Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Cigar City Brew News

Guava Grove Now On Tap!

That's right, the tasting room is now pouring Guava Grove. Bottles are a couple of weeks away, but why wait? The full list on tap right now is:
  • Jai Alai IPA
  • Maduro Brown Ale
  • Vanilla Maduro
  • Oatmeal Raisin Cookie
  • Cubano Espresso
  • 110k +OT batch #3
  • Humidor Series: Gruit
  • Humidor Series: IPA
  • Guava Grove

Guest Tap
  • Cottonmouth Belgian Wit

Come visit Mike for some hospitality, conversation, and great beer!Also, make plans to get down here on Thursday to try our IPA aged on White American Oak. It will be on tap at 11 AM, $5 per pint, $8 per quart. Again, it will tap Thursday morning at 11 AM.In process...Humidor Series 110K + OT batch #3Twig and BerriesPeach IPA


Cigar City Brew News

Congrats To Pete Britton

Pete Britton won a gold medal for his IPA at the National Homebrewer's Conference. So right about now most of you are probably thinking, "Who is Pete Britton?" Well to be honest, I don't know. I haven't met the man. But I have met Dustin Thomas who is Pete's roommate. And when I met Dustin at the CCB Tasting Room back in February, Wayne and I sent him home to Illinois with some Spanish Cedar spirals. Dustin gave those spirals to Pete, who promptly aged his IPA on them. Said IPA then went on to win a gold medal in the AHA's Category 22 Smoke-Flavored and Wood-Aged Beer. Clearly I'm a big fan of Spanish cedar-aged beers (thanks to Mike Fouch who turned me onto Spanish Cedar aging) but it is really cool to see other people giving them a try and having good results.

So congrats to Pete on the win and Dustin for sending us the follow-up email letting us know how the beer did.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Pabst Goes Greek

**and yet another classic German-American brewery of yore goes to a foreign holder/owner**

3rd Annual Treasure Coast Beer Fest *update*

Just a friendly little reminder (since it's basically July already) that the tickets for attending our 3rd Annual TCBF are officially for sale on the site. Get them sooner than later and spread the word!

Click HERE!

Hoggie's Latest & Greatest

**good humored and good tasty**

Friday, June 25, 2010

Town Crier Pub Brewmaster Dinner *update*

**The latest and greatest. I'm 99.9% sure I will be able to make it but will know for sure after the weekend.**



BEERflections ~ Magic Hat Brewmaster Dinner @ Town Crier Pub

Before the brewery officially landed in Florida and my hometown of Vero Beach, I had tasted a handful of Magic Hat’s beers thanks to my extraordinarily superfantastic sister. Choosing to slowly and methodically make their way through my sunshine state, Magic Hat premiered with their not quite pale ale #9, a self-described pale ale cloaked in secrecy. They have also recently branched out into their Wacko, a summer ale brewed with beet sugar, a somewhat common addition in scattered Belgian brews though not necessarily as a main feature. Whereas the #9 is an approachable gateway beer of sessionable designs, I personally enjoyed the Wacko more for its funky approach to flavor stimulation.

Math has never been a personally popular subject of mine, but going by the above I find it hard to imagine a successful beer dinner rich with tastetacular courses held together by only two beers. A sneak preview of the menu thankfully assuaged those concerns with the premier of two new beers. Their Summer Odd Notion, a Ginger Ale of epic proportions immediately won over my table of beer geeks, yours truly included. Their other contender was the IPA On Tour, aka Blind Faith. Seeing as I am having difficulty remembering this particular beer in any substantial regard, it is safe to say she left the least noteworthy impression upon these tastebuds which I will expand on later.

Altogether I had an exciting five course dinner which featured the #9 not once but twice. Companion to both the Amuse Bouche and dessert, I was intrigued to taste how she varied when matched with two very different courses. There was little doubt in my mind that this particular aspect would provide much brew for thought.

My partners in crime that night were Marc Boland along with Joe and Linda Ringwald. The four of us eventually cozied up to our table which, irony of ironies, was situated next to Southern Eagle’s table. Overall, I didn’t see as many of my beer peeps at this dinner as I did the Brooklyn Brewmaster dinner, but there were still some friendly familiar faces. Mike and Paula were there in good stead along with Duncan and Lorraine MacRae who I had recently shared in some Terrapin good times with me at Vine & Barley. That was then though and this is now and now is Magic Hat brews and tasty Town Crier Pub grub. There was a new chef in the kitchen so I was curious to savor what personal flair he would bring to this brewmaster dinner, the second of which Town Crier has hosted. Amidst friendly faces familiar and new, I was ready and raring.

Like all good beer dinners, or any regular event for that matter, Town Crier took the positives and negatives from the first dinner and applied their learned experience to this one. First and foremost was reducing the number of courses down to five from the previous seven. Great food and brews notwithstanding, there is little going forward once that wall has been hit. The other hard lesson learned was to reserve seats with a credit card so that any absent RSVPs were beholden to their dinner commitment. This may seem a bit absurd to the self-absorbed, but I stand in firm support of this necessary precaution. A commitment given is a commitment honored not just by one but by all parties, including foremost a pre-commitment by the restaurant to offer their time, money, and resources based on your word of attendance. If you are not willing to commit and honor, then don’t, but you will be missing out on a good time.

Now where was I…

Besides reducing the courses to a comfortably consumable number and reserving seats with an honor-bound card payment, Town Crier brandished colorfully compact and visually appealing menus for all patrons to reference throughout the dinner. On the back of these dinner cards was a course-by-course mini survey and grading system for Town Crier to use as feedback for yet more brewmaster dinners. Yes! Genius and common sense all in one! Now spoiled, I can’t imagine beer dinners without them. After all, a burgundian’s work is never done.

Our gracious Magic Hat hosts that night were Josh and Lauren. Throughout the evening I was pleased to see them up and about schmoozing tables and sharing in good times between courses. One minor nitpick with this brewmaster dinner was an overall stiffness to both the beer and food presentations by Josh and the chef, George Cintron. Nervousness notwithstanding, I would have enjoyed learning more about the brewery, the beers, the meals, and the magic of enjoying them together then just the simply superficial. As much as the burgundian in me loves to sup and savor, so too does the geek in me relish any and all tidbits to tantalize my little grey cells.

Grey cell stimulation aside, Marc, Joe, Linda, and I small talked, beer talked, and food talked our way into the evening. JW was once more our ever-generous and handsomest host who left nary a glass empty. After all, an empty glass is a sad glass and no one likes a sad glass. I know I don’t. You? That’s what I thought. Another feature Marc and I made sure not to neglect this brewmaster dinner was documenting the food and beer porn in picture. Flash flashed in hungry purpose amidst jovial banter while beers flowed and food tantalized.

I had a suspicion that this particular brewmaster dinner would be an experience where the sum of said parts would be better than said parts on their own.
I was right.
Remember how I mentioned that quite a few Magic Hat brews had passed these lips to face the critique of my curious tastebuds? While none inspired a fevered flush of beervanic proportions, neither were they drain pours of insipid mediocrity. They were good. If proffered I would gladly drink them, but as of yet I haven’t come across any I would actively pursue. There is always an exception though and for me twas the Summer Odd Notion Ginger Ale. She was one fine tasting ginger beer and a REAL ginger beer at that. You know, with barley, water, hops, yeast, and the addition of ginger all contributing to her fermentable bounty. But I digress and righteously so. As for the other half of the equation, the food too was a matter of much lively discussion: really good though not great with far less oohs, aahs, moans and groans of porno-track scintillation this time around. Despite their individual short-comings, together they turned into a complimentary interplay of sights, sounds, smells, and tastes.

Our evening got off to a successful start with introductions by Josh of Magic Hat and Town Crier’s chef-du-jour, George. And then it was onto our first dish, the Amuse Bouche, otherwise known in laymen’s terms as the appetizer.

Our amuse bouche was a citrus marinated ceviche the likes of which I hadn’t ever tasted and would happily taste over and over again. Snappily presented in martini glasses neither shaken nor stirred, I reveled in the unique additions of baby octopus (woohoo!), shrimp, scallops, and calamari. What I loved about this ceviche in particular was the unique choice of marinade they were cooked in. Oil based with herbs, a kiss of vinaigrette, and citrus oils (lemon particularly), she was sweet then zesty with herbs a gentle finish. Married with the tender seafood nibblies, they truly did melt in the mouth while the #9 provided playful sweetness up front with citrus bitterness in the back. If the ceviche had been a traditional citrus only base, the pairing would not have worked. Instead, Town Crier incorporated the flavor qualities of the #9 into the ceviche for a new twist on an old classic.

