Saturday, April 20, 2013

Why I hate: Sam Adams

As a general rule I like to support the little guy. Some of the "little guy" breweries have now gotten rather large, but I will still support you... if you aren't a dick. Sam Adams qualifies for "dick" status. First they sue one of their sales reps who left their company to go work for Anchor Brewing. Recently they have threatened to sue Fezziwig's Brewing in Carlsbad over the use of the name because Sam Adams puts out a seasonal every Christmas called Old Fezziwig's Ale. Really, Sam Adams? A brewery that has never bottled its beers is a threat to one of your brand's winter seasonals? I don't buy it. And, therefore, I don't buy or drink Sam Adams. I could understand it if Fezziwig's Brewing was named Sam Addams and the folks at Sam Adams decided to sue, but to sue just because you have one seasonal beer that's using the name (from a story that is in the public domain) is lame. This means that Fezziwig's now has to change all of their branding, merchandise, their website address, company letterhead, and probably more things that have not occurred to me.So I will be drinking more of "the brewery formerly known as Fezziwig's" beers to help them to pay for the rebranding. Oh, and also because I love to drink beer... and they make some mighty fine beer.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

North Park Craft Beer Block

Last Sunday we went to the Craft Beer Block at the North Park Festival of the Arts. I really like this festival and always have a good time when we go. There were some bad things to go with the good, so let's get to it, shall we?

The Good:

This is one of the more budget-friendly beer fests. Our tickets were $31 each and it got us a free T-shirt (more on this in the "bad" section), a keeper cup (plastic not glass, but I forgive them), 12 tastes of craft beer including a taste of the special Automatic Brewing limited beer.

This fest is 2 blocks from our apartment so we just walked right over - no searching for parking, no DUI issues to worry about.

They have good cheap eats from local restaurants with a $3 price point. We ate from the Jersey Joe's booth and I now have a new pizza place to add to my list of local favorites. Sadly I didn't get around to trying the homemade potato chips from the Range but maybe they will be back next year.

Lots of new beers to try! My favorites included the Monkey Paw/Stone collaboration Monkey Stones, Fezziwig's Brewing Cream Ale, Automatic Brewing 94/9 Insider Belgian Wheat, and Latitude 33 Vanilla's Porter. Nice to see (and taste) Aztec Brewing, Rough Draft, and Hess too - breweries that were not on the block last year.

I saw more San Diego breweries this year than last - the ratio of SD to other areas seemed higher than before. Although I love all craft beer it is just nice to see a focus on the local brewing scene since that is what I feel this street fair is all about.

The homebrewers guild had some great non-alcoholic ginger ale they were pouring for free. So tasty, in fact, that it's making me consider joining just to learn how to homebrew soda.

By going early we were able to see everything and get the beers we wanted before kegs started blowing!

The festival wasn't nearly as crowded as the Pizza Port fests. When we left there was still room to move aroud and it did not feel like a mosh pit. (Of course the space was much bigger than the Port fests, naybe they just need a larger venue)

Big thank you to the woman from Sea Rocket Bistro who helped me out (see the "ugly" section).

The Bad:

Lots of breweries just brought the same old beers they serve everywhere. Now I get that they are courting new customers and that it's only us die hard beer geeks that will complain... but kudos to Ballast Point for bringing both a seasonal and their standard fare.

Tailgate brought a hefeweizen that Warren grabbed a taste of and I don't know what it was but it sure wasn't a hefe... it was crystal clear - not cloudy at all, and had no discernable wheat flavor or aroma.

There was a bit of a snafu with the t-shirts. The online ordering had 3 different kinds of tickets: regular $30 admission, 94/9 Insider for $31 (with the special Automatic beer), regular admission with free t-shirt for $30. We chose the $31 to get the Automatic tasting and then went to a link no the site to send in out t-shirt sizes, but when we got to the fest the ticket person said we didn't have the right tickets for the free shirts. After a bit of discussion someone else with more info came along and we were able to get our shirts. Other bummer was that the largest shirt was XL, there were no XXL, so my shirt won't fit me.

Not as much swag as last year. Last year I picked up a ton of keychains and other geegaws, but this year Mother Earth was the only brewery I saw giving out anything more than stickers.

