Thursday, November 25, 2010

If being thankful for BEER is WRONG, I don't want to be RIGHT.


Last night I had a few Sammy Winter Lagers while watching the UConn game (2010 Maui Invitation CHAMPS!!!) and it got me thinking. Between the tasty beer I've had this week and UConn taking the title last night... I have a lot to be thankful for. AND THAT'S THIS WEEK ALONE!!!

My fellow beer connoisseur, Ian and I were watching TV the other night and decided to jump into a little impromptu Merry Christmas Happy New Year Ale from Anchor Steam. Earlier in the day I picked up the 2010 while he had the 2009 AND 2008 still left in his fridge. I have to say VERY interesting results as we tasted each year.

2008 - Emphasis on the dark fruit this year. Smells consist of figs and cloves. Medium malt mouthfeel, and nice finish.

2009 - Focus was the malts in my opinion. Lighter on the spices and smooth finish.

2010 - Heavy spice!! Huge noise. It has almost a medicine taste to it... maybe it still needs to settle and mellow out.

Overall, I LOVE this variety... but after our tasting, I'm not in a hurry to pick up another 6 pack. Slightly disappointing... but again, perhaps it just needs to mellow out a bit. But then again, if I go out and get a holiday brew, I want to drink it now! Not wait!

What are you thankful for this year...?

BIG PROPS to the people over at Sammy Adams this holiday season... whoever decided to axe the Sam Adams Light and Cranberry Lambic only to REPLACE it with the White Ale and Chocolate Bock deserves a substantial salary increase! For those that haven't partook(?) this holiday season yet... let me enlighten you of the 6 beers Sam Adams included in this year's WINTER CLASSICS:
-Boston Lager
-White Ale
-Ole Fezziwig
-Winter Lager
-Holiday Porter
-Chocolate Bock

It seriously has everything I love about Sam Adams. I could take or leave the Holiday Porter, but it bridges a nice gap btw the Winter and the Chocolate.

Other things I'm thankful/excited for... Heavy Seas has announced TWO new beer offerings. The Black IPA and the Thank You, Thank You Very Much Beer (see above). They are embarking on their 15th year as a brewery...

So from all of us (Kate and I) to all of you... HAPPY THANKSGIVING FROM BEER411!!!

Let us know what YOU'RE thankful for this year!! Outside reviews are strongly encouraged!!


Friday, May 14, 2010

Bartender, two geese please

Goose Island Honkers Ale
Chicago, Illinois
Style: English Style Bitter
Alcohol by Volume: 4.2%

The tap is what pulled me in, a GIANT goose head looking at me. I thought to myself is Aflac making beer now? …

Brewed in Chicago, I was curious. My friend joined along in my journey tasting this new-to-me beer.

I was very happy with this ale. It was crisp, refreshing, citrusy and very drinkable. Perfect for a BBQ to switch up the normal summer ales and hefs that can make you feel full. Further research on the Goose Island website said that the Honker Ale matches perfectly with cheddar – light bulb!

My gal pal and I shared some gooey-cheesy nachos that night with these drinks and were quite content.

I was shocked when another player in our group tried it and said it tasted like fruit loops. On the sweetness scale I would say this beer scored low. It was toasty with light pale malts and a zing of tartness.

Each taste bud to his/or/her own of course, but if you are at a bar and a big goose is starring you down, I say go for it.

Two more geese please …

Monday, May 3, 2010

A long time ago... (pt 2.)

Brewing Company: New England Brewing Co.
Style: Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout
Size: 12 oz.
ABV: n/a

I've never been to a beer release before... I've had all kinds of limited beer varities, some that were good and others that I definitely would not pay for again. Fast-forward to two weeks ago... so I'm told 700 bottles of the Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout Trooper would be sold at the New England Brewing Company; limit being 2 per customer @ $15 per bottle. I have no idea what to expect...

...on one side, I feel like there are only a handful of people who actively pursue tasty alcoholic beverages like I do. So there MIGHT be 100 people at this release. On the other hand, are there really 350 intense beer drinkers in the area that would wait in line for such a thing? 8am?? Really... Really??? I'll take my chances and show up around Noon. And I guess if worst came to worst, they would at least have the Gandhi Bot DIPA on tap so it wouldn't be a wasted trip.

Not sure how long these people waited in line... but we timed it just right in my opinion. There were about 75-100 people ahead of us. And you could see that there were a few individuals that waited in line, bought their (2) bottles, then got right back in line for (2) more. Frankly, I don't have the money to spend on 6-8 bottles @ $15 a pop. Honestly, I had to convince myself to buy (2) as it was! So my buddy John, his son Dan and I waited in line... it only took us about 30 minutes to get up to the front. John and I each picked up two bottles of the Stout Trooper and a growler of Gandhi Bot. John picked up a Scotch Ale as well which we have yet to try... I decided that with my two bottles, I'll try one in the next few weeks, then store the other one and let it age a few months. All in all, a successful day!

