to when I beercation there. I also forgot to buy my allotment of Bells Batch #9000, but that’s life. I still left with such delectable delights as De Molen, New Glarus, Southern Tier, Goose Island, and many more I can't remember at the moment.

    During all of my beercation (new words are cool), I determined my black shoes were a total failure in the snow and slush so I stubbornly went back to my toe-socks with flip-flops which worked unflappably well much to my surprise. Of course, it probably helped that the whole time I was there the sun shone, the snow melted, and the temperature even made it into the 40s. It was warmer in Minneapolis then it was in Vero Beach, relatively speaking, during my enjoyable tenure.

    In Minneapolis herself, Pairings and Barley John’s were the must-visit destinations of this particular trip. Pairings was first and despite the best efforts of a dastardly head-cold, I persevered in having a grand ol’ time. Pairings is a quaint and modern market/café/shop, making for a relaxing respite from the daily trappings of Minneapolis life. My butternut squash Panini was an especially delightful virgin foray into butternut squash tasting territory. With a side of house-made potato chips, lightly salted, she was just what the doctor ordered. Delicious! Another personal treat was their limited yet diverse selection of artisanal cheeses. Is that Rogue Blue and Chimay Cheese I see? Why yes, it is. Jenn bought a wedge of Rogue Blue to go, but no Chimay. Till next time my Trappist friends, till next time. Besides, one should savor their Chimay Cheese with some Chimay beer, of which none was handily available. Bellies stuffed, we wandered next door to the shop portion of Pairings where I cruised their impressively diverse beer selection. Willful restraint engaged, I left with only a partial box of assorted beery treats even though I could have easily left with a car full of beery treats.

    Even with a steady influx of drugs, my head-cold persisted in his efforts to spoil my beercation with the sis. The last stop of my visit was Barley John’s. For as delicious as the beers were and scrumptious as the bar grub was, the end of my energy had been reached. Barley John’s didn’t get as much of the full embrace of my beer geek foodie indulgence as he should have, but darned if I didn’t try. The roulette of four tasters went down smooth and tasty, but the glass of Belgian-style Tripel I had ordered in advance to warm up in time to be the piece-de-la-resistance stared back at me in baleful tragedy. Tired, run-down, and just plain blah, I left that full glass of delicious looking yet un-tasted Belgian-style Tripel behind, an innocent victim of my ill circumstance. Tears were shed that day as we parted ways. My ill fortune aside, Barley John’s is a tiny little brewpub in the suburb of New Brighton, Minnesota that brews good beers with a whole lot of heart. Within his humble wood walls lay an oasis of good beer and good which I will have to better savor during a healthier visit.

    My last night at Jenn and Josh’s was spent feeling exactly like the exhausted lump I was on the living room couch. I came. I saw. I tasted. I conquered. And then I wiped out. A successful beercation was definitely had. All that remained was a plane trip home and a welcome reunion with my baby, Mr. D, who himself had returned home earlier that very morning.

    Throughout our ten days of road-trippin and exploration, Jenn and I laughed, shared, and caught up on old times while creating a treasure trove of new memories. I couldn’t be happier for that phone call which offered up this chance to be sisters in good times. To more good times and good memories, thanks for being my sis and for BEERtrekkin to Minneapolis and back again with me.

    Love lots,

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

    RBWG Pics ~ Part 01

    I wanted to go...but I chose the colder and much more rewarding route of BEERtrekkin with my sis, my niece, and their faithful beagle, Skyler. There will be other RBWG and RB tastings in general, but a trip such as the one I just finished is a once in a lifetime super-special kind of thing.

    For details on the RBWG 2010 in progress, click HERE.

    Town Crier Compass ~ March 2010

    Thursday, March 11, 2010

    Do You Know Your Colors?

