Monday, August 1, 2011

Hanging up the beer goggles...

 
Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later.  After four long years of being hip deep in the whole craft beer scene... I've burned out.

In the last few days I've resigned all of my duties as the Mad Man of Beer (i.e., Beer Tap TV, Lower Front Range columnist for the Rocky Mountain Brewing News, Colorado Springs Beer Examiner, this blog, etc. and so on) and will be going on a very long hiatus.  Might be permanent, might not.  Who knows.  It's been fun... now it's not, and when something stops being fun you know it's time to move on.

I'll be out there in cyberspace floating around, and I'll still be drinking great craft beers in all my favorite local watering holes, so if you see me... don't be shy. ;)

Cheers!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

This Beer is Classified: For Your Lips Only

If you've read my blog at least once you know that I'm a big fan of beer's history.  From its ancient world changing effects to the ads we all grew up with. Come on... who doesn't remember the Hamm's bear, right?




Well, I stumbled onto a website recently that scratches the beer nostalgia tickle I think we all get from time to time. 

Beer Classifieds is a website that aggregates all types of beer collectibles (bottles, cans, signs, labels, glassware, etc.) for sale on eBay and brings it into one location. Beer ads and posters going all the way back to the late19th century, cone top beer cans, aluminum bottles, authentic German steins, neon... you name it. There goal is to build it into the most popular and most well-stocked beer collectibles site on the web, and based on what I've seen... they're succeeding.


But they're not all about the selling. One article on the site that really caught my attention was Ten Great (& Not-so-great) Moments in Beer Advertising.  Who out there in the blogosphere had a Billy Beer?  I wasn't old enough to drink back then, but I  do remember collecting the beer can.  Ah... good times.

Anywho... check it out the next time you're cruising the information superhighway.  Which by the way is the only way to legally drink and "drive." 

Zivjeli!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Busy as a bee-r & Buckshot Boogaloo

The word "busy" is seriously overused in our society.  We've come up with all kinds of lame ass excuses as to what constitutes "busy."  Busy isn't surfing the web, playing video games, drinking beer, writing blogs, watching movies, or going out for sushi. Busy is working two jobs, raising kids, going to school... doing things that matter and/or better your life in some meaningful way.

With that said... I've been "busy."  Surfing the web, playing video games, drinking beer, writing blogs, watching a lot of baseball (the Giants kicked the crap outta the Rockies 2 out of 3 games!)... and yes, eating sushi.  But mostly I've been "busy" with the relaunch of BeerTapTV.


The new website (and new name - DrenchNetworks) launched on Monday and we've released two butt spanking new shows:  Buzzed on Sports is an irreverant sports lifestyle show where WhopTbird Jones and myself poke fun at anything and everything that encompasses sports... with a heavy dose of beer in our guts. In our first episode we drink a beer inspired by Evel Knievel while dissecting the tasing of a Pirate's fan, discuss the 'roid problem in baseball (sayonara Manny!), break down the playoff scenarios for the NHL and NBA... and a lot more!



Today we aired the first episode of What's on Tap, a weekly party with Romey and his pint slammin' sidekick Fake Dante. This week the Drunk Duo visit the Star Bar in Downtown Denver, Colorado.  They talk to the owner about what makes a great bar with great beer, sing Karaoke with a few hotties and another n00b gets owned in the open throat pint pour.



Next week we roll out another new show called "Beers With Boles"... a revamped one-man version of our old show "Taste Buds." The week after that... yet another new show we're keeping under wraps for now.  Check 'em out and let us know what you think!
 
So ya, I guess you could say I really am "busy."  Maybe.

Before I sign off I wanted to point you to a blogger/teacher/writer/craft beer fan/Dodger fan... Jesse Gold Gloyd (where did I get Gold from?) of the blog, Buckshot Boogaloo I know.  I'm a Giants fan. He's a Dodger fan. By the laws of nature we're supposed to hate each other. But I really like this guy's take on beer and baseball. A few weeks ago he posted a great interview he did with Brewmaster John Legnard of Sandlot Brewery at Coors Field in Denver.  Be sure to give it a read!

Until next time... Zivjeli!

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Mad Man's Epic Beer Time: Czech'n up on Redhook's Pilsner

Hey there and welcome back to the latest episode of whatever this train wreck happens to be!   This week on Epic Beer Time (which is 100% a name steal from Epic Meal Time and nowhere close to being as good as that epic show)...

I slug down a Pilsner from Redhook.  This bad boy used to be the seasonal formerly known as Rope Swing, but it was so popular they made it a full time brew.  And I give the BBbarfly bottle opener a try.   Are you ready for some beer-fu?   If not... grab one today!



The Beer: Pilsner from Redhook Ale Brewery in Woodinville, Washington.

From the Brewer: Pilsner is brewed in a traditional Czech style and is the first pilsner Redhook Ale Brewery has ever released. It offers a very soft palate and malt flavors that are offset by a medium dose of destinct Czech hops to bring out its authentic flavors.  The refreshing beer finishes with a clean, bright, thirst-quenching quality.  Pilsner pairs nicely with barbecued chicken, bratwurst, spicy food, fresh fish, and green salad.


The Beer Box Score

  • Style: Pilsner
  • ABV: 5.3%
  • IBUs: 25
  • Malts: Pale, Carapils, Caramel, Munich
  • Hops: Saaz
  • Yeast: Strain biologically goes back to Czech Republic
  • OG: 12.7
  • Extras: Aged at near freezing temps for four to six weeks.
  • Distribution:  Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington
  • Availability:  Year around
  • Beer Advocate: B- from users;  B+ from brothers
  • Rate Beer Score: 31% overall, 41% in style
  • Beer Tap TV Rapid Classification: Class I (Pure Flatwater)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Home of World Champion S.F. Giants to get "champion" grub


Since tomorrow is Opening Day for the 2011 Major League Baseball season, a bit of baseball news...

AT&T Park, home to the 2010 World Champion San Francisco Giants, will treat its fans to some "special sauce" this year.



Centerplate, the largest hospitality partner to North America's premier sports stadiums will be providing a bevy of new menu items throughout the park. Centerplate's chefs spent the off-season creating menu items worthy of World Champion Fans. New additions include:

  • Apple Chicken Sausage and Lamb Sausage served on authentic San Francisco sourdough bread. Having grown up in the Bay Area but now living in Colorado, we miss real SF sourdough.  Sure, you can get facsimile's out here, but it's not anywhere close to being the real deal.
  • Fresh Seafood - The Centerfield Chowder House will serve a Seafood Combo Platter featuring Ale Battered Cod, Crispy Fried Shrimp, and Calamari over Chowder House Thick Cut Fries. When you stick "ale" and "battered" together... you have perfection. 
  • Gluten Free Dog - A quarter pound Gluten Free Hot Dog will be served from the Budweiser Brew Pub in Promenade Section 112 and can be coupled with gluten free Kettle snacks along with gluten free Redbridge Beer. This is the only thing I'm going to balk - get it? - over. A gluten free dog at a ballpark? Ok, I get it.  Not everyone can suck down gluten like Charlie Sheen sucks down hookers, but still...
  • Boneless Chicken Wings that are hand shaken and prepared to order with an extensive assortment of sauces, including blazing hot, sweet Thai chili, basil pesto, bourbon, peach habanero BBQ and lemon salt & pepper 

Orlando's in centerfield, "Home of the Cha Cha Bowl," is getting a makeover plus some new menu offerings: 

  • The Baby Bull: Hand Carved Roasted Tri Tip sandwich prepared with Orlando Cepeda's family recipe marinade. Served piled high on fresh baked torta bread with a choice of Orlando's salsas and traditional toppings.  Sign me up for a heaping helping of this bad boy!
  • Sweet Potato Fries: Chipotle and Cinnamon tossed fresh cooked sweet potato fries. A new taste sensation guaranteed to compete with AT&T Park's established signature Garlic Fries.  The garlic fries are awesome, but I'm a big, big fan of sweet potato fries.  They're tastier, and when smothered with chipotle and cinnamon... oh sweet baby Jesus! 
  • "El Gigantes" Dog:  Giant Half Pound All Beef Natural Hot Dog right off an outdoor grill. Apparently you'll be able to top it with queso and Orlando's salsas.  Yahtzee!
  • Mojito and Margarita Bar: Perfect drink complements to any of the new Orlando's menu items or the Cha Cha Bowl.  You can't go wrong with either one of these liquid delights.  And if the Giants pull the whole torture routine on us like they did last year... we're gonna need buckets of the stuff!

