Are You What Your Spit Says You Are?

Once upon a time there was this guy. The guy had been adopted as a newborn into a nice, loving family. The guy spent much time wondering not who his birth parents were so much as where they came from.

For many years he watched others revel in their heritages with the knowledge that his were forever sealed in a file that could only be accessed by a judge’s court order. If those files even existed.

But if one is patient enough, technology will catch up – and the answers could be out there.

……………………………………………………….

OK, so yes, the guy is me. Adopted in a sealed record state, the process of which was over seen by a local pediatrician who by all accounts, may not have even gone through any formal channels.

The process was quite clandestine as I understand it. According to my grandmother, my parents drove my great-grandmother’s Ford falcon (I always wondered why I loved that car) to the hospital (so as not to be recognizable) and my mother wore a veil so the birth mother would never see her face. I’ve never discussed it with my parents, and grandma could spin a tale or two so, who knows?

But whatever the true circumstances, the situation left me adrift in a sea of uncertainty about exactly who I am.

Long time readers of the blog will know that I am very taken to Irish and Scottish traditions, and on occasion when others have asked if I’m Irish or Scottish I’ve had to simply shrug and say, “I don’t know, but I love the music”.

In fact, a girl I knew a long time ago told me, “It’s obviously in your soul, it doesn’t matter if it’s in your blood.”  I accepted that as true for the most part, if only because it gave me some validation to continue throwing Irish parties and going to Highland Games.

After all, I love bagpipes. There’s an old joke, “what’s the difference between an onion and bagpipes? No one cries when you cut up bagpipes!”  I never found that joke funny. That has to count for something, doesn’t it?

However, all the possible answers to my questions were delivered to me by Tracey at Christmas in the form of a small colorful box. Her sister had done one of those“spit in the tube” genealogy tests that are all the rage now and thought that it would be a great thing for me to try, so she picked up a test kit from 23andMe.

Oh sure, I know that the results from these tests have some statistical variation (translated from scientific speech – can vary immensely depending on how one looks at the results) as demonstrated in the case of the identical triplets who all took the same test. But in a broad sense, these tests have built up a pretty good database, and should easily identify large chunks of a person’s heritage.

I was excited, I was intrigued – and I let it sit.

There it was, the possible answers to all my questions in front of me, but an odd feeling had come over me.

Not knowing my heritage had always given me the freedom to adopt those that I found personally appealing. But once I knew the truth, there would be no turning back. Was finding out the answer worth knowing what the answer was not?

I put off the test until after Saint Patrick’s Day, just to have one more celebration in blissful ignorance just in case my decedents came from Liechtenstein and I’d have to more the party to August 15th. Once it had come and gone, and once I felt I was ready, I sent in my sample.

For those of you who have never come across how this test works, it is very simple. You spit in a little vial until you reach the fill line, seal it up and send it in. The lab does the rest.

Simple that is unless you are not much of a spitter or have a dry mouth. Then I would assume that collecting about the 3 milliliters of saliva needed might be quite the task. But, if you’re one of those people who could do that in one spit – well damn, dude.

Once I dropped my sample in the mail all I had to do was wait, and wonder. I would sometimes find myself thinking about what the results would be, and imagine what my perfect set of results would conclude:

DNA Wish

Some days I’d have more fun with this than others, obviously.

Then, just last week I got the email that said my results were in (23andMe has you register your kit before you send in your sample and then does everything on line once they receive your sample and I warn you, they do send quite a few emails) so I rushed to the site and opened my report.

And I should say, I’m pretty happy with it. The lack of any Time Lord genes is a little disappointing but other than that the results are right were I’d hoped plus just enough sprinkling of surprises to make the whole endeavor interesting.

DNA Truth

Of course, as I stated these tests aren’t 100% conclusive in all areas. For instance, the test has a few categories that are regional break downs of Europe. In these situations (or specifically mine) they could tell that, with 50% confidence (more on that in a bit) 23.1% of my DNA comes from the Northwestern region of Europe, but they were not able to specifically identify the specific general country or none of the specified countries individually found was higher than 50%.

Also,the default confidence limits for the report are set to 50% (speculative), as you increase the confidence limits, percentiles start to get reassigned which can drastically change the results. For instance, by increasing my confidence limits to 90% (conservative), my report changes significantly to only include British/Irish (11.1%), Finnish (1.2%), French/German (0.8%), Northwestern Europe(58.3%), and Europe (26.8%).

Why? When you look at a DNA marker they might be able to say with 50% confidence that it is British/Irish. But can they say it with 90% confidence? Maybe not, so the marker gets shifted over to a more general category, which in this case is Northwestern Europe which 23andMe designates as British & Irish, Scandinavian, Finnish, and French & German, collectively.

Another interesting find from the test results (oh, Tracey is going to have fun with this) is that my DNA contains 309 variants that can be attributed to Neanderthals, and although this accounts for less than 4% of my total DNA, it is more than 92% of the other customers of 23andMe, and only 88 variants away from the most they’ve ever recorded. That probably all boils down to not much, but they were able to identify that apparently, I can attribute some of my height to these variants.

The report contains quite a bit more info which, to be honest, I’m going to have to sit down a lot longer with and digest. DNA was never my strong suit in school, in fact it was never even strong enough to be my weakest suit.

If you want a little more bang for your buck, you can also do health screening through 23andME, and for no extra charge, DNA matching with other 23andMe customers.

All in all, this was a fun little exercise. I learned a little bit more about myself, and I don’t have to cancel next year’s Saint Patrick’s Day party. Not that I was going to do that anyway – after all, August is already a pretty full month for us.

Rex Pilsner and the Case of The Shattered Glass.

Rex-Door2The day hadn’t quite hit afternoon yet, but already you could tell it was going to be another scorcher. July had decided to turn brutal with hot days and steamy nights, both of which seemed to always put the citizens that call the city their home slightly on edge.