    WOB Viera Beer News

    Rock by the Sea
    Come out this Saturday, March 13th, from 9 pm to 12 am, to see the Rock By The Sea Road Show featuring Lani Daniels, Sam Thacker and Alternate Routes front man, Tim Warren. Rock by the Sea is a Florida Not-for-Profit organization that is raising money to benefit the UF Pediatric Brain Tumor Progam at Shands HealthCare and others. They will be selling merchandise and hosting a Gibson guitar raffle. This night of music includes individual sets by each of the artists culminating in a late-night jam where they will all share the stage. Additional information about the concert series can be found at and at

    St. Patty's Day Celebration
    Don't go anywhere else for your pint of Irish heaven, come to World of Beer on March 17th, to celebrate St. Patrick's Day! We will be featuring beer specials with our favorite irish imports, Smithwick's, Magners, Murphy's, Harp and Guinness. $4 Irish pints, $3 Rogue Kells, $2 Irish Car Bombs, $1 Irish Beer shots and other tasty treats. Click here for flyer.

    We are on Facebook!
    Hey everyone, become a fan on our facebook. Use this link to get there.

    World of Beer Bracket Challenge
    Play the World of Beer Bracket challenge. You could win free beer, bragging rights and a 42" Plasma HDTV. Register NOW online for free and when the teams are announced on March 14, login to pick your favorites. You will be able to track your standings and results throughout the tournament. When you are done picking your teams, stop by the World of Beer and route for your team. We will have all the games for you to watch along with your favorite beer. Click here for more details.

    Ingram Hill
    On March 20th, 9 pm to 12 am, national recording artists Ingram Hill will be here at World of Beer. They are currently on tour and will be stopping here at our own World of Beer. Don't miss this opprotunity to see this group up close and personal. Click here for the flyer.

    New Bottles
    • New England Atlantic Amber, 5% (Massachussets)
    • Red Stone Nectar of the Hops, 8% (Colorado)

    New Drafts
    • La Tropical, 4.5% (Florida)
    • Avery IPA, 5.9% (Colorado)

    Live Music This Week
    • Thursday - Wilcor
    • Friday - Christian Wilson Duo
    • Saturday - Rock by the Sea

    Stoudts Brew News

    Step up to the bar... there is a new kid in town: Sean Horan and Sheriff Hogg, together with years of experience, creative suggestions by Carol Stoudt, and locally grown ingredients are mixing their way across your taste buds. Happy Hour Discounts on beer, And special pub appetizers .The boys behind the bar challenge you to try one of their new martinis and make Monday a day to remember. Hot &
    Dirty - is exactly how you will feel after this drink. A jalapeno stuffed olive suspended in pepper vodka and dry vermouth.

    Envy - is what others will feel when they spot you with this baby in your hand: Stoli Vodka, Midori Melon Liqueur, Frangelico, fresh lime juice, and pineapple juice. Perhaps you would like to reach for the sky with a Starburst Cosmo - Three olives, vanilla, orange and raspberry vodkas with splashes of lime and cranberry juice.

    BEER DINNER Have dinner with Carol and Ed Stoudt' on Friday March 26 at 7 p.m.
    Enjoy 5 courses specially designed by Chef Jim Carr, each paired with a Stoudts award winning beer. On the menu artisanal cheese and beer pairing ,Elk Carpaccio glazed with a Scarlet Lady reduction and scallion sweet onion, Karnival Kolsch Cured Salmon fillet resting on a potato nest with caper tapenade,American Pale Ale Braised Veal Cheeks, sweet potato hash and vegetable ragout and your meal will be finished with a luscious Beer-Imisu - Fat Dog soaked lady finger s with mascarpone custard and cocoa dusting. This event will take place at the Black Angus Restaurant, in the Victorian Picasso Room. Cost $35.00 Limited tickets available.

    If you live in the area please join us On Friday March 12th at 6 PM at the Wonderful Good Market at Stoudts. Amy, representative from Lancaster Farm Fresh, will be joining us to talk about Community Supported Agriculture and sustainable farming. The Wonderful Good Market will be participating as a drop off point of fresh organic Lancaster Grown Produce this year. For more details or to sign up for the meeting email Elizabeth Stoudt,, call 717.484.2757

    Well it is almost Spring, and we have released our new Spring seasonal Karnival Kolsch. We have been supplying the beer pipelines with this tasty brew for several weeks now, and it should be available in all of our states of distribution within the next few weeks. Inevitably, we have had a few unhappy campers because of the hiatus of the Spring seasonal Maibock. There is however a glimmer of hope for those who still thirst for the taste of this traditional springtime German lager. We have produced a very limited quantity of Stoudt’s Maibock to be released this month. This batch of Mai will be available in draft only, and will be on tap in the pub, and available at some key accounts. We will have a second release in May which will include 750 ml cork finished bottles.

