Filed under: Current selections | Tags: beer, Beer festival, Beverages, Binge drinking, Drink, Food, India Pale Ale, John LeMasney, Liquor store, Microbrewery, Mikkeller, Recreation, Shopping
You may have noticed that as of late I’ve slowed down my beer blogging considerably, and I have a very good reason: I’ve slowed my beer consumption considerably, and may very well stop drinking altogether. Before continuing, I want to say that I still very much love the craft beer movement, many of my friends and colleagues who enjoy, photograph, tweet, and blog about beer, and that I’ll still raise a glass with you, I just might not have any beer in mine.
I want to especially thank the following people and groups for sharing my quest for the best beer out there:
Gservo, gogoincognito, rkapes, scarbonaro, Angel and Bryan, Rob Mangold, Liz and the crew at the Hulmeville Inn, Mike at canal’s Burlington, the beer guys at Canal’s Lawrenceville, everyone at Super Saver Pennington, Ryan and the folks at Uno Grill in Hamilton, everyone at Issac Newton’s, Shawn Connelly and the Aleuminati, The Beer Boss, The Beer in Me, Beer Valley, the New Jersey Brewfest, the Beer Babe, Twitter Taste Live, Roch Pisarek, Jim in Hopewell, and the rest of you. Raise a pint for me, and enjoy.
My reasons for slowing, and perhaps stopping, my beer consumption are as follows:
1. I’ve gained 50 pounds in the last year, after losing over 100 in the last 3 years.
At one time, I was doing a small speaking circuit on how I lost over 100 pounds. My friends, kindly avoiding the topic, have surely noticed the return of my girth. Since I religiously record my calorie intake, I can very easily tell you that it is due to beer calories, which if you follow this blog, you know I pay attention to. However, some of my additional calories are due to post drinking easiness with which I’ll consume a few hundred calories that my sober self would easily have passed up.
2. I drink more than one or two great beers in a sitting, and sometimes drink 4 or 5.
While I can have just one beer, I don’t find a lot of fun in it. I’ve loved going to my local bottleshop, picking out a six of singles, and enjoying the complex differences between a few porters, IPAs, Belgians, or Hefeweizens. If I have the opportunity for a sampler, such as Triumph’s, I’ll always enjoy the variation in flavors and be quite satisfied with 12-14 ounces. When I’m sampling at home though, it’s easier to just splurge. The only problem is that it leads (in my individual case) to the other issues I’m listing here, not to mention, it’s called binge drinking, though it never felt that way to me.
3. Great beer can be up to $25 for a single 12 ounce bottle.
My favorite beer in the world is Mikkeller’s Black (look for the Chinese character) a 12 ounce bottle of the darkest, choclatiest, most delicious elixir I’ve ever tasted. It’s over a dollar an ounce at my place, coming in at about $18. A six pack is about $120 after taxes. This is an extreme case, but if you enjoy craft beer, you know that it’s not cheap. There are exceptions, especially when a case gets past its prime and goes on special, but in general, a six pack is between $8 and $10, and it can go pretty quick for me.
4. I’ve become closely associated with beer in my personal and professional circles.
There are some people who when they haven’t seen me for a while ask me what I’ve been drinking lately far before they’ll ask me what my favorite new application is, how my boys are doing, or how things are going at work. I’d like to be known as a list of things besides the beer blogging guy, not because I didn’t love this effort, but because I’m many things besides a beer blogger.
5. I have become recognized on sight at my local bottle shops.
When I go into any of 6 or 8 of my favorite bottleshops, I get a smile, a welcome, and a handshake. That’s nice, very nice, but the fact that I seldom get the same welcome at my favorite restaurants, food stores, libraries, etc. means that I may need to refocus my energies on strengthening different kinds of relationships.
6. I have taken to traveling for over an hour to visit great bottleshops throughout my state.
Oaktree BuyRite is a great bottle shop. I’ve traveled on a Sunday for over an hour so that I can get the finest selection of craft beer in the state. I could have been spending that time not burning gas, reading, sleeping, or playing with my sons. Again, it’s refocusing priorities.
7. When traveling, part of my itinerary is undoubtedly finding great beer.
I have a google map where I’ve collected high ranked beer shops in each of the areas I’ve visited in the last two years. I have gone on late night trips to supermarkets to see what that state’s offering comparative to NJ. Simply put, traveling for me became as much about finding great beer as taking great photos, and sometimes the beer finding outweighed the photos.
8. I’ve started getting beer related gifts for holidays and other occasions.
In the last three months, I’ve gotten 2 beer related shirts, 3 beer posters, and asked to go to a beer festival as my major birthday present. All nice gifts, but there are other things to enjoy.