Our second course featured the scandalously controversial Wacko. Much like her namesake, this wacky ale features the addition of beet sugars. I am a fan of beets fresh, from a jar, in a can, or cooked to beetly perfection, but in a beer? The idea alone unfortunately taints many tasters’ minds to the undrinkable side of prejudice. I for one will taste anything once with an open mind and let my tastebuds do the rest. This resulted in a pleasantly enjoyable first date with Wacko just days before our second date at the brewmaster dinner. I looked forward to seeing how they would incorporate her light body dominated by fresh notes of pink grapefruit daintily dusted with sugar while lemon skins brought her to a crisp finish each and every quaff. Her partner in food? Enter the red beet infused Israeli couscous adorned with a pancetta wrapped sea prawn. Yum! The Israeli couscous was a special treat seeing as I have never savored such large couscous before. Cast aside your notions of the itsy-bitsy teensy-weensy for these are the size of pebbles with the ability to melt in your mouth as they did mine. The delicate flavors married well with the somewhat shocking pink-hued Wacko as I savored the sum thanks in large to the parts.

Yes, it’s going to be a trend. Accept it. Revel in it. Share it.

JW being the host with the mostest poured long and well. There was nary a parched throat at our table, indeed. By the way, he is my JW. You can’t have him. He’s all mine mine mine.

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Course number trois was in my nowhere near humble beer geek foodie opinion the best. Like a climax, she consumed me mind and body before slowly settling into sated contentment from there on forward. I am talking of the tenderly breaded ginger marinated grouper fingers paired with the Summer Odd Notion Ginger Ale. A golden orange with ginger hues, she was also the only Magic Hat beer tasted which I felt could stand on her own and stand on her own she did. I’d be proud to have this beer in my fridge on a regular basis anytime, any day, anywhere. The grouper fingers were golden brown on the outside and moist on the inside with just the right amount of tastebud tantalizing flesh to make this seafood fanatic quite happy. For those who have never had grouper before, it is a meatier fish for a fuller-bodied tasting experience. Accompanied by sweet potato chips and a ginger remoulade to die for that was used far too sparingly, the Ginger Ale had met her mate in a sensual tryst of earth-shaking proportions. The sparse garnishing of ginger remoulade was the only slight against this dish, a slight corrected by JW who brought a couple extra dipping cups brimming with this gingery nectar of the gods. How good? Let’s just say that long after the grouper fingers were snarfed, Linda wasted no time in shooting back the remoulade remains before I could. You go, girl!

Another interesting feature of the Magic Hat brewmaster dinner was in how the courses were presented. With the exception of the ceviche amuse bouche, each course was served family style with one large plate presented in the middle of the table to which we all then helped ourselves. Small plates were provided in continual accompaniment for the divvying of portions. Different and fun, it added a cozy communal feeling to the evening.

Moving onto the second to last course, I found my appetite still raring and my belly still with room to spare. All tasty burgundian pleasures in moderation I say, even if that sounds counterintuitive to the heart and soul of burgundism:
“the enjoyment of good food and good drink for the hearty indulgement of the self”

As our magic chicken coq au beer arrived, it was a bit difficult to distinguish where the chicken ended, potato croquettes began, and the carrots, bacon, and pearl onions were lost somewhere in presentation. A very monotone dish, she wasn’t much to look at but looks are only a part of the overall equation. To my snarfing delight, the potato croquettes were amazing. Breaded and battered, they had plenty of time to soak in the succulent juices of chicken and coq au beer before relinquishing their tasty fate to my eager palate. Absolutely lipsmackingtastic as attributed to my grunts of satisfaction. The chicken on the other hand tasted like, well, chicken. I have nothing against chicken having clucked more than my fair share, but there was something missing which I can’t quite put my tastebuds on. Thankfully the croquettes and coq au beer more than compensated for the chicken so all was still good in my burgundian world. Paired with the Magic Hat IPA On tour, each balanced quaff was lightly hopped but still crisp enough to cleanse my palate for each subsequent bite. On the flip side, though the IPA On Tour served to cleanse my palate well, she needed a bolder, hoppier profile to stand tall with the spices and a maltier backbone to parry the rich sauce.

Rounding the bend towards our inevitable conclusion, the ginger remoulade grouper fingers continued to give me pause for salivation. I know a beery course is truly tastetastic when weeks later she is still cause for fond remembrance. But for now, let’s talk about the fifth and final course which proved the least impressive of all.

The idea of fire-roasted peaches bring to mind rich caramelized flavors parried with spice and all of it stewing in juicy sticky sweet peaches still warm to the taste. Add some phyllo for wrapping, a dollop of Odd Notion #10 ice cream, and a final glass of #9 with her peachy essence to the overall picture and nothing but flavortastic magic should await. Unfortunately, I was let down both by the dish and the pairing. Magic Hat #9 shone with the amuse bouche but was at odds with the fire-roasted peaches which tasted neither fire-roasted nor peachy. The phyllo was dry while the ice cream didn’t know where it belonged. A trooper and professional, I nonetheless sent back to the kitchen a plate devoid of its previous contents. Unlike a certain table which sent back plates of food virtually untouched, Marc, Joe, Linda, and I happily cleared all courses in respectfully empty fashion.

With the brewmaster dinner officially completed, my tablemates and dear friends bid farewell and goodnight while I hung around to chat with my peeps Mike and Paula, the latter of which was also enjoying her birthday in jolly form. In sneaky-good natured mischief, Dave and I conspired to surprise Paula with a special birthday dessert to celebrate a good life living and loved ones past. While relaxing the night away, I also met a nice couple new to beer dinners who thoroughly enjoyed themselves much to my delight. Hopefully I will see then at more, but until then…

We three eventually had to bid farewell and goodnight ourselves. To Josh, Lauren, JW, Dave, and the fine staff of Town Crier Pub, thanks for yet another memorable evening to cherish long into my years. With pjs and bed calling, I hit the open road for a leisurely cruise home to hearth and cat for the conclusion to an evening well spent. Good night and good sleep.

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

Stoudt's Black Angus Restaurant & Pub

presenting...the Ultimate Bar-B-Que Sauce courtesy of Stoudts Brewing:
  • 12oz Stoudts American Pale Ale
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup sweet chili sauce
  • 1/4 cup whole grain mustard
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 5 cloves of freshly minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Cigar City Brew News

Some Favorites In Sight

Guava Grove?!
Yup, packaged bottles yesterday and draft coming soon. Marshal Zhukov is dominating 3 15 bbl fermenters right now, and will be leading the way into glass and kegs soon. Come check us out!



**so darn funny I simply can't bring myself to be offended...not that anyone ever sent me any mustards anyway ;_;**

A Public Apology: June 24th, 2010 from stonebrew on Vimeo.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Maui Brew News

**I so want Maui in Florida!! Congratulations!!**

Maui Brewing Co. Honored

Maui Brewing Co. (MBC) is proud to announce twelve recent honors. What a great start for "beer festival season" and testament that MBC continues to be Hawaii's #1 craft beer producer. At the 4th annual San Diego International Beer Competition, MBC won two medals: CoCoNut PorTer won a silver in the Spice/Herb/Vegetable category and Father Damien Abbey Ale took another award ... this time a bronze in the Belgian Strong Ale category. This year, the San Diego International Beer Festival will be held in Del Mar June 25 through June 27, 2010. This competition is "an opportunity for craft brewers to gain recognition for their skillfully crafted products in addition to exposing the public to this agriculturally and economically important craft product."

Abroad, in Melbourne, Australia, MBC received three medals at the Australian International Beer Awards (AIBA). Silver medals were awarded to Big Swell IPA (in the American-style Pale Ale category) and to Bikini Blonde Lager (in the European-style category. CoCoNut PorTer was honored with a bronze medal in the Herb & Spice category. Internationally the AIBA is recognized as a barometer of diversity in beer brewing across the world and is the largest showcase for premium beer and brewing excellence in the Asia Pacific Region. The AIBA has also been instrumental in helping to promote the Australian brewing and brewing-related industries internationally.

On June 5th, MBC was awarded three NABA medals. The North American Beer Awards is a unique event sanctioned by the North American Brewers Association. This competition, now in its 14th year, provides an opportunity for American beers to be judged against the best beers in the world. Maui Brewing Co.'s Father Damien Abbey Ale won a gold medal in category 19D, Belgian Dark Strong Ale; Big Swell IPA won a silver medal in category 6D, American Strong Pale Ale; and SmokeStack Lager won a bronze medal in category 18A/B, All Smoke Flavored Beers.

Four medals were awarded to MBC at the Los Angeles International Commercial Beer Competition in the following categories: Herb & Spice Beer (a gold to CoCoNut PorTer); Smoke Flavored Beer (a gold to Smoke Stack Lager); Specialty Honey Lager or Ale (a silver to Hula Honey); and Belgian-Style Abbey Ale (a bronze to Father Damien Abbey Ale).