    In addition to the release of limited Maibock, our assistant brewer Gary Gagliardi has come up with a new creation for the Stoudt’s brewer’s reserve series. He is going to brew a German-style pale ale called Gemutlichkeit Ale. This beer was inspired by the hoppy American pale ales so many of you have come to love. His German version of these pale ales will consist of German specialty malts, all German hops, and an authentic German ale yeast strain. While this brew will be similar to American pale ales, it will have a completely different flavor profile imposed by the malts, hops, and yeast used for brewing. This beer will be available on tap in the Stoudt’s pub, and will also make its way into some local watering holes.

    Tuesday, March 09, 2010

    Happenings @ Vine & Barley

    Mark your calendar now for the following special Vine & Barley Fund Raisers!

    All proceeds from these events will go to the American Cancer Society Relay For Life. For more information on any of these fundraisers, please call Joann Carbone at (772) 446-7550. Wine Tasting and Silent Auction

    Wednesday, March 31, 5:30 to 8:00 p.m.
    Sample wines from around the world from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. and bid on some wonderful gifts at 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 31. Wine tasting admission will be $10.00 and receive a engraved Vine & Barley wine glass and many wines to taste. This event will be held at Vine & Barley located at 1680 SW St. Lucie West Blvd. in St Lucie West.

    The Relay For Life is the American Cancer Society's signature event. It is an opportunity for everyone in communities across the globe to celebrate those surviving cancer, remember loved ones lost and fight back against the disease. Port St. Lucie's Relay kicks off at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 30 and continue overnight until noon Saturday at Tradition Field. There, teams camp out and take turns walking, running or even dancing around the track. Those teams will also host a variety of games and activities, prize giveaways and more, ensuring plenty of ways to have fun. Tradition Field is located at 525 NW Peacock Blvd. in Port St. Lucie.

    For more information on how you can become a part of this life-changing event, contact Keri Hughes at 772-562-2272, ext. 119 or via email at

    Visiting an Old Friend

    It’s been far too long since my last excursion to Vine & Barley, a travesty which I finally corrected yesterday after at least two dry months. For shame! After an afternoon out and about with Mom, I hit home to check on pictures I was printing then loaded up and hit the road for a date with beervana.

    Mark was there in his usual cheery form to meet, greet, hugs, and kisses. I addled up to the bar and made cozy for the rest of the evening, and soon had two glasses of brew sitting pretty in front of my eager and thirst lips. First in line was the Hop Star from Sierra Nevada, a delicious IPA which exuded fresh hop cones, hop resins, and pine bark while next to her was a snifter of Cigar City Brewing Espresso Cubano Maduro Brown Ale. A brew such as the Cubano is best enjoyed at a warmer temperature than the unavoidable arctic chill all beer suffers from when dispensed from a CO2 draft line. The smart drinker, aka the one who thinks ahead, will often order a beer that is rich and complex a glass or two in advance so that it has more enough time to achieve optimum supping temperature. I couldn’t remember if I had tasted this particular Cubano from CCB or not, so to be on the safe side I scribbled tasting notes anyway. I had never had the Sierra Nevada Hop Star so tasting notes aplenty were lavished on that lil beauty of an IPA. Nummers!

    The evening wiled away faster than expected, though I hung around late enough to run into Tim who was passing through on his way home. With a few beers in the belly, I ordered a cheese and meat platter which I promptly annihilated. Apparently I was hungry; pretzel nibblies are all well and good but amount to a whole lot of nothing when the need for real grub hits. I didn’t feel like ordering anything from West End Grill which is on the opposite end of the building which Vine & Barley calls home. In retrospect, that probably would have been the wiser option of the two since I was hungry, but it’s all good. In fact, the smoked Gouda, creamy brie, blue cheese, thinly sliced pastrami, grapes, caramelized pecans, banana peppers, and platter of crackers were fanfreakingtastic. Yummy in my tummy.

