So this was my birthday weekend.  It was a bit of a hectic week for sure.  But as always one for the records.  My girls were sweet and happy and showered me with love.  I could ask for better girls when it comes to that.  They are special.  For me, I took sometime to reflect on this challenge.  So far, it is going pretty much as I expected.  I had hoped to keep up on the notes better then I have been the last few weeks.  But it is summer so what else can you really expect for something fun and extra like this.  Also, I have had time to reflect about another incident about humanity recently.  This issue with the "bus monitor lady".  I don't know where my readers stand.  But I did post a bit on facebook today on my personal account.  Responses were interesting.  I mean no disrespect here I'm just really confused by the actions of others to donate "so much money" for this situation.  Its interesting because when I started this venture a comment was made about me "wasting my money" on something like me drinking and enjoying beer.  The beauty of this country is we all have our own opinions.  I just really think this bus monitor issue was taken to a whole new level and very very interesting.  So be it, on to the beers:
New Holland Brewery - Hopivore -  Grade 4
This caramel brown liquid comes equipped with a light murky thin head on top.  The beer smells of flowery hops with hints of citrusy grapefruit.  The taste is definitely a spiced hoppiness on the back of your tongue with a medium body.  The site speaks about using 100% of Michigan hops that.  And an even more special note is that this beer was wet hopped.  I’m not sure any other beers I had this year was wet hopped.  Basically, this brings the hops straight in off the truck into the brew.  It brings a very unique flavor of the hop that is more fresh and bitter.  There is no drying of the hops before the use.

Sierra Nevada – Bigfoot 2011 – Grade 4.25
When I pour this I first notice the huge thick red color in the glass.  The color could be likened to a Red Mahogany or Sedona Red stain.  The head disappeared quickly.  When I swirled the beer in the glass it held to the side trying not to fall to the bottom.  The liquid is thick and syrupy in every sip.  With huge alcohol smell and taste in every sip it really came across as a nice bourbon or scotch conditioned in a cask.  This beer had huge amounts of hops.  The texture is thick in the mouth.  Every sip tasted like pounds of liquid raisins.  The high alcohol taste seemed to balance out many of these other flavors nicely.  This beer is very highly malted and nicely balanced.  It did taste like it could take a bit more time to mature.

Clearly this is not the right picture - Scratch this - Its my birthday and I planned on drinking this - I DID drink this as I got it as a birthday gift from a close friend.  Thank you for that.  Though they harrassed me half the nigh if I had already drank this (clearly they do not review the Empties section of my site ;) haha).  In drinking this now, I found I liked it a 'bit more' then when I drank it a few weeks back.  Now, what else did I drink Friday night?  It was my birthday - so I will use the Saranac - Blueberry Blonde Ale - I honestly can't "safely" review this beer tonight since I actually was fairly "happy" while drinking these.  I did try this again this past weekend and I remember it being nice and refreshing.  I don't remember if it was to Blue Berry Sweet or not.  I have a few left down stairs and may try to come back to this one.  In general I remember liking it and I'll call it a Grade 3 since it was a drinkable beer and I enjoyed it.  But it was a FRUITY beer so?  I am starting to get sick of these though I gotta say.

Church Brew Works – Pious Monk –
This is a nice brown beer in the glass.  There is a wonderful nice clinging head to the side of the glass.  In general, this beer is a nice medium bodied beer with nice lager notes in the nose.  The beer flows nicely over the tongue leaving a nice tingle of hop trace on every sip.  It finishes with a bit of light peppery spice.   Almost has a silky smooth texture in every sip.

Saranac Brewery - Kolsch – Grade 3
Nice medium bodied sweet malty body – very beer like qualities.  Nice carbonation tingled the tongue nicely.  Honestly, not much to talk about with this one.  Just running low on descriptors

Stone Brewery – IPA Ruination – Grade 4.25
Head of the beer is thick and cream and stream.  The first sip of this beer is definitely screams of all hops.  That is by design of course.  I got a huge citrus and maybe even rose pedal in the mouth.  The malts are big and strong to hold this beer nicely.  The alcohol on this beer is showing a 7.7% alcohol to help support the hops. The bottle even has printed right on the side: “A liquid poem to the glory of the hop”.  A very nice beer to be drank indeed.  Not being a huge hop head I still can find a way to enjoy this beer.

