Monthly Archives: October 2012

My Beer’s Too Warm, Woman Too Cold

Tom Waits drinking beer

“warm beer and cold women, I just don’t fit in

every joint I stumbled into tonight

that’s just how it’s been”

– Tom Waits, Warm Beer and Cold Women, Nighthawks at the Diner

One beer quote in particular is always attributed to Tom Waits:

“I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.”

I like the first one better for two reasons: 1) Mr. Waits did not come up with the second quote, Dorothy Parket did (I think): and 2) I can relate more to the first quote. But maybe that’s just because my refrigerator is about to shit the bed and my girl is always pissed off at me lately.

UBN

Image via BrokenPianoForPresident.com

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Barfly’s View: Brewer’s Coalition in Newtonville, MA

Brewer's Coalition Newtonville Barfly's View

Brewer’s Coalition in Newtonville, Mass., is located right outside of Boston and less than a mile from the Massachusetts Turnpike. Newtonville is a yuppyish suburb west of Boston, and that’s quickly apparent after rubbing elbows with the Brewer’s Coalition clientele. That’s not to say, I don’t like the bar, which is an offshoot of the popular John Brewer’s Tavern restaurants in Nearby Waltham and Malden, Mass. It’s just not exactly a hip scene.

The beer selection is decent for a location like Newtonville, but it’s definitely nothing special when compared to other beer bars in the Boston area. The two things Brewer’s Coalition really has going for it are its friendly (and easy-on-the-eyes) bartenders and its selection of local Massachusetts and New England beers. The bar claims to have 50 craft beers available; I saw 20 taps and maybe twice that number of bottles, many of which were local. The bar also serves bar food, but I never hang around long enough to try any of it.

Brewer’s Coalition isn’t really worth driving out of your way for, but if you happen to be heading west out of Boston and you need a road soda, or if you’re just passing through the Newtonville area, you could find a friend in this pseudo beer bar.

UBN

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Frozen Beer to Help Soothe Sweaty, Pissed Off Parents at Epcot Theme Park

Frozen Kirin draft beer

Lake Buena Vista Florida’s Epcot theme park is about to become the first location in the continental United States to serve frozen Kirin draft beer, which is apparently quite popular in the Land of the Rising Sun, according to wesh.com. Three different locations within Epcot’s Japanese pavilion will reportedly sell the frozen, boozy novelty.

Frozen Kirin doesn’t really sound like anything particularly special to me, but I bet it sounds pretty fucking good after spending a day in the hot Florida sun with a bunch of overstimulated kids who want buy every single goddamn tourist trinket they see.

The Kirin beer apparently isn’t frozen solid—how would you drink it? But it seems to have some sort of frozen, ice-cream-like topping that’s made of beer and keeps the non-frozen part cold. The beers will reportedly cost $8 each, which isn’t really too overpriced considering the fact that even lemonade and water in Florida theme parks cost an arm and a leg.

And frozen Asian lager beer sounds better to me than Red Robin’s gimmicky Sam Adams Octoberfest milkshakes.

UBN

Via wesh.com

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10 Damn-Near-Perfect IPAs All Hopeless Hop Heads Should Try at Least Once

Cascade Hops IPA

I love India Pale Ales. All kinds of ’em. And I’m proud of my obsession with hops and hoppy beers. In fact, I make it a point to try just about every IPA I can get my hands on. The result of this hop quest, besides a thinner wallet and my fair share of hangovers: I know my IPAs.

I appreciate all kinds of hops, and I’ve tried to learn their specific tastes and what sets them apart from other families of Lupus Salictarius—that’s right, fool, I just dropped a Lupus Salictarius on your ass.

While perusing Reddit.com/r/beer the other day, I saw a conversation about the best IPAs. Most of the beers mentioned were solid. (Those fucking Reddit beer nerds know their shit.) But the thread got me thinking about my own personal favorite IPAs. I don’t usually like to think of individual beers as the “best,” because I don’t really think it’s that simple; there’s no “best IPA.”

But here is a list of some of my current favorites. I mostly think of all IPAs as part of the same big (hoppy) family, single, double, whatever; some just have higher ABVs. So you’ll find a wide variety of IPA types in my list. Which IPAs are your favorite and why?

