Hey Everybody! I’m Not Dead Yet. Apologies.

Thailand

You’re probably wondering why I haven’t posted anything in a few weeks. I meant to put up a warning before I left, but if you’re wondering what’s been going on, here’s the deal:

I’ve been on the otherside of the world!  With my girlfriend’s extended family, I cruised from Singapore to Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and then back to Singapore.  During that time, my internet was extremely spotty and I didn’t have access to my blog.  I thought I posted something to that effect, and I’m not quite sure what happened there. Regardless, I’m back now.  Here’s an update on what’s been going on in my life:

  1. I released my webseries, Hipster Wars: 2018.  Check it out now!  www.hipsterwars2018.com
  2. I was a supernumerary in Aida at the Met
  3. I helped Two-Girls, One-Pint make their Winter Harvest Beer Festival Video.  Watch  it  at www.Twogirlsonepint.com, though you won’t see me in it (I was behind the camera)/
  4. I was in an episode of Veep (season 2, episode 3…see if you can spot me)/
  5. And obviously, as described, I went to Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Singapore.  I reviewed one beer in each country (in some countries, two or three).  However…
  6. My phone was stolen in a Cambodian market.  So I lost several reviews and pictures.  I hope that the teenager who stole my phone is enjoying my reviews, as well as my music and videos (though I imagine he just sold it).

My blog suffered during this period, but now I’m kicking it into high gear.  As you can see, I posted 4 reviews, 2 articles, and a game.  From here on out, you can expect more crazy stuff (like the games), and I promise you more consistency in the new year.  If I don’t post at least one new review each week, I owe you all a beer.  Seriously…call me on it.  Peace and Love.

-Josh

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Second Game!

In my Winter Harvest article, I talked about Magic Hat’s Humdinger series.  Most of these are pretty widely available, but I didn’t know about them, so I thought they might be hard to find.  The prize for this game is the bottle that you find.  Bring me the receipt, and I will pay you back for it.  Here’s the game.

Find a bottle of Magic Hat Humdinger Graupel and take a picture of it with a newspaper or magazine (for date), then bring me the receipt.  Email the picture to Josh@twogirlsonepint.com

Graupel

That’s all!  Good luck, and play nice!

Fuller’s London Pride VS Fuller’s Vintage Ale

London Pride

London Pride

Overall: B-

Price: B

Taste: C

Type: Draft

4.7% ABV-33 IBU

Fuller's Vintage Ale

Vintage Ale 2009

Overall: A-

Price: B

Taste: A

Type: Bottle

8.5% ABV-38 IBU

First off, you may be wondering why I don’t have real pictures for these.  In case you haven’t read already, my phone was stolen in Cambodia and I lost a lot of information, including these pictures.  However, I’m no longer focusing on that.  So, moving on…my friends and I went to this bar/restaurant in lower Harlem called Bierkraft.  I’ll write more about it when I get a chance to explore it thoroughly, but it seemed nice enough when we went that night.  It may have been a little pricey, but I liked the general atmosphere and the wait-staff seemed very knowledgable.  I ordered a bottle of Fuller’s Vintage Ale because I had never had it before ,and I’ve always been curious.  I’ve had London Pride several times, and while it’s good, it’s nothing to write home about.  London Pride’s a solid British beer with a lot of body, but has very little in the way of unique flavor.  Anyway, I received my glass and took a sip. I thought…”Hmm…this is alright, but it’s not great.  It’s certainly not worth the 14 dollars that I paid for it, and it doesn’t really taste like it has an 8.5 percent alcohol content.  It basically…you know, sort of tastes like London Pride.”  And that’s when the waiter walked back over.  He apologized and told me that he had noticed they had sent me a regular London Pride (not the Vintage Ale), and he was perturbed.  He let me keep the beer for free, and brought me the Vintage Ale.  It suddenly became very obvious how he could tell.  The London Pride came in a Shaker Glass by itself,  while the Vintage Ale came in a Tulip Glass with the bottle and the box.   I thought, “Awesome, now a chance to compare”.  And boy…it is a huge difference.  Where London Pride tastes good and hearty, Vintage Ale is bold, boozy, and almost Belgian.  My friends who tasted the Vintage also admired it greatly.  It’s got a lot of character, and doesn’t taste anything like Fuller’s usual fair.  Both beers pour a reddish brown, but Vintage Ale is almost a deep amber, with a “fuller” head.  On tasting, Vintage has a lot going on, with hints of deep wood, toffee, butterscotch, and even some light citrus hops. I really enjoyed the simplicity of London Pride, but the complexities of the Vintage Ale won out.  I would thoroughly recommend the pair to anyone adventurous enough to take them on.  If you’ve had a Fuller’s London Pride before, but were less than impressed, definitely try the Vintage.  It’s one of the best British beers I’ve ever had.  And if you haven’t had a London Pride before, try one.  It’s a standard of British Brewing, like Newcastle and Boddington’s.  And if you hate them both, you can always blame me.  I’m willing to take on that responsibility.