I’d spent most of the morning leaning back in my chair with my feet on my desk looking over tomorrow’s races for a couple of bangtails that might bring in a little scratch while only stopping now and then to occasionally read my name backwards on the closed door.

ren sliP xeR

I decided nothing was going to come my way today and sat up while pulling a bottle of cheap corn from the lower draw. You could always tell how biz was shaking by the quality of booze in the drawer and by the bottle of cheap rot gut I held in my hand, you could tell it hadn’t been very good.

I was just about to pull the cork out when the side door swung open and she walked in, “Kind of early to be calling it a day, huh Rexy?”

Janine was a good doll and an excellent secretary, way better than this job required. She had a look about her as well, all legs and lipstick, and I often wondered why she didn’t put those looks to use to get herself a better job.

I glanced down and was reminded of the nice chunk of ice she wore. Yeah, finance probably wouldn’t be happy with her in a big office surround by eager men. What was his name again? Eddie? There’s always an Eddie in these stories, isn’t there?

I pour a half a glass of brown liquid and downed it in one fluid motion, “Good a time as any I suppose.”

I went to pour another when Janine snatched the glass from under the lip of the bottle, “Uh huh, Rexy. Not so fast, Dix is coming over. Says he wants to talk with you.”

Detective Dixon? Now there’s a name I hadn’t heard in a while. Started out as a flattie running down the numbers boys over in the 2nd. Never seemed like anything special, but he must have impressed someone because he was promoted into the clubhouse fairly quick.

Dix used to call on me often back then. Usually to have me check on one of my stoolies or pound the street for some info. But I heard he’d gotten a gig in some special Homicide Division and since then he seemed to have forgotten my phone number and address.

“What about?”

“He didn’t say and I didn’t ask. You know I don’t like to get caught up in all the details of what you do, Rexy.”

I put the bottle back in drawer and pulled out a small white envelope, “Here,” I said as I tossed it to Janine, “then you might as well take off. I doubt Dix is coming over here after all this time for a social call.”

Not long after Janine left there was a knock on the door. I adjusted myself in my chair and slightly pulled open the drawer where I kept my trusty roscoe. I was sure it was Dix, but after that whole Joel Cairo mess, I wasn’t taking chances anymore.

“Come in.”

It was Dix alright. Same old, same old. Sure, he had put on a little weight, but Dix was never a small man to begin with what with his stout figure and huge hands. Time seemed to do him good for the most part although I couldn’t help but notice he was still dressing in the same ratty fedora and flogger he always wore. You’d have thought moving up in the company would’ve afforded him a better wardrobe.

“So, what brings you here after all this time, Dix?” I motioned to a chair, deciding to skip the usual pleasantries.

“Business I’m afraid,” he replied tossing a large envelope on my desk. “I hope you haven’t eaten yet.”

I couldn’t imagine why Dix had a case of the squirms, I’d seen plenty of chop scenes before. Once opened, I pulled out twenty-seven eight-by-ten black-and-white grainy photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was.

BrokeGlass Both

I flipped through the pile slowly, studying each photo and taking in the carnage displayed in each one. I wasn’t sure what I was looking at, but it certainly was a mess. “Where did this happen?”

“The Glass Cabinet, around 10pm give or take. Know the place?”

I nodded as I continued to scan through the photos, everyone in the city knew the Glass Cabinet, anyone who ran beer hung out there.

“Check out number 5.”

I flipped over the pile and shuffled through until I found the photo labeled “#5” and pulled it from the pile tossing the rest onto the desk. There was so much going on that it was hard to tell where one body ended and another began. “OK, I give. Who’s the stiff?”

“That? That is, or was, Amsterdam Zeiss.”

It takes a lot to catch this street hardened peeper by surprise, but even I gave out a low whistle from between my teeth when Dix said the name. Zeiss had come to the city with five other siblings and it didn’t take them long to rise to the top of the beer world. Events, tastings, more photo ops than you can count, the whole family was big players, and not above flaunting it.

“Was” being the important word here. The family turned out to be the unluckiest bunch of plugs there ever was. Not long after beginning to hang out at the Glass Cabinet one of them wound up dead from mysterious circumstances that never did get righted by the cops. Two others met their fate in separate accidents involving children and one was later taken out by a dog. Zeiss’ last remaining sibling died when a bunch of large, heavy objects shifted and crushed him at some seedy dive called The Drying Rack.

Many said these were simple accidents, but the buzz in the gutters was that the pint glass gang had been hiring droppers to slowly eliminate their competition. Whatever the case, Zeiss always took precautions anytime he stepped out of the Glass Cabinet. Probably thought he was safe in there though, the Glass Cabinet was known for red-lighting anyone stupid enough to get in the dutch within the establishment. Looks like he was wrong.

“The others?”

“So far we’ve only got a handle on two of them. One was some daisy Tulip visiting over from Max’s, the other’s an as yet un-IDed member of the pint glass gang.”

“Witnesses?”

“You know how the game is played, Rex. Thirty, thirty-five glasses in the Cabinet at least and yet no one saw nothin’

“Nawww,” Dix replied crinkling the corner of his mouth up in a smirk of contempt. “You know how the game is played, Rex. Thirty, thirty-five glasses in the Cabinet at least and yet no one saw nothin’. Door opens and closes a few times, screams, cursin’, and when it’s all done,” Dix leaned forward and put his fat finger on the pile of photos, “just a pile of meat in the wagon for some poor croaker to sort out.”

I tossed the photo on my desk and leaned back in my chair. “So, what’s so important about this case that caused your shadow to fall on my door after all these years?”

“I need your help, Rex,” Dix sighed as he removed his hat and ran his thick fingers through his thinning hair. “You know the cops have never done right when it comes to everything that’s happened to Zeiss’ family. The higher ups are really keen that we solve this one to everyone’s satisfaction.”

“And let me guess, Dix. By we they mean you.”

