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Drinking a few beers at Tired Hands Brewing Company

tired1This past weekend my fiance and I were headed up to New Jersey for a little vacation.  Whenever I go up there I like to stop at a beer store in Maryland but this time I decided to venture about 20 minutes off the highway and hit up a brewery that I’ve been following on Facebook for a while.  The brewery name is Tired Hands Brewing Company and they are located in Ardmore, PA.   At the moment they don’t open until 4pm daily so when we got there an half an hour early we decided to walk around Ardmore a little bit.  It ends up being a nice quaint town with unique shops.  It looks like the perfect spot to open up a brewery/brewpub.  4pm came rolling by and we headed in.  Such a nice place to have a brew.   Everyone there was super nice and helpful. The brewpub is designed in such a way where it’s just a unique place to have a brew.  If you look straight back you get to see some of the tanks through a window and above that they state whats fermenting on a black board. I forgot to take a picture of that.

tired2It’s a rather small space.  They pour the beer and prepare their food in the same spot.  Downstairs there are a few tables.  Upstairs is more space so sit but we forgot to go up.  To busy drinking!  They have 8 beers on tap at all times.  2 mainstays and 6 rotating.  Their mainstays are HopHands, a nicely hopped American Pale Ale ringing in at 5.2% abv and FarmHands a saison brewed with rye, wheat oats, and malted barley.  This one rings in at 4.8%.  Nikki and I decided to try all 8 of their brews in little 4oz glasses which in the end didn’t seem to small =)  I’ll try to go through all the beers but honestly we drank 8 different beers in an hour and it was kind of hard to keep track of.

FarmHands

farmhandsFirst up was their freshest beer on tap.  FarmHands.  Like I mentioned before this is one of their two beers they always have on tap.  It’s a Saison ringing in at around 5%.  I can see why they made this one one of staple beers.  It’s flavorful while not killing you with alcohol.  It’s refreshing.  Aroma and taste of Belgian Spices, Lemon, Citrus, Earthiness.  It’s very cloudy, lacing everywhere.  It was a good introduction to their style of brewing.

Rating: B+

The Everyday Complications of Modern Human Life

everydaycWhat a name for a beer.  This is a Rye Beer.  More like a Rye American Pale Ale if there was such a category.  It rings in at around 3.5% and this beer tied as my favorite beer of the trip.  I fell in love with this beer.  For being such a session-able beer this beer is just exploding with flavor.  The Rye is pretty huge here and so is the hoppiness.  They used Cascade. I loved this beer so much I bought a growler of it for the rest of the trip.  That growler was destroyed 2 days later in about an hour.  If I could brew this beer at my house it would always be on tap.  100% of the time.

Rating: A

Deuce

deuceYup this beer is called Deuce.  No idea why.  Maybe it’s because it’s the color of a #2 or something.  But this is classified as a American Brown Ale.  This one is brewed with corn.  It’s a sweet tasting beer.  Chocolate, citrus, nutty, and grassy hoppiness.  Overall this is one of the more enjoyable Brown Ales that I’ve had in a while and would recommend it to anyone.

Rating: B+

Ooey Gooey

ooeygooeyThis one is tied as my favorite of the trip.  This is another Saison but this one is aged in Wine Barrels.  The aging did some really nice stuff to this beer.  When put up to the nose, you’re greeted with Belgian Yeast but your also greeted by a nice fruit aroma.  Pineapple, pear, grapefruit.   The wine characteristics shine through here too and are easy to pick up.  Slight hints of oak but the wine comes through.  Hints of mustiness and funkiness.  A lot going on for such a low abv beer and it just proves you don’t need a high abv beer to have a ton of flavor.  Highly drinkable.  I picked up a growler of this and brought it back to VA.

Rating: A

In the end we also tried 4 more beers.  R5 Saison, Borage, and Po-Tee-Weet which are all Saisons and of course HopHands their APA.  I would write more about them but in the end they all sort of melded together.  I can tell you that HopHands is a quality APA that I would drink a ton of and that the other 3 Saisons were unique.  Everything we had was quality.  The whole experience was quality.  From the beers to the brewpub itself.  I will be stopping by everytime I’m near, which I will be XMas time =)  Support these guys.  I think they have something special here and watch out for bottles of their stuff hopefully hitting soon.  I know they’re bottling their Black Saison called Black Lagoon and they’ll be bottling their biggest beer yet ringing in at 13%, Westy 13.