(On a side note... I have NO idea what the boys at NEB were thinking when it came to entertainment. There was some sort of freak talent show going on... Weird.)

I decided against posting the old Stout Trooper label... JUST in case George Lucas caught wind of the Beer411 blog. (Haha.) Needless to say, the boys at NEB did not break the bank on the new label design. At least they got to keep the name! (for now!) My guess is that they put their efforts into the booze... and boy did they ever.

It pours extremely black with a dark brown head on top. The lacing is very nice on the side of the glass, gearing up my taste buds for what looks like a creamy/malty flavor....

Smells off the top give you your usual stout characteristics: dark fruit, black coffee, dark chocolate. There's a booziness to this beer as well, most likely from the aging process which is also why we do not know the ABV. The wood used to age this beer must have also given it some oak/vanilla qualities. You get a subtle coconut flavoring in addition to everything else going on...

The taste is excellent. Off the front you get your dark chocolate/bitter coffee flavors. The lacing that we saw on the sides of the glass back up the sweet malts. Then my taste buds got a dose of the bourbon aging and the woody qualities that we picked up from the smells. And although we only got a little sample of this brew the other day, the stickiness stays with you long after.

Overall, I'm not gonna lie - this beer was $$$ and maybe its my mindset right now but $15 on something like this can't be sampled every weekend. But if you have a chance to pick up a bottle and there's a special occasion coming up and you have a little extra in this week's paycheck... go for it. The beer is, like I put earlier, Fantastic. But $15 for a 12 oz? Ouch... Kinda hard to rationalize that one.

Final Grade: B+ (Fantastic beer... but expensive.)

Friday, April 23, 2010

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away....

Actually, it's more like "Coming up this weekend, in a brewery close, close to home..." Anyway, I just wanted to post a little "what I'm looking forward to this weekend" note... and for you CT locals, perhaps this will be a heads up for any of you beer geeks out there that haven't heard.

This weekend I'm planning on taking a little trip to the New England Brewing Company in Woodbridge, CT. (You mean, there's a brewery in Woodbridge??) I know, I asked myself the same thing. Several months ago, I learned of a beer growing in popularity that was just on the brink of breaking into BeerAdvocate's Top 100. And if the name alone, didn't reel you in, the label and taste certainly would. I admit, I bought it because of the name, but also because it came highly recommended. So I used the force and picked up a bottle for New Years Eve and shared it with my friends.

NEB's Imperial Stout Trooper... fantastic. (And currently resides as #94 on BeerAdvocate's Top 100).

Fast-forward to the present... this weekend they are releasing the highly anticipated Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout Trooper. Unfortunately, since it's growth in popularity, George Lucas did not take kindly to his Storm Trooper on the label. Apparently, they can continue to brew the beer, they just can't use the same label. Then there's talk of if NEB will be allowed to keep the name... I don't know. I'll find out more this weekend I'm sure. But for those brave few that are coming to Woodbridge this weekend... here are the details from NEB's site:

Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout Trooper Release: This Saturday- April 24th. 700 bottles (500ml) 2 bottle limit per person @ $15 each. Tickets will be handed out at 9am first come first served. Your ticket will guarantee you 2 bottles to purchase at noon. Any leftover bottles will be for sale after all ticket holders have their bottles.

I don't think I'll be in line at 9am... but maybe around 11am or so. We'll see.


So after looking into the details of this weekend's release, I start hearing more and more about this Double IPA that will also be available:

My friend Bill over at Southington Wine and Spirits simply cannot keep this on the shelf its going so quickly. So this weekend, I not only hope to pick up a bottle or two of the Stout Trooper.. but also hope to snag a growler of this Gandhi-Bot Double IPA. BA's ratings have people consistently giving this brew an A+. Sounds like something I need to look into...

So whatever you're drinking this weekend... be safe, have fun, enjoy. For all you UConners, enjoy your Spring Weekend, too!!

Friday, April 16, 2010

So you think you know beer?

Brewing Company: Stone Brewing Co.
Style: Black IPA
Size: 22 fl oz.
ABV: 8.7%
IBU: 90

I love beer. I do... and when the time comes, I definitely hope to join the ranks of my fellow homebrewers so I can begin tasting the fruits of my labor. But expenses being what they are, and the space of my apartment being the on smaller side, I can't exactly set up shop yet. So in the meantime... I continue to research and appreciate.

Which brings me to yet another Stone Brew offering... the Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale.

I consider myself somewhat educated when it comes to beer, but I also know that I will never ever stop learning about new creations and infinite brewtastic combinations. Just the other day, I blogged about Stone and BrewDog collaborating on a Golden Stout. Crazy.

