What an incredibly long and wonderful weekend.  My parents came in from out of town for my youngest' 4 year birthday weekend.  We were able to enjoy a fun dinner out at Red Robin in Robinson with the girls and grandparents.  Brecken loved every minute of it.  Saturday was spent mostly ALL DAY at the park.  We had a great day, both sets of my daughter's grandparents were at the park all day with us and really made it a great family day at the park.  We rode some rides, we ate some bad food... the only thing we didn't do was drink any beer.  There is a big story going on at Kennywood about allowing alcohol in the park or not.  I guess they are trying to get it passed but there are many people out there that feel this would be a terrible idea.  That your "family friendly" environment would turn ugly.  I guess as I type this I wonder myself.  In general, adding alcohol to any park in my mind is not a terrible idea.  I mean - I've been to Disney, specifically Epcot several times and never once felt uncomfortable with my family there.  Now, that said, the one bad thing about Kennywood and beer is "location".  Possibly, that could create a level of "concern" that I guess is worthy of investigating.  Although, all that being said, I say bring on the beer!  Please pass this and move on with it.  Feel free to Google Kennywood and Beer and do the reading for yourself.  I do have to say though - it definitely wasn't Kennywood's finest hour.  It was fairly busy from the hours of 1pm-6pm or so and they definitely were not warmed up for the season yet.  Hopefully they will improve as the park seemed a little dirty and the food lines were slow and things in general could have just been a bit better.
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6/10/2012 - Rivertown Brewery - Lager - Grade 3
This is a local brewery just on the east side of Pittsburgh.  They do some good things with water, malt, hops and yeast and this is one of them.  I enjoyed this one on the porch of Anthony's Fire Coal Pizza restaurant in Robinson, PA.  Great food and good beer - nice lunch for two as my parents watched the girls for us this morning.  Thanks again mom and dad.  This beer came to me in a bottle with an ice cold pilsner style glass for me to pour it into.  It has that common lager / beer smell.  It has a bit of yeast or bready notes to it.  There is a great white head two inches thick on the top.  The beer has a burnt or caramelized orange color in the glass.  It was a nice well balanced lager for sure.  I have a hard time putting my finger on it but it has that metallic or lager taste characteristic I find with so many lagers out there.  It was very nicely balanced with malts and hops.  There was a small amount of bitter or tart bite to the beer.  It was a nice hot day as we sat outside on the deck at Anthony's watching the day go by.  I had two of these at lunch so it was definitely worth a try when you see it on the stands.

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6/9/2012 - Harpoons Brewery - UFO White - Grade 4.25
Is it a bird, a plane, or an Unidentified Flying Object?  Nope, this is JUST a Harpoon beer series!  If this is what aliens drink, sign me up and I'm ready to go all E.T. on this planet!  As for this beer, this was a close call.  We spent all day at the park.  It started at 1pm and we left at 10:30 pm that night.  The drive home was slow going and I pulled in at about 11:50pm.  I immediately grabbed the first beer in my fridge and took the first few sips that I could to get my "beer of the day in" before the end of the official Saturday.  It was a close call.  That said, the first sip I took was INCREDIBLE.  As with the Raspberry Hefe below the most obvious and first notable characteristic of this beer poured in a glass is its UnFiltered approach.  This is a traditional Wheat beer style and really an incredible beer.  I got hints of orange and coriander spice coming from the nose of the glass.  The taste had notes of banana, orange and coriander notes through out.  The orange came through big with this one; it almost tasted like candied orange peels in a liquid form.  It was nicely balanced with the wheat malts in the glass.  Light hints of spicy hops that balanced it nicely.  The color was a murky muddy yellow from the unfiltered approach.  In general a second great beer from the variety case of Harpoons.  Job well done Harpoons.