For the beer geeks out there... directly attached to the ballpark is a very cool beer bar called Public House.  We were there in January and had a blast. They have roughly 24 beers on draft and 24 more in bottles, with about 80% of the draft selection coming from local California breweries (naturally). Last time I checked you can even buy a beer at PH and take it back to your seat in the ballpark, so you aren't limited to the macro swill that usually soaks a ball field's concession stands. 


Here's to another great season... GO GIANTS!

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Mad Man's Epic Beer Time: Surfing Kona's Waves and Peeking into The Peak

Episode two is in the can! This week Eli "The Haole" takes on Kona Brewing's Koko Brown and tours the soon to open Pikes Peak Brewing Company in Monument, Colorado.



The Beer: Koko Brown from Kona Brewing Company in Kailua Kona, Hawaii.

From the Brewer: Is there anything more iconic of the lush tropics than the coconut? The delicious heart of this island treasure has a nutty, toffee flavor and aroma that sends you straight to the beaches of Paradise. Kick back with a Koko Brown, brewed with real toasted coconut, and savor the mahogany color and smooth, roasty malt taste. Koko Brown pairs well with coconut and caramel flavors, such as Thai curries, BBQ meats and carne asada. Its refrehsing nutty aroma makes for the perfect beer after a day on the water.



The Beer Box Score

  • Style: Black IPA
  • ABV: 5.5%
  • IBUs:28
  • Malts: Premium 2-Row, Victory, Carapils, Munich, Chocolate
  • Hops: Cascade, Willamette, Warrior, Millennium
  • Yeast: Ale
  • OG: 13.3° Plato
  • Extras: Toasted coconut added to the mash
  • Distribution:  Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington
  • Availability:  From March - April
  • Beer Advocate: B from users;  NA from brothers
  • Rate Beer Score: 93% overall, 97% in style
  • Beer Tap TV Rapid Classification: Class II (Minor Taste Buds Turbulence)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A new banner for your Confessions...

As you can see at the top of the page there's a new COABG banner to dazzle your senses.

It was created by my buddy, James Tyler (the rock star lead singer for the band Mystic 7).  Big thanks James... it's awesome!

If you need someone to do graphics for your website you can get a hold of him at James.Mystic7@Mystic7.com. And if you want to hear James and his band rock your ear holes be sure to check the gig listing on their website.  They play regularly at Gasoline Alley, Holy Cow, Copperhead Road and host of other places.




Cheers!

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Mad Man's Epic Beer Time: In the dark with Widmer's Pitch Black IPA

Since the BTTV Crew is on hiatus for the moment I thought I'd keep the vids alive until such time as we all get back behind the camera. We're still getting beers sent to us at a preposterous rate, and who wants that beer to go bad, right?   Until this past weekend I'd never thought of editing video in my life... so bare with me as I learn the trade. 

Enjoy!




The Beer: Pitch Black IPA from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company, Portland, Oregon

From the Brewer: Pitch Black IPA is a Pacific Northwest twisted tribute to the standard IPA style of beer. A Gold medal winner at the 2009 Great American Beer Festival and a spinoff of traditional IPAs. Brewed using the emerging style standards of Cascadian Dark. True to IPA style, Pitch Black is brewed with generous amounts of hops and additionally a modest amount of specialty debittered black malt to give it a very dark appearance, without the typical dark malt flavors. Key flavor points: Peppery, resinous, citrusy hop aroma and flavor Significant, but smooth with quick bitterness Medium body built on caramel malt sweetness and lightly toasted malt Slight, soft dark malt flavor.




The Beer Box Score

  • Style: Black IPA
  • ABV: 6.5%
  • IBUs:65
  • Malts: Two Row Pale, Caramel 10 L, Special Roast, Carafa Special II
  • Hops: Alchemy (Bittering), Alchemy, Cascades (Aroma), Cascade T-45 (Dry hop)
  • Yeast: Ale
  • OG: 16° Plato
  • Extras: NA
  • Distribution:  Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, Washington
  • Availability:  All Year
  • Beer Advocate: B+ from users;  NA from brothers
  • Rate Beer Score: 93% overall, 71% in style
  • Beer Tap TV Rapid Classification: Class II (Minor Taste Buds Turbulence)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Don't miss the Miss-i-sippin' beer and food pairing event

The state of Mississippi is slowly crawling out from the dark ages. And I do mean slowly.

Whatever for do I mean?

"The Magnolia State" has archaic beer laws. And by "archaic" I mean... retarded.  Any beer over 6.3% ABV is prohibited. In most counties alcohol still can't be sold on Sundays, and there are many "dry" counties where it's illegal to possess alcoholic beverages of any kind. Some cities within those "dry" counties have voted in beer sales, but still...

And then there's the real coup de grâce: Mississippi is one of only two states in the nation (Alabama being the other) where homebrewing is still illegal. Without homebrewers it is impossible to develop a real culture centered around beer. Furthermore, there are only two recognized craft breweries (Lazy Magnolia and Southern Prohibition) in the entire state. TWO!! Needless to say home grown beer pickings are very slim.

Due to these "barbaric" laws Mississippians haven't been able (let's say allowed) to create an environment where craft beer is accepted. Which is too bad considering a recent report says the beer industry as a whole provides over $223 billion to the U.S. economy.  With their heads firmly buried in the sand, lawmakers in "The Magnolia State" are missing out on a great deal of revenue.

Now, why am I talking about Mississippi beer in the first place?

A few years ago Wayne Andrews, Director of the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, and Chef Lee Craven of Lenoir Dining Services (on the campus of the University of Mississippi) were both looking to create an event that captured the social side of food - a twist on happy hour as it were. Word got around that they were both looking to do the same thing and soon Miss-i-sippin’ was born.

“The popularity of the event has made it attractive for regional products” shared Craven “as we are able to highlight local products in our menu and inspire people to try these items when they cook.” The menu changes each year allowing the event to draw people back and ensures support for the charities. Now in its third year, the event will feature pairings of 22 different beers with culinary creations by Chef Craven and his team.

Remember what I said earlier? The beers you'll see at the Miss-i-sippin' fundraiser isn't what many of us in more refined beer states would consider acceptable because most events like this - in more refined beer states - are replete with ONLY local beers brewed by local breweries. But hey, it's a start for our Southern Brethren!