You can visit their Facebook page here

https://www.facebook.com/tiredhands

and visit their web page here

http://www.tiredhands.com/

Are Men Scared Of Meeting Women In Real Life?

meeting women online
A little look at the history of dating before it got to the online dating in question goes like this. In the olden days, dating mostly used to be a thing of status. Then, we witnessed the things like royal families trying to start at the tender age to make their sons and daughters understand those they should be friends with and those they should avoid, and to always go with the legacy of the father. These children normally adhered to this. Most of these dating culminated into marriages, as there were no issues of compatibility then. People date and marry those they were betrothed to, and were very comfortable with it. Again, then dating also used to be between the warriors and the most beautiful women. When you achieve feats that stand you out as a strong man during the period under review, you will then get the strength, courage, and the opportunity of dating the most beautiful girls, since they were seen as exclusive reserves of people of such status. So, we can authoritatively tell you that the issue of being shy or lazy about meeting women was not a question during this period, because almost everything was fixed and already has a story behind it. It takes you nothing special to do to get them to be yours. Even if you are the highest dullard ever, they will still stick with you.From here, we then got to the enlightenment period which stretches to the 1990s and a little bit beyond. The issue here is that men sought to be emancipated completely and totally from what we are talking about now. Everybody sought to leave the family and be on his own once he or she is of age. People started moving away from the issue of fixing relationships, dating and marriages for them. They realized that they also have a choice in this, and that due to temperaments and individual differences, people of some nature cannot live together effectively in a happy mood. Freedom from unworkable unions was sought. This was also influenced by the religious views of freedom and definition of the fact that marriage must be a union that is decided upon by the two parties without any compulsion and cohesion, but rather out of freewill. During this period, one of the things that a man is known and appreciated for is his ability to walk up to the most sophisticated looking ladies and ask them out, wherever he or she might meet them. This even got to the psyche of the ladies, to the extent that they revere those who are able to defy all odds and talk to them, no matter what, and they will always consider the people to date on such grounds. Men then were seen and identified with being in control, having authority, and the strength to woo women. Because of this, meetings were made in public places, so that the shy ones were left handicapped. Because of this, men tended to conquer the idea and act of being shy. This is because, if ever you live with being shy, you can never get a lady. This is because meetings were normally in the bars, nightclubs, schools, churches, and many other public places where you have to make the first move even when others are watching you. One other thing here is that dating was seen exclusively as a thing of the men, while the women follow. So, a man must have the wherewithal to be the trail blazer.

These days, what we have come to see is the most simple and easy type of dating, where you meet women online and become friends with them. Meeting women online as many people see it has a lot of advantages above the other mentioned ways of dating that existed in the past. When it comes to confidence and courage, many have argued that those who meet women online will always have the chance to read through a lot of the write-ups and articles that teaches how to meet and talk to women in real life. There is nothing dogmatic in relationships, and this might not work as anticipated. But the issue is what it has done to men being able to go to the bars and night clubs to meet with women they have not known before, ask them out, and buy drinks for them. I completely agree that meeting women online has made a lot of men to be scared and lazy about real life dating especially when compared to what it used to be in the past. Now, let us not defy psychology and biology before we go into other points. Meeting women online will first of all make you a stranger to women. You only see pictures of these people, but do not see them. It will even get many so scared that instead of inviting their so called online friends to spend time with them, they will just engage in some pervasive things online. When you stay away from the eyes of the public or from meeting people for long, you will definitely be scared when you eventually meet them. I have a friend and classmate, who throughout our secondary school and university days normally come out tops whenever we have a debate competition. But after school, he got into an online job that kept him at home for years, when it was time again to deliver a speech on a function after 5 years, he faltered. In order to conquer this, he started delivering lectures to pockets of classes so as to regain his confidence and eloquence. This is the result when you meet women online. It makes them scared of meeting women in bars and clubs.It reduces the act of hard work in men. When you check the profiles of most of the men who have only been meeting women online, you will notice that they mostly do not work hard in real life. now, if you engage in open dating in bars and night clubs, the truth is that you will spend good money buying good clothes that will make you attractive to the women, good perfumes so that you smell good, the wristwatches, necklaces, and bangles etc. you also have to think about the money for the transportation, the drink you will buy the lady, paying for the club entry etc. All these makes the guy who intends to meet women in clubs and bars work hard in real life, so as to earn what you will spend. It is not so online. You spend little or nothing. In fact, in most cases, you find out that the invite comes from the girl, and she pays. Most men who have jobs that demand time, or hobbies that they love so much are destroyed by online dating. They tend to use these as excuses for going out or strolling to the bars to meet women. The result is that they even get more lazy and shy when the opportunity comes. Another thing that suggests that meeting women online have really turned men to being lazy and scared of meeting them in bars and clubs is the appearance. We reiterated that in the olden days, dating was about formality. People will always take days to get their looks ready before the date, and will always look their best in very formal wears. But these days, you see that many people never care about their looks, because it matters not in online dating. You are free to wear anything and conclude your dates online or even do nasty things if you so wish. If you used to shave, apply some good perfume and cream, or even lip gloss, visit the boutique once every month so as to have some new collections and look good, you will notice that when you get deep into online dating or if you always meet women online, you tend to pay less attention to all these, because they are no longer interested in impressing the girl next door. This makes you to be very lazy, and whenever there is any need to go out to the clubs and bars to meet women, you will be scared about what people will really think about you, since you are no longer abreast with fashion trends. Most times, this will erode your self esteem and confidence, and even make you decline going. Again, since any person can comfortably type in anything and send to women online, men nowadays no longer practice the art of wooing and the techniques of talking to women, so when it is time to do this, they run away from it, to avoid embarrassment.

