Friday, December 14, 2007
Sunday, December 9, 2007
In a breach of tradition, Kris and I made a decision not to buy tickets to Winterfest this year. The first couple of years that we went when it was in the Hamm's building and then the St. Paul College Club were really enjoyable. We met a lot of great people and enjoyed the beer and atmosphere. Neither one of us enjoyed the Landmark's atmosphere. I know it's about the beer and all that, but the Landmark was just a bit of a buzz-kill. Or maybe it was the vibe we got from the crowd. The high price coupled with these other things just made us want to take a year off. Too bad. I think we'll drop our $90 in an environment we enjoy more.
At 6:02 P.M. a call to drink beer came in. So much for self-control. Bottom's up!
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Buster's is quietly becoming one of my favorite places to frequent. Hard to figure. We miss our favorite server, Aimee. The stools at the high tables are uncomfortable, as are the booths. I don't like coming home smelling of fried food. And yet I find the place to be warm and comfortable and I enjoy the beer selection. The food and beer menu are both good and getting better. Or maybe I was just feeling really good today b/c this weekend was the first weekend that Buster's was open for Sat. and Sun. brunch at 9 A.M. They don't have a fried egg sandwich per se, but they do have a fried egg croissant and a BLT w/ fried egg. Anyway, it's a good place to hang out and drink good beer.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
November 29, 2007 - Beer Dinner at Rascal's in Apple Valley, MN beginning at 6 pm. Located at 7721 147th Street West, Apple Valley, MN - 952-431-7777.
November 30, 2007 - Tasting at France 44 in Edina, MN, from 4 to 7 pm. Located at 4351 France Avenue South, Edina, MN - 612-925-3252.
Monday, November 19, 2007
So, now we go from a beer-filled last couple of days in the Twin Cities to possibly a beer-sparse couple of days in Dallas. It's not exactly a good-beer wasteland, but good beer is a little harder for us to find at Grammama's house. That's okay, I guess, since I'm sure we'll be make up our carb shortfall from a lack of beer by eating a few pounds of potatoes and bread a day. Gotta keep my playing weight up, you know.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
I had a sip of Kris' Avery's The Beast, a Grand Cru, when we were at the Muddy Pig on Friday night. It was awfully good, but it's not something I could really enjoy, except in very small amounts. The really big beers can be yummy, but they can also ruin my evening of drinking by ruining my palate, giving me heartburn, or pushing me into drunken oblivion too quickly. None the less, you should try it. Incidentally, and I'll expose myself a bit here, Avery scares me. Drinking their beers is like playing with a loaded pistol. You never know when one's gonna go off and hurt someone.
I also had a chance to finally try this year's Schell's Snowstorm and Brau Brother's Ring Neck Braun Ale while at a marathon Guitar Hero III evening at a buddy's home in the hinterlands of Lake Crystal. I'm generally pretty pleased with Schell's annual Snowstorm offering, and this year was no different. Mine was served a bit too cold, but it was still enjoyable. And I also came away from my Ring Neck experience pleased as well. The one thing that really stands out about this beer is how the nut brown flavor just pops out of this beer. Good stuff, Maynard.
Friday, November 16, 2007
1) I know nothing about brewing and beer, except how to drink it...and I don't do that very well.
2) I continue to be delighted by the fine, friendly folks I meet at any brew-pub, beer event, etc. I attend. Or maybe I just like hanging w/ drunks...
3) Barley John's continues to make damn good beer. I had avoided their Wild Brunette for the last couple of years, not because I didn't enjoy it the first time I had it, but rather because I have a psychological aversion to non-traditional (whatever that means) ingredients in beer, especially rice. And also, there are always other, tasty options available. Well, I finally broke down last night and had a Brunette. I enjoyed the hell out of it.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
The St. George Brewing Company, Hampton, Virginia
This IPA is not one of those over the top, heavily hopped beers that are abundant these days. Instead this is a very drinkable, copper colored brew that goes down easy. Too bad this came from the East Coast and there’s no way we’re finding it in this neck of the woods. Hopefully the rest of the six pack will be a good as this first one.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Making my way back home on Sunday I had a bit of time in the Atlanta airport and somehow found myself sitting at the bar of Sweetwater Brewing. They had 4 of their 7 beers on tap so of course my first question was, “Do you have a sampler?” While the bartender didn’t answer my question she did proceed to pull out 4 small glasses and filled each about half full. I realized that although they didn’t officially have a sampler platter she understood customer service and did what she could to accommodate me (what a wonderful change of pace after New Orleans!). Their Blue, a light beer brewed with blueberries and coming in at 4.9% was surprisingly well done for a fruit beer. Next up was Hummer, a 5.4% Belgian white, followed by 420, a 5.4% West Coast Style Pale Ale and finally, their crowing glory (at least in my opinion) the simply stated IPA. This bad boy came in at 6.9% and is a must for hop heads! Without a second thought I ordered a pint of this and drank as much of it as I could before I had to head to my gate to finish my trip home. So the moral of this long story, boys and girls, is that if you should find yourself stuck in the South, try to find some Abita or Sweetwater to drown your sorrows in.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
...even the dog likes it...or so she seems to think...