Miss-i-sippin’ 2011 Menu

Coors & Coors Light paired with:
Curry Coconut Popcorn with Toasted Sesame Seeds
Mexican Style Popcorn with Cumin and Red Pepper

Blue Moon paired with:
Spoons of Creme Fraiche, Orange Gelee and Pickled Ginger

Lazy Magnolia Reb Ale paired with:
Smoked Quail En Croute
(Sponsored by Wiseacre and Papa Johns)

Dos XX, Tecate & Sol paired with:
Chorizo Quesadilla

Stella & Hoegarden paired with:
Garlic Pesto Gnocchi with Lemon

Lazy Magnolia Jefferson Stout paired with:
Ice Cream Floats

Guinness paired with:
Make Your Own  S'mores

Bass & Harps paired with:
Crispy Catfish Po' Boy with Comeback Sauce 
(Sponsored by Country Select)

Lazy Magnolia Southern Pecan & Abita paired with:
BBQ Pork Sliders
(Sponsored by Papa Johns)

Becks & Lazy Magnolia Indian Summer paired with:
Marinated Shrimp and Polk's Brand Cajun Smoked Sausage Skewers
(Sponsored by Polk's)

Newcastle & Sierra Nevada paired with:
Mini Corndogs with Magnolia Red Casing Sausage
(Sponsored by Polk's)

Blue Moon Seasonal paired with:
Tempura Vegetables
(Sponsored by Yocna Farms)

Sushi provided by Kabuki
Mini Pizzas provided by Papa Johns

See what I mean?  The food sounds absolutely fantastic, and I'd personally love to try the beers from Lazy Magnolia.  Abita and Sierra Nevada rock, but the rest of them... not so much. Still, the widely distributed domestics and imports will likely taste much better given the quality of the food.  Wish I could be there!


This event is for charity - making it all worthwhile - and all proceeds will go to the Arts Council and the Hospitality Management program. There's a very limited number of tickets available which can be purchased for $35 ($25 for arts council members & “of age” students) by calling the Arts Council at 662-236-6429 or going by The Powerhouse Arts Center between 9:00AM-5:00PM.

If you attend please let me know how it goes!

Zivjeli!

Friday, February 25, 2011

We are a nation of drinkers

Hey all you Neo-Prohibitionists out there... can you answer the following multiple choice question?

"The Star-Spangled Banner" is:
  • A poem
  • America's National Anthem
  • A drinking song
  • A banner with a lot of stars on it
  • What's a spangle?
  • All of the above
  • None of the above

In case you didn't pay attention in history class... the lyrics of TSSB were taken from the 1814 poem, "Defence of Fort McHenry," written by lawyer and poet Francis Scott Key. He witnessed the British Royal Navy blast the bejesus out of Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore (War of 1812) - while being detained on a British ship! After the smoke cleared our flag was still standing and - BAM! - his famous tale was penned and immortalized.

"The Star-Spangled Banner" was first recognized by the Navy in 1889. In 1916 President Woodrow Wilson ordered that it become the national anthem, but his decree didn't take hold like he wanted.  It wasn't until President Herbert Hoover signed a Congressional resolution in March of 1931 that it was galvanized as the National Anthem that we know today.

Now, here's the big reveal...

"The Star Spangled Banner," the national anthem of these United States of America - the very song that more than just the velvet-voiced Christina Aguilera has botched up on - was set to the tune of a drinking song.

Oh yes it was.

In the mid-1760's teenager John Stafford Smith wrote a little diddy called "The Anacreontic Song" for one of London's many men's social clubs - The Anacreontic Society.  The four stanza song was first published in The Vocal Magazine in 1778. Interestingly, the fourth stanza includes the line "And this be our motto: In God is our Trust," which we Yanks ultimately adopted as our national motto, "In God We Trust."

Back in the day this song was frequently used as a sobriety "test" because of its difficult melody. If a person could sing just one stanza - and stay on key - they were deemed sober enough to continue drinking. Due to the song's raunchy lyrics it quickly gained popularity and spread beyond the walls of The Anacreontic Society. It was so popular that it eventually hopped the pond and by the time Key wrote his famous poem the song was well known in America.

As the legend goes... as soon as Key's brother-in-law heard the poem he realized it fit the tune of "The Anacreontic Song." They set Key's poem to the music, renamed it "The Star-Spangled Banner," and the very first American Idol was born.

We are a nation of drinkers... and karaoke singers.  Get over it.

Class dismissed!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Start the buzz about American Craft Beer Week now

"The Mother of All Beer Weeks" may still be a few months off (it runs May 16 - 22), but it's never too early to start thinking about what you're going to do - or down - during this purely American celebration of all things BEER.

Thankfully, the Brewers Association has come up with just the thing - in this case, a great video - to help you get in the mood.  As if you needed any more incentive to drink great craft beer, right?

Ya... that's what I thought. 


"American Craft Beer Week is an annual celebration of these historic beer times and the amazing community citizenship of craft brewers," said Brewers Association spokesperson Julia Herz. "With an emphasis to savor the flavor responsibly and the resurgence of a rich brewing culture here in the U.S., the week is a chance to highlight and recognize the incredible contributions of America's craft brewers."

ACBW was established in 2006. In 2010, it logged 341 participating breweries that hosted 621 events in 45 states. U.S. Congress even passed House Resolution 1297 supporting the goals and ideals of ACBW and recognizes the contributions of craft brewers to the economy. It's estimated that small and independent craft brewers have created over 100,000 jobs and account for $3 billon annually in wages and benefits.

At the 1:31 mark of the video, Bryan Simpson from New Belgium Brewing Company here in Colorado,  says: "Craft brew industry is really the idea of having a vision, taking a risk, building something from the round up...  It's a great reflection of the grit and integrity it took to build this country from the ground up." There's more to that then just some nice words.  Beer not only built this country, but sculpted our world. If you haven't seen "How Beer Saved the World" on Discovery Channel, do so. (You can actually watch it online now).


And for an ever-expanding list of events near you for the 2011 ACBW... visit CraftBeer.com.

Zivjeli!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Rocherfort's Burning: The Devil is in the Details

From the Beer Tap TV "circular file"...

In late December the Belgian abbey at St. Remy-Rochefort, known for its famous Trappist beer, was severally damaged by fire. After perusing a myriad of news reports we came across one that was glaringly inaccurate. BBC News Europe reported that Rochefort was "one of only five breweries making Trappist beer."

BZZZZZ!  Wrong, but thanks for playing.

There are in fact seven makers of Trappist beer. Six are located in Belgium (Achel, Chimay, Orval, Rochefort, Westvleteren, and Westmalle), while the other is in the Netherlands (La Trappe; aka Koningshoeven).

How a widely recognized news agency like the BBC can get a simple fact like that wrong is mind boggling. Frankly, we're more shocked then Peter Gabriel's monkey.

But back to the fire.

If you speak French you'll love this YouTube video...


If you don't speak French the gist of the report states that all (but one) of the monks managed to escape. Apparently the monks were dining (in silence) when the fire broke out, so the building was quickly evacuated.  Far more importantly however is the fact that all the vats of delicious Trappist beer survived intact!

It took 70 firefighters to put out the blaze. Based on the video they didn't do a very good job.

Released reports suggest the fire began near a temporary generator that was being used due to problems with the building's main power supply. Hey, they're monks not electricians. However, after the BBC Europe botch job we weren't entirely satisfied with the reported cause of the fire... so we conducted our own investigation. What we found was far more sinister than a Honda generator.

After just a few minutes of Googling, followed by some hurried IMs with a guy calling himself "Brother SelloutImust," we discovered the real cause of the fire: one monk (we’ll call him “Wholier Then Thou”) reneged on a deal he signed with the Devil back in July of 1987 for... yup, you guessed it - his soul. Details of their back room deal are sketchy, but Brother SelloutImust swears (profusely) that it involved pole dancers, fruit roll ups, and a clown suit.