“Yeah,” he nodded. “We’re stretched at the crime scene. Investigation still isn’t done with the taggin’ and baggin’. But I’ve got a lead that I need tracked down before it goes cold, and since we used to drink from the same bottle, I thought maybe….” The last word trailed off as he pulled a smaller photo from his pocket and handed it to me.

“Who’s the sap?” I asked studying the picture.

“Some butter and eggs man by the name of Morgan. Eddie Morgan”

I couldn’t help but let out a chuckle. Like I said. Always.

“He apparently also did part time as Zeiss’ shutter man. He’s been seen hangin’ around the Glass Cabinet a lot, and I’ve got a couple of people on the outside that put him near there around the time the chill went down. I figured with your connections you can at least put a tag on this bloke before he decides to wander off. What do you say, Rex? I’ll pay the usual. Twenty-five a day, one day in advance.”

I pushed closed the drawer containing the gun and opened the bottom drawer pulling out a bottle and then two glasses. “Two days in advance.”

“Two? Come on, Rex. We used to be pals.”

“Yeah, well your pal just sent his secretary home with a pay envelope that’s light a few Lincolns. and she’s going to pretty heated unless I have the rest when she bursts through that door tomorrow morning.”

I poured a couple of stiff ones and slid one to Dix. Besides, I thought to myself, if I’m going to help you look good for the Johns then the least you can do is buy me a better bottle of booze.

Zeiss
The last known photo taken of Amsterdam Zeiss before his untimely demise – RIP.

 

What Does Your Christmas Village Say About You?

– We Know What Ours Says About Us.

Considering how all out I go for Halloween, some people must think, “man, he must crush Christmas!” Well, the simple truth is – no I don’t.

Oh, when the kids were young I decorated with lights, both traditional and fancy, and even jumped on a few of what I call “fad” decorations, you know the ones that will be around for a season or two and then never be seen again.

But the yard never blossomed into the extensive scene for Christmas as it did for Halloween, probably because for one thing, there’s only X amount of storage space in the house, and I already had to build the closet that houses my Halloween stuff 11 months out of the year.

So as time passed and the kids grew, the Christmas decorations became fewer and fewer. But that doesn’t mean I totally abandoned my decorating spirit – no, I just moved it inside.

I love outside decorations (as long as they follow the rules), especially the fancy, complicated light and music shows that people are doing now, but I’ve always enjoyed a well decorated interior more.

Amazing trees, lights, decorations and flowers really make a house feel festive around the holidays, especially when you have friends and family over, and one element of Christmas décor that I’ve always found myself drawn to is the Christmas Village.

I remember being a young boy, waiting for that December day when my dad would haul down THAT piece of plywood from the attic. I know plywood doesn’t reek of “festive” but this plywood was special, this plywood not only functioned as the carpet cover for where the tree stood, but it also had one distinct feature – it had train tracks attached to it.

Yeah, my dad enjoyed that train set, even though it was nothing more than probably 15ft of track laid in an oval, but he’d had it for years and it had circled many a Christmas tree for the Morgan family. Of course, no Christmas train set is complete without a village to run through and we had ours, a basic collection of houses and shops scattered around the tracks with the requisite train station at the very front of the display.

I spent a lot of time playing with that train set, and maybe that’s where I get my affection for Christmas villages from. Still, I never really imagined owning one due to lack of space and no driving interest as an adult to start collecting one, until one fateful trip to Kohl’s and a knee jerk purchase.

There are hundreds of manufactures out there who create seasonal villages, and Kohl’s just happens to carry a collection manufactured under the brand St Nicholas Square Village. Like many such manufactures SNSV makes houses, shops and other buildings in a uniform size and style, creating new pieces for their collection every year, and retiring pieces after a couple of seasons.

Village-5319

I was looking around Kohl’s Christmas section one year when I stumbled onto them. I thought they were nice looking, and certainly looked good together, but there wasn’t anything that particularly made me want t……HOLY SHIT!!! THEY HAVE AN IRISH PUB!!! AN HONEST TO GOD BLEEDING IRISH PUB!!!!!

Stop. Calm. Yes, it’s an Irish Pub, but do you really need a single…BUT YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND IT’S AN IRISH FREAKING PUB!! AND IT LOOKS COOL AND I KNOW JUST THE PERFECT SPOT….sigh…..breathe. If you buy just one building and display it by itself it will look stup….THEN I’LL BUY SOMETHING ELSE!!! THREE! FOUR!!! I DON’T CARE! I NEED TO HAVE AN IRISH PUB FOR THE CHRISTMAS VILLAGE I DON’T HAVE AND AM NOT REALLY SURE I WANT!!!

It seems I always lose these battles with my inner me, especially when he goes all “caps mode” on me. So, against my better judgement I left Kohls a little beaten down and the proud possessor of one Christmas village styled Irish Pub. As soon as I got home, I opened the box and displayed it proudly on the sideboard that is in my living room.

And I was happy. And I was done…or so I thought.

The following seasons are a blur for me, but my single building has somehow turned into a small, humble village. It’s nowhere near the size of many villages people out there have collected, but it is bigger than anything I had imagined when my inner self yelled me into buying that initial piece, having grown from a “one piece on the sideboard” to a “one full sideboard and one coffee table” sized town.

Not a season can pass now without a visit to Kohl’s to see what new pieces SNSV have produced and to make matters worse, Tracey, who works the Kohl’s shopping system of percent off flyers and Kohl’s cash with the precision and artistry of a symphony musician, has now gotten into the act.

A few weeks ago, she returned from a shopping trip proudly carrying the newest addition to our village – the Biergarten, which not only is a very nice piece, but made me laugh.

Village-5309

A quick survey of what we now owned showed that an overall theme had infused its way into our wintry village. Not only did we have a Pub and a Biergarten but over the years we’d added a brewery, a winery, and a wine cellar.

In fact, a quick scan of the list of pieces SNSV has offered throughout the years showed that we’d purchased every alcohol related piece that they’ve released, and passed up on many nice, although more normal, pieces like the bowling alley, clock tower, post office, Santa’s workshop, and yes, even a Kohl’s store.

