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OK, on seeing the name of Atwater Brewery's Detroit Pale Ale got me to thinking, what "exactly" is the difference between Indian Pale Ale (IPA) and American Pale Ale (APA).  I've got to say - I've always been a little confused to tell the difference but then again I can't seem to recall a time where I sat down with a IPA and APA to compare side by side.  So, on looking through a couple different sites, BeerAdvocate.com, About.Com (http://beer.about.com/od/ale/p/PaleAleProfile.htm) I'm still confused.  Heck there even seems to be a book written about it (that I haven't read) I found at BeerBooks.com entitled PALE ALE: History, Brewing Techniques, Recipes.  So, to the best of my knowledge it "seems" that IPA's were brewed for the DISTINCT PURPOSE of a long shipment across the ocean surface through brutal conditions (for beer at the very least).  So the beer, seems to be originated by strong bitters and/or ESB beers.  The idea of the IPA was to add a bit of alcohol and a lot of hops.  Both of these are used as tools for making the beer be able to "last" a bit longer till it is ready to be drank.  The hops are used as a preservative at types.  The Alcohol, well it is relatively common knowledge that the higher the alcohol the longer it can/needs to age.  I did see some information about the types of barrels used to store the beers during storage and what not.  To my knowledge these beers are/were setup to last 4-6 months in storage before being drank and in that amount of time you may pick up some wood characteristics but I'm thinking that it wouldn't be enough to out weight the strong flavors of this style with hops and barley.  So, with that said, I figured what is Detroit Pale Ale, then I thought well, I've heard of Double IPAs, and AIPA (not even sure I know this one), but Triple and Quadruple IPAs.  So, I guess the name and idea is probably mostly marketing, but the concept is the same, big beer, a good amount of bitter, a lot of HOP characteristics, and heavy usually some decent hits of barley if done properly.

OK, enough of the history - lets talk beer.  This Pale Ale is a fairly average pale ale in my mind.  Keep in mind, Pale Ale's are just starting to grow on me again so this could be a bit biased based on the low side a bit because of the style.  I'm not as happy with the style as I once was.  Anyway, that said, the beer pours a musty golden color.  It gives a very unfiltered look and I like that about a bottle of beer.  The head was thick on the pour but faded away by the time this beer is half way finished.  There really isn't much trace of it on the side of the glass.  I think I get a bit of a grapefruit smell coming from the glass.  Very strong fruity ester like smell that is acidic like.  The taste is not bad.  The balance seems to be tipped in favor of the hops for this beer.  I seem to be picking up a variety of the hops that the site talks that it uses from the European and Northwest American hops.  I can't exactly pick out specific hops but I definitely get a sense that more then 1 or 2 varieties of hops are being used to master this beer.  Unfortunately, to me this beer is lacking a bit of barley sweetness to it to carry all the hops that seem to be used in the beer.  If you are a hop head and you really like the taste of your hops this may be a beer for you.  For me, it will rank in the 2.5 range (which is middle of the road) because though it is a decent balance of hops and character there I just do not get the grains I personally like in a beer to carry the balance evenly.

Give it a try.  Don't let me turn you off... but definitely be ready for the huge hop almost acidic flowery citrus flavor that comes from this beer.  Cheers to Atwaters, I'm excited to move on to the others in my stock that I had purchased a few weeks back.

 
 
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My wife's uncle passed me a link to the Miami Herald about the recent Jimmy Buffett Concert in Miami, FL that just got kicked off - The Wino and I Know.  Sounds like the concert was incredible.  I haven't been to a Buffett concert in a few years and reading this article made me nostalgic.  I doubt I'll get to the show this year which is sad but my wife and I recently stated that we need to put it on the SHORT list to see him on location in St Any Where.  I don't care where we see him it just needs a few requirements:  A)  there is sand B) water is close by C) it takes an airplane ride to get there.  Its been to long Jimmy and for that I am sorry!  I haven't even listened to your music as much as I once did!  I am greatly sorry.  Life has gotten a bit hectic with work and parenting and such.  The thing that I love from the article is that it sounds like Jimmy really tried to cater to the enthusiast this year.  Cheeseburger in Paradise and Fins - sure you have to play those; but this year it sounds like he is hitting some grass roots type songs like an acoustic version of Trying to Reason the Hurricane Season and Everybody's got a Cousin in Miami.  Sounds like he was happy to be back in Florida again.  Can't say that I can blame him.  Jan 30 in Pittsburgh and though the weather has been unseasonably warm I'm still starting to get cabin fever.

