3rd Wave Brewing’s 1st Wave IPA

One night, no one quite remembers exactly when or why, a brewery vanished. To be more accurate, the people working in the brewery vanished, leaving the building and the equipment to sit silently like a long forgotten shipwreck serving as nothing more than a reminder of the life and activity that had once filled its abandoned structure.

Where the old brewery workers went to, no one knows, but some say that they were whisked away to the far off realm of Mary’s Land.

And all remained quiet, until one night the brewery came to life with sound, and light, and smells. Once again the parking lot was a buzz with delivery trucks. The air smelled again of hops and malt. And the blur of activity could once again be seen in the dimly lit windows.

But who was responsible for this resurrection? Who had brought the brewery back to life? Well, locals whispered of two woman who had moved into the brewery and made it their new home with the intention of bring finely crafted beer back to the once silent structure.

Legend also says that one night, under the light of the full moon, these woman slipped into a nearby brewery and enticed a young man to follow them back to their home, a young man who had a gift of making good beers. The young man followed them back, and some say that he still wonders the brewery at night to this very day.

Or so it is said in legend.

………………………………..

OK, not really, but there is always an amount of truth to fables and legends. Lori Clough and Suellen Vickers did in fact buy the Delmar, Delaware brewing space that had been vacated by Evolution Brewing when that brewery decided to move up the road into Maryland.

They then reached out to John Panasiewicz who was brewing for the Iron Hill chain at the time and brought him on board to help brew their beers, many of them based on recipes that began on Suellen’s back porch.

The rest, if not legend, is at least history.

Tracey and I finally made it down to the brewery last October for our first Southern Swing (I probably should write about that someday, it was an awesome trip) and it’s just a quaint little place on a quiet road (that day, other days may vary) through the southern most town in Delaware.

3rd Wave started hitting the shelves in bottles, but after a while they started including beer in cans, something that I know long time readers know I’m a big fan of.

The beer I chose to hangout with this time is one of their bottled offerings, 1st Wave IPA, and since it’s 1st Wave, I decided to enjoy it while participating in some of the many firsts that have come around this time of year.

As always click on a photo to enlarge and cycle through them. You’ll find my thoughts on the beer after the gallery.

THEM: From their website – “Our American style IPA has a deep golden color and a great hop bitterness balanced with a malty sweetness. Brewed with American 2-row barley, Warrior, Northern Brewer and Cascade hops. The name stems from this being the first IPA beer we attempted.” 1st Wave clocks in at ~6.2ABV and ~63IBU.

BUZZ: Ratebeer (3.09/5), Beer Advocate (3.78/5), Untappd (3.36/5)

DE AVAILABILITY: Most fine beer outlets.

ME: My first two six packs of this were very enjoyable. 1st Wave pours a very pleasing orangish color with a topping of white fluffy foam.

The interesting thing that struck me about this beer is that although it’s billed as “American” I though it had a very English vibe to it. Maybe because of the northern brewer hops.

Malt/caramel are highly predominant in both the nose and the flavor, with the hops tucked in there nicely. This is not a “hop bomb” IPA, the flavor is well balanced on the malt base with the ending bitterness being a little more harsh than crisp, but just at the right level.

The interesting thing that struck me about this beer is that although it’s billed as “American” I though it had a very English vibe to it. Maybe because of the northern brewer hops. Anyway, at one point I found myself wondering how this beer would work in a cask, maybe with a handful of Northern Brewer hops tossed in for good measure (no hot peppers or gummy bears, please).

The third six-pack was a mystery. The first two beers were dead on 1st Wave, but the next three tasted completely different. The beer had a more floral/Belgian note to it, and I though maybe the beer had started to turn (bottling date was October of 2016). But to be honest, if it did, it turned into something that was enjoyably drinkable as the beer showed no normal signs of infection – in other words a nasty, foamy mess. The final bottle of the six was back to normal.

Based on the first two six-packs I’d recommend checking 1st Wave IPA out. It’s a pretty solid beer.

Time for another beer….

Fordham’s Rosie Parks Oyster Stout

– Still one of my favorites.

As I wrote in last week’s post, I’ve changed up my beer drinking habits lately in an attempt to get back to the simple pleasure of enjoying beer, while stepping away from all the usual frenzied brand snatching I’ve tended to do over the past couple of years.