Maui Brewing Co. is the only brewer and canner of craft beer in Hawaii as 100% of the beers are brewed and canned on Maui. Additionally, Maui Brewing Co. microbrews are officially Hawaii's #1 craft beer. With a strong commitment to the local economy, and deep concern for the environment, MBC microbrews are packaged with the most eco-friendly materials. Although cans and bottles are both recyclable, bottles still break and may pose a risk at beaches. The cans are manufactured on Oahu and designed by local Maui artists and have the added bonus of protecting the beer in the best possible manner, protecting our beers from both light and oxygen damage which can seriously compromise the taste. Plastic rings are dangerous to marine life and therefore, a unique, recyclable plastic carrying device is used to hold their products. The spent grain from beer production is donated to local ranchers for cattle feed and composting; and any cans damaged in production are donated to the Maui Humane Society. MBC purchased equipment from Maui Land & Pineapple, preserving a piece of Hawaii's canning history.

Founder Garrett Marrero and his wife, Melanie, run a 7-barrel brewpub at the Kahana location as well as the 25-barrel full production brewery and canning facility in Lahaina. Maui Brewing Co. is a truly local beer as 100% of their products are made in Hawaii as opposed to other "Hawaiian" beers.

Cigar City Brew News

Added Additional Taps in the Tasting Room

We just installed a new cold box with an additional 6 taps. Bringing our total number of faucets up to 14, with a few more (including a cask system) on the way. With more faucets comes a wider variety of beer. Currently on tap in the Tasting Room:
  • Jai Alai India Pale Ale
  • Maduro Oatmeal Brown Ale
  • Vanilla Maduro Brown Ale
  • Oatmeal Raisin Cookie
  • Cubano Espresso Brown Ale
  • 110K + OT batch #3: The Other West Coast IPA
  • Humidor Series: IPA
  • Humidor Series: Brown Ale
  • Humidor Series: Gruit

and for guest taps
  • Swamphead Cottonmouth Belgian Wit
  • Swamphead Stumpknocker Pale Ale

Also arriving late next week will be the Jai Alai IPA aged on White American Oak. Looking a litle further out you can anticipate some barrel aged Big Sound Scotch Ale. Joey stuffed some pecans into one barrel, and I dropped some cherry wood into the other one. Look for the side by side and and let your tongue decide. Which is better, the Sound of Big Nuts, or the Sound of Big Wood?

Stop in and visit us, have a beer, fill some growlers.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

brew clips

For the Love of Beer Trailer from Grayson Productions on Vimeo.

WOB Viera News

Soccer Pick'em Challenge Update!
Get ready to go head to head with your local competition to win in-store local prizes for each round of the knock out stage. When you login to make your picks for the knock out stage (available as soon as teams are announced), confirm your favorite WOB location so we know where you want to compete. Whoever make the most correct picks from that location in the Round of 16, Quarter Finals, and Semi Finals will be able to come in during the next round to instantly receive their local prize, and of course, bragging rights for the week! If there is a tie for the round, the prize will be awarded to the three tied contestants with the highest overall scores. Click here for more information about the Pick'em Challenge and your chance to win $200 in gift cards.

We are opening at 9:30 am everyday till June 29th to bring you all the world cup games. We will have 3 drafts half off along with special bottle promotions through out the month.We have partnered up Panara Bread for 2 for one breakfast sandwiches. Ask your bartender or server for details. Come and hang out with us till July 11th. USA has advanced and this Saturday June 26, at 2 pm come watch the game with us. We have had great crowds and it's a lot of fun. Stop by and cheer on our team. Don't forget to bring your vuvuzela. GO USA!

Mead 101!
Tuesday, June 29th, at 5 pm learn how to make a no-boil Mead Two of our expert customers, Ron and Paula Sup, have volunteered to come out and demonstrate how to make this wonderful beverage. It's easy and it's fun. See you there!

Customer Appreciation!
This Sunday, June 27th we will be grilling chicken, hamburgers and hot dogs for all our great customers. It starts at 2 pm. While you are there, congratulate David E. for making it to the status of "beer god" for reaching 500 loyalty points. Come out and grab a beer, food and hang out with us.

Bar Maintenance!
Sunday, June 27th we will be closing early at 12 am to do maintenance on our bar top. We apologize for the inconvenience. But we will be open for all you soccer fans at 9:30 so you can catch more of the second round.

New Bottles
  • Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier, 4.3% (Germany)
  • Brooklyn Sorachi Ace, 7.6% (New York)
  • Flensburger Pilsner, 4.8 % (Germany)
  • Giradin Gueuze Black Label, 5% (Belgium)
  • Great Divide Samurai, 5.1% (Colorado)
  • Schneider-Brooklyner Hopfen-Weisse, 8.2% (Germany)
  • Weihenstephaner Vitus, 7.7% (Germany)

New Drafts
  • Holy Mackerel Golden Ale, 8.5% (Florida)
  • Newcastle Summer Ale, 4.4% (England)
  • Red Brick Summer Brew, 7.1% (Georgia)
  • Shipyard Barly Wine, 8.5% (Maine)
  • Shipyard Summer Ale, 5.1% (Maine)
  • Sierra Nevada Summerfest, 5% (California)
  • Unibroue Maudite, 8% (Canada)

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

some brews to look forward to...

**I know I'll be looking forward to them. The new SN 30th Anniversary should be here sooner with the Stone 14th being later.**

Photobucket Photobucket

Maui Brew News

Join us at Pizza Port! for Maui Brewing Co. Nights

Wednesday, June 23, 2010 Pizza Port OB
1956 Bacon St. ~ Ocean Beach, CA 92107
Starting at 5:00pm
CoCoNut PorTer on draft! Bikini Blonde, Big Swell IPA, and Coconut Porter in cans Specials on each beer and Maui Brewing Co. logo pints.


Thursday June 24, 2010 Pizza Port Carlsbad
571 Carlsbad Village ~ Carlsbad, CA 92008
Starting at 5:00pm
CoCoNut PorTer on draft! Bikini Blonde, Big Swell IPA, and Coconut Porter in cans Specials on each beer and Maui Brewing Co. logo pints.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Brooklyn Brewery Night @ Vine & Barley

**There's no minute like last minute, but suffice to say I will be there...just not till around 7:30pm. Doesn't mean though that all my peeps and peepettes have to wait. 6pm it is!**



Sunday, June 20, 2010


A thanks to everyone who has made my life so wonderful in the last few years. And to my parents, for always standing by me for all these 32 wonderful years. Life's only getting better and more beery and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Yesh, life IS good.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Hoggie's Latest & Greatest

**In honor of the TASTY pilsner...**

BrewGrrs and Me

I’m not exactly a religious person nor am I skeptic to chance which seems more fate than circumstance. An open mind is an adventitious one in my humble experience. There goes a saying, or better yet a philosophy, along the lines of ‘there is no such thing as coincidence; there is only that which is inevitable.’ And so here I sit trying to put into words the swirling whirlwind of emotions coursing through my veins while filling my soul to overflowing.

For a young brat who used to call soda pop “beer” much to my parent’s occasional public embarrassment to drinking IBC Root Beer because it came in a brown glass bottle accompanied by a frosty mug much like the beer of which it bore a partial namesake to a very real family history of addictions, my life’s journey was always right under my feet. It just took a few years removed and a level state of mind to gather the firm footing and direction which inevitably follows.

Wherever there is good beer there I will be, invitation notwithstanding. And so it was that I found myself in festive style manning the Brooklyn/Sierra Nevada/Bells table at the Fest-of-Ales. Suffice to say, I rocked that table and many a tasteful beer was shared in good company amidst peeps and peepettes of diverse interests with one common goal: good beer. There was one particularly curious and excited couple who frequented my booth of beery bliss more than thrice. Come to find out as the evening waned amidst jovial conversation they were looking to open a new burger and beer joint in town. Amen, hallelujah, and peanut butter! With the festivities near close, the beaming young couple left armed with happy tastebuds and hopeful beer contacts. Little did I know that a new footing in my beery path had taken hold.

Coincidence? Fate? Inevitability?

There comes a time in one’s life where clarity of mind banishes all doubts, uncertainties, and hesitation as truth in purpose unfolds.
That moment is now.
That moment is BrewGrrs and me.
Funny thing about beer; it inevitably brings richness to one’s life not to be found anywhere else. A richness best shared as well as nurtured for in all souls there is kinship without barriers when gathered around a glass of tasty brew.

Family is both a place and a feeling; tangible and intangible in one singular moment. People, places, and relations are irrevocably precious. Time is irrelevant. There is now and tomorrow there will also be now. BrewGrrs is family. I wouldn’t say lost and then found but instead the inevitable brought to me by chance and circumstance to a place of belonging these eager feet are ready to tread.

Beer is my liquid passion. Food is my indulgent support. Together they are my burgundian mission I drink, eat, sleep, and dream about. We are going to rock the world in ways already imagined and in ways unimagined. Yet. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks out of the year it’s going to be a soulful journey starting with my hometown, Vero Beach, FL. That being said, I think I’ll have a beer and a burger. You?

