Since this is already an otherwise lengthy blog, I'll refrain from boring you with any extra jabber in the beginning.  I will say, of the past few days - I was called back in to work at Copper Kettle Brewing Saturday afternoon and I remember just how much I really love that job.  Thanks to Greg for having me over there to lend a helping hand.  It really is a passion and I'm learning stuff every day.  Now on to the beers;
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6/19/2012 – Founder’s Brewing – Curmudgeon Old Ale – Grade 3.75
The definition by Merriam-Webster.com states – “ill-tempered, usually old man”.  Boy is this not foreshadowing of my birthday in 3 days.  Yes, another year older and grumpy still.  I never thought it possible for age to turn you miserable.  But in honesty I don’t think age is the factor; it be experiences.  I have many experiences of late to make me grumpier then I am but I’ll bare you the gory details.  See I’m not that old or that grumpy YET!  But this beer may be.  It is an Old Ale Style.  Beer advocate writes “Rich dark amber in color to a very dark brown; near black. Tamed aromatics. Although bittering levels can greatly vary, expect common fruity, vinous, intense malts and sharp alcohol characteristics. The often racy but mellow attitude of the beer may also include acidic notes, raisins and black currants.”  My take on Founder’s it’s a bit grumpy but maybe not quiet old enough in its maturity.  At 9.8% per volume these beers are brewed to be aged and battered.  They were traditionally stored in oak barrels where I suspect they would get some of their color.  This beer is amber in color for sure though not quite as dark as Beer Advocate may suggest.  The aroma is somewhat “tame” but really screams of dubious amounts of raisins.  I know this because it smells oddly reminiscent of a Barley Wine I brewed with many pounds of raisins in the brew.  There is really no head to talk about in the glass save a little island of murky mess on the top of the glass that barely qualifies as head.  The beer is not filtered at all as I see many little bits of brew remnants floating through the glass, so much so I thought at first it was carbonation.  Speaking of which the carbonation on this beer is a nice mellow punch that is a nice balance to the malty sweetiness this beer brings to your taste buds.  This thing explodes with flavor on your tongue but is heavy with some hop kick and raisin bite.   This is heavy on the alcohol and almost bourbon or whiskey type drinking.  As I’ve described it above, you may not believe that I’ve actually enjoy this beer immensely.  Unfortunately, I think this particular bottle was YOUNG and needed to put some hair on its chest before it was ready for the big game.

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6/18/2012 – Lancaster Brewery – Rumspringa Honey Bock – Grade 2.5
This beer is quite interesting for you none Pennsylvania Dutch followers out there (and I guess this could be for other areas – but I’m most familiar with it from PA Dutch history).  Rumspringa simply stated means adolescence.  There is a certain amount of rebellion that is tolerated in the religion.  This is roughly from age of 16 till the child decides leave the community or chose baptism and remains in the community.  I do not have the percentages but you are free to look it up.  The kids may do things that are not part of the religion like where “casual” clothes, drive automobiles and engage in premarital sex.  There are legends of big parties happening in Lancaster in barns for these events though I’ve never partaken in any.  Anyway, to the beer – this beer actually is a Honey Bock so I was hopeful for it.  It poured a nice light yellow honey color in the glass.  It smelt a bit sweet and sugary aroma to the glass.  The head was light and thin on top.  Up front the taste is nice and light and a bit sweet or lightly malty.  In the back the after taste is a bit dry and overly sweet.  It tastes a bit overly honey to me in the back and gives it a slight check mark against it.  Over all, it is a nice honey beer if those suit your fancy.  I would say it is 100% better then the Honey Browns of the world; but not one of my favorite beers for sure.


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6/17/2012 – Lancaster Brewery – Milk Stout – Grade 4
Straight from my home town land; well sort of.  I grew up in York County which is right across the river from Lancaster County.  Growing up there was (and probably still is) some rivalries about those to counties and a huge pride in the whole protecting the bridges between the two in on 30 and Old 30 or 462 or Lincoln Highway (depending on where you are from).  Anyway, as I’ve grown I’ve learned that Lancaster really does have a lot of great things to offer and this brewing is a relatively new thing but worthy offering for sure.  This brewer’s Milk Stout is perfectly named.  Not because of all the cows in the neighboring areas that produce a ton of dairy – but instead when you sip this it is like sipping a large glass of 100% complete fat milk.  It is thick.  It is creamy.  It is packed full of flavor and stouty goodness.  It is very bold and dark in the glass.  The head is huge on the top with a hint of brownness to it.  It is chocolaty and roasty with a bit of a nice dry finish.  I was reading an article recently that stated about not counting out Stouts and Porters for summer.  And they make a valid point.  It may not be a beer to sit and pound through a case of in a summer sitting.  But one of these on a later evening night while sitting back to relax and watch a bit of TV is MMM MMM Goodness.