    A few special beers were cracked open during the course of the evening, one of which lingered the longest and definitely not in a good way. Feast of Fools was its name and Magic Hat the brewery. A raspberry holiday stout in supposition, she was anything but a raspberry holiday stout. Dry, chalky, and altogether nasty, I immediately cleansed my palate with a nice long glass of Lindeman’s Framboise. Now that’s real raspberry. Delightfully delicious, too. The other special bottle was Unearthly from Southern Tier brewing. Southern Tier out of Lakewood, New York brews fantastic beers and as much as I love that they are now distributed in Florida, it irks me that Anheuser-Busch/InBev is their distributor. Grrr! Evil distributor dictatorship aside, my love for beer is still ultimately about the beer and Southern Tier brews good beer. Unless they do something really stupid to offend me, I’ll happily carry, sell, and drink their beers all the live long day.

    I wrapped up my visit around 11pm and drove home to a much welcome bed. I was exhausted. The head cold I am finally kicking out has done its fair job of sapping my strength which I am now working on getting back. As always, my visit to Vine & Barley was warm, fuzzy, and filled with good beer, good friends, and good times. I missed out on the Brooklyn Brewmasters Reserve Cookie Jar Porter (dangit!), but BLAST! is back on draft and the next Brewmasters Reserve is the coveted Dark Matter. Rich Nowak, our local Brooklyn Brewery rep generously shared some of this luxurious bourbonrific Dark Matter with me over a year ago and that beer still lives on in vivid recall. These tastebuds will never forget the sweet love made to them that night nor will my nose ever forget the heavenly aromas which seduced them. Gorgeous! It will be most interesting to see how the kegged Dark Matter will differ (if at all) from that tasting experience long ago.

    It’s a hard job but someone’s got to do it, drinking good beer that is. I’ve been far too lax in my Vine & Barley visits. If nothing else, I owe it to myself. I am worth it. As Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head fame would say, think global and drink local, and I’m lucky enough to have a local to drink at. Prosit!

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

    False Advertising?

    If I am supposed to "rise up against beer oppression", then why sign up for national distribution with Anheuser-Busch/InBev, the most oppressive distributor in the USofA? Since when did sleeping with the enemy equate to victory over oppression?

    (picture scanned from the newest Ale Street News)

    Cigar City Brew News

    Hunahpu's Release Party Draft Lineup:

    The Draft Lineup for the Hunapu's Release Party will be:
    Wood/Barrel Aged Beers:
    • Humidor Series India Pale $5 pint (No growlers, but 750 ml bottles will be available @ $9 per bottle)
    • Brandy Barrel Aged Marshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout (no growler fills) $7 snifter
    • Bourbon Barrel Aged Marshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout (no growler fills) $7 snifter
    • Bourbon Barrel Aged Hunahpu's Imperial Stout (no growler fills) $7 snifter
    • Brandy Barrel Aged Hunahpu's Imperial Stout (no growler fills) $7 snifter
    • Brandy Barrel Aged Warmer Winter, Winter Warmer (no growler fills) $7 snifter

    Other CCB Draft Beers:
    • Jai Alai India Pale Ale $4 pint
    • Maduro Oatmeal Brown Ale $4 pint
    • Cubano Espresso (no growlers) $5 pint
    • Vanilla Maduro $5 pint
    • Hunahpu's Imperial Stout (no growlers) $6 snifter
    • Marshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout (no growlers) $6 snifter
    • Warmer Winter, Winter Warmer Old Ale (no growlers) $6 snifter
    • Orange Cream-sick-le India Pale Ale $5 pint
    • Tropic-ale India Pale Ale $5 pint
    • Patio Tools Irish-style Dry Stout $5 pint
    • Brett-infused Guava Grove Ale-Jolly Guava (no growlers) $7 snifter
    • Big Sound Scotch Ale (no growlers) $6 pint