This time I want to talk about Fordham’s Rosie Parks Oyster Stout, a beer that is no stranger to me as I named it as one of my six picks for Brian Roth’s Six-Pack Project as well as making no apologies for declaring it in the past as one of my favorite beers brewed in Delaware.

This hangout happened on a bit of a whim as I was getting ready for our yearly St Paddy’s day celebration, mulling over the possibility of adding some oysters to the menu. I loved the idea, but wasn’t digging the added expense or possible hassle of finding good oysters at the last minute when I remembered that I’d seen this very metaphorical (but adequate) substitute on one of my locals’ shelves.

So spending nothing but a quick stop after work the next day, plus the price of a six pack and bingo – “oysters” for St Paddy’s day.

Of course there was plenty of Murphy’s and Guinness as well, but Rosie didn’t seem to mind hanging out with the boys. This was a short hangout, just a couple of days, but it was very pleasurable.

The St Paddy’s celebration? Well long time readers know that I’m a bit of a St Paddy’s Day snob due to some culture programing by a Irish Jedi. So every year we get together with the kids and rock some Irish inspired food, drink and music. I’ll embed a couple of songs we added to the playlist this year at the bottom of this post. For now, let’s talk beer – and a little something else.

As always click on a photo to enlarge and cycle through the gallery to read a little comment or two about each photo

THEM: From a press release:

“Making a triumphant return, the Oyster Stout was formerly in the Fordham Brewing portfolio and retains a loyal group of followers. Containing Chesapeake Bay oysters and shells, contributing to a slight briny taste in the beer, this stout contains pale, torrified wheat, caramunich, roasted barley and chocolate malt. In addition, it is hopped with Bravo and Glacier hops. Black and 5.2% ABV, this beer is very distinctive.”

THE BUZZ: Ratebeer (3.18/5), Beer Advocate (3.55/5), Untappd (3.44/5)

DE AVAILABILITY: Most fine beer outlets.

ME: I’m going to admit, I didn’t really crawl into the glass during our celebration to re-analyze a beer I’ve had dozens of times. I simply enjoyed it throughout the day, which is what these types of reviews are all about. So let’s just go with my thoughts from my six-pack project post:

“Rosie is pure smooth drinking from front to back, with light chocolate and (even lighter) roasted notes, along with that kiss of mineral that comes from the added oyster shells.  The finish is clean and not bitter (24 IBUs) and the after taste is simply a slight roastiness.”

Yeah. Seems right. Don’t let the oyster thing turn you off, this is one fine beer and was a nice change of pace from the traditional dry stouts poured throughout the day.

Time for another beer….sing us out boys!

Fordham’s Dilated Pupilz Golden Pils

Dark Eye Glasses Not Required.

I’ve been changing my drinking habits lately. Running around trying to grab every beer that one has never tried is a young man’s game, and I just don’t seem to have the energy for it like I used to. And yes, you can do the logic problem and conclude that I’m not a young man anymore.

Instead, I’ve been grabbing some local beers off the shelf and just kind of hanging out with them. Whether it be a six pack over a long weekend, or a couple (or maybe three) over a period of a couple of weeks (or months). I’ve been just hanging out with the beer, kicking back, relaxing, experiencing it at different times and in different situations, while trying not to let too many other beers distract me.

What is this beer? Does it have a story? Does the story change over time?

Will this improve my reviews? Probably not. But they’ll be changing a bit as well as the wordy intros will probably be whittled down to a few words so that the review is more concise and quicker for you to read.

I also want to use this beer ‘quality time’ to take some photos of the beer and let you all have a peek at what the beer and I are doing in our lives. And the truth is, I’d rather be playing in Lightroom and Photoshop lately than writing long, rambling reviews.

So  with that, let’s check out the first beer in this new format, Fordham Brewing’s Dilated Pupilz.

THEM: From the website – “Dilated Pupilz has a solid malt backbone and well balanced hop character.  This golden pilsner showcases a distinct hop nose and malty flavor up front but finishes with a floral bitterness. A great beer to enjoy any time of the year.”

The grain bill includes Vienna and Caraform malts, while Bravo, Tradition and Saaz hops balance the load. Pupilz clocks in at 5.0%ABV and 38IBU.

THE BUZZ: Ratebeer (no ratings), Beer Advocate (one rating), Untappd (3.4)

DE AVAILABILITY: Most fine beer outlets.