Part of the cabin fever I'm experience must be from all these HOLIDAY/CHRISTMAS style beers I'm drinking lately.  Samuel Adams - Holiday Porter is chocolatey, rich and maybe even a little iced coffee like.  It is a nice balance of English Fuggle and East Kent Golding hops with a nice match of the caremel munich and chocolate malts.  The smell gets a nice roasty spicey malt kick.  It pours a DARK Brown almost black pour in the glass.  The head sticks to the side of the glass like chocolate milk mustaches stick to your lips after drinking it.  The head is a nice silky chocolately color when you stir the beer vigorously.  It almost has a chocolate milk texture to it (maybe a little chalky).  I recommend this beer (again in the right time and season).  But I do not think I would enjoy drinking more then one or two of these.  The 5.8% alcohol though not big almost makes me feel the hangover coming in the morning if you drink more then 2 or 3 of these.

I think this beer is the last of the Christmas/holiday beers.  There is still a winter beer or two down there but this is the last December beer that I'm drinking in January.  For that I am thankful, I don't know how many more of these I could take.  Porters and Stouts are not one of my normal favorite beers.  Its not that they are bad I just enjoy a lighter more refreshing beer.  And I can't wait to find one tomorrow.

 
 
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A huge thank you to my brother in law for this beer.  He picked up a few of these at The Pine in Kennedy Township.  J.D. and my sister-in-law frequent this bar from time to time.  Its a nice place and I wish I could get up there more often but just haven't found the time.  He dropped these beers off with me and had some crazy story about getting hit on by a gay crippled guy at the bar that night.  Now, I'm not sure how I am EVER going to work that in to a story on here so I just thought I'd come right out and mention it.  I don't have a problem with sexual preference per say but it is always a little awkward when you get hit on by the same sex and you are not gay.  Its happened to me once or twice that I remember.  I feel slightly flattered cause that is probably one or two more times then I got hit on by the opposite sex in life.  But you just never know exactly what to say or do.  Hope J.D. let the guy down easy that night.

Anyway, this Spaten Premium is a great Munich beer.  I have always enjoyed a nice cold Spaten.  It is a simple style with so much body and flavor bursting through.  Nothing crazy with any spices or sweetness.  Every sip contains a balanced flavor of malt and hops and nice bubbly carbonation level.  It pours a very yellow in the glass and the head does not stick around for long.  If I have any complaints about the beer it would be the aroma.  There is a smell to this beer that is a little reminiscent of the old college bars that had beer spilled all over it during the night and the easiest way to clean it up the next morning was to hose it down and mop it out.  No, it doesn't have the ash/cigarette stench that comes with that - just the beer.  That bad pungent beer smell that if hung over and you get a whiff of it you will definitely be talking to the porcelain gods.  The smell is not that offensive that it turns me away by any means - but I was just trying to set the stage for what is the we bit of off aroma to this otherwise nicely made beer.  It is actually quite typical smell with most lager styled beers if you ask me.  All told, this is a quality beer for sure. 