Oddly, officials found no bodies amidst the the burnt ruins, which begs the question:  Where in the hell is "Wholier Then Thou?" 

Zivjeli!
















* The website for St. Remy-Rochefort includes gorgeous pictures of the grounds, but it's all in French.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Beer begat civilization

“A main motivation for settling down and domesticating crops was probably to make an alcoholic beverage of some kind. People wanted to be closer to their plants so this leads to settlement.”

This is a theory being postulated by Patrick McGovern, a biomolecular archaeologist at the University of Pennsylvania Museum.  McGovern is well known in the beer world for his globetrotting discoveries. He is an expert on the study of ancient alcoholic brews. Among his findings is evidence that proves man was making the beverage at least as far back as 9,000 years ago. If you've watched the Ancient Ale episode of The Discovery Channel's Brew Masters (starring the Dog Father himself, Sam Calagione), you've seen Pennsylvania McGovern "hard at work." 

In an interview with Michael Kan for the Independent ("Did a thirst for beer spark civilization?"), McGovern theorizes that alcohol production provided the initial motivation to stop our hunting and gathering ways and to settle down to maintain crops. Which led to civilization.

Ironically, I recently wrote about this very thing and a lot of my ramblings in that piece are based on McGovern's work. Check out my lengthy diatribe, "Beer is as beer does", from November for the details.

Given the accumulating evidence it seems like McGovern's theory is dead on. In fact, what science and archeology has uncovered in the last 80 years or so - most of which has been kept under wraps by mindless, terrified, mainstream channels - has literally redefined how we should see a great many things, from what we were taught in school about religion and the origins of man, to the very history of our own country. In this day and age of all-access information, keeping our heads buried in the sand is no longer a viable excuse for complete and utter ignorance.

Check out the article from The Independent and let me know your thoughts.

Zivjeli! 



Monday, December 20, 2010

I left my pint glass in San Francisco

It may not have the same ring as Tony Bennett's classic, but it gets the job done. 

On Wednesday Fran and I will get on a Southwest  plane - bags fly free! - to Northern California to spend Christmas with her family. For a few days we'll be mere minutes from  Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa, so you know I'll be swinging by to get a "few" growlers. 

Question #1:  For those of you in the know, which RRBC beers available in growlers should I get?  I want something different, not something I've had or can get out here in Colorado (like most of the "tion" beers - Temptation, Salvation, etc.).

Bright and early Sunday morning (the day after Christmas) we'll hop in the rental car and head to San Francisco (The City By the Bay) to hang out, drink some beer, and watch the 49ers (her team) take on the Rams (my team).  It's an important game for a division full of losers. If the Niners beat the Rams in St. Louis, and the Seahawks lose to the Buccaneers in Tampa (a very likely scenario), there's suddenly a three way tie for the NFC West (all three will have a record of 6-9). 

As it stands right now we'll be watching the game at 21st Amendment Brewery. They open at 10:00am on Sundays, complete with a brunch. After that we're going to try and hit up Monk's Kettle, Thirsty Bear, and finish the night at Public House (in AT&T Park, the home of the World Champion San Francisco Giants). I'd like to get out to Magnolia Pub, but I'm not sure we'll make it.

Question #2:  What do you SF beer geeks out there think about the above list?  Are there some places we absolutely need to hit more than the others?  If so, let me know. We've been to the Toronado and Gordon Biersch - once is enough.  It doesn't look like Anchor is open to the public on Sundays, so that's out.

I hope everyone has a great Christmas and if you're in the City on Sunday... come have a beer with us!

You can get a hold of me in a number of ways:

  • Twitter @ http://twitter.com/EliShayotovich
  • Facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/ElitheMadBeerMan\
  • FourSquare @ http://foursquare.com/elishayotovich
  • Untapped @ http://untappd.com/user/Eli_Shayotovich
  • AIM @ EASth3rd
  • MSN @ EASthe3rd@aol.com
  • Yahoo Messenger @ GameDaily_MadMan

Zivjeli! 
 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ceramic beer mugs of the demigods

Another confession from the community, this time from Jim Gottuso.  Jim writes:

I'm a potter, not a brewer but a beer aficionado (a hophead). My cousin (Randy) is an accomplished brewer and brews out of his home. He told me this thanksgiving that he's coming up on 1000 batches and I think he's done over 80 different styles.

This year I took it upon myself to start making porcelain beer glasses and thought that maybe some of you beer connoisseurs might be interested.
Yes they would, Jim!  But first I want to point everyone over to Jim's blog, Sofia's Dads Pots. Get on over there and check out Jim's first hand account of the visits to his cousin Randy's house (go here to see last year's visit;  go here to see this year's) because to say that Randy is an accomplished brewer and beer geek is a huuuuuuuge understatement.  He has a set up to die for! Check out just one of his home brew tap contraptions:

  Exactly.  And if that wasn't bad ass enough, Jim has a 700 cubic foot walk-in beer fridge!  HELLS YES!

Santa, all I want for Christmas is Randy's set up.  That is all.

Now that I've gushed over Randy, let me do some pimpin' for my new beer homey, Jim Gottuso.  While Jim is a lover of beer, he makes his coin as a ceramic artist in Louisville, Kentucky.  Jim decided to create a kick ass line of beer mugs.  Check out these old school lookin' drinking wessels:


They remind me of something Hercules, Leonidas, Spartacus - or Homer Simpson - would drink out!

Granted, they're not cheap ($50 - $60), but these are individually made with the same quality craftsmanship as the beer you'll be drinking out of them.  You gotta pay for quality.  So shoot on over to Jim's online store and check out the selection. These would make a great Christmas present for the beer lover in your life.

Zivjeli!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Once, twice, three times a zombie... drink the undead!

Since this blog has been renamed "Confessions of a Zombie Killer" here are two more things that happened since yesterday's article. How ridiculous is it that I have to update the update?!

First, more news regarding the melodrama surrounding the exorcism of TWD's writing staff. According to Robert Kirkman (in an article posted on MTV), the co-creator of the original TWD comic book series, and a writer and executive producer on AMC's show:
"It's kind of unfortunate that it's being reported that our writing staff has been fired because that's not the case," he said. "It makes Frank look bad. I don't think Frank wants it out there that he's just firing people off of a successful show seemingly for no reason. Chic Eglee is a high-level television writer," said Kirkman. "He was brought onto 'The Walking Dead' with the idea that Frank was going to work on the first season and then go off and do movies. Chic didn't want to be second-in-command on a show when he's used to being a top dog, and so he decided to go off and do something else, which is something that happens and is not a big deal. Everybody knows what they're doing," he added. "AMC has done a few television shows before, and Frank Darabont is a professional. Whatever is decided, I don't think it will affect the show one way or another."
Let's hope not.

So yesterday afternoon I received an Email from the President of 3 Point Entertainment letting me know their subsidiary company (Tavencraft) was offering a new line of high-end beer steins. Tavencraft makes gorgeous, ultra-cool drinking wessels for properties like World of Warcraft, Marvel Comics, The Hobbit, Warhammer Online, and now... The Walking Dead.   They also happen to be expensive.

But yes, now you can drink Rogue Dead Guy and Left Hand Wake Up Dead as they were meant to be drank... out of appropriately etched undead pints and steins!