ME: As you can see by the below photos I’ve been drinking this one for a little while now. I’ve found it mostly to be a beer that drinks pretty nice in most situations without demanding too much attention on itself.

When stored in my super turbo beer over-chiller (aka, my fridge) Pupilz has a clean nose and a just apparent malt taste with some classic Pilsner hop flavors. Every now and then the beer tosses me a citrusy/lemon notes towards the end, not sure if that’s really there, or if it’s my palate doing some of that slight-of-hand stuff that it does sometimes. The end is pretty crisp and doesn’t linger.

I wasn’t sure I liked this beer at first, but in the end it really started to grow on me. In fact, once I had everything I needed for this review, I found myself picking up one last six-pack – you know, just for the hell of it.

As always click on a photo to enlarge and cycle through the gallery to read a little comment or two about each photo.

Time for another beer.

Dogfish Head Gives Me Permission to Drink Beer For Breakfast

Although I’m not sure I need it…..

Whether by design or by happenstance, Dogfish Head has been helping me out greatly as of late with a couple of beer releases that apparently have been made specifically to accompany certain everyday activities.

It started with Beer to Listen to Music To, a nice little Belgian Triple that as the name would seem to indicate should pair well with my music listening habits.

But recently DFH took a big leap in the enabling of a more questionable habit by offering up their latest libation in the manner of their stout styled Beer For Breakfast.

Now I don’t have any reprobation about sipping suds at sunrise, after all, I’ve participated in some recreational activities that almost demand you drink a beer regardless of what time it is. You all night BBQers and homebrewers know what I mean, right? That’s right. Get it up there!

i41arbzwckui0

Nobody? Troglodytes.

But unfortunately there was once a time when my forenoon festivities were not the occasional hobby related indulgence, no sadly I’m talking some “8:30am is the new happy hour” level stuff here. Not to say that my experience is unusual. I’m sure many of you out their have similar stories.

Quickly put, I spent a lot of my early work years in north New Jersey working straight shifts that ran from 11pm to 8am, which meant that many of my (and my fellow employee’s) “Friday nights” often started at 8:20 in the morning at the nearest bar that would cash our paycheck and more often than not, ended when the 11am lunch crowd started to file in with a look of both loathing and disgust on their faces as they realized we’d already been drinking there all morning.

Nothing harshes your Long Island Ice Tea induced breakfast buzz like people who have been working all morning taking seats at the bar while loudly nattering about how Steve once again conveniently forgot that it was his turn to bring in the Friday doughnuts.

Nothing harshes your Long Island Ice Tea induced breakfast buzz like people who have been working all morning taking seats at the bar while loudly nattering about how Steve once again conveniently forgot that it was his turn to bring in the Friday doughnuts. So my morning would usually end with me yelling, “You’re an assistant manager, Steve! Spring for some freaking Krispy Kremes once in awhile you cheap bastard!” as the bar’s manager roughly tried to pry my hands off the door jam as I resisted being tossed out into the sunlight like a vampire in a John Carpenter horror movie.

vampire
But I still have money on the bar!!!

But I’m older, wiser (don’t laugh) and my job is now a normal 9-5 gig that contains none of the benefits and almost all of the occupational and social stigma from starting to pop tops when you roll out of bed to the annoying buzz of a 7am alarm clock.

But now here comes DFH with Beer For Breakfast, a stout whose ingredients are so Mrs Butterworth meets Juan Valdez it’s as if the brewer is handing me a plate at the beginning of a Golden Corral breakfast buffet line while reassuring me that nothing bad has ever come from drinking 7.4%ABV beers first thing in the morning. I have experience that says otherwise.

Let’s taste.

This is a coffee stout. Through and through. From the aroma, to the flavor, to the intense blackness in the glass as if like you’re looking into Darth Vadar’s soul.

THEM: From the website, “A stout tricked out with all sorts of breakfast ingredients including Guatemalan Antigua cold press coffee, Maple syrup harvested from Western Massachusetts and for the quintessential Delaware breakfast touch – Rapa Scrapple and their secret blend of spices. 

2-row Applewood smoked barley, Kiln Coffee malt, Flaked oats, Roasted barley, Caramel malt along with additions of Molasses, Milk Sugars (lactose), Brown Sugar, Roasted Chicory lay the foundation for this malty, breakfast-themed concoction. Enjoy huge notes of coffee in the nose and savory layers in the flavor.

Beer for Breakfast clocks in at 7.4%ABV and 30IBU.


