Posts Tagged ‘jester king’

So this weekend was busier than hell because it was the first nice weekend that we have had since September…so on top of prepping the yard and deck for summer, I also had to contend with my daughter’s dance recital, entertaining my best friend in from Charlotte and prepping for my annual Memorial Day Weekend tasting.

As if I need more beer, boxes came flying in from all the place (making the wife not happy with me)…

The first box was a trade that I had set up with a guy that I had worked with before in one of my Sour BIFs.   The back story is not important and makes me look like a mild dick but basically, my friend Joe left a bottle of Jester King Bonnie the Rare berliner weisse at a friends house.  We happened to be there one night and I pulled it out of the fridge and he realized it was left there from a previous get together…well, he left a little early that night and we cracked the bottle open after he was gone.  Regardless of how bad it was (worst Jester King beer ever), Joe was pissed because we opened his bottle…so I felt compelled to make things right by acquiring another bottle…and this is what came in…

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Next box was the conclusion of a trade set up in September…I had a guy who I traded with last summer that was looking for several bottles of Bruery Black Tuesday.  When my allotment came in from Reserve Society in October, I had a box packed up and out the door.  After the box arrived, the recipient lost his job

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Finally was the start of what I hope will be a beautiful relationship with a guy up in the PNW.  In the past couple of years, there has been a bunch of small breweries that have popped up in the Portland Oregon area that have been making some great beers…and I want all of it.  He and I have traded before and he has participated in my Sours BIF previously.  Since my last Sours BIF, he felt that he has been in debt to me since I destroyed him with a huge box of Belgian Lambics.   Revenge is a dish served whale-ish….he destroyed my porch…

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Yes…that is 7 bottles of De Garde 🙂 with several bottles of Adam and Cherry Adam 🙂 and several Upright sours 🙂

I had a bad experience lately trying to set up a trade with someone lived in an unrealistic world with their demands….it is stuff like this makes it better.  So much for ‘cutting down’ the cellar when weeks like this happen.

It is hard to imagine that April has come and gone already, especially given the fact that the temperatures are in the low 40’s and my backyard is a pond….usually by this time of year, I am breaking out the patio furniture, cleaning up the yard and the grill.    After having a chance of getting down to San Antonio last week to slay some Texas turds, I was able to follow it up with a nice trip down to wonderful Central PA…please, hold your applause.  Anyways, here is my highest rated beers for April:

Top 5 Beer Reviews for April (okay, it is 7 again but how is that different from any other month):

 

The 5 Beer Reviews that screams out how superior sours beers are over common bullshit:

  • Pizza Boy Brewing Hop Test #1 (White Pech) ~ American IPA ~ 6.0% ABV ~ 2.9 /5 Rating
  • Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch Weasel (Calvados Edition) ~ American Imperial Stout ~ 10.9% ABV ~  2.5 /5 Rating
  • FEMSA Dos Equis XX Special Lager ~ Pale Lager ~ 4.5% ABV ~ 2.3 /5 Rating
  • FEMSA Carta Blanca ~ Pale Lager ~ 4.0% ABV ~ 2.1 /5 Rating
  • And the beer that just proves how superior American beers are over the rest of the world was Kirin Brewing Ichiban ~ Pale Lager ~ 1.7 /5 Rating

Well, in case you don’t remember the Alamo, it is located in downtown San Antonio and quite the boring tourist attraction. I have always been a mild war history nut but the Alamo itself was kind of a let down as far as a tourist attraction went….and they didn’t even serve craft beer (now you can see my disappointment).  The building that you see before you was actually the Chapel of the entire Alamo compound and there isn’t much more beyond that, other than a small courtyard and a gift shop (which must have been built by Davey Crockett himself).

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The Alamo…..(in the basement!)

So my wife wanted to go someplace on vacation that was a heck of a lot warmer than sunny Buffalo (like such a place exists) but wasn’t really interested in going back to Florida, so we decided on taking the kid to Sea World in San Antonio TX.  What we didn’t realize that we came down to San Antonio during Fiesta…which someone described to me as their version of Mardi Gras….except with a lot less boobs being shown and more Mexicans to go around.