Oh sure, there are a few non-alcohol establishments on our “streets”. We have a pet shop (very important, I’m also eying their Animal Rescue piece that retires this year) and a coffee shop (not so important for us as we’re not coffee drinkers, but it is a very nice-looking piece and a village with all this booze probably could use the caffeine), and Tracey has added accessories like Christmas trees, street lights and even a fountain.

However, it seems that without really thinking about it, our village has grown into a representation of the things we enjoy in life. That’s not surprising however, I would imagine most people construct their villages based on aspects of their lives. After all, what fireman wouldn’t have the Firestation as part of his village, or someone who lives near the sea the Lighthouse piece?

And it wasn’t really apparent to me until Tracey walked in the house with the Biergarten that our Christmas village has grown into a collection that says something about who we are. What does your Christmas village say about you?

Village-3679
We here at the Dogs of Beer wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. See you in 2018!

 

 

EVP Session, Historic Firehouse, Salem Mass.

I thought I’d do some not-exactly-beer-related posts in observance of the Halloween season just to have some outside of the norm fun.

While traveling, when Tracey and I are not seeking out the local beers and the various establishments that sell them, we’re searching for the local historic, and supposedly haunted places, to rest our weary heads for, hopefully, a not so restful night’s sleep.

My fascination with the paranormal is quite simply an extension of other aspects of my personality – my love for horror movies, occult, Halloween, and generally anything from TV shows like the Adams Family to things that might really be going bump in the night.

Do ghosts exist? I don’t know and I suppose to a large degree that’s what fascinates me about the topic. Certainly there’s a lot of supposed ‘evidence’ out there but I won’t deny that much of it is suspect at best, fraudulent at worst.

human-stories

But every now and then you come across something that seriously defies scientific or rational explanation, and it’s those times that really catch my curiosity.

Pseudo-science you say? Perhaps. But I spend all my working time in the real scientific would, and sometimes it’s just fun to let all of that hard, locked into the laws of Newton, Archimedes, Fermi, Kepler, Schrodinger, Hubble, and Cooper/Hofstadter stuff fade into the background for a bit and imagine ‘what if?’.

I suppose it can all be summed up by one of my favorite quotes by Thomas Hardy, “Though a good deal is too strange to be believed, nothing is too strange to have happened.”

So with that in mind, I present some recordings I captured a few years ago during an EVP recording session while Tracey and I were spending a long weekend in Salem, Massachusetts (a more beer-centric view can be found here).

Along with graveyard tours, historical presentations and museum exhibitions, we got the chance to investigate with Paranormal Salem in the old Historical Firehouse that’s well known for its paranormal activity.

For those new to the game, EVP stands for Electronic Voice Phenomenon the premise of which is that under the right conditions and with the proper equipment voices of spirits can be captured as recordings

What those ‘right conditions’ and ‘proper equipment’ are varies from investigator to investigator, but many believe that all you need is a recorder and a haunted spot.

The audio samples below were captured on my handheld digital record during the EVP session which was held in the basement of the old firehouse. The session consisted of various people led by a representative from Paranormal Salem. All errant sounds were tagged – in other words a statement about the sound was spoken out load so as to not contaminate the recordings.

The sound file from my recorder was dropped into Audacity and split into the smaller samples that you hear below. The sound file was not altered or enhanced in anyway and all sounds and voices are exactly as taken off the recorder. Some fidelity was lost converting them to their current format, but other than that they are totally as recorded at the firehouse.

For each file a question mark will pop up at the point of the interesting sound or voice. I’ve hidden what I think it is saying (if I have a guess) between the two sets of ** so that you can have a chance to guess for yourself before seeing what we think it is. Just select the space between them to see what we think it says.

As with all these types of recordings, you might get better results if you’re listening through headphones.

We’ll start with the least interesting and work up.

The first one isn’t much, just an odd sound you can hear after the girl gets done asking her question:

After Tracey asks if the ghost known as the Boy in the Corner likes to play jokes, she appears to get an answer: What we think it says : **YES**

Another woman in the group asks for one of the ghosts to announce its favorite color. While I think I know what it seems to be saying, I find the choice rather interesting: What we think it says **White**

According to stories, the Boy in the Corner is often heard crying, when asked why that is, the answer seemed pretty clear: What we think it says **Daddy**

I have to admit, the first time I heard that last one I got chills.

Looking at it from an investigation standpoint, I’d say this was a pretty good collection of EVPs with that last one being very good. Unfortunately, nothing showed up in an photos we took.

We had a great time investigating with Paranormal Salem, not only at the Firehouse, but Tracey got to have a very good divining rod session out in the old graveyard and witches’ memorial. If you’re ever up in Salem and are interested in the paranormal you can investigate with them as well. You can find information on their group and investigative tours here.

In a few weeks we’ll be back in Gettysburg staying at the  infamous Sarah Black room at the Farnsworth Inn. Hopefully we can scare up something there. If we do, maybe I share it the next time Halloween comes around.

Until then –  Oíche Shamhna Shona Daoibh!

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!

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Five Years, 300 Posts, and 1000 Beers – Part 1

If you do something you enjoy long enough, every now and then an interesting intersection of events will occur. That happened last month when, not long after getting my notice from WordPress that I had survived reached my fifth year anniversary, I was going through my insights and noticed that my next post (this one) would be my 300th!

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NOPE! None of that! That’s waaaaay to easy.

I’m not going to lie (this time I’m not), this being my 5th year is a little bittersweet since as I look back I see that I haven’t been keeping up my posting rate this year as I have in the past – and I didn’t really have to look back to know that. The reasons for this decline are various and I thought I’d talk a bit about that, but after running several possible explanative paragraphs through my head I realized that none of that really matters to anyone but me.

Instead, I would much rather focus on some of the positive highlights of the past year (and a year or two leading up to it) especially in the arena of things I never thought I’d find myself doing when I started this blog.