THE BUZZ:
Beer Advocate 89%, Untappd 3.88, Rate Beer 97%

AVAILABILITY: Readily available in DE.

ME: Before we address the 800 pound post-processed porcine product in the room let’s get to the heart of this beer and the reason I underlined “coffee” and “chicory” in the above description.

This is a coffee stout. Through and through. From the aroma, to the flavor, to the intense blackness in the glass as if like you’re looking into Darth Vadar’s soul. The sugars play nicely together, with hints of maple syrup and brown sugar popping out in the aroma and flavor every now while supplying  a velvety mouth feel and sweetness for all that roast flavor to play out on, but Beer For Breakfast never strays to far from its roots, from the the first sniff to the sticky iced coffee after taste.

But let’s prattle the pork….the scrapple!  I’ve read a few reviews/comments that say they don’t taste any of the scrapple in the beer. On the one hand, that’s a relief because on the package a Rapa scrapple I opened the other day (by the way, all the women of the Kerper clan from my mom to my great-grandmother salute DFH’s use of Rapa – that’s the stuff right there) listed pork snouts as the third ingredient. Not sure I want to taste that in my beer.

But on the other hand it’s not just the meat that makes scrapple, it’s the blend of spices as well and after about half a glass I could almost convince myself that I was getting some woodsy spices out of the nose, plus a slight warmth like a pepper in the after taste.

If you’re a beer hunter and a DFH fan, you’ve probably already tried this. If you are and you haven’t – there’s nothing here to make me discourage you from giving it a shot, just as long as you remember that the key word here is coffee. As for the casual fan or everyday drinking? Well, at a $15 a six price point I don’t think I’ll be buying too much of it. Your dollars may vary. Having said that, I applaud DFH for at least not dropping it down to a 4-pack. Because in 2017 just like 2016, 4-packs are devil witchery.

Time for another beer.

beer-for-breakfast-3659
THE FINAL SIP: Get it while you can! DFH’s Beer for Breakfast is currently not on their 2017 beer release schedule being replaced by Post Boil IPA as the winter seasonal. Post Boil is described by the brewery as an IPA with no kettle hops added as the beer will get all its hop characteristics from a huge addition to the whirlpool.

Magic Hat’s Wilhelm Scream – Have You Heard It?

As I’ve stated before, interesting packaging on beer and wine shelves will always grab my attention and by extension, an interesting or playful name will also entice me to pick up a bottle to learn more about the contents. Especially if the name reflects either a pop culture reference or a witty play on words.

Today I want to talk about Magic Hat’s Wilhelm Scream, their yearly pumpkin beer that appears as part of their Night of the Living Dead (itself a timely pop culture reference) sampler 12-pack.

Many people may not know of the over 60-year history that marks the Wilhelm scream as one of the most iconic and storied screams in movie history…

OH, Deal With It
OH, Deal With It

…or how it found its way through well over 250 movies, TV shows, cartoons, and even commercials to end up on the label of said Magic Hat beer. To understand that journey, let’s set the Way-Back Machine to 1951.

New York, USA, 1951 to be precise. Warner Brothers studio is set to release its latest film entitled “Distant Drums”, what a film student would describe as a ‘Florida Western’ that over all probably wouldn’t have been very remarkable (except for starring screen legend Cary Grant) if it had not been for a certain alligator.

Taking place in the Everglades the film makers simply couldn’t resist a good old fashioned alligator attach (who could!) and quicker than you can sing, “Wally Gator is a swinging alligator in the swamp.” some poor soldier is being death rolled in the marshy water. The scream of the soldier as he’s being pulled to his untimely end was recorded later as part of a series of screams that were used throughout the film.

Warner Brothers at the time had an extensive sound library and once the cut of the scream was archived inside it the effect began popping up in all manner of movies. How often? Well, often enough that USC cinematic student Ben Burtt started to get the funny feeling as he watched certain movies that he’d heard a particular scream before.

And he was correct. By the time Burtt and his friends realized that the scream had become a somewhat go-to sound effect it had already been used in a number of films including “The Charge at Feather River”, “Them!”, “PT-109”, “The Green Berets”, as well as many TV shows produced by Warner Brothers in the 50s and 60s.

Burtt had discovered a sound effect that might have simply remained nothing more than an audio curiosity except that Ben Burtt went on to become a legend in modern movie sound design whose career ignited when a friend by the name of George Lucas asked him if he’d be interested in doing the sound for a film he was working on. Yep. THAT film.