Today has been one long day at home brewing up a new beer, racking a second beer to secondary, playing around with the new camera, helping my wife with her new website she is working on, helping where I could in the kitchen with her making bread, chicken and pasta, and cup cakes, all the long trying to keep two little angels out of everything and NOT BORED.  To me, this is my life.  This is the way life should be.  Good memories come from days like this.  We hung out with some great friends last night celebrating my youngest daughter's feats of greatness on potty training and thin liquid drinking.  We had a crazy somewhat interesting dinner at Chucky Cheese (5:30pm on a Saturday - I will never do that again) and then hung out back at the house.  I've been fighting a cold/sickness for the past few days and the last two days I've been mostly voiceless.  But this is life.  This is what we do!  We have fun, we enjoy our children and their triumphs!  We hang out with good friends and we cook, clean, and work on our hobbies.  Who could ask for more.  I am feeling very fortunate in 2012!  So far this has been a great year.

I am coming up to the end of my first month.  I'm wondering if Jan 31 should be a recap of the month?  Should I talk about my top beer of January?  I'm still working on the idea.  As usual, it will come to me when I sit down to write I'm sure.  But for now, I'm going to join my wife on the couch, work on finishing the last few sips of this Spaten and relax for an hour or so before my bed calls my name.  Thanks for coming and I'll be talking to you all tomorrow I'm sure!

 
 
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OK, so I'm a bit tired, and under the weather so - hopefully one of the beer experts reading this blog can help me out.  I found this name 'Brouwerij Van Honsebrouch' and thought it was the name of the brewery.  Then I go to the website.  The website is a little clunky with the flash that it uses.  It is a cute idea attempting to send you through the castle as you view their pages but to me is quite annoying.  The confusing part is when I reached the site I found that this was the home of Kasteelbier.  I'm not sure if Kasteel is the brewery?  If Brouwerij is the parent brewery?  Just not sure of the layout of this one.  Anyone that has info on this I'd be interested in hearing.  The site did not really provide a lot of detail on that.

Anyway, enough about that - more about the beer.  I actually am really glad I've found sour brews.  Its just a really nice change of pace from your normal every day beer.  That said, they are definitely an acquired taste and I would not recommend this beer to people that are just starting to branch out and try "new beers".  It was a brownish color in the glass.  Definitely hazy and maybe a little yellow.  But that does not show up in the picture I have to the left.  I was sort of surprised by the color; I was expecting it to be a light color like the last sour beer.  The smell was very distinct fruity ester yeasty blend.  I got a huge amount of citric lemony sour taste in every sip.  The nice thing that I found was that it was a balance of strong sour bite and a solid body to support it.  It put me in the mind set of a lambic style bubbly brew but not quite so sweet.  To me, it had almost more of a wine or carbonated wine beverage characteristic to it then beer.  I really wouldn't describe this as a typical beer flavor.  There was a nice head that stuck around for the entire glass.

I will definitely be pursuing more of these sour beers in the future.  I really am finding a quality about these that to me is very appealing.  I do not believe many people I was hanging out with were very interested in the flavors.  'Lite' even suggested the beer tasted and smelled of 'ass'.  He was not hiding any fact that he DID NOT LIKE this beer.  And would NOT BE recommending it to any of his fellow light beer drinkers in the near future.  OK by me, that just means more for me to drink.

Well, time for me to walk to the fridge and find today's beer of the day... what will it be?

 
 
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Brooklyn Brewery does good beer.  I've always been excited to try new things from their brewery, of course Sorachi Ace no exception.  A friend of mine had a box of bottle goodness at his house last night.  We were surfing through the collection and decided to make this our starter beer.  Since, we were so excited about it I also decided to make this my beer of the day (yesterday).  This is a saison (or farmhouse) style beer.  These are are mid level alcohol beers brewed in the winter time and meant to be drank in the hot summer months.  Farmers would brew this and bottle condition the brew in the cellar.  When summer rolls around and they finished their daily chores in the fields they would reward themselves with one of these nice often times complex brews.  BeerAdvocate describes this style as follows "many are very fruity in the aroma and flavor. Look for earthy yeast tones, mild to moderate tartness. Lots of spice and with a medium bitterness".

