Tuesday, March 31, 2009


this is my wife. that woman up there in the photo, yeah, she married me. she hasn't figured it out yet, so don't tell her. i've kept her fooled for this long. ooooowwww!

i've known latonya for 11 years. 10 of those years we've been good friends. 4.5 of those years we've been spouses. and, in all this time, my wife and i have viciously disagreed on a few things: neil young, long camping trips, guns, jason vorhees, and beer. i'm sure there are other things we have disagreed on as well, but these few pop into my mind immediately.

actually, we went on a 24 hour camping trip with our homechurch last year at easter, and now latonya's talking about cabins in the woods and building fires. also, for valentine's day, she took me to see the new FRIDAY THE 13th in the theater, on friday the 13th. it was magical. she only watched about 20 minutes of the film, but she claimed to have good time hearing me have a good time. she's hot.

nearly three years ago, the wife and i toured boulder brewing company in boulder, colorado. standing as friends of sir jason scott, who built the boulder beer website, we walked through the underbelly of my favorite brewery, dodging frozen and boiling pipes, holding handfuls of dry hops, served a table full of pitchers filled to the rim with free boulder beer. dan, the bigwig at boulder, left eight people and eight pitchers at the table saying, "whatever beer you leave gets poured down the drain." my wife single-handedly downed over half a pitcher of mojo IPA, announcing to everyone at high volumes by the third glass that the grapefruity flavor in the mojo was "freaking good, y'all." we split several six packs of mojo in our remaining kansas city days. 

last year, at a flogging molly concert, the wife and i met this really sweet couple near the pit who bought us cans of shiner bock. latonya drank her entire can. i tried to take the can from her, thinking she wouldn't like it. she held it strong, drank the whole thing down. later she said, "it was okay, kinda like drinking iced tea." even though it was shiner bock, i thought it was kinda hot. 

two weeks ago my friend josh rolled in from san diego with a growler of stone russian imperial stout. amazing stuff. creamy, mild, sweet where imperial stouts are usually bitter but still concrete where it needed to stand. the coffee and anise simmered into the background enough for a mellow dark chocolate sensation, and the 9.4% alcohol remained deeply secretive. josh and i realized the hidden message later, but only after the second glass. 

the growler sat on the table when latonya rolled into town from kansas city two days later. she asked what it was. i told her it was stone russian imperial stout. she said, "would i like it?" i thought about her love for chocolate, for coffee, for root beer that rings of anise, and i said, "actually, you might." she drank two full pints. 

then she asked if they sell this stuff around here. i said no. she asked if they sell anything like it. i poured her a glass of north coast old rasputin russian imperial stout. she sipped it, scrunched her face and said, "i like it, but the alcohol is a bit heavy." i kinda thrilled when she said that. just the night before, josh marion, felix landry and myself did a side-by-side tasting of stone russian imperial and north coast old rasputin, and we all labeled the stone drastically more mellow, and drinkable, primarily due to more chocolate and less alcohol burn. i still enjoy old rasputin, but it decidedly pales in comparison to stone. this was the opinion of me, josh, felix, and my wife - latonya: the sudden beer snob. 

the same day she did a side-by-side tasting of boulder's mojo IPA and o'dells IPA. she said that, for her, mojo was the superior IPA because the grapefruit overpowered the alcohol and floral flavors. in her opinion, the o'dells taste like some odd concoction of botanical flowers, mulched and fused into a therapeutic iced tea. also, she said she could taste the alcohol in the o'dells, which, obviously, is a turn off for this lady. so hot.

two days ago we hit up a flying saucer in austin. i asked the waitress to bring her a sample of left hand milk stout. she loved it. she bought a bottle tonight. she's sipping it right now out of a wine glass. i mean, this gal went from white wine to IPAs and imperial stouts, pole vaulting over lagers, pilsners, wheats, wittes, hefes, pale ales, porters, stouts, and bocks along the way. and she was able to say why. seriously, my wife is cooler than most of the dude's in this quaint texas town, including myself. keep your paltry shiner bocks, bros, i'll be sipping imperial stouts and grapefruity IPAs with my lady.  with my lady. after the valentine's vorhees' ticket, the week in the woods, and all these beer tastings, we might be sipping cheap domestics at neil young's parting show.

or not.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Mattingly Brewing Co.: Beer served by rough looking characters

