Looking at the Connoisseur’s Tasting for the 20th Kennett Square Brewfest – Map Included

– I’ll totally judge your brewery by just your porter!

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KSBFWhen Jeff Norman visualized 20 years ago the event that would become the Kennett Square Brewfest, beer festivals at that time were like Wawa’s and cellphone towers – you could drive for miles and miles without running into one.

Fast forward today, and just like my examples above, brewfests have become something that you only have to drive over the next hill before you come across the next one.

But although brewfests have become more common, I always maintain that not all brewfests are created equal and to that point, I’ve never made any apologies that I consider the Kennett Square Brewfest to be the yardstick against which I measure all other beer festivals.

And, to drill down even closer, the Kennett Square’s Connoisseur’s tasting is – if I may be so blunt – the total shit.

Every year beer festivals offer patrons VIP tickets, which usually get the holders into the festival for an hour or two earlier then the general admission  ticket holders, but Kennett has always done something different. Their tickets for their Connoisseur’s tasting gets you advanced entry to the event, but only for a select number of the breweries pouring for the festival. The trade off for this smaller selection of breweries is that they pour beers that will not be featured during the normal festival.  So in other words, it’s really a tasting unto itself – and unlike some festival’s VIP tickets, worth the extra money.

With the whole festival at 110+ brewers strong, and although I’ve attempted to do so in the past, doing any kind of pre-event run down is a daunting task to say the least. So  instead, I want to turn my focus to only the Connoisseur’s tasting and a handful of beers that I’m looking forward to trying, and for the sake of keeping it interesting, let’s keep IPAs out of this….you’re OK with that right?  Good!

First, some details. This year Kennett joined up with Untappt to keep a running list of the breweries attending and the beers they’ll be pouring for both the regular and the Connoisseur’s sessions. So if you’re an IPA fan and are dying to know, click here. The links to switch between the two can be found just under the Kennett Brewfest logo. Tickets are still available for the regular session. You can purchase them here.  And finally, the Connoisseur’s tasting has moved! But don’t worry, they just moved it to the other side of the building, in the back section of the festival (see map below).

And that is just about all you need to know, so let’s look at some beer. My thoughts are in normal type, descriptions from the breweries (if there are any) are in italics.

Allagash Brewing Co. – St. Klippenstein

A Belgian strong ale from Allagash that I haven’t had before?? Yeah, I’ll have two, please. OK, maybe three. See you at the tent!

This full bodied beer is brewed with an array of dark roasted malts: dark chocolate malt, roasted barley, chocolate malt, and brown malt. After being hopped with Chinook and Northern Brewer, and fermented with a trappist-style yeast for a month in stainless, the beer spends three months aging in bourbon barrels. At the brewery, we celebrate St. Klippenstein day to commemorate our love of free ham, pot lucks, and big stouts. In honor, we brewed this Belgian-style stout aged in bourbon barrels. Rich cocoa brown in color, the first sip of this beer opens with a complex chocolate and roasted aroma. Notes of vanilla, coconut and oak infuse the palate and lead to a smooth, warm finish.

Conshohoken Brewing Co. – Viking Funeral

Who doesn’t like a smoked beer? OK, many people, but my love for BBQ means that although I might not enjoy it, if you put smoke in your beer I absolutely need to try it. This will be one of my first go-tos.

Viking Funeral is a Rye Whiskey Barrel Aged Smoked Honey Ale. This beer defies description. We brewed it with pale, munich, light crystal and smoked malts, then added 60lbs of local wildflower honey. Deep, smokey and incredibly hard to define, Viking Funeral is smooth and incredibly easy to drink, even at 10.9% ABV. Sharpen your axe and groom your beard, Vahalla waits.

Merchant du Vin bringing – Yorkshire Stingo

An English Strong Ale? Yes, please! Admittedly this probably won’t be the most remarkable beer I’ll try this day, but try it I will, and like it I probably will.

Some of the oak casks at Samuel Smith’s date back more than a century with the individual oak staves being replaced by the Old Brewery coopers over the years. Gradually the casks soak in more & more of the character of the ale fermented in stone Yorkshire squares. Yorkshire Stingo is aged for at least a year, matured in these well-used oak casks in the brewery’s underground cellars deriving fruit, raisin, treacle toffee, Christmas pudding and slight oaky flavours, before being further naturally conditioned in bottle.