The Top 10 Reasons Extra-Marital Affair Sites In The United States Are Better Than Traditional Dating

If you are looking to have an affair it is not as easy as you think. In today’s world of technology you can barely fart without the world being privy to it, it being posted on Facebook, or ending up on YouTube. Keeping anything a secret is near impossible. To cover your tracks to have an affair, you need to really work hard to maintain your anonymity. The best way to do that is by using United States extra-marital affair sites.

working on a laptop

Online dating is just another form of shopping online

What are United States extra-marital sites?

There are all sorts of matching, or dating sites on the internet. They all have a different intention, and cater to a different clientele. There are some dating sites that use scientific questions to find the compatibility between two people, and then there are those which were created for nothing more than one night of unadulterated sex. The kind of site that is going to yield someone who is looking to have an affair is going to be the extra-marital affair sites. (Check the top-list here). The reasons are below:

1. Online dating sites allow you to be anonymous

You don’t have to tell anyone who you are online. No one really cares if you name is Joe, or John. On hookup sites the only thing that a woman is looking for is a sexual encounter. Your name is irrelevant, which means that the likelihood you will get caught is very low.

2. Cheaper than a prostitute

If you are looking to get sex outside of your relationship, you have two ways to achieve that. You can hire an escort or prostitute, or you can hop online and see who is available on extra-marital affair sites in the United States. Free is always better than hired and paid.

3. You can shop from home

With limited time away from home available, there isn’t much time to find someone to have an affair with. That is what makes extra-marital affairs in the United States so great. You can do all the window shopping from your home computer.

4. Both parties know the drill

When you pick someone up the traditional way you have to come clean at some point about the fact that you are married and that all you are really looking for is a little fun. On extra-marital affair sites both parties know that there are no expectations for anything more than sex.

5. No approach necessary

If it has been a long time since you have dated you are probably rusty. When you use an online site you don’t have to worry about rejection, or approaching some woman in a bar who can turn you down. All you have to send out an email that can come back as either “Hell yeah!”, or “No!”.

6. One and done

The people who are on hookup sites know that it is all about just a one-time deal. You aren’t looking for someone who wants a long term relationship. They are aware up front that no one is in need of a soul mate. Both also know that the other has a considerable amount to lose. Being respectful of each other’s predicament, you never have to worry about them calling you, or just showing up to screw up your current relationship.

infront of Laptop

Finding someone online is much easier

7. You don’t have to impress them

If all you want is sex then why go through the hassle of convincing someone how great you are. When you find someone online, you automatically know whether you want to be with them or not. The only qualifying factor needed is to be of the opposite sex and to be attractive. Online extra-marital affair sites are all about just meeting up for a good time, so you needn’t worry about impressing one another in any other capacity.

8. You don’t have to worry about someone boiling your rabbit

If you didn’t get that reference to boiling rabbits, it is a way of saying you aren’t going to have to deal with stalkers. Since people on extra-marital sites are there because they have another relationship that they are attempting to save, everyone has the same fear of being caught. No one is going to be stalking you because they are in their own relationships. They only want to have some thrilling sex on the side, without commitment. You don’t have to worry about them busting you or giving you away.

9. They are free

Many online extra-marital affair sites are completely free to use. You can hop on and find someone without paying at all. That is a great price to pay for an exciting sexual episode.

10. Hundreds of women to choose from

Unlike a bar, when you get online you can look through hundreds of profiles to find the right person that makes your loins ache.

How to Ditch the Boring Dates to More Exciting Dates

It is easy to get stuck in the same cycle of going on one bad date to another. You only need to think outside of the box and make the leap to make things more exciting. By committing to going on a date, the girl first off must at least like you, and is pinning their hopes on you. Things always don’t work out, and when they do its great. If they don’t, at least you can leave a lasting impression which is what you should be shooting for. A little creativity will go a long way in making you the ultimate date, so forget the same old dinner and movie routine and start doing exciting things.

couple-having-coffee

Have no expectations

After going on countless dates, that feeling of hopping that this one will be ‘the one’ is unavoidable most times. This puts extra pressure on the date that you honestly don’t need. Remember that dating should be fun, so forget about all pre-conceived notions you might have. Keeping an open mind will take a lot of the pressure off the date, allowing you to be more open, spontaneous and fun.

Take charge

You need to be in command, or at least appear to be. Here, confidence is the key. Women have a way of snuffing out insecurity, so do what you need to do to be the confident man that she is looking for. Take extra care of your grooming. After all, if you look good, you will feel good. You can be a ‘real’ man without being pushy. So be a gentleman, but a gentleman that is in charge and appears to know what he wants.

Make it easy to converse

The first date is the time to know what the other person is all about. It is hard to figure this out if you haven’t made a good environment to talk and communicate. A movie may sound like a safe bet for a first date, but it’s hard to talk during a movie. For one, there is nothing more annoying that having to listen to someone talk through a movie that you have paid your hard earned money for.

Dinner may sound like a good alternative but it might not be. For one, it is hard to talk when you are occupied with food. Another thing is that women can be self conscious about their eating habits. Rather than have her worry about veggies stuck in her teeth of if she is chewing like a lady, think of a date that is much more laid back, and that you can both enjoy getting to know each other.