Something Irish Red
BrightSide Belgian White
Black Dawn Coffee Porter
Homeward Brown
Black Sky Stout Porter
HOPtimal APA
This was the line-up for my first time visiting this establishment which is still in it's infancy. Before i say anything else, i must say this: The price was fantastic. I had six 5 oz. samplers and i paid $7.00 total. I couldn't believe it! When Hamster was here last, we went to the Stable and had six 3 oz. samplers and paid $12!
Brightside Belgian was laid down closest to my mouth, so of course, this is what i reached for to begin. I still can't place the taste but i am confident that i have tasted something nearly identical to this in the past. I don't know what the White refers to, but it was not sweet like a traditional Belgian. It was very low key and had a chipper bite to it towards the end. I did not taste malt or sugar at all. It would be a pleasure to drink this in the summer. Not the best by far, but it wasn't bad to start with either.
The Irish Red somethingorother was next and was a disappointment. I was thinking of Killian's the whole time and i have to say that if you were to take a bottle of Killian's and dump it into a plastic container and then filled the rest up with water and stirred it (like making orange juice from concentrate) then you would have the taste of this beer. Completely watered down. If i were any part Irish, i would have burned the place down. Luckily for me i am German and English, so i sat and complianed while musing over the destructiveness of my ancestors.
Homeward Brown was up next and i was more pleased. Quite nutty and fuller bodied. It was a lighter brown and looked more like a washed out amber ale. The flavor was much more distinct and hinted of toasted almonds and butter. Actually, that sounds even better than it tasted, i'll admit. It was decent but not one i will want to go back and get.
I took one sip of the APA and thought, nope better not. Then i slid it to the end for reasons i'll explain shortly. (This was strongly urged by Church Key, ...good advice.)
Ok, i kept getting confused about which of the dark beers were which. They were written on the board over the bar, but i had nothing written down by me so i had to know by memory. Then i smelled them and the coffee porter was a dead giveaway.
Black Sky Stout Porter: Porters have never done it for me. Sorry to any out there that crave porters. I was intrigued by the name but his thing tasted watered down again. It roused memories of a beer i had ingested only minutes before and only reinforced my reasons for not caring for porters. I can't even tell you a flavor profile on this. The aroma was faint and confusing. It smelled sort of like a stout, but also like honey. It was a bit sweet and the malt might have been overbearing if only it had more flavor.
Black Dawn Coffee Porter. Wow! Hell yea! This tasted amazing. For those who know me, you know my stance on coffee. Can't stand the stuff. It is oppressive to the point of torture to my tongue and would, i'm sure, destroy my bowels if given a chance. More importantly is that coffee tastes like liquified tractor tire to me. With that said, i am rating this bastard high, not because it tasted particularly amazing to me, but because it tasted so strongly of black coffee and so little like alcohol, that i have to imagine anyone else would be captivated by this beer. This kicks the asses of all the coffee stouts i have tasted and makes the Schlafly coffee stout tasting like an accidental swig from a muddy lake. The only thing i can think of is that they brewed several pots of coffee, brewed some beer, and then dumped it all together.
Hoptimal APA: I was impressed with this sucker too! All in all i'd say they are doing well to have 2 fantastic beers, 2 so-so beers, and then two beers i'll have if you buy it for me. The APA was impressively well-balanced and smooth. It at no time felt harsh, yet the hops were very present and even up front. This beer had a nice fruity element that came through simultaneously, like a grapefruit and a hop were holding hands and skipping on a grassy ravine--niether one in a hurry--both refusing to walk in front of the other. I like it when the elements mesh, and it is even more impressive in strong pale ales because i am wanting a dominant hop presence.
All in all, i was distinctly joyful after leaving this place. My friend's Ryan and the Church Key himself sampled some food; a burger, fries and fish n chips. Neither one raved about the eats, but we agreed that it was worth coming back to.
Oh, i forgot to mention i saved the APA because i knew it was gonna be good after one sip.
Also, the waiting staff was very punky and rough looking. It looked like they recruited the "skater" clique from my high school to run the joint. Fun times.

Friday, March 27, 2009


my buddy josh marion brought me some treasures back from his recent trip to san diego. one was a bomber of this here stone bitter chocolate oatmeal stout (9.2% abv). ummm, this beer is amazing. over the top but still manageable, like grandma listening to lamb of god unplugged. somethings need to be simmered down just a bit; however, stone does not simmer anything down: they simply make a few things more manageable for the frailty of human experience. i swear to buddha, if these boys made a mexican lager, the thing would flamenco dance around your chair and burn your bottom lip with its charry hot footwork. i'm just saying.

also, i like the bottle

here's the review josh and i posted on ratebeer.com. we'll just leave it at this. please know that words were hard to find. for three reasons: the beer is too good, the night is too late, the alcohol is too high. adios, amigo. 

this beer is stupid good. there’s no way around it. blacker than life before Jesus, with a cleveland browns ballcap to boot for a head. this thing smells like whoa. then it tastes like whoa. and then, when you go in again, more whoa. huge chocolate aroma and flavors. very dark, nearly burnt chocolate. my first impression was charred liquid fudge, but in a good way. the alcohol burn hit the back of the throat fairly hard in the first few sips, mellowed in the middle, then rears its hothead in any serious pause. yes, the alcohol bites here. but that’s okay. coffee and bleeding heart juice round out the edges making this as much of an afternoon treat as a midnight sleeping pill. i like it. my buddy here, in the flannel shirt, he likes it. we agree that, at times, the flavor is almost overpowering. while punching where it should punch and smoothing where it should smooth, sometimes it throws in a kick and belts me just below the tongue-belt. whoa. and wow. i said to my buddy josh here, just now and meaning it, "this is one of the more intense drinking experiences i’ve had." and it was. and it is. for about two more sips.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


I had two of Sam Adams' Imperial Series beers last night while kegging 10 gallons of a nice pale ale with cascade and saaz hops. The firstbeer we had was the Imperial White which came off tasting more as alightly colored dubbel. It was over the top sweet, with a slight"witte" taste. I was hoping for something drier, more complex and...better. I know Sam Adams is commercial, but they have put out some big beers that are not commercial i.e. triple bock, imperial pilsner, and those beers do not disappoint; however, this one did. It is 10.3%, so I understand having some sweetness, but this was sickening; we didn't even finish the bottle.