Mispillion River Brewing – Pound Town

One of my favorite breweries in Delaware is bringing one my my favorite styles, an imperial porter!!! I’ll see you at the tent! I’m going to have more than one of these.

Ship Bottom Brewery – Barnacle Bottom W/ Peanut Butter

A stout with peanut butter? I know it’s not everyone’s glass of beer but I’m definitely in for a taste.

St. Boniface Brewing – Chocolate Porter Firken

I’m not a fan of what firkens have become here in America, but if done with restraint, and admittedly, chocolate, well, I’m willing to give it a try. But I’ll admit, I’m a little dubious with the “hints of coffee”. Hopefully it’s just a hint.

Firkin – Rich chocolate notes with hints of coffee & vanilla beans

ZeroDay Brewing Co. -Midnight Angel

I’ve had a love for ZeroDay after I named them one of my five breweries to look to at a previous Kennett Brewfest and I was not disappointed. This year for the Connoisseur tasting, they’re bringing a Russian Imperial Stout. I’ll admit I’m not normally a fan of beers aged in bourbon barrels, but with this brewery, I’m willing to give them at least a taste.

Aged for a year in Kentucky bourbon and rye barrels blended to perfection Hobbies: Sexy Mother Russia, Submarines, Making snow angels

And that’s the run down. We’re looking forward to this event as we do every year. I’ll be wearing my usual festival clothes, a Monty Python and the Holy Grail “Killer Rabbit” shirt and a black fedora and Tracey will be wearing her festival straw hat, so if you see us, come up and say hello, and point us to the best beer you’ve tried so far. After all, that’s a large part of the fun of tastings – seeing what everyone else is enjoying..

See you Saturday!

To print the map click on it and then right click and either “save image” or “copy image” and paste it into your favorite picture program. It will be larger than it appears here.

Conn Map 2017

 

 

River Town Ride and Festival, Jessop’s Oktoberfest Dinner, and 2SP Dinner

Clearing out the email and thought you might be interested in the following press release and email notifications.

****** Press Release ******

River Towns

Two Historic Towns Team Together

For One Amazing Festival!

RIVER TOWNS RIDE & Festival

The 3nd Annual River Towns Ride & Festival is a one-day joint festival held between the two waterfront towns of New Castle and Delaware City.  This year’s event will be held on Saturday, September 16, 2017 from 11:30-5:00 p.m.

The two towns are 10 miles apart and connected by the bike-friendly corridor of Route 9. The event will feature 9:00 a.m. competitive bicycling time trials component for cash and prizes AND a recreational ride where cyclists can pick their distance and ride for fun or earn a medal.

Festivals will be held in New Castle’s Historic Green and Delaware City’s Battery Park starting at 11:30.  Activities at both include live music, food, drink, children’s games, hay ride, face painting, sand art and kid’s crafts..

The highlight of the event will be a craft beer festival at both the New Castle Green and Delaware City Battery Park.

10 craft brews will be available.

Admission is free and food, drink and beer are available for purchase.

A free shuttle bus is provided for day-long transportation between each town.

WE NEED YOUR HELP!

A community festival like this needs the participation of the community.

 Please volunteer a few hours of your time to make this an exciting and fun event for New Castle. 

Volunteers are needed in these areas.  Time shifts are 11:15-1:00, 1:00-3:00, 3:00-5:00                                                                                  

·         Kids craft Table

·         Set Up/Take Down of Tables and Chairs

·         Aid Station-hand out water- snacks

·         Beer Ticket Sales, ID checks & Wrist Bands

·         Beer Pourers

·         Info Table- registration, program books,

Please email Cindy Snyder-  Cynthia.Snyder@state.de.us   or call 302-323-4453

Let us know which areas and what times you can help.  Thank You!

Visit our website: www.rivertownsfestival.com

******EMail Notification******

Jessops Oktoberfest******EMail Notification******

2SP Dinner

There are still Tickets Available for this Saturday’s Historic Odessa Brewfest!

– And the Weather Looks Good!

This Saturday will see another installment of the annual Historic Odessa Brewfest. The event has become a regular stop during our “festival season” and we’re looking forward to going again this year.

