Here it is July is ending and I am just starting my July blogs.  Its been a hectic month to say the least.  We hit the road Tuesday July 3 and did not return to our house till Saturday July 21.  I had thought I would get a chance to blog on the vacation but alas, I was busier on vacation then when home.  It puts a huge smile on my face to say that though as that means that I really did put down all electronics and focus on my family and family fun.  We did all kinds of good stuff that I'll to talk about in the next few blogs; the highlights that I remember - 3800 miles of road warrior travel, 3 different hotels, 5 different beds, numerous friends and family visited, Miami Zoo (fed giraffes), visited the Keys twice (fed some tarpon), oh yea and found a few breweries on the way for sure.  Surprisingly (or maybe not so much) Florida did not seem to have many breweries throughout.  And the few "Florida beers" I found were brewed in the north eastern states of United States.  In general, it was a family vacation for the history books; More specifically it was a much needed break from home and work!  We have not sold our house yet (unfortunately leaving for 17'sh days only resulted in 2 extra showings) but we are still trying.
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Otter Creak Brewery - Black IPA - Grade 2.25
This beer poured a dark brown to light black.  The first sip was very roasty and burnt coffee.  It was a strong stout beer with hints of hops in the background.  In my opinion it was to much Stout and not enough IPA.  The best part of this beer was the company it was enjoyed by.  This is the first day of my vacation.  I got to my home town and an old high school friend of my was having a get together.  It was nice to see the old crew.  Reminiss about the old days; play crazy old music and just make fun of all the stupid stuff we used to do.  Always good times to catch up with the crew of the Greenramp.  I luckily got to catchup with the crew on two occasions this trip.  I rare occurrence for me and it was nice.

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Saranac Brewery - Rye IPA - Grade 2.75
Happy 4th of July (belated of course).  We as a family were heading out in the car at 3 am from my parents the next morning for a 15.5 hour drive from York to Orlando.  We were able to get out and see some of the festivities in Wrightsville, PA but unfortunately not as much as I'd have liked.  My wife and I needed our rest for the long day ahead of us tomorrow.  Therefore, I drank this beer and called it an early night around 7:30 or pm.  This beer came across with a strong heavy peppery rye spice in the front.  It was a light texture in the mouth.  It had a strong pressence of hop.  I definitely noticed a sharp crisp almost dry finish.  I didn't take the time to pour this one into a glass so I have little to talk about the color and head.  This was straight out of a bottle for me.  I would not have chose this as a good rereshing July 4th beer but for the beer of the day it served me nicely.

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Not SURE - Grade ????
I drove 15.5 hours straight through on this day with a family of 4.  We were in a Honda Odyssey for just about 1000 miles.  I got to the hotel around 5:45pm.  The kids were tired and hungry.  My wife and I were exhausted.  We were considering eating at another restaurant but did not want to drive any further.  I have a picture of me sitting at the hotel restaurant "Sharky & Jack's Bar & Grill".  I don't for the life of me remember what it was and if I liked it.  I know it was COLD.  That is about as much as I can remember.  For some reason I can't find my notes on it or a good picture.  Not sure if I counted the beer in the restaurant or if I needed to drink a beer in the room that was unique?  I'm going to let me slide on this one.  I know I drank a DIFFERENT beer but not sure what it was. 
As I was uploading this to the site it REALLY bothered me I couldn't remember this - so I talked to my wife and we thought.  We were at a NON-BEER bar (it had beer but the normal cast of characters; ie Miller, Sam Adams, Bud, ect).  I think it may have been a Labatt's Product.  Do I remember which?  NO!  Do I remember the taste not specifically.  I'm guessing it was Labatt's Blue.  Even in this picture taken by my 4 year old with my phone the beer is hidden by the mustard bottle.

More to come soon.  As always drink responsibly and please remember to stop back and catch up.