The steins hold 25 ounces of beery goodness, while the pint glasses hold... wait for it - a pint. There are four different designs available for each style. You can buy each of the four steins individually (for 30 bones a pop) or all four in a set (for $100).  Oddly, you can't buy any of the four pint glasses individually, or in a four-pack set. They're only available in sets of two (as seen above) for $30 each. 

I often like to smoke a fine cigar when I'm drinking a fine craft beer.  Lighters are to cigars as openers are to beer bottles.  Ya need some caveman fire to light a stoggie so why not use a lighter etched with zombies?!   Now you can, cuz Tavencraft is lighting up the night with a line of TWD zombie lighters too.

Each of the lighters above can be purchased for $20, or in a four-pack for $60.   Any one of these items would make the lover of the undead in your life happy as a... well, zombie.

Zivjeli!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Waking Up Dead

Here's another first... I've never done a followup or update to a Brewvie Review, but two different things occurred in the last few days that I felt needs mentioning.

First, Deadline Hollywood reported that Frank Darabont has let go of the entire writing staff of The Walking Dead, which includes writing executive producer Charles "Chic" Eglee and Glen Mazzara, who penned last Sunday's episode, "Wildfire" (a great episode!).  Instead, Darabont wants to go with freelancers for Season 2's scripts.  That can't be a good thing.  It's hard enough for shows to make it, but sabotage from the inside?  Darabont may have just become one of those dumbass TV execs I talked about in my previous post.  That, or he's turned into a brain dead zombie. Not sure which.

Secondly, I found an alternative beer to suck while watching TWD!  If you recall I originally gave the nod to Rouge's Dead Guy, which is still a great and perfectly appropriate beer mind you.  However, Left Hand Brewing Company out of Longmont, Colorado, just announced they'll be releasing a beer called Wake Up Dead!  How freakin' fitting is THAT?!  I KNOW!  This 10.2% ABV barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout sits in Heaven Hill brandy barrels for 12 months before being blended into what can only be described as "woody perfection."  There will be hints of raisins, cherry, licorice, toffee and earthy, herbal hop notes.  Moooooooooney!

 
Zivjeli!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Brewvie Review: The Walking Dead

This will be the first Brewvie Review of a TV series, but it had to be done. And now that I've done it once, expect me to do it for some of the other shows the wife and I plop down to watch during the week.

But I'll start off with AMC's The Walking Dead, a startling good adult take on a post-apocalyptic world filled with zombies.

Waking up in an empty hospital after weeks in a coma, County Sheriff Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) finds himself utterly alone. The world as he knows it is gone, ravaged by a zombie epidemic. The Walking Dead tells the story of the weeks and months that follow after the apocalypse.

After watching the first five episodes (of the initial 6-episode run), I can say that it's the best new show on television. Period.  Apparently millions of viewers agree as the first episode (which aired on Halloween night) was the highest rated cable show ever for those in the 18 - 49 age bracket.  Fran even loves it!  A total of 5.5 million viewers watched Sunday's episode, which is 15% more then the crowd that watched the fourth episode. The season finale airs this coming Sunday, but if you missed the Dead Wagon the first time around... don't fret. AMC will be airing all five previous episodes marathon-style before the finale on Sunday.  Check your local listings for the time.


TWD is based on Robert Kirkman's comic book series of the same name.  The television adaptation is written and executive produced by three-time Academy Award-nominee Frank Darabont - he of the great Steven King versions of The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, and The Mist. Kirkman is executive producing with Darabont, Gale Anne Hurd (The Terminator, Aliens), David Alpert, and Charles "Chic" Eglee (Dexter). So there's a bona fide kick ass creative team behind this show.

With zombies comes gore. It's a necessity. Much like malt and hops are a necessity to make beer. The great thing about this particular show is that they don't do gore for the sake of doing gore. There are some heinous scenes to be sure, but the series isn't about killing zombies in the most grotesque splatterirific way possible... it's about the living, breathing humans left behind in the aftermath of the apocalypse.  It's brilliantly executed and at times emotionally draining.


Sadly, AMC only half-heartedly bet on the success of TWD.  They're no doubt kicking themselves in the arse right about now for not at least doubling down and going for 12 or 13 episodes in the first season. Ratings for this zombie-fest continue to climb faster then the national debt and only a few weeks after the premiere episode AMC ordered an additional 13 episodes. TWD is such a hit that Fox International Channels also renewed the series after record-breaking premiere ratings in over 120 countries.

Aaaah, but there's a twist.  It's uncertain as to when those next 13 episodes will be ready for public consumption.   While AMC has not officially announced when the next season will go into production, rumors persist that it won't air until October of 2011 to coincide with AMC's annual Fearfest.

A word of advice to AMC:  this would not only suck badly, but would also be a very, very, very bad idea.

We all know that TV executives are, well... idiots. Every year they repeatedly prove to the viewing public that they have zero clue as to what we the people actually like to watch.  Let me reiterate that. The people I'm referring to are not the same sheeple who watch "reality" shows like Dancing with the D-List Has Beens, Sing for Your Supper Suckah, or The Hardashians.  In many ways TV execs are like politicians really.  So waiting an entire year to get new episodes of  The Walking Dead on the air would kill (pardon the pun) the incredible support - hell, let's call it a world-wide phenomena - this show has managed to garner in such a short time. And any exec at AMC who thinks differently should be forced to take a bullet to the head. Cuz everyone knows the only way to kill a zombie, politician, or TV exec is to put a bullet through their brain pan. 

Besides being a great show, there's a lot of interesting social networking going on around TWD as well.  The website is replete with behind the scenes pictures and video interviews with producers and actors. Games, contests and smart phone apps are also available. There's even a Facebook page, a blog and a podcast. Oh, but it doesn't stop there!  There are Twitter accounts for not just the show itself (http://twitter.com/WalkingDead_AMC), but many of the main characters (i.e., Sheriff Rick Grimes, Lori Grimes, Andrea, Glenn, Merle, Zombies, etc.) are tweeting as though they are really alive in a post-zombie apocalyptic world.  It's pretty damn neat!  You can see the list of TWD twitterers here.

With all that said... The Walking Dead gets a resounding FIVE BASHES TO THE HEAD!


Brew Suggestion for TWD

Much like Highlander "there can be only one."  And that one is Dead Guy Ale from the Rogue Brewery in Newport, Oregon.  Could there be any beer more appropriate?  No. 

There's an interesting back story to how Dead Guy was born.  The logo was created as a tap sticker to celebrate the Mayan Day of the Dead for Casa U Betcha in nearby Portland, Oregon. The design proved to be so popular that Rogue decided to make it the label for their Maierbock ale.

Today, Dead Guy Ale is a German style Maibock that weighs in at a very respectable 6.6% ABV, and contains 40 International Bittering Units that gives it just enough hop kick to the head.

Dead Guy is made from malts with exotic names like Northwest Harrington, Klages, Maier Munich and Carastan - all of which could be places full of zombies. Perle and Saaz hops are added, along with yeast named after my favorite video game growing up as a child (Pacman).  It's all brewed up in nothing but free range coastal water.  Free range coastal water... get it?

Now that you know about the coolest new show on the Boob Tube, be sure to "Spread the Dead," cuz "The Dead has Spread!"

Friday, November 19, 2010

Beer is as beer does

It's not about what beer is, but what beer does.
That's a quote from Erik "Big" Boles, my business partner and the Founder/CEO of Beer Tap TV.  It's one of the many quotables he and I have come up with to nutshell our philosophy on the juggernaut that is craft beer.