9. My youtube videos, tweeps, social networks, and other online trails have become laden with beer related content.
I like my job, but I bet if I was job searching right now, I’d be answering questions about my obsessions with beer in interviews. I personally think I’d have great answers about why beer was such an important part of my life, but I bet that many people would read into my intense appreciation for beer as something else. It’s already happened with some people.
10. I want to refocus on other topics, such as leadership, technology, open source, training, and family.
As I said, while I really enjoyed this great ride, it’s time to give it a rest. This is by no means meant to be an insult to the brewing community, beer lovers, beer bloggers, or anyone else. It’s really just a way of communicating why you might not be hearing alot more from me about beer anytime soon. You can however start hearing from me about the topics in the header above, and many others.
Here’s to you, thanks for a great ride.
John LeMasney, formerly Beercritic.
Filed under: Current selections
Style; glass: IPA, Tulip
12 fl oz x 5.9% ABV = 70.8 / 60 = 1.18 beers * 150 C = 177 calories (est.)
Purchased at: The Beer Outlet for $1.25
Aroma: faint lemon citrus, pleasant.
Visuals: fair packaging, mindful of Vermont, Body is yellow to deep sunset with an off white head, goes from brilliant to cloudy with pouring, little fine lace.
Taste: slight sweetness, a lot of malted barley flavors, hops provide a bitter flavor, but light.
Palate: Starts quite crisp, moves to drying, lingering taste is of roasted malts.
Overall: Enjoyable, most especially for the price, a bit lemony and summery for the style, but enjoyable.
Filed under: Current selections
Style; glass: Belgian Strong; trappist, tulip, tumbler
25.4 fl oz x 11% ABV = 279.4 / 60 = 4.65 beers * 150 C = 697.5 calories (est.)
Purchased at: Canal’s Lawrenceville for $12.19
Aroma: cocoa, coriander, orange peel, zest, and pepper.
Visuals: fun, idyllic, brand oriented packaging, A deep midnight, deep brown, opaque, bright tan head, sticky lace.
Taste: expertly balanced, dark roasted coffee malt, peppery hops, refined strength.
Palate: crisp texture gives way to a rounded mouthfeel, long burnt finish with bitterness and cocoa.
Overall: delicious, layered and amazing. This is the epitome.
Filed under: Current selections | Tags: beer, black, caramel, chocolate, coffee, crisp, dark, deep, delicious, Facebook, hoppy, opaque, resin, roasted, Samuel Smith Brewery, stout, strong, TweetDeck, Twitter, United Kingdom, United States
Tasting Times (EST USA):
7:30 – ? @reluct_scooper says he has a few UK Stouts that he will open and tweet about. Discussion on Sam Smith & Rogue continues.
5:53: I’ve got my water nearby, tweetdeck chirping away, and I’ve already done group and individual bottle shots. This is going to be cool.
6:21: Just got some compliments on my notes. This is fun.
7:08 this is tough to do. Lots of beer!
8:39 What an experience. Here’s the trail:
- @reluct_scooper those two are very fine examples, but many more exist. #ttl
- @NormskiBrewer nice to have you! #ttl
- http://twitpic.com/1mf4n is a little compilation pic of tonight’s offerings. Cheers.
- @beerbabe just finished a WWS, and enjoyed it immensely. It defines the words ‘sip’ and ‘pleasure’. #ttl
- @beerbabe I ❤ Santo Palo Marron. I’ve gotten into Facebook fights over the amazingness of this brew. #ttl
- @beerbabe the flavor really emerges with the mellowing warmth. #ttl
- @beertweeter I am an amateur beer chef. 😉 hehehe. #ttl
- having very room temp Shakespeare, and it’s still standing up nicely. Nice hop finish, a bit mellower, of course, but flavor is there. #ttl
- @beertweeter good or bad? I finished my impy. #ttl
- biab. You people absolutely rock. #ttl
- @beertweeter you inspired me. 😉 #ttl
- @Normskibrewer My pleasure. 😉 #ttl
- @tastelive blushes and cheers. 😉 Video forthcoming, but a slower process. #ttl
- @beerbabe Thanks! It’s my latest little way of getting into my work. 😉 #ttl
- Photos from tonight’s tasting: http://tinyurl.com/bcxrph #ttl
- @Ekajtactless love that bastard. #ttl
- #3 trend on all of twitter. That really is kind of something on a Saturday evening, no? #ttl
- Wow. we cracked the code. Care deeply about something and talk about it. For hours! Lets get advertisements going. 😉 #ttl