As for Sorachi Ace, I think it hit its mark on the complexity level.  There was so much going on with this brew I'm not sure where to begin.  Should I start with the extremely yeasty almost ester'sh smell coming from the popping of the cork?  Or should we go with the very acid lemony rind type taste that you get from the first sip?  This beer has a lot going on.  There was definitely an earthy quality to this beer as if the farmer wanted this beer to represent the fields he worked in.  It was not a bad beer in the least and definitely deserves a spot on the would try again list.  The beers name is actually the key character ingredient of this unique bottle.

The guys over at BrewDudes blog provided some information on the hop.  It was originated for Sapporo Brewery originally from Japan.  It has Lemony aroma and flavor.  With an acidity level range of 10.7 12.2%.  It is typically used for bittering.  It would be appropriate for any beer that is looking to add a little lemony goodness to it in particular the Saison style is probably.  This Sorachi Ace bottle actually states that this tastes like "sunshine in a glass".  I'm not sure that is the description I would use for this beer.  It was refreshing and light and fun.  Even with the champagne bottle conditioned yeast they used.  It was definitely well carbonated and bubbly.  The mouth feel did resemble a glass of champagne.  All in all it wasn't a bad beer.

On a side note, this is a farm house ale.  Farmers are a big part of this country and the world.  They work hard all year long to produce fruits, vegetables and meats so that we can feed our families.  They are the backbone of civilization in many ways.  When I think of Farmers and Farm Houses it usually takes me to a large family of people.  Sometimes 3 generations of people living under the same roof.  I normally envision multiple kids running around of all ages.  It just takes me to a simply time in my mind and a much quieter and calm world.  Last night, a conversion struck a chord with me having to do with our own mortality.  Dictionary.com defines mortality as "the state or condition of being subject to death; mortal  character, nature, or existence."  As I type this, I am thinking very much about my own life.  I love my wife, my children, my parents, and sister and her family, and am very blessed to have great friends all around me to enjoy this world with.  I want to send a heart felt thank you and appreciation out to them all for being there for me in the good times and the bad.  Mortality is a bitch - and every once in a while smacks you in the head.  Its a good thing though - it gives you a second to stop and appreciate everything you have and even appreciate the things you do not have.

 
 
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If you ever get a chance to stop in Idaho Springs, Colorado, do your self a favor... STOP!  This is a cool little miners town and will take no more then an hour or two of your day.  From what I remember its like one or two streets right of of 70 heading from Denver into the mountains usually on your way to a great ski destination, maybe hiking, or whatever your pleasure.  There are two things that I know of personally in Idaho worth finding.

The first is BeauJo's Pizza.  This is a cool little place that makes some off the hook Pizza's.  Now, to all my readers from the east coast - this isn't your typical New York/Philly/New Jersey style thin crust pizza (I'm sure there is a difference between all three of those and you can write to me and tell me the differences.  I would love to hear your


 
 
