Posts Tagged ‘russian river’

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…



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



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…


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.


The second day in Denver started off much like the previous day, getting up way too early and having way too little sleep.  My bunkmate for the evening keeps off hours for his work schedule and no matter how drunk or hungover that morning, he was still up at 730am that morning.  Being the light sleeper that I am, as soon as he got up out of bed, my eyes were wide open (and so was the head pounding).  I decided that after laying awake for 20 minutes, it was time to hop out of bed, slam down mad amounts of water then go out for a nice morning jog??   53 degrees outside, sidewalks wide open, homeless people still sleeping…a perfect time to go out for a stroll around downtown Denver.  My goal was to run to Great Divide…

…down to Coors Field then back to the hotel.  The only problem with that plan was I wasn’t 100% sure where Great Divide was, so I over shot it by 4 blocks.  Plus, just two blocks from Great Divide is the Salvation Army and a soup kitchen, so there were plenty of street people about on the sidewalks.  Hungover and off the beaten path, I just decided to do an about face and headed back to the hotel.  2.4 miles in roughly 22 minutes wasn’t bad considering how bad my head was still a little fuzzy.

After a large breakfast, we decided to head over to the Colorado Convention Center so we could wait amongst the masses of beer crazed nerds.  As we anxiously awaited the doors to open, there was plenty of entertainment with the people watching.  As noon approached, the line erupts into a roar and what begins as a muddled mess of people pushing the line forward, quickly turns into a nice brisk pace getting through security, obtaining bracelets and our glass for the afternoon.


I do not know if I can accurately describe the feeling when you enter the main hall of the convention center but once you obtain your glass, whatever plan of attack you had prepared is now gone.  Basically, it was a mad scramble for the three of us in our party to decide what beer we wanted the most…and the winner was…. Bruery Sour in the Rye with Peaches.   But fear not, it was not the only beer of the afternoon, there were definitely plenty more in store…(in order of rating, 4 stars)


Four Star Beers…

  1. Bruery Sour in the Rye with Peaches
  2. DESTIHL Saint Dekkera Reserve Sour
  3. Russian River Framboise for a Cure
  4. Deschutes Jubelale 2012
  5. Avery Ross’s’s’ Melange
  6. New Glarus Strawberry Rhubarb
  7. Live Oak Brewing Hefeweizen
  8. Buffalo Bayou Gingerbread Stout
  9. Freetail Ananke
  10. Bear Republic Tartare
  11. DESTIHL Saint Dekkera Reserve Flanders
  12. DESTIHL Saint Dekkera Reserve Sour Raspberry/Strawberry Ale
  13. Nebraska Barrel Aged Hop God
  14. The Lost Abbey Duck Duck Gooze
  15. Olde Hickory Event Horizon
  16. Fat Heads IBUsive
  17. Spring House Kerplunk! Chocolate Imperial Stout
  18. Peekskill Awesome Sauce
  19. Funky Buddha Maple Bacon Coffee Porter
  20. Funky Buddha Passion Fruit Berliner
  21. Deschutes Bellmore Sour Quad


Three Star Beers…

  1. Buffalo Bayou Figaro Figaro Figaro Fiiigaro
  2. DESTIHL Saint Dekkera Reserve Belgian Style Lambic
  3. 7venth Sun Mangrove Double IPA
  4. Blackberry Farm Classic Saison
  5. New Belgium Coconut Curry Hefeweizen
  6. Crossroads Outrage IPA
  7. Great Basin Bitchin’ Berry
  8. Sweetwater Dank Tank Price is Wrong
  9. Round Guys Saison du Pomme
  10. Sweetwater LowRYEder
  11. Swamp Head Saison du Swamp Brettanomyces
  12. Smuttynose Straw-Barb Short Weiss
  13. Forest & Main Solaire Reserve
  14. Crossroads Maggie’s Farmhouse Ale
  15. Bell’s Sparkleberry Ale
  16. Fat Heads Alpenglow
  17. Scratch Carrot Ginger Saison
  18. Freetail Salado Kriek
  19. New Holland Blue Sunday
  20. Austin Beerworks Heavy Machinery Belgian IPA
  21. Funky Buddha No Crusts
  22. New Glarus Serendipity
  23. Trinity Brewing 7 Day Sour
  24. Surly Furious
  25. Kuhnhenn DRIPA Double Rice IPA
  26. Avery Thensaurium
  27. Listermann/Triple Digit Brewing Nutcase Peanut Butter Porter
  28. Dad & Dudes Prickly in Pink
  29. Squatters and Wasatch Squatters Hop Rising
  30. Dad & Dudes Rum, Forrest! Rum!
  31. Goose Island Kisetsu
  32. Goose Island Sofie
  33. Goose Island Sofie Paradisi
  34. Squatters and Wasatch Squatters Hell’s Keep