Second, we had the Imperial Stout which brought back over into the SA big beer believer side. The aroma is bitter with chocolate undertones, like 80% cacao chocolate. The first taste complements these claims,but also adds a bit more milk and finishes with a nice heat in the back of your throat. The extremely thick mouth feel almost makes you want to grab a spoon or some Wendy's fries and dip them in. This was a good, solid Imperial Stout, with dark chocolate, hops, and heat notes which translates into a decently complex beer with a bitter smoothness that finishes with a little kick in the old punching bag thingy in your throat...okay, it's not that hot, but I like the analogy.

Needless to say, this tasting goes right along with my overall view of Sam Adams, some of their beers I am embarrassed to have tried whereothers rank among some of the best that I've had. Combine that with their support for the industry and for homebrewers and I call myself a fan, for better or for worst.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I've attached a picture of the contenders for this one, along with the pours of each so that color can be compared. (You'll note a lonely bottle of Tallgrass IPA in the background of this... though not officially a part of the tasting, I'll comment on this later).

So obviously, on the far right, we have the two double IPAs... Mojo Risin' and Boulevard Doublewide. We considered it fair and prudent to pitch these against one another AFTER completing the tasting of the other four (5, including Tallgrass). Even though OUR review saved the doubles for last, I'll begin with them, because it's a pretty darn easy one, with unanimous results among the four tasters in the room. The winner? Mojo Risin'. The loser? None. They're both remarkable. But they're HUGE beers. Beers this large and this malty are actually difficult to infuse with enough hop to overcome the malt, and in this respect, Boulder has outclassed Boulevard with ease. A much more pronounced hop character, which makes it easier to drink than the Boulevard (though neither is what I would call an "easy drinker").

That's it for the doubles. We loved them both, but Mojo Risin' takes the crown due to better hops.Now for the not-so-easy to judge.

This was a true blind test. Beers were poured by a non-participant, then photographed as attached. The beer bottles were then moved to another room, and tasting began. A few of the more noteworthy comments from the tasting (and I will attribute the comment numbers to the rightful owner in the review:

1) Smells like grapefruit juice... not a bad thing at all.

2) This is a meaty mess (a bad thing)

3) This tastes like horse dick

And now the results. I hope it's not a cop-out to have a tie for first place. We went through the line-up 3 times, trying to judge a clear winner. It simply didn't happen. There are two beers that were so neck-and-neck... so amazingly and deliciously equal, yet with different characteristics.

Third place was a VERY close third place (one of our testers ranked it #1, actually), and fourth place was condemnable. Dead last and easily pushed to the back of the table with authority by every tester. The final results stunned me.

FIRST (and second) PLACE: O'Dell IPA and Bell's Two Hearted Ale. These beers both pull off an amazing balancing act. They pack a nice 7-ish percent alcohol level, but remain drinkable and, dare I say, refreshing. They are the two happy hop monsters, but they have a different hop profile. O'Dell garnered comment #1 above. If you like a grapefruity/Amarillo hop, this is your beer. If your preference leans toward a more generic or lime-like citrus, Two Hearted Ale is for you. In the end, we decided that the better beer simply depends on your mood. In fact, I know from a recent 2-hour phone call with the hamster that in a similar side-by-side comparison, I declared O'Dell the victor over Bell's. In this blind test, my notes gave the nod to Bell's over O'Dell. You simply can't go wrong this these. There is ONE factor that could make the O'Dell a clear-cut winner for me... price. At the liquor store I went to, the Two Hearted Ale was $10.99 a six-pack. Ouch. Very ouch. O'Dell was a comparable bargain at $8.99.

THIRD PLACE: Sierra Nevada Torpedo. One taster's favorite, hands-down. It's drinkable. It's not too heavy. It oozes hop presence from every CO2 bubble that escapes the surface. For all but one of us, we found the hop character to be a bit more like "hop concentrate" than actual hops. That is, you get a concentrated whallop of hop BITTERNESS, but not necessarily the nose that you might expect. Kind of like a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale on steroids. A universally-liked beer, but with the citrus hop-heads in our taster panel, this one didn't have a chance.

LAST PLACE: This pains me. Boulder Beer's Mojo IPA. I smell a conspiracy. For a couple of years, the hamster and I have wondered if the bean counters at Boulder Beer are handcuffing brewmaster David Zuckerman's hands. Hazed and Infused just hasn't tasted the same as it did when it first came out. After this IPA shootout, I seriously wonder if Mojo has fallen victim to the bean counter. It's no secret that hops are pricey. The temptation to cut back on these vine-ripened cones of perfection has to be powerful for the accounting dept. This beer was the unfortunate recipient of comments 2 & 3. It should be added that the taster who proclaimed comment #3 grew up on a farm, so I suspect he knows what he's talking about. This beer was the third one that each of us tasted. We would taste the first beer, then leave the glass in place. Taste the second beer, and either move it slightly forward or rearward of the first, thereby indicating its relative rank against the previous beer. When every one of us got to the Mojo, it was slid with forceful disgust to the back of the table. Now let me qualify these comments. It's not that Mojo is a bad IPA. It is not. We all agreed that it is not a bad IPA. But this test was supposed to be one of our "best of the best" shootouts. We had a lot higher hopes against the other competitors.