As fate would have it, during filming Burtt actually stumbled upon the original recording labeled “Man being eaten by alligator” in the archive, and referred to it as “The Wilhelm Scream” after the character in “The Charge at Feather River” who seemingly lets out the scream after being shot with an arrow, and proceeded to use it like an audio version of a watermark.

Burtt dropped the scream into a “Star Wars: A New Hope” scene where Luke shoots a Stormtrooper who then falls off a ledge, and he never looked back, including it in not only the subsequent movies in the Star Wars franchise but also the Indiana Jones movies. But in 2005 when he joined Pixar to work on their upcoming film “Wall-E”, Burtt announced that he wouldn’t be using the Wilhelm Scream anymore.

But by then more studios had access to the sound bite and its use in movies and TV just exploded. Soon everyone from Indy film makers to top tier directors like Joe Dante, Peter Jackson, and Quinten Tarantino were placing the scream into their films in an effort to keep the gag running.

The Wilhelm Scream has become an audio meme, one-to-two seconds of sound that continues to get proliferated by many in the film industry who hear the story. So well know is the scream among film geeks that many of them (including a couple of my Facebook friends) swear they can recognize it every time in any movie its in. Give a listen and see if you’ve ever heard it before:

Is Magic Hat’s beer up to all that fabulous nerdy history? Let’s taste.

THEM: Wilhelm Scream is built on a bill of Pale, Victory, Caramel 80L, and Caramel 120L which is then balanced with Apollo and Nugget hops. An English ale yeast is used to ferment the beer to 5.4%ABV. The beer clocks in at 20IBUs and 22SRM.

From the website, “Wilhelm Scream is ripe with fall flavors of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and caramel malts. Medium-bodied and the color of orange setting suns, it finishes similar to the way we finish summer: with just a hint of bitterness.”

THE BUZZ: Beer Advocate 79, Rate Beer 40 , Untapped 3.39

DELAWARE AVAILABLE: Most liquor stores that carry a good variety of beers. Only available in the variety 12-pack.

ME: The base beer almost strikes me as a brown ale, but it’s a little lighter, almost copper color when you hold it up to the light. The spice hits your nose as you pour it into the glass, the quick but energetic head pulling the fragrances out of the liquid and easily dispersing them into the air.

The initial taste almost has a tea like quality with maybe a touch of grains and then the spice comes in. You know them – cinnamon, nutmeg, maybe a few others. While there is indeed nothing amazing here, that’s kind of what Magic Hat beers are and listen, I don’t mean that in a negative way.

Look, I’m aware that some people give Magic Hat a bit of shit because of various reasons, but I’ve always found them to make pretty serviceable beers and this one is no exception. I mean are you going to want to mule 8 cases of it from Vermont on a midnight beer run – no.

But it’s a well constructed, balanced pumpkin beer that doesn’t kill you with the spices and since it’s part of a variety 12-pack, you don’t have to drink 6 of them if it turns out that Wilhelm Scream is not your cup of pumpkin and between you and me, Vamplifier is pretty tasty as well.

Time for another beer.

THE LAST SIP: Although never definitively proven, tradition has it that the actor that recorded the Wilhelm Scream was Sheb Wooley who in 1958 would record the popular Halloween seasonal
THE LAST SIP: Although never definitively proven, tradition has it that the actor used to record the Wilhelm Scream was Sheb Wooley who in 1958 would record the popular Halloween seasonal “The Purple People Eater”. Halloween tie-in achieved!

Five years, 300(1) Posts, and 1000 Beers – Part Two

Let’s continue my two part post by looking at my 1000th unique check-in on Untappd:

Many all-times ago, before the second coming of the age of craft, three strangers arrived into the Delaware valley. The strangers came from a land they called Indiana bringing gifts that bore strange names like Alpha King and Gumballhead. The strangers thrived in this land and after awhile the locals even managed to get over the odd fact that the three strangers had the same name, and simply reveled in the gifts they had brought.

Then one day without warning the strangers left, leaving nothing but barren shelves where their gifts once flourished. Many stories followed. Some said that the strangers grew tired of this land. Others said that the strangers went back to their homeland to fight a mysteriously dangerous threat referred to only as The Dark Lord. But where ever the truth truly lays the fact is that the strangers left, and soon became nothing more than the whispers that legends are built from.