New Holland Brewery - Dragon's Milk Ale Aged in Oak Barrels - Grade 3.5
This is a STRONG beer.  This is a BIG beer.  This is a Ale Aged in OAK Barrels.  This is part of New Hollands High Gravity Series.  I have had this beer in the past and remember liking it a bit more then I do tonight.  It could partly be that I am not up for a "BIG BEER" tonight.  Or it could be that this beer is just a bit more BITTER then I would like.  It pours very dark brack in the glass.  It pours with a dark brown head on top that lingers around gently as you drink.  This mouth feel is a strong alcohol background that makes you want to reach for a water.  It is hardy not refreshing.  There are notes of black cherry nose wafting from the glass.  Also, a bit of wood and dark malty chocolates.  I do normally enjoy this but tonight it is a bit strong.  It definitely leaves a bit of a bitter bite in the back of our mouth.  I would like it to be a bit more smooth.  Maybe it is a younger beer that could be aged a bit in the cellar.  I would recommend you try this beer as a unique beer but be warned - it is STRONG alcohol flavor.  And enjoy!

As always - drink responsibily (maybe not like I did on my b-day night) and have fun.  Every beer has a story and these beers are no different.  Thanks for reading.

I'm Officially caught up with my blog again as of tonight if I can finish this writing before falling asleep.  So here I sit, trying to figure where the past 2-3 weeks have gone.  The past few weeks of my life we've spent having our house on the market, looking at new houses,  a wonderful Easter Holiday weekend, work has been extremely busy lately, not to mention I've picked up a part time job and yet I don't know if time is standing still or flying by.  Of all the things in the past, I think parenting has been the largest challenge lately with the two beautiful daughters I have.  There has been several challenges every day bringing a new lights, thoughts and experiences.  Although I know we are not supposed to compare each child to the other, this has been a challenge to avoid.  As life builds from childhood to teenager to adult, you grow/learn from experience.  You learn in school and college that EXPERIENCE is the best weapon to accelerate and excel in everything you do.  Unfortunately, I do not recall any parenting classes in High School or College and worse off, the whole concept of experience leading you to the top thrown out the window with parenting.  Though experience helps, experience with one child means very little for the other.  They are both individuals and both need to be handled like a delicate fragile shipment each with their own needs and requirements.  Each year they grow older and gain their own experiences and knowledge and absorb their own personality which tweaks everything you've learned to date and makes you modify you game plan going forward.  Here I am 10 years of parenting "collectively" with a 6.5 and 3.5 year old child and I couldn't feel more like a newbie.  It speaks volumes that as I grew up and out of my own parents house I never knew or appreciated the challenges that they had to over come with me and my sister..  I thank them and have an all new appreciation for them moving forward.

Now onto the beer, this one brought to me from Aaron from Richmond, Virginia ( one of the St Patrick's Day buddies that come into Pittsburgh for that crazy weekend).  Thanks again for your contributions they are always appreciated.  Devil's Backbone Eight Point IPA comes from Lexington, VA to be specific.  The first pour of this into a glass the hops came screaming out at me.  I could tell that this was going to be a tough one to get through just by smell.  I am thinking that which ever hop is used as the main hop of this beer - it is the one that I really do not like.  This beer proves my "Why IPA's are over rated" theory.  It is simply a glass of liquid hop.  I get very little body from the beer.  And even worse there is no malty characteristics to distinguish this as a malted beverage that I can tell at all.  The smell burns my nose a bit of the hops so strong in the glass.  It is very clear yellow color in the glass.  It is very light and not very refreshing in my mind at all.  This was a tough beer to finish.  To finish my theory, some IPAs and some people think that no matter the recipe if you add enough hops it will be an IPA and it will sell.  That is sort of my thought of this beer.  I'm not sure - is this possibly a centennial and or cascade hops.  I'm not sure specifically which one I don't like but it really kills my taste buds.  I hope this wasn't one of Aaron's Favorites that he presented to me as I do not mean to offend.  We all have our likes and dislikes, this is a DISLIKE for me.

Well, it is growing late and I have to do some studying for my next day at the brewery this Saturday.  Although, I know the science of brewing a bit better them the average joy I do not speak as professionally on the subject as I would like.  I would definitely like to be a bit more well versed for my day 2 of the brewery position.  Good night all and thanks for listening.