Chug! Chug! Chug!  Remind you of your college days?  Yea, maybe a little bit.  OK, so I'm not necessarily hear to say I condone such actions.  BUT, there are several times the above action is considered appropriate.  Appropriate you think?  Yes, appropriate I answer.  What about college partying days;  Or how about your Father-in-law finds a 'special' at the local beer store .  How else should you get rid of it?  Or a Jimmy Buffett concert is always good.  I personally like to kick off most of my beach vacations with one of these bad boys... not always but sometimes.  OK, but this one... This particular beer above has SPECIAL meaning.  Yes, special meaning in my heart and memories.  Today is the day that my Brecken got her OFFICIAL ALL CLEAR message from her ENT Specialist Dr Maguire of Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh UPMC.  Ok, so probably not how the doctor wants to be linked.  And not the best post for him.  But this guy is great!  He was incredibly professional and down to earth.  He explained everything he could in 10 different ways till myself and my wife understood what was going on each time.  He specializes in the Air way Clinic at Children's, and my daughter had a laryngeal cleft.  That with some neurological immaturities caused Brecken to have a rough time with swallowing thin liquids practically since she was born (now 3.5 years old).  So for the the last 2 years, we have had to carry ThickIt around in little baggies that my wife and I would joke looked like crack. We would then add it to our daughters drink before she drank anything; water, milk, juice, ect.  If she drank with out ThickIt she would likely 'penetrate' or worse 'aspirate'.  Was it a life threatening condition?  Not really - but it held a huge risk of aspiration pneumonia and other respiratory conditions.  The story is long and I don't want to bore you, if you need/want more information please contact me - I'll provide what I can and even better give you the contact information of our doctor!  To cut to the chase, 2 weeks ago Brecken went for her annual Cookie Swallow (Modified Barium Swallow) and results were good.  No, they were GREAT!  Terrific!  The speech pathologist on hand was so excited that at 3.5 she has begun to develop coping mechanisms to deal with this condition.  She still seems to have the condition from what they say, but basically, she is mentally and  neurologically developing skills to work around/with it.  Our bodies are incredible devices - even Dr Maguire mentioned that he has continually learned from this case.  This condition in pediatric cases is stll relatively new and the doctors are constantly learning.  So here is to Brecken!  She can dink thin liquids.  We no longer must thicken anything - just monitor her for any change for the worse.  We are obviously ecstatic around here.

So, naturally it seemed the affectionately called 'ShotGun' as demo'd above was a great way to send off he thickening ordeal.  And what more appropriate beer to do it with then with something that is not worth a sturdy evaluation.  Pabst Blue Ribbon - Light (everytime I type it I cringe a little) is a low end beer, no one should argue that.  Some people out there drink this beer religiously!  For those that do, my hat goes off to you as you are sadly missing out on a whole world of liquids that taste better and have more character.  Sure, sure, you can say - I LIKE BEER and I can't afford the good stuff.  I personally feel life is to short and can't afford to drink this stuff!  Usually this is the stuff my father-in-law has around his house.  Every other week the selection runs low and he replenishes with the news swill on sale.  I don't usually complain because free beer is better than no beer ( mostly ).  And let's face it, he usually is forced to drink whatever I have on stock at my house which is not usually to his liking.  So, for that I attempt to stay grateful.  Every once in awhile, he'll go really low and bring something like PBR or something and I'm sure I'll make a face or comment.  But I still drink it!  I usually get more crap from him about drinking it then I make!  Usually!  So, this beer is not good in my opinion.  It lacks anything of quality.  If drank cold and quickly, ie Shot Gun, it is barely bearable - allow this beer to get to 1 degree above freezing and look out.  All sorts of imperfections start to show.  Proceed at your own risk!  This was the first beer ( of many this year I'm sure ) not worthy of a glass in my opinion.

You can read this how you choose.  I'm not trying to be a beer snob here.  If you think I am - I can show you many people that wouldn't drink this if it was the last beer on the planet.  I am not that guy!  I drink beers like this on a semi-regular basis.  Sometimes, some places this beer has a place - college parties, Buffett concerts, and father-in-laws 'Final Approach Lounge' (or garage depending on how well you know him).  If you would, like there are other devices to drink this quickly like the Beer Bong or Funnel - google at your own risk.  Maybe the most appropriate drinking apparatus would be the 'Red Solo Cup' - Of course, I personaly would offend my solo cup with this beer - I would try to upgrade to something just a bit nice.

Cheers - and here is to Brecken!  Love you baby girl!
 
 
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Have I ever told you I hate technology!  Seriously, yea yea, I know there are those comedians (Louis C.K. as one for sure) out there that talk about this day and age the 'kids' are spoiled.  Every generation seems to work this way.  Yes, we are spoiled.  Has any generation before us had it better than us?  Many say no because back in the day I didn't have cell phones, or I didn't have a wireless phone, or I didn't have a phone.  Back in the day, faxes didn't exist, television didn't exist, color or  HD or anything!  If we go WAY back th wheel wasn't even invented yet.  Well, lets face it technology no matter how power it is, is frustrating.  Everything is "buggy" these days.  It is our "SPOILED-NESS" that continues to push technology to be better and better; but at the same time as technology gets better so do the bugs/viruses.  This laptop that I sat down to write up this article tonight took 40 minutes of my life away that I'll NEVER reclaim by hanging.  I still haven't found the problem - but I will eventually.  I rebooted and things are "better" but I know - deep down inside there is SOMETHING wrong.  I'm minutes away from wiping it out and reloading it from scratch.  That is for another day!