 
 
Laptop malfunctions, vacations, children, work, travel, ect are just a few of the challenges that have had my blog become 2 weeks stale.  This really stinks as I am currently in Miami currently experiencing some great drinking and some good relaxation and can’t get it onto my blog today quickly because I am not 2 weeks stale on this writing.  Now I have to sit down and attempt to remember these past few beers that I have clearly procrastinated on.  These posts are going to be relatively short for the most part.  I’ll try to do justice on the ones I feel really deserve them for sure.
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Lucky Bucket Brewing – Wheat – Grade 2.75
This beer hails from Lavista, Nebraska.  I may have never had this beer in my life if not for the “Beer of the Month” Club from the site http://www.amazingclubs.com/.  This gift is proof that my wife loves me because it is special beer not only given to me on my birthday but ALSO for several weeks after.  Thanks babe.  The first thing I noticed from this was huge hints of lemon smell on the nose.  The texture of the beer in my mouth was light and a bit watery.  The finish of the beer was nice and refreshing in my opinion.  The beer was murky yellow almost fluorescent in the glass.  The taste was nice and refreshing.  It was almost like a glass of refreshing lemonade though it had healthy notes of beer and wheat malts throughout.  Over all a very nice beer.

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Lucky Bucket Brewing – Lager – Grade 3
I poured this in a nice frosted mug.  Again, another one of my birthday presents from my wife and children.  Love those girls. The color had a nice red color in the glass and held a nice strong head.  The flavors had some wood/oaky flavor almost as if it were conditioned in a cask though I’m sure it wasn’t.  These woody notes were mild and nice.  It was very nice and creamy, light ( it was a bit thin ) and crisp.  After the second or third sip this beer began to grow on me.  I am very happy to have found this beer through the AmazingClubs from above.  Thanks again Wife for this wonderful gift.

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Lake Placid Brewing – Barkeater Amber – Grade 3
Well this is the first site that named their website after there flagship beer instead of the brewery itself; this through me off a bit since their flagship beer is Ubu Ale.  I knew nothing of this brewery but on reading a bit of there site this was the name of a patron’s friendly chocolate lab.  There is a great story about how the beer made it into the White House that is worth the read.  The beer poured nice dark amber brown in the glass.  Had a nice heavy creamy looking head lay on top.  It had a nice medium body on the tongue.  The beer came across with a huge caramel malty sweetness on the tongue.  The hops were light and balanced the malt nicely.  Over all the beer was a averagely decent beer.

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Brouwerij Van Steenberge - Golden Draak – Grade 4.5
The CEO and I from 365 got a night out on the town and decided to take full advantage of the kidless night.  We met some friends at the Sharp Edge Creek House in Pittsburgh PA.  This is a place I really need to work on getting to more often.  It is an incredible Beer Bar in Pittsburgh that knows there stuff about beer.  To be fair, the beers are/were always awesome, the service and/or food sometimes leaves a bit to be desired and this night was no different.  We did end up leaving a bit early from this place because the service was not on top of its game which is a shame because the beers are always great.  And I actually want to say the prices seemed to go a bit higher here as well (though hasn’t that happened with all beer everywhere in general right).  Anyway, on to the beer – I had this one on draft.  It was a nicely poured beer in its own glass.  It was rich malty thick with a thin head.  The smell was pleasantly sweet as well.  In general this was an incredible beer.  I highly recommend this one if you see it out.

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Saranac Brewery – Session IPA – Grade 2.5
This was a very light crisp yellow beer in the glass.  It came with a thin white head on top.  The nose was light at first but seemed to build of citrusy hoppy smells.  It was light and hoppy with a nice balanced malt balance.  It was very clean with a citrus bite.  For an IPA it was completely easy drinking.  Though, that would be what the “session” stands for.  In general the texture was light and refreshing but not exactly a great quality beer.  One great memmory from this night (even though the pic is over exposed) was that the 'family' (I think Brecken went to bed early that night) watched another one of the Harry Potter Movies.  Jordan really got into the first three this year.  We are not thinking of moving on to 4 or 5 for sometime.  But so far the first 3 movies have not scared her.  And the trip to Universal - will prove that watching the movies really did pay off as she loved the movies and the park and the Hermione Wand that "found her" in the wand shop at the park!

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Saranac Brewery – Summer Ale – Grade 2.25
This was the night before vacation.  I was sitting at home before the big trip and had a few of these at home.  The bottle states that it was a “beer brewed with natural flavors”.  I’m not sure how a beer is “brewed with natural flavors” but OK.  Anyway, it was a wheat malted beer.  It was very light and wheat tasting with some citrus and grassy flavors.  It had a bit of orange flavor but very little in my opinion.  The over whelming taste I got was almost a lemon grass flavor.  The smell was a bit grassy with a bit of banana and maybe a bit of strawberry.  It was super light and almost a bit to watery for my flavor.