    Guest Taps:
    • Dunedin "The Rock" Double IPA (no growlers) $6 pint
    • Swamphead Big Nose IPA (no growlers) $5 pint
    • Swamp Head 10-10-10 Double IPA (no growlers) $6 pint
    • Swamp Head Cottonmouth Belgian-style Wheat Beer (no growlers) $5 pint
    • Holy Mackerel Strong Golden Ale (no growlers) $6 snifter
    • Dunedin Apricot Wheat (no growlers) $5 pint
    • The Bruery Orchard White (no growlers) $5 snifter

    Available in Growlers:
    • Jai Alai India Pale Ale ($6 per 32 oz / $18 per gallon)
    • Maduro Oatmeal Brown Ale ($6 per 32 oz / $18 per gallon)
    • Cream-sick-le India Pale Ale ($8 per 32 oz / no gallons)
    • Tropic-Ale India Pale Ale ($8 per 32 oz / no gallons)
    • Patio Tools Irish-Style Dry Stout ($7 per 32 oz / $20 per gallon)
    • Vanilla Maduro Brown Ale ($7 per 32 oz / $20 per gallon)

    Cask Ale:
    • Big Sound Scotch Ale $6 pint
    • Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Brown Ale $5 pint

    There may be a few more guest beers come the day of the event, but all of the beers on this list will be available starting Friday. All prices are tax included, including growlers and bottles, however if you are buying a new growler there is tax on the growler glass.



    So I just got back from the Brewer's Ball, which is the culmination of a weekend long event which showcases Florida brewing. We were pretty excited to find out on Friday that we won medals for 7 of our 8 entered beers; 5 Golds, 1 Silver and 1 Bronze medal. You can't ask for much more as a first year brewery. And Doug (our Production Manager/Assistant Brewer) won 2 Golds (of three entries) with his brewery Peg's Cantina.

    It was a great weekend right there and we were on cloud 9 (the good cloud). So today was Brewer's Ball where the Best of Show is announced and Wayne and the team won First Place Best In Show (for Hunahpus) and Third Place Best in Show (for Cubano Espresso). It was a great day and much deserved for Wayne, Doug and Tim.

    Which brings me to the thank you.....Our goal is the same as it was from day one; make beer we like. And while we feel like we do that, the fact is if no one else liked it our efforts would be for naught. So thank you to everyone who drinks Cigar City Beer. To everyone who tells their friends about us. To everyone who asks for CCB beer at their local watering hole and to everyone who just generally helps spread the word about CCB. We are nothing without our supporters and we thank you...

    The CCB Crew

    Saturday, March 06, 2010

    Beerituality ~ the trailer

    Just A Customer

    I am very selfish in that anything I do has to be of personal interest. If I’m not interested, you can push, shove, cajole, threaten, bribe, and espouse glorious imagery all you want; I won’t budge. But once you have my interest, you have the whole of my passionate intentions and tireless drive. From gems to fishing to anime, all were wonderful hobbies which enriched my person throughout the years but none had the spark of permanency. Reading and writing has been the longest constant, as obviously evidenced, and the written word will always be a beacon of inspiration.

    And then there was beer.

    What’s easy to see now in past reflection was not always bathed in the crystal clarity of simple truth, but that is both the beauty and the crux of experience. What I can say in all honesty is that in both good times and bad, I was true to myself. There were no lies to my passing aspirations, but there is a clear difference between a hobby and a profession. Usually it is one or the other, and only a lucky few enjoy the two as one. I count myself blessed to now enjoy them as one and the same.

    How does the saying go…if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life.

    Beer is not work. Beer is passion; my passion.

    I’ve been fully engaged in my beer obsession for a few years now, perfecting the joyous art of living with beer. In just that short period of time, friendships have been forged and camaraderie shared all while in the pursuit of good beer. Good beer equals good times and happiness for all. There are of course the inevitable perks, not that I’m complaining, but at the end of the day I’m still just a geek who loves her beer. When I walk into a bar, shiny new or comfortable old, I am just a customer in need of some flavor satiation. I’ll have a beer, maybe three, please. The tender care and personal service received should be the same, relatively speaking, for all the other beer geeks of friendly and fun disposition who share the bar day-in and day-out. We are all here for the beer, and the beer is here for all of us to enjoy, hobbyist and professional alike.

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

    Friday, March 05, 2010

    At long last...

    ...I am officially a Cicerone Certified Beer Server.