I have no excuses.  I have not given this blog its fair share lately and for that I apologize to all the faithful readers out there.  Life has been getting in the way of fun and fun has taken a back seat lately.  We've been house hunting, visiting my parents in York PA, and oh yea, my full time job (that has kept me busy the past three days).  Have no fear - I have drank my beers; each and every one.  Unfortunately, I have little to link them to and even fewer pictures.  Which is weird since I thought I've taken pictures of every one of my beers on my phone since the beginning.  I'm wondering if a certain little 3 year old may have anything to do with the disappearance of a few of those pictures.  So, tonight - I bring you catch up night... no not Heinz Catchup!  The procrastinators guide to 365's beer challenge.  I'll mention the good the bad and even the ugly to keep with consistency around here.  One thing I will not do is judge on quality / taste / mouth feel / color ect.  Quite frankly that part of this blog is starting to really bore me!  I'm not into that.  I feel to pretentious or something.  And quite frankly I don't think I'm that good at it.  So for a round out of this past weeks beers:

4/4/2012 Long Trail Belgian White - I bought this case a few weeks ago and have been TRYING hard to finish this.  I was sort of excited about this but terribly let down.  The beer is HIGHLY (EXTREMELY) carbonated.  It has a really strong citric bite to it.  It is a challenge for me to take each sip.  It is almost like a champagne consistency.  I still have a few left in my house and they are going down very slow.  I have a hard time throwing away any beer... but honestly, I don't know - this is one I consider dumping every day.

4/3/2012 Dogfish Head Brewery Indian Brown Ale - "A clean well hopped brown ale - brewed with caramelized sugar and hopped liberally and often".  The pour in the glass was dark brown to black color with low carbonation.  It was a bit lighter body then I expected.  It was sort of a chocolate taste with a bit of caramel and coffee hints.  It also had sort of a heavy roasted almost burnt flavor.  I downloaded the BJCP app for my iPhone and was doing some research.  I was checking the English Pale Ales.  I saw a Southern English Brown Ale that seemed to fit this bill.  It didn't totally hit the biscuit flavor.  It definitely had a bit of hop characteristics that maybe are not as typical but for a Dogfish didn't surprise.  In general, I didn't care for this beer.  I knew that Dogfish beers were not always going to be enjoyable for me so this is one of the first I've found that I didn't like.  I probably would try this again sometime but definitely will not be rushing out for more anytime soon.

4/2/2012 Southern Teir Douple IPA - This beer was a VERY STRONGLY hopped beer.  The head retention was big.  There was actually a decent caramel backing to this beer in the malt department.  It was balanced well for being a DOUBLE IPA.  In general, I really enjoyed this beer on draft.  Ordered this from Rockefellar's in Kennedy Township.  We don't make it up there enough these days.  They usually have a few good beers on draft and the food is pretty good also.  Nice local place.  I'm slowly coming back into liking a NICE good IPA and this beer sits nicely up there on the Must Drink IPAs.  If you make it to Rockefeller's be sure to get the Dry Rub Cajun Wings extra Crispy; one of my favorites.

4/1/2012 Coors Original Banquet - Thank you father in law Bill!  We drove a long way from York to Pittsburgh.  Bill is always there to have a nice cold one ready for me after a long drive.  It was nothing to write about so - I'm not going to!

3/31/2012 Spring House Brewing 7 Gates Pale Ale - This was a nice beer!  I've been waiting a long time to get this beer.  I recently read an article in Beer Advocate about these guys.  I also was a neighbor of one of the guys involved with this company.  Great look to a brewery and wonderful concert of doing local legends for their beers.  In general this was a great beer.  It had a very nice hop character with the malty goodness to back it up and balance it out.  I had bought a 6 pack of this in York while out visiting my parents.  I do not believe I actually captured a picture of this which is a bit upsetting.  Either way, it was nice beer and I think they have a great thing going.

3/30/2012 Flying Dog Snake Bite IPA - Actually, as I recall this beer was good.  It was definitely hoppy no doubt.  I recall thinking that hop heads abroad would LOVE this beer but to me - its the bad kind of hop beer.  It must be the style of hop that is not my flavor.  In general, this is the sort of hop style that steered me away from IPAs to begin with.  It is crisp and clean but just to hop flavored with out enough malt body to it.

So, I started this 4 days ago - and now I have 4 more beers to catch up on.  Obviously, this blogging thing is really catching up with me!  Its tough but I am really trying to catch up and really do a better job with.  Well, I know I still have people visiting the site and checking out Facebook.  If anyone is looking for more, different, something specifically - please request.  I recently got a new role in life that I'm TRYING out that I hope is going to work for me.  May delay the blogging a bit - but I'm going to attempt to blog at least once a week.  Those that are BETTER I'll try to blog better but who knows.  Let me know what if anything you'd like different.