Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Back from the Wild Side With A Bit of Gusto

Well, suffice it to say, it has been a long time in coming. In May, 2013, I said that we would be coming to you once a month.  Then in June, I thought, well, maybe we would be there once every two months, and before you know it, its May, 2014 and I haven't delivered a thing.  Lots going on in my life, some of it going well, some of it not so well, but all of it contributing to the greater good. Now its October 15, 2014, things have settled down and its time to put my stake in the ground. Let's party!

I haven't been delinquent in my follow up, but it certainly hasn't been for a lack of follow-up! There has certainly been quite a bit in the beer world to take stock. The work week has extended itself to where there are more weekend festivals than the average guy can accommodate - and that is good! The number of breweries has exploded in the National Capital Area and more are set up to move onto the scene and that is good as well. Not to mention the microbrewery and home brewery efforts of many of you and the world of variety that has introduced. The future seems bright and its not about to dull anytime soon. This is all good.

What I have been keeping up with is my account on Untappd, the iOS beer app available on the iPhone. As of today, I have 886 distinct beers and 188 total badges attributed to me.  Its pretty good, if I do say so myself. Its been fun to do and I think my experiences over the last few weeks have really improved with the entries. Of course, my feedback from my followers is what really tempers that, but I know some of you are followers of that blog as well.

So with all of that evidence of a brewing culture gurgling up to the top, I have jumped back into the fray with gusto. Hang on, its going to be a wild ride.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Long Side of Forever: Waiting to Depart Portland

Getting on the plane in Portland in order to get to Denver via Chicago and we have wait out a series of storms. It's always the way of dealing with the Midwest, but it does not make it any less frustrating. All we can do is wait and run, wait and run.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Newer Apple - The Crisp

Now there are two things that I do not associate together - apples and Brooklyn. I know that Brooklyn is a part of the Big Apple, but when it really comes down to it, there isn't much relationship between the modern big city and the quintessential country fruit. Apples are from Washington, Oregon, Upstate New York, Vermont - any place other than Brooklyn.  Let it be written, let it be done.  Until now. 

The Sixpoint Brewery is about to change all of that in the immediate future.  Located at 40 Van Dyke Street, Brooklyn (hey, isn't that the name of someone else who is famous?) the Sixpoint Brewery has been in business for 9 years.  It is Brooklyn to the core and the group proves that throughout their beer lineup.  They have a core group of six beers - Sweet Action, Righteous Ale, Bengali Tiger, The Crisp, Resin and Brownstone. These form the centralized group of beers and these are made all of the time.  These six are followed up by a group of four seasonal beers - Harbinger, Apollo, Autumnation, and Diesel - and a series of beers is a Rotational, Mad Scientists, Spice of Life and Beer For Beast.  The six beers are the center of the core group are our focus because they bring the true character of the brewery to life.  It clear that these brewmasters are crazy - for life in general and for the beer.

So, what does this have to do with apples?  Well, nothing, actually. The apple, however, is the closest living thing to that of The Crisp  The Crisp is a German pilsener style beer with an ABV of 5.4%, IBU of 42 and a SRM of 5.9.  The first thing upon pouring The Crisp is that you can't see through it, despite its light body and color.  You won't get far in navigating this brew.  The first mouthful is the key to The Crisp's taste.  It a highly robust flavor but it doesn't have a distinct taste, so it is common for a German pilsener. Its originally a Sehr Crisp and is flavored with noble hops to give it that flavor. 

The Crisp also available in 4 16 oz cans.  There is no plan to launch a case or to package the group in bottles.  (We will save that for a future edition of Jolly Good Fellows - count on that one!) The taste proves to be consistent throughout the body of the beer and the first mouthful is as good as the last. 

The Crisp is a really great beer from the folks up in Brooklyn and we are glad that they have chosen to branch out to encapsulate other types of beers. Here is just hoping that they don't start in with apples.

Happy Drinking!

Brian Smith

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Anybody Else Ready for Summer?

Don't get me wrong. I love winter...beers. Dark stouts and seasonal winter warmers are some of my favorite beers to cozy up to alongside a good book.

But I made the mistake of looking through old photo albums today and came across this shot. Drinking a beer along the Metolius River near Camp Sherman, Oregon. It's mid-July and a lovely day out...making me ready for warmer days filled with cold, crisp, IPAs (or one of my favorites, the IRA by Double Mountain pictured).

Where was your favorite place to drink a beer last summer? Send us your picture and we will post it!

{ prost! }

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Holiday Cheese Board: Great with Any Seasonal Beer

I know we discuss all things BEER here at the Jolly Good Fellows, but I come from a beer pairing background and love to match beer with a great cheese. This story is from my former blog, Beer Meets Cheese. It doesn't speak to the beer as much as the cheese - but trust me, any of your favorite holiday ales will pair pleasantly with these cheeses. Before you run out to the store for some last minute items, consider putting together this cheese board to pair with your holiday beers.

