First night of summer swim lesson for the girls and the sunset over Pittsburgh was beautiful.  I saw colors of orange, yellow, pink, red, blue, grey, white and shades in between.  Sitting here in my kitchen setting up to blog last night and tonight's beer and my wife is... you guessed it baking!  But this time its personal!  She is making birthday cake for our SOON TO BE 4 Year Old!  Brecken's Bday is tomorrow at 12:33pm.  We are all very excited no more so then Brecken herself.  She is getting Blue Cake with Blue Icing!  Her favorite color is Blue you know.  So in honor of her, I have a "blue" beer lined up for her.  More on that tomorrow.  But as for the last two nights, here's what I've been drinking:
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6/12/2012 - Lancaster Brewery - Strawberry Wheat - Grade 4.5
I actually ended up driving to 4 different distributors to find this variety pack.  I knew/know this is good beer but didn't realize that it was that popular.  I ended up finding it at Beer Express Is Best down on Stuebenville Pike near Crafton, PA.  It was also a nice surprise to see they are taking advantage of some of the new PA Laws that allow to sell home brew ingredients and equipment.  Their supply seemed pretty small for now but they are just getting into it so it will be interesting to see if it takes off.  The prices didn't seem to bad though.  Now onto the beer; I try to have this beer at least once or twice a summer.  Its the original "fruit" beer that made me want to attempt to brew a fruit beer.  I have attempted a strawberry wheat beer once or twice; unfortunately none to my satisfaction.  That is why I highly recommend this one!  I poured this one in the fancy crystal because I know the better glass ware makes it taste even that more delicate.  I poured it into the glass and you get that yellow slightly murky wheat beer presence with just a hint of red tint that is the first hint there are strawberry flavors present.  The nose isn't all that fancy in that it almost smells like any old lager you may have had in the past.  I don't get huge strawberry notes or sweetness at all.  But wait, if you try (at least for me it is trying) I actually do notice just a hint of strawberry sweetness hanging out in the back of the nose.  Not over powering, just nice and present.  From there, the taste of this beer is a well balanced beer that comes through with wheat notes of light banana in the background that are most definitely from the yeast it was fermented using.  From there, you get a light flowery note that is a bit light citrus and bringing up the finish is that always so present strawberry existence.  It is not huge and obnoxious as some fruit beers try to steer.  Instead, they start with a well put together well balanced wheat beer and add the strawberry in as an almost after thought to compliment the banana notes and wheaty goodness.  In general, I love this beer.  I've heard that at the brewery they make "Chocalate Strawberry Beers" using their Lancaster Milk Stout layered with Strawberry Wheat.  Though this sounds incredible (and I may just have to make one to try this week), I always have a hard time attempting to mix this beer with anything as it is such a finely perfected strawberry wheat which in my opinion are hard to come by (same reason I never tried skiing as I didn't want to ruin a great day of snow boarding).

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6/11/2012 - Harpoon's - Unfiltered Offering Pale Ale - Grade 3.25
I believe after this one I have one last Offering from the variety pack and I'm excited because all of these beers have been really enjoyable so far.  Harpoon makes a quality brew for sure.  This beer doesn't disappoint either.  Carbonation was nice and large on this beer as it has been in all the others I've tried to date.  It was not surprisingly a bit cloudy in the glass.  It may have been the most clear/clean beer in the unfiltered collection that I tried.  It poured a bit glowing orange or amber red in the glass.  There is a light malty sweet flavor with huge hop flavor.  The hops are very grapefruit and citrus burn.  There was a bit of soapy flavor in the background that I didn't really appreciate.  I attribute this "soapy" floral finish to the specifics hops being used in this beer.  This could have probably hit a 3.75 or 4 maybe if not for this some what undesirable finish in my opinion.

As always, thanks for stopping by for the read.  Please send me updates on my Facebook page on what you are drinking and/or where.  I enjoy all the feed back.

 
 
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.