Two Star Beers…

  1. Dad & Dudes Watermelon Basil Wheat
  2. CAUTION: Brewing Hippity Hops Chrysanthemum
  3. Flossmoor Berliner Weisse
  4. Blue Mountain Spooky
  5. Gravity Brewing Orange Blossom Saison
  6. 7venth Sun Brewing Graffiti Orange
  7. Cigar City Cucumber Saison

Now some might wonder why I have had so many great beers at my fingertips but landed on some beers that no one has ever heard.   From time to time, you find yourself wondering through a section, just checking out breweries and you see one that sounds interesting…so you stop and sample it on the way to the next stop.  Also, you may also notice several breweries where there are multiple samples from…well, that is because after waiting in line (for more than several minutes), it is easy to step up, grab a quick sample, slam it, step down about two feet then ask someone else for a sample from the same brewery.  I am not necessarily camping in front of the brewery, thus blocking other thirsty beer nerds, just sampling on the move.

One thing (that is actually a good thing) is that the people pouring the beer are very religious of only pouring the beer samples to the one ounce pour line on the glass.  When you are drinking 50+ samples of mostly high ABV beers, you will come to appreciate them doing their job properly.  The problem is that towards the end of the brewers reserve session, they are trying to empty remaining kegs and leftover pitchers towards the end…so that one ounce pour may turn into a full 4-5oz fill.

Another cool thing about the beer festival, is that there are plenty of guys from the industry to talk to.  Most brewers, especially the smaller ones love to talk about their beers.  Sometimes, you even get to see old friends reunite (and sporting their hardware)…


(I tried to get them to say FUCK ITHACA instead of the traditional CHEESE but Chief laughed hard, doubling over with Hutch turning away red face… so I had to retake another picture).  (also, the picture is not blurry, this is just what your vision looks likes after 4 hours of solid drinking).

To be concluded…

It has been a rough week to say the least between my cell phone crapping out for 4 days, my brand new dishwasher crapping out and someone hacked into my paypal account and drained it (plus my bank account).  If there was ever a time in need of a good beer, it has been this week for sure.  Unfortunately, I am on beer lock down this week because of the Buffalo Zombie Mud Run this week.

Although I have listed that I am on trading hiatus, it seems ironic that I still have trades going on.  Here are some of the completion of some of those trades:

From BA Itsthepleats…


From BA SDStoneEnthusiast…


For anyone who is curious about trading or looking into it for the future, here is a bit of free advice…try to avoid sending Pale Ales and IPAs as extras unless someone really wants them.  Pale Ales and IPAs do have a shelf life before the hop character starts to fade away, especially after three months.  (see Rule #9 on My Trading Etiquette on my Beer Advocate profile)  I do not want to sound ungrateful but… (here comes the ungrateful part) but I really don’t have a need for an IPA that was canned on 6-4-13.

Three days until the Buffalo Zombie Mud Run 🙂

Another month has come and gone (along with summer as the temperatures have dipped drastically) and a busy one it was between my family road trip to Sesame Place (which also resulted in a stop to Tired Hands Brewing) and my eventual last hoorahs in the Albany, NYC and Scranton PA areas…but what fun times they were.  I got to stop in at Torst in Brooklyn, a nice gem of a bar in White Plains NY called Lazy Boy Cafe and multiple stops to Barcade in Jersey City NJ (which my wife loved).  All of these trips resulted in some serious beer drinking for the month….and more beer drinking leads to more beer reviews.  Here were the gems and bombs from August for me…

Top 5 Beer Reviews for August:

The 5 Beer Reviews that made me wished I just stuck to only good beers:

  • Maui Brewing Lemongrass Saison ~ Saison / Famrhouse Ale ~ 3.25 /5 Rating
  • Rivertowne Pourhouse Hala Kalhiki Pineapple Beer ~ Fruit / Vegetable Beer ~ 3.08 /5 Rating
  • Tired Hands Brewing Mr. Alien ~ Berliner Weissbier ~ 3.06 /5 Rating
  • Caledonian Brewery Newcastle Brown Ale ~ English Brown Ale ~ 2.83 /5 Rating
  • And the beer that made me realize that the world may end was Miller 64 ~ Light Lager ~ 2.04 /5 Rating

While not every beer can be a white whale, I definitely will admit that I was able to kill some really great beers this month.   September is going to be kind of a light month because I am heading to the End of Days with the Buffalo Zombie Mud Run coming.  Got to be true to the undead that I will do my best to out run them.