Fiesta goes for 18 days straight and is now loosely based around the annual Battle of the Roses, which started as a dedication parade for those that fought at the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto back in 1890.  When we went downtown on Monday night, we visited the Market Square where there were streets lined with vendors and several stages providing various styles of music.  We also visited the famed San Antonio Riverwalk where there was a boat parade going on.  But, by Wednesday afternoon, we had noticed that downtown was becoming crazier with half the roads being closed, bleachers being set up all over the parade route, the cost of parking doubling and every corner being crazy busy…not exactly ideal when towing around a four year old with you.

One of the highest rated and most famous restaurants in San Antonio is Mi Tierra .  Located in the famed Market Square area of downtown San Antonio, this place is know for its great food and 24 hour bakery that never closes.  The food was decent, the atmosphere was great and my daughter is a huge fan of table side Mariachi bands.  Since I was in a Mexican restaurant, it was only fitting that I had to get a Mexican beer that I had never had before…

While we were watching the boat parade on the Riverwalk, I found a kiosk nearby that was serving finger food and serving local craft beer, so I got to drink something while we watched the boat parade…

Later on Monday evening, after the wife and daughter called No Mas!, it was time to meet up with my local trader at his local watering hole for a small bottle share…or so I thought, at Big Hops Growler Station.  We managed to keep the employees up past their bed times and we’re able to crush bottles until 1am (even though they closed at 10pm).

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Big Hops Growler Station now has three locations around the San Antonio area and is a local watering hole for my TX trading partner Chris.  He managed to swindle the employees to allow us to have a bottle share there that night, for my arrival….and here is what we crushed:

Jester King Brewing RU55 ~ American Wild Ale ~ 7.3% ABV
Dark Horse Brewing 3 Pairs of Legs Maple Porter ~ American Porter ~ 7.0% ABV
Prairie Artisan Beers Bible Belt ~ American Double / Imperial Stout ~ 13.0% ABV
Grassroots Brewing Arctic Soiree ~ Saison / Farmhouse Ale ~ 6.0% ABV
Pisgah Brewing Hellbender ~ American Barleywine ~ 10.2% ABV
Bruery Griffon Bruxellois ~ American Wild Ale ~ 6.1% ABV
Bruery The Wanderer ~ American Wild Ale ~ 8.0% ABV
Freetail Brewing Ananke (2012) ~ American Wild Ale ~ 5.8% ABV
Freetail Brewing Ananke (2013) ~ American Wild Ale ~ 5.8% ABV
Lost Abbey Angel’s Share Brandy Barrel Aged (2008) ~ American Barleywine ~ 12.5% ABV
Karbach Brewing Series F.U.N. Series 008: Fra-Gee-Lay ~ Herbed / Spiced Beer ~ 8.0% ABV
Freetail Brewing La Muerta (2010) ~ American Double / Imperial Stout ~ 10.2% ABV
Cascade Brewing Elderberry ~ American Wild Ale ~ 8.1% ABV
Crooked Stave Artisan Beers Batch #60 ~ American Wild Ale ~ ABV Unknown
Ithaca Brewing Luminous ~ American Wild Ale ~ 6.0% ABV
Darkside Fermentation Flanders Red ~ Flanders Red Ale ~ 7.0% ABV
Grassroots Brewing Arctic Saison ~ Saison / Farmhouse Ale ~ 6.0% ABV
(512) Brewing Whiskey Barrel Aged Double Pecan Porter ~ American Porter ~ 8.2% ABV
Harpoon Brewery 100 Barrel Series #49: Brown IPA ~ American IPA ~ 5.7% ABV
Brewdog Paradox Springbank ~ American Double / Imperial Stout ~ 10.0% ABV
Buffalo Bayou Brewing Smoke on the Bayou ~ Scottish Ale ~ 9.0% ABV
Crooked Stave Artisan Beers Nightmare on Brett (aged in Leopold Bros Whiskey Barrels) ~ American Wild Ale ~ 9.67% ABV

 

On Tuesday, we took a bus tour around downtown San Antonio, a RiverWalk boat tour, then lunch at a downtown brewpub called The Granary ‘Cue & Brew.