I started out wanting to write a generic beer blog with touches of food, lots of reviews and a big helping of humor. Over the years, I learned that many readers who gravitated to my blog weren’t overly interested in that (or maybe in fairness they were trying to tell me that I wasn’t doing as good of a job as I thought I was).

It wasn’t until I realized that no one was really focusing on the explosive beer scene that is Delaware and turned my attentions towards it, that this blog started to take off (well ‘take off’ is relative, but remember my initial goal was not to quit after six months with nothing more to say).

BloggingCartoon5

What I found out (quite by accident) is that the people who were coming to my blog seemed to be more interested in the local beer scene and by extension, anything newsworthy that might be happening in it, than they were about another by-the-numbers review of a beer from Stone or Sierra Nevada.

Don’t get me wrong, the reviews were getting read but you could definitely tell that there was an elevated interest in what was going on, both good and bad, in the local beer scene.

When people kept tossing around the Brewer’s Association’s factoid that Fordham/Dominon was owned 51% by industry giant AB-INBev I decided to find out the truth and found myself interviewing FoDo CEO Jim Lutz about that very issue.

I’m no where near as comfortable with interviews as I am other aspects of the blog, but that initial discussion with Jim encouraged me to reach out to more people over the past year including Jeremy Hughes about the growing Odessa Brewfest , BBQ Competition organizer Sandy Fulton as to why New Castle BBQ competition’s buck-a-bone promotion never quite got off the ground and Mike Stiglitz about why his Two Stone Pubs in Delaware had to be re-licensed as brewpubs.

'By the way, is this off the record?'
Fun Fact! I’ve been told something was off the record three times. But that’s off the record.

The other thing I never envisioned when I started this blog was publishers reaching out to me with offers of advanced copies of beer and brewing related books. I’ve built a nice collection thanks to some very generous publishes and I’m currently trying to find enough time to finish Jeff Alworth’s The Beer Bible and hope to post a review when I do.

But it was when Arcadia Publishing reached out and asked if I wanted an advanced copy of John Medkeff Jr’s Brewing in Delaware for review that I was really quite taken aback with a “what? really?” feeling. The experience gave me the courage to actually request (and receive) an advance copy of Tony Russo’s Delaware Beer: Brewing in the First State

While this last year may have been short on posts, it was certainly not short on milestones; many as I’ve stated being things I never thought I’d be doing when I began this journey.

In the future? Hopefully more of these types of posts, plus a few food related topics like BBQ or pizza, and a sprinkle of pop culture. Oh, and reviews will be back, promise. Delaware is producing some amazing beers at the moment and I want to spread the word to beer lovers out there that Delaware is much, much more than just Dogfish Head (nothing but love for you DFH but come on, everyone knows who you are).

With Respects and Apologies to Berke Breathed
With Respects and Apologies to Berke Breathed

And the humor will still be here, well what passes for it here at least.

As always I want to thank every one who has taken the time to talk to me, especially the brewers and the owners who are willing to take so much of their valuable time to talk to a guy who merely writes about beer in a small mom and pop blog. I want to thank everyone who’s ever taken time out of their busy day to read something I’ve written, especially those who have taken the time to comment or share it forward.

And of course, thanks to Tracey who I can assure you at no time in her life before she met me did she think she’d be spending so much time at beer festivals or breweries. But between you and me, I think she gets a kick out of the people who now come up at events to say hello to her.

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And of course….

Buddy Avatar 50MORE ME!!!

 

Well, I wouldn’t say more, but yeah… he’s not going anywhere. Wouldn’t be the Dogs of Beer without him.

Coming up next…Part 2, where I share some stories and thoughts about one of my favorite beers which is no longer available around here, Untappd, and the pitfalls of putting too much thought into that 1000th unique beer check-in.

Time for another beer.

Tasters – And The Dogs of Beer Turns Four

I’m FOUR! That’s right, this blog is slowly catching up to the age I act. Scary.

I’m not going to do a big anniversary post this year, I’ll save all the glitz and glamour for my year end post. Plus for some unfathomable reason, when WordPress.com updated its Stats Page it dropped “All Time” stats as an option. Thanks. So much for that awesome map of the US that I enjoyed posting every year to show all the great countries (some of them I didn’t even know existed) that visited. For the record I clicked “yes I love the old version of the stats page better” every time it asked me, but I guess I lost. The new page isn’t that bad, but the exclusion of the “ALL TIME” option does limit its usefulness.

But instead I want to take a few minutes to thank some folks who make this blog what it is (yeah, that’s right! It’s YOUR fault too, I’m taking you all down with me!).

I want to thank everyone who has stopped by to read anything I wrote, especially those who have made my posts on The Shawshank Redemption and Twin Lakes so satisfying to have written.

I want to thank all the other bloggers (AKA The Usual Suspects) who follow me (and that I follow) who have been a source of support and inspiration, whether it be a kind word or a great post idea which I’ve “borrowed”.

I want to thank all the Delaware/local brewers, bar owners, and representatives whose great beers and willingness to take the time to talk to me have made this fun and very informative over the years. I want to thank my fellow admins Patrick Huff and Dana Dillon of the Delaware Craft Beer and Wine Lovers, and all of its members for the kick ass beer events, looking forward to the ones we have coming up.

I want to thank Cindy Small of the Delaware Wine and Beer Festival as she’s always been so gracious to this blog. I greatly appreciate it.

And of course I want to thank Tracey who makes all the trips and events amazingly fun. And, reluctantly I suppose, a joy killing, non-team player who thinks he’s too cool to have a little fun for the benefit of helping this blog celebrate a significant milestone.

Buddy Avatar 50Hey, I said no hat this year!

 

Awww, but you looked so cute in it last year.

Buddy Avatar 50Yeah, well the rubber strap pulled my fur.

 

Poor kitty…..

Buddy Avatar 50Go chase a squirrel, biped!

 

Anyway, since someone thinks he’s above playing along this year, I guess I will just share some “four” related beertography. Thanks again to everyone, and let’s continue the fun in year 5!!