To use a quote my grandfather was fond of, “that’s a true story, boy!” Embellished absolutely, but true none the less. At one time, Three Floyds WAS available in our local area. To what extent I don’t exactly remember, but I can tell you that it was readily available from State Line Liquors enough for one of 3F’s beers to quickly became one of my favorites.

But the story has a cautionary massage. I’m not sure if it’s “don’t get too attached to something because you’ll never know when it will disappear”, “a brewery can break your heart as easily as any woman”, or “don’t trust people from Indiana with beards”. But the warning is in there none the less.

Somewhere along the way, Three Floyds decided to pull back their distribution relegating them in the minds of the coming generation of Delaware area beer lovers as a distant memory that would continue to grow in mythology as a great fabled brewery whose beers were only accessible to those opportunistic privateers and scoundrels willing to brave the great uncharted distances – in other words, bottle traders and beer travelers.

three floyds de muerta
SAVVY?

The sting of losing a beloved beer from the shelves was bad enough but compounding the loss was the fact that tDoB co-founder Chuck and I had recently attended The Real Ale Festival at Goose Island Brewery in Chicago where we got to meet not only representatives from fledgling Delaware brewery Iron Hill, but Sam Calagione (new to the game himself) along with one of the owners of Three Floyds.

This was pretty much my first BIG event, having attend many regional festivals, and meeting someone responsible for the production of one of my favorite beers was quite the thrill, but alas, the swirling joy of Floydy goodness was not to last. Three Floyds’ departure was swift and furtive – think Robert Irsay’s smuggling of the Colts out of Baltimore. OK, maybe not THAT bad, but they were gone. The story was over.

Fast forward many years and enter Dana Dillon, beer lover, beer traveler and to steal a line from Bryan Roth just once, “friend of the program”. Getting ready for a recent trip back to her home stomping ground of Cleveland she asked me if she could bring me something back, and after telling me that she’d be able to get Three Floyds, the answer was easy – I wanted Robert the Bruce.

ALL HAIL THE BRUCE!
ALL HAIL THE BRUCE!

I love scotch ales, and The Bruce still resonates with me from back in the day when I could easily pick up six-packs from State Line liquors. So once she handed me the 12oz  bottle of my craft beer history, I knew exactly which beer would be my 1000th check-in on Untappd. The problem was that getting there proved more of a trek than it should have been.

I don’t check-in on Untappd as often as I should for many reasons that I won’t get into here. But my 1000th beer was on the horizon and I was determined to achieve and yes, even bask in this accomplishment. But one day back in April I found myself checking-in my 998th beer and well, got stuck.

Most people put a lot of thought into their 1000th beer, but since I already knew which beer mine was going to be, all I had to do was check-in number 999, cue the trumpets and let loose the pigeons.

I remember when my friend Kenny hit 1000. He was probably 6 beers away when he fancy walked into the liquor store to buy what he refers to as “uniques” and soared to it. Not me. Every time I went to check-in a beer I thought, “yeah….but if you check this one in, you’re going to have to drink that Robert the Bruce. Are you really ready for that? Because you’ll be locked up on Untapped until you do!”

God, first world dumbass problems. Just drink the damn beer, Ed!

But after a fun run-in with 3rd Wave Brewing’s Brambleberry that they brew for Jessop’s (really good!) for number 999 here we are after 5  years and 300 (well this one is 301, but you know what I’m saying) posts. Let’s drink my 1000th beer.

THEM: “A full-bodied Scottish-style Ale with a well-rounded malty profile and roasted biscuit-like notes. Style: Scottish-Style Ale IBU 24 ABV 6.5%.” (3 Floyds website)

THE BUZZ: Beer Advocate 87%, Rate Beer 96%,  Untappd 3.89

DELAWARE AVAILABILITY: You’ll need to enlist the services of a pirate.

ME: I was worried that this bottle might be a little old as Dana had given it to me quite a few months ago, but if it was indeed a little off than it only reaffirms my love for this beer – because it’s still damn tasty. From the first nuances of welcoming chocolate that are gently pushed aside by malt, biscuit, caramel and hints of brown sugar, to the well balanced hop finish. The  6.5% allows this beer to go down quite easily. Still close to perfect for me.

Thanks Dana! And thanks Three Floyds!

