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!