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I Went Down to Elysian Fields and . . .

ya know what? I had fun. I went down to try the three Harpoon Brewery IPAs that Elysian has to tap after the Seahawks blew the Super Bowl. Harpoon is a great brewery in Boston,  MA. I had the pleasure of visiting there a couple summers ago and found a good friend in their Irish Stout. These IPAs are all good, around 45 IBUs and ranging from 4.5 to 10.2% ABV. Nice hop flavor and well balanced.

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Go down and try them. While you are there, treat yourself to a Perseus Porter and a Dragonstooth Stout. I did. And I am a happier person for the experience.

Budweiser Anti-Craft Beer Ad – Fail

Budweiser-logo
Budweiser – for people who don’t care what their beer tastes like.

Budweiser strayed from their usual heart-tugging puppies and horsies in their annual Super Bowl ads this year and actually talked about their product. They try to sell “the experience,” not what their fizzy yellow piss tastes like. In this ad, they pretty much say that they don’t think beer drinkers ought to care what the beer tastes like. Just shut up, sit down, and drink our beer. Beechwood aged? What the hell is that? They also do a good job of sucking you into the us versus them mentality. They maintain that their yellow stuff is the only beer you will ever need, and all the other styles are for weenies. They make AMERICAN beer. Although, they are owned by a Belgian beer consortium.

They make fun of craft beer although they have recently bought two popular – well, formerly popular – breweries in Washington (Elysian Brewing) and Oregon (10 Barrel Brewing), BOTH of which have earned their reputation due to a variety of styles and quality of taste – and ONE of which (Elysian) actually has brewed the Peach Pumpkin Ale that they poke fun at in the ad. They also bought Goose Island Brewing in Chicago and have a fake craft beer operation called Shock Top, that specializes in making beers with weird names and atypical ingredients.

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Irony aside, the Belgian-based brewing conglomerate AB-InBev, has seen a substantial  drop off in sales of Budweiser beer, reportedly around 50% over the past 10 years. Bud is just one of many brands they market in the US and around the world.

Don’t get me wrong. Bud is a good beer for certain occasions. Like beer chugging contests. Washing down cardboard crusted pizza. Or these clever ideas taken from food and drink writer Cris Carl:

  • Trap slugs and snails
  • Trap fruit flies
  • Distract bees and wasps from your outdoor gathering.
  • Get rid of mice
  • Cockroach trap
  • Fertilize your gardens
  • Fertilize your indoor plants
  • Get rid of brown spots in your lawn
  • Stain removal
  • Spruce up wooden furniture
  • Clean gold jewelry
  • Polishing brass
  • Loosen rusty bolts
  • Insulation

Friends don’t let friends drink Bud. Use it to kill rats instead. ABInBev rats.

Think You Know Beer? Think Again

shirt_14The peninsula’s January festival of beer mayhem (called Strange Brewfest) has ended. Just when you thought you knew everything there was to know about making or tasting beer, dozens of WA craft brewers (and one that officially stopped being a craft brewer) put on their homebrewer caps and said, in essence, “Oh, ya? Try this!!”

The trip to Port Townsend, WA is always a scenic overkill, making you want to get out the tent, backpacks, and sleeping bags and live the wilderness life for a few days. Still relatively rural or deeply forested, the peninsula is a collection of farms, waterways and very cute, very small towns.

Poulsbo has long been the Nordic capital of the West Sound and boasts three great breweries that are radically different and uniquely supportive of one another. There are many other exceptional breweries not too far away in Port Orchard, Shelton, Bremerton, Silverdale, Gig Harbor, Port Angeles, Hood Canal, Kingston, Bainbridge Island and the destination of last weekend’s road trip, Port Townsend. No trip to Port Townsend is complete without a stop at the Port Townsend Brewery.

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First up was the new brewery in downtown Poulsbo, Slippery Pig Brewing. Not that the brewery itself is new, since it has been around since 2011 originally located on, yes, a pig farm. Owner Dave Lambert creates specialty beers based on traditional styles, with a local ingredients thrown in;  thistles, rhubarb and nettles. It also has some spot on evening entertainment featuring local bands of a variety of musical styles.

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Then it was on to the Strange Brewfest. Forty brewers created concoctions for your enjoyment like:

Cool As A Cucumber Saison - Island Hopping Brewing
Cool As A Cucumber Saison – Island Hopping Brewing
  • Raspberry Mint Wheat
  • Mutha Sucka
  • Mocha Imperial Red
  • Miso Beery
  • Nacho Cheese Beerito
  • No Worry Curry
  • Tree Hugger
  • Choco Likity Yum Yum
  • Fruity Pebbles
  • Seven Bloody Seas
  • Sour Stout
  • Jalapeno Mole Stout
  • Sahti Juniper Saison
  • Fennel Amber Saison
  • Pine Needle Pale
  • Skittle Brau Blonde

Oh yes, the list goes on and on.

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(Click on the collages above for larger images)

After two days of tasting some pretty remarkable beers and some great food from the Shanghai Restaurant and Khu Larb Thai there needed to be one more adventure before heading to the ferry dock for the ride home – Valholl Brewing.

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Sorry to see this one end – but next weekend is Belgianfest!!!!

HTBN – Christmas 2014

HTBN has done the 12 Beers of Christmas and a Christmas Advent Calendar in previous years.

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I wanted to figure out a clever way to tie beer into the popular carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas. Instead, after discovering what the “12 Days” were really about, other than gifts of a lot of fowl (hens, swans, geese, partridges, and calling birds), I discovered:

  • The carol was really a secret way to teach children in England about the Catholic traditions while they were forbidden by the Church of England. (see notation at end of story)
  • There really are twelve days of Christmas celebrated in different ways and with different intensity throughout Europe in famed beer-making countries.
  • The 12 Days begin on Christmas Day and continue until the Epiphany (which is celebrated 12 days later – this is the whole star of David, Wise Men bearing gifts thing)
  • Each day has a focus. Some days are more for reflection and appreciation rather than wild party-going and confetti throwing.

Continue reading HTBN – Christmas 2014