Now Drinking – Closing Out 2010 in Style

As I sit on my screen porch, writing this article, waiting for the Dawgs Liberty Bowl match-up with UCF, it is 72F, which makes this winter “Now Drinking” edition rather strange. I wanted to get in one last beer special before 2011, so without further ado, here are some current choices.

Young’s Double Chocolate Stout
Young’s Double Chocolate Stout is a very nice winter classic ale, coming in at 5.2% AvB. This one is a strange ale if you consider beer and chocolate an unlikely mix. I am not a huge stout fan, however I do enjoy a stout when the weather turns bitterly cold. Decided to try this one on a lark, and never would have expected to like a chocolate brew, but I have to admit that this one is delicious.

Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale
All I can say is wow, what a spectacular beer with the perfect blend of bitterness that still manages to be smooth, without completely overpowering your taste buds. At 7.2% AbV this Indian Brown Ale packs a wallop; recommended as a nightcap, not an all day tailgate!

New Belgium 2 Below Ale
2 Below Ale is my current favorite every day beer (er, ale). In fact I am enjoying a pint as I write this article from the lovely spring-like Calvert Games manor. The brewer recommends that 2 Below Ale be served at 37F, which makes the 6.6% AvB even more stunning on a cold winter’s day (or night), or delightfully refreshing on a mid-winter’s spring day.

Demise of American Breweries
I have been meaning to post this one for a while, but never got around to it. It seems rather unlikely that a country as wealthy as the US cannot manage to hold down a major brewery.

Happy New Year! May your beers taste wonderful in 2011!


Now Drinking

Who knew September was Bourbon Heritage Month? While none of these sit on the top of my shelf, I am always up for a good sipping Bourbon. My favorites? Knobb Creek, Markers Mark, Wild Turkey 101, and Jim Beam Black.

What’s in the fridge right now, for my football drinking pleasure? Miller Lite Home Draft Keg, Sweetwater 420 (what I like to call the nectar of the gods), and Sam Adams Octoberfest.


What’s In Your Tailgate?

Cold ones. Adult Beverages. Nectar of the gods. You, know, beer. I am not sure where this tailgating beer article is coming from, but as is often the case, the comments are f’ing hilarious. Certainly more entertaining that reading about the beers that are not available in these parts.

I have not decided on my strategy for the Falcons/Cardinals game. I could go good and plenty light with some Miller Lite or Bud Light Lime, or I may go heavier with some Sam Adams Octoberfest, or Sweetwater 420. I love decisions …


Now Drinking – Black and Green

As spring turns to summer, what better way to beat the heat than with an ice cold Bud Light Lime? Screw the pundits; Bud Light Lime taste great on the beach, by the pool, and especially during a BBQ (or tailgate for that matter).

Jim Beam Black
Now for something a little different. A couple of weeks ago I was going to pick up some Jack to make some Jack BBQ sauce, but instead I went for the Jim Beam Black because it had a $7 mail in rebate. What a great deal; $22.99 bottle for ultimately $16 … hard to go wrong at that price.

I am not going to get all flowery and attempt to describe the aroma, hints of this or that flavoring, and what sort of aftertaste developed as the sips went down. Instead I will say that Jim Beam Black is a solid contender for a medium price bourbon. Its 86 proof (43% alcohol) is a little different than the norm; decent bite without being over powerful. I am sure the bourbon connoisseurs out there would chalk this up to Jim Beam Black being aged 8 years.

I am enjoying Jim Beam Black on the rocks, or as a mixer (Sprite or Diet Dr. Pepper). I do not regret the purchase, however I’ll probably tend to reach to some other favorites first. Makers Mark is still me “go to” bourbon, Knob Creek is still my “top shelf” bourbon of choice, and Wild Turkey 101 is still my favorite higher proof bourbon with a bite.


Saturday Stuffs Madness

It has been a while since I went hells blazing, stuffs to the wall crazy, so I figured it was time …

There And Back Again
I spent last week in Calgary, which explains why the site experienced a severe slowdown. Thursday and Friday marked the first time in over 150+ days (8 months) that I did not post something. That was a hell of a run; I suppose it had to end sooner or later.