Anyway, the sampler pack is from The St. George Brewing Company in Hampton, VA. It includes a nut brown ale, pilsner, golden ale, lager, IPA, and an American brown ale. The other three bombers are from Williamsburg Ale Works in Williamsburg, VA. The 'rents picked up an imperial IPA (Ironbound Ale), an imperial brown ale (?!?!? - "400" Ale), and Wolfe's Trap Ale.And no, we're not gonna share, but maybe we'll tell you about it.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Friday, September 21, 2007
Sunday, September 9, 2007
Monday, September 3, 2007
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Monday, August 20, 2007
Bears eat man at beer festival
A 23-year old Serb was found dead and half-eaten in bear cage
Naked body was found in enclosure at Belgrade Zoo
Zookeepers believe man was drunk or drugged
BELGRADE, Serbia (Reuters) -- A 23-year old Serb was found dead and half-eaten in the bear cage of Belgrade Zoo at the weekend during the annual beer festival.
The man was found naked, with his clothes lying intact inside the cage. Two adult bears, Masha and Misha, had dragged the body to their feeding corner and reacted angrily when keepers tried to recover it.
"There's a good chance he was drunk or drugged. Only an idiot would jump into the bear cage," zoo director Vuk Bojovic told Reuters.
Local media reported that police found several mobile phones inside the cage, as well as bricks, stones and beer cans.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Town Hall was serving a raspberry-infused scotch that was damn good. They also had a pale ale special (J Pale) using American Summit hops that was quite good and very, very hoppy as well as a Belgian ale w/ apricot, Ambrosia by name. I also tried Kris' English summer ale on cask. Yeah, one could probably sit around drinking that one all day. Nice session beer. It also had an amazing cascade when poured that you don't really see outside of some stouts. We stuck around long enough for the Double Hefe release. It was certainly big on flavor, although I didn't particularly enjoy it. I also broke down at the end of the day and had a Rodenbach sour. Pucker up, baby!
Man, did I feel like crap at 6 o'clock though...
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Monday, August 6, 2007
Friday, August 3, 2007
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Anyway, we grabbed a table for the two of us just outside the front door. Little did we know, but this table seemed to attract all the patrons that wanted to step outside for a smoke. They come out, grab our chairs, light up, and set their drinks on our table. Normally this would irritate the hell out of me, but I was a bit cheerful from the beer. So, rather than ignoring them or telling them to buzz off, we invited them to join us. All in all, this lead to some interesting conversations with a number of folks who live near Buster's and have done so for many years. One fellow was even kind enough to point out the local "crackhead" as she stomped and danced her way past us on the sidewalk. You don't get this kind of local color without chatting up the locals.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
And as a side note- THE GREAT TASTE OF THE MIDWEST IS LESS THAN 3 WEEKS AWAY…YAHOO!
Sunday, July 22, 2007
...and yet another masterpiece.
I don't know that we'll get an A, but we'll at least go down with style.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Our local Cellars continues to do a great job in carrying interesting craft beers. The other day I picked up three six packs from a joint I'd never heard of before, nor seen in MN - Barley Island in Noblesville, Indiana. The brews I bought were Dirty Helen Brown, Blind Tiger Pale, and Bar Fly IPA. I had the Helen and the Tiger on Saturday, but frankly I was a bit toasted by then and don't really recall if I enjoyed them. I'll have to rectify that. The IPA is pretty damn good. It's got tons of bitter hop flavor and sufficient aroma to not disappoint. It's a bit on the bitter side in the after taste though (duh, no sh!t sherlock).
And oh yeah, New Belgium is now available in MN once again. Yippie! I don't care much for Fat Tire, but I do enjoy several of their other beers.
Finally, I did try the new Miller product, Chill or Chelada or whatever the hell it's called. It was pretty good. I'd certainly drink one of these green beasts before any other Miller beers. Anyway, it's worth checking out - especially since it isn't being rammed down our throats by Miller's marketing thugs...at least not yet anyway.
Monday, July 9, 2007
Sunday, July 8, 2007
- Emmett's Ale House: All-around great place for a beer and a meal. Friendly staff and nice joint. The brewmaster, I think his name was Ryan, actually did some of his novice work at Town Hall. We also hit Emmett's in Downer's Grove, but I recommend going to the West Dundee location as I think it was the first.