So where did it fail? Hops. Or the lack thereof. The thing tasted of malt, and almost exclusively malt. In the company of the other three beers we were tasting, you would have had a hard time convincing me that the Mojo was actually in IPA. We really tried to give this one a fair shot. We even mixed them up and tried the whole thing again, and with the same result. Mojo was simply out-classed and out-hopped at every blind sip we took. The irony of the taste test is that I've always considered Mojo to be a grapefruity hop king. They pile the Amarillo hops into this thing (supposedly). As I took this blind taste test, I got to the O'Dell IPA and, upon smelling the fragrant grapefruit, already proclaimed it to be Mojo. Which made me really scratch my head at what that awful #3 beer had to be. So when the curtain was lifted and Mojo turned out to be the dog, I was a bit crushed. Further irony came from a drunken e-mail that I sent Hamster one night saying that I would defend Boulder Beer to the death and beyond, since they are like family to me. After this tasting, I can no longer do that. Will someone please tell me that I got a bad 6-pack of Mojo? Will someone repeat a similar tasting and tell me if your panel is as unanimously turned off by the lack of hops in Mojo?

DISHONORABLE MENTION: Tallgrass IPA. This one was thrown in as a joke. As a proud product of Lawrence, Kansas, I've come to learn that the very best thing to ever come from Manhattan, KS is mediocrity. Unfortunately, Tallgrass couldn't even achieve mediocrity with their "IPA". Let's not try to kid anyone though... this is not an IPA. Or at least it's not an India Pale Ale. It could quite certainly be an Interestingly Pungent Amber. Perhaps an Insulting Pale Ale. But if hops supposedly kept IPAs fresh on the long ship voyage to India, I predict this beer would have gone sour about 2 miles from the English shore. This is about as hoppy as a Mai Bock. I don't know how a brewer could ever produce something like this and have the gumption to call it a Pale Ale, much less one fit for a trip to India. Laughably horrendous, this has to go down as one of the worst IPAs I've ever tasted. 

So, there you have it. Our results of a blind, 4-way taste test. Your results may vary, and I'll look forward to what you think. Take care, sirs. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Smoothest Pale Ale to Date...

I never wondered why I became unusually interested in beer when I was living in Springfield. I mean, Missouri State was filled with beer drinking constituents. Sure, I had my fill of corn brewed beer, overly sudsy keg beer, and anything that was on clearance...but, I discovered, tonight, what it was that sparked my curiosity with hop water: Mueller Pale Ale brewed at Springfield Brewing Company. The first time I stepped foot in Springfield Brewing Company, I had been a beer drinker for only a couple of months. This was my first experience with craft brewed beer. I ordered a Pale Ale, drank it down like a good college boy, and asked for another. I didn't realize that many other Pale Ales were not so tasty and smooth...I had never tried any other Pale Ales.

So, today, I was in Springtown, and I stopped by the brewery. I usually do any chance I get, and I sample as much as I can while still being able to walk out the door. I always buy a glass, because they have these great pilsner glasses

with tiny mouths, that make you smell the aroma of the beer even more than usual...but they are made from thin glass and break often...so, I have to buy one or two every time. Anyway...I also purchased a 6 pack of Pale Ale, drove back to St. Louis, put one in the freezer, poured the liquid copper into a glass, and expected to simply reminisce...however, after sampling numerous IPA's, Pale Ales, and all sorts of other tasty micro-brews in the past few years, this Pale Ale from Springtown found itself parked in the front row (maybe even in the handicap spot) of my favorite brews. Yeah, it might be the history that we share, but I feel this was an unbiased sipping experience...in the familiarity of my living room, on a random Tuesday, I rekindled the old flame. It is "uncommonly smooth" (as the bottle says) and is "in the Pale Ale tradition of the Pacific Northwest, using a generous amount of Cascade hops." I would not typically steal quotes from the bottle, but they are truth! A tinge of caramel is there, but the citrusy Cascade hops win out in flavor...this beer reminds me of Bridgeport IPA...but better. Maybe it is the answer to Hamster's quandary of what happened to the Bridgeport IPA over the past couple of years...Springfield Brewing Company stole the recipe, and the Bridgeport folks were left to try and recreate the goodness. That's just a theory of how the smoothest pale ale I've ever ingested came to pass.

I have 5 more...slim chance I'll share...the closest replacements are 3 hours away...I will let you smell the empty bottles...

New Pole


I would like to give some props to "the wilderness". I recently sampled an IPA and a stout that he brewed at home...excellent beers for your first time my friend.

The "Paranoid IPA" competes with Dogfish Head's 60 min IPA...seriously (but I don't think the club really cared too much for the 60 min). The flavor was pow-were-ful. Aroma was men-knee-mull.

The "St. Francis Stout" is equivalent to Schlafly's Irish Extra Stout. Viscous.

I'm proud of you man. Keep 'em coming.