In Conclusion: Both worth trying, though I really like the Vintage Ale.  Try it if you get the opportunity, regardless of price.  It’s a great beer that must be experienced, especially by those who love strong English ales.

Food Pairings (London Pride): Chewy, hearty meats.  Game Meats, Meatloaf, and Chutney.

Food Pairings (Vintage Ale): Really fatty and savory meats.  Grilled Lamb, Kidney, and Liver.

“That’s the problem with drinking, I thought, as I poured myself a drink. If something bad happens you drink in an attempt to forget; if something good happens you drink in order to celebrate; and if nothing happens you drink to make something happen.”

-Charles Bukowski

New York City Craft Beer Festival-Winter Harvest

NYC Winter Harvest

As stated above, I went with Two Girls One Pint to the New York City Craft Beer Festival, Winter Harvest.  I’ve been to several beer festivals in the past, but Winter Harvest had to have the most diverse selection of brews I’ve seen.  Some of the highlights were Dogfish Head Ta Henket (which tasted like Pizza), the Magic Hat Humdinger Series, anything by Alphabet City Brewing Company, and Founders Breakfast Stout (which you already know I have a deep passion for).  There were a lot of other great beers, but I could spend hours writing about those without getting very specific.  Really quickly though, I wanted to focus in on the Magic Hat Humdinger series.  Magic Hat was one of the first craft breweries that I got into, and before Ommegang, was the largest stepping stone in my journey into craft beer.  However, I had a misconception that their beer stylings sort of ended and began with their basic line of craft beer (OddBall, Circus Boy, Number 9…etc.).  I was so wrong.  The Humdinger series, which I had never even heard of before this event, exemplifies everything that craft brewing in America should be.  These beers are epically experimental, deep, and fully realized.  If you haven’t had a Humdinger yet, get one immediately (you can get one for free through my game).  Trying these beers made my festival experience.  The event was great, but discovering Humdinger was definitely the highlight.  And come to the next festival.  I really enjoyed all the food and brew, but what was even more exciting was talking to all the participants and volunteers about their love of beer.  It made me feel like I was part of a much larger beer community in NYC than I had never fully appreciated.  I think everyone should try to attend their next event.  If you do, stop by the Two Girls One Pint stand and say Hi! I’d love to chat.  And, if you win one of the prizes from my games, might be a good place to pick it up.  Hope to see you there! 

Kona-Pipeline Porter

Kona Porter

Overall: B

Price: B

Taste: B

Type: 12 oz Bottle

5.4% ABV-23 IBU

Oh man…Kona.  I love Kona brewing company.  Well, I love them now, having been to Kona, HI and experienced the wonder that is their brewery and brewpub. Based on Longboard (their most readily available brew), I don’t think I would have even liked them.  It’s not that Longboard is a terrible beer, it’s just very bland.  But anyway, let’s talk about this Porter. I think the Coffee Porter may be the only widely available example of what Kona does so well at their brewery.  They take local ingredients from Hawaii and use them to create one of a kind beers, whether that’s a yeast strain that only grows in lava fields or an imperial stoudt drowned in dark malts and kona coffee.  This porter shows off a little of that artistic flair. The beer pours a purplish brown with a light brown head.  It’s got full notes of chocolate, toffee, prunes, a little hops, and a lot of malt, but it’s especially dominated by that fresh Kona coffee taste.  If you’re a stout or porter drinker who really likes coffee, this is a great option for the price  (about 10 dollars a six pack).  It’s not a perfect porter by any means, but if you haven’t tried Kona, this is a good introduction.  However, they still have way better options available at the Brewery in Hawaii, and I wonder why they don’t release some of those on special occasions.  It would expand their consumer base, and promote the true quality and depth of the brewery.  For now, this is the best we’ve got.

In Conclusion: A great introduction to what Kona has to offer.  Not the best porter in America, but pretty unique.  If you’re a coffee drinker who dabbles in darker beers, this might be a nice introduction to the Porter style.

Food Pairing: Cheesecake, Creme Brulee, Fruit Tarts, and Strawberries with cream.  Anything fruity, creamy, and sweet.

