‘Tis The Season

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Drinking To Posting Ratio

Right now, I am drinking a classic IPA known as Torpedo – For those of you still only drinking macrobrews, its by Sierra Nevada and its definitely worth picking up. Anyway, I have not posted something on this blog in almost a month. Its getting to be pretty dusty ’round here.

In the past 4 weeks I have moved across the country – from Jacksonville, Florida to Marina, California by car – started school, and am currently still trying to find my way around the beautiful area know as the central California coast, or more locally as the Monterey Bay area.

Long story short, I’m still drinking a good amount of tasty craft brews, but sadly I cannot say the same about my blog posts. Hopefully this is the start of something new.

Mischief With The Brothers

Getting into trouble never ends favorably for those involved, but causing a little mischief: well, that’s fun! What makes a mischievous event even more memorable is when it’s shared with close friends or relatives.

The parking lot of the La Quinta Inn served as a nice beer drinking backdrop

A few weeks ago I had the unfortunate privilege of attending a ‘celebration of life’ in Stockton, California. While this celebration didn’t last all weekend, the good times with close relatives did. Also in attendance were my brothers – Patrick, 30 and Daniel, 22 – both of whom have been ditching the macro brews and tracking down craft beers as of late. Thanks to Patrick, the three of us were able to drink some of the best beers California breweries have to offer; choices included beers from The Bruery, and Green Flash to name a couple.

Drinking out of the back of a trunk constitutes mischief, right?

Turns out neither offerings from The Bruery (who recently announced a collaboration brew with Dogfish Head) or Green Flash were available in my neck of the woods in Florida, so both were a special treat.

Back to the mischief. Though we didn’t exactly ruffle any feathers or kick up some dirt, we did get into a little mischief – Mischief by the The Bruery that is.

Mischief is a hoppy golden Belgian style strong ale that comes in at 8.5% alcohol by volume, but the flavor and aroma of liquor isn’t the star in this brew. As we drank the brew in the parking lot of the La Quinta Inn off Interstate 5, the straw color hue shone brightly in the early morning sun. Unfortunately we had styrofoam cups which we had commandeered from the continental breakfast in the hotel lobby, so the taste could have been presented a little better. However, both the fruitiness and the hoppy quality of the beer could be felt on everyone’s palate by beer’s end, regardless of our choice of glassware.

La Quinta glassware, now available in the Hoptions store!

Though this brew isn’t exactly new(it was released back in ’09) it was new for us. Sharing a beer, and a ‘new’ one at that, with brothers can be one of the most rewarding ways to experience a beer. The flavors and aroma can arouse memories and have lasting effects on the psyche for years to come. I suspect the three of us will have many more adventures tasting beer together, or at least many more gatherings suitable for causing a little mischief.

What An Anniversary Ale Should Be All About

30 Years Of Greatness

My local beer cave has been selling bottles of Sierra Nevada’s 30th Anniversary brews for half price. Now by anybody’s standards less than five dollars for 24 ounces of beer is a damn bargain, but less than five for Sierra’s special 30th Anniversary brews, well that’s a steal.

For their 30th (that’s 1980-2010) Sierra Nevada reached out to pioneers of the craft beer world including Mr. Anchor Brewing himself Fritz Maytag, and beer advocate, author and judge: Charlie Papazian. With the world-renowned help and Ken Grossman at the helm four separate brews were concocted and released at different times throughout 2010.

Only the finest crystal for this beer

I have had the pleasure of sampling two of the anniversary brews: Charlie, Fred & Ken’s Bock – an Imperial Helles Bock – and Jack & Ken’s Ale: A Black Barleywine. This post is mostly about the latter.

To be honest Jack & Ken’s Ale really reminded me of a bigger more complex version of Sierra’s Bigfoot Ale – also a barleywine. Regardless of the resemblance I am a huge fan of barleywine style beers. I love the sweetness and the higher alcohol content. I can have just one BW and be good to go for a while, if not all night.

And there in lies the essence of a barleywine – you’re supposed to take it slow. Let the ale warm in your hands and discover new aromas and flavors as you do so. It’s a slow beer. There should be no ‘slamming’ one of these puppies. They’re just too elegant to be taken advantage of; hence the use of the crystal snifter – classy!

The Raging Bitch Way

You may be offended by this, but fear not for Flying Dog‘s ales will make it all better.

Love the 70’s sitcom/corny gum commercial feel of this video.

Get your hands on any one of their offerings ASAP. You will not be disappointed.

Beautiful Beer: 10 Barrel Brewing By The Beautiful Design

10 Barrel Brewing Company is situated in one of the beer meccas of the American craft beer scene: the Pacific Northwest – truly a pristine place. Everything seems to be green, and wet.

The PNW is also a huge hop growing region. So much so that Washington state’s Yakima Valley accounts for close to 75% of all hop acreage in the United States. Dank!

Anyway, 10 Barrel is in Bend, Oregon a quaint little town also home to Deschutes and a handful of other microbreweries. They recently needed to update their brand and present a concise look for all of their brews to the consumer. Enter Portland based design firm The Beautiful Design a.k.a. Chad DeWilde. With a bold typeface and a nearly monochromatic color palette, 10 barrel now has great labels to pair with what seems to be great beer. Check out the groovy tap handles below.