Flying sucks. Everything stinks about flying from the airport parking experience, to get a boarding-pass, to security, to sitting next to overweight folks that have no business buying a single seat. It all makes for a crap experience. For this trip I had to go from Atlanta to Salt Lake City to Calgary, and returned via Minneapolis/St. Paul to Atlanta. Four different airplanes; 2000 sky miles. Glad to be home.

Now Drinking
I am sort of a homebody; I am not much for traveling unless it is with my wife. With three kids, that is just not something that occurs frequently these days. When I do travel, it is almost exclusively for work. If I had to pick a favorite part about traveling, it would have to be having the opportunity to sample different local beers. While I was in Calgary, I was able to enjoy 4-5 different beers, my favorite of which of Big Rock Honey Brown Lager. The Big Rock Black Amber Ale was a very close second.

New on Blu
While I was out of town, two new Blu-rays arrived – Never Ending Story and Clash of the Titans. Unfortunately it looks like both movies received absolutely nothing in the way of extras, which is extremely disappointing. We watched Never Ending Story for family night tonight. My youngest son was really into it, although he did not know what was going on except there was a really bad wolf. My oldest was pretty much soured on the whole “making him watch another stupid movie” routine. Thankfully my middle boy decided the movie was pretty good, even if he tried to play it off as a ho-hum experience.

Gaming Backlog
MLB 10: The Show arrived earlier in the week, but I have not had a chance to crack it open yet. I have not even come close to finishing Heavy Rain, and of course WKC:I is also uncompleted. FFXIII arrives next week, so I better get going. Or get eBay’ing.

I should have plenty of comments on these games over the next few days. Something video gaming related to make you stand up and clap your hands. Sorry; I think you get the point.

While I was in Canada, all hell broke loose in PS3 land. I guess I should be thankful for small favors. Non event for me, but from the best I can tell, there are some seriously pissed folks out there. Time heals all wounds? This too will pass.

Chrony In Action
Today was truly a blessed day; 60 or so degrees. Sunny, blue skies. I was finally able to get my Chrony setup for a few rounds from the Beeman R1 .22 Long and my Beeman R7. The good news is that I was able to get the shots to register. This was a huge improvement over my first experience, which was a non starter. I still do not know what I am doing, but it looks like my R1 is blazing at around 713.85 FPS while the R7 was cracking at 574.75 FPS. As the weather turns nicer, there will be a whole lot more of this for your airgun reading pleasure. I just hope the weather holds so I can break out the Chrony again and see how the Marauder fares.

Bring on Sunday!


Sunday Stuffs

Here are a few random links for your viewing pleasure that I came across while surfing the web this morning. As I heard on SportingNews radio, legitimate web surfing; in other words it is too early on Sunday morning to be looking for some T&A.

After the affair ends …
A reminder for married folks to be careful who they jilt after the sex factor comes to an end.

YaVaughnie Wilkins posted the signs after she learned that her lover, Charles E. Phillips — president and director of the tech conglomerate Oracle Corporation and a member of Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board — had reconciled with his wife, the New York Post reported.

The billboards — there are three in New York and one apiece in Atlanta and San Francisco, where Phillips lives — may have cost Wilkins up to $250,000, at an estimated $50,000 each.

After the billboards surfaced, Phillips fessed up to his longtime affair through a spokesman on Thursday.

The again this one probably only applies to rich folks. I am sure Tiger can relate.

Miranda Kerr
OK, so I lied about not having enough coffee to look for T&A, but by golly wow is Miranda beautiful! I did come across this one while taking in my daily dose of morning Fox news; we can chalk this up as legitimate.

Cheers to beer in a can!
I had no idea that canned beer has been around for 75 years! It’s nice to learn something new before 7AM.

Team US F1 looks not so American
While I am excited about the prospects of a U.S. based F1 team, I am disappointed to learn that the first driver announced is not an American.

