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.

 

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!

,

 

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!

spa

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.

tracey

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.

…………………………………………

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.

…………………………………………

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.

…………………………………………

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/.

…………………………………………

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.

…………………………………………

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

…………………………………………

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.

…………………………………………

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

…………………………………………

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

…………………………………………

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!

…………………………………………

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).

…………………………………………

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/

…………………………………………

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.

…………………………………………

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

…………………………………………

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.

…………………………………………

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.

xxxxx

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.

ccccccc

 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.

 

xxxxxx

My little slice of Narnia.

xxxxxx

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.

xxxxxx

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!!

cccccc

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!

 

Tasters – Another Blogtography Post

I thought it was probably time to do another “Tasters” post. Since my previous (and inaugural) post was back in July, I won’t feel hurt if you don’t remember the premise.

These are photos (beer related or otherwise) that I’ve taken that never got used in the blog (although with a couple of these, “not yet” would be more adequate). Short little blurbs helped out by 500 pixels x 350 pixels of whatever imagery that was running around in my head that my camera happened to capture. Little ideas that never became big posts.

For those who asked last time, I’ll give a reminder: All photos taken with either my HTC phone, or my Canon T3i. Post processing done in either Digital Photo Professional (Canon software, for RAW files), Paint.net (for JPG files) or a combination of both.

So with that….

xxxxx
I’ve always said that Twin Lakes’ Greenville Pale Ale can go with me anywhere. In this case in accompanied me to the Motley Crue/Alice Cooper show at the Susquehanna Bank Center, NJ.

 

xxxxx
Another tailgate photo from the MC/AC show. If you’re going to have a friend who’s only found one Belgian beer he likes, it doesn’t hurt that it’s Brouwerij Van Steenberge Piraat Ale. Apple Dixie cups optional.

 

xxxx
We were all excited to learn that Pizza By Elizabeths was going to start brewing their own beer. Their honey, basil ale was a decent enough first offering (although Tracey and I though it tasted a bit soapy). They’ve made other beer since, but we haven’t been back, and so far PbE is flying under the radar not having really joined in with the community of other brewers in Delaware.

 

xxxxx
This is from the lunar eclipse back in October. I admit there’s some color correction and a lot of sharpening post process on this one, but it didn’t turn out bad for a snapshot off of a tripod.

 

IMAG0719
Tracey and I relaxing at The Cat’s Eye, Fells Point, Baltimore.

 

Argilla Pizza
Sharing pizza and a beer with my son at Argilla Brewing.

Buddy Avatar 50Do you suffer from Sicilizymurinstaphobia?

 

What?

Buddy Avatar 50The irrational fear of eating pizza with a beer and not taking a picture of it to post on social media.

 

Ha. Ha. Funny. If you must know, wait…what’s that?

Buddy Avatar 50What?

 

That picture next to your words.

Buddy Avatar 50OH! That’s my avatar. Like it?

 

Avatar? What the hell?

Buddy Avatar 50Well we were talking at the last Friday afternoon meeting and we thought it would be beneficial for your readers to really know when it’s me interjecting into your post and an avatar seemed to be the best way to do it.

I told you, we don’t have Friday afternoon meetings.

Buddy Avatar 50Sure we do, just because you think you’re to cool to show up to them doesn’t mean they don’t happen!

 

WE DO NOT HAVE FRIDAY MEETINGS!

Buddy Avatar 50You can keep saying that, but it doesn’t make it true. Anyway, like I said, we decided that this would help your readers follow our conversations more easily.

Who the hell is WE?

Buddy Avatar 50Everyone who was at the Friday meeting. There was me, the three geese, bear, Simba, bunny, a tennis ball..

 

YOU AND YOUR TOYS DO NOT HAVE FRIDAY MEETINGS! AND YOU DO NOT MAKE DECISIONS ABOUT THIS BLOG!

Buddy Avatar 50So you say, yet there the avatar is…

 

God, we are so going to have a talk when I get home. In the mean time, can I please continue with the post.

