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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Ridgeway Criminally Bad Elf BWSA
Ridgeway Criminally Badf Elf BWSA

Ridgeway Criminally Badf Elf BWSA

Style & glass: BWSA, Snifter

16.9 fl oz x 10.5% ABV = 177.45 / 60 = 2.96 beers * 150 C = 444 calories (est.)

Available at: Canal’s, Lawrenceville, NJ for $5.80

sweet, syrupy aroma, deep brown body under a white head, quickly dissipating, cloying, syrupy, sugary, unbalanced, blunt mouthfeel, Slightly unrefined for the style. Blunt, dull, and hammering.

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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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Flying Fish Exit 4 American Trippel

Beer review: Flying Fish Exit 4 American Trippel

Visually stunning orange body, but less than stellar head dissipates too quickly. Aroma is as expected orange cloves, honey, and banana, and taste is much the same. Very well done version of the style. Very hoppy, mindful of Chouffe Houblon Dobbelen. Delicious. Points off for being a gusher and quick head, but otherwise, fantastic. Available at Canal’s Lawrenceville, NJ for $10.00

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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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Magic Hat Spring Fever 2009

Circus Boy

My planned progression for the Magic Hat #TTL tasting on Thursday March 26th at 8 pm on TwitterTasteLive.com is Circus Boy, Odd Notion, #9, then H I.P.A.

Magic Hat Spring 2009

Magic Hat Spring 2009

Magic Hat Circus Boy

Magic Hat Circus Boy

Magic Hat Circus Boy Hefeweizen Style; glass: Vegetable/Spice beer (lemongrass); weizen 12 fl oz x 4.4% ABV = 52.8 / 60 = .88 beers * 150 C = 132 calories (est.) Purchased at: Canal’s Lawrenceville, NJ for $1.25 as part of a variety pack. Aroma: faint, lemon, citrus, spicy, some slight sourness. Visuals: fun intriguing packaging, body is hazy yellow, like a sandblasted sheet of gold, bright yellow color, hazy, under a bright white head, lace is minimal and fleeting. Taste: very light, starts with a dull sweetness, middle is clean water, finish is short but enjoyable. Very little hop aroma or bitterness. Clean, refreshing, reminds of a light lemonade. Very drinkable, and clearly a session beer. At an estimate of 132 C each, I could have quite a few of these and not worry about gaining. Palate: Starts quite wet, some sourness emerges, sweet brightness in middle, very clean water throughout, finish is fleeting and abrupt. Overall: Clearly meant as a session brew, and it’s quite an enjoyable beer as such. I think it’s an ideal springtime brew, and a very nice ‘lawnmower’ beer.

Magic Hat Odd Notion Spring 2009

Magic Hat Odd Notion Spring 2009

Odd Notion Agave Poppy Seed Pilsner Style; glass: Pilsner; Footed Pilsener 12 fl oz x 5% ABV = 60 / 60 = 1 beers * 150 C = 150 calories (est.) Purchased at: Canal’s Lawrenceville, NJ for $1.25 Aroma: hay, manure, dust, corn, light, flowery Visuals: quirky, fun packaging, like a science experiment, brilliant bronze body, very clear, wispy off white head, little lace. Taste: starts with tobacco, leather, surprising, probably great for pairing with salads or roasted veggies, middle is bitter and slightly  acetic, wow, a strange taste. Peanuts or sunflower seeds would be delicious with this. Palate: starts with bitterness and sourness, middle is leathery and dusty, finish is long and mostly a twisting lemony rind bitterness. Overall: surprising flavors, and can’t wait to try to pair with something. A strong series of layered flavors, and would balance sweetness nicely.

Magic Hat #9

Magic Hat #9

Magic Hat #9 not quite pale ale. Style; glass: Fruit beer; flute 12 fl oz x 4.6% ABV = 55.2 / 60 = .92 beers * 150 C = 138 calories (est.) Purchased at: canal’s Lawrenceville, NJ for $1.25 Aroma: cherry, fruit, peach, apple, flowery, honeysuckle Visuals: alluring, enticing packaging, body is brilliant, golden, yellow highlights, foamy white head, sticky lace. Taste: starts sweet, some syrup, flour, corn, flowers, grassy middle, turns to candy, slight sourness throughout, finish is short and sweet and sour. Palate: starts very carbonated and purfumed, middle is quick and crisp, finish is short lived and very flowery. Overall: Very much an experiment, and enjoyable as such. Might pair well with chinese or japanese cuisine, something spicy, saucy, and thick would be cut well with this brew.

Magic Hat HIPA

Magic Hat HIPA

Magic Hat HIPA Style; glass: IPA, tulip 12 fl oz x 5.8% ABV = 69.6 / 60 = 1.16 beers * 150 C = 174 calories (est.) Purchased at: Canal’s Lawrenceville, NJ for $1.25 Aroma: coconut, orange rind, perfume, pine Visuals: intriguing packaging, oceanic sunset, bright orange body, brilliant, thin wispy white head, sticky lace. Taste: starts very sweet, goes quickly to citrus and middles to a perfume based bitterness, finish is orange rind, pineapple, coconut. Palate: starts quite crisp, carbonated, middle is mellowing, finish is medium and enjoyable bitter. Overall:  A very nice IPA, though unlike many others it seems like this one is playing with a few island inspired peripheral flavors. As a purist about the style, I’m not offended, but I do prefer a more straightforward approach to the flavors of an IPA. Magic Hat, however, tends to take everything in about three new directions from what’s expected, which is kind of nice.

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