 
 
Tonight is Tuesday, June 26 and vacation is officially 7 days away.  We are unsure if the family mini-van's (yes 365 travels family style if you haven't guessed before) departure time will be Tuesday evening, Sunday afternoon, or possibly even Wednesday July 4th.  There are reasons why ALL of them make sense.  And of course reasons why none of them do.  If I had my way I think I would be leaving tonight.  I am so ready for this 2.5 week vacation I don't know what I will really do with myself.  We are in the midst of a LONG house showing and I feel like it will never end.  We have had over 55 showings in approximately 14 months.  Though this number is a great number of showings we have heard all sorts of replies.  Surprisingly, and almost as equally upsetting, most of the replies start out "We love the place but..." - the list is endless on why they don't love it.  Either way, at this point, I need to escape.  The entire family needs an escape - and this vacation could not come soon enough!  I just hope to be able to find a few breweries along the way!  I will be in Orlando, Miami, then possibly some beachy town area on the way up the East Coast... hard to say which yet.  Depends on how the week goes.  Anyway, enough of my rambling - on to the beer:
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Dogfish Head - Burton Baton - Ale flavored with Oak Staves - Grade 4.25
So, I wasn't sure what Oak Staves were I looked it up - turns out they are basically just the oak planks used in Oak Barrels - of course only highest quality oak will do.  I also wondering what exactly the process was to "flavor with oak staves".  I did some quick googling to find that many many bloggers have blogged about this beer; now I am officially added to that list.  This was a tasty brew.  I enjoy this one every time.  Sort of sad to see they made it year round as now it isn't "as special" as it once was.  But happy because I could possibly find this selection anytime I like.  This beer gives many notes of a strong IPA.  It has notes of heavy alcohol with bold citrus flavored hops.  The head of this beer lies gently on top.  The liquid is thick and clings to all sides of you mouth similar to a chip of hop pellet if you have ever attempted to chew on one.  The thickness reminds me of the oils from the hops as they coat my mouth.  The smell has lemons and grapefruit through out the nose.  I always have enjoyed this robust beer and of course am enjoying tonight.  Last nights beer was also aged with Oak but was very different.  Dragon's Milk was definitely good but much more Stout like and/or Dark.  It was good but not quite as balanced as the Burton for sure.  They are both find beers and both high in alcohol.  This beer falls in at 10% which would make it perfect for a spring night, a fall day or this surprisingly cool June 26 evening!  Cheers!

Thanks again for stopping by.  We'll see you on the next post.

 
 
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:
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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.


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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.

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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.

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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


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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.


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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.


 
 
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!

 
 
Daddy loves you Bean!  June 13 is Brecken’s birthday!  My baby girl turned 4 years old.  This year we decided to keep the celebration to a small rumble of just family.  We made some of Brecken’s favorites; pas-sa (Spaghetti) and boo cake (or blue cake).  Really anything blue works for Brecken as it is her favorite color.  I took some time to sit back Wednesday night and really think about the 4 years as a father to Brecken and the 6.5 years as a father to my oldest daughter.  Where has the time gone?  And more importantly where is it going?  Life really is a futile fight.  You can try to jam every last thing that you’ve ever wanted to see and do; or you can sit back and watch time fly by.  I’m my case I’ve tried jamming packing it with fun and exciting stuff and I seem to be watching it fly by.  It’s been a good and fun life so far.  My girls are making me proud on a daily basis.  And my hope and fear is that I can work on making them proud having me as their father.  It’s an hourly struggle I have with choosing right and wrong and how to teach them the difference.   Now on to the beer.
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6/15/2012 – Lancaster Brewery – Amish Four Grains – Grade 3
I was able to enjoy this beer out back on my deck on a great night outside.  It was dark so I couldn’t catch the color of this beer.  It had a nice thick creamy head on the beer.  The body was medium in body and had a nice malty sweet taste in the beer.  The hops tasted a bit spicy and unique in this beer.  It was not overly hoppy to the taste but it definitely did have a few notes of hop bite in the finish.  I could definitely have a few of these in a sitting though it did have a small taste of lager bite in the back.  Sorry for the picture on this one, it was taken with my iphone on the back deck at about 11:15 at night.   So, this was the best we could get.