UBN

  1. The Alchemist Heady Topper IPA
  2. Russian River Pliny the Elder IPA (Read more about Pliny)
  3. Ballast Point Sculpin IPA
  4. Alpine and New Belgium Super IPA
  5. Maine Beer Co. Lunch IPA (Check out my Maine Lunch IPA review.)
  6. Dogfish Head 75 Minute IPA
  7. Pretty Things Meadowlark IPA
  8. Bear Republic Racer X IPA
  9. Drake’s Aroma Coma IPA
  10. Ithaca Flower Power IPA

UBN

Image via TheGranarySA.com

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Ballast Point Indra Kunindra India-Style Export Stout Review

Ballast Point Indra Kunindra India-Style Export Stout

A couple of weeks ago, while visiting San Diego I hit a few bars that had Ballast Point Brewing Co.‘s new Indra Kunindra India-style export stout on tap. (If you’re curious those bars were Downtown Johnny Brown’s and Neighborhood.)

I’m a big fan of San Diego’s Ballast Point—the brewery’s Sculpin IPA is fantastic—but after reading a description of Indra Kunindra, I decided to go with something else. The selection of great beer at these bars is impressive, and the fact that Indra Kunindra is made with both curry spice and cumin, neither of which I really like, was a major turnoff. It kind of just sounded too…weird.

But when I returned to Boston, I found a 22-ounce bottle, and I decided to give it a go.

I poured my Indra Kunindra into a frosted pint glass, and it immediately formed a frothy tan-brown head made of very fine bubbles. The head quickly dissipated, leaving a thin layer of carbonation atop the dark brown brew—it’s not quite black, but very deep brown. And the India-style export stout is thick, but maybe not quite as thick as the average stout.

Ballast Point’s Indra Kunindra has a very mild aroma of spice, earth, coconut and sweet lime citrus. The stout is made with Madras curry spice, coconut, kaffir lime leaf, cayenne and cumin. But no one flavor is overpowering, and they all combine quite nicely. You can taste and smell the lime and coconut more than anything else.  The cayenne pepper leaves you with a notably spicy aftertaste and lingering burn.

Overall, I like this beer much more than I expected to after reading its description, and I regret not trying it on tap in San Diego.

Ballast Point Indra Kunindra India-Style Export Stout

Award-winning home brewer and Ballast Point Senior Brewer Alex Tweet made the brew in honor of the 46th anniversary of San Diego’s Holiday Wine Cellar, with the goal of creating a truly unique beer that pushes the boundaries of home and craft brewing. And he admirably succeeded.

My bottle cost $10.50, so it’s not exactly cheap. But I don’t feel as though that’s an unreasonable price for such a unique brew. It has an ABV of 7.0%. There’s no official Indra Kunindra page on Ballast Point’s website, unfortunately.

Ballast Point Brewing’s Indra Kunindra India-style export stout currently has a BeerAdvocate.com score of 86, based on 45 user ratings. And it gets a 7/10 ranking on the Urban Beer Nerd Scale.

UBN

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Four Odd, Amusing (and Swedish) Old Milwaukee Ads Featuring Will Ferrell

I’m not much of an Old Milwaukee drinker, but I am a fan of comedian and weird motherfucker Will Ferrell. As such, I get a kick out of the following four Swedish Old Milwaukee ads featuring Ferrell. The dude has apparently been making strange ads for the beer company for some time, but they only air in small, specific markets.

I hope he makes one for Boston soon.

UBN

via BusinessInsider.com

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Badass Butterfly-Knife-Style Bottle Openers

Butterfly Knife Bottle Opener Urban Beer Nerd

I’m a bit of a balisong, a.k.a, butterfly knife, aficionado, or at least I used to be when I lived in a really shitty neighborhood in Boston. At the time, I thought I was a ninja, and I never left my apartment without some sort of weapon. Now my butterfly knives collect dust in a drawer, but I still hold a special place in my beer-nerd heart for the dangerous little bastards. (I also now know that I am not, in actuality, a ninja.)

So when I saw BBBarfly.com’s cool new butterfly-knife-style bottle openers, which you can customize with your own design, I was more than a little intrigued. I don’t know if I’ll actually, you know, buy one, because I already have a shitload of bottle openers. But they’re still really cool, especially if you’re a bartender looking for a new way to differentiate yourself from all the other bottle slangers.