BeerAdvocate categorized this beer as a "Strong American Ale". Yes... I agree. But what does that mean really. Strong (High ABV), American (Origin), Ale (Middle of the road beer... not bitter, not hoppy, not light, not dark). BA gives this as their description:

Catch all style category for beers from 7.0 percent alcohol by volume and above. Some may even be as high as 25% abv. Characteristics will greatly vary; some have similarities to Barley-wines and Old Ales. Barrel aging is certainly not out of the question.

With the amount of combinations, you could really create several more categories within the Strong American Ale heading. I'd like to nominate a NEW category, particularly for said offering; Black IPA. When you pour this beer, it appears to be a light black or dark brown with light tan head. From sight alone your taste buds are setting up for a heavy beer - dark associates with porters, stouts, etc... But, all the things you've learned about "dark" beers will turn your mind 180 degrees. The smells from this beer have very little hints of the chocolate, coffee, and caramel. But the domination is clear once you get a noseful of grapefruit/citrus aromas, piney hops (Chinook?), and some floral.

Hellllllllllo IPA.

One of my favorite descriptions on BeerAdvocate is someone referring to the taste of this beer as a "malty fist fight". Awesome. The tastes of this beer follow that of your nose with strong citrus and piney hops. Also apparent are the creamy malts. But what's unique about this beer is that while it starts with the hoppiness that you expect from an IPA, it finishes with just the right delicate chocolate/coffee bitterness. There is also a nice carbonation factor happening here. Overall, it has a nice dryness in the end too.

A beer that pours a dark brown, smells of citrus, tastes of hoppy goodness, and finishes with light chocolate/coffee... Moral of the story, don't judge a beer by its color.

Final Grade: A-

Monday, April 12, 2010

An Itch that CAN be scratched

Flying Dog Old Scratch
Amber Lager, 5.5% ABV
Brewed in Frederick, MD

First off, check out the label above. I know -- we’ve had this discussion I am a sucker for marketing.

Ok, now I have to let you in on what’s written on it:
“Some itches can’t be scratched. Like your fantasy involving latex and flavored lotions. So it’s best to concentrate on the ones you can scratch. Like your itch for this Amber Lager, with a malty, mellow flavor. As for your other fantasies, you’ll probably need to find a chat room for those.” = Hilarious.

The label also boasts a quote from Hunter S. Thompson, “Good people drink good beer” -- cheers to that! You can always judge a person by the beer they drink, OR if they don’t drink beer at all.

This beer is tasty. It’s fizzy, crisp, a little sweet and very drinkable -- definitely hitting the spot on this 50 degree night. This brew is not heavy at all, but it’s warming me up enough to take the chill out of the air.
It reminds me of a Magic Hat #9 without the apricot flavors hitting the back of my tongue. says that these suds are fermented at medium temperatures to develop both ale and lager characteristics. Old Scratch is also an award-winning ale. It’s a 2008 Silver Medal Winner - World Beer Cup (American-Style Amber Lager Category) AND a 2008 Silver Medal Winner - Great American Beer Festival (Amber Lager Category)

I am also a huge fan eating around your beverage. I like to figure out what I am drinking before I decide “What’s for dinner.” I enjoyed tonight’s Old Scratch with roast beef, and did right by the suggested pairings which are; roasted meats, hearty breads, spicy food and Cajun food.

Check out more ways to eat drink and be merry at

What are some of your fav beer/dinner pairings? Do tell.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Stone & BrewDog Collaboration?? This Ain't No April Fools.

Admittedly so, I appear to be on a bit of a BrewDog kick as of late. (After all of this attention, I better start "researching" this Scottish Export.)

As work took a bit of a slow turn today, I noticed a new "twitt" or "tweet" that grabbed my curiosity. See, lately I've been a big supporter of the Stone Brewery. Beer geeks out West have enjoyed the Stone offerings for years and years (since they are located in San Diego) but most recently, they've finally made their way to the East Coast.

(I must have done something good.)

If you are a beer drinking (and if you are reading this I take it you are), and HAVEN'T tried something from the Stone Brewery, please put that at the top of your list the next time you hit the packy. A little on the expensive side, I recommend going for one of their bombers first (although not many come in 6 pks anyway). Start off with the Arrogant Bastard... and work your way up to their Double Bastard. You can tell, beer drinkers make this beer. Not corporate suits.

And might I add, I love the ideas the Stone continues to come up with. The head brewer over there, Greg is big on collaborations. And this one just seems like another great idea. Introducing the LUCIFERIN GOLDEN IMPERIAL STOUT!!!

(Did he say, Golden... Stout??)

Take a look at the video below... these guys crack me up. Since it is limited, I expect a hefty price tag on it. But sounds like it could be fantastic.

Happy Thursday, everyone!!

Brewdog / Stone Luciferin Golden Imperial Stout from stonebrew on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

First Ever Boston Bacon and Beer Festival

Can we cover this event in cheese and call it heaven?

