Thursday, May 29, 2008

Drink Enough to Cover Your Bases

A co-worker sent me a BusinessWeek article discussing the impact of drinking on bone fragility. See the link if you want the real scoop. But here's my skewed summary. Using 0 drinks a day as the base, the report basically says that if you drink up to 1/2 drinks a day, your chance of hip fracture is reduced by 15%. 1/2 to 1 drinks a day means your chances are LESSENED by 20% and 1 to 2 drinks means your chances are LESSENED by 9%. If you drink more than 2 drinks a day, your chances are INCREASED by 39%. That's great news.

Now, by my math, by my first 1/2 drink, I've lowered my chances of breaking a hip by 15%. As I finish my second 1/2 of the drink and move on to my second drink, my chances are lowered by another 20% and when I quaff my 2nd drink to the bottom, my chances are lowered by another 9%. That gives me a 45% lower chance for breaking a hip. That means when I crank through drinks 3 thru whatever, I increase my chances of breaking a hip by 39%. But what do I care, I've got a spare 6% (45% minus 39%). Hell, my bones are getting stronger. I don't see any flaws in this logic.

I didn't see any mention of double bonuses from milk stouts, but I'm guessing they are there. What I also didn't see were the chances of severe brain damage from this level of drinking, but I doubt there is any real evidence of that. I'm living proof.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


While driving back from a scrumptuous breakfast at the Longfellow Grill today, Kris and I and my folks drove past a side street with a situation requiring a second glance. My first thought was that someone had a helluva night. I giggled at the park job. We couldn't resist circling the block to get a better look and snap a photo. Of course, from the new angle it looked like someone rear-ended the poor S.O.B. Okay, I started to feel a little bad for laughing. Then we saw the baby seat. Crap. Now I feel like an ass. I hope no one was hurt.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Microbrew in Orlando?

This week I had to go to Orlando for a quick work trip and not surprisingly as soon as I go the work portion of the trip over I was off to see if I could unearth any good microbrew. According to Beer Advocate there was a brewpub not far from my hotel so I felt it was my duty to check it out. When I got in the cab the guy didn’t know where it was so had to call the number I provided him to get directions. It turns out Big River Grille and Brewing Works is on the “Boardwalk”. I didn’t have high expectations and they fell even further as I walked up to it.
Following our general rule I headed straight for the bar and promptly ordered a sampler. Scott, the bartender, brought over their Southern Flyer Light Lager, Gadzooks Pilsner, Steamboat Pale Ale, Rocket Red Ale, Wowzer’s Wheat and their seasonal, a bock. The first good sign was his instruction to drink the red last as the pale was an American pale ale and not very hoppy. All of the beers were pretty cold, had no aroma and no head. As would be expected the lager was a lager and the pilsner a pilsner. Scott was right that the pale ale wasn’t very hoppy but the flavor was intriguing probably because I couldn’t quite put my finger on where part of it was coming from. Maybe the American Perle hops? The flavor came across on the back of the tongue and I thought it was reminiscent of rye. The wheat was surprisingly flavorful and lightly spiced to be very drinkable although I detected a slightly off/sour flavor. The red was my hands down favorite and one I ended up having pints of. It was a beautiful mahogany color that went down easily, was well balanced and after having the opportunity to warm up a bit had a slightly sweet hoppy aroma.

In addition to a great bartender I ended up talking to a guy from Chicago and a couple of folks from Cincinnati, one of which is currently living in Chicago. Having just been out there last July we had plenty of places to exchange comments about. The night turned out much better than I feared it would so if you’re ever in the land of Mickey, Snow White and way too many children try to get over to the Boardwalk and belly up to the bar at Big River. While it’s not Portland quality micro, it’s still pretty good and I’m willing to bet some of the best you’ll find in the area.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Good Day for Beer - Bad Day for my Nipples