Butterfly Knife Bottle Opener

You can get a single-color butterfly-knife bottle opener for $20, and you can pick a number of designs for another $10 or so. You can also customize your bottle opener with your own design, but I couldn’t find any pricing information for custom BBBarlys on the company’s website.

Now I can’t wait to go home and play with my butterfly knives. Banzai.

UBN

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Barfly’s View: Cambridge Brewing Co. in Cambridge, MA

Cambridge Brewing Co.

Cambridge Brewing Co. is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts’s Kendall Square neighborhood, just across the Charles River from downtown Boston, and it is hands down my favorite brewpub in the Boston area.

That’s because of the laid-back, upscale pub atmosphere and quality, fresh foods. But the real reason I love Cambridge Brewing Co., or CBC, as the locals call it, is the beer. I’ve never met a CBC beer that I didn’t like. Lots of small brewpubs make mediocre beer, but CBC, the oldest brewpub in Boston, makes world-class brews. (In fact, it just won a silver medal at the 2012 Great American Beer Fest.) CBC has four house beers that are always on tap, as well as a frequently-rotating selection of more experimental brews, some with rather amusing names. And you can buy growlers to go.

Kendall Square is a technology center of Boston and Cambridge, and it’s home to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). So CBC is often packed with 30-something professionals drinking over lunchtime business meetings or quirky MIT students winding down after a day of hitting the books.

Whenever a beer-loving friend or colleague visits Boston, CBC is the first drinking-destination I recommend.

UBN

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It’s Beer O’Clock Somewhere

Stephen King book signing

“I work until beer o’clock.” – Stephen King, as quoted in Time magazine, October 6, 1986

Funny. I drink beer until work o’clock.

UBN

Image via Telegraph.co.uk

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Dogfish Head and The Grateful Dead Announce ‘American Beauty’ Pale Ale, Solicit Ingredient Ideas from Boozy Deadheads

Dogfish Head Grateful Dead American Beauty Imperial Pale Ale

Yesterday, Delaware-based Dogfish Head Craft Brewery announced a new collaboration between it and The Grateful Dead, the 60s jam band that just won’t quit. (I didn’t even know that any of those dudes were still alive until Phil Lesh and Bob Weir sang the national anthem at the Cardinals/Giants MLB NCLS game on Monday.)

From Dogfish Head’s website:

“Working in that happy place between creative ideas and like-minded people, the off-centered brewery and free-spirited band have been trading ideas for a beer they’re calling ‘American Beauty.’ They’ve settled on a strong pale ale with all-American hops and barley, and now they’re asking their loyal fans to suggest a special ingredient – and the Dead-inspired story behind it.”

The idea is for Deadheads to suggest ingredients that have some sort of Grateful-Dead-related sentimental value to them that would work well in a strong pale ale.

More from Dogfish:

“Did you trade a bushel of fresh clementines for tickets to a two-night-stand at Long Beach Arena? Or maybe your dad first laid eyes on your mom sipping a cup of green tea in the parking lot of the legendary Cornell ‘77 show? Jog your memory, tell the story, and suggest the ingredient at the heart of that story. You could help bring this counterculture collaboration to life.”

I’m not a Dead fan, and the only two Dead songs I can think of are Scarlet Begonias and Casey Jones. I guess the begonias could work as a beer ingredient, but I’m guessing Dogfish won’t want to use cocaine. Deadheads interested in offering up legitimate suggestions should check the Dogfish website in the future for additional details. The American Beauty beer is expected to be available on tap and in bottles in October 2013.

Dogfish Head and its Founder Sam Calagione have participated in quite a few collaborations recently, including Liquid Breadfruit, which it made along with Maui Brewing Co., and Rhizing Bines, which it’s in the process of making with Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. The brewery has worked with other brewers on limited release beers for years, but it seems like Dogfish is ramping up its collaboration efforts.

For more on Dogfish and Calagione, read “5 Funky Facts I Learned about Dogfish from Founder Sam Calagione’s Business Book” and “Sam Calagione on the Difference between Beer Snobs and Beer Geeks.”

UBN

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