I give you 8 Kevin Stills out of 10.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


that up there is a picture of my good friend, the sir scott of jason. in this picture he sports a memento from his evening with the brewers of summit brewing company (see comment by zoesjourneyhome). he says they are fine people. samaritans perhaps. for this, i bless them. and for this, because i love my friend and his bride, i would wear that hat gladly, but i may not purchase much of their beer, even for a good story. however, in honor of jason's story, i purchased one more little bottle of summit extra pale ale (5.3% abv) just for the trying. 

at first sniff and sip i realize, this is an english pale ale: lots of yeasty bread and biscuits. ironically, i spoke out against summit IPA's need for a little more bread and biscuit, just something malty to hold up the drooping hop vines burnt and sagged into my glass, and now i'm drinking the crummy outer edges of a frickin' dagwood sandwich. from one extreme to the other here, people. however, beneath all that super yeasty loaf action rests a nice sliver of coppery hops. i prefer a crisp floral hop, a la two-hearted or boulder's mojo, but when the malts are this large even melted pennies weigh in good for balance. 

this ale reminds me of a poem i penned just the other day. my brother from another mother, myles werntz, sent out a line by the hipster of spinsters, dan quayle: "We have a firm commitment to NATO. We are a part of NATO. We have a firm commitment to Europe. We are a part of Europe." i don't know what he's all on about there, but i penned the following verse in response.

I am no bit committed to Europe,
as to what they brew and bottle.
Though the Queen's men invented IPA,
US ale rules o'er this wattle.

with that said, i would not award summit's extra (english) pale ale any medals anytime soon; although, they deserve something fine and dandy in the humanitarian department. Lord, knows i could have used some of that sobering treatment back when i . . . . 

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Slummin It At the Tin Can

Sounds like Kevin and Myles felt our spirit of hanging out with the beers from the wrong side of the track on St. Pat's Day. I will share the happenings of the most recent BEER CLUB meeting through my feeble eyes. We started the night off at the Tin Can. This bar is unique...but the waitress made it unforgettable. Our good friend Matt Brock asked the common question you hear floating around watering holes, "What is the Schlafly Seasonal that you have on tap?" The waitress peered back at Brock perplexed. "It's a beer from Schlafly called 'Seasonal'." Matt kindly tried to lead the waitress toward the realization, "I THINK that they call it 'Seasonal' because they change to a different beer with the seasons." The waitress was not convinced, and proceeded to say, "Well, it's always been called 'Seasonal' since I've been here." BEER CLUB has graced two bars with it's presence, and found no female waitress that knows the difference between piss and pale ale. Dissapointing! Well, since Matt and the server had to agree to disagree, we proceeded to get $4.50 buckets of Milwaukee hop water. First Brock ordered 6 PBR's for the price I paid for one Mighty Arrow. Then, Nate decided to buy a bucket of 6 different brews from the 75 cent menu. Here were his choices: Steel 211, Natural Light, Colt 45, Olympia...and the other two Nate will have to tell you. Point is, we decided to look at the address on the side of the can of each of the Milwaukee brewskies (Natural Light excluded of course) and we realized that the addresses matched perfectly. So, if you brew beer, then put it in a bunch of different types of cans, you can sell it cheap because you will sell a lot (or maybe they are still searching for the one that will win another Blue Ribbon). They all had the distinct sweetness of corn, and made us smile (because of the thrifty price, not the nifty flavor).

Then, we scooted on down the street to Schlafly's Tap Room. Here we were bombarded with unique, tasty brews...and, can you believe it, a knowledgeable server (I'm sure they actually are required to be there). Well, the Pierce City Eagle sat between the Monett Cubs and reminisced about old acquintances. The bartender even stopped to hear one of my stories, and then walked away unsatisfied, with his head down. I'm not that interesting sober, but my stories get even more lame as the alcohol hits the brain. Most times people laugh...cause they are toasted too.

Ahh, BEER CLUB is good.


my good friend of a decade and plus, myles werntz, rolled into BCS from waco yesterday. we ran a few good laps around the old backgammon board and sipped some natty lights out on the front stoop. to be honest, even though i sported my dropkick murphys shamrock t-shirt, which i picked up at hipster heaven - hot topic - on the clearance rack, i had forgotten it was saint patrick's day. plum forgot. and i'm irish. the german werntz had to remind me.

we set out for half priced burgers and some cold pints on the backporch of ozona bar and grill later in the afternoon. a sign near the front door claimed "green beer" all day long. in 31 years of abiding this lowly planet, i have never seen or tasted a green beer. i kinda always thought it was a joke, an urban legend, like the leprachaun stuck inside of mobile. but sure enough, when i ordered a pint of miller lite, a glowing green beer came to the table.

brightly fused toxic glimmered sunlight shimmers fizzled with bubbles that stacked firm lager head like mint-tinted shaving foam. this beer was not slightly green, it was a blazening booger from the jolly green giant himself. the brightness of the green lager reminded me of the teenage mutant ninja turtles with the part 8 death of jason vorhees sizzled by green manhattan subway goo. this thing in this glass was not a beverage: it was a relic to good cartoons and bad slasher flicks. the aroma still becried my faithful miller lite. wrapped up in all that domesticity roared backyard fires at the scott-castle, wedding bells at the robertson union, the early days of learning to home church it at marky-mark douglass's kansas city casa. this green beer offered no aromatic hint of shepherd's pie and mournful dirges. the first sip took me to all those familiar places, but, wait, what's that, there on the edges? not ireland. this doesn't taste like ireland. it tastes like goo and garbage pail kids, like food coloring and easter eggs sans vinegar. this trendy little st. patty's day trick watered down my beer. here we are celebrating a saint - a good and worthy saint - and i'm growing bitter enough to upturn tables and uproot somebody's lucky clover. whose idea was this green beer anyway? it's trite. it's like putting eye shadow and rouge on a metal head, turning badasses into twisted sisters. i do not like this beer. i do not like polluting something grand and beautiful, like a tried and true miller lite, just so some bartender has a chance to get boobie-flashed by the end of the night. no, sir. get cable if you need a boobie flash, but leave my beer alone.