- Piece: The service was a little slow (I guess the place WAS hopping) and the beer was very flavorful and pretty good. I didn't find any session beers, though, and they were out of some of the beers I thought I'd enjoy most. The 'za was pretty damn good too. Worth the visit.
- Taylor Brewing: Meh. They charged $10 for a f%#king pint class and seemed their brewing focus seemed designed to please your Miller crowd. Overall, if you're driving by, hungry and thirsty, and you happen to be driving down the right side of the street...well, you decide for yourself.
- Two Brothers: This was a brewery in a light industrial building. We couldn't get a tour and they didn't do any tastings. By and large, they seemed put out by our visit. They sent us to a local bar, John's (great place, by the way), to taste some of their beers. We all enjoyed most of the Two Brothers that we had at John's and other places. They definitely do a great job making interesting and tasty beers. That being said, unless you need a souveniour, don't bother stopping in. Find a nice bar to knuckle-down at.
- Lunar Brewing: This may have been the highlight of the trip. The place probably falls into the dive bar category, which adds to the allure. The bartender was very friendly and helpful and there wasn't one beer there that we didn't enjoy. Lunar is worth going out of your way to visit.
- Goose Island: I had my expectations set low and I was proved very wrong. We visited the brewpub on Clybourn. All in all, great beers, great food, friendly staff, and nice atmosphere. Unfortunately, this was the last place we hit on 7/5, so we were a bit beered out and didn't sample the full offering, but we had enough... A must see.
- Mickey Finn's: When we first got here, we let out a collective groan due to the service, but our server ended up doing a fine job and we were surprised by the quality of the beer and food. Worth visiting.
- Flatlanders: We got a tour of the brewpub from Art, the friendly brewmaster who went out of his way to make us feel welcome. Flatlanders was surprisingly large and looked to be a newer establishment. Art does a pretty good job with the beer and had a well-rounded selection (from grand cru to dunkel to stout).
- Moosejaw: We decided to hit Moosejaw on our way back from Chi-town although we were all a bit leery given that it's located smack-dab in the heart of breeder country in Wisconsin Dells. Needless to say, we set our expectations low. We were wrong. They carried a large and varied selection of beers, most of which were pretty damn good. We also learned that the brewmaster is a woman. This is the first place we've been to where the brewmaster was female. We were also informed that this is the only such brewery/brewpub in WI where this is the case. Right on. Well worth the stop.
As an aside, The Map Room, Clark Street Ale House, and Firkin are all great beer bars, both in terms of selection/quality and atmosphere and worth checking out, although Firkin is the only place with a menu.
All in all, the trip was a lot of fun. Kris and I got our first taste of Tiki. I was happy to find that the Tiki crowd is just as geeky and friendly as the beer crowd with which I'm already familiar. Good folk. Anywho...this is too much already.
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
With an amazing amount of restraint we did manage to be spend a couple of hours getting some needed things done although in the back of our minds we were already thinking about returning to the joy of sitting outside having a few more beers. We must have been putting off some pretty good “let’s drink” vibes because within 10 minutes of concluding our productiveness for the day the phone rang and another set of friends called, inviting us to join them at Town Hall. Without hesitation we agreed, quickly fed the dog her dinner and hopped in the car. I had to start off with their cask Centennial IPA as the last time we were there that was the next beer that was going to be released. I’m glad I was able to have some before it was gone as this is one good beer! Our server was wearing one of the special shirts they had printed to coincide with the release and I nearly bought one. Still might have to check out their website to see if I can order one as they are quite cute and appear to have been ordered in women’s sizes as well so I won’t be swimming in even the smallest men’s size. Dinner for me ended up being the hummus pizza from their appetizer menu. I’ve had this before and it was as good or better than I remembered. I’m sure they make their own hummus and it’s a wonderfully garlicky version. Along with that I had their other IPA on cask. It seems to me this is one of their standard beers on tap and equally as good as the Centennial although the two are noticeably different. All in all it was a great end to the week and a nice primer for the upcoming trip to Chicago on Wednesday that will no doubt involve plenty of beer.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
- The Good - fine beer selection, Monday movie's on the patio (e.g. Big Lebowski, Beerfest, and other high-brow flicks)
- The Bad - there was a definite urine smell in the bar area...maybe it was those damn wine drinkers in the wine bar that takes up half of Sweeney's
- The Ugly - Too-tan Malibu girls hawking crappy booze, although it was free
And after we got ourselves a bit lubricated, it seemed only right to head over to Pizza Luce in St. Paul for some more beer, 'za, and more homework.