Yesterday's Brewers Bazaar was...well, interesting. It wasn't your typical beer tasting kind of event in that we didn't see very many familiar faces and the crowd was mostly a non-craft beer kind of crowd with pockets of beer folks. It was fun, nonetheless. And the breweries and brewpubs were well represented. Kris and I had previously had opportunities to meet and chat with Jeff Williamson of Flat Earth and Bob DuVernois of Great Waters, but yesterday we got to meet and spend some time chatting with Dave Berg of August Schell, a couple of the guys from the new Lift Bridge brewery in Stillwater, and Trevor Brau of Brau Brothers. Hell, even Mark Stutrud, founder of Summit, was there serving beer and chatting up the attendees. The guys from Fitger's (Brian and Bob, I think) were familiar faces and I think they work at the brewery, but I didn't ask in what capacity. I will, yet again, re-declare that most of the folks that I meet at these beer events, including the brewers and their reps are damn nice folks.

Now, let's talk about my nipples. I know you want to. When we were in Portland several weeks ago, I'd picked up a cool Rogue shirt (kind of a Hawaiian shirt). I washed it before wearing it, but didn't wear a shirt underneath it. The material was a bit rough and I'll be damned if it didn't start wearing my nipples raw. God that hurts. So, early on I was forced with a bit of a Sophie's Choice. I could soldier on with my beer drinking, leaving my nipples to the ravages of Satan's threads or I could swallow my pride and find some bandaids or tape to protect my nipples. Turns out I don't really have any pride to salvage, so I begged for some tape from the fest workers. At the end of the day, I decided I'd rather go through the excruciating pain of ripping packing tape off my sensitive and hairy nipples versus the excruciating pain of tearing my dried-blood soaked shirt away from the ragged stumps of what were once my nipples.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Some good things from the mailman

It's finally Friday and a beautiful one at that! A cloud in my sky is that there were still no Great Taste tickets nor were my City Pages tickets in the mail either. That being said there were two good things. 1. My Great Waters gift certificates arrived. 2. An update from Sandra Masin's office regarding the Pedal Pub bill (she's the State Representative for my district). Now anyone that knows me knows how little regard I have for politicians and aside from the fact that this information was posted on MNBeer late last night, I have to admit I was slightly impressed to have received the communication. In addition to the mail, there is the Stillwater Brewers Bazaar to look forward to tomorrow. Gosh I hope tomorrow is as nice as today!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Hump Day

Nothing in the mailbox yesterday afternoon. I hope the mailman didn’t steal my tickets.

In other beer happenings, we made it to Sea Salt last night for Surly’s two firkins. This was my first visit there and with the exception of the lines for both food and beer, it was pretty good. The fish tacos were very good as was the pickled herring (for some perverse reason I like this stuff) and the calamari was the best I can remember having. Having not consumed a lot of Surly lately, it was my first taste of Bitter Brewer. Both the regular version and the firkin version were good, with the tea flavors being more pronounced in the cloudy firkin beer. This is most definitely a session beer that I hope to have many sessions of, however since it is a one-time release I’m going to have to get in gear before it’s all gone. Furious is probably my favorite Surly product and the firkin of Furious didn’t disappoint. Big thanks to the good folks in our party who stood in line to make sure that we all got at least one glass from each of the firkins!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Still waiting...

But more hopeful! Yesterday there was no returned ticket request waiting for me in the mail box AND the check I wrote for two tickets has been cashed. So unless someone is yanking my chain I think my tickets are on the way!!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Great Taste or not?

Both of us sent in ticket requests for the Great Taste (only 2 tickets each…we’re not greedy, just thirsty) and Mag got his request returned yesterday – unfulfilled. As of this morning MHTG hasn’t cashed the check I wrote for tickets so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I don’t find a similar envelope in the mailbox this afternoon sans tickets.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Saturday might have been wet

But we finally got a chance to spend an afternoon at Town Hall after missing the last three for one reason or another (and we'll be missing again next week to attend the Stillwater Brewers Bazaar). After being out of the loop for so long I was pleased to see 4 seasonals on tap- ESB, Patio Pale Ale, Maibock and Heffeweisen- none of which I had tasted yet. Not being a Mai or Heffe fan I passed on those, starting off with an ESB, sort of. Mag had the first sip of my ESB and then I somehow managed to, instead of grabbing the glass, dump it right over! I managed to salvage about ¼ of the beer while spilling the rest on and behind the bar. What an embarrassing start to the afternoon imbibing! So the ESB I had was good but more grainy than I was in the mood for so for the rest of the time it was Patio Pale Ale for me. That’s one nice, easy drinking beer.