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6/8/2012 - Harpoons Brewery - Raspberry Hefeweizen - Grade 4
This beer is part of Harpoons UFO - Unfiltered Offerings.  First and for most the unfiltered look comes through in the pour of this beer.  They even give instructions on the outside of the case of beer of how to pour this beer.  Pour half way then swirl and pour the rest.  It leaves you with a fresh white head on top.  Unfiltered bright red tint to an otherwise yellow cloudy beer.  It has a huge fruity smell rolling out of the glass.  Smells of sweet raspberry and/or strawberry exploding from the head.  The texture comes across a nice medium bodied beer that coats the inside of you mouth nicely.  I don't sit around and drink "fruity" beers often but for a fruity beer this is super refreshing and enjoyable.  There is a hit of tartness but this is a nice addition to this beer.  It almost tastes like a liquid raspberry with hints of banana and wheat beer hiding in the background.  This beer was extremely nice.  If you see this out there I recommend trying this at your next outing.

 
 
So here it is, Wednesday night June 6, 2012 – I believe tonight is the night that I catch up with my blog finally.  I’ve been trying for a few weeks now and it has been difficult.  Summer/life/work has all challenged me and gotten in my way.  Yet, I’m attempting to prevail and still pull this challenge off.  School is almost over for my 6 year old and soon she will be a 2nd grader!  Yikes, they grow up fast!  My 3 year old is turned 4 in just 7 days!  And that is very exciting and Mountour Day at Kennywood Park is this Saturday!  All very exciting stuff going on here around 365 Beers!  I have been trying to keep up with my exercise routines as well lately.  It does not seem to be helping with weight but I do feel a bit more energetic lately for sure.  The house showings continue on and on.  Enough about me – on to the beer:
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6/2 – Breckenridge Brewery – Avalanche – One of my readers asked if this is how my second daughter got her name.  The answer is not “directly”.  My wife and I actually had the name Breckin picked out for a boy; oddly enough I could never imagine having a boy named Breckin!  Brecken fits my daughter so perfectly.  Of course, I love the city of Breckenridge and a lot of what Colorado has to offer, one of those things being this brewery.  This beer pours a nice golden amber in color into the glass.  It leaves a nice light white film of head on top of the beer in the glass.  This beer has a very copper almost penny smell coming from the glass.  I also get a little dough or flour type smell from the glass as well which is interesting.  The feel on the tongue is an even swish of goodness.  It crosses from the front to the back of my tongue leaving interesting notes of flavor throughout my mouth.  The carbonation explodes in  your mouth with a great bursting mouth feel for sure.  The flavors come through with an initial spicy citrus fruit.  The notes of caramel and butterscotch seem to come to mind as I sip on this Amber beer.  The finish is sweet and leaves you begging for that next sip.  In all this beer was extremely drinkable.  I actually attempted to use this beer in a beer cocktail Saturday night.  I used 6 12oz cans of Avalanche, 1 oz of pineapple juice and 6 or 8 oz of Galliano.  It was different.  It was neither my best beer cocktail, nor my last but I don’t think I would suggest you “waste” this beer on that cocktail.  It wasn’t worth it in my opinion.

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6/3 – Hofbrauhaus Pittsburgh – Lager – ½ liter draft – crisp yellow light and refreshing.  This was a perfectly brewed beer.  I had this at the Pittsburgh Hofbrauhaus with a few light munchies for lunch.  It was a great lunch with the family and great place to relax.  I do not have a great deal to say about this beer in general.  It was medium bodied beer that was enjoying to the last sip.  It paired well with appetizer plate of sauerkraut balls, fried pickles, potatoes cakes, and pretzels.  I love going to this restaurant and wish we got there more often.  Their beers are some of the finest beers I’ve sampled in my opinion.