Buddy Avatar 50Sure. You go for it.  Bet you have another picture of pizza. It’s like a sickness.

 

Shut up!

xxxx
The boys from the Roaming Raven food truck take a break from serving food at this year’s Delaware Wine and Beer Festival to have a little fun with me (full post to come).

 

xxxx
This is a cheat. I took this photo probably 15 years ago at the pier in New Castle, DE and had the a digital copy dupped off of a slide. Lots of color popping here to bring out the rainbow. It’s no longer possible to take this picture as the put up an ugly safety fence around the pier.

 

xxxx
I drank several Left Coast Voodoo American Stouts over the Halloween season. I recommend it highly. The skull is lit from a light above, I got lucky that it made the eyes glow. The bottle label is lit during exposure with a small hand held light. Green and reds are boosted in post processing to make the shot more vibrant.

And finally…

finally…

Buddy Avatar 50Go ahead, I have ALL day…

 

Damn, you…

xxxx
Pizza and beer at Lancaster Brewing (Full Post to come).

Buddy Avatar 50BAH!!!!!! I was right. You have a sickness. A deep, perverted sickness.

 

Shut up couch licker.

xxxx
We thought Buddy should get a little experience running with The Dogs if he’s going to be editor. So we brought him the Highland Games in Fairhill, MD. As you can see, he found the event very exciting, and very tiring.

Buddy Avatar 50I wasn’t tired! I’m trying to shut out the bagpipes from my head!

 

The bagpipes sounded great.

Buddy Avatar 50Maybe to you! Try it around 45,000mhz! You know there’s subliminal messaging up in that range telling you to “eat more haggis”.

 

No there is not!

Buddy Avatar 50Yes there is. Or in your case it probably says, “eat more pizza. And take a picture.”

 

Sigh, wait until I get home.

 

 

 

 

The Power of THREE! Another Year at the Dogs of Beer

So, just about 3 months ago today (yes, I’m THAT far behind)  I got this yearly notification from WordPress.  :

HA2

Yes, another year has passed for tDoB.  This makes three (So I guess three is a powerful number today – “Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three.”), and although I’ll admit that this year wasn’t as productive post-wise as I would have liked it to have been, it was still pretty good.

I’ll be honest, blogging has been an interesting animal.  Many people I encounter when they find out I write a blog, well they get it.  I’m constantly amazed (and incredibly thankful) at the number of people in the industry (using this term broadly) who show that they get it.  Whether it’s taking time to talk with us a beer festivals, or answer a few questions via email, or especially the times when they reach out to us with an upcoming event or some information about what’s happening at the brewery.  Especially people like Cindy Small from The Delaware Wine and Beer Festival, who is extremely gracious to this blog.

But it’s also the people on the periphery of craft beer that make blogging so rewarding.  Like Blancia Oliviery who sent me a copy of Beer: What to Drink Next; and Lisa Trudeau who sent me The Strange Rebirth of British Beer.  Reviews to come, I promise!  Or craft beer comic The Salty Dog writer Bill Coleman, who wrote me to inform me that the dog in the picture I use as my social media profiles and blog banner was his dog Ludwig.

Or other blogs out there that take notice of my little world, like aggregate craft beer news service Beer Infinity, who asked me to be the Delaware representative for their blog meaning select posts from my blog appear in their news feed.  And I was very proud to be asked to represent Delaware for the ‘Six-Pack Project‘, a series of posts about the beer scene from different states compiled by Bryan over at This is Why I’m Drunk.

It’s also nice to see links to my blog posts spring up here and there around the internet.  My post on Beer in Movies: That Thing You Do got a link share on a site that covers Erie beer history; and my Beer Relics: Great American Beer Festival “On The Road” Program post got shared on several websites including a post in a thread on Beer Advocate.  Travel site Hopper.com, linked to my trip post for their comprehensive, blog sourced article about New Hope, PA.