Find out what she is interested in

Taking a girl out on a date she is actually interested in is always a winning card. It will show that you are thoughtful and that you listen. Find out what she likes to do, and make that a first date. If she likes hiking for example, make a date to go out hiking, preferably somewhere she has never been before. This is an intimate kind of date that can earn you major points if you are able to pull it off just right.

If you have no idea what she is into, her social media page can be a great source of valuable information. This is not a green light to stalk her on Facebook. Find out what her interests are and make a great date out of it.

Think outside the box!

A date doesn’t have to be passive where you both sit and talk to each other. Instead, make a date where you can both get hands on and actually do something. You want to think outside the box and do something that you are both actually going to enjoy. Pottery lessons for example are a great first date that you will both genuinely enjoy. A game of mini-golf, or even kayaking are all great first date ideas.

dating-couple

The point here is to actually get out there and be active. These kinds of dates are not only exciting, but provide great talking points to ease those first date jitters. The little problem of awkward silences will also be taken care of on account on both of you being busy. Doing things together is a great way to bond with your date, and they will hardly say no to a second one.

Cook a great meal

It is not just men who like to have a nice meal cooked for them. Women enjoy being cooked for as well. Learn to cook if you don’t know how to already, and surprise her with a meal if she comes over to your house. You can cook at hers as well, but just be sure to tell her well in advance that you are coming over. You need to give her good time to get her place cleaned up before going over. After cooking, make sure to clean up after yourself, you made it after all.

First dates don’t have to be the same old boring cycle. You only need a little bit of imagination to pull off the ultimate date that she will not forget in a hurry. Keep these things in mind the next time you set up a date.

How to Tell That Your Casual Relationship is Getting Serious

Getting into a casual relationship can be a lot of fun. You get to have all the sex you want without actually have to commit to a long term relationship. With time however, things can get complicated. You do not want to get caught off guard. If you are not careful, you might find yourself in an actual relationship when this is something you had been trying to avoid in the first place. The best way to avoid such sticky situations is to know what to look out for. Most of all, you need to be sure that you are right. You don’t want to end a perfectly good casual relationship simply because you are paranoid.

very-happy-couple

#1: Dates are assumed

When you are in a casual relationship, there is no such thing as ‘our day’. Your girl should never assume that there is a day of the week that is set aside just for the two of you. If you ever have to make excuses about missing a date, then you know your casual relationship is turning, or has already turned into something else. You need to set boundaries as soon as possible. This is the only way that you can ensure that you are not tricked into something that you are not ready for. Be very cautious about these assumed dates as they could mean the difference between casual dating and being in an actual relationship.

#2: Endearing names

This is another early sign that you are headed down the road to a relationship. Pet names are cute and by all means great for couples who are in long-term relationships.  When it comes to casual relationships however, there is no room for pet names. This is especially names to do with animals such as monkey, bear or kitten, or food such as pumpkin, cupcake and honey. There is also no reason at all you should be using these names to refer to your casual partner. You will only be sending the wrong signals.

#3: Showing affection in public

Public displays of affection (PDA) are a woman’s way of marking her territory. If you find yourself cuddling, kissing or holding hands in public, you are definitely falling into the relationship zone. This will of course be a warning to other women to keep off. Such body language suggests that you are already taken. You may think of it as being cute or even flattering, but there is something going on beneath the surface. This might be something that you want to address from early on to avoid any problems in future. Make it as clear as possible that there is nothing going on beyond the sex, but don’t be a jerk about it.

couple-sleeping-together

#4: Regular phone calls

Another tell-tale sign that you are headed for the relationship zone is frequent phone calls from your sex buddy. Unless you are having phone sex, there is no reason for her to call. If she is just ‘checking up’ on you or ‘missing you’ you should seriously start thinking about calling the whole thing off before it is too late. If she calls or texts, it should be strictly about when you are meeting up just for sex. It stops being casual the moment she calls just to talk.

#5: She is using the ‘B’ word

The B word here is boyfriend. If she uses it once or twice, you can write it off as a slip of the tongue. Sometimes it can also be awkward when making introductions so she chooses to make things simpler. If however she seems to be using the boyfriend word a little too often, you know that you are in trouble. Keep score, and if it becomes a regular occurrence, it is time to get out. The next logical step for her would be to ask why you two are not in a relationship. You want to get out well before things get to this point.

#6: You start spending quality time

Casual relationships are all about the sex. There is very little time to talk, let alone even talk about your emotions. If you find that you are having less sex but still spending more time together, there is bad news for you. If she books you for an event in advance, then you know she sees you there in her future, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. It is not your fault. Your responsibility is to end things before they get out of hand.

couple-dating

These are just some of the signs that you are starting to approach the serious relationship highway. You can choose to do either of two things. The first is to talk to her honestly about your concerns, and the second one to simply end things and move on. Whatever you choose to do, don’t be a jerk, these things come back to bite you later. And by all means, first make sure that your suspicions are true before you give her the slip.

The Lost Abbey Veritas 003

veritas003Sorry I’ve been such a slacker lately.  A lot is going on.  I’m such a slacker I’m reviewing a beer I drank a few months ago.  On Father’s Day to be exact.  If you don’t know, both of my parents passed away.  I like to break out a special beer on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and birthdays.  For Mother’s Day I pulled out Veritas 004, which ended up being one of the best beers I’ve ever had.  For Father’s Day I broke out it’s bigger brother, Veritas 003.  This one didn’t disappoint either.  I heard it might of been going downhill a little bit but I didn’t think so.  In my opinion no one makes American Wild Ales like Vinnie from Russian River and Tommie from Lost Abbey.  Nothing really even comes close for me.