Part of the reason we come up with these (sometimes) clever sayings is to keep everyone - ourselves included - focused on the simple facts:
  1. Beer is alcohol.
  2. Beer is fun.
  3. We drink beer to get buzzed and have fun. Don't fool yourself into thinking otherwise.


I'll admit, I don't always buy into some of the concepts Erik tosses around because he's not the "Beer Geek" of the group... I am. However, over the last year or so we've seen the line between "Beer Geek" and "Beer Snob" blur to the point that the two are dangerously close to becoming one and the same. The last thing the craft beer industry needs is a bunch of  elitist snobs turning beer it into something it's not. Making it less accessible to Jack and Jill Sixpack is not the goal here.

But I digress...

I want to focus on another big reason we all drink beer. Contrary to the great George Thorogood, most of us do not like to drink alone. Most of us drink with our friends, or the person sitting next to us at the bar, the bartender, or the like-minded sports fan across the bar. Anyone that's within earshot really. We do so because it's part of our DNA. 

You may have seen the many news reports lately trumpeting beer as the lubricant that brought about the rise of civilization. For many beer lovers, this is not news. Heck, it's the reason I started "Confessions of a Beer Geek" in the first place. Indulge me for a second while I quote my mission statement, which I wrote over three years ago:
Beer is the elixir of the gods. A refreshing beverage made of hops, barley and a pantheon of other delicacies that when looked at properly - through beer goggles perhaps, has quite literally changed the entire course of human history.
A mash tun of scientific evidence is accumulating that now backs up that statement. Beer did in fact play a very important role in mankind's evolution from nomadic hunter-gatherers to a settled, civilized people.  Man discovered that planting crops allowed him to control his own destiny. No longer would he be held under the cruel thumb of Mother Nature, moving to and fro aimlessly across the continents in constant search of food.

But growing grains and cereals, and turning that into viable sustenance, wasn't as easy as walking down to the corner market. Making food was daily, back breaking work. Unlike today, early man - Man 1.0 if you like - was accomplished at using every last bit of everything he had. "Waste not want not" was a reality, not just a quaint phrase from olden days. The skill of farming begat the skill of brewing... probably quite by accident. Let's take a peak into the past to see what that first encounter with beer may have been like:

In the Beginning

Ancient Man 1, let's call him Ahikibani:  (paraphrased from ancient Sumerian) "Oh no!  I've left this pot of grain out in the elements overnight.  The wife is going to kill me!"

Ancient Woman 1, who happens to be Ancient Man 1's wife, Nakurtum: "You donkey ass!  I told you to bring that in last night. Why don't you ever listen to me!?!"

Ahikibani: (under his breath) "Because you're a Harpy."

Nakurtum:  "I heard that you stanky, good for nuthin' Elamite!  Now it's ruined!"

Ahikibani, resigned to a life of name calling and perpetual "Honey Do Lists," picks up the fermenting bowl of liquid gruel. Not being sound of mind or body he slurps deeply from the bowl.

Ahikibani: Nom nom nom nom

Nakurtum: "What are you doing?!"

Ahikibani:  "I spent eight hours grinding this $#!* up with a rock. Figured since it was 'ruined' I might as well get something out of it, right?"

Nakurtum:  "You're stupid."

Ahikibani: "Tell me something new..."  nom nom nom

As Nakurtum drones on an odd thing happens: her  voice slowly fades and Ahikibani becomes dizzy, and... a bit numb. The endless pain of a perpetually hard life suddenly vanishes and Ahikibani experiences, perhaps for the first time -  unadulterated joy.  The first happy man in history slurps more of the now tasty gruel from the bowl and lets out a burp that resonates down through history.

The End.


E. Michael Smith / Wikipedia
An Egyptian wooden model of beer making in ancient Egypt.
A most peculiar thing happened when these wandering bands of scavengers settled down and and started farming and brewing:  they came into contact with other groups who discovered the exact same thing.

Now, with man being the inherently fallible creature that he is, these groups probably beat on each other with clubs and spears for a while, but they most assuredly partied (feasted) with each other too. Back then a feast had an entirely different meaning though. Stuffing your gullet at the local Golden Corral for under ten bucks this was not.
Feasts are essential in traditional societies for creating debts, for creating factions, for creating bonds between people, for creating political power, for creating support networks, and all of this is essential for developing more complex kinds of societies," explains archaeologist Brian Hayden at Canada's Simon Fraser University. "Feasts are reciprocal — if I invite you to my feast, you have the obligation to invite me to yours. If I give you something like a pig or a pot of beer, you're obligated to do the same for me or even more.


Bottom line:  people settled down and started growing grain (and making beer), which in turn led to the establishment of communities where people sat down with each other over a meal (and a beer), which in turn set the foundation for... say it with me now: CIVILIZATION!  Beer is as much a part of our DNA as hairy backs and thunder thighs. Deal with it.

Can you imagine the consternation going through the ranks of sphincter restricted, neo-Prohibitionist types at this revelation? I have to LOL!

Here are some fun facts to funk with your mind:  Humans have been brewing beer for thousands of years.  The Mesopotamian "Epic of Gilgamesh," one of the world's oldest works of literature, contains multiple references to the elixir of the gods.  Besides being the oldest alcoholic beverage on the planet, a Mesopotamian recipe for beer is the oldest written document we currently know to exist. Yes, Virginia... even the ancients were doing keg stands like frat boys.

In the end it really isn't about what beer is, but what it does - every day, to every one, in every place. Whether at the beginning of time, or last night at your local brewpub. And based on what it's done for us in the past... can you imagine what it will do for us in the future?

Zivjeli!



Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hallelujah to homebrew and Westvleteren 12

From the depths of the Communal Confessional...

Laura Deibler sent an Email to tell me about a beer song her husband Dan wrote.  He took the Leonard Cohen song, "Hallelujah," and changed up the words so it spoke heavenly volumes about the uber hard to get Westvleteren 12 the St. Sixtus Abbey in Belgium.  In the video he not only sings (and plays guitar marvelously well), but does a side by side comparison of his homebrew, appropriately named Hallelujah, to the Trappist Treat.

Let me just say... I'm jealous of you, Dan.  I have yet to to taste a Westy!  


Oh, and Dan... if you're up to it, send me a bottle of Hallelujah and I'll give it a go on Beer Tap TV

Zijveli!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Beer blogging on the go was a no go

Right now I'm sitting at my desk, exactly a full week removed from day one of the Beer Bloggers Conference I referenced in last Friday's entry. As you can see by the lack of even one single entry between that post and now I:  1) didn't remember to blog, and 2) was in fact not sober, which 3) directly affected my ability to even want to write. So ya... blogging on the go = epic failure.

I think that post was more of a test to see if the Android Blogger app for my Droid X works (it does, very well actually), combined with the recent burn out I've been experiencing for well over a month. I now know what my buddy "Chipper" Dave Butler, he of the blog Fermentedly Challenged, felt like.  Being entrenched in the beer world - day in and day out - for over three years has finally caught up to me.  It's a big reason I haven't been around, or as I like to refer to it in a cool Jack Baueresque sorta of way - I've been off the grid. But I think I've finally turned the corner and see the light at the end of the tunnel, the bottom of the beer glass, etc. and so on.  I'm getting the writing bug again and it feels good.  Almost as good as downing a great dark winter beer. Mmmmm.... beeeeeer.

The mega event that is the Great American Beer Festival had something to do with that. This year it was far more work then fun, but in the end, well worth it.  We live streamed nearly a dozen hours of footage from the event itself, which you can see here on the BeerTapTV.com website.  Everything from our trip to Falling Rock, to the Rare Beer Event at Wynkoop, to the entire member's only awards ceremony.  It's well worth a look.