Everything you need to know  you should be able to find in the press release below. I’d like to thank John Xuereb for continuing to keep us in the loop every year on this awesome event. We hope to see you there! (All photos: The Dogs of Beer)

**************************  Press Release  ***************************

The Historic Odessa Foundation and Cantwell’s Tavern Present

The Fourth Annual HISTORIC ODESSA BREWFEST

Tickets now on sale for this year’s fundraising festival on Sept. 9, 2017

ODESSA, Del. — August 16, 2017– The Historic Odessa Brewfest is back for its fourth round this September with more than 50 regional and national craft breweries on tap for this year, as well as live music on two stages, local gourmet food, colonial beer brewing demonstration, and artisans.

On Sept. 9, from 12 to 6 p.m., the Historic Odessa Foundation and Cantwell’s Tavern present their fourth annual Historic Odessa Brewfest. This signature fundraising festival wholly benefits the preservation, conservation and education efforts of the Historic Odessa Foundation, and its historic museum properties collectively known as the Historic Houses of Odessa – some of the best examples of Georgian architecture in Delaware, and the Mid-Atlantic region.

History and Hops

Held on the sprawling, bucolic grounds of the 247-year-old Wilson-Warner House, the 2017 Historic Odessa Brewfest will feature new and favorite craft brews from more than 50 breweries. A few of the local participating brewers include Mispillion, Big Oyster, Rar, Dogfish Head, Revelation, Blue Earl, and Burley Oak. New this year will be Founders Brewing of Mich., SweetWater Brewing of Ga., and Devil’s Backbone of Va. A complete list of all participating breweries will be available closer to the festival on Sept. 9. The current list can be viewed by visiting http://www.odessabrewfest.com/breweries/2017breweries. A VIP tasting from 12 to 2 p.m. will provide attendees with access to limited quantity beers.

In addition to tasting some of the finest craft beers on the market, attendees will have the opportunity of experiencing the colonial brewing process as reenactors and colonial brew masters Rich and Anna Wagner make beer on site, using historically accurate methods and materials—copper kettles, wooden barrels, hops and grains.

This year’s live musical entertainment line-up will be presented on two stages. Performing on the Main Stage from 12 to 3 p.m., will be up-and-coming country singer/songwriter Adam Yarger, and taking the stage from 3 to 6 p.m., will be perennial favorite, reggae evangelists Spokey Speaky. Performing on the Garden Stage from 12 to 3 p.m. will be acoustic jazz and blues artist Bruce Anthony, followed by accomplished, versatile solo performer Tony Mowen from 3 to 6 p.m.

At A Glance

Fourth Annual Historic Odessa Brewfest
Sept. 9, 2017, 12 – 6 p.m. (VIP Tasting, 12 – 2 p.m.)
Historic Houses of Odessa ­ 202 Main Street, Odessa, DE 19730
General Admission, $50; VIP, $70; Designated Driver, $15
Advance tickets www.odessabrewfest.com, or call 302-378-4119

Sponsors

The presenting sponsor for the fourth annual Odessa Brewfest is Wilmington Trust. Event sponsors include Crouse Brothers, National HVAC Service, Village at Bayberry/Blenheim Homes, Patterson Schwartz, State Farm/Chuck Montgomery, Cochran Liquors, and BCP Smyrna. Sponsorship opportunities are available and interested parties should contact the Historic Odessa Foundation for more information.

Links

For general and ticket information, as well as news, regular updates on participating brewers and ongoing 2017 Brewbracket (Finalists this year are Blue Earl Brewing vs 2SP), visit or follow the Historic Odessa Brewfest at:

Official website:                      www.odessabrewfest.com.

Facebook:                    www.facebook.com/odessabrewfest

Twitter:                        www.twitter.com/OdessaBrewfest

Time and Location:

12 p.m. to 2 p.m. – VIP Tasting
2 p.m. – General Admission
6 p.m. – All taps will close

Historic Houses of Odessa
Wilson-Warner House
202 Main Street
Odessa, DE 19730

 Ticket Information:

$70 VIP: early noon tasting, limited glass tasting mug, access to limited-quantity beers, and a food voucher. VIP tickets can be redeemed for future tours of the Historic Houses of Odessa.

$50 General Admission: gates open at 2 p.m. for ticket holders.

$15 Designated Driver: access to food, music and vendors, includes free soft drinks. Designated Driver tickets are only available at the gate, day of the event.

 Purchase VIP and General Admission tickets online, at www.odessabrewfest.com, or call 302-378-4119.