I can’t really describe in words how happy the idea of a Bacon and Beer Fest makes me. I am almost mad that I didn’t think of it myself.

What could possibly go better with beer than salty, succulent bacon? Think of all the smoked hop brews out there and how harmoniously those flavors would dance together in your mouth.

AMAZING – and as we know, I am a huge sucker for fundraising events; all the proceeds go to charity: Community Servings, Share our Strength, South End Youth Baseball and, The Juniper Fund.

$25 gets you in to sample as many brews and bacon dish combos you can stuff in your mouth. Try not to make a pig of yourself.

Check out the lineup:


Brooklyn Brewery | Blue Hills Brewery | Cape Anne Brewing | Dogfish Head | Cody Brewing Company | Harpoon Brewery | Just Beer | Mayflower Brewing Company | Mercury Brewing Company | Narragansett Beer | Peak Organic Brewery | Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project | Rapscallion | Smuttynose Brewing Company

33 Restaurant | 51 Lincoln | Atwood's | B.Good | Beacon Hill Bistro | Channel Cafe | Chez Jacky | Franklin Cafe | The Gallows | Garden at the Cellar | Gaslight | Henrietta's Table | Myers and Chang | Petit Robert Bistro | Picco | Rialto | Rocca | Stoddard's | The Fireplace | Toro | Trina's Starlite Lounge | Turner Fisheries | Union | Whole Foods Symphony | Wicked Kickn' Cheesecake

For more info or to RSVP, visit:

The Rules Don't Apply to BrewDog

So after several conversations, I realized that not many people are familiar with the folks from BrewDog.

Beer411 readers, meet BrewDog. BrewDog... meet Beer411.

(I have to start off by saying I've never had these brews, but they have certainly sparked my interest. So if anyone out there can share their encounters with BrewDog... feel free to share!)

These guys hail from way across the pond in Scotland. The passion that they have in their beer is evident as they became Scotland's largest independent brewery in 2007. One of their claim to fames is brewing the worlds Strongest beer. Now you read previous reviews about ABV at 8% or even 10%. And most likely, Kate and I will warn you to drink with caution, because a 10% beer is pretty high.

Not to these guys.

Several years ago, BrewDog introduced their beer TOKYO to the world. A Russian Imperial Stout which clock in at a whopping 18.2% ABV. At the time, it was considered the Strongest Beer in the World. But like with any records, they are meant to be broken... So BrewDog was dethroned to the likes of Sam Adams Utopias and other small craft brewers.

The ABV of beers got higher and higher... constantly raising the bar on the competition. Then after a German beer (that I can't even pronounce) held the title of World's Strongest Beer at 30.86%, the boys from BrewDog took back their title with a beer they called, Tactical Nuclear Penguin at a ridiculous 32% ABV!!! It falls in the category of a American Double / Imperial Stout. (See the video below on how they went about re-claiming their title.)

Time to sit back and relax, right? Not for these guys.

Needless to say, the German folks over at the beer that I can't pronounce, did not take too kindly getting bumped from the top. So they shot back with their new line, raising the ABV bar to a stupid 39.44%!! No one will EVER beat that!

Remember what I said about records? Yeah... BrewDog wasn't about to let this happen.

So not ONLY did they introduce something bigger and stronger, but the name they picked just tells me that there's something personal about this ABV rivalry. Presenting BrewDog's SINK THE BISMARK; and a ridiculously high %41 ABV. Now a quick history lesson, the Bismark was the name of a German Navy Ship that the Royal Navy attempted to sink during WWII. (tell me that this isn't getting personal). This blend is a Double IPA that is suggested to be enjoyed in several sittings. Or with lots of friends. (See the video below...).

To put this whole ABV talk into perspective... here's a list of ABV of spirits:
Bourbon (51-79 %ABV)
Brandy (40-45 %ABV)
Gin (37.5 %ABV)
Rum (37.5-57 %ABV)
Tequila (40-50 %ABV)
Vodka (35-50 %ABV)
Whisky (40-53.3 %ABV)

So these beers are on the same block as some of the cheaper Gins, Vodkas, Rums, Whiskeys and Tequilas. That's just silly.

If you have a moment... check out how BrewDog went about making their Tactical Nuclear Penguin and their newly crowned Sink the Bismark! Funny, funny guys that I hope to meet someday.

Tactical Nuclear Penguin from BrewDog on Vimeo.

Sink the Bismarck! from BrewDog on Vimeo.

For a full list of BeerAdvocates top 100 Strongest Beers in the World check out the link below:

Friday, March 26, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a lot like Springtime

Brewing Company: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Style: IPA
Size: 12 fl oz.
ABV: 7.00%

I had to break down last night. I just couldn't take it anymore.