Last weekend we covered the Beer Bloggers Conference in Boulder and over the next week or so we'll start posting some of the talks we filmed, including Greg Koch's keynote speech, Jay Brooks talk about the future of beer blogging, Erik Boles energized rant on how to monetize this niche, etc.  As I suspected it was a very informative and helpful conference and the 100+ bloggers from around the country (and one from England) look forward to next year's conference... in Portland, Oregon!

Now comes the Holiday season, and a much needed respite before we journey far north to the Great Alaska Beer & Barley Wine Festival in mid-January.  Having never been to the 49th and largest state, it should be a whole lot of fun. We're looking forward to hanging out with the gaggle of brewers from "The Land of the Midnight Sun."  Huge props to fellow beer geek Bill Howell, the 2010 Beerdrinker of the Year and author of Drinking on the Last Frontier for helping to get us up there. Alaska... in January.  It should be veeeeery interesting indeed! ;)

Zivjeli!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Beer blogging on the go

Right now I'm sitting in the passenger seat of the Beer Tap TV beer wagon on the way up to Boulder for the first ever Beer Bloggers Conference.

Despite what Andy Crouch might think of beer bloggers l think this conference will be fun, informative for the bloggers while simultaneously giving some degree of Ilegitimacy to the industry.

With that said... I'll try to do so updating live from the conference. Providing 1) I remember, and 2) Im sober. We'll be live streaming some stuff on Beer Tap TV, so go check out our site for details.

Cheers!
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Monday, October 18, 2010

Drinkwel... or drink nothing!


I'm not a shill, so if I endorse a product it's because I've personally tried it and know that it works. In fact, when I see a claim that seems too good to be true I love nothing more then trying to bust it wide open as a fraud.

Over the last few months I've been using a daily multivitamin called Drinkwel that claims to prevent hangovers. More specifically, its "For healthy people who drink, by healthy people who drink."  A supplement that prevents hangovers after a long night of beer chugging?!?  @!#% YES! 

But first a story.

I've been a gym rat for... let's see, I started working out when I was 17, I'm 43 now.  Subtract, carry the 1... WTF?!  Over a quarter century?!  Oh shit that can't be right, can it?  Geezus, I'm getting old.

(sigh)

Anywho, I consider myself a member of their target audience. Aside from two bum knees and cranky back I'm a relatively healthy person who likes to get his drink on.  I work out four or five times a week. Usually. I drink two whey protein shakes and down a handful of vitamins every day. Hell, I've even tried a few supplements that, while not illegal, would have gotten me suspended in any professional sport. So I'm not afraid to try something new... as long as it helps.

On the flip side I'm also the kind of guy who can can drink some beer. A Boston bartender once told me that she'd never seen anyone put away as many pints of Guinness, combined with a parking lot of Irish Car Bombs, in one sitting - and still seem completely sober ("seem" being the key word there). I've shock and awed the gang down at Edelweiss a few times, drained a number of taps at Indigo's on any given Sunday, and I was recently heralded as someone who could probably take down the never-before-completed "Gauntlet" of beers on tap at Avery Brewing Company

I first discovered this "Holy Grail" while reading UpaDowna, a local Colorado Springs blog "where booze hounds and gear sluts come together in celebration of the great outdoors and tasty beer."  Read all about this kick ass group of beer drinking outdoorsy types in my Examiner article, "Up a mountain... down a beer", and add them to your list of must reads.

After seeing this post from "Bunny" - UpaDowna's resident gym rat - raving about how well it worked, I knew I had to get some because I get wicked hangovers. The "day after" I'm nothing but a big, moaning, skin bag drooling on the furniture. I think it's the altitude (not the altitude per say, but the dehydrated state your body is in at altitude) because it's never this bad at sea level. Several all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica can attest to that. Either that... or age. The older I get the worse the damn hangovers get.

Whatever the case may be I typed up an Email to the guys at Drinkwel, hit "send," and hoped they would reply. To my surprise and delight they not only replied, but sent me samples!

So what is Drinkwel?  The following strand of technobabble is paraphrased from the website: Drinkwel is a 30-ingredient multivitamin that helps replenish nutrients and supports healthy liver function by aiding your bod in expelling alcohol induced toxins. It contains a mash tun of "good stuff" like antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and a proprietary "Superfruits & Botanicals Blend."

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, over?  If you're like me you just asked:  What the hell is a "Superfruits & Botanical Blend"?  Ya... not a clue, but if fruits are good for you, how great must "superfruits?!" be, right? These caped fruit-saders help neutralize things called "free radicals," while the botanicals like milk thistle and artichoke leaf support liver health.  So what if "Milk Thistle & Artichoke Leaf" sounds like a bad "B" version imitation of Batman & Robin, and "free radicals" sound like an evil villain group... in actuality they are part and parcel of making Drinkwel so effective. Along with the aforementioned "good stuff" there's also amino acids to help process all the toxins created by the alcohol, Vitamin B-Complex to aid metabolism and maintain energy (healthier then slugging a Red Bull), and Vitamin C to keep your immune system humming along like a perfectly tuned '57 Chevy.


Each $40 bottle contains 90 capsules, which will last you about month depending on how much you drink. You take three capsules daily, plus an additional three after drinking and before going to bed. Seems like a lot, but it's the same principle as multivitamins. Once you stop that regiment the vitamins eventually leave your system. If you take a daily multivitamin you know what I'm talking about when I say you only notice when you STOP taking it. Same thing applies here.



Obviously something this complex couldn't possibly be created by the likes of Bob and Doug McKenzie. The Drinkwel folks knew this and instead hired two Brainiacs too do all the science gobbledygook. Dr. Karen Vieira has a Ph.D in Biomedical Science and Dr. James Pendleton is a licensed Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine. Yep, sounds like something straight out of Star Trek to me too, but they're smarter then all of us reading this blog - combined.  Times twenty.

You may be sitting there rhetorically asking:  "Can't I just take a handful of milk thistle, alphabet vitamins, aspirin, and chug some Gatorade?"  Well, you could, but you're going to spend more then $40 a month doing it, and it's going to take a helluva lot longer - and more pills - then tossing down three pills from one bottle. Plus, it probably won't work nearly as well.  I know because I've tried it. For many years I took a cocktail consisting of milk thistle, B-12, aspirin and "Gatorade" thinking that's as good as it got.  It did nothing compared to Drinkwel.  "What about other hangover 'cures?'"  I've taken a few of those in the past. Heck, I've even written about and supported them here on this site. One worked great (but it's expensive, especially if you drink a lot), while the other worked only marginally well (it always left me with a raging headache).

During the testing phase I've put Drinkwel to the torture test in a myriad of environments and situations - from brewery openings where the beer flows freely, to watching a dozen NFL games each and every Saturation Sunday, to the recent nail-biting MLB playoffs (GO GIANTS!!!!), to the absolute craziness that is the Great American Beer Festival. Whatever I threw at it - or rather threw down my gullet, Drinkwel sopped up and let me go about my business the next day.  And for me... we have a winnah!

Like all things though results will vary and you'll need to try it to see if it works for you. I liken this to workouts... one regiment may work great for several people, but will never work for all people.  That's why there are choices and options on the market.  But with Drinkwel you literally have nothing to lose. If you buy it and you're not 100% satisfied - you can return it for a full refund (including shipping).