    Score: 90

    I printed out my score report break down for the various subject areas so I can do more research on the areas I am weak in, and ensure I remain strong in the areas I did well in.

    Next step in my 2010 goals: start homebrewing

    Since the Master of Beer Styles combined class is out for me this year do to financial constraints, I can still keep moving forward with other goals, one of which I just accomplished today.

    Dogfish Head Brew News

    March 2, 2010

    Dogfish Head Craft Brewery is pleased to announce that Floris Delee is coming onboard as the Delaware brewery's Brewmaster. Floris has worked in the brewing industry across the country and around the globe. "We are really proud to have Floris joining us as Brewmaster here at Dogfish Head," explains Dogfish Head President Sam Calagione, "like a well-balanced beer, Floris brings the perfect blend of technical prowess and passion for creativity to our off-centered world." Floris Delee got his degree in Biochemical Engineering at the Karel de Grote-Hogeschool (University Charlemagne) in Antwerp, Belgium. He is a Brewmaster and biochemical engineer with a minor in waste water engineering. Floris' brewing career spans several continents. He started working for the Alken-Maes Breweries in Waarloos, Belgium where he wrote his thesis on the design and commissioning of the pilot brewing plant in 1993.

    From there he went on to the New Belgium Brewing Company in Fort Collins, Colorado where he worked his way up from entry level engineer to technical director, leading the design and engineering departments. Floris also went back to Europe to work for the Anton Steinecker Maschinenfabrik GmbH in Freising, Germany.

    In 2002 Floris started his own engineering firm, Kathinka: Brewers, Process Engineers & Consultants, based on his unique international experience building and designing sustainable brewing and soft drinks operations. His primary goal with Kathinka was to pursue his never ending passion for innovative designs that form a solid balance between environmental, economic and social parameters. Kathinka clients in the United States include Boston Beer Company, Deschutes, New Glarus and Harpoon. Outside the U.S., Floris has worked with a diverse selection of breweries in the Caribbean and Central American (including Beliken Brewery in Belize, Banks in Barbados, Carib in Grenada and Trinidad, Cerveceria Baru in Panama, Banks in Georgetown, Guyana and Florida & Farm Ice in Costa Rica, the brewers of Imperial and Pilsen).

    Through Kathinka, Floris has been working with Dogfish Head since January of 2009. He has spearheaded the installation of the brewery's new 600-barrel outside fermentation cellar, the new Handtmann CIP system, and the Braumat process control system. He has advised on numerous technical projects as well as on-going operations. "Floris has earned the trust, confidence, and respect of our co-workers in his work here over the past year and that will go a long way in taking the reins of brewery operations," explains Dogfish Head Chief of Operations Nick Benz. "The leadership, technical expertise, industry contacts, and creativity Floris brings to Dogfish will ensure we always have an offering of beers that pushes the envelope of what beer is and what it can be," continues Benz, "are very excited he's now part of our team."

    Despite believing he'd never return to working at a single brewery again, Floris was drawn to Dogfish, "taking on the Brewmaster role at Dogfish is intellectually intriguing because every aspect of brewing 'off-centered ales for off-centered people' is energizing and exciting," explains Delee, "even for a Belgian there seems a never ending quest for innovation and experimenting at Dogfish, that is exciting, something I look forward to being part of."

    In addition to his passion for beer and brewing, Floris is currently studying for his certificate in winemaking at the University of California, Davis. Floris and his wife Christine have four children.

    Thursday, March 04, 2010

    BEERflections ~ USO Rocks America

    The fastest and easiest way to get me enthusiastically involved in an event requires one thing and one thing only: Beer. Beer in all her artisanally crafted glorious beauty bursting with flavor, packed with personality, and looking for thirsty drinkers of an adventurous disposition.

    People like me and you.

    And so I happened into the 18th Annual USO Rocks America benefitting the Heritage Center and Citrus Museum of Vero Beach, Fl. Previously in the life of Kristyn Lier, history both general and personal were yawn-worthy subjects of indifference. Times are changing, myself specifically, and now heritage is important so the opportunity to help a local institution and promote artisanal beer at the same time was as simple a win-win as they come.