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The Granary

The Granary ‘Cue & Brew has been open for several years now and feature Farm to Table proteins from several farms in Texas.  They strive to feature fresh foods while using only the best local quality ingredients, nothing off the back of a distributors food truck.  From what I can gather, he Granary has been brewing their own beers now for a little over one year now, in keeping with the same standards of ingredients that they utilize with their food too, Farm to Tap.  The interesting thing about their location is that is located in the vicinity of the Pearl Brewing Complex, which has been defunct now for many years.  It was only until recently that a company came along, purchased the entire canning complex and repurposed the property for loft apartments and retail shops but still maintain the Pearl identity.  My wife got the Beef Brisket, my daughter has the chicken and I destroyed a Pastrami Rib crusted with a cracked pepper rub…all of the food was excellent and their BBQ sauce was decent with a nice mildly smoked flavor to it.  At the time we went, they had 4 in-house beers on tap, 2 in-house pops (yes, Pop not Soda) and several guest taps…but since I wanted local beers, I grabbed these selections:

After getting blasted by 95 degree heat all day, we decided to hit the hotel and relax for a little while…and thankfully the Embassy Suites by the airport had a bar inside, so I decided to grab a happy hour turd.

Since we were still very tired from the heat and long day, we decided to stay down for dinner that night and ended up at Freetail Brewing for some pizza and beers.

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Freetail Brewing Company

Freetail Brewing Company was started towards the end of 2008 and have since then grown very nicely with a goal of making quality beers, which they have done.  Some of their bottle selections have become some of the best beers made in TX in many different beer styles with options like La Muerta, Old Bat Rastard and Ananke.  Over the past 5 years, they have grown beyond their current locations capacity and are expanding to a new locations dubbed FT2, which will be their production brewery located in downtown San Antonio.  When we arrived, as if on queue, my daughter passed out in the car about 90 seconds before we arrived, so she was cranky and tired when we entered the place.  Unfortunately, I had enough time there to order a pizza, two quick pints and pay the bill…and all within 20 minutes.  The pizza was pretty good and the in-house beers were decent (tonight):

 

Wednesday morning rolled in and we were all still pretty tired from the previous day, plus my wife still had a touch of heat exhaustion.  We were kind of dragging our asses in the morning but had to power our way through the day because we had tickets for several things that we had to do.  After jumping back on the tour bus and looping almost all the way around downtown again, we stopped at the 750 foot Tower of the Americas.  The Tower of the Americas was the corner stone piece of the HemisFair Park, home of the 1968 World’s Fair, and it listed as the second highest free standing structure in the US, second only to the Stratosphere in Las Vegas.

We decided to head back down to the RiverWalk and hit one of the highest rated restaurants in San Antonio, Boudro’s.   Set along the riverwalk, we were able to grab a table right on the riverwalk where my daughter was amused by the birds swimming the riverwalk and waving at all the boats passing by.  While Boudro’s was supposed to be known for their great food, my wife and I left both disappointed in our meals…maybe they are well known for their dinner food.  Anyways, I couldn’t come down to Texas without slamming one of these ‘craft beers’:

After lunch, we headed over to the San Antonio Children’s Museum for a couple of hours to burn some energy off then down the street to San Antonio’s famed Buckhorn Saloon & Museum.  The Buckhorn Saloon & Museum is listed as the oldest running saloon in Texas, dating back to 1881.  It was originally established as a trading post originally for all of the cowboys to blow off steam but then turned into a saloon and house of ill repute.  The interior is loaded with a ton of taxidermy and the largest collection of antlers ever assembled.  For a tourist trap, they actually had a nice tap list of local Texas beers, so I grabbed this one:

After returning to the hotel and the family passing out early on me, I had a little under two hours to get for a couple…and since I was only 10 minutes from Freetail Brewing, I decided to head back there again.

While I was there, I was bullshitting with a couple of guys and it turned out that one guy was opening his brewery sometime by the end of this year.  San Antonio Brewing Company coming soon..plus the guy was really cool about wanting to hear an out of towners perspective on the craft beer scene.  Overall, a really good place to visit with some really good pizza but the house beers were rather disappointing.

 

Thursday morning came and we decided that instead of dragging the four year old all over downtown San Antonio with the craziness of Fiesta, we opted for a two hour drive down to Corpus Christie so that we could hit the beach for the day.  When we got to the shores of North Beach, to my surprise was this fucking beauty…the USS Lexington.

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USS Lexington – Corpus Christi TX

After being at the beach for roughly an hour, the sun broke through the overcast and it was time for a beer, but the only shit that the nearby bar would allow me to leave with was this nasty gem…

During this time, my wife had the realization that her father had served on the Lexington.  As much as I would have loved to tour an air craft carrier, we were nasty from swimming in the Gulf (see BP Oil Rig Spill for more details…), we didn’t think that our daughter would want to take the tour…plus we had to meet some friend out for dinner later that night.