- The Good - well, I normally prefer my Luce 'za at about midnight when I'm three sheets to the wind, but this was still some damn tasty grub, decent beer selection
- The Bad - hmm, the poor tatoo job that Kat did on my wife
- The Ugly - they've got a painting of some kind of chicken lady on their wall. Check it out. As you walk back to the bathrooms, it'll be the last painting on your left (assuming it hasn't been purchased by some lecherous chicken lover). Creeeeeepy.
All in all, it was a very enjoyable evening. Good beer, good friends, and good pizza. And due to a rare modicum of self control, no hangover.
Monday, June 4, 2007
Much to my disappointment Town Hall, Great Waters and Barley John’s were nowhere to be found. Local turnout consisted of Summit, Herkimer, McCoy’s, Finnegans, Flat Earth and Surly. I have to admit that of those, Surly was the only one I visited and could be found there enjoying glass after glass of Furious, progressively getting wetter and wetter.
After about 2 hours of being soaked to the bone and there appearing to be no end in sight to the rain, we decided it was time to warm up and get some grub. We downed our last samples, dumped the plastic glasses and headed down the block to Passage to India. The first good sign upon walking in was that they did not have the air conditioning on and the second was that they didn’t appear to bat an eye at the four drowned rats asking for a table. Much to my relief, the chairs were not upholstered in fabric. We sloshed down into our chairs and took our first steps to warming up by ordering some hot tea. With some tea in our tummies and my fingers starting to return to a healthier color, it was on to a fantastic dinner. Each of us ordered one of their meals that included appetizer, main course and dessert. My beef curry was amazing and the reviews on the tandori chicken and vegetarian dishes were equally complimentary. With full bellies and lots of leftovers to be enjoyed later on we hurried to our car where the heat was cranked up for the entire ride home.
I can’t say the outing was a complete bust since there was some good beer to be had and a great dinner afterward but it wasn’t the most pleasant experience either. The rain and our lack of rain gear, prompted by our misguided faith in the weathermen, certainly made a significant contribution to the misery. But beyond that the quality of the beers and breweries still leaves much to be desired. I don’t know if the organizers aren’t asking certain places to participate or if those breweries are deciding not to waste their time and brews on this festival but of the 27 places listed on the Brew Card, 6 were distributors (Alcorn Beverage, Capitol Beverage, Crown Imports, Green Mountain Beverage, MGM and RJM Distributing), 5 were macro breweries (Coors, Heineken, Labatt USA, Mike’s Hard Lemonade and Miller) and I have some question as to if Boston Beer Company and Bolder Beer Company were there as opposed to being brought by some distributor.
This is the weakest of the local beer festivals and I’ll have to see when next year rolls around if I’ll be making it to this festival again or not. Maybe I’ll hold off buying tickets in advance and wait to see if it’s going to be another rain event or not as I don’t have any faith the organizers will be making any great effort to bring in better breweries and brews.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Jason did make mention of efforts by local craft brewery and distributor reps. to host a real ale/Belgian beer tasting in the Twin Cities given that Chicago is no longer hosting such an event. I'm not much of a Belgian fan, but I'm sure I could be convinced to fall on this grenade. There isn't any specific time set, but Jason thought they'd shoot for something in the fall.
After the Bell's tasting we stopped by Spill the Wine for a bite to eat. The place was hoppin', the decor was comfortable, and the wait staff was very knowledgeable (at least compared to me) of wines and friendly. I think everyone enjoyed their food and Jeff and I enjoyed our drinks (he, some kind of ginger sour and I had several glasses of wine). Spill the Wine offers several various wine flights (3 samples) that are switched up each week. It's a great way to sample wine. I had a chance to try my second Malbec, which was very enjoyable.
Despite the fact that I'm not even buzzed and cannot justify 2 A.M. 'za, I had a good time. Maybe I should try this whole "moderation" thing more frequently? Yeah, and then I'll make my run at Broadway and buy some new clothes...pshaw!
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
We also got a chance to meet Al Boyce who many of you probably have seen at other beer events wearing a pick and black bowling shirt and sporting a pony-tail and beard (all of which I approve of...well, except for the pink part...that's just me). Al was wearing the bowling shirt that night, though, but rather a T-shirt advertising his new venture, The Pedal Pub (http://www.pedalpub.com). If you haven't heard of it, check out their site. I'm getting a bit antsy about gathering a few friends who don't-truly-know-better to go bar hopping. Anywho, check it out.
Finally, as often happens at beer events, we made a few new friends. All in all, not a bad night. The next morning, however...
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Hmm, there's a Campus Club Bell's Brewery tasting this Thursday, 5/24. I'm quite certain the good folks at Bell's will light the fires of creativity.