So before I actually get into the review,  what exactly is Veritas 003?  It’s a blend.  A blend of three great LA beers.  Angel’s Share, Cuvee De Tomme, and Amazing Grace.   I really love all three beers so you can probably guess where this review is going.

003 Pours a murky brown color.  Fizzy head is poured but quickly dies to what you see in the picture.

The smell is pretty damn amazing.  So much going on but everything really comes together to make a world class Wild Ale.  Aroma consists of Sour Cherries, Funk, Oak, Brown Sugar, and some Citrus.  It’s not a most sour Wild Ale I’ve had but sourness and tartness stings the nostrils a bit.  Overall though this a great aroma.

The taste doesn’t disappoint at all and in the end I really couldn’t decide what I liked more.  004 or 003.  Taste is on par with the aroma when it comes to the tartness.  Not over the top but there and lovely.  The experience rounds out with Vanilla, Brown Sugar, Sour Cherries, Leather, and the lovely taste of the barrel.  So sad when this bottle was gone but I was enjoying every sip I took.  I think it took a few hours for me to finish this bottle.

Mouthfeel is very nice on this one.  Full and thick.  Goes down easy.

I really couldn’t decide which Veritas I liked better.  003 or 004.  004 is one of the most wanted beers of all time because it has some Yellow Bus blended in but this is honestly right up there.  It’s still drinking great so don’t be afraid to trade for a bottle or get one off EBay.

Found: EBay
ABV%: 8.00%
Price: When released it was 30 dollars a bottle.  This now goes for a lot more on EBay.
Website: http://www.lostabbey.com/
What the company says: Nothing on the site about this one
Other beers to try from this brewery: The Lost Abbey Inferno, The Lost Abbey Judgement Day
Other beers to try within the same style: Russian River Supplication, Ithaca Brute
Rating: A++

Brooklyn Brewery Fiat Lux

fiatlux

Yes I’ve been slacking once again.  This time I like to blame my work schedule.  But that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped drinking some fantastic beer.  To get into the swing of things here is a quick review of a beer I had a few weeks ago while visiting Williamsburg.  Williamsburg has a newish bar named Dog Street Pub.  I’ve been following them for a little bit now and they always seem to have a nice rotating tap list.  If you know me, you’ll know that I’m a sucker for one off beers or stuff that is only available on tap.  So when I saw Fiat Lux on tap I made sure me and my fiance got one.
Fiat Lux is a Witbier coming in at 6.1%.  It’s part of their Brewmasters Reserve line.   It pours a bright murky orange.  A nice two finger pure white head is poured.  Great retention and lacing.  Good looking beer as you can see from the picture.  It has a lot of the smells and tastes that most other Witbiers have but I liked this one because it seems to take those ingredients and ramp them up a bit.  It’s a bigger smelling and tasting Witbier without killing you with a higher abv.

When put up to the nose you’ll pick up a nice earthy aroma.  Hay like.  Wheat.  Citrus and some lime thrown in there.  Once again this is a nice different Witbier here.  Bigger aroma than a lot.

Up front this one is nice and fruity up front.  Citrus from the coriander, banana, and lime.  It then melds into a earthiness.  Once again wheat and hay like. Yeasty.  The ending is zesty, sharp, and a tad bit bitter.

Mouthfeel is medium bodies, crisp, and nice carbonated.  Smacks the lips.
Overall this is a high quality well made Witbier that I would drink again.  I’m honestly not a fan of a lot of Brooklyn Brewery’s every day beers.  Maybe they should change things up and introduce this into a seasonal or maybe their regular lineup. Then again it could just stick to what it is now, an every once in a while brew .  They make some really good draft only beers like Blast, their DIPA.  So look out for these beers.

Found: Dog Street Pub, Williamsburg, VA
ABV%: 6.1%
Price: Around 7 dollars a glass
Website: http://www.brooklynbrewery.com/
What the company says: Combining Canadian and American malts with a large proportion of un-malted white winter wheat, Fiat Lux starts with a Belgian witbier inspiration. A blend of Pacific Northwest hops, a little lime peel and a dash of Indian coriander brings a bright blast of citrusy aromatic sunshine, while German Perle hops supply a nice big zap of refreshing bitterness.
Other beers to try from this brewery: Brooklyn Brewery Black Ops, Brooklyn Brewery Local 1
Other beers to try within the same style: Allagash White, Dogfish Head Namaste
Rating: B+