until next saint patrick's day, my friends:

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
And rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

and say no to colored beer.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


our dearly own and beloved prescription took on quite the IPA tasting task recently and then reported his findings in a humdinger of a beerclub post. to celebrate prescription's accomplishments, i waited to read his post until i could do so while simultaneously tasting a brand new IPA. i chose SUMMIT BREWING COMPANY'S INDIA PALE ALE (6.4% abv) because it was available for purchase in a single bottle. i chose the picture above because it has some random white girl's foot in it, and i thought that was a little awkward. 

so, without further adieu, here's to prescription:

summit IPA pours a coppery caramel color. by looks alone, i'm expecting a very metallic flavor. small bubbles rise in the middle of the glass, showing a bit of air and teasing my palate. the aroma screams heavy, heavy hops. something also smells a bit burned, like the hop farmer raked up fallen hop blossoms off the ground, burned them on a leaf pile, and then dry-hopped the ale through the ashes. i cannot imagine why this ale smells burned. a thin white scrim lays across the surface of the ale while small white bubbles shift the covering like hundreds of tiny crabs moving the ground level of the sandy beach. i like the looks. i do not like the smell. and the first sip is atrocious. who told the brewing company it was okay to ask people money for this shite? i feel like i'm watching the american idol audition and some tacky girl is wailing and she sucks and then she says, "well, my grand-mammy believes in me!" that's how i feel about this beer: somebody's grand-mammy said they make precious beverages and now they can charge me money for it. the second sip makes me hate the grand-mammy. this is hop overload. there is no balance. their is not biscuit or barley or malt or bread here. and the hop flavor is not even very good. the website boasts four different hops in this one ale: northern brewer, east kent golding, warrior, U.S. golding, and then it's dry-hopped through east kent golding again for the ashy burn. listen, summit, do you know there is a hop shortage in america? do you know that people who use their hops responsibly cannot buy their hops at wholesale prices because you are setting them on fire and abusing them? this ale is silly. let's back the truck up here and see what summit might be able to do with only two hop varieties. the big four is just too much. i sip a little more, and i lose my faith in all grand-mammies. i do not like this beer. i am glad i only have one. still, i am not dumb enough to not finish this beer. bad beer is better than no beer.

prescription, i am sorry that this tasting did not work out well. i meant of this to be a celebration of you. tonight, i will raise a glass of something finer in honor of you and your sweet grand-mammies. 

confession: that is actually my foot. sometimes i paint my toes. don't tell anyone.


my dear sam -

let's have a chat, you and i. let's talk about beer. specifically, let's talk about the beauty of beer, for there exists such a thing, and, you my friend, have tapped into it.

i live in the republic of texas. it never rains here. in 2008 the skies tinkled rain once for about 15 minutes, but that was all. still, because we are the republic and God's chosen people, our crops continue to flourish and our cattle remain as strong as the leather we wrap around our waists and boots and wife's torsos when they let us. life is good in the republic. and today, the skies have tinkled rain in a solid stream since yesterday. something good our way comes, yeah buddy.

and in here, sweet inside and dry and warm in a bodacious red cardigan, i sit and sensually observe something good: this new blackberry witbier you have made. sam, this is amazing. this is darling. this is prettier than the foot wide tail pipes on my cousin's dooley truck. i like this.

sam, i like how this beer is slightly hazy, like our glimpse into the heaven's according to paul. and i like how, in that haze, there are all these little bubbles ascending from the pint glass floor like prayers on the baptist bench altar.  and i like how the beer, when you drink it, makes snowflake patterns along the edge of the glass, like angel wings. i can keep on with the religious imagery if it's doing anything for you.

and i like the flavor: a little sweet with the wit and a little tart with the blackberry. i like that my mouth feels tempted to pucker from the heavy berry aroma alone, but i do not pucker because the berries are not that tart in the flavor. but the they almost are. so i pucker anyway, just for fun. for shits and giggles, as my friend jim yates would say.

this is a good beer, sam. probably not the best beer i've had, but good enough, today, to elicit a little melodrama. the rain helps with that, too. so, i officially give this blackberry witbier 3 pucker-sunches out of 5. you're on your way, sir. i'd be interested to see what you could make of a lager. especially, a lager straight outta the heart of boston.

sincerely, a true fan, even though i haven't bought anything by you in nearly a year,

- the hamster

ps. soon i will write back with my comparison of SAM ADAMS BLACK LAGER and NEW BELGUIM 1554. two beers so similar, and, yet, two beers so almost alike.

Friday, March 13, 2009

It Is Finished.