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6/16/2012 – Innus & Gunn – Independence – Grade 3.75
I found this quote on a link:
“When we first produced Innis & Gunn Original in 2003, its wonderful flavor resulted from the interaction between our beer recipe and the American Oak in which we aged it.  And the success we have had internationally has only been possible because the USA has been the trailblazer for craft beer for over a decade. So we owe a great deal to the USA and we have brewed this special Independence Day beer to celebrate this.” (AllAboutBeer.com)

Which if you go and read the rest of the article gives a lot of great information about this beer.  As to not repeat or reiterate.  I’ll simply say that this is the third I&G that I’ve had and it has not disappointed.  Its unique flavor and style using the Oak Barrels is truly special.  The story of brewing this beer as a cask conditioner for their whiskey before throwing it down the drain is pretty remarkable as well.  In short, this beer has notes of caramel and oak throughout.  The picture I took of this is TERRIBLE and for that I apologize.  I had just finished a shift at Copper Kettle Brewing and the bar that I bought it was busy with a huge birthday party.  So, I didn’t get a great picture of the color.  And honestly didn’t take many notes.  But I do remember thinking it was a extremely nice and unique brew for sure.  It has a bit of a bitey hop kick to it that no doubt comes from the American Hop varieties they used to honor the country that created their oak barrels.  As a tribute to the United States these Scotts are alright in my book.  Slainte.  Here's tae ye to you I&G.  PS - I tried editing this picture a bit and even I could not fix this one it is so bad.  I must have been tired.  I've done wrong to Copper Kettle Brewing and Hough's for this picture.  I work this Saturday - I will get a NEW BEER (and maybe even another I&G and right this WRONGED picture)

As always - thanks for stopping by... Please come again!  Cheers!

 
 
As I sit back and think about my last 60 hours, it can't help me to think of the quote in the recently article of BeerAdvocate Magazine from Matt Keasey Owner/President/Head Brewer of Spring House Brewing Company: "I hate my job!"  I don't have the magazine in front of me this second so I may be para-phrasing.  But as with many owner/operators of micro breweries he hated his "9-5".  I do as well.  When I was growing up, I wanted to be an pilot or an artist.  Honestly, I looked into Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and also submitted a few of those "turtle/pirate" drawings from the back of some of those magazines back in the '80s.  Are they still around anymore?  You know the ones I'm talking about right?  Draw our best picture of the following picture, mail it in with a few comments and they will talk to you about your desires.  Ok, so maybe you don't remember.  Anyway, so what happened to those dreams?  Well, Embry-Riddle locations were a bit far away and a bit expensive.  And the artist dream sort of made me start thinking about my future and the fact there is no money in art until you are dead, mostly.  In general, you can't make a lot of money in art unless you are really good and/or hit it really big.  So my thought was - choose this profession because you have a passion for it.  So, instead I decided I liked and was experienced with computers.  I liked tinkering with them and maybe that should "be what I be when I grow up".

Time warp ahead 16 years, I've been at the same company (which in this field is a bit unheard of - maybe I'm doing that wrong) for that long.  I've changed positions, and had a few promotions but nothing major.  I'm still doing the basic same thing I was doing 16 years ago.  And to think about it - so are the other 10'sh people in my group.  I think in general there are some happy, some working and some extremely unhappy.  I don't know, I'm a father of two girls and a mortgage payment.  I do this job because it pays the bills.  This thought ALWAYS makes me sad and disturbed.  I used to like the job.  I like most of the people that I work directly with.  And I'm one of the fortunate ones that my customer base is not that terrible to often.  But I still hate it.  And for the last 60 hours or so, that is MOSTLY what I did.  I did get some sleep Tuesday night (actually like 8-9 hours).  But Monday to Tuesday I got about 1 hour of actual sleep IF I got that in about 36 to 39 hours.  That is SORT OF CRAZY.  Oh, and I don't get over time;  I don't know - sometimes I wonder why I do it.  Then one of the girls will walk in the room and I remember again, I want them to have a good/great life - at any expense.  So I continue for now... till the right opportunity comes along for me!  Lets hope it comes sooner rather then later.

So, three days no beer posts; what did I drink - I'll review them to the best of my memory.  I apologize the blog got off the beer subject the past few days but I'll try to make up for it... I promise.  For now, lets see, so Sunday nights Super Bowl night I chose to drink the Sam Adams Alpine Spring.  Their spring seasonal beer of choice.  I chose this because the hostess was nice enough to save me one and was awaiting my thoughts on the beer.  Without saying much, she passed me the beer and I poured it into the glass.  Now, the party hadn't started yet so I was able to really check out the beer a bit better then if the party was in full swing.  So it poured a very unfiltered yellow maybe a little brown.  Initial smell was that of what I've found of lagers, I think this must be something to do with the yeast.  The first few sips come across a little citrusy and bitter - almost a little offensive on the first bite.  After the first sip is able to settle down the hatch the after taste seems to start mellowing through your mouth.  After the second or third swig of this beer I started thinking it wasn't as bad as I initially thought.  Lesson learned here is the adage - "Don't judge a beer by its first sip."  Actually it wasn't near a beer as I initially thought.  It was almost even a little refreshing.  I think I'll call this a 2.75.  Its above average and could be drank again but would definitely need the right time/event.  Probably a little warmer outside and some flag football might be perfect with this beer.