Enjoy - and let us know what beer and cheese you like to to pair for the holidays.

Picture it... Phoenix, 2011.

I’m at my in-laws house for Christmas day. All of them have heard about my blogging and my love for beer and cheese. Suddenly, the dreaded question is asked: “why don’t you make a cheese board for Christmas brunch?”

Oh, crap. Now I have to put my money where my mouth is – or some clever phrase like that.

Did I mention I’m in a dry household?

Well – at least that helps to end the fear of pairing beer with my cheese.

Now all I need is to get my cheese board together.

But we’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto. While one of the 5 C’s of Arizona is cattle, dairy cows are definitely NOT part of this agreement. Finally, after going to several “standard” grocery stores around the Scottsdale area, I broke down and drove the 8 miles to Whole Foods Market. I could feel the rays of light shining down from heaven as they lit my path to the cheese counter – filled with lovely gourmet cheese! Finally, I feel like I’m pack in Portland for a moment (the sunshine outside tells me otherwise, but that’s why I’m here in Phoenix to avoid the rains of an Oregon Christmas).

Selection was easy from that point – a 5 month old Manchego cheese to be paired with a pear / apple chutney (made from the gift box from Harry & David’s – thanks aunt Molly and uncle John!) was the first selection (thanks to Deborah Madison's book Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone for this suggestion!).

Then I moved to my old standards, a good aged Gouda and some creamy Taleggio. From here, I was stumped… but thankfully the friendly WFM cheesemonger was there to save me!

He suggested we try La Tur, an Italian cheese made from pasteurized goat, sheep, and cow’s milks. What we discovered was love at first bite! I would describe the cheese in my own words, but I find that Murray’s Cheese shop of New York City does it the best justice:
From the great wine region of Piemonte comes La Tur: a dense, creamy blend of pasteurized cow, goat and sheep milk. Runny and oozing around the perimeter with a moist, cakey, palette-coating paste, its flavor is earthy and full, with a lingering lactic tang. The effect is like ice cream served from a warm scoop: decadent and melting from the outside in.

Um…yes, please! I’d like to crawl into a bucket of this and not come out until the New Year… oh, wait, you mean I can do that!? Ye-es!
Seriously, spend the extra duckets to buy this cheese next time you pick up some food for a party (impressing your friends = priceless), or maybe just hoard it for yourself once your realize how delicious it is!

For pictures of the entire cheese board and brunch, please check out my Flikr page HERE.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Best Books About Beer: A Perfect Gift for the Beer Lover

Looking for a great gift for the beer lover on your list? Here are some of my favorite books about beer:

This book, organized like a hybrid dictionary/encyclopdedia, is my go to reference guide for everything about beer.

As described by the Oxford University Press website:
The first major reference work to investigate the history and vast scope of beer, The Oxford Companion to Beer features more than 1,100 A-Z entries written by 166 of the world's most prominent beer experts. Attractively illustrated with over 140 images, the book covers everything from the agricultural makeup of various beers to the technical elements of the brewing process, local effects of brewing on regions around the world, and the social and political implications of sharing a beer.


This book is a must have for the beginning to expert brewer. 

As described by The Complete Joy of Homebrewing website:

Charlie Papazian, master brewer and founder and president of the American Homebrewer's Association and Association of Brewers, presents a fully revised edition of his essential guide to homebrewing. This third edition of the best-selling and most trusted homebrewing guide includes a complete update of all instructions, recipes, charts, and guidelines. Everything you need to get started is here, including classic and new recipes for brewing stouts, ales, lagers, pilseners, porters, specialty beers, and honey meads. 


If you are going to own any book about beer, it should be one written by the late great Michael Jackson. The companion to beer is a nice little guide, easy to travel with, and easy to reference. The perfect book for that person who enjoys beer, but wants to learn more about different styles and new styles.


This book is for the true beer geek. It's filled with lengthy descriptions of the anatomy of beer - why is beer a certain color? What does bitterness really mean, and how is it measured? How do I have my own tasting party? All of this and much much more is included in these pages. It's also filled with some lovely illustrations, graphs, and infographics, which was wonderful for somebody like me who loves visual communication.

Enjoy finding and reading some of our favorite beer books! 

Did we miss one you love? Let us know!

{ prost! } 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Beer Gifts: The Brewing Magazine

Looking for a great gift for the beer lover? How about a subscription to a brewing magazine? The homebrewer, the beer lover, and the beginning aficionado will enjoy their monthly / bimonthly news, sent straight to their doorstep. Here are a few magazine suggestions Jolly Good Fellows would like to recommend:


Draft Magazine is "America's Favorite Beer Magazine." It is filled with reviews, traveling ideas, and everything beer . 

All About Beer is a magazine that focuses on the culture of beer. Each issue includes beer and brewing news, made for the beer lover, the connoisseur, and the brewer.


Brew is one of the best resources for homebrewers of all skill levels. If you somebody who is dabbling in this hobby (or thinking about it), then this magazine is a must have resource for the brewers library.