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.

 
 
So, I’m writing this Saturday June 2; so far the day is shaping up to be a decent day.  I had a nice Friday night with my daughter at “take your parent to karate” night.  Also, got a nice work out in and am definitely feeling the effects today.  We did a little running around as a family this morning and have a get together tonight at a friend’s house.  I’m actually “diving into” the world of Beer Cocktails.  I’ve been doing some reading about them lately and figure I might as well try them before I knock them.  Tonight’s cocktail will be using my beer of the day of Avalanche Amber.  We’ll see if it is a success or not.

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5/22 – Flying Fish Brewery – Farm house Summer Ale – This is a Saison style beer that I’ve talked about in the past.  I was a bit confused because this did not match the beer I had of the Tommy Knocker Saison I’ve had the night before.  This beer was a clear yellow, crisp lager.  The nose had a yeasty bready smell to it.  The head was nice and white.  It had a nice bubbly carbonation.  I got a bit of pepper in the initial sip.  It had somewhat of a creamy texture to it.  I noticed a bit of malty sweetness in it but not to hoppy.  It was a nice medium bodied beer.  I definitely enjoyed this beer a bit more then the Tommy Knocker from the night before.


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5/23 – Victory Brewery - Prima Pils – Crisp clean clear light yellow pilsner.  Smooth white head.  It had a nice flowery spice kick in the back (earthly in taste) from the hops.  Balance of hops to malt was very enjoyable.  After watching the video on the site I learned Prima in German means “excitedly good” or great.  I think they hit this one out of the park – it is refreshing and highly drinkable.  I want to thank you Victory for this wonderful addition to the craft beer world.  Also, trying to do some light reading in the background as you can see as well.  I've really enjoyed the subscription of BeerAdvocate that my wife got me for Christmas this last year.


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5/24 – Leinenkugel Brewery – Big Eddy - Wee Heavy Scotch Ale – Huge malt complexity in the taste and smell.  The beer was a dark brown to black pour in the glass.  The smell was woody (oak) grain smell coming from it.  There was also a granny smith apple smell to it.  The head was almost none existent after the initial pour.  It had a thin body to it not quite as heavy as the “Wee Heavy” would suggest.  I definitely got the taste of barrel and alcohol from the glass.  I noticed a huge hint of dark cherry and even maybe a light hint of cinnamon actually.  The bottle suggests a huge level of complexity and this beer doesn’t disappoint.  I even got some vinegar/sour taste going on.  I can’t be sure if that sour taste was coming from the yeast or what.  The body was a bit lighter then I would prefer for suggest a complex flavored beer.


 
 
May 29, 2012 is an ugly rainy Tuesday night!  The kids are “sort of” downstairs playing, the wife is making MORE cupcakes; she just finished making 20 dozen cupcakes for a local winery called Winery at Wilcox and some Wine-ee Women event (hope they are enjoying them).  I’m sitting back and reaping the benefit of some left over ingredients (ie wine) that was not completely used in the recipe.  Seems like as good enough of a time as any to get caught up on my writing – lord knows I need to get caught up.  This is officially the 150th day of the year.  What an exciting year it has been and we are not even half way through yet.  Can’t wait to sit back and read through this year’s events in the future and recall all the beers I’ve drank.
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5/16 – Victory Brewing Company – Lizard Bock – If you haven’t read much about me you may not know that I lived out in West Chester from ’96 – ’01.  In that time, I did get a chance to check out this brewery once or twice years ago.  On pulling into this place recently I immediately noticed the expansion – no doubt from how incredible this brewery is doing!  This brewery is a staple in my diet.  I attempt to drink their beers when I see them and enjoy most everything I got.  On entering the brewery I was immediately impressed by the décor.  It was a brewers dream – very open and approachable.  The bar in the back is very impressive with a few large copper kettle pot tops feast your eyes on.  The beer selection was huge.  Of course, I drank the sampler and was impressed by many of the beers.  Happily the rauchbier that I drank was the best of the week (of a few that I tried from various locations), well brewed Victory.  But I chose the Lizard Bock as my beer of choice.  Amazingly enough, I do not have a picture of the beer itself… instead I took a picture of the menu for Lizard Bock.  Since the menu talks about the beer in great detail – and I did not take great notes – I’ll simply state that I really remembered enjoying this beer nicely.  I remembering it being a bit sweet and malty, with just enough hop kick to balance this beer and make it REMARKABLY drinkable.  I only enjoyed one of these as I was rushed out of the bar for reasons not to mention here.  I also was happy to have one of my long time readers find me and introduce her to me.  Unfortunately we were not able to catch a beer together but there will always be another time.  I had a very enjoyable dinner with co-works out this night and can’t wait to make it back to the brewery to enjoy a bit more time here.

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5/17 – Amstel – Light Lager – Amstel Light has been around for a very long time.  The website plays a nice little move about the fact that the beer has been started 104 years before my birthday.  So that makes it and me old!  On that note, I don’t have a lot to talk about this beer.  I would “assume” most of my readers on this blog have tried this beer.  It is light and crisp and somewhat refreshing.  It is a steady “safety” beer if you get to a place that doesn’t have good beer.  I got to enjoy this at a friend’s Italian club just on the outskirts of Philly.  The people were pretty cool and it was a decent night out.  Personally, a bit smokey for my tastes but a fact I quickly looked past.  Unfortunately, I did not win any money from the Cash Bash and I was dead tired from a LONG week at education.  FORTUNATELY, I finally got to meet a friend’s family and got to enjoy the hospitality.  I do not make it to these types of clubs to much anymore but it definitely had a nice feel to it.  Everyone knows everyone, they are all able to crack jokes and have a great time.  All in all a good night!  The beer… well, I honestly think it was probably a bit bad from sitting around but in general this is a nice enjoyable beer.