AUTOSPORT reports that former grand prix ace Carlos Reutemann, a close friend of US F1 boss Peter Windsor and now a leading politician in Argentina, has been instrumental in putting the funding package together for Lopez, who will receive a degree of government backing alongside other Argentinian sponsors.

I have nothing at all against Jose Maria Lopez; I hope he shows well for US F1, but it sort of sucks that an American could not put together a funding package. Then again, Lopez has the full backing of the Argentina government! Maybe President Obama and his socialist agenda should considering jumping into racing. Why not inject some cash into NASCAR, IRL, and US F1?

Happy NFL Championship Sunday!


Now Drinking – European Lagers

One of my “New Year’s Resolution” was to drinking better beer. I enjoy beer with the best of them, but a lot of times I lapse into the cheap(er) stuff. This year I am going to try to go with more premium brews; sort of a quality of quantity deal. Maybe; that assume I am not a drunkard and do not guzzle, which would be a good idea if for no other reason than to keep the wallet (somewhat) full(er).

I am going to cheat a little. The three entries featured here were given to me as a Christmas present. Yes, my family knows I am a would-be drunkard; or at least a beer whore! They at least know how to buy me a Christmas present that I will actually enjoy!

Listed in reverse order of preference …

Tyskie Gronie Grand Prix Poland – This Polish beer features a 5.60% AVB. Tyskie Gronie Grand Prix is listed as a pale European lager, but I have definitely had better. Then again I have had worse. I was trying to find something to say about this one, but it is really not very distinctive. It does have some sort of bitterness too it, and I enjoy a little bitter here and there, but I really cannot put my finger on the source. Let’s call this one a nice freebie, but not one that I will turn to on purpose in the future.

Peroni Nastro Azzurro – Let’s call this one the Pabst Blue Ribbon of Italian beer. I have had Peroni before, but not sure I have every come across the Nastro Azzurro variety. I don’t think PBR and this Peroni have anything in common; I am sure PBR is much cheaper by the dozen! Nastro Azzurro seems like a typical pale European lager, which is not a bad thing, but I am not sure that it is one that I would specifically seek out in the future. The 5.1% AVB would work nicely on a hot summer day.

Pilsner Urquell – This Czech lager has a “light” beer-ish 4.4% AVB. Pilsner Urquell is surprising light and crisp; a refreshing brew. I had a few of these on a trip to London, but my Christmas six-pack was my first experience with it in the U.S. I think dry is the overwhelming characteristic that best describes this one. Assuming the price is decent; I think Pilsner Urquell will become a summer staple in my beer rotation.


Of resolutions and things …

I don’t know … it just sort of seems fitting …

Patricia “Peppermint Patty” Reichardt: Have you made any New Years resolutions, Chuck?
Charlie Brown: Yes. You know how I always dread the whole year? Now I’m only going to dread one day at a time. [Happy New Year, Charlie Brown! (1986)]

Almost 2010! I am not one to make resolutions, but I have already started my running program (again) in earnest a week or so ago. Need to be a more prodigious saver. Will also be committed to drinking better beer, which puts a damper on the last bit about saving money; good beer is expensive!


Now Drinking

When it is cold outside, I turn to stouts. What better beverage to pass a cold winter’s day? First up is Yuengling Original Black & Tan, which is a nice “every day” type of cold weather beer. Nothing special mind you, but a nice dark blend with plenty of hints of deep malts and chocolate. Technically this one may be a porter (so says the bottle), but most sites list it as a stout; either way works fine for me. At $10.99 for a 12 pack, this Yuengling makes an easy way to pass the day.

Next up is the main feature, Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout, which is completely delicious. Besides, how can you not like something with Kalamazoo in the name? The label says “stout brewed with brewers licorice” – featuring a hearty serving of dark roasted coffee and chocolate malts flavors. Very rich, and dare I say a full body stout. Certainly to be enjoyed slowly, not rushed.


Now Drinking – I’ll have a stout.

I thought the timing on this article on stouts was perfect. Just a couple of days ago the mercury was dropping fast, so I picked up some Guinness Draught (4 15oz cans). Tonight the low is all of 61F; more nasty wet weather.