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

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Terrapin Brew News

Side Projects Galore
Boom Shakalager hit shelves earlier this month as the eleventh volume of our Side Project Series. We made sure to use all German malts in this tantalizing Imperial Lager. Dry hopping with German Tettnanger hops adds a citrus flavor to its aggressive balance. Try a 22 oz. bottle of Boom Shakalager and you will uncover the real meaning behind this incredible name. Look out for Volume 12 of the Side Project Series, Hopzilla, later in August!

Gamma Ray on Monster Beer Tour
The Monster Beer Tour is about to heat up with the release of Gamma Ray later this month. Get a taste of this outrageous wheat beer loaded with Tupelo and Sourwood honeys from the Savannah Bee Company. Fans love this former side project for its explosive flavor and cellaring capabilities. Also, be sure to get the current installment on the Monster Beer Tour, Monk’s Revenge, while it lasts! Currently on shelves, this mix between a Belgian style tripel and new age American Double IPA is an experience you surely don’t want to miss!

Reunion '10: A Beer for Hope
The Reunion beers hold a special place in our hearts because they are brewed to raise funds for The Institute for Myeloma & Bone Cancer Research in the name of Virginia MacLean who died of Myeloma in 2007. This year's beer is Belgian-Style Scotch Ale with a deep amber color, rich malt palate and subdued hop notes in the finish. Profits fom this beer will be going towards cancer research and further donations can be made on the reunion beer website by clicking here.

Seasonal Sunray
The popular Sunray Wheat has recently moved to a seasonal selection to cool you off from the summer heat. Fill your palate with this German-style unfiltered wheat beer and enjoy the pleasant banana and sweet clove aroma with a clean and slightly tart finish. Sunray wheat is sure to have you relaxed in no time. Find it in 12-pack "All the Hits" variety pack and individual 6-packs.

1st Annual Hop Harvest Festival
If you have visited the brewery recently you may have seen our hops growing on the side of the building. This September, Terrapin invites you (and your friends and family!) to our 1st Annual Hop Harvest Festival. Join us for an evening filled with hops knowledge, harvesting, sampling and much much more! Stay tuned for more details!

Monstre Rouge and Reunion '10 Release Parties
Terrapin invites you to our upcoming release parties for the ’10 Reunion Beer for Hope, a Belgian Style Scotch Ale, and Monstre Rouge, a "Brewmaster’s Collaboration" with Terrapin’s Spike Buckowski and De Proef Brouwerij’s Dirk Naudts of Beligium. Join us in Athens, GA, Greenville, SC, and Durham, NC, to taste these limited editions.

Mythbusting Common Newbie Beer Gripes

**by no means is this copy&paste article of my own doing. to read/comment/observe the original post click here. because 5 main complaints or, as i interpret them, misunderstandings, of beer are highlighted i just had to put them on my blog.**

1. "There's too much head on the beer."
  • Caldwell: By pouring the beer with a bit of head, it's allowing the beer to release a lot more aromatics than if you poured it without. That is the biggest point I can make. When you are drinking a fine craft brew, you want to experience every bit of flavor you can, and to achieve have to have some head on your beer.
  • Perozzi: The perfect beer for this example is the Belgian Golden Ale Duvel. This beer is supposed to be poured with at LEAST two inches of head. The bubbles carry the aromatics and provide the exact balance that the brewer intends. If all that carbonation remained in the beer, it would explode in your mouth, and not in a good way. Sweeney: Getting beer with no head, although seems like you're getting a deal, is an indicator that the beer is either under carbonated, the beer lines pouring the beer are not clean, or the beer is infected in some way. Any of these three issues would mean you are not getting a good quality beer.

2. "This glass isn't frosted."
  • Caldwell: Frosted glasses are the enemy of craft beer. The whole purpose of the frosted glass is to serve the beer as cold as possible, which while refreshing, also numbs the palate so you can't taste it as much. Fine craft beers, however, often get better as they get warmer. Much like wine, they open up as they come up to temperature and are allowed to breathe. If you are buying a beer with a lot of flavor, you don't want to dull that flavor by serving it in a frosted glass. You want to allow the flavor to be at its best, and in many cases that's as it is allowed to warm.
  • Perozzi: The colder your beer is, the less you are going to taste it. So you don't necessarily want it served in a chilled ice cold glass, unless it's a crappy beer and you don't want to taste it. Or you're very very hot. Also, excess carbonation can occur in beer when it changes temperature rapidly. If you pour a 50-degree beer into a 35-degree glass you could have excess carbonation release that will leave your beer flat.
  • Sweeney: Have you ever seen that Coors commercial about the mountains turning blue when the beer is cold enough to drink, did that ever seem a bit odd to you? It should, because the colder that something is, the less you taste it. The less you taste something the harder it is to know if it is low quality or not. Now this works just fine for all American macro lagers, because the last thing they want you to think about is how bad tasting and low quality their beers actually are.

3. "Why such a small pour for higher alcohol content beer? What a ripoff."
  • Caldwell: A. There's only so much of the higher ABV beers your palate can handle. B. More importantly, it's a more responsible pour. The bar's job isn't to get you drunk. If anything, it's their job to stop you from getting too intoxicated. So if you look at it, you are getting wine strength beer and getting almost double the pour-size. Even with the higher cost of those beers it's still a steal when compared to wine as the prices are comparable. People need to understand that a pint of a higher ABV beer is like serving a person two to three beers at a time. Three pints of a high ABV beer can be the equivalent of serving nine "regular" beers.
  • Perozzi: Believe us when we tell you that you do not want 16 ounces or 20 ounces of high percentage beer at a time. In fact, many of these higher alcohol beers come in 11.2-ounce bottles, and sometimes even smaller. These kinds of beer aren't meant to be guzzled, they are meant to be cognac. Quality, not quantity.
  • Sweeney: In the same way you don't drink port wine in a pint glass, or even a red wine glass, you also don't pour high alcohol barley wines in a pint glass. This has to do with tradition and the strength of the beer. Any place that does not follow these rules probably has no clue of the beer they are serving nor do they want the hassle of multiple glasses, basically they are not doing the customer a favor, they are just too lazy to do the right thing.

4. "What's up with this girly tulip glass?"
  • Caldwell: Many of the breweries have their own glassware because it's the style that best presents their beer. Often, the type of glass has to do with how the carbonation is to be presented in their beer. Wide-mouth chalices allow the stronger carbonation to dissipate quicker allowing for a creamier body. Thin flutes (much like champagne flutes) hold the carbonation longer keeping the beers from getting too flat and syrupy. Tulip glasses vary in size and the width of the opening. More often than not, these tend to be the most aromatic beers. Much like a great burgundy glass, tulips really channel the aromatics to your nose allowing you the greatest ability to smell the beer and get the full effect of it. Unless a beer is meant for a chalice or flute, to me the tulip is the best all-purpose beer drinking glass. I wouldn't just drink Belgians in it. If I drink at home, I put almost everything in a tulip. IPA, Imperial Stout, Sours and Lambics, etc.
  • Perozzi: A chalice - like for Chimay - actually provides a big surface area so that carbonation can escape quickly, providing a different kind of balance. The glassware is there to provide you with the perfect beer tasting experience for that particular beer as prescribed by the brewer.
  • Sweeney: Having many glass style and shapes is the universal norm and the traditional way to serve beer. So when you go out to a bar and get a beer in a non-shaker glass, this is not some ploy or cost-cutting shenanigans, it is a bar or restaurant trying to do what's right and bring back beer tradition to a culture that has been dumbed down.

5. "This beer isn't cold enough."
  • Caldwell: This often comes up when referring to cask beer or "real ale." There is a big misconception that those beers, which are commonplace in the U.K., are served at room temperature. That's completely false. They are served at cellar temperature which is usually around 54-57F (12-14C). Also very similar in temp to proper red wine temps. Much of the fear of non-ice cold beer is that mass-produced BMC (Budweiser, Miller, Coors) types taste horrible as they get warmer. However, cask beers and real ale need to be slightly warmer so you can pick up all of the flavors. Too cold and you miss a lot of the nuances.
  • Perozzi: Basically lots of people are terrified of getting "room temperature" beer, especially when they think about English styles... but the truth is that it's not being served room temperature, it's being served at the correct temperature, not ice cold. We're so programmed by beer commercials (which hardly ever discuss the actual flavor in beer) that tell us that we have to drink ice cold beer, and that the bottle will change colors when its cold enough for us to drink. It's BS.
  • Sweeney: Different styles of beer are meant to be served at different temperatures, like white wine vs. red. An American macro lager is suggested to be near 30 degrees and maybe any lagers could be served as low as 38 degrees, but I think no beer you want to taste should be served under 40 degrees and higher alcohol beers should be served at high temperature getting up to 55 degrees.