And then there are individual posts that I’ve done in the last year that I’m pretty proud of.  I finished my long running Apocalyptically Doomed Beer Hunter series.  Despite its serial format and wordy story line, the series was well received. I survived through 23 DFH beers in August (30 days) for my Dog(fish Head) Days of Summer series which set personal blog records for day, week and monthly page hits. I started my series “The Full Moon Post” attempting to tie together the spirituality of the changing seasons with the seasonal aspects of craft beer , which has been nicely received by people outside the craft beer circle. And I got engaged to Kaley Cuoco.  Unfortunately, I had to dump her.  She was SOOOO needy.  And then there’s my ‘Delaware Beer Map’ and ‘Where To Fill Growlers in Delaware’ pages which are getting lots of use, from which I’ve received several comments from people about how helpful they’ve been when planning a trip to Delaware.  Nice stuff.

Probably one of the coolest things I did during the past year was being video interviewed at the Delaware Wine and Beer Festival by the online segment of The News Journal. Not only was the video posted online (sorry no link available because apparently they remove them after awhile.  It was really funny in a “why is this man sticking a microphone in my face?” sort of way), but quotes from it can be found on several online articles about the DWaBF, as well as quotes from fellow Delaware Craft Beer and Wine Lovers member and now co-admin, Dana Dillon.

And of course, the people I’ve met (G-Lo and LimpD last year at the Philly Beer Week Opening Tap), people I’ve just missed (Doug from Baltimore Bistros and Beer, who we couldn’t connect with because nature tossed one hell of a snow storm at Baltimore), and all the people out there I haven’t had a chance to meet with yet (too many to name, but you know who you are). And a special shout out to the aforementioned Delaware Craft Beer and Wine Lovers, a group of like minded people who I greatly enjoy being apart of.  Fun times. Fun times.

And of course thanks to Tracey for making the beer trips that much more fun.  And thanks (I guess) to my editor for his continued “assistance”.  And certainly, and most importantly, everyone who’s liked, followed, friended or otherwise took the time to keep up with my musings.  You all have no idea how amazed I am that ANYONE regularly comes to this blog to see what I write.  The fact that I’ve build up a pretty good audience is both shocking and humbling.  Thank you all.

All in all it’s been a pretty good year.  So what’s up in year four (“Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three”)?  More of the same I suppose.  Actually I’ve gotten to the point in this endeavor where I’ve gotten smart enough not to set long term goals.  Things change.  You say you’re going to do something, and then the world shifts and you never get to it.

So we’re going to take it one day at a time, one idea at a time (well, not one I have four or five [Five is right out!] rattling around in my head at the moment), one post at a time, and see if we can make year four as fun as year three.

What’s that?  The people who don’t get it when they find out I’m a blogger? Yeah, I run into them as well. Usually it starts with a deep sigh or an eye roll, and then they get all defensive as if in someway I’ve implied that I know way more about craft beer than they do….but that’s another post.  When Tracey’s not around. You know, that whole “don’t be a dick” thing.  Yeah, I’m going to piss some people off with that one.  Promise.

Time for another beer…

xxxxx
My editor Buddy gets his blog anniversary treat! The beer was for me. (NOTE: Flame added in post processing.  No editors were exposed to open flames during the making of this photo.)
Get this stupid hat of me.  This is NOT in my job description!  TRACEY!!!
Get this stupid hat off me! This is NOT in my job description! TRACEY!!!

Pitfalls to Avoid when Writing a Scathing Blog Comment or, Why Not Just Be Nice?

Blogging, as with any creative endeavor, has an unavoidable aspect that one must continually put themselves up for criticism.  Forget the obvious litany of misspellings, dropped grammar and the like; there’s also the blogging landmine that sooner or later you’ll post something that someone disagrees with. It could be anything from a total objection of a reader to what you’ve written; to simply the correction of a single point.