On a side note, the weekend that my wife and I were in Northern NJ for her friend’s wedding, we made three different trips to Barcade in Jersey City NJ.  It is such a cool place because they serve great craft beers along with the stigma of having classic video games to play too.  During that weekend, my wife and I were playing an original version of Tapper like crazy, to the point that she thought it would be a great idea for us to purchase the game for my future man cave.  Only problem is that the original version (the budweiser version, not the root beer version) only had about 3300 games made and there aren’t that many around.  It is said that if one does come up for sale, it will fetch anywhere between $800-1500 depending on the condition of the game…let the search begin.

In Search Of:  Tapper (budweiser version)…Inquire Within.

Back in December, I got hit up by a BeerAdvocate user about being in town for the holidays and wanting to meet other local BAs.   Well since then, we keep in touch from time to time and when he comes into town, he usually brings some nice bottles for a bottle share.  The last time he was here in April, we had a really killer bottle share and this time was no different.

We were able to gather up some of the local crew and I gladly opened up the cellar for everyone to pluck their way through.  Its amazing when you get a great bunch of guys together, who are willing to share their great beers…this time was just another one of those examples.  Here was the great beers we cracked open:

Pipeworks Orange Truffle Abduction ~ American Double/Imperial Stout ~ 10.5% ABV
Mustang Brewing Brandys Imperial Sundae ~ American Porter ~ 9.1% ABV
Bruery Oude Tart with Cherries ~ American Wild Ale ~ 7.5% ABV
Bruery Bottleworks XII ~ American Wild Ale ~ 8.0% ABV
SARA Adjunct Professor ~ American Wild Ale ~ 9.8% ABV
Upland Brewing Blackberry Lambic ~ Lambic – Fruit ~ ABV Unknown
Southern Tier Cherry Saison (the obvious best beer of the night) ~ Saison/Farmhouse Ale ~ 10.1% ABV
Firestone Walker PNC Imperial Buckwheat Stout ~ American Double/Imperial Stout ~ 13.7% ABV
Bruery White Chocolate ~ Wheatwine ~ 14.25% ABV
Bruery Sour in the Rye with Kumquats ~ American Wild Ale ~ 7.6% ABV
Oud Beersel BZart Oude Gueze 2007 ~ Gueuze ~ 8.0% ABV
Brasserie Cantillon 50N-4E ~ Gueuze ~ 7.0% ABV
Allagash Brewing Coolship Red ~ Lambic – Fruit ~ 5.7% ABV
Hardywood Gingerbread Stout ~ Milk/Sweet Sout ~ 9.2% ABV
Hardywood Bourbon Gingerbread Stout ~ Milk/Sweet Stout ~ 10.6% ABV
B. Nektar Black Fang ~ Mead
Brouwerij Boon Oude Gueuze Mariage Parfait 2003 ~ Gueuze ~ 8.0% ABV
Russian River Toronado 25th Annivesary Ale ~ American Wild Ale ~ 8.75% ABV
Upright Brewing Soul Composition Seven (with Brett) Bottle 41 of 114 ~ Saison/Farmhouse Ale ~ 8.8% ABV
Cigar City/Widmer Brothers Gentlemens Club (New Oak) ~ Old Ale ~ 9.5% ABV
Cigar City/Widmer Brothers Gentlemens Club (Rye) ~ Old Ale ~ 10.5% ABV
Alesmith Speedway Vietnamese Coffee Stout ~ American Double/Imperial Stout ~ ABV Unknown
Crooked Stave Surette Reserva ~ American Wild Ale ~ 6.2% ABV
Hoppin Fog BA BORIS ~ Russian Imperial Stout ~ 9.4% ABV
Kuhnhenn Pineapple Pear Pint Grigio Pyment Mead
Kuhnhenn Mexicarmel Mead
Crooked Stave Petite Sour Hibiscus & Cinnamon ~ American Wild Ale ~ 6.0% ABV
Fantome Extra Sour Special Original Creation Black Dark Extra 2013 ~  Saison/Farmhouse ~ 10.0% ABV

Another great thing about having the tasting is that we had two of the members from Big Ditch Brewing in attendance again.  We have had Matt and Corey at several of our tastings so far and it has been wonderful to hear their stories of starting up a brewery.  Plus, it is not bad to have them use us as guinea pigs for some of their liquid creations.  This time they had tried out a Peach Ale and a new IPA.  As much as I would like to comment about the beers, it would be wrong to comment on something that is simply for trial at this point and would be unfair to pass judgment…with that being said, I liked the Peach Ale and the IPA was standard.  Enough Said.    Not to mention that we had given them some great input of ingredients to try, even though some of them might be a little hard to come by.  🙂