I know that many of the readers of this drunken blog are devout IPA drinkers. I have been downing various versions of this brew (a dozen to be exact) over the past few weeks. My mission, to drink a bunch of IPA's, and judge them based on my own personal preferences...so some of you may disagree, but I will share my thoughts. I am going to rate the beers on a scale of $0-$5. This will represent how much I would gladly ("gladly" is the key word, i want them all to cost $0.50, but real life...) pay for a pint of each of these hop waters at a drinking hole. I will also put them in order from last place to first place. Let's start with the major dissapointment:

12. BUTTE CREEK ORGANIC IPA: Basic hop flavor--subtle caramel malt--no stand out bite. Maybe an isolated incident, but this thing was way too sudsy! I poured most of it down the drain...which is rare. $0.50

11. ARCADIA IPA: Caramel and nut flavors are more prevalent than the hops--no citrus taste at all--$2.00

10. DOGFISH HEAD 60 MINUTE IPA: Forgettable, but definetly an IPA--good hop flavor, but a little turbulent on the tongue--not enough citrus flavor to smooth it out. It says it's been voted the best beer in America, but it's not even the best IPA in my fridge--$3.00

9. BELL'S 2 HEARTED ALE: Obvious hops--then malty and grainy--too grainy at the end--i need water (with lemon) to quench my thirst and add some citrus flavor that it is missing--$3.25

8. FT. COLLINS ROCKY MOUNTAIN IPA: Smooth--smells like caramel--hops are too subtle--like a brown ale trying to be as cool as an IPA--tasty beer, just not the IPA i am looking for--$3.50

7. LEFT HAND WARRIOR IPA: Caramel and hops mixed nicely--very little citrus flavor-smooth and easy to drink--$3.52

6. MENDOCINO IMPERIAL IPA (Winter Seasonal): A lot of hop bite!--just a little caramel flavor--mostly hops--strong, but smooth--you could even describe it as creamy--$4.00
5. SIERRA NEVADA TORPEDO IPA: Balanced--not too much of anything, but just enough of everything--hops, citrus, a little malt--give me another...now! thanks baker $4.25

4. BRIDGEPORT IPA: Not much of a smell--what you can't smell is more than compensated for in the taste!--awesome flavor--perfect balance--smooth hops flavor with an aftertaste of citrus--much smoother than other IPA's and even some Pale Ales...just a tad watery--CLEAN--could down a 6er without a sip of water--thanks hamster! $4.50


3. O'FALLON 5 DAY IPA: Flowery aroma--very hoppy--great burn of flavor--minimal caramel flavor--citrus aftertaste--clean--thanks o'fallon--$4.75

2. ANDERSON VALLEY HOP OTTIN' IPA: great smell--hops and citrus--tiny bit of caramel malt flavor--the hops bite and my mouth likes it--i might need some h2o after a pint of Hop Ottin', but if it means I'm ready for a second pint, i'll do what is needed--great balance of hops and citrus--very similar to the best of the dozen--$4.99

1. BOULEVARD DOUBLE WIDE IPA: yep! hops to start, citrus at the end! lemon, maybe orange, and even some milder citrus--the burp halfway through was better than a whole bottle of Butte Creek--i don't want to drink or eat and ruin the aftertaste--$5.00

Some of these I had sampled before, but to have them in the mix of a bunch of other IPA's gave me a good scale to measure all of these by. I'll do this again with a bunch of other IPA's...anybody interested in joining me from the comfort of your home? even the hamster could join in a bit of distance learning. i'll plan it, if you'll drink it.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


last night i spanked a midterm exam. bent that thing right over my left knee and gave it a new name. turning it in, i walked straight up the teacher, stapled the pages, and said, "you're welcome." shazam!

okay, i didn't really say, "you're welcome." i think i said, "i hope this works out." she said, "i'm sure you did fine." and i said, "thanks for the vote of confidence." i always sound way better in what i should have said than what i actually say.

still, to celebrate the victory of the test, i stopped by the local debauch depot and picked up a single bottle of this here brooklyn brewery's lager. that's all they call it: "lager." i mean, i'm not sure what else you could call it, but that's the simple and sweet of it.

here's my story. i bought this beer to celebrate my midterm. and i bought this beer because i had neVer tasted it, making it a fine addition to the beer club menu here. however, like a big giant hippo in a glass knicker-knocker shop, i tipped that bottle plum over on the counter top and lost half the beer under my tea-bag box. son of a bitch! i did say that. i always say exactly what i shouldn't say.

i had just enough of my wasted celebration beer to decide i was glad to not have the whole thing. this beer did not move me to kool and the gang sing-a-longs. brooklyn brewery's lager is woefully british, and not in the ways i'm learning to love the british ale. it was yeasty and twangy, crying out more for turkey and mayo than pretzels and mustard. the malts also tasted inappropriately heavy, allowing the hops to peep up glimmer a peering brow over the edge but never making a full appearance. i did not like this. i would not drink it with the queen, i would drinking it from her spleen.

luckily, my friend josh gave me a bottle of mighty arrow later in the evening. it was delish. and i celebrated mighty arrow shagging my taste buds as much i had hoped brooklyn brewery to celebrate my spanking of the midterm. beer drinking can be so naughty. at least, drinking the right beer can be.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Cheaps - PBR vs. Dirt Cheap (not copying the Hamster)

A little insight, Dirt Cheap is a beer sold at Dirt Cheap stores which also sell cheap tobacco and liquor products.

Price: Dirt Cheap runs $2.99 a sixer - PBR runs $5. 79 for a 12 point (2.89 a sixer - BOOM bitch!)

I participated in a blind taste test with the Baker, the goal was determine the better beer, between the D.C. and PBR.

I left the room while Baker poured the samples and vice versa.

Our impressions were as follows:

Ok folks, Brew #1 boasted a cheery light yellow hue with a non-substantial froth of popping bubble delight. This beer smelled like a Bud. Slightly sour with a stong scent of alcohol infused liquid. Crisp and light. tasted very grainy, is it barley? Not sweet but had slightly bitter notes but not like an IPA,..much softer. I liked it. It was definitely worth the price.