- @Gservo had the Creme Brulee on tap once. That was nice. #ttl
- @Normskibrewer I like the way you drink… er think. #ttl
- @beertweeter Sessions are the new imperial styles. 😉 #ttl
- @reluct_scooper yeah I’d like to hear the also rans! #ttl
- @Normskibrewer If you want bucketlist brews, I’d suggest Mikkeller Black, Beer Geek breakfast, Great Divide Yeti, Dogfish Head 120, etc #ttl
- @Normskibrewer I don’t think any of these were to-die-for brews, but all good. #ttl
- @beerbabe I think these all stood up well. We can all agree that a macro brown ale would have trouble in the list. 😉 #ttl
- @Normskibrewer Sam Smith Imperial 17/20 Oatmeal 18/20 Rogue Chocolate 16/20 Shakespeare 18/20 #ttl
- @beerbabe it’s going to be a long night. But delicious. Cheers! #ttl
- going to follow each of you soon. 😉 #ttl
- @beertweeter I love that we live in a time that we can share this experience in this way. I’m a technologist first, and this is sublime #ttl
- @beerbabe it was my absolute pleasure, I can assure you. I’ve wanted to taste beers with you a long time now. #ttl
- does anyone esle have unfinished bombers sitting before them? #ttl
- This has been a lot of fun, friends! I’m looking forward to the next one as well. #ttl
- Being that Philly Beer week is approaching I think ale on cask will be an easy fix come March. Just saying. #ttl
- @beertweeter I think we all might benefit. They do casks at the Hulmeville Inn from time to time, in PA. #ttl
- I once had Sculpin from a Firkin in Philadelphia at a very special event. 😉 #ttl
- @beertweeter will do. I’m in NJ. You? #ttl
- @beertweeter there’s a place near me that has no trouble kicking casks in a few days — they do great advertising, beer lists, etc. #ttl
- @beertweeter trending #10 – damn, who’s at #9? #ttl
- @beertweeter The Mikkeller (Imperial stout) I mentioned earlier comes out at about 18% ABV. #ttl
- @hopwild I have to say I usually taste at cellar or warmer. I enjoy fuller flavors, genuinely. Mine aren’t cold at all, but delicious. #ttl
- @beerbabe sadly, no. #ttl
- @Normskibrewer Sam Smith Imp Stout. #ttl
- @hoppy_mike Raison seems a lot more intense than this, though. This is smoother, mellow, to me. #ttl
- To Bill, a deserving brew for a deserving appreciative. #ttl
- palate starts washy, foamy, middles to a linen and silk luxury, followed by a raisinous dark roasted finish that stays for a bit. Nice. #ttl
- Agitation does wonders for the visuals and for the aroma. The flavor retains its impact thoughout. #ttl
- Taste goes right to raisin, plum, oats, and coffee. So very smooth. some carbo in the finish, but not distracting. #ttl
- An appropriate stout for the toast: thick viscosity, thinner beautiful tan head, intricate lacing. Bill might have loved it. #ttl
- @hopwild to Bill! #ttl
- @reluct_scooper Cheers! #ttl
- @beertweeter me am. I mean I am. Wow. Long night. #ttl
- Maybe instead of the 25 random things craze on facebook, we could start a 10 beers for life list. Just a thought. 😉 #ttl
- pausing to video and snapshot the pour and body. biab. #ttl
- Mikkeller 黑 is mine, hands down. Lots of Number 2s though. http://tinyurl.com/akgg4q #ttl
- @beerbabe how’s the pairing? #ttl
- @beerbabe Agreed and wholeheartedly. #ttl
- @beerbabe I would go as far as to say that generalizing to gender is a fruitless endeavor. Especially when it comes to beer. 😉 #ttl
- Comparatively, I’d say this is more intense than the Sam Smith, but less than the Shakespeare. Hops are somewhat less here, no? #ttl
- @beertweeter and oh, how I’ve tried to turn her on to great beer. 😉 #ttl
- @beertweeter my wife. #ttl
- Starts carbona crisp, dry, and middles to blunt malty roasted notes. Finish is slightly bitter. Dark chocolate throughout. Delicious. #ttl
- roasted malt definitely comes through in the aroma as chocolate. Fully opaque body with foamy tan head. lacing is nice already. Milky. #ttl
- just paused to take some video of the pour and some body shots. Pourn. hehe. Ahem. Back now. #ttl
- oh man. sit this pint aside. take a drink of water. deep breath. #ttl
- @beerbabe a good problem to have. 😉 #ttl
- For Rogue, DFH, and Stone, having new offerings allows for diversity and experimentation that led to their original success. Good on em #ttl
- @beerbabe And as a result, you get Chipotle ale. I was less impressed with Soba ale. Don’t get me started on Dogfish Head. 😉 #ttl