After that we headed over to Mac’s Industrial for a bite. As had been the case on most of our other visits the place was pretty dead for a Saturday night although “our” table had a reserved sign on it so we had to settle of a different one. The beer selection seems to have gone downhill slightly from when we were first there but it’s still not half bad especially when you consider their great happy hour deals. Add to that a kitchen that turns out some pretty great food for a sports bar and you’ve got a place that I’m more than happy to continue visiting.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Portland

Yeah, it's a bit late, but whatever. Here's my take on our recent trip to Portland.

The Good
  • Phenomenal weather, 17 breweries/brewpubs, friendly people and plenty of antacids. I'd guesstimate that I ranked 75% of the beers I drank at 3 or higher on my little beer-rating scale (1-5) and really, I don't think we had any major stinkers. Portland delivers once again. Rogue was, yet again, probably one of our favorite places to visit. And as usual, many of the places you think aren't going to be worth visiting end up being homeruns and those for which you have high expectations end up disappointing a little bit.
  • I do not think you can beat sitting in a strip joint (Mary's Club) where you are recognized, eating doughnuts and drinking beer. Voodoo doughnuts (which were as good as expected) and craft beer, nonetheless. Hell, even the decor was cool, what with a Pacific/sailor kind of theme. Did I mention the place had strippers? Nimble ones too.
  • I enjoyed the heck out of our little tiki adventure. It would have been nice if Alibi had been a little brighter so as to see the decor and all the funky lamps, carvings, etc. I thoroughly enjoyed Thatch as well. The drinks were awesome, and I'm not much of a rum guy.

The Bad
  • Pukers on both the outgoing and return flight as well as a severely terrified man sitting next to me on the return flight...never pleasant.
  • We saw the worst looking quesadilla, ever, made by an ugly and toothless cook, served by an ambiguously aged and apathetic server, while sitting in an unwanted booth placed next to the kid play area, in a restaurant who's bathrooms were a trainwreck. That's appetizing! Laurelwood gets this honor (well, Laurelwood's evil twin anyway, Laurelwood on Sandy Blvd).
  • Driving a brand, spankin new Cadillac...*shiver.* It was like flying the Space Shuttle, only more complicated. We didn't have to worry about our heat shields or anything, but the damn thing kept auto adjusting seats and mirrors and the left rear door was possessed. This experience could almost have made it into the Ugly category as we were on fumes when we returned the car to the rental office. Man, it was close.

The Ugly
  • Seeing someone, who shall remain nameless, stand up, vigorously spank himself while saying "Oh yeah!" in a loud voice in a crowded restaurant. I must mention that this was after a long day spent drinking beer at three brew pubs and rum concoctions at two tiki bars. The only reason I'm not going to have a separate bullet for the "peeing in the woods" adventure which really consisted of peeing in someone's yard is that there were no witnesses to that lewd act.
  • I loved seeing the sea lions and hearing them hoot and holler. Hearing THAT LADY hoot and holler like a sea lion...not so good. See if you can tell which is which.

Friday, May 2, 2008

The Black Helicopter Has Landed

A quick departure from the details of our Portland trip is warranted. Last night we went to the newly named Ugly Mug (formerly Harvey’s) to give Flat Earth’s latest creation, Black Helicopter, a try. According to Jeff’s email, Black Helicopter is a coffee oatmeal stout made with locally roasted Columbia coffee beans from Paradise Roasters. I love both coffee and coffee beers so this one had me drooling in anticipation. No surprise, I wasn’t disappointed. This beer is fantastic! The coffee aroma is heaven, the taste clean and full but without being too filling. I could drink a lot of this one and if last night is any indication, I’m off to a good start. If coffee beers are your thing (or maybe even if they're not) get out there before the Helicopter flies away.