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6/4 – Ayinger Brewery – Brau-Weisse – I picked up a huge strawberry ester smell from the glass.  This was a huge smell as I could smell this from the pour with my nose nowhere near the glass.  This beer has a little bit of a sour or bitter bite to every sip.  This added to the refreshing nature of this beer.  It really was a nice balanced wheat beer with the hops where the yeast of this beer steals the show.  What you see from the picture on the left is the nicely poured beer in the middle with the bottom of the bottle – yeast collection – in the left most glass.  I got the idea from Affligem and Draft Magazine as they are having a contest to go to Belgium.   As part of this promotion they are also giving a select few people a pouring tray with two Affligem Blondes ( I was a lucky select ant).  It may be in bad taste that I’m reviewing a true German Bavarian beer and mentioning a Belgium tour and beer.  To the true purists out there go my apologies.  I find greatness in so many beers I hope not to offend too many people.  In their tray they suggest pouring the beer gently at first and saving the bottom and presenting as in the picture for the drinker to decide whether to completely ignore the yeasty goodness, drink it separately or add it to the original brew as it does have an effect on the taste of the product.  The yeast definitely gives the texture a bit cloudier, dusty texture in your mouth.   It almost mellows out the carbonation a bit and lies on top of it when drank in such a small portion by itself.  In my opinion when poured together, it gives this beer a nice even keel of bitey fruity esters, and cloudy rich yeast goodness.  The bananas flavors ring from this glass.

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6/5 – Victory Brewery – Lager – This beer pours light with very little to no head on the glass.  It has a very bright smell of earthy grassy notes.  I get a bit of citrusy spiciness bite in the front of my tongue.  It was a medium to light bodied beer.  It was a nice bright lager with a huge drinkability.  There isn’t really much excitement to speak of here but just all together a good well built beer.  The balance of earthy hops and caramel malty hop really make this an easy drinking well balanced bright beer.  I want to thank Victory for another fine craft beer to sit and enjoy any time of year.


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6/6 - Cerveceria Modelo - Negra - OK, I'm not going to try to hard to find your site any longer.  If I don't find your website on the first page of GOOGLE with like your name in it - I'm done.  I don't do this for a living and besides a few free beers and a product or two from promo sites I've made no money or extras on this journey.  So, I am not going out of my way at this point to find you.  This is one of those beers.  I see it is part of a group and may even some how be related to InBev in some fashion.  Anyway, lets just review this beer and be done for the night and all caught up - shall we?  This is a Munich Dunkel Lager (thank you beeradvocate.com for that assistance - I thought it might be on first sip but wasn't entirely sure) brewed in Mexico.  It pours a darker amber or light Pepsi color in the glass.  There is a thin almost not present head on top of the beer.  The carbonation flows heavy through the internal parts of the glass.  I get a cherry coke type smell from the top of the glass (I must really be craving a soft drink).  The body is a medium to heavy mouth feel.  It comes across with burnt/dark malt grains through the drink.  There is a really tart bit to the dark malts that you drink.  I have had this in the basement for a bit so it has definitely aged maybe a bit longer then it should.  I could see sitting around sipping a glass of this some night or maybe this complimenting a nice steak cooked on the grill for sure.  It may even be nice for cooking in a marinade of some sort.  It does have some underlying complexities in the flavor but the over all opinion is dark, roast, burnt malts.

As usual, thanks for reading my blog.  Thanks for being patient while I caught up.  Lets see if I can keep caught up over the next few weeks.  Have a great night.

 
 
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Located about half way north to south of Florida in Melbourne is a company called Florida Beer Company.  I don't know much about the area of Florida nor do I know anything about the company itself.  The website doesn't seem to have much history on it.  There is a great little picture gallery of events to peruse.  One of these times I make it to Florida I'll have to try to pass by it and check it out a little closer.  Last night I drank their Florida Lager - compliments of my wife's Uncle Wayne from Miami (I think I did an earlier blog about cousin's in Miami... same family ;)).  Thanks Uncle Wayne for the shipment of brews.  And thank you to my Father In Law for delivering (and adding to the

The only complaint (if you can call it that) about this beer is that it is has some of the lager style qualities I'm not a huge fan of.  It definitely smells like a lager with that sort of "off" bitter smell that I can't really get to appreciate.  With that smell, I think my mind automatically starts doing that off taste of a typical lager.  But this beer fights back with something that I haven't tasted in awhile.  I'm not sure if it is the fact that it is from warm sunny bright Florida or that they really have a blend on this beers ingredients that adds a bit of refreshing almost fruity clean taste to it.  It is filtered clear and beautiful.  It is a bright yellow (with a brown tint) in the glass that gives an almost glow like the Florida sun setting of the water.  In general, I think if I was sitting at the pool in Cutler Bay, Florida this would be a perfect lunch time brew to go with some nice burgers on the grill.  If I have a few of these I may even be convinced the "cuba sandwhich" cigars my father-in-law loves to smoke from down there are even good!  I guess that makes this beer dangerous.  Haha.