One invention above really plays a key role in my beer of choice tonight, the wheel!  The wheel was one of the greatest inventions of all times.  I was going to research this and actually found a very found a funny but maybe to "political" site for my blog post about the invention of beer and the wheel.  I think beer was probably invented first and the wheel a means to transport the beer to a friend's house; at least that is what I'm going with.  Well after the wheel was invented, a name by the name of Jeff Lebesch decided to pick up a bike and travel through Europe on his journey to learn more about beer.  What better purpose the wheel could server I'll never know.  Anyway, this beer came from Jeff riding and thinking about the best beer he could produce.  He came up with the recipe Fat Tire.  Now, if I was writing this post 12 years ago this post would be completely different.  It would be nothing but PRAISE that this is the best beer on the planet.  It is incredible and oaky and hoppy and fresh and just down right goodness.  This was my first trip to one of the most beautiful states I've ever visited - Colorado.  And one of the neatest little towns I've ever stayed in Boulder Co, just north of Denver. 

Well, phase in 10-12 years later, multiple different styles of beers later and many more traveled miles under my belt.  Strike it up to my palate changing, experience, or an actual change to the brewing/recipe/style/qa, or whatever... either way, I just don't like this beer as much as I once did.  I'm quite bummed as I've been waiting years and years for it to get to the east coast.  Its getting closer and closer to PA and definitely on the east coast.  As a matter of fact, I could travel just
2 hours down the road to Maryland and pick some up - but for Fat Tire, I'm not sure I'll travel that far any longer.  I used to love it - I liken it to Yuengling.  At one time, I LOVED Yuengling, I don't like it near as much as I once did.  I blame it on MASS PRODUCTION and actual change in taste but it could just simply be me!

This beer still pours a nice amber red.  I don't particularly like the smell on the nose.  I personally think it has sort of an off smell to it.  I think it probably attributes to the style of hops used in this recipe possible.  I just think this beer sort of drinks like a beer out of a can even though it is straight of te bottle.  The taste is OK, I definitely get the "toasty biscuit-like" taste the bottle describes.  Maybe it is that 'biscuit' taste that doesn't appeal to me.  Or it could be again the style of hops used.  Either way, this beer is no longer my all time favorite.  I have tried some of their other brews and look forward to reviewing the 1554 and hopefully a few other styles that I can get my hands on.  I would say this is a beer to try if/when you get around to it - especially if you ar on the east coast and have never seen it before.  I even read a few weeks back about the brewery expanding to the east coast.  The talk was I believe Philly area (boo, wish they were thinking about Pittsburgh - but Philly is close enough) or I believe North Carolina.  It sounded like the non-Philly city was looking more viable but we'll have to wait and see what happens.

Either way - New Belgium Brewing has a great story on their site.  Not to mention it seems like a great company and a great place to work.  I found this post on their page and thought it says a lot about their style - this beer will get some pluses in my grading because of the company itself - can't wait to review their other brews:

Company Core Values and Beliefs
 1.Remembering that we are incredibly lucky to create something fine that enhances people's lives while surpassing our consumers' expectations.
2.Producing world-class beers.
3.Promoting beer culture and the responsible enjoyment of beer.
4.Kindling social, environmental and cultural change as a business role model.
5.Environmental stewardship: Honoring nature at every turn of the business.
6.Cultivating potential through learning, high involvement culture, and the pursuit of opportunities.
7.Balancing the myriad needs of the company, our coworkers and their families.
8.Trusting each other and committing to authentic relationships and communications.
9.Continuous, innovative quality and efficiency improvements.
10.Having Fun. 