So earlier this year, I joined a Fantasy Hockey Beer It Forward on    With most fantasy leagues, it is usually a head to head league but we had 11 participants in this league so that was not going to work.   Instead we decided to go with a Rotisserie league, which consists of many categories where everyone stacks up their stats against everyone, then is assigned points for where they place in each of those categories.  In this particular instance, we had 14 categories split between offense (Goals, Assists, Points, Power Play Points, Shots, Hits, Penalty Minutes, Plus/Minus) and goaltending (Wins, Goals Against, Goals Against Average, Saves, Save Percentage, Shutouts).   The point values went from 11 to 1, depending on where your stats compared to everyone else, you were assigned a value for your place for each category, most points at the end of the season Wins.

Now the boxes that you offered were voted upon by the entire league and ranked best to worst…the best box was given the first pick in the draft, the worst box was given the last pick in the draft.  Of course, everyone else offered a bunch of barrel aged beers while I offered a bunch of sours.   The must have full of a barrel aged stout chasing queers because I ended up smack dab in the middle of the pecking order.  Well, my draft was decent and I was happy with my draft after it was concluded.

The prize payouts for the league was that the overall winner got to pick the First, Second, Third, Seventh and Eighth pick of the boxes.  The person that ended up in second place got the Fourth and Fifth picks of boxes and Third Place got the Sixth pick of the boxes.  Those that finished in the top three did not have to offer up their boxes.

Thankfully I started off very hot and was the league leader right from the start…along with some necessary roster moves and some risks, I was able to maintain the league lead for a vast majority of the season.  But in typical fashion, it came down to the very last game of the season…even though I was winning most of the season, it still came down to the very last minute of the very last game.  Ottawa scored an empty net goal versus Boston, giving another guy an added assist, thus tying me for the top spot overall.  Instead of winning five boxes, I got to split the first and second place prizes totaling seven boxes with another person.

Since the league ended up in a tie, myself and BA OddNotion (Jesse) decided that we would settle it with a flip of the coin…which in typical ME fashion, I lost.   I ended up with 3.5 boxes of goodness coming to me anyhow.

Here was my haul from the league…

From BA Retail1Lo…


1 Liter Growlers from Tired Hands Brewing

Tired Hands Brewing is a newer brewery located outside of the Philadelphia area and opened for just short of one year now.  The rumor floating around is that they have been killing it with their beers, so I definitely look forward to cracking these bad boys open this weekend at my tasting.

From BA Crawbee87…


From BA VonZipper…


From BA Shrek806…


Overall, not a bad haul for three and half months of crazy scoreboard watching.

Okay, so it is exactly all California loving in this box but it is pretty damn close and I will forgive those ‘other’ bottles.  For the record, I am a Bruery Reserve Society member and as part of my allocations that come out from time to time, it also the opportunity to purchase other releases of their beer or additional bottles of their RS member allocations.  My good friend Clarky has been a great trading partner of mine for what seems like forever now and is always kind enough to pick up my bottles from the Bruery and send them to me…along with some of these other California Shelf Turds.


From Left to Right (not including the doubles on the far right):

  • Bruery Mrs. Stoutfire
  • Bruery Saison Tonnellerie
  • Bruery Chocolate Rain (batch 3)
  • New Belgium La Folie
  • Russian River Pliny the Elder
  • Drie Fonteinen (3F)
  • Cantillon Saint Lamvinus
  • Bruery Imperial Lokael Red
  • Prairie Artisan Prairie Gold


  • Lost Abbey Angel’s Share Bourbon Barrel
  • Lost Abbey Cuvee de Tomee
  • Lost Abbey Red Poppy

..the bottle of Cantillon Saint Lamnivus has been a Top Want for a long time now so I am super stoked to bury it in the basement and never drink it, just like I do with a lot of my beers.  LOL.

I have been trying to be more conscious about my cellar recently and it seems like it is getting to the tipping point now.  Although I have cut back on my bottle purchases, mainly because of the cost of the Bruery bottles and I want to start saving money, it seems that it keeps growing and growing.  Couple that with the two boxes I am getting from my Beer Advocate Sours for Dummies BIF (beer it forward) and the many boxes that I will soon be receiving from splitting the top prize from the Beer Advocate Frozen Whales Fantasy Hockey BIF (fuck you Erik Karlson and your empty netter assist in the last minute of the last game of the regular season) and my cellar is going to be on overflow.

Tasting anyone???   Well, Memorial Day is around the corner and the tasting that comes with it.