Once again, thank you Uncle Wayne and Billy for the great shipment in from South Florida.  I am not sure which few you bought Uncle Wayne (so I do apologize not calling the appropriate person out).  In general, the package was happily received and I have decided to start enjoying these over the next 2 - 3 weeks.  Of course, I have a few other beers I have to get rid of first.  If you see this beer - and like Lager beers let me know what you think.  I'm curious on other people's take on it.

 
 
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Thursday night I drank Flying Dog.  I did not find any thing really "special" about this beer to speak of.  It was a solid drink.  The pour as you can see left a nice head n the glass.  I couldn't find any great notes in the smell.  It smelled like any other normal lager out here.  It was a nice balanced and easy drinking beer.  I could probably sit and drink a few of these easily.  I do not find myself drinking Flying Dogs often but have decided that I like there beers.  If you see this one out there and enjoy lagers this is a good one.  One fun thing about this brewery is their labels.  Have a read while enjoying the beer.

There really wasn't anything special going on for this beer.  I was preparing myself for the big day out at the second largest St Pattrick's Day parade in the country.  My friends were coming in from out of town and we would be hanging out drinking green beer and meeting fun new friends from all over.  Thursday was a bit mellow so there really isn't much to be said about this.

 
 
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Obolon's mission statement is a pretty cool: We work every day to be first and not to leave thirsty ones on the planet.  They definitely didn't leave me thirst Thursday night.  This was one of the beers my beautiful wife brought home from her night out with the Pittsburgh Beer Ladies.  She had a great time and met some great people.  I really benefited from her trip cause she brought me home four new beers to try.  Thanks babe!

This is a Ukrainian Lager.  This beer poured a nice bright yellow and very clear.  There is not a great head on the glass ( the picture shows a nice head on pour but it dissipated quickly).  But the carbonation is nice and bubbly through out the entire glass.  It definitely has that bitter lager like taste to it.  I think in this Journey I've found that I am not as much of a lager guy as I once thought I was.  They just have a bite/taste/characteristic that I do not care for.  But this one was pleasant to drink.  It was was probably served at a "warmer" temp then I normally drink my beers.  That said, it was probably served at a better temperature.  I did get a nice creamy finish to this beer.  Over all not my favorite beer on the list but definitely a much better lager then I'm used to drinking.

I drank this while sitting admiring all the different brews that my father in law brought up from Florida.  I saw a few of them before; even 2-3 that I think we can find in PA.  But mostly, there were beers I hadn't really heard of before; many were imports, with one being from Nicaragua I believe.  These beers were funded by Uncle Wayne of Miami and Billy Bags!  Thanks guys for keeping my journey possible.  I will be happily reviewing these beers over the next few weeks.

 
 
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So, I didn't take a lot of notes on this beer.  Honestly, I really didn't take any.  An old friend called me up to help with some computer problems they were having.  It was nice to catch up with them.  We used to play a lot of bocce together up in Kennedy Township.  They were some good times.  A bunch of old Italian guys hobbling around while my friend who was younger then I and not Italian and pretty and myself not Italian and younger by most on the courts had a blast listening to the old Italian guys banter.  We would sit around drinking home made wine and occasionally I would take up my home brew.  On the exceptionally rare occasion one of the old guys would bring up some home made limoncello!  We usually played on the summer nights and had a blast.  Well, it had been awhile since Amy and I caught up so it was a nice visit.  I'm happy to see that her and her (relatively new) husband are doing great.  Still happy as can be... ah, the freshness of marriage.  I remember it so - I think it lasts around 3-4 years if your lucky!  Then of course, the proverbial "shit hits the fan".  Haha, No its great!  I'm happily married for going on 10 years and hoping for 100 more!  I wish nothing but the same for my old bocce friends!