Volunteer Opportunities

Since not every brewery will be able to send a representative to pour beer, and help will be needed to keep the historic site clean, HOF and Cantwell’s Tavern are looking for volunteers for the day’s festivities. Prospective volunteers can call Cantwell’s at 302-376-0600.

About the Historic Odessa Brewfest

The Historic Odessa Brewfest is a fund-raising event for the Historic Odessa Foundation, a non-profit organization whose mission is to ensure the legacy of the Historic Houses of Odessa for future generations, through commitment to the preservation of Odessa’s unique historic, architectural and cultural heritage.

About the Historic Odessa Foundation

Established in 2005, the Historic Odessa Foundation owns and operates The Historic Houses of Odessa, a 72-acre enclave of 18th and 19th century structures located in the town of Odessa, just two miles from DE 1 and just off U.S. Route 13 in southern New Castle County, Del. The historic buildings and gardens along with a well-documented collection of more than 6000 objects and furnishings offer a unique picture of Delaware’s colonial period in a rural village that played a vital part in America’s commercial history. The original town of Odessa, originally known as Cantwell’s Bridge, has retained much of its 18th century charm and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and home to a National Historic Landmark, and two National Park Service Network to Freedom sites. www.historicodessa.org

Tickets are still available for this Saturday’s Downtown Beer Festival

Including, yes, VIP

This Saturday, August 12th marks the inaugural Downtown Wilmington Craft Beer Festival. The festival will be located right on Main Street in front of Wilmington beer fixture the Chelsea Tavern.

Attendees can expect the usual beer festival fun, including music, vendors, food trucks and of course, beer – over 100 to be exact representing some 40 regional breweries.

The festival itself runs from 12 noon (for VIP ticket holders) or 1:30 (for GA ticket holders). Taps close at 5:30pm, but the music portion of the event will still continue until 7:30pm.  Attendees who wish to continue in the festivities will have two outside bars and of course, Chelsea Tavern available to them.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit John Medkeff’s Jr’s “Restore the King” project which is raising money to restore the 135-year old Gambrinus statue that once stood on the side of the Diamond State Brewery.

The links that matter:

For information on the event including times, musical guests, etc; the event’s Facebook page is here.

You can purchase tickets here.

Downtown Brew Festival

…………………………………………………………

Other dates of note:

Delaware:A Brew Story returns to the Blue Ball barn on September 2nd with a ‘roaring Twenties‘ theme.

The Historic Odessa Brew-fest returns September 9th.

Kennett Brew-fest returns for it’s 20th session on September 30th.

It’s Beer, Wings, and BBQ at the 2017 Colonial BBQ Competition!

CBC TagThe Colonial BBQ Competition in Historic New Castle returns this Friday/Saturday for its second year.

The event last year left a sour taste in some attendee’s mouths due to some first-year road bumps that Michael Quaranta and a group of hard working volunteers have been trying very hard to fix for their second go around of the Kansas City Barbecue Society sanctioned competition.

The two-day event kicks off Friday evening  at 5pm with a combination craft beer/chicken wing event on The Green that will see 12-15 BBQ teams via for the People’s Choice Award for best BBQ, and YOU get to be the People. For $5 you’ll get to sample five wings of your choice and don’t be afraid to purchase another five because the event managed to acquire 225 pounds of wings for the event thanks to Mountaire and The Restaurant Depot.

The craft beer event will feature some local favorites such as Twin Lakes, 16 Mile, and Third Wave, as well as Grand Rapids, Michigan favorite Founders Brewing, which just recently started to distribute in Delaware. For those who like something light with their BBQ, Miller will also be on tap.

Saturday’s big event has the gates open at 12 noon, entry fee is $10 and Michael and his team have worked hard to ensure that there is adequate food available for all the BBQ lovers who attends.

“Saturday we’ve got 4 food vendors, including two locals (Locale Post, Philippine Smoke), and two retired competitors selling BBQ. In addition, the Restaurant Depot and Mountaire contacted 125 pounds of chicken leg quarters, so the good kids at Howard High and the culinary program, will cook and sell these as a way to make the school program a few bucks. We had 3 bbq vendors last year, and this year we have 5…and the two that [are coming back from] last year are bringing much more food”, Michael told me in a Facebook conversation.