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5/18 – Victory Brewing Company – Summer Love – I did not get to enjoy this one at the bar Wednesday night.  I was happy to save this one for a 6pack from Wegmens as I’m heading out of Corporate from a long week of education.  I had a long road in front of me and wanted to ensure I had some nice beer to drink when I got home and finally relaxed.  This was not the only beer I picked up that day of course.  The drive home on the PA Turn Pike was a little rough actually; long and boring and as tired as I was I stopped twice once to grab some lunch and the second to grab a cat nap in one of the rest areas.  I made it home safely and cracked open a Summer Love.  I was excited for this with Summer right around the corner.  I figured I would grab a case of this and be settled in for whatever summer has to offer.  It pours a nice bright yellow clear liquid in the glass.  The head is light and white on top.  First sip of this beer is robust;  it has a crisp pilsner taste with some hints of spicy hops that scream through the glass.  To me, this ‘spicy after taste’ makes this not such a home run in my eyes.  I get that it is refreshing on a hot summer day; but this beer gives me severe heart burn from the hops.  There are a few beers out there that accomplish this with me.  Mostly, it seems to be some Belgian Brews that do this most often to me but this one is strong as well.  I get some earthy grass notes in the back of my mouth.  Its very carbonated.  I think it is a “GOOD” quality beer that many people will love but it is not the beer for me.  This is not the beer for me to enjoy in mass quantities.  Can't like ALL their beers ;).

Thanks for stopping by for a read.  I hope you enjoy.

 
 
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Happy Birthday to you, Happy birthday to you... Happy Birthday dear Victory... happy birthday to you!

So, yea I heard through the grapevine Victory is now old enough to acquire a drivers license.  16 years old.  Simply amazing.  One thing that really hits home with that number is that I've been at my current company for 15.5 years.  I started out at my company moved to West Chester, PA in June of 1996; just a few short miles from Downingtown.  I knew very little about "craft beer" or microbreweries or anything like that back in 1996.  Quite frankly, I knew little about beer back then other then I liked to drink it.  Apparently, Ron and Bill knew a few things about the brewery industry and made magic happen.  I've made it to the brewery a few times (not near as many as I would have liked); but every time was wonderful... Food was great as was the beer.  Always an issue with me with brew pubs - usually good food or good beer; typically not both - these guys always seemed to make that happen.  Today, I read a little link on their site that tells a GREAT story of their history.  Once again, a brewer (or two) with a big dream make it happen at any cost!  Congrats guys!  Sometimes I miss living out there and Victory is one of those things that make me sometimes wish I still did.

So, tonight I decided to drink Golden Monkey (thank you to my wife for picking it up at Market District this morning).  Their selection of Victory was a bit light - she stated they had V-12 , Golden Monkey and can't remember the third; at least that is all she saw.  I've always been a fan of Victory, and even more so the Golden Monkey.  I'm not just saying that because one of my followers works for Victory!  NO, Really - read above that I have a really LOOSE link to the brewery ;) haha.  In all seriousness, this is a great beer.  It has so many components that I find needed in a quality beer.  First, the pour is strong, and the head is heavy.  It took awhile for the head to calm on the top of the glass with a vigorous pour.  The head sticks to the side of the glass the whole time while you drink this.  Putting this up to my mouth preparing for the first sip you get a huge sweet aroma to this brew.  I'm not great at smells but I would definitely say that I'm getting a huge hoppy aroma to this glass.  Its big and its beautiful.

The taste continues to leave you wanting more.  Its big, its malty, its rich, its spicy.  All the things that make beer yummy!  The hops are balanced in this beer nicely but the malts are the big winner in this glass.  It is big at 9.5% alcohol so I recommend sampling this one lightly.  It is true to the name super GOLDEN in the glass.  Its so pretty with the gold in the glass and silky white head covering the top and clinging the side of the glass.  Even the carbonation in this beer is big.  Ever sip brings large bubbles racing through the beer.  I highly recommend going out and finding this beer.

Since seeing the birthday today, this has been a nostalgic day for me for the east side of PA.  It happens from time to time.  I'm actually drinking this beer out of a Manayunk Brewing Co. glass.  It has been years since I've even thought of this brewery.  I had gone a few times back in early 2000.  I remember a bar in Manayunk that was call "Flat Rock".  Man, its been even "longer" since I've thought of that place.  I remember this was one of my first introductions to the city of Philadelphia - and any large city in general to be honest.  It was a bit "rich" for my blood back then (and maybe even still to this day).  But one thing I know is this place definitely knew its beer; or at least they had a HUGE selection as I remember it and always made me "feel a little funny inside" going into this place - this was before I knew I had a fascination with quality beer.  Ok, I think my wife and I may need to plan an adult night/weekend out east here soon.  Drop the kids off in York with my parents and spend some "quality time" out East... Where  to go?  Where to stay?  What to do?  SO MUCH TO SEE AND DO and SO LITTLE TIME.

Thanks for listening.  Until tomorrow.  Good night.