Catching up with reviews: Stone 10th Anniversary Ruination, Stillwater Import Series Vol. 2 ‘A Saison Darkly, Dogfish Head URKontinent, and Mikkeller/Three Floyds Boogoop

ruin10
Stone 10th Anniversary Ruination – When I first got into craft beers Ruination was one of the first beers I tried.  I was amazed how hoppy a beer could be.  Fast forward to today and while Ruination has dropped from being one of favorite IPAs of all time, it still does it’s job and tries to ruin your palate.  This version of Ruination is a little bit different.  They amped up the abv by 3%.  Now it sits up at around 11%.  I also think they dry hopped this beer more than the regular version.  But honestly I didn’t sense much of a difference than the regular version.  Still a nice brew with a citrus hoppy flavor with a bite of bitterness.  OK more than just a bite, it’s a nice and bitter IPA.  Mix in some caramel malt backbone, pine, and sweetness and you still have Ruination at it’s finest.
Rating: A-

asaisondarkly

Stillwater Import Series Vol. 2 ‘A Saison Darkly’ – I don’t know if I can fully get into Dark Saisons.  I’ve tried a few and something is just a tad bit off with them.  This is one is no different.  While being an decent beer, it just doesn’t make me want to drink a Dark Saison over something like Fantome Saison.  The smell and aroma on this one is full of Belgian yeast, apples, pears, bananas and some oak.  But then there is the chocolate and for some reason it just doesn’t meld well with the other fantastic ingredients.  This is a good quality drinkable beer.  But I’d rather go with something else if I’m ever in the mood for a Saison.
Rating: B+

urkon

Dogfish Head URKontinent –  This brew is a mixture of a lot of different ingredients.  Waddle Seed, Toasted Amarath, Green Rooibos, Honey, Myrica Gale and some more regular brewing ingredients like Pilsner, Chocolate Malt,  and some Belgian Dark Candi Syrup. I had to google a bunch of this stuff to even see what it was.   As you can see, a lot going on.  In the end though I think it all melds together nicely.  Roastiness, chocolate, sweetness from the honey, coffee, and some dark fruit.  Mouthfeel is nice and dry.  This is a different kind of Dubbel and each ingredient shines though.
Rating: A-

boogoop

Three Floyds/Mikkeller Boogoop – Here’s a collaboration brew between Three Floyds and Mikkeller.  Two really great breweries.  This one is classified as a Wheatwine but they call it a Buckwheat Wine Style Ale.  This is one of the many “Goop” collaborations.  They’re done Risgoop, Oatgoop, Hvedegoop, Ruggoop.  This one is just oozing or gooping with flavor.  Citrus, wheat, pine, pineapple, toffee, caramel, and it’s a boozy one.  Loved this beer and it’s nice complex hop profile.  Very hoppy for the style of beer.
Rating: A

My Top Beers of 2012

abner

First off I hope everyone has had a Happy New Year. I hope you also drank some good stuff over the holidays. I know I did. I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on this site. With a lot going on with work and me just being plain lazy it’s been a pretty large gap of time since I’ve wrote about beer. Bottom line is, I’ve missed it. So what better way to start the blog again by giving you my top 10 beers of 2012. Now these beers don’t exactly have to be brand new beers that were first brewed in 2012. Bottom line is these are beers that I’ve tried for the first time in 2012. Hopefully next year I have a ton more beers to choose from as I get back into trading. Some of these beers I haven’t done reviews for but those will be coming soon. So here goes!
1. Hill Farmstead Abner – There was no question on my number one beer on this list. This is the best beer I had all year. It’s my favorite IPA of all time and I even told Shaun via twitter that if I have a boy, his name will be Abner =)
2. Goose Island Rare Bourbon County Stout – People drool when this beer is mentioned. Yes it’s that good and yes it’s rare. It’s a one and done. Never to be done again. It’s basically their Bourbon County Stout aged 2 years in 23-year old Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Barrels. It lives up to the hype. It’s rich, boozy, a sipper, and just divine.
3. Cigar City Bourbon Barrel Big Sound Scotch Ale – I fell in love with this beer on first sip. One of the best barrel aged beers I’ve ever had period. The Scotch Ale base beer was kind of hidden but what the barrel did to this beer is make it one of the most complex well rounded barrel aged beers I’ve ever had.
4. The Alchemist Heady Topper – This beer has become just a bit more main stream since it’s been canned for a while now but when I first had it’s early in the year it was just starting to get out there. Talk about a wallop of hops. Just fantastic.
5. Hill Farmstead Society and Solitude #2 – Hey look it’s Hill Farmstead again. Yes they rule and yes this Black IPA ruled. Finished the whole growler in a night. Not as good as Abner (but what is?) but still amazing.
6. Surly Five – Only sour to make it’s way to the countdown. Surly isn’t known for sours because well I think this is the first one they released. Well maybe they should change that because this was excellent.
7. Three Floyds Zombie Dust – If this shit was local I’d have this in the fridge 24×7. Boarding on IPA but they call it an APA, this beer is full of Citra and well I have a boner for Citra. It’s just lovely.
8. Firestone Walker Sucaba – OK I’m kind of breaking the rules here when it comes to putting a beer on here that I’ve had before but I won’t count the first time because I wasn’t impressed with it because well I don’t think I drank it at the right time. It was stuck between being fresh and the year I like to wait before popping open a big Barleywine. So this bottle I drank fresh and well I fell in love with this huge flavorful Barleywine.
9. Alewerks Bitter Valentine and Ebenezer – First time I’ve combined two beers on the Top 10 list so this actually sorta turns into a Top 11 list but I wanted to give a local brewery some love. Alewerks (formally Williamsburg Alewerks) has been putting out great beer over the last couple of years. Two of their newest ones is an over the top West Coast IPA that us East Coast people don’t usually see and one is a Winter Warmer that is just drinkable and lovely. To bad it was made only once and was never bottled. Keep on making the good stuff.
10. Tired Hands The Everyday Complications of Modern Human Life – I was torn adding this beer to the list. It didn’t get my highest rating. I think I gave it an A but the more and more I think about it this beer does a lot for such a small abv. Around 3.5% to be exact. This is a Rye Beer. A Rye APA to be exact and it’s full of flavor. Totally drinkable and totally awesome.

