Friday, April 5, 2013

The Session #74- Finding Beer Balance

This month's issue of The Session is brought to you by This is Why I'm Drunk, with the capable at the helm:

April’s topic is “Finding Beer Balance.” It’s a discussion I hope will offer a variety of responses as people consider their interests outside of finding the perfect pint.

Is beer your vice? Is beer your reward? Does beer really have to be either? Do you find lifestyle balance through work, hobbies, family or maybe even “Dry Days” like David Bascombe? There are a variety of ways to find balance.

Beer and the industry has definitely become somewhat of a hobby to me. Not necessarily finding the perfect pint, the next great beer, but rather the people that are involved in brewing such beer. It all stems from sitting at Max's Taphouse with a friend and chatting with others sitting near. Meeting one person, which leads to another, which leads to another and eventually at some point I met Steve Jones of Oliver Ales, Brian Strumke of Stillwater and others. To see that they love beer, and love what they produce (and it isn't just a job) made me appreciate what was in the glass in front of me. But let me get back to the topic:

Outside of beer, I feel that I have very typical interests. I have played many sports: soccer/basketball/baseball in high school, soccer in college, and soccer/slowpitch softball/flag football/dodgeball our of college. Not to mention the million times we picked up some random sport to try it out. I still run up and down the basketball court for 1.5 hours every Wednesday. Being active was excuse for grabbing a beer (after I turned 21 of course). It doesn't matter what it is, I'll try it (beer or sport).

The #1 thing that keeps me active happens to be a 24 lb monster that roams my house every day from 8am -9pm.  This 1.5 year old tornado is probably the coolest person on the Earth. Our devoted time has paid off, as she has helped me lose 20 pounds (even though I wasn't looking to lose weight, she made us chase her when she went for the dog food).  She has created reasons for us to get out of the house, go for walks, and meet new people.  Babies and dogs are the social catalyst that could keep a world running.

So there it is, sports and a baby. My hobbies and life.

There she is, the Tornado.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Beer Bracket 2013- The Sweet 16

After the first weekend of play, there have been some major upsets and surprises. Below are the beers that made it through, and my thoughts on them.

(1) Boulevard Bully Porter- the dark roasted flavors make this porter no little brother to Tank 7. A beer to keep your taste buds on key.
(12) Anchor Porter- not to be out done by the Boulevard, this beer is often forgotten when placed next to Anchor Steam, but alas, it is a classic example of a perfect porter.

(3) Evolution Lot 6- this is a big beer with big hops. New on the scene when compared to Nugget Nectar, HopSlam and others, Lot 6 will soon be on the list as a go to for many people.
(2) Sierra Nevada Bigfoot-a standard since 1983 (one year after I was born), this beer is a beast of a brew. Perfect to cap off a night, it is awesome fresh, better after a year in the cellar, and even better after 2. Plus it is at a price point that doesn't kill the wallet. ($55 a case)

(9) Evil Genius Good n Evil- American style Golden beer, comes light and refreshing. Makes me think of warm spring/summer days. Nice balance of malt and hops, not heavy on either.
(13) Goose Island Sofie- a saison fermented with wild yeast is always close to my heart. The different flavors leave my mouth watering just thinking about the beer.

(6) Weyerbacher Winter- this English Brown ale leaves everyone satisfied. Has a touch of hops to even out the strong malt backbone. Very easy to drink.
(2) Iron Hill Berliner Weisse- whether you drink it straight or drop some syrup into it, this beer doesn't disappoint. The lemon turns to sour apple, and remains light and refreshing. I prefer a touch of raspberry syrup, but also order it without.

(1) Troegs Nugget Nectar- a perennial #1 seed. The explosion of floral hops in your mouth leaves you wanting more. The malt keeps a strong presence, and the 7+% keeps you honest.
(4) Chimay White- classic Belgian Trappist triple.  Slight bitterness from the hops and the not too sweet malt keeps this balanced beer one to always have on hand.

(3) Burley Oak Pale Ryeder- a nice pale ale that has the zing of spiciness from rye.  Easy to drink and smooth going down.
(15) Duvel- another classic Belgian. This Strong Golden Ale is a delight on the palate. Nice sweetness is broken up by a slightly higher carbonation.

(1) Oskar Blues G'Night- an Imperial Red that is dangerously drinkable. hoppy 8.7% beer has a huge malt character, while still giving you a mouthful of hops.
(4) Great Divide Hoss- based on a Marzen, this lager adds rye to give it more character. Another easy drinking beer, this is perfect for spring picnics, summer poolsides, fall ball games, and next to the fire in winter.