After the weather we had last week, I have been in a summertime mood like its going out of style. I've been talking up the softball season with my friends... I've been discussing potential trips to take this summer... and I've been talking to my roommate about getting the grill ready... mmmmm Grillin'. But, since Connecticut likes to remind us New Englanders that it's still March by giving us 20-40 degree weather today... I had to take matters into my own hands.

Per the suggestion of Mr. John Gill, I stopped by the packy a few days ago to sample this year's offering of Dogfish's Aprihop. And needless to say, it did not disappoint.

So there I was last night, dusting off the George Foreman grill in my kitchen. The burger hit the pan and the smells of summertime food were in the air; enter delicious beer stage right. As you can see by the above picture, the Aprihop pours a very nice amber color with a white head which quickly dissipates. Now, you have two very obvious factors at this point. The beer is call APRI-HOP. So you can guess that it's going to have some apricot/peach nodes in there with some extra hops to give it a dry Pale Ale type finish to it.


The smells come across with a citrus nose but has definitely a hint of sweetness & maltiness to it. But what's fantastic about this beer is that it's not too sweet. So for all of your Sam Adams Cherry Wheat fans out there, this one isn't for you. But for those that enjoy actually drinking a beer and not getting a cavity, step up to the bar. The hops are also very present as well. But enough about look and smells... let's taste the damn thing.

The name "Aprihop" in my opinion really lends itself to the type of beer you're about to taste. The citrus/apricot/peachy smells work very well with the hoppy bitterness of this variety. While you get the fruitiness of the beer at first, the hops cut the sweetness, which gives a clean, crisp, dry finish.

Now, my cousin as viciously accused me of being a "hop head". Ok, ok... I admit, I love me some hops which could be why I enjoy this Dogfish offering so much (for the daring/curious SEE Dogfish's 90 min or 120 min IPA). But I really don't think it's too hoppy for your average beer goer. And notice that it's only at about 7.0% ABV so in my opinion, it's a great beer to crack at the end of the day. A little sweet, a little crisp, a little bitter, and quite refreshing. So if you are looking for something a little different for the Easter season or just want to get into that Spring/Summer spirit... you know what to drink.

Final Grade: A-

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Aww Shucks: Harpoon Oyster Stout

Harpoon Brewery / Oyster Stout

English Stout: 5.50% ABV

Grade: B+

When has a bartender ever asked, “Are you allergic to shellfish?”

Well if you are ordering the Harpoon Oyster Stout, it’s a prerequisite.

This salty sud was boiled with 180 oysters pulled from the Duxbury Bay to create Harpoon’s 100 Barrel Series Island Creek Oyster Stout, bottled on Feb. 5.

Sidebar: Depending on which group of friends I am with, they would be surprised I could taste this brew without breaking out in hives. TRUTH: I don’t like seafood. I have tried almost every kind out there, REALLY, I have. So normally I say I am allergic to fish avoid the rhapsody, “No – but try this, you will really like it, really – try it,” – I’VE TRIED IT, I DONT LIKE FISH! I digress…

SO, I was happy to learn that while the Oyster Stout smells like the inside of a seashell, it does not taste like fish at all AND I got to have this beer straight out of the brewery tap. Does it get any fresher than that?

It pours dark with a frothy head that coats your mouth. After a glass, I felt like I was at the beach all day – water please! The Oyster Stout is full bodied and salty with burnt caramel and mocha flavors. It’s delicious, but more than one would have been tough to get through.

I would imagine that this beer would pair much better with food, paella being my recommendation. Yes I’ve tried it.

After chatting up with the brew master I learned that oyster stouts are big in the UK. Their water is “thinner”, which is great for making lighter beers, but it lacks the minerals needed to create stouts and lagers. They use the minerals from the oyster shells to create depth and body in their beer.

Harpoon is tipping their hat to the UK and they did a pretty good job. If you can get your hands on it and you are not allergic, (or fake allergic) give it a shot or in this case, give it a pint.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Excuse me, you just spilled beer on my Snuggie

The Snuggie phenomenon has just reached epidemic levels.

I told you I was going to start thinking more, “New England” and here it is: A Snuggie Pub Crawl -- right in my hometown of Somerville, Mass.

Well at least I won’t have to worry about what to wear...

Taste those winter suds while warm and cozy inside your very own Snuggie. I wonder if the zebra Snuggie will come out and play? Finally, a blanket that will allow you to drink and keep warm!

The Snuggie Pub Crawl is Saturday, 8-11 p.m., starting at the Independent, 75 Union Square, Somerville. A $5 admission benefits local youth organizations.

See below for full details from

Snug as a bug in a pub
Barhopping event gets cozy

In the depths of the New England winter, it can be nearly impossible to pry people out of the house, even though a draught of brisk air might be the best thing for their mental health. But the couch is so warm . . . so cozy. Which is why Diana Weisner’s planned outing is, in its way, so perfect. This Saturday, the reclusive can simultaneously socialize and hibernate at the Boston-area’s first-ever Snuggie Pub Crawl.