So now with beer 1000 firmly in the rear-view mirror it’s on to beer #2500 and the “Elite” badge. To be honest I’m not sure I’ll ever get to it, but if I do, I’ll let you know..

 

1000-beers
THE FINAL SIP: My second take using the screen from my badge list. I actually recorded me checking-in the beer and getting the badge, but that take had too much glare coming off the phone screen to be visible. EVEN THOUGH! I did three practice takes to make sure that very thing did not happen. Because…..idiot!

,

 

Class in a Glass – 16 Mile’s Seed-Free and Joy Watermelon Ale

OK, if I tell you this is the second flavored beer in a row that I’ve reviewed and the last review I posted was Stewart’s Stumbling Monk – don’t panic. Beer reviews are like a TV series here at tDoB, the order I shoot (write) them in might not necessarily be the order I broadcast (post) them. I just finished writing the guts of Mispillion River’s Cupacabra! the other day and that review is now in (what we like to call in the biz) post production. When either that one or this one will see the light of day remains to be seen.

Anyway, the flavored beer I’d like to focus on this time is Seed-Free and Joy, a Summer-time offering from the 16 Mile Brewery. The name is a play on Siegfried & Roy, the highly successful duo of Las Vegas magicians who were known for their use of lions and tigers in their act. Unfortunately an incident on stage in October of 2003 involving a 7-year old white tiger left Roy Horn severely injured and forced the Mirage Hotel and Casino to indefinitely cancel the show. The duo ended up retiring from show business in 2010 having made only one more stage appearance since Roy’s injuries.

In fact, the beer makes reference to Roy’s attack on the label with the artwork of a tiger eating a watermelon. While I have to admit appreciating the cleverness involved I found the humor a little on the dark side.

Buddy Avatar 50Dude, you dressed up as Roy Horn for one of your Halloween parties!

 

No I didn’t.

Buddy Avatar 50Yes you did! That’s where the white tiger that’s your truck’s security system came from!

 

Ahhhh no, pretty sure I’d remember that. Now as I was….

Buddy Avatar 50Blood and all! I’ve see the picture around here somewhere.

 

Hahahaa noooo, no you haven’t. Besides there’s not time for that now….because I gotta….I gotta…..review this beer! Yeah! Let’s taste!

THEM: Seed-Free and Joy started as beer #5 in 16 Mile’s Off The Grid series in May of 2014. The beer was described by the brewer as a “classic American session ale, also known as a blonde”, brewed with watermelon and cucumbers, and initially clocking in at around 4.5%ABV (the bottle version is a tad higher at 4.9%).

ME: Pretty beer, a touch above golden to a light copper in my glass from bottom to top with a nice vortex of carbonation rising to support a nice ring and island of foam on top of the beer. My fridge may have over chilled this beer as does happen sometimes because I’m getting very little in the way of the watermelon, but what I am getting is a delightful cracker/bread crust/freshly cracked grain aroma that I’m finding really enjoyable. That cracked grain description hit me at the end, and now that it’s in my mind the aroma reminds me of how my barroom would smell when we’d hold grain grinding parties when I homebrewed. So nice.

Buddy Avatar 50Don’t go anywhere! I think it’s in this drawer somewhere!

 

That’s OK! No need to bother yourself! I take my first sip and all that aroma is definitely in the taste as well as a flash of melon and the sensation of freshly cut cucumber in the middle. I’ll admit, I probably wouldn’t have caught the cucumber if I hadn’t known it was there, but it is definitely in the mix. SFaJ finishes clean, almost to be empty on the back (as I find a lot of 16 Mile beers are) with just a hint of lingering cracked grain and hoppy spiciness; along with a slight anticipation for the next sip. The 4.9%ABV is right where it should be and as always I’ll leave it to the session police to squabble over the numbers.

If I had to chose between Chupacabra! and Seed-Free as my Summer thirst quencher – I’m going to have to go with Seed-Free as I just loved the cracker/grainy base of the beer. The watermelon is there, but it’s not at a level to be either bubble-gummy or gimmicky.

Buddy Avatar 50FOUND IT!

 

me-at-halloween

You’re an ass.

Buddy Avatar 50Admit it, you love dark humor.

 

Yeah, sigh…..I do.

Time for another beer.

Seed-Free
THE FINAL SIP: Roy Horn insisted after the incident that no harm come to the tiger that injured him. The tiger passed away in 2014 at the age of 17. (PHOTO CREDIT: The Dogs of Beer)