Whether we’re talking imperial stout, oatmeal stout, or even the nearly extinct oyster stout, these are not beers to be shotgunned. Stouts are made to be sipped and savored while lingering over a pint in a warm wood-paneled room near a roaring fire, making occasional references to football of either sort. And while traditionally stouts contain less alcohol than other beers, many modern stouts have upped the alcohol content – perfect for wiling away the hours.

While Guinness, an Irish stout, is by far the most popular, the brewing renaissance of the last decade hasn’t left stouts behind. Literally hundreds of intriguing and incredibly tasty takes on the genre are available from liquor stores around the country. We rounded up several of these in a recent tasting. All should be available in any reasonably well-stocked shop, or online.

I love a good stout, but it is definitely a cold weather only beer of me.


Now Drinking – Getting hopped up for the Holidays

The awaited triumphant (so says me) return of Now Drinking featuring a Holiday extravagant selection of good, better, best IPAs.

Abita Jockamo IPA
This Abita IPA has been in and out of my rotation all year. It is a nice IPA, featuring a 6.5% ABV, and it is just under $9 for a six pack, which makes it a decent offering for an everyday IPA. Is this the perfect IPA? Not really, which is the reason it is not a mainstay in my rotation, but it does make the occasional appearance. Beer and Cigars gives this IPA an R+; not sure WTF that means, so let’s call it good, just not a true classic.

Lagunitas Maximus IPA
I am always on the lookout for different IPAs; call it a slutty little guilty pleasure. I enjoy traditional India Pale Ale, and Lagunitas Maximus IPA is a nice little addition to my rotation. At 7.2% ABV, it is probably a little intense for a tailgate, and the price, $11 for a six pack, makes it a little high for a mainstay in my rotation. Call me a cheap ass beer drinker. Sometimes you have to pay for quality, but I tend to say around under the $8.99 mark for my drinking pleasures.

I think Liquid Diets sums this IPA up best:

Overall, this is a pretty enjoyable beer, but it didn’t blow me away. I have had some other IPA’s this summer (Caldera, Torpedo, Anderson Valley) that I have liked quite a bit more, but it’s a solid contender and for hops lovers, the bitterness does build about 50% through the glass, but there’s nothing separating this from leagues of other good IPA’s out there.

I’ll call Maximus IPA better than average, but there are other IPAs that I will probably reach for first.

Dogfish 90 Minute Imperial IPA
Saving the best for last, 90 Minute IPA is something of a treat; dare I say delicious on the taste buds, and it damn well better be for something around a Hamilton for a four pack. No matter, I think Courtney paints a pretty picture, and we all know the ‘Bin loves some green!

A bottle of 90 Minute IPA offers up a relaxing 9% ABV, which is absolutely perfect for a nightcap on a cold winter night. This has to be my current favorite non-tailgating, non-everyday IPA. Top shelf beer? You betcha!


Now drinking. A new favorite. Abita Jockamo IPA.

This week’s installment introduces the Recycle Bin to a new delectable nectar of the gods that is right up there with, dare I say possibly (maybe) surpassing, the goodness of Sweetwater 420. On the Friday drive home from work I ducked into the local brownbag package store [that would be Mr. B’s] and picked up a six-pack of Abita Jockamo IPA and my taste buds rejoiced with the experience of this wonderful IPA.

This IPA is really different from others I have tried – the blend of semi-sweet malts and not overly bitter hops provides a wonderful blend of drinkability. The 6.50% ABV was surprising, so moderation is definitely in order.

I am not sure if Jockamo IPA will replace Sweetwater 420, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, or Terrapin Rye Pale Ale as one of my Top 3 favorite beers; time will eventually tell the tale. I am certain that Jockamo IPA will end up in my favorite’s rotation, and show up during this upcoming season of Falcons tailgates.


Now Drinking

It has been a while since we played this game, so let’s end Friday with an extra special episode of Now Drinking only with half the usual specialness.