That’s right, wear your Snuggie to a bar, perhaps several bars. And drink.
The cozy crew will start at the Independent in Somerville at 8 p.m. and move on to Precinct, Sally O’Brien’s, P.A.’s Lounge, and Bull McCabe’s, everyone snug as a bug in a well, you know.

Weisner’s enthusiasm banishes all thought of cold-weather blues. The Union Square resident, 25, planned the pub crawl as a small event for friends like the pajama party she threw at Maggiano’s a couple of years ago. But everyone who’s heard about the Snuggie crawl wanted in. Now she’s expecting 100 people.

Scenesters who complain that Boston’s behind the times have a legitimate point this time. According to, 62 cities held such crawls last year. Even Scranton, Penn., beat us to the (fuzzy) punch.

Perhaps it’s a sign of the staying power of the dubious (and ironic) style quotient of the fleece fad. Weisner herself mocked Snuggies for months, she said. In retaliation, her aunt gave her one. Weisner fell in love and gave them to her smirking roommates.

“Now we all sit on the couch in our living room looking like a bunch of monks,’’ she said.

So Snuggie fans, emerge. You have nothing to lose but your clean hems trailing along all those sticky pub floors. (To preserve her own treasured blanket with sleeves, Weisner has purchased a special one for the event. She declined to describe it in detail -animal print? sequins? -but admitted, “It is noticeable.’’)

Participants will compete in contests at each stop on the trail, with prizes from Union Square institutions such as the Neighborhood Restaurant and Bloc 11. It starts with Best Pirate Snuggie, Weisner said (her tip: bring props), and moves on to something called “Snug a Stranger,’’ several athletic events, and Snuggie Clown Car (guess). At the finish line, attendees will crown a king and queen.

Anyone can participate as long as they don’t try to bend the rules or attempt some sort of DIY shroud. “An afghan?’’ Weisner exclaimed, toweringly indignant. “Does it have sleeves?’’

Slankets, however, are fine.

The Snuggie Pub Crawl is Saturday, 8-11 p.m., starting at the Independent, 75 Union Square, Somerville. 617-440-6022. A $5 admission benefits local youth organizations.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Beantown is Where it's at for Brews This June

Thinking warm thoughts ...

Bostonians already know that the bean is home to amazing pubs, restaurants and bars that offer a hefty selection of craft beers, imports and homebrews -- (ever spin the wheel at Bukowski's or order a beer you can't pronounce from the Publick House?)

This is however, the first time I am learning about Boston Beer Week.

From June 11-20 keep an eye out for brewtastic events at your favorite watering holes. Better yet, the Beeradvocate and Harpoon are teaming up for a third year to offer the American Craft Beer Fest at the Seaport Hotel June 18-19 2010 -- more than 80 beers are expected to be on tap fresh for the tasting.

I am already feeling the warmth a citrusy Sam Summer with an orange, YUM!

See below for more details and the full release from
(... back to reviewing winter beers)

Boston, MA (January 2010) - To celebrate beer in Boston, Jason and Todd Alström, brothers and founders of BeerAdvocate, will officially launch Boston Beer Week from June 11-20, 2010. The not-for-profit campaign aims to encourage and empower brewers, bars, restaurants, stores, and anyone else involved in the beer industry within the 128-Belt to host and promote beer-centric events throughout the week.

“It’s a fact. Boston area residents have access to one of the most diverse selections of beer in the world.” stated Jason Alström. “And it’s our goal to bring awareness to this awesome beer scene,” added Todd Alström, “by offering a central hub for event organizers to freely list their events, while also giving beer lovers easy access to the week of beer. We also plan to heavily promoting the entire week, working with partners to help spread the word, and hosting quite a few events ourselves.”

The official Boston Beer Week website, along with much more information, will be posted before March 1.

BeerAdvocate and Harpoon Brewery will also cap-off the week with the third annual American Craft Beer Fest (ACBF). The main event will be held on June 18 & 19, 2010 at the Seaport World Trade Center Boston, featuring upwards of 80 American brewers, 400 craft beers, and plenty of beer education.

Tickets go for ACBF on-sale early February. Brewers interested in participating can contact

RRRRRR...the World Must Know About The Mutiny Fleet!!

Why be normal when you can be EXTRAARGHdinary?
Hugh Sisson - Managing Partner, Clipper City Brewing Co, LP

Most people have never heard of this line, but with a little luck on your side, you might be able to find it at your local packy. Brewed down in the Baltimore area since 1989, this young brewery has grown tremendously; introducing their HEAVY SEAS line in 2003 and most recently their MUTINY FLEET series.