Bart, a woman is like beer. They look good, they smell good, and you’d step over your own mother just to get one!

-Homer Simpson

Trader Joe’s 2012 Vintage Ale-Brewed by Unibroue

Trader Joe's Vintage Ale

Overall: A

Price: A+

Taste: B+

Type: 25 oz Bottle

9% ABV-0 IBU

When I spotted this beer at Trader Joe’s, I had a minor brain spasm, “A 9% Belgian Dark Ale on Lees.  That sounds like an Unibroue.  It can’t be Unibroue.  It’s 5 dollars. What’s that say on the back?  Wait…It IS an Unibroue.” Apparently Trader Joe’s does this every year.  But I should start by saying, I’m not sure it’s really quite as good as a regular Unibroue.  While it was certainly made by Unibroue at their brewery, you get the feeling their heart wasn’t entirely in it.  It’s not quite as refined as their other beers. Then again, it’s much cheaper.   5 dollars, for a 25 oz bottle of 9 percent Belgian dark ale? That’s kind of ridiculous.    It’s almost half the price of La Fin Du Mone, Don De Dieu, or any of the regular Unibroues.  And the taste isn’t bad, it’s actually very good.  Deep malt, with belgian yeasts, hints of dark fruit and caramel.  It pours a dark brown with a thick head. It’s just a little thin at the end. It’s the difference between a 12 year and 18 year old scotch.  This beer is still really good, by any standard of craft brewing, but when you’ve tasted the perfection that is Unibroue’s line of Canadian Belgians, I just don’t think this quite makes the cut.  All that being said, they have a different beer every year, so it’s always worth trying.  And for this price, I’d say it’s worth having around as a drinking beer whenever a friend comes to visit.

In Conclusion: I would thoroughly recommend this beer.  I think Trader Joe’s and Unibroue have done a wonderful thing here.  They’ve made a classy real Belgian that’s affordable and accessible.  I only wish it wasn’t just a holiday treat.

Food Pairing:  Baked Ham, Roasted Duck, or Quail, with grilled or baked vegetables.

On a side note, I wonder if this is what Ommegang’s Game of Thrones beers (read more in separate article) are going to be like?   I’d be ok with that.

“Beer was not made to be moralized about, but to be drunk.” 

– Theodore Maynard

GAME OF THRONES (Song of Ice and Fire) BEERS?!?

Golden Lion

Sorry to freak out, but has everyone seen this?

http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/16/coming-soon-the-beer-of-kings/

If you don’t care already, I don’t know if I can make you care.  But I love this idea.  First off, I really like Ommegang.  They make amazing beer, and I can’t think of a better American brewery to create beers coupled with a fantasy series.  Second, I’m a big fan of A Song of Fire and Ice.  I’m in the middle of Storm of Swords (so nobody tell me what’s going to happen), and it’s a dark, meticulously constructed, high fantasy series.  Besides the wonderful political and cultural allegories at play in the books, my favorite part is the food and drink.  Every forty pages or so, George R. R. Martin will launch into an epic tirade on food and drink.  For example:

“There were great joints of aurochs roasted with leeks, venison pies, chunky with carrots, bacon, and mushrooms, mutton chops sauced in honey and cloves, savory duck, peppered boar, goose, skeweres of pigeon, and capon, beef-and-barley stew, cold fruit soup…..twenty casks of fish from White Harbor packed in slate and seaweed; whitefish and winkles, crabs and mussels, clams, herring, cod, salmon, lobster, and lampreys.  There was black bread and honeycakes and oaten biscuits; there wer turnips and pease and beets, beans and squash and huge red onions; there were baked apples and berry tarts and pears poached in strongwine.  Wheels of white cheese  sat at every table, above and below the salt, and flagons of hot spice wine and chilled autumn ale were passed up and down the tables.”-A Clash of Kings, 245, George R R Martin

You see what I mean?  Don’t you want to be at that feast?  Well, Ommegang’s providing us with the drinks, and if you go to the brewery, you might be able to find the food (or make it). Every summer Ommegang holds a music and beer festival at the brewery in Cooperstown, NY.  I have it on good authority that full suckling pigs have been roasted on the ground during the festival.   I’m sure I’ve had  an Ommegang while reading one of the books, and it makes me happy that I may be able to have a themed one next time.

Now if we can just get some Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings themed beer lines, my fantasy drinking needs will be complete.  And…I know that there’s already a Harry Potter beer at Universal, but there could be more.

Image property of Teefury.com

Artist: Nathan Stillie http://nathanstillie.com/gold-lion-shirt/