WOB Viera News

WOB Cup Pick'em Challenge!
You can still register for the Pick'em challenge and have a chance to win up to $200 in gift cards. We are still opening at 7 am everyday till June 21st to bring you all the games. We have partnered up Panara Bread for 2 for one breakfast sandwiches. Ask your bartender for details. Come and hang out with us till July 11th. We will have 3 drafts half off along with special bottle promotions through out the month. Click here for more information about the Pick'em Challenge and your chance to win.
This Frday, June 18th is an exciting day for the World Cup At 10:00 am, USA vs. Slovenia and England vs. Algeria is playing at 2:30 pm. Should be a great day to have great beer with great games along with special beer promotions for each team! Click here for more information.

Mead 101!
Interested in Mead and want to learn how to make it? Tuesday, June 29th, two of our expert customers, Ron and Paula Sup, have volunteered to come out and demonstrate how to make this wonderful beverage. The class begins at 5 pm, so don't be late!

Another 500 loyalty member!
This Friday evening around 6 pm, we will have another loyalty member join the status of "beer god". Come out to congratulate Will J. on this amazing acheivement. He joins David E. in this exclusive club. It's not too late to join the loyalty membership. For more information on how to get started click here or ask your server.

Customer Appreciation!
Did you mark your calendar for our Customer Appreciation day? Sunday, June 27th we will be pulling out the barbecues again to show you how much we appreciate all our customers. Also that day we will be celebrating David E. for making it to the status of "beer god" for reaching 500 loyalty points. Come out and grab a beer, food and also congratulate David for his tremendous effort.

New Bottles
  • Brewdog Punk IPA, 6% (Scotland)
  • Cigar City Jai Alai Humidor, 7.5% (Florida)
  • Kalik Gold, 5% (Bahamas)
  • Southampton Cuvee des Fleurs, 7.7% (New York)
  • Unibroue Terrible, 10.5% (Canada)

New Drafts
  • New Castle, 5% (England)
  • Red Brick Summer Brew, 7.1% (Maine)
  • Shipyard Barley Wine, 8.5% (Maine)
  • Southampton Keller Pils, 5% (New York)

Live Music This Week
  • Thursday - Matt Adkins & Jay Dibella
  • Friday - Christian Wilson Duo
  • Saturday - Iris

Ballast Point Brew News

Thursday marks the return of a dear old friend. Dorado Double IPA will be on tap at both of our brewery locations! Piney, resinous, bitter, hoppy and delicious, just like you remember. We brewed up a small batch that will be available at the brewery only. If you want to drink this one, you have to come visit us. Remember, this weekend is Father's Day. Dads are notorious for liking beer and what better way to make the old man happy than with the gift of local brew, or gear from your local brewery. Anyone interested in being the favorite son or daughter need look no further than Ballast Point!


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

238 Bottles of Beer on the Wall...

So… I said that after finishing the book 1001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die that I would then in turn note what beers I have tasted so far. After all, what’s a bucket list without some check-marks, right? Add to that if I haven't tried it yet, I will, and so without further ado…

*in no certain denominational order*

  1. Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen
  2. Anchor Steam Beer
  3. Arrogant Bastard Ale
  4. Bells Amber Ale
  5. Brooklyn Lager
  6. Two Brothers Cane and Ebel
  7. Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale
  8. Avery Collaboration Not Litigation
  9. Oskar Blues Dales Pale Ale
  10. Rogue Dead Guy Ale
  11. Two Brothers Domaine DuPage
  12. Dos Equis XX Amber
  13. Weyerbacher Double Simcoe
  14. Lost Coast Downtown Brown
  15. Avery Ellie’s Brown Ale
  16. New Belgium Fat Tire Amber Ale
  17. Fish Tale Leviathan
  18. Flying Fish Belgian-style Dubbel
  19. Fullers ESB
  20. Fullers London Pride
  21. Fullers Vintage Ale
  22. Greene King Abbot Ale
  23. St. Bernardus Grottenbier
  24. Great Divide Hercules Double IPA
  25. Great Divide Hibernation Ale
  26. Hitachino Nest XH
  27. Wychwood Hobgoblin
  28. Avery Hog Heaven
  29. Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye
  30. La Binchoise Speciale Noel (Reserve Speciale)
  31. Lagunitas Maximus IPA
  32. Left Hand Sawtooth Ale
  33. Troegs Mad Elf Ale
  34. Avery Maharaja Imperial IPA
  35. Maredsous 10
  36. Unibroue Maudite
  37. Meantime IPA
  38. Big Skye Moose Drool Brown Ale
  39. Negra Modelo
  40. Newcastle Brown Ale
  41. Caracole Nostradamus
  42. De Dolle Oerbier Special Reserva (2004)
  43. Full Sail Old Boardhead Barleywine 2008
  44. Rogue XS Old Crustacean (ceramic flip-top)
  45. Anchor Old Foghorn
  46. North Coast Old Stock Ale
  47. Shipyard Old Thumper Extra Special Ale
  48. Orval
  49. Palm Amber
  50. Paulaner Salvator
  51. Pauwel Kwak
  52. Moorehouse’s Pendle Witches Brew
  53. Brouwerij Van Steenberg Piraat
  54. Orkney Red MacGregor
  55. Schmaltz He’Brew Rejewvenator
  56. The Bruery Saison Rue
  57. Samichlaus Bier
  58. Samuel Adams Boston Lager
  59. Samuel Adams Double Bock
  60. Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale
  61. Samuel Smith’s Old Brewery Pale Ale
  62. Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine-style Ale
  63. Sierra Nevada Harvest Chico Estate
  64. Orkney Skull Splitter
  65. Thomas Hardy’s Ale (O’Hanlon’s)
  66. Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA
  67. Urthel Samaranth Quadrium
  68. Victory Hop Devil
  69. Wells Bombardier
  70. Westvleteren Abt 12
  71. Samuel Smith Yorkshire Stingo
  72. Magic Hat #9
  73. Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
  74. Achel Blonde 8*
  75. Allagash Tripel
  76. Bitburger Premium Beer
  77. Harvieston Bitter & Twisted
  78. Capital Brewery Blonde Doppelbock
  79. Brasserie Dupont Avec Les Bons Voeux
  80. Brooklyn Local 1
  81. Budweiser Budvar
  82. Budweiser
  83. Chimay Triple/Chimay Cenq Cents
  84. Coopers Sparkling Ale
  85. Corsendonk Agnus Tripel
  86. Allagash Curieux
  87. Cusquena
  88. Delirium Tremens
  89. Deus
  90. Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold
  91. Duvel
  92. Estrella Damm
  93. Gouden Carolus Hopsinjoor
  94. Rogue Juniper Pale Ale
  95. La Rulles Estivale
  96. Lagunitas Pils
  97. Anchor Liberty Ale
  98. Malheur 10
  99. Malheur Biere Brut
  100. Goose Island Matilda
  101. Brasserie Dupont Moinette
  102. Jolly Pumpkin Oro de Calabaza
  103. Pabst Blue Ribbon
  104. Pilsner Urquell
  105. BrewDog Punk IPA
  106. Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA
  107. Red Stripe
  108. Reissdorf Kolsch
  109. Saint Somewhere Saison Athene
  110. Brasserie Dupont Saison Dupont
  111. Boulevard Smokestack Saison with Brett
  112. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
  113. Singha
  114. Clipper City Small Craft Warning
  115. St.-Ambroise Pale Ale
  116. St. Bernardus Tripel
  117. De Dolle Stille Nacht (2004)
  118. Stone IPA
  119. Stone Ruination IPA
  120. Stoudts Pils
  121. Terrapin Rye Pale Ale
  122. Brouwerij Bosteels Tripel Karmeliet
  123. Bells Two Hearted
  124. Eggenberg Urbock 23*
  125. Victory Golden Monkey
  126. Victory Prima Pils
  127. Westmalle Trappist Tripel
  128. Brouwerij de Ranke XX Bitter
  129. Zywiec Lager
  130. Ayinger Ur-Weisse
  131. Unibroue Blanche de Chambly
  132. Blue Moon
  133. Brooklyner-Schneider Hopfen-Weisse
  134. Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse
  135. Three Floyds Gumballhead
  136. 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon Wheat
  137. Hitachino Nest White Ale
  138. Hoegaarden
  139. Flying Dog In-Heat Wheat
  140. Konig Ludwig Weissbier Hell
  141. De Proefbrouwerij La Grande Blanche
  142. The Bruery Orchard White
  143. Sierra Nevada Kellerweis Hefeweizen
  144. Southampton Double White
  145. St. Bernardus Wit - Pierre Celis Signature Selection
  146. Boulevard Two Jokers Double Wit
  147. Widmer Hefeweizen
  148. Lost Abbey 10 Commandments
  149. Deschutes The Abyss
  150. Anchor Porter
  151. Schneider-Sohn Aventinus
  152. Schneider-Sohn Aventinus Weizen-Eisbock
  153. Baltika 6
  154. Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout
  155. Saranac Black Forest
  156. Full Sail Black Gold Bourbon Imperial Stout
  157. Goose Island Bourbon County Stout
  158. North Coast Brother Thelonious
  159. Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock
  160. Chimay Grande Reserve/Blue
  161. D. Carnegie & Co. Porter (2004)
  162. Haand Bryggeriet Dark Force
  163. Three Floyds Dark Lord
  164. Dogfish Head World Wide Stout
  165. Stoudts Fat Dog Stout
  166. Magic Hat Feast of Fools
  167. Founders Breakfast Stout
  168. Fullers London Porter
  169. Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter
  170. Gouden Carolus Classic
  171. Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter
  172. Guinness
  173. Gulden Draak
  174. Harveys Imperial Extra Double Stout
  175. Highland Oatmeal Porter
  176. Kostritzer Schwarzbier
  177. Krusovice Cerne
  178. Left Hand Milk Stout
  179. Malheur 12
  180. Maredsous 8
  181. Meantime London Porter
  182. Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast
  183. Moorehouse’s Black Cat
  184. Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout
  185. O’Hara’s Irish Stout
  186. Harvieston Old Engine Oil
  187. North Coast Old No. 38 Stout
  188. North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout
  189. Ommegang Abbey Ale
  190. Spaten Optimator
  191. BrewDog Rip Tide
  192. Three Floyds Robert the Bruce
  193. Rogue Mocha Porter
  194. Samuel Smiths Imperial Stout
  195. Samuel Smiths Taddy Porter
  196. Rogue Shakespeare Stout
  197. St. Bernardus Abt 12
  198. Stone Smoked Porter
  199. Greene King Strong Suffolk Vintage Ale
  200. Unibroue La Terrible
  201. Trappistes Rochefort 10
  202. Traquair Jacobite Ale
  203. Unibroue Trois Pistoles
  204. Abita Turbodog
  205. Victory Storm King Imperial Stout
  206. Rogue XS Imperial Stout (ceramic flip-top)
  207. Yuengling Porter
  208. Lost Abbey Angel’s Share Bourbon
  209. Jolly Pumpkin Bam Biere
  210. Bells Cherry Stout
  211. Cantillon Lou Pepe
  212. Maui Coconut Porter
  213. Russian River Consecration
  214. Brouwerij Verhaughe Vichte Duchesse de Bourgogne
  215. Unibroue Ephemere (Apple)
  216. Williams Brothers Brewing Fraoch Heather Ale
  217. Brouwerij Girardin Gueuze 1882
  218. Southern Tier Imperial Pumking
  219. New Belgium Lips of Faith La Folie
  220. Jolly Pumpkin La Roja
  221. Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes L’Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien
  222. Mamma Mia! Pizza Beer
  223. Dogfish Head Midas Touch
  224. Harvieston Ola Dubh 30 (also 16 & 40)
  225. Anchor Our Special Ale
  226. BrewDog Paradox Smokehead
  227. BrewDog Paradox Arran
  228. Russian River Pliny the Elder
  229. Dogfish Head Raison D’Etre
  230. Rodenbach
  231. Rodenbach Grand Cru
  232. Samuel Adams Utopias (2007 & 2009)
  233. Russian River Supplication
  234. Russian River Temptation
  235. Ommegang Three Philosophers
  236. Wells Banana Bread Beer
  237. New Glarus Wisconsin Belgian Red
  238. Birrifico Baladin Xyauyu (Copper)