After getting back to out hotel for much needed showers and some quick relaxation time, we headed over to meet up with my Texas trading partner, Chris and his new bride Amanda, at a real San Antonio gem, The Cove.  This place has to be the most diversified business plan in the history of the world…maybe a close second place behind General Electric.  The Cove is comprised of the following entities on the property…a Self Serve Car Wash, Coin Operated Laundry, Ice Cream Parlor, a walk up Food Counter, a music bar, playground, dog park and 50 tap Texas Craft Beer Bar.   Yeah, it was interesting but such a cool set up…after we ate dinner in the front bar (indoors), we headed outside to let the daughter play with the other kids at the playground while the adults drank from the Texas Beer Bar.

 

On Friday, it was my daughters reason for pestering me for the past month…Sea World.  Of course, I had to grab a beer for my theme park tick on Untappd.

Every night between the hours of 5pm-730pm, the hotel we were staying offered up a free happy hour…which included PBR and Killians. Gross indeed, but the hotel bar also had some bottles (that I didnt realize until our last night there) so I decided to grab another Texas turd from the bar…

With the kid and wife passed out and our last night in San Antonio, I decided that I had to sneak back to The Cove for a couple more beers..

Airplane beer, courtesy of Southwest Airlines…

 

I have to say that when we booked this trip, I told the wife to not book anything other than the day to Sea World because I wouldn’t to do things on the fly…after everything was said and done, we did a shit ton of things…and I got to drink a shit ton of good beer.  San Antonio was fun to say the least and a nice craft beer town on the rise.

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Texas Whalez Bro…

After spending an exhausting week in the craft beer tundra known as Newfoundland, it was nice to come home to some wonderful care packages from those that care.

Recently I have pulled the plus on trading because it was getting too expensive and people are a pain in the ass to deal with.  I have made some good friends during trades and have set up some nice pipelines to other parts of the country with people whom I can rely on and will take pretty much anything they can get.  The good thing about doing it this way, is that I know what they like, they know what I like and we just swap blind boxes back and forth.

The first box to arrive was from my long time trading partner Matt in Southern California.  I started trading with Matt almost three years ago right before the birth of his son (yes Matt, it has been that long) and since then we have traded blind boxes for the whole duration.
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From Left to Right…

  • Bruery 6 Geese A Laying
  • Bootleggers Knuckle Sandwich DIPA
  • Almanac Brewing Valley of the Hearts Delight
  • Almanac Brewing Sourdough Wild Ale
  • Almanac Brewing Brandy Barrel Peche
  • Upright Brewing Gose

Then there is my newest trading partner from the lone star state of Texas.  Chris was kind of a trading newbie when he wanted to join up in one of my BIFs but is a spirited dude when it comes to craft beer.  We just started swapping our boxes and apparently he was stripped of his manhood when I sent my last box because he obviously is showing me how big his craft beer junk is with the size of his box(es).

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From Left to Right…

  • Naughty Brewing I Think She Hung The Moon
  • Five Stones Brewing Sleep Hollow
  • Five Stones Brewing Aloha Pina
  • Five Stones Brewing Rhubarb Cherrylicious
  • Five Stones Brewing Camo
  • Freetail Brewing Old Bat Rastard
  • Freetail Brewing Yo Soy Un Breliner
  • Freetail Brewing Pech’eus x2
  • Freetail Brewing La Muerta
  • NoDa Brewing Tart Attack
  • Jester King Brewing RU55

Oh, if that one wasn’t enough, then there was this box to pile on as well…

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From Left to Right…

  • La Cumbre Brewing Elevated IPA x4
  • Karbach Brewing Mother in Lager x4
  • Jester King Brewing Ol’ Oi
  • La Cumbre Brewing Project Dank
  • Karbach Brewing Yule Shoot Your Eye Out
  • Prairie Artisan Ales Prairie Somewhere
  • Jester King Brewing Atrial Rubicite
  • Ranger Creek Brewing Small Batch Series No.6
  • Prairie Artisan Ales Bomb!
  • Prairie Artisan Ales Prairie Noir

Apparently, this is a classic case of ‘He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not!’  Thanks Boys…Newfie Whales coming back to you.