The best way to get introduced to these beers is to find one that you like. They offer a great mix pack called the Sunkin Sampler... they give you very hoppy varieties with there LOOSE CANNON offering (one of my favorites), to Pilsners, to Imperial Stouts...

And as I stated earlier, they've introduced a new line called MUTINY FLEET; all of which are in 22 oz bombers. Let me just say that I'm a huge fan of bombers in general. It's like drinking a fine wine - there's a process before consuming. You have to pour it in a glass... let it breath... and even in some cases (with dark beers), you have to let it warm up a bit in order to get a better idea of the flavors at work... Plus with 22 oz of fun, you probably will be more inclined to enjoy them WITH a friend(s). Now, in terms of this MUTINY FLEET, I honestly haven't tried all of them... but, I will shed some light on the ones that I have sampled. Note that all of these varieties contain an ABV of 8.0% or higher. So these are not for the faint-hearted. Now class, let's begin...

STYLE: Pumpkin Ale, ABV: 8.0%

Not the first offering of the MUTINY FLEET, but the first one that started gaining some ground on the competition. I believe their Oktoberfest "PROSIT" was the inaugural release, but was extremely limited. Luckily, my local brewmaster saved me a bottle and I did have the chance to sample. In short, it was good, not my favorite Octoberfest. It had its far share of sweet malts but the booziness was too strong for my liking. BUT, shortly after this release came The Great Pumpkin. Heavy Seas hit a home run here. In the world of Pumpkin Ales (which is what started this blog to begin with) you have your Shipyard Pumpkinheads, your Southern Tier Pumkings, etc... The Great Pumpkin is a very nice balance of ABV, hops, malt and a little extra pumpkin spice. Note that this is much "boozier" that other kinds; so if Pumpkinhead is more your speed, you probably won't like this one. Lucky for me, the local packy that I like to hit up, overstocked on this variety so I literally just bought another bottle last week. If you missed out on this one, put this on your list for next year.

STYLE: Belgium Style Tripel Ale, ABV: 10.0%

Now that the MUTINY FLEET had my undivided attention, I couldn't wait for the Seasonal release of Yule Tide (love the label too... It's like Santa Claus meets the Goonies). I will say that Belgium Ales are not high on my list. But it's nice to change things up from time to time. Pours brownish-amber with Belgium yeast particles floating throughout. It has a very sweet; almost candied aroma. Much like the aromas, the taste has a strong sweetness and does hit you in the classic Belgium (fruity) style. I did capture a hint of cloves in the smell/taste which gave it that holiday feel. In my opinion, this is one of those beers that you share. Not that its not good; but the sweetness and boozy qualities make the drinkability tough. I had one by myself... and by the end I was full, slightly buzzed, and I felt like I got a cavity from finishing the entire thing.

STYLE: Belgium Strong Dark Ale, ABV: 9.0%

Now, Holy Sheet was first introduced to me in the Sunkin Sampler. (How can you not like the name?! Ok, I'm a sucker for Marketing.) Anyway, I enjoyed this variety because it wasn't like any of the beers that they offered in their mix pack. As a Dark Belgium (different from the Tripel), this has more of a dark fruit aroma to it (i.e. raisins, plums). There is a strong maltiness to it as well... And the alcohol is very present here, this one is a sipper (not as much as the Yule Tide). HOWEVER! My opinions are based on the 12 oz bottle that I got out of the mix pack... rumor has it that Heavy Seas listened to their critics and tweaked the recipe ever so slightly. The MUTINY FLEET re-release represents their NEW 2010 variety. So... if there anyone out there that has tried it; please feel free to send us your feedback!

If you've made it this far (I had some making up to do since my cousin has been on fire with her entries lately!!!) I felt like I should have a surprise for you... there are rumors of a NEW Heavy Seas Mutiny Fleet release... and while I enjoy my IPAs and seasonal brews... this one looks like it could be one of their best...



Obviously, since this one is yet to even be announced... I haven't had the chance to try it. But let's go over the basics... Chocolate-AWESOME, Beer-AWESOME, Chocolate Beer - FRIGGIN AWESOME!! Ever since my appreciation for the darker beers as of late, I think my palate is ready for this one. (SEE BROOKLYN BLACK CHOCOLATE STOUT) Although at 22 oz, I wouldn't recommend drinking this one yourself. Go with the buddy system.

Another great offering from this line is there DIPA (Double IPA)... set to be released in February (if it isn't out already). I haven't had this one myself, but am a big fan of Double IPAs and have heard very good things. Again, for those hop heads that are reading this, feel free to send us your thoughts on the Heavy Seas DIPA!