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

The Irony of Inconsistency

Thanks to innumerable factors in the last century or so, the beauty of inconsistency has been lost to a whole generation of women and men. Industrialization, prohibition, world wars, factories, supermarkets, television, technology, marketing…to name a few have contributed singularly and mutually to this phenomenon of homogeny. That’s not to say there haven’t been truly positive outcomes, but at what price?

When I speak of inconsistency, I speak of the positive attributes of artistry, individuality, terroir, seasons, imagination, inspiration…also to name a few. Unfortunately for today, inconsistency has been wrongly construed to signify inferiority, defectiveness, and at the very lowest, worthlessness. After all, this great society of ours is all that much better because of all the innovators of the last century or so moving humanity into the modern age of reason and intellect, wealth and power, status and fame. If one doesn’t have at least one of these, preferably all of them, they are weak, a failure to their community and the world at large. They cannot conform to the almighty standard that has been established by, well, people. What people and why? To whose benefit, really? The many or the few? The singularly unique or the mass-marketed mundane?

I say we need a balance of both, but the unfortunate truth is that right here, right now, the heavy-handed machine of largesse is smothering the beauty of individual artistry.

As a beer geek of burgundian girth, this unfortunate conundrum is as pertinent to my world as it is to all aspects of our world. By its own definition artistry is “artistic quality or ability” which in turn personifies “one who practices an imaginative art, especially one who creates objects of beauty” and last but certainly not least, “one who is adept at something”. Artistry and individuality go hand-in-hand in the fermenting world of craft beers (I’ll save the food for another day) that myself and hundreds of thousands of millions of women and men are rediscovering with celebratory gusto. I want unique. I want different. I want change, ingenuity, daring, adventure, disaster, rebirth, terroir, invention, and the overall beauty of the minutiae. I want a personal touch, the human story, the very real connection between the brewer and me, the consumer. I strive for understanding and a never-ending broadening of my burgundian girth. I value honesty and respect, humility with pride. I appreciate a tender touch, conscious stewardship, and an awareness of the world around us.

With each heartbeat, each breath, and each sip, I am celebrating the lost art of inconsistency. So where is the irony? Well, surprisingly (or maybe not so much) within my own craft beer community. Remember, I’m not talking about bad beer because bad is just that, bad. The heart of my musings is the duopoly we sometimes view our small craft sisters and brothers with. If the true art of brewing beer is a melodious marriage of earth, man, and inspiration, than it is safe to say that there will be some variance despite and in spite of our modern advances. Saison, Biere de Garde, Lambic, Flemish reds, old ales, Barleywines, and fresh hopped beers are some of my favorite and also some of the most inconsistent. Their tasty inconsistency only endears their liquid bounty ever closer to my heart, and I’m not the only one.

Nor do they have to be wildly inspired beers. Brewers whim, ingredient changes, seasons, yeast, bottle size, production…all these wonderful variables go into bringing to my glass and my eager palate a different beer of equally tastetastic standings. Different isn't bad; different is just different. Everything else is a perspective of personal taste and opinion. Don’t lament when there is so much more to celebrate. As much as I enjoy the stalwart consistency of such beers as Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Anchor Porter, and Brooklyn Lager, so too do I enjoy the playful inconsistency of such beers as Samuel Adams Boston Lager (which Jim Koch has been tweaking since day one), Saison DuPont, New Belgium La Folie (had a fresh bottle last night and twas wonderful), Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, and so many more.

Beyond your national favorites, there are your brewpubs and nanobreweries that aren’t afraid to mix it up a little bit or a lot. When I start homebrewing I don’t expect all my batches to always be consistent, even when working with the same recipe. I’m a bird of inspiration carried by the winds of curiosity with destination unknown a distant horizon to explore with verve and funk. Sure there will be bad batches here and there, but the rest is up to creative inconsistency and a wee bit of chance.

I don’t believe brewers who truly love their craft and the community it encompasses will ever let a bad batch reach these coveted lips. But do I expect brewers everywhere to stop what they are doing because someone somewhere missed the irony of inconsistency boat? Absolutely not. Brewing is an art which happens to occasionally utilize science for the sake of supporting said art. Macro brewing is the polar opposite where the heart and soul of uniquely artistic brews were ripped out long ago and replaced with the heartless homogeny of cold steel. Calculable and one-dimensional, those pastures have long since been barren.

Verily and thirstily, I will take my brews day in and day out from the women and men who live their passion in every batch nurtured and every pint savored. Dedication, respect, and inspiration in a mutually restorative relationship which celebrates the infinitely inconsistent wonders of my life, one beer at a time, till death do us part.

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

Cigar City Brew News


The Rare Beer of the Month Club: Humidor IPA

The Rare Beer of the Month Club - Our Jai Alai Cedar Aged Humidor Series India Pale Ale was recently featured (and I am told very well received) in The Rare Beer Club, generating more reorders than any beer featured in the past six months! Read the full Rare Beer Club Review.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

3rd Annual Treasure Coast Beer Fest *update*

Got some more information to share regarding the up&coming 2010 Treasure Coast Beer Fest in Fort Pierce, FL.

Tickets are OFFICIALLY on sale now. Click HERE and you will be taken to the ticket sales part of the homepage for TCBF. Just like last year, there are two different options:
  • the drinker
  • the designated driver

I am proud to say that last year we had tons of festive fun without the obnoxiously drunken and disorderly. We are a beer tasting fest. We are NOT a drunk fest. Please keep this in mind as you taste your way through the 3rd and definitely not the last Treasure Coast Beer Fest. Prost!