#2: Much sweeter smell. It in fact was far sweeter than the first, richer with a bigger flavor profile. It was up front and noticable wheras the first made taste several times before writing. I was impressed with the larger and more pronounced flavor surge for such a cheap beer. I was not a fan of the sweetness, however. It reminded me of a Samiclaus but diluted and much less intense overall. I did not like this beer as much as the first.

I guessed that the first was PBR, and the second was Dirt Cheap. I was right. I was happy about this. It meant PBR was raised a bit in my opinion. Cheap...yes. Pretty good..surprisingly, yes.

Church Key: (in fewer words)
A - heavy carbonation. Mellow taste. Not clean. Made me think Multi-Grain. Burned my mouth a bit. A little sprinkle of hops, maybe a pinch or a dash. Original brewers maybe were afraid of hops and used it as a seasoner. I liked it though. It reminded me of a Bud or Busch.

B - SWEET. It brought back horrible memories of Samichlaus and Dogfish Head Worldwide Stout. Malty. Diluted. I liked A better.

I guessed A was PBR and B was Dirt Cheap. I was right. Ding Ding Ding.
How awesome, $2.89 for a sixer of Good bad beer. In a pinch I will always choose PBR. I mean it's distinguished flavor is the name. Pabst beer received a Blue Ribbon in 18(74?) for best lager and again in 2006.
I know that at a certain Bluegrass and BBQ joint in Knoxville TN PBR is the only beer served. On tap, not too shabby.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


i did a little cat-sitting for some friends this past weekend. good people, that ryan and kelly. good cats, that winston and abigail. my primary cat-sitting duties included keeping the cats off the countertops and spraying them from a bottle water if they did. cush job. i could easily make a living hanging about other people's houses, watching their flat screens and drinking their sweet tea. sign me up. you don't even have to ask me to pay taxes; i'll just do it tax free, i liked it so much.

alright, not to gossip, people, but ryan has a pretty sweet liquor cabinet. top shelf whiskeys, scotches, rums and cognacs. (after that night in austin when i gave three waitresses and a waiter my mother's home phone number, mistaking it for my own, i don't even look at tequila anymore.) to curb my thirst for the harder stuff, i drank ryan's beer. he had two kinds: blue moon and dundee's honey brown. these are two beers i would not normally choose on my own, so i was happy to have this FREE chance to taste the two side by side.

after the testing, i decided that, no, i would not financially prefer either beer over, say, a schiltz; however, i will never turn down a bottle of blue moon or dundee's honey brown if the price is right. like, free. what follows are the reviews i posted quite some time ago on ratebeer for each of the aforementioned brews. the battle of the not-so-goods did indeed claim a winner.

after years of bagging this beer, i’m here to say that dundee’s honey brown is quite refreshing and, even, nice. this is good backyard beer. hot weather beer. introduce-your-keystone-light-buddies-to-craft-beer kinda beer. though normally a hophead and imperial stoutist, i still dip my fancies in the always trustworthy and thirst-quenching american lager. and this honey brown lager may be one of the finest craft versions on the capitalist market. question: have the dundees changed the recipe in the past some-odd years? this feels lighter, less syrupy, or am i smoking something illegal? brightly toasted-golden fermented juice illuminates bubbles sweltering a constant ascension of pearly white bubbles. the aroma speaks of baked honey cakes, cinnamon rolls sans cinnamon loaded with honey, honey and more honey. a second look at the glass reveals a liquid honey comb, melted and translucently ravishing backporch sunlight. slightly burnt malt flavors curl on the edges with a heightened sweetness - like the corner-pan pieces of fresh honey drenched poundcake. a great "starter-to-the-night" beer. a fine lager. i also like the new label design: the marching band worker bee banging a bass drum and touting a mug of lager. not a beer i will return to often, but it’s nice. grandma will love this.
aroma - 3/10
appearance - 5/5
flavor - 6/10
palate 4/5
overall - 13/20
rating - 3.1

not great. i’m so sorry that this beer is like EVERYWHERE. worse than that, i’m sorry that everyone thinks this is fabulouser than miller lite or pabst, as if blue moon were the next logical progression up from domestic lagers. seriously, it’s not good.
aroma - 4/10
appearance - 4/5
flavor - 4/10
palate - 2/5
overall - 7/20
rating - 2.1

the winner in the battle of the not-so-goods: dundee's honey brown. although maybe not worth pissing into a king's golden spittoon, i would gladly flush many a bottle of dundee down the railing in my own backyard. don't believe me? just bring a sixer of dundee's over and sit a spell. the railing awaits you.


(five bucks says it's an import.)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Beer Fashion 2

It never fails. I dream up something that could change the world only to discover that it's already out there on the internet.

This is the grill master something or other. It comes with tongs, flipper, holster for the beer, and extra pockets if you want to add other utensils, beers, or ninja stars.

...so beautiful

Tonight I've seen aprons with insulated beer pockets and retractable bottle openers, beer belts that hold 6 beers, leather beer holsters (which you can personalize), and bottle opener belt buckles.

We live in a beautiful world

Beer Fashion

For quite some time now I have dreamed of having a grilling apron (more of a tool belt) that could holster my beer. The ultimate would be to have a bottle opener on the hip.

One day...one day