Ballast Point Habanero Sculpin

hsculpinLast week I got to try a pretty rare treat.  Especially on this side of the US.  The Birch was able to pick up a cask of Ballast Point Habanero Sculpin.  Regular Sculpin is by far one of my favorite IPAs of all time.  When fresh it’s just lovely.  So I was excited to hear they got in the Habanero version of the brew.  From what I understand this stuff is dried spiced with Habanero peppers.  The only question I have is, is there an actual bag of peppers in the cask at all times?  If someone can answer that for me that would be great.   So anyway on to the review.

When I was presented with my little goblet I was like that’s it?  The owner explained that they were going to serve it in a bigger goblet but I would understand in a few seconds why the smaller one was a better idea.  When put up to the nose, the Sculpin is hardly recognizable.  There are signs of it.  Small amounts of citrus and grapefruit but really it’s muted.  The pepper is the culprit obviously but even the pepper doesn’t show big.  It’s just a muted beer.  The beer pours nice clear golden color with a nice fluffy but not huge head.  Now down to the taste.

I took my first sip and holy shit!  The Habaneros hit the tongue but don’t cause to much hotness but when it hits the throat its almost a tad bit overwhelming.  I’m a totally wuss when it comes to hot stuff so this totally took me for a ride.  Once again the tropical fruit goodness of regular Sculpin was kind of missing here and the pepper was just huge.  Everytime I took a sip it burned a new hole in my throat.  This was a total sipper.  It took me a good 20 minutes to get to the middle of the glass.  But when I did get to the middle of the glass it seemed like things changed.  I was getting used to the pepper and the goodness of Sculpin came out more and more.  I was picking up the fruits.  Then it was an enjoyable brew.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the whole ride but the end of the trip was a little bit better then the beginning.  The pepper was still there but came together nicely with everything else.  By the end of the glass I felt like I accomplished something =) and I also had heartburn.

The mouthfeel on this was nice.  Smooth.  I’m sure the cask had something to do with that.  Medium bodied.

This is the hottest beer I’ve ever had.  Heck it might of been the hottest thing I ever had.  That is until 3 days later when I tried a Ghost Chili Wine.  Holy fuck.  Anyway this was a real treat to try.  I would probably do it again if I had the chance but one is enough period.

Found: The Birch, Norfolk, VA
ABV%: 7.00%
Price: 8 dollars a goblet
Website: http://www.ballastpoint.com/
What the company says: Nothing on this version on their site
Other beers to try from this brewery: Ballast Point Big Eye, Ballast Point Wahoo Wheat
Other beers to try within the same style: Bell’s Two  Hearted,  Surly Furious
Rating: B+

Catching up with reviews September 2012 Edition Volume #2: Hill Farmstead/Mikkeller Daybreak, New Belgium/Alpine Super India Pale Ale, and Firestone Walker Wookey Jack

Hill Farmstead/Mikkeller Daybreak

daybreakStill trying to catch up with reviews so here’s a few more before the month of September is gone.  First up is a collaboration effort between Hill Farmstead and Mikkeller.  If you know anything about Hill Farmstead they love to brew with citrus.  This time around they brewed a Imperial Stout with citrus.  This is a rotating release but I believe the bottle I have is from the first batch.  But don’t quote me on that.
This beer pours a pitch black color.  Small tan head is poured with decent lacing throughout the glass.  The aroma is burnt and roasted malt.  Chocolate, slight coffee and just a tad of citrus here.  The taste takes the roasted and burnt effects I got in the aroma and doubles them, maybe triples.  One of the most roasted flavors I’ve ever gotten out of a stout.  I loved it.  Once again the coffee and citrus are small here but noticeable.  The bittersweet chocolate tried to balance out with the roastiness and burnt taste but doesn’t quite get there.
Mouthfeel is a nice plus here.  It’s medium bodied to almost full.  Slick and coates the mouth nicely.  In the end this is a winner.  I think next time I’ll try to get a fresher bottle to see if the citrus comes through more.
Rating: A-

New Belgium/Alpine Beer Company Super India Pale Ale

superipaAnother collaboration beer here.  This time it’s New Belgium and possibly the brewery who does the best IPAs period, Alpine.  If you’ve never had Alpine before.  Do your best to try any of their IPAs.  Duet, Nelson, Bad Boy, Exponential Hoppiness, etc.  Trade for them.  Whatever you need to do.  They are all top notch.  Alpine is a very small brewery so it’s really great to see one of their IPAs out there.  I say their IPAs because honestly this beer is all Alpine.  This might of been brewed at New Belgium, but the aromas and taste of this West Coast IPA is just something that Alpine would do.  So thank you for New Belgium for letting them brew on your system and letting most of the US finally get a taste of Alpine =)

Super IPA pours a clear copper golden color.

