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.