Exit-4-RS
Whenever someone says they live in NJ, the correct followup question isn’t, “Where?”, it’s “What exit?” I grew up at Exit 1.
Allagash-Four-RS
There’s always time for some Allagash in your day.
IV-Board
Of course, I picked up this Brasserie de Jandrain-Jandrenouille Saison because of the big IV on the label but it ended up being a very good farmhouse style ale.
FQM 1 RS
Any great celebration should have multiple drink options, so I pulled out some mead/cider in the form of Four Quarters Meadery’s Harvest Fruit Cyser.

Time to start working on year 5….

March Mailbag – I Get Emails About Things That People Want Me to Tell You About

I get a lot of email at my blog. Most of it is spam stuff wanting me to make $200 testing products or some such crap. Other stuff it pretty interesting…and pretty diverse. I think for the most part, the auto-bots that do this mass mailing stuff can’t really tell anything about the website their emailing to, which explains why I get so much information on cruises and beer events in Texas and Arizona.

But a good bit of it is on point and interesting, while some is….well, just plain interesting. So with that in mind, here’s March’s mailbag:

Amy Joyce wanted me to know that DrinkTanks had successfully reached their Kickstarter goal. The company manufactures “The Juggernaut”, a 128oz growler with a built in CO2 system so that it can double as a personal keg. I have to admit the thing looks pretty cool and you’d certainly get some looks getting it filled at your local growler store. Click the link above to learn more.

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The guys over at Brewer’s Friend have been busy working out the bugs on their site. They’ve added a new section to the forum to keep users informed of issues and updates. Click on the link above if you’re interested in seeing what resources Brewer’s Friend has to offer.

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Kreston’s of Middletown will be having their next Wine Class on April 16th at 6:30pm. Tuition is $20 which includes 8 wines, class materials and cheese pairing. The theme is Sensational Spring Wines. Call 302-376-6123 for more info or tickets.

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Eva Dilmanian sent me a press release about NitroBrew, a device that nitrogenates any beer at the point of service. NitroBrew has recently been made available to craft beer fans and home brewers. After watching their Youtube video the device looks like a combination coffee pot/small pressure cooker, but it seems to do the trick. If you’re a fan of nitrogen in your beers, check it out at http://nitrobrew.com/shop/.

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Liz Melby wanted to share some information with me about Harpoon Brewing’s 100 Barrel Series entry Braggot Rights, which won the 2014 Harpoon Kettle Cup employee brewing competition. Braggot Rights is a Double IPA blended with 7000lbs of wildflower honey. Sounds yummy.

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Wired Reports sent me a link to an interesting read about William Bostwick’s attempts to reengineer Allagash’s spontaneously fermented beer “Resurgam” in his kitchen. Find it at http://www.wired.com/2015/03/the-very-best-beer

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I got information about the 2nd Annual Great Firkin Fest, Saturday, April 18th at Moe’s Original Bar B Que. Sounds great, but Mobile, AL is a bit far out of the scope of this blog. But if it’s not too far out of your scope you can find more info at www.moesoriginalbbq.com.

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I got an email with information concerning Lucky Buddha Beer which is a pale that comes in a bottle shaped like – you guessed it – Buddha. SRP is $10.99 a six-pack and it should now be available in all 50 states, although I have yet to see it. www.luckybuddhabeer.com

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Daniel Keeney sent me this:

HOUSTON, March 31, 2015 – Saint Arnold Brewing Co., the oldest craft brewery in Texas, today announced the expansion of its Ale Wagger project, which donates a portion of proceeds from the sale of Saint Arnold Ale Wagger to support animal welfare programs. Saint Arnold selected five additional organizations to receive donations and to participate in Ale Wagger-related community outreach activities. The new Ale Wagger partners are Beaumont, Texas: Humane Society – Southeast Texas, Dallas, Texas: Operation Kindness, Galveston, Texas: Galveston Island Humane Society, Fort Worth, Texas: West Side Animal League and Miami, Florida: Humane Society of Greater Miami

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Shawna McGregor wants me to stop by the Wyeast Laboratories booth at the Craft Brewers Conference in Portland on April 14-17. Wyeast will “release three commemorative yeast strains, each perfectly embodying the legendary mountain it is named after”. Information below:

  • Mount Hood Ale (Wyeast): The Pacific Northwest is known for its IPAs and Red Ales, and this Pacific Northwest ale yeast is ideal for both of these beer styles (among many others). In legend, the brother Wyeast was a singer and this strain’s strong attenuation, good flocculation, and clean profile will let your hops and malt sing with delight. Alcohol tolerance: 10%; ABV; Flocculation: High; Attenuation: 72-79%; Temperature Range: 62-72°F (17-22°C)
  • Mount Adams Blend (Klickitat): Klickitat, the totem-maker, was a skilled craftsman, able to create objects of beauty from natural materials – just like brewmasters do with malt, hops and yeast. This custom blend of farmhouse strains and Brettanomyces is great for Saisons and American-style Sour & Wild ales. Alcohol Tolerance: 12% ABV; Flocculation: low; Attenuation: 80-90%; Temperature Range: 65-80°F (18-27°C)
  • Mount St. Helens Lager (Loo-wit): After being turned into a mountain, the beautiful Loo-wit wrapped herself in snow—reminiscent of beer foam. Like the undecided maiden, this lager strain is very clean, very dry, and plays well with hops; her beauty is equally at home in a classic Pilsner or an IPL. Alcohol Tolerance: 10% ABV; Flocculation: low; Attenuation: 73-77%; Temperature Range: 46-56°F (8-13°C)

I can’t go, but if you make it tell them I sent you!

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Lisa Heckman sent me a letter informing me that anyone who books the “Relax and We’ll Pay Your Tax” package at the SENZA hotel in Napa Valley for stays on or before April 15th will receive a 14% discount (basically the room tax).