    Irony is never that far from home, and so it occurred to me that here I was at the ripe age of 32 stepping into the Citrus Museum for the first time ever.

    Vero Beach calls Indian River County home. Sound familiar? It should for anyone who shops the orange and grapefruit juice selection of their local grocery store or market. For almost a century, Indian River County was the only citrus to consider for the discerning connoisseur, consumer and industrialist. Not so much today in our world of chaotic corporate conglomeration, but I shant digress.

    My family, the Lier’s, were an integral part of that citrus boom for two generations. Lier Groves Inc was founded by my grandfather, George Lier, a Czechoslovakian immigrant, and carried on by his two sons, best of which is my father, Peter Lier. George married Jeanette Michael of the very local Michael family; both families still live in Vero to this day, though Lier Groves Inc is no more. Growing up, days were spend in the groves with Dad, attending the annual Ocean Spray Growers Meeting, and best of all, eating the bestest freshest grapefruit these lips have ever kissed. Whether sliced in half to surrender up her succulent sour-sweet bounty to me, or pressed for grapefruit juice quaffing bliss, the grapefruit industry is a proud and permanent part of my heritage. The memories will always remain along with familiar faces of old.

    Memories in hand, I stepped into the Citrus Museum for the first time ever (did I mention I was born and raised here) and didn’t see to the best of my observation skills any of my proud Lier family heritage. In that instant, a new mission of a different yet equally rewarding purpose revealed itself to me.

    Speaking of heritage, let’s talk USO. The USO was founded in 1941 by President Roosevelt to offer American officers a place to boost morale and enjoy much needed relaxation. Officially made up of six civilian organizations, they are the Salvation Army, Young Mens Christian Association, Young Womens Christian Association, National Catholic Community Service, National Travelers Aid Association, and the National Jewish Welfare Board. To this very day the USO is still offering military servicemen and servicewomen a place to strengthen their morale and relieve stress in a home away from home. The Heritage Center of Vero Beach, FL indubitably fits this bill, as does their honorary tradition which they have graciously upheld now for 18 years with respect and consideration. I am proud to have been included in this year’s event and am already pondering ideas for next year’s USO Rocks America.

    All good ventures came from some sort of inspiration and mine was provided by Rob who put the idea to the committee which was then transferred to me to achieve fruition: an Americana themed craft beer tasting table to help raise money for the Heritage Center while at the same time helping to raise awareness of real American beer crafted by individualistic entrepreneurs. Idea firmly planted, thoughts wandered back to an article written by Julie Johnson in the March 2009 issue of the All About Beer magazine featuring brewpubs on bases. Digging out my issue, I reread the article and immediately knew it had to be part of the event. A few emails back and forth later, Julie and her staff generously created a printable PDF file which I then combined with a back page briefly describing each beer which was expertly printed and bound by Staples. But none of it would have happened if it wasn’t for Julie and the kindness of beer geek comrades-in-arms at All About Beer.

    A personal highlight was finally being able to don Dad’s old Navy pea coat from when he was a young enlisted lass. Spacious, warm, and cozy, it was just what I needed to comfortably dress the part and represent the Lier family.

    USO Rocks America took place February 19th 2010 at the Paris Air Hanger located within the Vero Beach airport grounds. Piper may get the majority of the local fuss and I have friends who work for them (as Mom did when she married Dad before either myself or my older sister, Jenn, were born), but there are many a talented and resourceful small plane company to be found, Paris Air being one of them. Paris very generously donated the hanger for the entire day of the event, including pre-day set up and post-day clean up.

    Highlighting the event was our very own infamous Landsharks who squeezed us inbetween their Superbowl performance in Miami and their next gig in Orlando. While not decked out in the usual Hawaiian shirts, the bands casual dress and easy-going manner along with great music kept the night going in merry form.

    Being an USO event, everything from the music to the dress proudly carried an Americana theme of some sorts. Adding to the authentic atmosphere was a very real SOC-R (Special Operations Craft-River) used by Special Forces for work on rivers and donated by the National Navy SEAL Museum located in Fort Pierce, FL. Additionally, there was an Air Force T-34B Mentor loaned to us by Tom Soodsma of Vero Beach along with another plane, an Army Air Corp WWII Stearman Bi-Plane loaned to us by Rene St. Julien of Port St. Lucie. On display by the front entrance were two half-ton cargo trucks, aka deuce and a half, which were loaned to us by the Indian River County Sheriff’s Department.

