BeerCritic


10 reasons why I’m giving up Beer Blogging.
Mikkeller Black Stout

Mikkeller Black Stout

Hi, friends.

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.

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Pabst Blue Ribbon

Beer review: Pabst Blue Ribbon

Style & glass: Pale lager; dimpled mug

12 fl oz x 5% ABV = 60 / 60 = 1 beers * 150 C = 150 calories (est.)

Available at: everywhere, for Pete’s sake for $.50 a can

smell is mostly corn, sight is mostly yellow, taste is mostly corn and rice, feel is thin and light, overall I’d say drink in the event you want to recall what it was like before you drank craft beer.

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Great Divide Belgica Belgian IPA

Great Divide Belgica Belgian IPA

Style & glass: Belgian Ale, Trappist

12 fl oz x 7.2% ABV = 86.4 / 60 = 1.44 beers * 150 C = 216  calories (est.)

Available at: Canal’s Lawrenceville, NJ for $8.99

Scent of leather, centennial hops, fruit, and decay, visuals are a brilliant golden body with a long lasting white head, taste is begian sweetness, bananas, and biscuits, with IPA citrus, bitterness, and presence. Palate is drying, active carbonation, and creamy. Overall, a very good beer. I hope it’s regularly available, because I’d like to have it all the time.

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Port Brewing Wipeout IPA

Port Brewing Wipeout IPA

Style & glass: IPA in a tulip
22 fl oz x 7% ABV = 154 / 60 = 2.5 beers * 150 C = 375 calories (est.)
Available at: Craft Beer Outlet, Philadelphia, PA for $5.99
Citrus aroma fills the room, deep amber body under a bright white sticky head with good legs, lemon zest and surprisingly bitter flavors for an IPA, highly bitter, zesty with a very long finish, overall, a complete winner for hopheads.

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Stone Imperial Russian Stout
Stone Imperial Russian Stout

Stone Imperial Russian Stout

ABV: 10.8 %
RateBeer rating: 100/96
Calories: estimated at 600 C
Volume: 22 fl oz
Glass: Snifter
Purchased at: Super Saver, Pennington, NJ
Price: $5.99

Originally enjoyed on 5/9/2008

This is a one-year anniversary tasting, and by complete coincidence.

First Impression: Aroma is roasted, chocolate, nutty, and slightly metallic. Visuals are pitch dark body topped with a nice thick brown head, which dissipates in a few minutes but not completely. Lacing is nice.  Taste does not disappoint. A deep, hoppy, roasted flavor. Some coffee, some dark chocolate, some smoke, but just a touch. Alcohol is very well hidden. Palate is back of tongue, spongey, yeasty, and blunt, long, very tasty finish. Nicely done. A grave presence. Second Impression: an impressive beer by any standard, but a great stout. Surprisingly drinkable, deep, delicious, and so very well balanced. Stone does amazing things.

Aroma: 9 out of 10

Visuals: 5 out of 5

Taste: 10 out of 10

Palate: 5 out of 5

Overall: 19 out of 20. This is one of the best beers I’ve ever had.

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Great Divide Espresso Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout
Great Divide Espresso Oak Aged Yeti

Great Divide Espresso Oak Aged Yeti

Style; glass: Imperial Stout; Snifter
22 fl oz x 9.5% ABV = 209 / 60 = 3.48 beers * 150 C = 5.22 calories (est.)
Purchased at: Super Saver Pennington, NJ for $9.99

A deep, rusty brown body, wholly opaque, with a dark tan head. Mahogany in depth and mood. Scent of coffee, dust, earth, and wood chips. Taste is espresso syrup, roasted malt, coffee, earth, resin, and compost. Overall, it’s another amazing, layered, and complex creation for the Yeti brand, and for Great Divide. Keep them coming.

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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale 2008
pourn: Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale 2008

pourn: Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale 2008

Glass: Shaker, Tulip
Purchased at: Oaktree buy rite, South Plainfield, NJ
Price: $16.99 for two 6 packs.
Size: 12 fl oz
ABV: 6.8 %
IBU: n/a
Estimated Calories: 170 C
RateBeer Rating: 96

Aural: quiet opening, active carbonation, nice pour

Aroma 8 out of 10

Intensity: strong

Balance: sweet

Impression:  nice

Malt Aroma: rye toast, peanut oil
Hops Aroma
: dry earth, grass, basil, grapefruit
Other Aroma
: pine

Notes: A great active aroma. Very mindful of a strong IPA.

Appearance 5 out of 5

Color dark

Clarity: cloudy, bottle conditioned

Head Retention: average

Lace: intricate

Notes: Beautiful beer. Deep red orange hues with a white head and lace.

Flavor 9 out of 10

Intensity: strong

Balance: bitter

Impression: nice

Malt Flavor: grain bread toast nut
Hops Flavor: curry, cardamom, grapefruit
Other: orange, grapefruit, pine

Notes: Sawdust and blood. Like an accident happened, but in a good way. How do they make such a commercial beer so very good?

Palate 5 out of 5

Mouthfeel

Sensation: creamy drying

Body: full

Carbonation: average

Finish

Length: long

Intensity: strong

Balance:  bitter

Notes: Perhaps the best aspect of this very good beer. Leaves you wanting more.

General Impression: 18 out of 20

Craftmanship:  excellent

Freshness:  fresh

Personal Taste:  loved

Notes: An amazing beer for the brewer and price. Just fantastic.

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