To read more about the Mutiny Fleet line and other great products from the Clipper City Brewery, please visit:

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mad Elf & Seriously Bad Elf

Tröegs Mad Elf

Belgian Strong Dark Ale 11.00% ABV

Seriously Bad Elf

English Strong Ale 9.00% ABV

The Elves are happily on leave from Santa’s workshop and have come out to play. I know the cuz was having a hard time finding these in Conn. so when I saw them on the menu at Asgard Irish Pub in Cambridge, very cool place by the way – I had to order them and check them out. Cead Mile Faite!

I have never had either of these brews before and I made the amateur mistake of trying them back to back – didn’t check the ABV until after, opps.

They both get a B+ in my book and didn’t taste at all like I thought they would. I was expecting two heavy, winter beers but instead I got something much different. I consider these both to be dessert beers. They were sweet – almost cider-like.

I think that is the one thing I have learned through my winter beer experimenting. Winter beer does not always mean heavy, hoppy lagers and stouts. A lot of these beers are crisp and have cranberry, honey, citrus, and apple flavors running through them, using the fruits of the holiday. Winter is actually a great "girly-drinking" season. Who knew?
These two beers are especially thin and go down easy, use caution. Ok, here is the run down according to me:

Mad Elf – Reminded me of a Bellini -- you know, the fancy champagne drinks with fruit juice? Yes, I just compared beer to champagne. It had really strong flavors of cherries, honey and chocolate malt. It was fizzy, sweet, delicious and STRONG.

Seriously Bad Elf – This beer was both sweet and sour. Vanilla smacks you right in the face and I felt like I was biting into a granny smith apple. It tasted more like a liqueur than a beer. My trustworthy sidekicks who were stealing sips compared it to a kicked-up Magners.

There is also Insanely Bad Elf, Very Bad Elf and just plain Bad Elf. Give em’ a try and post your findings here.

Here is a little bit of trivia for you regarding Seriously Bad Elf, (Tony maybe this is why you were having a hard time finding it in Conn.): “State officials in Connecticut want to ban the holiday beer because they worry the label (see photo above) might entice children to drink beer, sparking a possible constitutional battle and virtually guaranteeing the beer will sell out.”
– hmm…

ALSO: For a chuckle check out this clip of two knuckle-heads who clearly had too many elves and a camera on hand.

Cheers everyone!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Samuel Adams Noble Pils

Did Punxsutawney Phil see his shadow? Doesn't matter, according to Sam spring is on it's way ... better drink the winter stuff quick!

Well, its supposed to be 40 degrees on Friday, that is a start in the right direction.
Drink warm beer lovers!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Magic Hat's Feast of Fools

Move over Sam -- this year I brought Magic Hat's Feast of Fools variety pack to the party. The 12-pk comes with #9, Lucky Kat, Winter Odd Notion 09 and the Howl. Don't worry I did the dirty work for you and tried them ALL! Tough job I know ... here's what I thought:

#9 / 4.60% ABV / Grade: A

I am not really sure #9 belongs in this mix, it's one of my favs -- but I drink it in the summer all the time! The "not quite pale ale" has a yummy apricot finish, it's really refreshing and because most of us have enjoyed a #9 I won't bother to say anymore...

Winter Howl / 4.60% ABV / Grade: B

First of all the label is amazingly cool, kudos to the art team who designed it -- on to the beer. Talk about a dark ale that packs a punch! It's a pitch black and has a burnt-caramel-coffee taste to it. Really bitter finish. I would say eat a meal or dessert with this guy, not a stand alone brew. Just my opinion. It's not a real heavy ale, so if you like bitter and want something to warm you up before you hit the town this one might be for you.

Winter Odd Notion 09 / 4.50% ABV / Grade: B

This beer was a party in my mouth. I didn't really know what I was getting myself into or what to expect. You think the winter variety pack is going to have darker richer beers right? This one was sweet. Very crisp with a tart thing going on. Like craisons on crack. Remember that cute little girl from the Welch's commercial "It makes you pucker your cheeks" -- that is this beer. I hate to say this, but it's the "girly" drink from the pack. If you are looking for a refreshing, different 'one and done' kinda night, give it a shot.

Lucky Kat / 5.80% / Grade: D

Disclaimer, I am not a huge IPA fan...

I really like winter/fall beers because of all the hidden spice and creaminess that is brought to the table during these drinking seasons, so I am a little out of my element with this brew. With that said -- Lucky Kat was not so lucky for me. I did not like this beer at all. I actually let my drain finish half it. OUCH, I know. It was very malty, watery and tasted like pine in my mouth. I couldn't even pawn them off to my friends. Maybe an IPA lover can counter me on this one? ... try it and tell me what you think.

What this foodie also loved, is that they have a cool recipe link for foods on the Magic Hat website that you can create with the Feast of Fools ales like, "Howlling Good Gingerbread" and the "Winter Odd Notion Crab Dip." Now I know what to do with my left over Lucky Kat's .. Eeesh ;) Check it out:

Cheers to 2010! Let's make it a good one.