See you there!!!

Cigar City Brew News

NoHo Bistro Beer and BBQ Dinner

BBQ and Beer Tasting Thursday, June 17
5-Course Menu: Hosted by Justin Clark with Florida Micro Beverage
$30 per person

  1. Plantain Bite with Spicy Sauce - Surprise Beer from Cigar City Brewing
  2. Caramelized Onion Braid - New England Brewing Co. Atlantic Amber
  3. Thai Chicken Lollipops with BBQ Corn & Chipotle Butter – Cigar City Brewing Jai Alai IPA
  4. BBQ Pork Roll with Cole Slaw - Lagunitas The Hairy Eyeball Ale
  5. The NoHo Ho-Ho Cake - New Belgium 1554 Black Ale

The NoHo Bistro and Catering
1714 N Armenia Ave.
Tampa, FL 33607
w - 813-514-0691

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Menu ~ French Quarter Beer Dinner

It is with much thirsty and hungry anticipation that I present to you, my beer peeps and peepettes, the official beer & food pairings for the Beer Dinner at The French Quarter in Downtown Vero Beach, FL.

First Course:
  • Ale Steamed Mussels ~ PEI mussels steamed in Bells Oberon with garlic, herbs, diced tomato, and a touch of cream.
  • Bells Oberon ~ a gentle summer wheat beer with freshly squeezed notes of oranges, harvested wheat, and playful spice.

Second Course:
  • Braised Leg of Duck and Scallops ~ served with creamy garlic mash, green beans, and raspberry jus.
  • The Bruery Saison Rue ~ bottle-conditioned and featuring rye for a playful interplay of spice with peach and apricot skins while offering up tastefully rustic notes of cracked pepper, hearty breads, and the golden bounty of earth's seasons.

Third Course:
  • Warm Chocolate Walnut Pound Cake ~ served with cappuccino ice cream and mango sauce.
  • Young's Double Chocolate Stout ~ this decadently creamy English stout will seduce you with gentle notes of melted rich chocolates, vanilla bean, and cream with a soft dry finish.

How do you ensure a spot at this fabulous beer dinner, the first of hopefully more to come at The French Quarter? I can't do a beer dinner without you, my wonderful posse of diverse beer lovers and foodie fanatics so make sure I see you there!

Date: June 16th, 2010
Time: 5pm-9pm
RSVP: YES!!! 772-770-4870 ~ looking to cap out at 35 people so call and reserve sooner than later. you can RSVP for any time between 5pm and 9pm.
Cost: $29.95



**thanks and Brewers Association**

SAVOR Highlights Craft Beer & Food Pairing Trend 06.09.10 Brewers Association Launches
"30 Pairings in 30 Days"

Boulder, CO • June 9, 2010 From all levels of the culinary world, a revolution is brewing: pairing food with craft beer. With the United States now boasting more than 1,500 breweries—the highest number since the pre-Prohibition era—the choice and diversity of craft beer has propelled increased interest in cooking with beer and pairing it with food. This trend was apparent this past Saturday, June 5, when 2,000 beer enthusiasts and 70 craft breweries descended on Washington, D.C., for the sold-out SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience.

An online extension of SAVOR, 30 Pairings in 30 Days, launched today on This month-long daily feature will highlight craft beer and food pairings from SAVOR, helping beer lovers discover new ways to enjoy their styles of choice at home. "It’s exciting to watch today’s small and independent craft brewers help reclaim beer’s place at the dinner table, from restaurants to kitchens across America. Plain and simple, when it comes to pairing with food craft beer picks up where wine leaves off by both complementing and contrasting, and the food world is beginning to take notice," stated Julia Herz, spokesperson for the Brewers Association.

Of the 35 sweet and savory appetizers paired with 140 craft beers at SAVOR, some of the favorites, as found by a post-event poll conducted by the Brewers Association, include (in no particular order):
  • Brown's Brewing Whiskey Porter with Maytag Blue Cheese
  • Florida Beer Co. IPA Paired with Buffalo Chili with Mini-Cheddar Chive Biscuit
  • SweetWater Brewing Co. BSP Belgian Quad with Oatmeal Stout Chocolate Truffles
  • The Bruery Coton with Salted Dark Chocolate Caramel Truffles

Consumers are invited to learn more about the dynamic world of craft beer at

WOB Viera News

World Cup Bracket Challenge!
You can register NOW for the bracket challenge and have a chance to win up to $200 in gift cards. We are opening early Friday, June 11th at 10 am, Saturday, June 12th and Sunday, June 13th at 7 am so you can get great beer and watch the games with other fans. Come and hang out with us all month from June 11th to July 11th. We will have 3 drafts half off along with special bottle promotions through out the month. Click here for more information about the bracket challenge and your chance to win.

Southampton Brew Party!
It's another great brew party this Tuesday, June 15th. Southampton Brewery from New York will be here all evening. We will have another great line up of kegs and bottles. For every Southampton beer you purchase you will receive a raffle ticket for a chance to win a basket of beer.

Customer Appreciation!
Sunday, June 27th we will be pulling out the barbecues again to show you how much we appreciate all our customers. Also that day we will be celebrating David E. for making it to the status of beer god for reaching 500 loyalty points. Come out and grab a beer, food and also congratulate David for his tremendous effort.

New Bottles
  • Aecht Schlenkeria Rauchbier Wheat, 5.2% (Germany)
  • Aecht Schlenkeria Urbock, 6.5% (Germany)
  • Dogfish Head Festina Peche, 4.4% (Delaware)
  • Meantime IPA, 7.5% (England)
  • Meantime London Porter, 6.5% (England)
  • Oskar Blues Gubna, 10% (Colorado)

New Drafts
  • Fort Collins Common Ground, 5.6% (Colorado)
  • Fort Collins Spring Bock, 6.3% (Colorado)
  • He'Brew Rejewvenator, 8% (New York)
  • Lagunitas Undercover Shutdown, 9.7% (California)
  • Old Speckled Hen 5.1% (England)
  • Weyerbacher KilItalico, 5.7% (Pennsylvania)

Live Music This Week
  • Thursday - Greg Vadimsky
  • Friday - C-Lane & Beav
  • Saturday - Billy Chapman

Orlando Brewing Brew News

Monday, June 14th: Flag Day
Veterans Drink for Free at Orlando Brewing!
Celebrate the flag of the greatest country in the world by flying it proudly. If your flag is old, faded & torn and in need of an appropriate retirement, the Boy Scouts are the only nationally chartered organization that can retire flags. Orlando Brewing is a year-round drop off point for local Boy Scout troops that can respectfully retire flags.

Saturday, June 19th @ 4pm to midnight:
Orlando Brewing's Brew-N-Groove Music Festival
$8 Tickets In Advance / $12 Tickets Day of Event
Live performances by:
Johnny Bulford, Matt Butcher, More than Planes, Hadley's Hope, Jim Seem, and Six String Recovery!
Local Art and Food Vendors will be on-site.
If you're interested in being a vendor at this event, please e-mail

Maui Brew News

Aloha friends!

Come by our booth at SALUTE! on Saturday, June 19, 2010 for a taste of our authentic, Hawaiian, handcrafted microbrews: Big Swell IPA, Bikini Blonde Lager and Coconut Porter (Zane Lamprey, from "Three Sheets" on the Travel Channel, is a big fan of this one!) This is our first appearance at an event in Ventura County! Sample finely crafted beer and food while you help a worthy cause! 100% of the proceeds from this event benefit Food Share.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the event site directly at:

We look forward to seeing you!
Okole maluna!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Simple Sustainability

**I must say, fanfreakingtastic! Makes me feel guilty for my drive to and from work every day -.- If they ever finish the construction on US1 I may just be able to do this some day. At the very least, inbetween the rainy days...this if FL after all. Pedal on Marty, pedal on.**

Have Keg, Will Pedal from marty benson on Vimeo.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Beer Dinner @ The French Quarter

**I should have the last few details very very soon, especially in regards to the specific dishes. In the meantime, I have enough information that I can get out to all my beer peeps and peepettes to start the anticipatory drooling. Stay tuned to my blog and my FB page for more details. Of course, I'll be the beer hostess so with great food, good service, and good beers, you can't go wrong.**

Date: June 16th, 2010
Time: 5pm-9pm ~ once you rsvp you can show up anytime between for a fun casual dining experience so give your name, have a seat, relax, and flag down yours truly for some beer chat and good times.
RSVP: YES!!! 772-770-4870 ~ looking to cap out at 35 people so call and reserve sooner than later
Cost: $29.95
Courses: 3 ~ appetizer, main, dessert
Beers: Bells Oberon, The Bruery Saison Rue, Youngs Double Chocolate Stout (in order of courses)
Dress: casual nice

Flying Fish Brew News

The fifth stop on our trip to explore New Jersey takes us to an area that puts the green in the Garden State. This part of Burlington County was settled in 1624 by Dutch Walloons (now Belgians) whose first order of business was to build a fort and then a tavern. The area has always had a rich agricultural heritage and we're using locally grown rye as an appreciation of our farmers past and present. Exit 6 is a deceptively simple recipe pale malt augmented by 20 percent rye, fermented with a classic Belgian yeast. But then it gets interesting with the hops: English East Kent Goldings, Slovenian Styrian Goldings and Japanese Sorachi Ace. The result is a rich saffron color with a spicy character from the rye and lemony citrus notes from the unique Sorachi Ace hops. Since this beer is being released during Philly Beer Week, we've made it a collaboration beer with Ric Hoffman from Stewart's in Bear, DE and Gordon Grubb from Nodding Head in Philadelphia. The beer just started shipping so look for it hitting your local store in the next week or two.

