Thursday, November 29, 2012

It's Been Awhile...

Geez, when I started this blog I had so many great ideas and directions I wanted to go. Like many aspects of life, things do not always go as planned! A lot has happened in the past few months beginning with the purchase of our first home and most recently the birth of our daughter, Emma Hope. I'll be sure to post a pic. For a little while I wasn't sure I would ever post again on this blog, actually I was sure I wouldn't. Then I came to my senses and remembered how much I love craft beer and all that comes with it. So all is well with me and hope everyone out there that may read this is also doing well. Moving on....
It feels like so much has happened in the past 6 months or so in the Connecticut scene. I remember last year still being bummed about Avery and Great Divide leaving. For a while it felt like we were the forgotten state, like we had been wiped clean off any and all brewers that were looking to enter new markets radar. Don't get me wrong, we still had NEBCO as well as some other solids such as Stone. But it just felt like the states surrounding us and other states out there had so much more selection and so many other amazing things going on. Thankfully, the tide has begun to turn. Back in the spring CBG, a distributor, began to stock our shelves with goodies such as Green Flash, Sixpoint and Clown Shoes. I used to have to go to New York or Mass. for these brewers so having them here was a huge deal. CBG has also recently brought in Full Sail who I like to refer to as "Old School" craft brew, a good addition nonetheless. Rumor also has it that CBG will also be bringing in Maine Beer Co. in January as well. Anyone who has had any of their beers knows how truly great news that is. And one more credit to CBG, Breckenridge and Erie are awaiting final approval to enter the state.
I am one of those people who love to hate on BMC(Bud, Miller, Coors). I am thinking the beer gods have a sense of humor. As many know, Goose Island of Chicago was bought up by AB-Inbev. Normally, when AB-Inbev buys another company the results are, lets say, not good. Well in this case, AB-Inbev has done us beer geeks a huge favor. Bourbon County Brand Stout. End of paragraph.
Let me move on to Founders, who in my area, is distributed by HDI. Thank you HDI. I love you. Thank you Founders too.  Lets just say I can replace my rug that my knees burned holes in now. Have you had their Harvest Ale? Or Bolt Cutter? Or FBS? Or KBS? Or Centennial? Or Reds Rye? Or their Porter?
So, things are looking up. And I am just talking about store distribution here. There are so many great things happening with new breweries starting up, more and more events and beer dinners etc. happening at legit craft beer establishments(Mikro, Prime, Coalhouse, Eli Cannons, etc.) It's great to see craft beer growing and growing and more and more people getting involved with it in one way or another here in Connecticut. It has inspired me to continue with this blog. Yay!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Good Bye Tasting

A little while back I was invited to attend a good bye tasting event for a fellow beer blogger, Hipster Brewfus, by Mark of Relic Brewing. My buddy, The Enlightened Pint(Damon), had thought of having a little going away deal for Hipster and Mark totally stepped up and made it happen, securing the shop next to the brewery as the gathering place. Already some very noble stuff going on, right? Yes! So, it was decided that Tuesday, August 14 at 6:30 p.m. would be the date and time which brings me to last night. Well, rewind a second. First I had to get the okay from my wife. Thank you babe! Always have to make sure it is okay with her ya' know!



Going into Tuesday night I had only met or knew 3 of the guys who would be there. Damon, Mark and I had met Steve a day earlier at Willowbrook. As for the rest of the guys, I believe the majority of them I had seen somewhere on twitter or other beer pages. I knew it would be a bunch of guys like me who are hardcore about their beer so I was completely pumped for a great night! When I got there I saw these guys,