Most of the time these comments are friendly and constructive.  For instance, the other day when I brain farted and wrote that Sorachi Ace hops were a New Zealand variety, Phrix from over at the Beer in Nashville blog commented:

Great post. I wrote about a related topic – how Untappd potentially affects my behavior – in a recent post. You reminded me of some favorites I want to revisit. And I agree with you about Brooklyn’s Sorachi Ace Saison – fabulous beer, I just brewed my first saison with this hop on Sunday. Slight correction – Sorachi Ace hops were developed by Sapporo in Japan, not New Zealand.

Maybe Phrix was feeling generous that day, or maybe he’s read enough of my blog to know that these types of blatant mistakes are not the norm, or maybe, more possibly, Phrix is generally a nice guy who realizes mistakes happen and just felt the need to point it out to me without making me feel like dirt.  On the other side of the spectrum, I present this flaming, brown paper bag that was dropped anonymously (really man, own it!) on my front porch.

You’re an idiot. Small head? That’s probably what your girlfriend says. Hoptimum has one of the biggest heads for any DIPAs I’ve ever had (all years). I drink DIPAs from across the nation and this is the best I’ve ever had (which I would never have expected from SN). 2014 brew is better and smoother than the previous two years. It’s one of those beers that you either drink last or it’s the only thing you drink in a night, because it overpowers (and overwhelms in taste) everything else. BTW: Torpedo is an absolutely horrible IPA. And “whole cone” has absolutely nothing to do with “big alcohol”. Do you have any followers on this blog?!

I’ll be honest, this is the first rude, overly belligerent comment I’ve ever received here and was really unprepared for it.  After some research on the internet the two top choices on how to handle this kind of situation seemed to be, 1) delete it and move on, or 2) be the bigger man.  So with that in mind I wrote the follow response:

No “whole cone” does not mean “big alcohol”. But the words “Imperial IPA” which I wrote right after “whole cone” do. And now that I’ve clarified that, we’re left arguing over a beer’s head size. Never thought I find myself in that position.

Thanks for stopping by.

And I spent the rest of the day walking around work proud of myself that I was the better man.  However, driving home I remembered that I have given unsolicited pointers in how to improve media content once or twice, and realized that this presented another opportunity to educate readers on this particular type of interaction, even if I’m certainly not a fan of it.

So with that in mind let’s examine this comment and see where it falls short when it comes to quality post bashing.  And again, I’m not being a dick about this.  Remember, Tracey doesn’t want me to be a dick anymore.

You’re an idiot.

Awesome start.  Take note here people, the first shot should always be quick and hard, like an opening jab in a boxing match.  No more than five words max.  But a little research always helps. My twitter profile used to say (and my email signature and Facebook work field still does) that I’m the “Idiot behind the keyboard at The Dogs of Beer”.  Yep, wear my idiot cape with pride.  So really, it’s not the staggering blow to the ego it could have been.

Small head? That’s probably what your girlfriend says.

Ah, dick jokes.  Don’t do this. Dick jokes are like the cigarette butts of the internet world.  They’re laying around everywhere, so much so that after a while people don’t even notice them any more.  They’re just there, silently unobserved as people go about their daily routines.

Not only that, they undermine your position.  Let’s paint a picture.  You’re at a highly recommended, expensive restaurant that took a month to get a table at.  You’ve perused the awesome looking menu and ordered a meal that you’re sure will be among the best you’ve every had, right down to the dessert your waistline doesn’t need.

Then the salad turns up and there’s a cigarette butt in it.  No matter what happens next, the restaurant has no chance of saving the meal.  It just isn’t going to work, no matter how much they try to convince you that their food and establishment are usually top notch. That’s what dick jokes do. No matter how eloquent your comments are after that you can’t salvage your credibility.  Like that guy at work who’s such an idiot that even when he says something intelligent no one takes him seriously.

Hoptimum has one of the biggest heads for any DIPAs I’ve ever had (all years).

When you leave this kind of comment, dump on something important.  Of everything stated in reviews, the head is probably the least important.  So many things impact head formation and retention that the fact that you’ve had a different experience is quite frankly, not unexpected and probably normal. There are tons of stuff like aromas and flavors you could call a reviewer out on that getting upset on a little thing like the head simply carries no weight.