- @beerbabe Babe Ruth was a leader in strikeouts as well as hits (i think), I think Rogue’s experimental nature allows for greatness. #ttl
- @beertweeter +10 for Lovibond reference. #ttl
- @beerbabe Rogue is really one of the most reliable brewers for hopheads no matter the style. Their Yellow Snow IPA, is world class IMO. #ttl
- No light escapes the body, no taste bud avoids the hop and silky coating. The back and roof my mouth are tingling. Well crafted. #ttl
- I think it’s brave of Sam Smith to endcap these brews from Rogue in our tasting. It says something for the fortitude of their brews. #ttl
- @beertweeter WD-80 😉 #ttl
- Flavor is far more hoppy, middles out to citrus and mint for me, finish is very bitter and lasting. I absolutely love Rogue brews. #ttl
- this is wholly opaque, black, no such ruby notes as in the SS. Fluffy tan head goes to thin with intricate lace. Beautiful. #ttl
- @hopwild mine deflated too, but lace is nice. #ttl
- @beerbabe i ❤ sediment. Lees, extra yeast, whatever, let me at it. #ttl
- @beertweeter lol Radiohead here. #ttl
- <sips water> #ttl
- @hopwild as we approach 25% ABV in some experimental Dogfish head brews, I think we’ll see it more and more. ;)One can hope. #ttl
- @hopwild I find that 5% and under forego the ABV listing. #ttl
- @reluct_scooper the carbo left mine pretty quickly and let the flavor come through. I started at cellar temp, too. #ttl
- Belgian lacing is crisp, intricate, and picture perfect. Nice way to finish. #ttl
- starts crisp, mellows to soy and dark notes quickly, longer oat based finish. A delicious session brew. #ttl
- I have a little 5 LED flashlight to get a good impression of the deeper color in more opaque brews. This one lights right up! #ttl
- I love stouts with some sediment or bottle conditioning. This one is clean as a whistle, but I’ll not hold it against ol’ Sam. #ttl
- @binendswine bottoms up while it’s 5% ABV! 😉 #ttl
- @binendswine blushing and cheers! #ttl
- jealous of those with food pairing. 😉 #ttl
- The color is one of the nicest features, I think — that ruby tinge is one of my favorite in the beer spectrum. #ttl
- As the carbonation departs and it warms, the flavors start to emerge more. Raisin, plum, soy. #ttl
- roasted malt is definitely coming through — oats help it. more choc than coffee for me. #ttl
- Mine is smooth, a bit like tea. Some chocolate, as beerbabe notes. I have a cold, sigh. #ttl
- @hopwild may be a bit shelved. Age doesn’t work in all brews, or could be a bad producer recipe. #ttl
- Taking shots and video as we go, will go up on http://beercritic.wordpress… later. #ttl
- Just a bit translucent. The ruby undertones are beautiful and the tan head is fluffy with nice lacing. #ttl
- Lots of grain and earthiness in the aroma. Nice. #ttl
- it says 6 p.m. EST here. 😉 #ttl
- I have four glasses setup, an english pint for the oatmeal, a shaker for the shakespeare, 2 snifters for the rest. All room temp, clean #ttl
- @binendswine Stouts, depending on substyle can be poured into shakers, English Pints (e.g. oatmeal), and Snifters (e.g. imperial) #ttl
Filed under: Allagash, Belgian White Ale [witbier] (tumbler, weizen), Current selections | Tags: banana, cloves, cool, deep, golden, grass, hay, hazy, peach, soft, thick, wheat
On tap at Hulmeville Inn, Hulmeville, PA, for $1.25 as part of a sampler flight. Deep, hazy gold, thick, white foamy head. Aroma is wheat, hay, grass, washy. Some banana, peach, and cloves. In the background. Softer, less warm than most Belgian styles. Lacing and legs are intense and sticky.
Filed under: Current selections | Tags: bitter, brown, cherry, deep, licorice, off white, red, smoky, sour, tannins, thin, well done, wine
On tap at the Hulmeville Inn, Hulmeville, PA, for $1.25 as part of a sampler flight. Deep reddish brown with a thin off white head. Sour! Licorice, seems off. Bitter, seems smoky, and deep. Not my type but well done. Cherry and lots of wine. Grapes, tannins, and wine. Once you notice the wine effects, it makes a lot more sense.
Filed under: Current selections | Tags: caramel, coffee, opaque, porter, roasted malt, tan head, thick
On tap at the Hulmeville Inn as part of a sampler flight for $1.25. 5% ABV. Opaque brown with a thick tan head. Coffee aroma is light but very present in the taste. Roasted malt wins out. Caramel middle and dark crisp finish. Short lived, crisp finish.