drinking these beers,



and I was like,



haha. I mean, I knew there was going to be some good brews there but I was thoroughly impressed with the top notch brews that were there. Here's the rundown on what beers were brought:
2006 Brooklyn Monster, The Bruery Fruet, CCB Guava Grove, Mystic Descendant, Surly Coffee Bender, SA Infinium, Alchemist Heady Topper, Firestone Wookey Jack, Nogne Imperial Stout, Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree, Terrapin Wake-n-Bake, Boulevard Stingo, Maine Lunch, RR/SN Brux, Back East Imperial Stout, Jack's Abby Hoponius Union, DFH Miles Davis, New Glarus Wisconsin Belgian Red, Brooklyn Black Ops, PT Our Finest Regards, Nebraska Black Betty BA, Panil Barriquee 2006, Boulevard Saison Brett, Harviestoun Ola Dub 30 year, Scaldis Prestige, DFH 120, 21st Amendment Monk's Blood, Boulevard Sixth Glass, Allagash Curieux, GD Espresso Oak Yeti, Maine Thank You Allan and last but not least, and one I was really impressed with, Relic's Queen Anne Porter which I ticked right before I walked out because I didn't even know it was there and for the 2 ounces I had I was very impressed and look forward to having a full pour soon. That's a lot of amazing beer.
   While it is a bummer that Hipster Brewfus will be moving out of state, especially after I just met the guy and got to see what a cool dude he is, it was a special night for me to meet so many guys, and one woman, that are as passionate about craft beer as I am right here in Connecticut. While our distribution here in CT for out of state brewers is not up to par with NY and MA, our local scene seems to be growing steadily and that is a great great thing to see. I know of a few different breweries that either have opened or are opening soon and that is super encouraging to see. And with meeting some awesome guys like I met last night, that I didn't even know,  I believe the sky is the limit for the landscape of the CT craft beer scene. So, while I may seem to be rambling in this post(I had to be up for work at 3:30 a.m. for work this morning, the morning after drinking insane beers) my point is that last night was awesome. While I never lost the fire, an even bigger fire was lit inside me last night to continue to follow my passion for craft beer. I usually enjoy most of my bottles by myself due to a crazy schedule and being with guys like myself last night made me feel a bond I haven't felt for a while. I am going to make it a point from now on and I'd suggest any readers that can identify with me right now, make it a point to get together occasionally or find a group that gets together and enjoy some great craft brews and enjoy the awesome conversation and camaraderie that comes with connecting to other beer lovers. Hipster Brewfus, I wish you all the best on your journey and hope to hear great things from you in the future!

Cheers!
Pope
  


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Coriolis on the horizon!

So, it's getting closer to August now and closer to the end of the summer as well. Bummer, right? Wrong! As some may know, New England Brewing Company did a one-off single hop(citra) IPA called "Fuzzy Baby Ducks" not too long ago and it was incredible. It was absolutely one of the best IPA's I've ever had and I drink plenty of them. With the quality of the brew and the very small amount that was brewed, it did not last very long. I don't have official statistics of how long it lasted each day it was tapped for growlers at the brewery, but, I can not imagine it lasted more than a few hours or so. The hop it was brewed with, Citra, is not the most readily available hop in the world so all the freaks like me chanting of "WE WANT MORE, WE WANT MORE, CAN IT PLEASE, CAN IT PLEASE!!!" will undoubtedly have to wait until next year which NEBCO has said they plan to brew it again. See you next year Fuzzy Baby Ducks. Around the time FBD came out, posted on the lower right hand corner of the blackboard behind the bar at NEBCO read: UP Next: Coriolis. Upon asking one of their awesome employees I was informed that Coriolis, named after http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coriolis_effect would be a one-off Double IPA using the also rare breed of hop called http://brewwiki.com/index.php/Nelson_Sauvin Words could not express how much I look forward to this 2nd one-off IPA coming from NEBCO this summer. So, while I realize that summer is almost over and time keeps flying by, I find deep comfort in knowing such an awesome beer shall cross my lips. Cheers to you NEBCO for making amazing beer!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Down goes the CT Beer Pope!

Last Friday was like any other Friday. I worked my full time job at the Rare Reminder and then shot over to Willowbrook Spirit Shoppe in Cromwell afterwards where I work part-time as a beer guy. We had a little CBG tasting for a couple hours where customers could sample some Clown Shoes and Green Flash brews. Everything was going really good. I realized we needed more boxes for customers to carry out larger purchases and set out to the basement to bring up some boxes. On my way downstairs I noticed some wine boxes that were in the path of the basement door but in my haste decided to leave them there until later. Boy was that a mistake! I grabbed more boxes than I would normally grab because we were so busy and I knew I probably wouldn't be able to shoot back down there anytime soon. On my way back up my sight was hindered by the unusual amount of boxes I was carrying and turning the corner from the basement door I had completely forgotten about the wine boxes on the floor. That is until my foot hit the first box and instantly in my head I knew what was happening. Upon realizing I was losing my balance and tripping over the wine boxes I tried to use my other foot to gain balance only to find out there was another box right behind the first one and bam that was it. To the ground I went. Thankfully I was able to land in a safe position. I came pretty close to hitting one of the shelves which looking back is kind of scary. After the crash and the crazy loud sound I made I stood up immediately to play it off and gather my dropped boxes. I knew I was on tape because we are a liquor store and have to have surveillance at all times. I wondered if any of my co-workers had seen the fall which surprisingly no one had. Then came my moment of truth. We love to play jokes and joke around at Willowbrook. It's,of course,always easier when you are not the subject of the jokes. After thinking about it for a moment I decided it was way too classic of a moment to not allow my co-workers to enjoy such a funny moment at my expense. So I did it. I showed them. And they laughed. Hard. Even cried. Then we taped it onto our phones. And finally, today, I decided to officially share it with the world. Hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Jack's Abby Hoponius Union