Aaaaaalriiiiiiighty then... that last bit made me sound like that annoying ShamWow guy!  So with that, I'm outta here!

Zivjeli!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Beer + Food = Epic Awesomeness!

My wonderful wife, Fran Shayotovich of the food blog "For the Love of Fran's Food," is one helluva cook. I have a helluva love for eating her food and drinking beer.  Fortunately for me she has also cultivated a love for the liquid gold (so my master plan of converting her from a Wino to a Beero has worked maaaaaaaahvelously) and often combines the best of these two worlds to create dishes that could be included on the menu of any fine gastropub establishment.


As the craft beer revolution continues to pick up speed this food and beer pairing phenom does as well. For instance, two new gastropub's recently opened in Denver - Freshcraft and Euclid Hall. Both need to be visited the next time you come to the Napa Valley of the Beer World.  Suggestions: order the Pretzel Bites or the Potatoes Two Ways appetizers at Freshcraft, and any of the Poutines at Euclid Hall.  Trust me on this.

But this article isn't about Denver... it's about a new culinary travel planning website that Travel Oregon just launched. Oregon is a Beer Mecca as well, so they know a thing or two when it comes to the brew, and they want to help visitors who come to their neck of the woods create their own Oregon Bounty Wanderfeast. Each week the site features a different Oregon culinary product at its peak... and this week it's Beer Week! Visit the website for recipes, secret spots to taste beery goodness, and while you're there enter a contest to win a four-night, three-day culinary getaway of your own.

Oh, and be sure to check out the recipe from Alan Sprints of Hair of the Dog Brewery in Portland for his Beer Braised Short Ribs. You can bet I'm going to have Fran make these sometime very soon!

Until next time... Zivjeli!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Like rolling thunder... the Great American Beer Festival is back in town!

Re-posted from my Examiner column today, but with pictures. Since the "new" and "improved" Examiner.com site is about as borked as the US health care system...




The 29th annual Great American Beer Festival is back and bigger then ever!  This year's GABF is expected to serve more than 2,200 different beers from an estimated 462 (of the over 1,600 total) U.S. breweries to the event’s 49,000-plus attendees.

In an economy that has seen macro industrial beer sales slide two years in a row, craft beer sales have hit double digit figures in that same period.  It would seem that the taste of the masses has indeed changed for the better - and quickly. Here's an interesting factoid:  Did you know that "four out of 10 people in their mid-20s have never even tried Budweiser." True.

Starting tomorrow and running through Saturday evening, the Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver plays host to the worlds biggest beer festival.  Four sessions, three of them open to the public (each night from 5:30 - 10:00 P.M.) Technically, Germany's Oktoberfest (which starts on Saturday ironically enough) is the biggest... but that's not nearly the same type of "beer festival."

Sadly, if you want to go and haven't purchased a ticket yet... you're out of luck. Tickets for every session sold out over a month ago, making it the fastest sell-out in the GABF's 29 years.  If you are one of the lucky ones - and especially if this is your first time, you'll want to check out some of the facts and need-to-know tidbits that Beer Tap TV put together in their "GABF Survival Guide." Full disclosure: I'm a co-owner of that particular venture, and actually wrote the survival guide... so you know it will help you get through your first beer festival relatively unscathed.


If you can't make it - have no fear!  Beer Tap TV, in conjunction with Rackspace and Ustream, will, for the first time ever, be streaming hours of LIVE coverage to your PCs, laptops, iPads and mobile devices such as iPhones, Android phones, etc.  How?  With a special mobile rig made by Ustream equipped with 6 data modems load-balanced over 3 networks (AT&T, Verizon and Sprint) capable of transmitting live video.
We're going where the action is!  We'll not only be on the GABF festival floor, but from many of the events outside the festival proper. In fact, some of the best parts of the GABF experience are these off-site parties, special tappings and get togethers hosted by breweries from around the country.

Beer Tap TV will be in Denver starting tonight, so be sure to check out the "Live Coverage" schedule on our special Ustream channel, or on the Beer Tap TV website.  Follow Beer Tap TV on Twitter as the entire crew will be using it to let folks know where we'll be at any given moment.  We'll also be updating our Facebook page with still photos and other quick snippets of video. I'll also update this column as much as possible.  You can also follow me on Twitter during GABF.

Cheers to Craft Beer!

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Brewvie Review: Kick-Ass

I had a few "free" minutes so I thought it was time I got my ass in gear and kicked out another Brewvie Review; one I've been promising now for a few weeks. So without further delay...

Kick-Ass

From Netflix: 
Inspired by his love of comic books, high school student Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) decides to transform himself into a masked crime fighter -- a decision that eventually thrusts the teenager into Internet stardom. Soon, Dave's antics inspire a wave of would-be heroes to don costumes and live out their superhero fantasies. Nicolas Cage, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Chloe Moretz also star in this comic book adaptation from director Matthew Vaughn.


Based on the comic book of the same name by Mark Millar (well known comic writer who won the Stan Lee award at Wizardworld in 2007) and John Romita, Jr. (legendary writer/artist with Marvel since the 1970s). It was directed by Matthew Vaughn (producer for Guy Ritchie films "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels," "Snatch," and directed "Layer Cake," and will direct "X-Men: First Class").  Vaughn co-produced Kick-Ass with THE Brad Pitt.


If you like action or comic book movies, you'll absolutely love Kick-Ass. If you don't like 'em, give this sometimes brutal, funny, offbeat, and highly entertaining take on the comic book hero a try because it's a superhero movie that keeps it real!

As a prelude... this movie is rated "R" for a reason, so it's not for kids of any age. It's a mature, adult themed movie with a great story, witty dialouge and stars Chris Mintz-Plasse ("McLovin" from Superbad) and Nick Cage (Big Daddy).  However, the movie stealer is the innocent looking Chloe Moretz who plays Hit Girl.  HScene stealer and ultimate ass kicker!

This was my rant on Facebook/Netflix immediately after seeing it: 
Holy blood and realism, Comic Book Lovers! Kick-Ass is a GREAT movie. If I could rate it higher then 5, I would. Being the total comic nerd, when I saw the trailers I figured it was going to rock, but this sucker was better then I expected, and I was expecting a lot. Even my wife loved it!  Ya, it's gory in some spots, and some of the scenes are over the top, but man... what a ride! Absolute Must See!

Netflix average score based on 226,216 ratings is 4 stars.  I give it an ass kicking FIVE STARS!


Brew Suggestion for Kick-Ass

I could have gone a few different ways here with the beer choice. For instance, Coney Island's blood red Freaktoberfest would have been a perfect compliment to this sometime bloody flick.  I could have gone the easy route with beers names similarly, such as Kick-Ass Brown from C.H. Evans Brewing Co. in Albany, New York, or Kick Ass Pilsner from Pittsfield Brew Works in Pittsfield, MA (but they're no longer in business).

Instead, I decided to go with a beer that's not only a high alcohol content kick in the ass, but one of my favorite beers on the planet (in wintertime only mind you). That honor goes to the can crushing, bitch slap to the face brew from Oskar Blues (Lyons, Colorado) known as Ten Fidy.  This heroic Imperial Stout weighs in at a whopping 10.5% ABV and is so "hot" it can cauterize an open wound and is so thick and chewy it coagulates blood!  Ten Fidy's utility belt is loaded with 98 IBUs and enormous amounts of two-row malt, chocolate malt, roasted barley, flaked oats and hops.

You want it... Ten Fidy knows you want it.  So get it.  Then hunker down with a copy of Kick-Ass.  The rest as they say... is history!