Dos Equis XX Lager Especial
Lately I have been trying different Mexican beers. XX is pretty decent; goes well with my wife’s homemade salsa. I am not going to go out on a limb and say it is my favorite Mexican beer; it’s OK.

Michelob Amber Bock
This is an old staple of mine. Switch to it after the salsa and XX. I am not going to say it is great, and while I usually reach for the Ultra Amber instead of the Amber Bock, I do not think it is bad as many of the reviews indicate. I normally go for more hops and ales, but for a lager, I do not think this one is all that bad. At under a $1 a beer for a 12-pack from the local big box, I can live with the price.

Sweetwater 420 Extra Pale Ale
Bringing us home is one of my all time favorites. What I like to call the nectar of the gods; Sweetwater 420. This one is so good I am offering up multiple links to celebrate its extra deliciousness.

Happy weekend to you!


Now drinking …

It has been a while [been saying that a lot in the last couple of posts] so let’s get straight to it before our time comes to an end.

First – Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Classic stuff; a beautiful full flavored ale. I am not sure how else to describe it except to call it a superior quality brew.

Next up – Sam Adams just released their Summer Ale; at least it just showed up in the local Publix. This one is a very nice ale, with a little fruity flavor, which is perfect for those occasions when I do not want the more robust, and dare I say more complex flavor of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Finally Sam

Adams always brews some good bottles, and is probably my favorite brew right now. Their version of a light beer is probably my favorite when I want some of the fizzy stuff (that would be a lager to you).

Now for something a little different … some recent iTunes purchases.

The new Green Day is out tomorrow, but I plan to pick that one up on CD (with extra CD of unreleased songs) for my wife’s new Sienna XLS. Also an excuse to teach her how to rip a CD and load to her iTunes. Hey, someone has to suffer.

Soon to be the weekend!


Now …

It has been a while since I did a “now drinking” segment, so I guess it is time …

“This ain’t about this y’all, it ain’t about that
This ain’t about the booty movin’ pumpin’ the max
This ain’t about this, that, what, where, or how
This about the freaks doing everything they wanna do now!”

How about Wild Blue Blueberry Lager This one is serious different (hell, it taste sweet like blueberries) I think it is either one of those love or hate beers. Seems more like one of those Belgium fruity beers that I got to partake in during some of my UK trips, and while it is a lager, it is nothing like what I would normally drink. In fact my wife commented that she did not think I would like it, and I am not sure if I do. It is … just … well … different.

The label says that it won some sort of North American Brewers Association Gold Medal. Not sure what category. Maybe for the fruitiest lager? My wife did say it made her tipsy, so I think I need to keep some around. At only $6.99 a six pack, it was not a total loss. I mean if it only takes $6.99 to get laid, there is nothing wrong with that, right?

Next up is Hop Hound Amber Wheat (by Michelob Brewing). This stuff is pretty darn good. I am not sure what I was expecting. I like hoppy beer, and wheat beer, so these two go hand-in-hand. Another $6.99 purchase and one that I will definitely go back to again. I would go so far as to say that this one will end up in a semi-regular rotation, but it is not one that I will reach for in front of other favorites – various Sam Adams, Harp, Sweet Water 420, etc.

Saving the best for last, we get a truly remarkable beer from Sail Brewing in Hood River, Oregon. Full Sail IPA. I am not sure what to say about this one other than it is delicious and gives me a nice alternative to 420. It is $8.99 for a six pack, so it is a little pricy, but I think it easily delivers value for the price. Hops, full-body flavor (whatever that means; sounded like the thing to say), and a highly drinkable beer. I love IPAs, and I am truly impressed with this one.

Now back to Prince. You knew it was Prince, right?

“67, 67
Freaks dance like they in heaven
DJ don’t stop the music, DJ don’t stop the music
Fill us with de dope track, lick us, twist us, roll us in your mouth
Light us up and take a hit, light us up and take a hit
Mmm, suck us ’til we’re dry
And when we’re lookin’ like a roach, hit the lights
Before U say goodnight though
Let’s make a toast yo
This ain’t about this, that, what, where, or how
This about the freaks doing everything they wanna do now!”

Back to drinking.