I've been hearing a lot of great things about Jack's Abby over the past year. Most of the things I have heard were forum posts I've read on BA and reviews as well. Since first hearing that they exclusively brew Lagers I have been intrigued and desperate to get my hands on their beer. Being somewhat of a "hophead" the brew I have been seeking out the most is "Hoponius Union".
From the label: Hoponius Union harmoniously combines lager yeast fermentation and west coast IPA hops. Our India style Pale Lager is like a traditional IPA but with a twist-it's fermented cold and aged for extended periods. A blend of classic American hops creates a huge tropical fruit and citrusy hop aroma. A dry finish accentuates the pleasant bitterness and hop profile. Hoponius Union uses locally grown Dehulled Spelt from MA.

OG 15.5 Plato/IBU's 65 Abv 6.7%

While some may think an India Pale Lager may sound gimmicky, to me, this beer is proof positive of the excellent creativity of American brewers right now.

Poured into ST pint glass. Light copper in color with massive dense ivory head. Good amount of spotty sticky lacing.
The aroma is very inviting! This smells like a world class IPA. It definitely has the west coast tropical and citrus hop profile. I'm getting mango, pineapple, tangerine and some peach. There is the slightest hint of lager yeast underneath the pungent hop aroma.
First sip reveals the hops in the nose. Vibrant, sweet and sticky. Very mild bitterness rests on middle of palate. As I continue drinking I am picking up more of the lager yeast which works really well with the hop flavors. Slightly toasted malt flavor underneath. This definitely finishes dry as advertised.
The mouthfeel, to me, would be a little rich for a lager and a little on the lighter side for an IPA. The carbonation is a little subdued. Wow, overall this is a perfect summer beer. Or anytime for that matter. It combines the best aspects of a really great lager and a really great IPA into one which makes for a super refreshing brew! It's incredibly drinkable but has tons of great hop flavor that I don't think I could ever get tired of. If it weren't for the 6.7% abv I would say this is the ultimate session brew.
I guess I could have skipped this whole review and said "Get this beer. Somehow, someway, get this beer. You will not be disappointed".


Saturday, July 21, 2012

NEBCO Sea Hag IPA

Call me a homer but I wanted Sea Hag to be my first review on my blog. New England Brewing is about a half hour ride from my home and is truly an awesome place to visit and grab some fresh beer. The guys who work there are all super friendly and love to talk and drink beer. Who knew? Anyways, whenever I see fresh cans from them in the store I make sure to grab some and seeing as Sea Hag is the most available of their beers it's usually a sixer of Sea Hag that comes home with me. This is one of those beers that isn't highly rated on BA and RB and that's cool but I totally disagree with the overall ratings and think Sea Hag is a very good IPA. I do have access to it fresh on a regular basis so I don't know if this factors into the overall ratings on BA and RB as well as a rumored recipe tweak. If you haven't had Sea Hag in the past year, grab a fresh growler or sixer. I'd like to hear what others think.
Cheers-NEBCO Tulip
Sea Hag pours out of can a slightly hazy gold and orange color. It sports a huge 2 finger sea foamy head with thick dense lacing. There is a very pleasant aroma of stone fruits(peach, apricot) along with pineapple and mango that appear in the nose. This beer fresh has an aroma as good as some of the most heralded single IPA's on the market. Underneath the hop aromas there is a light sweet malt backbone. The taste is spot on with the aroma. Stone fruit forward with pineapple and mango mingling towards the back of the palate which rides out into a moderate hop bitterness. Sea Hag is a medium bodied brew and has a lower than average carbonation that makes it taste like hop juice.
What else can I say? I love this beer! I feel extremely fortunate to live so close to NEBCO and so lucky to be able to get their beer very fresh. I'm loving these New England (both NEBCO and the NE region) IPA's nowadays. They really know how to get the most flavor out of the hops they are brewing with and aren't just bittering the hell out of their beers but rather displaying their mastery of the craft. Cheers!!!
Stay tuned...