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Nicole Veenstra thought I was a little under the Winter, so she sent me a media advisory that EarthCam has added a live webcam that brings views of Cove Beach Park, Kihei. Find it at http://www.earthcam.com/maui/

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Curt Blakeney wants me to give Deep Eddy Lemon Vodka a try. The new variety from the Austin distillery joins their current line-up of Cranbeery, Ruby Red, Sweet Tea and plain Vodka. Learn more at www.deepeddyvodka.com.

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On April 6th, the 2015 San Francisco World Spirit Competition results will be posted at http://sfspiritscomp.com/

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Laura Baumgartner sent me the following:

Hi Ed,

Mixing energy drinks with vodka is no new drink recipe. But, the concept is being elevated by a new take on energy drinks that won¹t leave your heart racing. UPTIME provides a balanced energy boost with natural ingredients. One of the most non-invasive energy drinks on the market UPTIME contains a mere 484mg of active ingredients. Other major energy drink brands have anywhere from 1600mg to over 7000mg of active ingredients.

UPTIME¹s streamlined ingredients help avoid sudden energy bursts, shakes and jitters, and crashes that can be brought on by other beverages. UPTIME provides a balanced energy boost with 142mg of caffeine, about the same amount as a cup of coffee, and bee pollen. UPTIME also contains powerful nutrients calcium, Vitamin C and potassium to help support overall health and other natural ingredients including Ginseng, gingko biloba and coenzyme Q10. UPTIME is a clear carbonated beverage with a light citrus flavor making it easy to mix with your favorite liquor.

Would you be interested in learning more about UPTIME or giving it a try? 

I’m not an energy drink person, so sadly I think I’ll pass.

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And finally about 15 of these:

We have a customer service survey assignment in your location  for you.We will pay $200 per assignment which would come in the  form of a cashiers check along with comprehensive details in  regards to your assignment.The job Entails an Evaluation process  such as visiting Wal-mart, Rite-aid,Walgreen e.t.c Send information below to get started If you are  Interested
I’ll get right on that.  And that’s it for March!

Tasters – Blogtography Continued, Out With Winter

So spring is right around the corner and I can think of no better way to help expedite its arrival than to purge all the photos of winter from my camera and phone. And of course, that means another collection of photographs that never got used in the blog. No other set up needed, let’s move on to the pixels.

 

Scaldis Noel is one of my favorite Christmas season beers. And the bottle is nice as well, so of course it’s picture worthy.

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Cindy Small who organizes the Delaware Wine and Beer Festival once referred to me on the event’s Facebook page as “celebrity beer blogger Ed”, much to the amusement of my friends. So Tracey stepped up for Christmas this year and got me four etched beer glasses. Three say “Dogs of Beer”. The fourth is pictured below.

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 Delirium Noel is my default Christmas Eve beer. Once I set up the shot, I realized what was really making the scene work was the blinking lights so I attempted my first animated GIF in Photoshop.

 

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My little slice of Narnia.

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Yes, we did go to some events over the past couple of months. Here’s a gentleman enjoying his novelty plate from the 16 Mile Brewing Company. The photo was taken at the Wine About What Ales You event in Historic New Castle.

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Can’t upset the editor and not have a pizza picture. Tracey and I voting for the Disco Brisket pizza (Iron Hill Brewery) at Argilla Brewing’s Brewers Pizza Night. Sadly, the Betty Boop (Pizza By Elizabeths) won. Don’t get me wrong, Elizabeths made a damn fine pie, but Iron Hill’s had duck bacon. DUCK BACON!!

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After a day long ice storm the weather broke and icicles were falling from everywhere. You could actually stand on my back deck and listen to them snap and fall from the trees, gutters, whatever. So…..

Cold-Snap-800

Speaking of the editor, when you have a black dog who loves the snow the shoot just screams “black and white” and if you couldn’t tell, I love to pump up the contrast on my black and whites.

Buddy High Contrast

Coming up on the photo-side – you’ve captured the perfect image and can’t wait to share it with your followers. But how you display it in WordPress may make a difference on how your readers see it. We’ll take a look as several of the options available, and how they impact your photos.

 

 

2014 at The Dogs of Beer – Stealing Post Ideas From Other Bloggers.

To be honest, I wasn’t going to post a year-end review. I try to keep all that retrospective stuff confined to my yearly birthday post, since I look at the timing of this blog more in an elapsed, than a calendar way.

However, Bryan over at This Is Why I’m Drunk posted up a year end review for his blog where he wrote a month-by-month run down of the most popular posts from both a reader and personal perspective. Thinking, “Hey, that doesn’t look hard!” (especially since he didn’t add a lot of stats and trends to his) and really just waiting for the clock to hit 3 so I can go buy tonight’s champagne, I thought I’d do the same. Although I probably won’t get around to posting it until tomorrow…or maybe the day after. Hey, you knew what this was!

I posted 50 articles in 2014, which is horribly down from my previous two years. I feel lazy. Unproductive. I thought that’s what all my unfinished house projects were for.

As I look back over the blog, it would appear that I was slacking in the review department this year. I didn’t drink less beer. Trust. Just didn’t write as much about them I guess. I’m going to try to rectify that in 2015. What? Do or do not. There is not ‘try’? Yeah, you’ll fit in here just fine.

Of the posts that did make it up, there were many that I was very proud of, probably a couple that I should have been less so, and as is the case in this wacky world of WordPress, those weren’t always the ones my readers enjoyed the most. I’ll trust their judgement over mine.

It just goes to show you that you never know what might strike a chord with  your readers, or what might catch a slight case of virality on the interwebs. So how did the year shake out? Let’s review:

Oh, and if you don’t really care for the month-to-month break down, scroll down to see some other year end stats about this blog, including interesting countries that visited and the weird-ass things people typed into Google to find me.

JANUARY

I got the ball rolling in January with my new “monthly” series (said using his best John Oliver impersonation, “Well not every Month. We’ll be taking some months off.”) The Full Moon Post. The idea was to tie in the spiritual changing of the seasons with the seasonal cycle of beer. Add a dash of culture observances, pagan traditions, and some astronomy and you have it.