 
 
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So, here it is Jan 23; I'm 23 beers in (plus some extras) and I am fairly confident I've had enough cinnamon, ginger and honey to put Winnie the Pooh in a seizure.  Well, OK, maybe not the honey - I'm sure there are going to be a lot of good brews of honey through out the rest of this year (side note thought - should I include Meads in this?  Are Meads Beer?  Or something very special on their own - will have to investigate).  But the other two, god save me!  I'm sure if I line all the Christmas brews up side by side together and tasted them all to compare I would be able to notice all sorts of differences.  Instead, separating them out I'm starting to feel like a Christmas tree being decorated with just another round ornament - nothing exciting just round and maybe a different color.  Not to mention - Christmas is done - I don't want to think about Christmas for at least 9 more months.

But noooo... I had to go do something crazy like challenge myself to 365 different beers in 365 different days (Yes, I KNOW - this is a Leap Year and I'm working on what that "SPECIAL" beer should be - suggestions being taken on Facebook if you have any good ones).  So, here I sit, 9:35pm on a Monday night.  Just finished logging a bunch of hours for work that I was running behind on and settled in for my next beverage.  I am sort of hungry so I'm hopeful this brew puts a fix to that craving.  My wife just sat and enjoyed one of our favorite snacks in front of me and it really bummed me out - Sourdough Hard Pretzels and cream cheese.  Don't knock it till you try it; I guess I will not be enjoying those till at least November 2013 at least till I get these braces off.  Ok, so maybe I'm a little bitter but I'll survive.

Anyway, onto the Great Lakes - Christmas Ale;  This beer actually states on the side of the bottle that it was a Gold Medal Winner in the World Beer Championships.  I do not know if it was a special seasonal brew or Christmas Ale style or regular style of beer winner.  Either way, I think it was well deserved.  Though I'm sick of all these spices in my beer this one is quite enjoyable.  This beer pours a nice copper brownish red.  It has a nice head that coats the side of the glass as you drink it down like a white polar bear fur coat.  The taste is a little sweet but some how they find a way to force the malty goodness to cut through so it tastes like a quality beer.  Interesting enough I never seemed to remember liking Great Lakes Brewery beers but this challenge seems to be proving me wrong.  There is a nice quality of hops that come through to balance out the sweet, the spice and the malty.  This beer is nice and balanced.  I could easily call this a nice session brew during the cold snowy wintery December night.  Hell, if I had two or three more of these I may partake in a few more myself tonight.  But alas I only have one.  I guess I'll finish this down and decide whether I should:

A) drink a differnt beer,
B) find something to eat,
C) or just go to bed.

They all seem equally appealing for all types of good reasons!  Anyway, have a great night and I'll be back tomorrow!

 
 
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"If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary-wise; what it is it wouldn't be, and what it wouldn't be, it would. You see?"

This is the story of my world currently.  I live in a house of one wife, one 6.5 year old daughter, one 3.5 year old daughter, and a female cat.  There are some fish that reside here as well but I'm not sure of the age or sex at this point.  In this world that I find myself in I am extremely happy, but lets face it - its a woman's world.  I have hair brushes, dresses, pinkness, tears, drama, entertainment and happiness.  Its one big ball of emotion.