As payment for the computer fix, they offered me a nice Harp, Premium Lager.  I would LOVE to plug their site here but the best I could find was that it was brewed at Guinness Ltd but from their site I could not find a Harp link.  I found some links at BeerAdvocate.com but that is about it.  As I said above, I didn't take great notes on this beer but I would call this a fairly well known brew.  It is quality in a glass by all counts.  It was crisp, it was a nice light yellow color and ultra-bubbly.  As I remember the head was not large and in charge but just hanging out like a low SPF Sunscreen; not really there for protection but gave the beer a nice glow.  All in all it was a nice refreshing beer with some old friends catching up.  The true essence of what beer really!  The payment also included a MooseHead bottle that I have down in my fridge and debating on when to crack that one open.  I will be sure to give the same cute couple a shout out once again!  Also, my apologies for the picture.  I was using my iPhone and didn't really get a great shot.  And it was a new glass style for me this time around also.  I really should have tried harder to get a better shot!


Cheers!

 
 
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I have not lived in Pittsburgh all my life.  But next to my home town of Wrightsville, PA I've lived here longer then anywhere else.  I like it.  Its a no frills kind of a place.  This city loves its football.  And it is also an educated city on Beer.  The German population is strong and it shows if you go over towards the North Side of the city.  This beer is a tribute to the German heritage of this city.  It is a man's man kind of beer.  It is a working class beer.  Reviewing some info on line I found that this brewery was opened in 1861 by a German immigrant by the name of Edward Frauenheim.  It was one of the first breweries in the united states to produce a lager.

Iron City Brewery was formed and ran for almost 150 years in Lawarenceville until recently 2009 they moved the brewing to Latrobe PA.  It happens to be brewed in the same brewery as one time great Rolling Rock beer until they were sold and moved (BOO!).  Though, I can't find any redeeming quality to say about the taste/quality of this beer it as with many other "cheaper" beers serves a purpose.  The reason I got started on this venture was not to find the best/most expensive beer.  It was not to avoid any one style.  It was/is to experience beer in all its glory.  And in my opinion Iron City is a perfect example.  I can't go down to Strip District, to Belle Notte Pizzeria (check the link on urban spoon), or Primanti's with out ordering at least one of these on draft.  Its crisp and "fresh of the tap".  It is refreshing since most of the city that serves this brew takes pride and serves it super cold.  So, here's to you Iron City!  Thank you for coming back and thank you for continuing to brew a beer that is the "official beer of the Pittsburgh nation."

As I stated, drink this beer extremely cold.  As cold as you can find it without freezing.  Now, any one that enjoys a good brew understands that beer like wine all have their own temperatures to be enjoy at.  The reason for this is because you will find "hidden flavors" that come bursting out at different temps.  Its almost like the hops/yeast/barley all know as most of us do that when it is to cold... just stay in side.  Why do you think Coors and the Colorado Rockies beer has the color sensor on the outside to tell when it is super cold.  Its marketing of course.  Genius marketing if you ask me!  The colder you drink a brew the less of any imperfections you will find in any given brew.  Ever wonder why most people want to drink ICE COLD BEER.  Cause the #1 sellers in America are the big brews, the Millers, Coors, Bud beers that if drinking a single degree above 32 degrees starts tasting like the bottom of an ash tray.  Of course, of these beers - they all have their degree of badness.  BUT they all have their purpose as well.  On a hot summer day after mowing the grass, or digging a post hole for a fence post, or even a nice run on the trail - give me the refreshing taste of an ice cold brew.  After scrimmaging in the back yard football or making a triple double on the courts, nothing better then an ice cold Miller.

That said, in tribute of Pittsburgh Steelers starting another journey to the big dance, I chose Iron City.  Its crisp, fresh and local!  The hops do seem to pop out of this beer a bit more then the barley.  Many people say it is undrinkable, and an equal amount of people will ONLY DRINK IT.  If you are one of those beer snobs that REFUSE to drink certain beer that is fine.  To each their own.  I chose to embrace all beer equally!  And find a use for them all.

Thanks for reading - and LETS GO STEELERS!!  Lets beat them Broncos down!!

NOTE: My notes for this mostly came from wikipedia at this link.  Feel free to continue the research and review.