CBC-3100
Pork and chicken await the crowd at last year’s Colonial BBQ Competition.

Saturday’s beer lineup will be similar to last year with $5 still getting you a 16oz pour, with the highlight being local Smyrna brewer Blue Earl on hand offering their Blues Power, Honey Suckle, and Walking Blues brews. Bud, Bud Light, Goose Island IPA, and Blue Point Toasted Lager will also be available and Michael want me to inform everyone that last call is at 4:30!

Michael and his team seem to have really put time and effort into evolving their event past the obstacles and problems of last year. With any new event like this, there are bound to be growing pains, and Michael even conceded that there will probably be new ones this year, but asked people to be patient, “It will be fun. We’ll have screw ups again this year, and it won’t be until year three or four when we have worked out most of the kinks….but we’ll get there!”

Live music for the event will be provided Backlash, Federal Street and Blue Cat Blues Band.

The Colonial BBQ Competition supports the New Castle Charities, a nonprofit organization that assists area homeowners and improvements to Battery Park.

As always I would like to thank Michael for taking some of his valuable time to talk to me!

3rd Wave Brewing’s 1st Wave IPA

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

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

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

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

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

Or so it is said in legend.

………………………………..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DE AVAILABILITY: Most fine beer outlets.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time for another beer….

Marvel Finally Misses with Iron Fist

Better late then never?

At one point in the later part of its 13-episode run, Davos, fellow K’un-Lun citizen and longtime friend of Danny Rand drops a line that is so on the nose, I’m surprise that it made the final cut.

“You’re the worst Iron Fist ever!”

Damn, dude. Words hurt! But sadly, so does the truth,  because depending on what you read/who you listen too, Iron Fist is not as good as it was hoped to be – for a wide range of reasons.

I say depending, because although the series dropped to some critical and fan lashing, highlighted by rotten tomatoes scores of 17 and 79% respectively, it actually fared very well when compared against other Netflix series  when analyzed with the network’s own metrics.

I’m going to ignore all the Who-Struck-John that dusted up when Loras Tyrell (aka Finn Jones) was cast to play Danny Rand – mostly by those who wanted an Asian in the role, even though Jones in the comics is Caucasian – because I think the series would have caught grief from people regardless of which way they went with their casting choice.

All of which would have gone away if it ended up that the casting decision was a good one. Unfortunately, although Jones seems to be a  fine actor, he was woefully behind the curve on this fight choreography skills when Iron Fist started filming – a fact that is sadly very apparent in the final production – apparently because he had little time to train before filming began.

With dazzling martial arts scenes popping up regularly on Into The Badlands, some flashy action sequences in shows like Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow, and hard hitting, gritty fight scenes from Iron Fist’s sister show Daredevil, not having top notch fight scenes from your star in a series based on the “Living Weapon” is borderline criminal. Especially when you factor in that co-stars like Colleen Wing and Lewis Tan are more than bringing it.

But let me push all that to the side and list three areas where I thought Iron Fist really missed the boat.

THE BIG BAD

I’m going to say it now, I’ve never been a fan of The Hand, which is TOTALLY hypocritical of me, because I’m usually all for anything that fills my TV or movie screen with katana wielding ninjas.

But to be honest, I just haven’t warmed up to them, sorry. I know, long time readers of the comics will point out that the Hand are pretty big players in the Marvel world and longtime adversaries of Daredevil. Given.

But to me, the Hand have always been the under card with other villains and anti-heroes carrying the more interesting parts of the story forward. In the first season of Daredevil they had the unenviable task of trying to out shine Edgar the Bug’s (AKA Vincent D’Onofrio) King Pin and for that show’s second season, the plot line of the Hand I felt weighed down the second half of the series mostly because it diverted focus away from Shane Walsh’s (AKA Jon Bernthal) Punisher.

The would be main bad guy for Iron Fist I guess would be the whole Meachum family, siblings Joy and Ward, and their father Harold who is dead, except that he’s not. Together Joy and Ward spend a lot of time not believing that the returning Danny Rand is indeed Danny Rand because they believe he’s dead, except that he’s not.

Problem – there isn’t a shred of menace in these three together. Not one iota of the quiet rage, or singular focused aggression that made The King Pin or The Punisher so compelling, respectively.