Tonight, my daughter had a play date.  These two besties were made for each other.  They have been together, well as long as I can remember.  Jordan met Alayna at the ripe old age of 11 weeks old (maybe 12).  Alayna is one week older.  After seeing them play tonight if 6 old girls would run the world we might be in a much better place.  As Alice stated above, nothing would be what it is. It would be as they wanted.  They are persistant enough to make it be.  And they are willing to do everything in their power (typically this means 20-40 minutes of temper tantrum crying in my house) to make it this way.  Things haven't made a lot of sense since my daughter turned 6 and I suspect  it will only get crazier as she gets older.  Oh, its entertaining; tonight's entertainment - the girls wanted to start their very first business (or is it there 100th?)  In this company, the girls were going to go door to door selling ice cream.  Its winter so not a bad idea.  Unfortunately, it was getting dark and my road is more of a race track then a back road so the answer was no.  But that is not how they saw it.  The persistance of these girls and the actions the two took in the 30-45 minutes of me saying no, had me thinking - MAYBE, just MAYBE an Ice Cream Company ran by 6 year old girls was the perfect answer.  Then I thought, why stop there, why not malls, restaurants, amusement parks, President?, the world?  I mean, lets face it - there energy is never ending.  There imagination and creativity is bar none.  They are good!  They are brilliant.  They are cute!  Who could say no?

Then I looked at the bottle I was drinking and thought - Hm, Mad Hatter?  This seems all to appropriate.  Almost like the girls some how tricked me and put a "magic pill" in my lunch to make it so.  They are crafty after all.  Who is to say what they would be capable of?  No, no magic, no slight of hand, but maybe a little crazy Mad Hatter is running around this house tonight trying to relax after the girls calmed down.

New Holland's Mad Hatter was very good.  I drank two different IPAs tonight - but of course I am only reviewing one today.  I will save the other to drink and review for another time.  It was very solidly balanced for an IPA.  There was definitely a malty sweet character that balanced out the hop notes enough to not make it be one tiered.  It had a very impressive hop kick to it though.  It was true to the IPA form and did not leave you wishing there was more.  It was actually pretty simple.  If you like Hoppy beers but want it to taste more like a beer then a liquid hop try this beer.  Oh you get the hop aroma from the dry-hopping.  You even get smacked with a nice hop taste but the Mad Hatter doesn't try to confuse you that you are drinking beer.  It only tries to confuse you with this question:
  "Why is a raven like a writing desk?"

What?  You don't know the answer - neither do I?  And apparently neither did the author when the question was posed.  Sort of makes you think maybe they had a 6 year old in their house when they were writing this.  The link here, if you were not sure was that Alice was approximately 7 years old in this story Alice in Wonderland.  And of course, Alayna and Jordan are at the ripe age of 6.5 - so just on the verge of turning 7!  Oh the things I have to look forward!

A few sides:
1.  I got many of my notes for this from IMDB.com and found out Alice was 7 (as I guess she was close to) from Ask Yahoo
2. Though, I wish the Steelers were still in the playoffs they are not; and I had to root for the better of two evils today and the Patriots took the win beating the Ravens (Yet, another link to this post with the Mad Hatter's question about the writing desk?)!  Though, I've got mixed emotions about the Pats going to the Super Bowl AGAIN... I'm glad not to see Baltimore go - I'm sorry if I have any Raven's readers on here - I hope you will not think lesser of me.  Its JUST FOOTBALL... but it makes me happier that they lost.
3.  The world lost an INCREDIBLE human being today!  Joe Paterno was iconic.  He will live on in my mind as one of the best College Football Coaches (if not coaches) of all time.  The things he did for that town, for his college, for the students that attended that college, and the students that played under him go unmatched by many.  The world has lost an idol today and the heavens have gained a good man.  I hope to live a happy and healthy life to the ripe age of 85+ as Joe displayed.  It is sad what had happened to put a shadow on his incredible journey of life but I hope those few horrific moments that were not directly related to him do not hold a dampness on his otherwise generous and amazing career.  The skies were Blue and White in Pittsburgh today and I think that is Gods' way of accepting Joe Pa into heaven.  R.I.P. Joe Paterno and my prayers go out to his family and closest friends.
4.  This beer was gifted to me from my Brother-In-Law - J.D. - greatly appreciated the beer and thank you for this.  Obviously, I couldn't incorporate your story for this one into tonight's story.  Although - I'm sure I could have twisted the "it isn't how/what it is supposed to be" into your story easily if I wanted to - maybe another time.