(3) Flying Dog Raging Bitch- this Belgian IPA combines hops of an American IPA with the yeast of a nice Belgian- giving this beer wicked complexity. Instantly became one of my favorite beers from the first sip.
(2) Orval- the final beer in the bracket, and another sour. This beer should have its own style, as its unique taste lingers on, begging for you to get another bottle. Oh and the beautiful shaped bottle it comes in. I must try for any Belgian beer lover.

The Beer Bracket Sweet 16

Monday, March 18, 2013

2013 Beer Bracket

Here it is. What you have been waiting for and what you will need for the next couple of days. To make filling out a bracket more enjoyable, I have taken the current NCAA bracket, stripped the schools off of it and replaced them with beer. Who wouldn't rather choose the winner because of beer?

Region one: #BeerChat
These beers were mentioned in the latest rendition of #Beerchat, the Thursday at 9pm EST gathering on Twitter.

Region two: Untappd
I pulled these from my most recent Untappd checkins.

Regions three and four are random selected from my memory as delicious beers that I love to drink.  I know I do not have every beer on there. And there are some great ones not.  Reasons why: A) I have never had it/can't get it (i.e. Russian River, Hill Farmstead, etc.) B) Too rare/elusive (i.e. Westy, Dark Lord, Abstrakt). I have tried to keep it at beers that most can find, drink, and love. C) I'm lazy/forgot about it.

So here you go. Win your office pool with the help of the Beer Bracket.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Beer Bracket 2013!

Do you know the difference between Butler, Bucknell, and Belmont? Do you want to do the research to find out who may win. Sure it could be easier to just pick the higher seed, but to make it really fun, you should just use the Beer Bracket to make your choices.

Coming this week is the Beer Bracket 2013! Your one stop shop for picking your NCAA March Madness Bracket when you have no clue what is going on with the NCAA teams. The four regions this year will be a bit fun as one region will be created by a twitter friend and blogger, another by the beers mentioned on #BeerChat (a weekly twitter get together), and the other two by some creative measure.

Get ready, get set- it will be here before you know.

Previous beer Bracket blog posts can be found here.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Session #73- The Beer Audit

Wow, it has been way too long. I have been caught up chasing a one year old around. Good thing is that I have lost some weight. Bad thing is I have neglected A Beer in Hand. But I promise to finally get back in the habit. 

This month’s issue of The Session is hosted by Pints andPubs on The Beer Audit:

“Once or twice a year I take a beer audit. I open cupboards and boxes and just have a good look at what’s there. Some beers get moved about, some make it from a box into the fridge, others get pushed further to the back of the cupboard for another day. Often I just stare at the bottles for a while and think about when I’ll drink them. Apart from the enjoyment of just looking at a hoard of beer, It tells me something about my drinking habits…
So, I’m interested to know if you take stock of the beers you have, what’s in your cellar, and what does it tell you about your drinking habits.

This is something that I have looked at in the past couple of weeks. For my birthday, my wife had a bunch of friends surprise me by showing up at the house. She picked up a couple cases of beer, and a couple friends bought beer for me as well. This left me with a plethora of leftover beer. While this is not normally a problem, I just don’t drink if fast enough. I don’t want beers best fresh (especially IPAs) to sit too long, as that really kills them. So by having this fresh beer, I abandon my beer boxes.

I try to keep my beer boxes contents updated on the site. I have some stuff that I should drink, some stuff that can keep aging, and some stuff I have no inclination to drink (maybe 10 years on it will make it good-because I hated it the first time).

What is all fine and dandy is my favorite beer that I have been aging.  Not necessarily on purpose, but because I never got around to drinking it, and then it got lost in the shuffle. So for the past 3 years I have had a 750 mL of Rodenbach Grand Cru. Which I consider with Nugget Nectar, to be my favorite beers. No others come close. My thoughts on having this around.

A) I have no problem having this beer for this long. It will still be great.
B) In this bottle format, it isn’t going to be a weekday drink.
C) My friends aren’t fans of sours, so sharing would be very abnormal to do with them.

I do have some other beers that have and will stand the test of time. The Abstrakt series has been good when I have opened them, since they are BIG beers, that helps. I had a Stone Vertical Epic 10-10-10 the other day, and it was still fantastic (I have one left of both the 09 and 10). I also try to get a couple Sierra Nevada BigFoots every year to hold onto. This and Troegs Mad Elf are two beers that I prefer to have aged for a year. I think it tones down the abv to really smooth them out. 

Really looking at it makes me realize that I definitely don’t drink the big beers (bottle size and abv) as I thought I would. I keep them there thinking that I will eventually get to them, yet I don’t. I have started only buying 12oz to keep my hording to a minimum.

And don’t even get me started on the homebrew I have laying around…