Nice big fluffy white head is poured.  Great retention and lacing.  Aroma is full of hoppy goodiess.  Tropical fruit, pine, floral goodness.  Dank aroma.  Aroma is almost devoid of any malt backbone.  Taste is pretty much the same.  There’s a small caramel malt backbone trying to peek through but the army of hoppy West Coast IPA ingredients won’t let it through the gates.  Pure hoppy goodness.  Pine, citrus, honey, floral with a tad bit of alcohol coming through.  For some much hoppy goodness it’s not really too bitter.

Mouthfeel is a bit big on this beer.  Thick.  Sticky.
It’s been a while since I’ve had a beer that Alpine was involved in.  And I can say that I miss them dearly.  If I lived in the San Diego area, Alpine would be my go to brewery for IPAs.  There’s really no reason to go anywhere else.
Rating: A+

Firestone Walker Wookey Jack

wookeyLast but not least is the latest Firestone Walker beer to hit my area.  Wookey Jack.  What we have here is a Black IPA brewed with some Rye.  Black IPAs are really hit or miss with me.  There are some really good ones but some really just bad ones and nothing in the middle.  Wookey Jack definitely sits up there as one of the best one’s I’ve ever had and can’t wait to open up my last bottle.
Wookey pours an almost pitch black color.  Slight hues of brown come through.  Small tan head is poured.  Aroma is not quite balanced here.  The hops really win here.  Pine and citrus.  Great stuff.  Mixed in is some spicy rye, toasted malt, and cocoa hiding in the background.  Lovely smell.  Taste is just as good and this is definitely one of the best Black IPAs I’ve had.  Nice big taste.  Instead of the hops taking over here, the spicy rye actually hits the palette first.  If you read this blog, you know I love everything rye.  Following that earthiness comes through mixing in with pine and citrus.  Resinous.  The brew ends with some nice bitterness.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, silky smooth.
This is right up there with the best of the bunch.  Firestone Walker can really do no wrong.
Rating: A

Catching up with reviews September 2012 Edition Volume #1: Founders/Green Flash Linchpin White IPA and Stone Bottleworks 13th Anniversary Ale

Founders/Green Flash White IPA

lynchpinHere I am again.  Slacking on beer reviews.  Some of these brews I had even a few months back.  Laziness has once again sat in but I made a promise to myself to keep this blog updated at least twice a week like a good little boy.  So here is round one of a lot of reviews coming up in the next few weeks.  Up first is a collabration brew between two really great breweries.  Founders, who might be in my top 3 favorite breweries period and Green Flash out of San Diego who make some really good stuff as well.  They decided to go with a White Ale/IPA hybrid.  I like their choice in style here.  When it comes to collabrations you really don’t see many people doing a style like this.  In the end I really enjoyed this beer.  So much after I finished my first bottle I went out and found some more.

This one pours a hazy orange color.  A ton of head is poured.  Pure white, frothy, spotty, sticks everywhere on the glass.  Nicely carbonated.  Bubbles shooting up from the bottle of the glass.  When put up to the nose your greeted with a really nice smell.  Sweet, citrus, banana, wheat, and a yeasty spicy aroma.   Nice and strong aroma.  Which I expect from these two great breweries.  Taste is more of the same.  Big but balanced between all of the ingredients.  Nothing takes over.  Wheat, citrus, mustiness, banana, Belgian yeast, spices.  In the end everything lingers nicely on the tongue including some alcohol.

Mouthfeel is lively, medium bodied, and crisp.  When it comes down to it, this is one of the best versions of the style I’ve had.  Only one that I can think of that is hands down better is Anchorage Bitter Monk.

Rating: A-

Stone Bottleworks 13th Anniversary Ale

stone13annEvery year Bottleworks has a brewery make them a anniversary.  If you don’t know who Bottleworks is, they’re a bottleshop located in Seattle, Washington.  In the past Russian River, The Bruery and a few other breweries have made beer for them.  This year Stone took a stab at it and came up with an American Strong Ale.  Being that this is Bottleworks 13th Anniversary, Stone decided to make a beer with 13 different types of hops and 13 different types of grains.  On to the review

Bottleworks 13 pours a very dark brown.  Small tan head is formed.  Smell on this one is pretty damn nice.  A ton going on.  Dark Chocolate, Pine, Molasses, Dark Fruit, Roastiness, and a small bit of coffee.  Lovely.

For the taste up front is some nice chocolate that melds into dark fruits.  Mixed in the middle is roastiness and smokiness.  I also picked up some caramel and toffee.  Then in the end hop bitterness attacks the palette and lingers nicely.  Piney.  So much going on here.

Mouthfeel is thick and finishes dry.

This one is a winner from Stone.  I’m so glad I bought a few bottles of this stuff.  I can only see it getting better and better.  If you see this still sitting around, buy some and lay it down.

Rating: A