The series was well received (I’m still trying to decide how, or even if, it will be back next year) but it was my January review of The Kennett Brewfest that received the most views that month. This goes to show that local readers are just crazy about this festival, as it had been held back in October and still people were interested enough to click on it.

FEBRUARY

February was probably one of my favorite months as far as posting is concerned because it was here that I wrote the story about Bill Coleman contacting me with the background story of his dog, Ludwig. Ludwig is the dog you see in my banner picture above, the sad looking dog with his chin resting on a bar.

Interviewing Bill and getting in contact with people who still work at the bar where the picture was taken and remembered Ludwig’s visits was the kind of story telling that makes blogging fun. But readers showed that they also are looking for information, even if I’m not the one to directly provide it.

I posted a press release that I received from Jenea Robinson at Visitphilly.com that listed a lot of great Philly beer events coming in 2014. Readers around here are always looking for the next big Philly beer event, and views to this post demonstrate that.

MARCH

March saw me ask where all the bloggers had gone (my most commented on post of the year), join in on my first Session post, and degrade people who drink green beer on Saint Paddy’s day. But the nod for this month doesn’t go to any post, no it goes to a page.

My Where To Fill Growlers in Delaware page is one of the most clicked on elements of my blog. I receive a constant stream of views on it, and I’m glad that it’s providing useful information to those who live in, or are visiting Delaware.

APRIL

April shows that it’s not just all straight-forward craft beer that people are interested in. My most viewed post that month was my review of Crabbies Ginger Ale that came about when Crabbies’ US rep Jennie Hatton asked me if I’d be interested in reviewing it.

On a personal note, April saw the ushering in of a new Editor. And I’ve been living with that decision all year.

MAY

The Brew Dogs came to my town to film scenes for an episode of their show focusing on Delaware. They traveled the state, brewed a beer on a race track with Dogfish Head, and stopped by in Historic New Castle to film some scenes with Delaware’s 1st Regiment. This was a big deal in Delaware and searches concerning it led to the post being my most viewed in May as well as one of my top viewed posts published in 2014.

JUNE

June was a good month as I actually posted a series (well two posts actually, but that’s probably as close to a series as you’re going to get from me) surrounding how often one of the thousands of beers we try actually becomes one of our regular go-to beers.

But it once again was Philly stealing the show as my posts on The Opening Tap Ceremony and A Day Spent in Philly during Philly Beer Week were by far the most viewed posts of the month.

We also celebrated our third year of blogging, although admittedly I waited until August to write about it.

JULY

I started a new series in July called Tasters, which is simply a collection of photos that I took (either for the blog or not) that I never used. Photos I think are nice enough to share with a little blurb, but not needing a large article on their own.

But this month was ruled by one of my favorite pieces this year, my reporting on the outing of craft beer brewer Pawtucket Pete’s being mostly owned by industry giant Duff Brewing. And it would seem that a lot of people were clamoring for the facts surround this news story as the post made it into my “Top Three” of 2014.

AUGUST

I finally got around to posting about this blog’s birthday, and gave a report on our trip to Salem Massachusetts. But it was here that I was starting to notice the building readership of my Full Moon Posts, as August’s made it to the top of the month’s view count.

SEPTEMBER

September proved that local beers (and big name brewers) still pull a lot of traffic to my blog. Although I wrote a very nice run down of the first Annual Odessa Brewfest, it was my review of DFH’s American Beauty that pulled in the most readers. In fact, it was one of the most read reviews in 2014, behind only my review of The Bruery’s Six Geese a Laying, back in January.

OCTOBER

A quiet month for the Dogs of Beer. As always I took the last two weeks of the month off to focus 100% on the up coming Halloween night. And although I did manage to post a nice interview with 2013 Delaware Homebrew Champion Russell Kalbach just weeks before defending his crown at the 2014 Delaware Wine and Beer Festival, October proved that sometimes an active post is created when you simply write about a topic that many people are interested in.

In my October Full Moon post I wrote about the ‘rare’ occurrence in my area known as Selenelion, the act of being able to see an eclipsing moon setting as the sun is rising. Reports of the event were all over the place, and people were trying to find out as much information as possible.

The post went crazy, becoming my #1 post for single day views (by a lot), #1 viewed post written this year and my #2 post viewed this year from everything I’ve ever written (my Beer in Movies – The Shawshank Redemption still crushes in page views every year. Every time TNT tosses it on for a weekend mini-marathon, boom).

NOVEMBER

My review on Evil Genus’ Trick or Treat topped the view list for November. Not really much else to say about that except I guess I do need to get back to writing more reviews in 2015.

DECEMBER

Not much time for these posts to make a huge impact. In fact, I was pretty light in December. Still I did managed to post some annual Christmasy stuff and thangs, but the second post in my Taster’s series took the month’s title for sure.

And so there you go. Here’s a few more interesting facts –

The five most active people on my blog were: G-Lo (Booze Dancing), Scott (Beerbeque), Oliver (Literature and Libation), Vegan’s Husband and Bryan (This is Why I’m Drunk). Thanks guys! Your readership and comments are much appreciated.

Ninety countries visited my blog – the ones I found most interesting: Myanmar(?), Cote d’Ivoire(The Ivory Coast) and Bangladesh. I hear North Korean has been attempting to read my blog, but apparently they’re having trouble with their internet or something.

And finally, one of my favorite things to look at every year – the funniest search terms used to find this blog:

“saint patricks day star wars
“fattest woman or men in the world guoness break reorder”
“can a dog be out on the day of eclipse”
“bitches with fishes that i can post on facebook
“pics of a clown taking a dump” (this was used three times!)

So there you have it – a (not so) brief run down of the year in review. I look forward to 2015, and hope you’ll all come along for the ride.

Cheers!

Ryan Seacrest ain't got nothing on me!
Ryan Seacrest ain’t got nothing on Buddy!

 

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