Harold meanwhile spends a lot of time hiding in his penthouse because people believe he’s dead, except he’s not, abusing is assistant and hoping the Hand doesn’t drop by for a visit. In the real world, only his assistant and Ward know that he’s not dead (except that he is, but he’s not) which assists Harold as he attempts to figure out if Danny Rand is dead or not. Got it? Groovy.

Problem – there isn’t a shred of menace in these three together. Not one iota of the quiet rage, or singular focused aggression that made The King Pin or The Punisher so compelling, respectively. Nope, they just kind of wade through the plot, adding obstacles when Danny needs them, and opening doors for the same reasons. But as far as lifting the show up to another level as other villains have in the past? Never happens.

Now, I’ll balance that with this – the inclusion of the Hand has brought some cool boss level fighters for our heroes to overcome. There was Nobu Yoshioka in both seasons of Daredevil, and Iron Fist gave us the very interesting (and sadly underutilized) Zhou Cheng (The Drunken Master) and the Bride of Nine Spiders.

And who doesn’t love Madame Gao? I want her on my fireplace mantle to act as my own personal version of Google Home. “Gao, What’s the weather going to be today?”

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“Ok, so…partly cloudy, then?”

If Iron Fist showed me anything, it’s that if there isn’t a very complete and interesting big bad to help carry the story, then for me the story doesn’t work, and the Hand are unable to do it by themselves, and sadly, Iron Fist is woefully lacking in complete and interesting big bads.

NOT ENOUGH K’UN-LUN.

One of the glaring omissions in my mind is the almost painful lack of back story into what makes Danny Rand tick. He just fancy walks into the building that bares his family name after a 15 year absence and starts to bring confusion to everyone who now works there.

But why? Why did he train all his life to  face and defeat the dragon, Shou-Lao the Undying, securing his role as the immortal Iron Fist, only to skip out and go walk about the first chance he got?

The show doesn’t investigate this part of Danny’s life very deeply, only showing an occasional glimpse of K’un-Lun, (where he apparently spent much of his time being whipped with a cane, because, plot!) and none of his show down with Shou-Lao.

Having that back story could have greatly fleshed out Danny’s motives, and maybe even have been used to explain why he doesn’t yet have the fighting skill level, or indeed the basic knowledge of other powers, one would associate with the Immortal Iron Fist.

Did Danny decide to face Shou-Lao even though his masters thought he wasn’t worthy or indeed, ready too? Did he beat the dragon using some Kobayashi Maru type cheat? Was his goal simply to be come the Iron Fist because he knew that would be the only way he could leave K’un-Lun, which was a long time plan of his?

So much backstory and motivations for Danny could have been filled in by focusing on this part of his story, and since it didn’t we don’t have it, and Danny just seems to do things because he does.

LONILINESS

No, I’m not talking about Danny’s alienation when he returns to New York or his love life (I’ll never feel sorry for a guy who winds up at the end of the day with Colleen Wing), I’m talking about the fact that Danny Rand is the only Defender to show up in Iron Fist.

From a production point, it takes some of the “he met, she met” that needs to happen out of The Defenders

I can understand why, the producers probably wanted the show to fully explore and flesh out the Danny Rand character, and probably felt that the inclusion of another Defender would somehow take away from that goal. My question back – did including Luke Cage diminish Jessica Jones in any way? No.It.Did.Not.

Adding another Defender would have helped jump start the formation of the titular group as well as allowed the show to have a path with which to move into The Defenders. From a production point, it takes some of the “he met, she met” that needs to happen out of The Defenders thus allowing that show to have more time to devote to story (consider The Defenders appears to only be 8 episodes), plus puts a very interesting aspect into Iron Fist allowing them to remove some of the slower moments of that show.

Who would not have wanted to see Madam Gao once again irritated by the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen, or even a nick-in-time save by Jessica Jones. And don’t tell me fans wouldn’t have fist pumped or left their seats the first time they saw Luke and Danny, the team that in the comics becomes known as “Heroes for Hire”, standing next to each other ready to demolish a Handful (get it) of ninjas in a classic battle.

No…whoever made the choice to make Iron Fist only about Danny Rand…I feel they made the wrong one.

And that’s it. That’s the three bullet points I took away after watching Iron Fist. The show is OK at best, but sadly flawed, and really hurts when compared against the shows that have come before it.

Bring on The Defenders.

The Defenders drops on Netflix on August 18th, 2017.