The June 26 festival will be on the deck of the Battleship New Jersey under a tent where it's nice & dry--and with a great view! Taste the fine and fun offerings from 14 great NJ breweries in a family friendly environment. Easy to get to from public transit or driving. Tickets are $40 (includes tasting glass and self-guided tour of the ship) and can be purchased online. Attendance is limited to 750 lucky people -- half the tickets are already sold. Live music. Food available for purchase. For more information head to, or

So big, this week requires 10 days to fit in all the events. Lots of new stuff this year. Stay up to date at
There's a really cool iPhone app too.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Hoggie's Latest & Greatest

**I must agree. The Wild Devil is IS the best Victory beer I have tasted to date.**

BEERflections ~ Rogue Tasting @ Hurricanes of Vero Beach

I’ll be the first to profess that Rogue hasn’t always been my favoritest of breweries. Granted, I don’t exactly play favorites in the artisanal beer world nor do I want to. Why? All it would serve is to limit my choices instead of expanding them. And so it was with eager arms I embraced the latest and greatest of beer tasting events at Hurricane Grille & Wings of Vero Beach, FL. The star for a day? Rogue Brewing out of Newport, Oregon.

Rogue has quite the accomplished pedigree with more than their fair share of medals to show for it. Most recently Rogue has expanded their craft portfolio to include a limited range of small batch spirits: Dark Rum, Dead Guy Whiskey, White Rum, Hazelnut Spice Rum, Pink Gin, and Spruce Gin. I have yet to taste any of them but will do so with an open mind and curious palate. Yay-sayers and nay-sayers are not me; my palate alone shall speak for my taste of view.

Speaking of which, let’s talk about the brewery side of Rogue. With a tagline the likes of “Rogue Nation – Dare. Risk. Dream.” one would expect a brewing pedigree of diverse proportions…they would be right. Besides a solid year-round lineup, Rogue pushes the envelope with big beers and a marketing ethos which can be somewhat commercial if not successful. Rereleasing old brands under new labels, changing package designs, and other such tricks of the marketing world have been a prickly point of contention between Rogue and the beer geeks and geekettes who drink them. I tend to have more relaxed reservations but not so that Wednesday night of May 19th, 2010 at Hurricanes.

Wednesday night there was nary a bad Rogue brew in sight. In fact, the least favorite and most ridiculed Juniper Pale Ale I found to be tastefully intricate and artfully floral. That’s alright; more for me. To borrow another brewery’s tagline, I tend to not float the mainstream anyway. Besides the Juniper Pale Ale, there was also the quintessential Dead Guy Ale along with the American Amber Ale, Hazelnut Brown Nectar, and St. Rogue Red Ale.

This particular tasting was executed with even more purpose and organization than previously. Howard and staff along with Tim and Ron of JJTaylor took us to the next level of beer connoisseurship. And why not. I know firsthand that my diverse posse of beer peeps is ready and raring. All attendees received an informational packet they got to keep which consisted of five individual pages chock full of in-depth fun-filled details exploring each of the five individual Rogue beers being tasted. Adding to the overall experience, the beers were smartly tasted in order of least complex to most complex. A two hour casual affair, the patrons were given ample time inbetween each beer to smell, sup, savor, and discuss their thoughts on the beers. While I weaved amongst the tables myself inbetween relaxing with my personal posse of Rob, Cathie, Sam, Randy, Harry, Rebecca, Gary, and many more ohmy, the air was abuzz with excitement while warm fuzzies filled my being.

More packed for this tasting than all previous tastings to date, the festivities stretched from the inside out to their wonderfully tiki-inspired deck. Hurricanes of Vero Beach may be in the old Publix plaza off 15th and US Highway 1, but when nestled in the back where palm trees surround and fronds flutter, the blaring of horns melt away while tropical fancies happily run amuck. Being so superbly attended, I was most pleased to see old favorites along with a generous helping of faces that were new to the Hurricanes beer tasting experience. All in all, a good 2/3 if not more of all peeps from 7pm-9pm and beyond were there to taste Rogue beers, snarf finger-licking food and have a grand ol’ time.

Hurricane’s may sport a culinary portfolio that expands beyond wings, but wings are my soft spot (one of many actually but I digress). There is still a long road ahead of me before I taste my way through at least the first three categories with maybe a bit of dabbling in the fourth and fifth categories. As much as my palate and tongue could previously handle alarm-sounding spicy food of cosmic proportions…not so much anymore. While I don’t mind a bit of kick with my flavor, the key there is “with flavor.” That being said, I left my wing savoring destiny up to the ever wonderful and always lovely Nicole. Supposedly the latter categories aren’t as hot as they used to be, but I’m a wuss and my tongue would hate me for hours afterwards so trained is it to be sensitive to all things.

Not too long after planning my order, Nicole laid their tantalizingly steamy drumsticks and wings before my hungry eyes. The flavor? Hot Teriyaki. With a generous sprinkling of whole sesame seeds and a full pint of Rogue Juniper Pale Ale, I was ready and raring. But first a taste of the pale ale. Mm… A mild brew indeed she nevertheless sports crisp flavors of white crackers, bread crust, green grass blades, and finishes with gentle juniper notes which linger in my breath after each taste. A quaffer of sessionable disposition to be sure, her easygoing palate with flavor was a perfect match for the sweet and spicy Hot Teriyaki wings. The meat was tender and succulent as always, and it didn’t take long for a graveyard of bones to be all that remained. Well, that and sticky fingers of happiness, but I digress.

Ironically it seems that no matter how early I plan my arrival, Cathie and Rob plan theirs earlier. The Rogue tasting was no different and it was a heartwarming moment as I stepped inside (after snapping a few pics) to see them happily planted at the bar whilst pulling out a stool for yours truly. Don’t mind if I do. Being early allows time to settle in with a lazy pint and tasty wings which as evidenced above is exactly what I did. As beer-minded patrons trickled then flowed in, my seat was eventually abandoned for the pleasure of picture taking and socializing.

I love people. Like real beer, real people are all that more enriching because of their fascinating diversity and personality and even more so when it comes to good beer which indubitably attracts good people. When flavor is savored, times cherished, people celebrated, responsibility understood, and community embraced, there is no greater proof positive that real beer is the good life. I don’t know about anybody else, but that good life is now and I’m neck deep in it with no desire to be anywhere else.

And now back to our regular scheduled programming…

Howard and his staff along with the help of Tim and Ron were gracious hosts with each table receiving first class service under their care. Amongst endless smiles, resounding chatter, and joyous laughter, a fun-filled two hours passed far sooner than was anticipated but not before a St. Rogue Red Ale was supped in good measure. A smashing success, the Rogue Nation was surely expanded, but the night wasn’t over yet. Enter the piece-de-la-resistance: two bottles of Dogfish Head World Wide Stout, one vintage 2008 and one vintage 2009.

With a stack of taster cups on the ready, Nicole graciously procured the two bottles which had arrived earlier along with my person. Placing the two vintages side-by-side, I poured each into separate cups which were then carefully distributed amongst as many of my beer appreciating peeps as possible for a mini lateral tasting of truly epic proportions. I had no idea what to expect having only tasted the two different years fresh when they were newly released during Christmas’ past. Yes, this malty beauty is a Dogfish Head holiday seasonal, and a good girl I have been. A taste… Wow! Night and day both in appearance and taste! Thankfully my brief ascension into beertopia is reassured by the presence of more 2008 bottles safely tucked away along with more 2009 bottles. For all my aspiring beer cellars out there, hold onto your 2008 and especially the 2009 which is still rather young. They are just starting to blossom in terms of time-tasted maturation.

Not long after the tasters of World Wide Stout were tenderly savored, that fateful last call did knell and one last round of Rogue and other assorted craft beers flowed. It was only as the last of my fellow stragglers trickled outside was I ready to accept the evening’s conclusion. A big HUG and Thank You everyone for once more adding to my treasure trove of precious beery memories. You rock!

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