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6/14/2012 – Samuel Adams – Bonfire Rauchbier – Grade 1.75
A manager of mine from Germany actually worked on me pronouncing this and I still am practicing.  I’ll get it eventually.  These beers are best known for originating in Bamburg, Germany.  And if said manager is still reading my blogs and get me a education trip to the Mother Ship for a lessons with my day job, I would be eternally grateful :) haha.  In general, I’ve sipped these styles from place to place and really have not been able to become a fan.  In general, I’ve tried Sam Adam’s Rauchbier about 3-4 times now.  There is an over whelming damp morning camp fire pit smell/taste in general.  If that doesn’t sound appealing that is because in general it is not a very appealing flavor for me.  Though, drinking this beer I do have notes that it was slightly more enjoyable then a few in the past.  I do believe this is a beer that needs to be served at the right temperature.  I think the time or two that I’ve had this at some friend’s house it was served a bit too cold which really brought out many of the bad flavors.  This was a bit warmer to serve here.  It was a medium bodied beer that was extremely dark brown color in the glass.  There was minimal head to speak about, what was present was a bit brown ash in color.

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6/13/2012 – Bar Harbor Brewing Company – Blueberry Ale – Grade 2.75
And blue cake!  As I said, BLUE IS Brecken’s favorite color.  So in honor of her birthday I found Blueberry Ale.  It seems the past few days I’ve found myself drinking many a fruity beer.  That is OK though, I’m not a huge fan of Fruit Beers but they are a nice change up from time to time.  Now, this brewery and I have a TINY bit of history together.  My wife and I actually took a trip while she was pregnant with our first daughter (so this was 7 years ago) north through New England and “started” our vacation in Bar Harbor, Maine.  I will never forget this trip for as beautiful as the scenery was it was as dark, grey, cool, and rainy as well.  And the look of my beautiful brides face said a lot as we walked a 3 mile trail in the rain.  I had a great trip – my better half has a whole different memory of that vacation.  We actually were going to try to stop in this brewery but it happened to be closed at the time we were there (as many other places seemed to be at that time as well).  We got to visit a few of the local bars and eat the local cuisine; the fresh lobster, need I say more!  This beer pours a nice light amber color in the glass.  The head actually has a bit of blue tint to the white head that is common (this could be completely in my mind).  Eaten with the blue cake it seemed to have a bit more blueberry kick then the first time I remember it (probably also a mental thing).  But there is a definite blue berry bitter sweet taste in every sip.  It is a lighter beer that was nice to enjoy one or two for a nostalgia perspective.

 
 
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.

 
 
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Summer is quickly approaching.  My daughter's 4th birthday WEEK party is in full swing with my parents in town for the weekend.  Heading to Kennywood Park Saturday morning to get some good coaster riding, park food, and fun with a bunch of friends (love me summers at the amusement parks).  Yes, yes,  summer has definitely arrived.  As that is the case, it was about time I break out the Sam Adams Summer Ale.  Well, that and I really only had two beers to drink in my house that I could count in my blog.  I picked up a variety pack today and hope to get to a 6-pack shop soon to pick up some more varieties.  It really is time for me to restock my fridge.

6/7/2012 - Samuel Adams - Summer Ale - This beer poured a nice yellow hue.  It had a fine white film of head covering the top.  The beer had an earthy almost grassy flavor in the beer.  It has a partial taste of sun shine crispness in the medium to light body in the glass.  The grassy hop taste left a little bit of dry after taste in your mouth.  This really left me looking for the next sip.  It was not exactly a thirst quenching beer as some beers go.  But it was a nice refreshing beverage to relax and drink on a nice summer eve night on the deck.  It would probably even be more enjoyable if you had a nice fire bit in front of you to really fully take in the warm summer night and stars out side.  Relax and drink.  Enjoy - Thanks for stopping by for the read & please drink responsibly.

 
 
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.