    Linda Colontrelle (who taught many of my high school) was there representing Military Moms with a table where attendees could take home a flat-rate USPS box with a list of suggested items to mail to our local women and men serving overseas. Scattered throughout the hanger were life-size cutouts of local men and women still serving overseas. To help bring the personal message of Military Moms home, actual pictures of real life men and women in active duty were used. A heartwarming or heart wrenching cause depending on how you look at it, Military Moms of Vero Beach will stand strong until every man and woman makes it home, hopefully safe and sound.

    All good shindigs require sustenance and libation to fuel the party.

    Providing the sustenance once more was Bonos Catering who did a fantastic job. The spicy coconut battered and fried jumbo shrimp were the piece-de-la-resistance for yours truly. If all Bonos had that night were the shrimp, it still would have been okay. Coming in a close second was the chocolate fondue fountain accompanied by marshmallows, whole strawberries, and pretzel sticks for a never-ending chocolate dip-a-thon for the chocoholic in all of us.

    Liquid libation came in two varieties: the bar and the beer tasting/dispensing table. Run as two separate venues, we were nonetheless situated right next to each other; cozy neighbors make for good neighbors. Great Spirits provided the bar where wine, spirits, soda, and water were dispensed with flair by Becky and Jessica. Myself along with Darrell and Suz, Mike and Paula, manned the beer tasting station, or as I like to call it, Beer Central. The featured American craft beers were Rogue American Amber, Sierra Nevada Torpedo, Anchor Liberty Ale, Avery Ale to the Chief, and Brooklyn Brown Ale. Yuengling and Yuengling Light were the two draft offerings, and I was surprised by how many of our various patrons didn’t know Yuengling brewed a Light Lager. Well, they do now and the response was encouragingly positive. All together, we wet the whistles of over 200 patriots who cut quite the swanky groove as spirits and beer flowed well into the night.

    As a personal thank you to my awesome beer posse who generously donated their time, truck, keg skills, and best of all good company, I brought with me a 2007 bottle of Deschutes The Abyss, an oak and bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout. I couldn’t have done it without you. Cheers!

    It eventually grew a little toasty inside the hangar, but I’ll take toasty over freezing anytime anywhere. Between the wine toss, wall of honor, congo lines, dance floor, hula hoop contest, and silent auction, there was more than plenty to do. Everywhere I looked there were smiling faces and everywhere I listened there was jovial chatter interspersed with hearty fits of laughter for a swell night indeed.

    All ticket sales were pre-event with no ticket sales at the door. This allowed a solid count of attendees and tables to seat them at. On those tables covered in hand-painted table-clothes were centerpieces of original Americana art all hand-crafted by the amazingly talented Cynthia Baita who also did the tablecloths. Near the close of the evening, if one wanted to take a centerpiece home as a memento, they could do so for a charitable donation of their choosing. Before leaving, I noted quite a few of the tables were happily without.

    Closing time came and we set about packing up the unopened beer and dismantling the generously donated tap system just as the Landsharks played their last set. Committee members and friends chatted long into the evening, drawing out the good times as long as possible. As my beer posse and I loaded up Darrell’s truck, we made one last pass by the hot food buffet where a few shrimpies remained…but not for long. Encouraged to help ourselves to the leftovers, you don’t have to tell me twice when it comes to free food. Even less when it is good food. Truck loaded, Darrell and Suz followed me home where we stashed the leftover beer while Darrell stored the rest overnight at his house. Exhaustion having set in, there was no way a trip back to the store was happening that night.

    Mr. D greeted me with purrs and meows as always, and after hugs goodbye, Darrell and Suz made their own way home. Mike and Paula had hugged goodbye earlier at the hanger as we all exited stage left. PJs and some kitty kuddling later, sleep descended with plans for American craft beer and the 19th Annual USO Rocks America of Vero Beach, FL flittering around in my head.

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