One of the guys in my tasting group has his house up for sale and had asked the group to come over and help him ’empty’ out his cellar, so that he wouldn’t have to move as much beer.  Well, one of the cool things about the tasting group is no one ever shows up empty handed (even when instructed to).  One thing leads to another, then showing up empty handed turned into ‘Let’s have a Loon (Cantillon) Tasting’.

Cantillon Brewery is a family owned operation going back to the very early 1900’s, who is well known for their lambic style beers.  I personally feel that they are the best lambic maker in the world and would be hard pressed to find anyone who can really argue against that point.  Unfortunately, Cantillon beers (or if you prefer the slang term Loons) do not get mass produced and sent to the states in huge shipments, so finding them is a bit of a task and almost never make an appearance here in WNY ever.

You know that the night is getting out of hand when this happens…

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Cuvee de Cantillon

Here was the bottle list for the sharing that evening…

  • Drie Fonteinen Oude Geuze
  • Cantillon Vigeronne 2012
  • Cantillon Vigeronne 2004
  • Goose Island King Henry
  • Drie Fonteinen Doesjel 2006
  • Jester King Atrial Rubicite
  • (homebrew from DontDrinkBeer) Pediobear (Persimmon Lambic)
  • Cantillon 50 Degrees N – 4 Degrees E
  • Ale Apothecary Sahati
  • Hardywood 2nd Anniversary Ale
  • Jester King El Cedro
  • Borg Brugghus Ulfur IPA No.3
  • Cantillon Blabaer 2012
  • Cantillon Lou Pepe Gueuze 2000
  • Cantillon Loe Pepe Gueuze 2009
  • Cantillon Lou Pepe Kriek 2008
  • Cantillon Lou Pepe Framboise 2010
  • Hair of the Dog Adam from the Wood
  • Three Floyds Cognac Barrel Aged Moloko
  • Cantillon Gueuze 100% Lambic Bio 2013
  • Cantillon Saint Lamvinus 2006
  • Cantillon Iris 2012
  • Cantillon Cuvee Saint-Gilloise 2012
  • Cantillon Grand Cru Bruocsella 2009
  • Bruery Black Tuesday
  • De Cam Cuvee de Kriek 2009
  • Alesmith Rye Barrel Aged Old Numskull
  • Bellwoods Bring Out Your Dead – Cognac Barrel Aged
  • Hill Farmstead Damon

 

I have noticed a dramatic decrease in the amount of beer reviews that I am doing per month ever since I started running and trying to lose weight….gonna have to change that.  Actually, just on a quick glance of 2013, in the months from January through May, I was averaging 56 beer reviews per month…since the end of May, I have only average 36 beer reviews per month.  I am such a slacker…

Anyways, as it is the dog days of summer, the Buffalo tasting group had out big mid-summer bottle share which we dubbed Chopkofest and featured the rare yearly appearance in the 716 of the one and only Fuj too.  While the event was a really great time and we slammed through a ton of great beers including a wide array from Hill Farmstead (that even drew the ire from Shawn Hill himself), I had to cut it short myself because of babysitting issues.  Anyways, here is the good stuff…

Top 5 Beer Reviews for July:

The 5 Beer Reviews that made me realize that not every beer is a good beer during the month of July:

  • Molson Canadian 67 Sublime ~ Light Lager ~ 2.75 /5 Rating
  • Zywiec Breweries Zywiec Beer ~ Euro Pale Lager ~ 2.71 /5 Rating
  • Molson Brador ~ American Malt Liquor ~ 2.70 /5 Rating
  • Pan American Brewing The Terminator ~ American Pale Ale ~ 2.51 /5 Rating
  • And the beer that brought me to my knees (to vomit) was Bud Light Platinum ~ Light Lager ~ 2.43 /5 Rating

As you can see from these results, my highs were high…but my lows were extremely low.  I guess you can’t always drink White Whales.

Last summer, the Buffalo Beer Advocate group members had a big blowout of a tasting for our participation in the Gang Bang BIF Round 2.  It was an all day affair with plenty of good food and amazing beers.  Well, we decided that after the third round of the Gang Bang BIF, instead of joining up for the fourth round, we would change it up and have another huge mega tasting this summer.   Our gracious host, Chopko, wanted to host this tasting as it was his first time hosting and he pulled out all of the stops.

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We had awesome BBQ provided by One Eyed Jacks in Lockport, plenty of entertainment with kan jam, cornhole, ladders (golf), and I guess some decent beers to boot….

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(snapshots provided by Fuj)