Not enough shade. We ended up sitting at a table next to one of the few umbrellas and taking turns running off to grab beer while the others watched the seat, but we still got sunburned.

The Ugly:

So I go to use the porta-potty about 15 minutes after the fest opens and the damn thing is out of toilet paper. And it's not just run out, there are not even empty rolls on the holder, this thing had not been stocked. End up having to poke my head out of the door to try to get some help and I see a woman from Sea Rocket Bistro who is asking the Elite Security where the handwashing sinks are. After a couple of minutes of the Elite guy telling her that this wasn't his problen the woman grabs me some paper out of one of the other porta potties and brings it to me. And I am left thinking - whoever was responsible, couldn't you check these things before you opened? And why is it such a big deal to the Elite guy that getting a roll of toilet paper isn't his job, and he has to tell me and the woman from Sea Rocket this?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

There is no good use for bad beer

So over on Gizmodo there's an article on trying to change crap beer to good beer*. Someone commented that cheap beer is only good for cooking. I say it's not even good for that. My reply: "Don't even cook with the crap beer. Stone Arrogant Bastard or Rogue Chipotle Ale are excellent for beer brats. Fruity beer like Sea Dog Wild Blueberry and Pyramid Apricot Ale make delicious marinade for pork chops. Steaks are best with dark coffee beers like Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout."

I have been marinading meat with these beers for years now and always get compliments from people who have tasted them. Of course, credit must also out to Greg for doing a fabulous job on the grill, and he has also helped with choosing the beers to use as marinade.

Quickie Chops recipe:

Get some nice thick pork chops (the ones from Costco are my favorite).

Marinade overnight in blueberry beer (Wild Blue is my fave for this), and use one of those flavor injectors that look like a huge hypodermic to get the beer all the way in the meat.

Grill until there is no pink at the center (this is Greg's job so I can't say how long it will take).

Serve with a slice of  Blueberry Wensleydale cheese on top. 

Pair with a Shipyard Smashed Blueberry!

*The Gizmodo article is about the Randall Jr. from Dogfish Head. I know I am nuts, but I want one of these damn things. I so want to try using some coffee beans or star anise on a good stout...

Monday, May 14, 2012

Don't Barrel Age Me, Bro!

The other day we were down at Bottlecraft for Greg's birthday and Brian was talking about some of the new beers they had recently received. He mentioned that they had some new barrel aged selections and I said that I was over the whole barrel aged beer trend. Greg commented to me that  I should've explained why as I ended up just sounding negative for no good reason so I figure I'll write about it here.

I am bored with barrel aged beers. If I wanted a drink that tasted like bourbon I would just go pour myself a shot of bourbon and not be grabbing a beer. I know that there are a lot of people who do enjoy the added flavor that barrel aging brings to a beer but I am finding that I am not really one of them. This surprises some of my friends as I regularly drink Imperials, Doubles and other high alcohol beer styles but it is specifically the "burn" that is often times present in the barrel aged beers that turns me off.  For me, the beer loses something when the other flavors get drowned out by that hard alcohol burn amd I'd rather be drinking most any other beer style.

All that said I am not a huge fan of most "extreme" beers - overly bitter hoppier-than-thou IPAs, Saisons that smell like a barnyard, and Sours that are tarter than sucking on a lemon are on my shit list as well. It's strange then that the style I have been ordering a lot of lately has been sour beer, I just don't like the super sour ones. Because really, if I wanted a beer that tasted like a Sweet Tart I could just throw a pack of them in a can of Pabst and be done with it.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

OMG WTF dinner

So sometimes I have no clue what to make for dinner and will end up just throwing random things in a dish and calling it food. Here's one I made earlier this week that the family enjoyed:

OMG WTF Dinner

half a bag of frozen cubed hash browns (not the shredded ones)
half a bag of frozen IKEA meatballs
about a cup and a half of frozen mixed veggies
two cans of cream of mushroom soup (straight outta the can, do not dilute)

Throw all the stuff in a 8x8 cassarole dish, mix, cover and bake at 450 for about 45 min

Add a bit of salt, pepper, or whatever floats your boat to spice things up a bit