I drink DIPAs from across the nation and this is the best I’ve ever had (which I would never have expected from SN). 2014 brew is better and smoother than the previous two years.

Never was it written that this wasn’t a good DIPA (or Imperial) so this kind of exposition isn’t really necessary.  Again, if you’re going to write this type of comment, make sure you stick to the issues the writer posted that you took acceptation to.  Oh, and if you’re going to make a statement that in some way is meant to demonstrate your expertise in something, only do so if your expertise is truly unique or extraordinary.  Many people drink DIPAs from across the nation, so this statement in no way raises the commenter’s prowess above the collective norm.  Also, I direct you to Bryan’s excellent post over at “This Is Why I’m Drunk” on why using the word “smooth” in a beer description is inane.

It’s one of those beers that you either drink last or it’s the only thing you drink in a night, because it overpowers (and overwhelms in taste) everything else.

Again immaterial as nothing was written to say otherwise. Oh, and you say that like it’s a good thing.

BTW: Torpedo is an absolutely horrible IPA.

Never put out your opinion as fact.  I know your mom said you could be “anything you wanted to be” when you grew up, but sorry, “always right” is not one of them.  I’m not a fan of using rankings and statistics to back this kind of argument, but Torpedo has been on Zymurgy’s list of “best beers in America” the last three years running (with only a bit more than a handful of IPAs ranking higher).  Granted, it’s been slowly falling down the list as craft beer lovers get their hands on newer, more exciting beers; and I’m sure there are many, many other DIPAs that don’t get the distribution or exposure to make Zymurgy’s list.  But still if the author likes a beer that you don’t, stay away from this type of taste bashing.

And “whole cone” has absolutely nothing to do with “big alcohol”.

I can’t stress this point enough, if you’re going to slag something the author wrote,  make sure you read the sentence  you are taking acceptation to several times to make sure that you completely understand it.  In order to remove it from all the other words in the post that may be distracting to the commenter, here is the line in question:

SN terms this beer a “whole cone” imperial IPA.  Translated: hoppy, big alcohol.

I can see where the fact that “whole cone” being in quotes might cause some confusion but it’s in quotes because that’s the phrase SN uses to describe their beer, but it’s the whole term that is being put forward here and you can not simply remove part of it to substantiate your argument.  The beer’s style is imperial IPA, which is to my mind would be hoppy, with big alcohol.  Let me know if it is otherwise.

Do you have any followers on this blog?!

Important point here, like the boxing analogy I used earlier, your last sentence should be the knock out blow.  Swift, violent, devastating, and final.  Asking a blog if they have any followers when the number of followers are clearly noted at the top of the page is…not that.

So there it is, a non-dickish run down on things to consider when leaving a trenchant comment on a blog.  Start strong.  Don’t comment on things that aren’t relevant.  Make sure your facts are correct, and make sure you finish strong.  Follow these rules and you’ll be a brutal commenter that trolls and flamers around the whole internet will look up to, and bloggers and Yahoo article writers will fear.

Or you could just be a nice guy, and write something like this:

Hi!  Just read your review on Hoptimum which is one of my favorite DIPAs.  I’m a little perplexed that you found the head to be small, as every time I’ve had it the head usually very pronounced.  Perhaps you just grabbed a dirty glass that day?  It happens.  Anyway, next time you try it, take note, and maybe your opinion will change.

Also, at first glance your sentence concerning “whole cone” may be a little unclear to readers because since the term is in quotes it may appear as if you’re equating “whole cone” to the “big alcohol” you’ve written in the next sentence.  I’m sure you know these two have nothing to do with each other.  Perhaps you might consider rewriting them to avoid any such confusion in the future.

Anyway, just thought I’d put that out there.  I see you have 777 followers.  Nicely done!

See?  Isn’t that much nicer?

Tracey: I think we need to get on the same page as to what “not being a dick” means.