On Monday, I had started working and basically drank a beer because I said I would for this challenge.  I went with the Heineken Light.  I'm never a huge person to "analyze" light beers.  There just isn't usually enough about them to discuss.  Basically, I think it is one of 2-3 three levels: drinkable, barely drinkable, and god awful disgusting.  I actually put this in the Drinkable.  Honestly, this was a wee bit more enjoyable then the regular Heineken in my opinion.  The Heineken I drank was sort of offensive, where this light was a bit more crisp.  It was a bit sweet and a little hoppy for a light beer.  And was light and sort of refreshing.  That night we had a veggie burger dinner and light (maybe my wife is trying to tell me something) but the beer went well with a "burger"'sh meal - I could imagine a MEAT BURGER and this beer would pair well together.  I would say try this beer.  It was definitely drinkable and I actually enjoyed it.  I have also been diagnosed with Sinusitis so maybe the sickness is/was having some role in my liking of this beer.

On Tuesday when I drank my beer I would have been awake for about 34 hours from straight through hell'sh go live.  This day I chose to reward my hard work with a better quality beer and went with a can of Oskar Blues Old Chubs Scotch Ale.  This was a great beer.  When I poured it from the can it pour very soda like; in this I mean it was very carbonated and dark in color.  When I held the beer up to the light I picked up multiple colors, black/brown/red/maroon (remember I've been awake for a very long time).  I was impressed and shocked by this color.  The beer was malty and sweet smell to it.  When I tasted it, it was an incredible roasty carmaly goodness to the beer.  There was a small hint of hoppiness to it that balanced out the sweetness.  I let the beer warm and slowly enjoyed this beer one sip at a time. I likened the beer to a nice scotch like drink.  It was not extremely carbonated and extremely carbonated.  I really enjoyed the light to medium body mouth feel.  I gotta say, this was an incredible treat after such a long work "day".  I think the nice thing to mention is, YES this is a CANNED BEER.  It seems that in some of my reading "Canning" is back in the beer world and no longer a "CHEAP BEER" quality.  Many microbreweries are starting to looking into this for the great qualities that come with it.  It is cheaper to ship, easily recyclable, and actually contrary to popular belief tastes GREAT!  I had a Dale's Pale Ale a few years back (maybe 6 or so) because it was "in a can" and the guy said, yea try it - its great... its not a "cheap beer".  He was right Oskar Blues do great things to canned beers.

So, tonight's beer of choice - Founder's Breakfast Stout.  I had high hopes of saving this for a Saturday morning and chugging it down for breakfast and then having the post up on here by 10am.  Well, that didn't happen.  Once again, I felt like I needed to reward myself so I chose to drink this beer.  This beer is beer.  It pours a big DEEP Brown almost black.  The head does not stick around long and as this beer warms in the glass the taste just gets more and more complex.  The complexity of this beer is right on the label - it is labeled as a "Double Chocolate Coffee Oatmeal Stout".  If that isn't a mouth full the beer definitely is.  There is SO MUCH going on in this beer it is hard to discuss.  The huge chocolatey malt that comes from this is intense and not for the weak at heart.  It is big and strong.  You definitely get the creamy "oatmeal"'ness of the beer for sure.  And well, the coffee - I get so much of it and it is 10:20pm on Wednesday night - this beer best not keep me awake (which would be damn near impossible how tired I am).  This beer has a little bit of spiciness to it.  I almost smell a pancake/syrupness in the glass (which I know sounds weird but that is what I'm picking up on right now).  This beer is actually making me hungry for a hearty breakfast.  I enjoyed this beer with the wonderful "valentines day sugar cookies" my wife is working on for her new foody blog she started at http://butterisbetter.weebly.com.  Check it out in your spare time!  Anyway, I really like this breakfast stout but I will tell you - I wouldn't be able to drink more then one or two in a sitting.  It is big and complex.  Enjoy at your own risk.

OK, so this caught me up I think - Sorry for the book.  And since it is a book and I am tired - I'm not actually going to proof read this.  Please excuse any grammatical/spelling/errors in any way.  I'm usually a bit more cautious about this but just do not have the energy.  Hopefully tomorrow night I'll be back to the regularly scheduled program!  And as always - THANKS FOR STOPPING BY!!
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Founders - Breakfast Stout - Double Chocolate Coffee Oatmeal Stout