3/9/14

Lawson's Finest Liquids: Farmer's Market 3/15

My wife and I made our first trip to Vermont for the last Lawson's Farmers Market.  We didn't know exactly what to expect, other than from the information Sean posts on his blog and the Beeradvocate forums.  We left Western Mass as the sun was coming up around 6:30 AM and arrived in Montpelier around 9:00 only to learn we were #172 in line and would likely miss out on many of the beers brought for the event.  I was a little bummed out, but certainly not devastated by any means.  I met up with a Beeradvocate friend who had secured some Heady Topper during the week and sold it to me at his cost, what a good guy.  Next, we traveled down to Main St and ate at the Skinny Pancake.  The crepes were amazing and we really enjoyed it.  Then we headed over to the Hunger Mountain Co-op to check out other local VT products.  We found a few things and headed back up to the market.  We had a really good time checking out the other vendors that were there and purchased a bunch of delicious meat and Vermont products.  Since it was still not time for us to pick up the Lawson's bottles we went and got lunch at the Mad Taco.  I was really disappointed with that place and sincerely think Chipotle tastes better.  Finally got our Lawson's bottles at the market, 8 Double Sunshines and 2 Maple Tripples and were on our way back to Massachusetts.  My lovely wife was exhausted and slept most of the way home.  We were back by 3:30pm.

This coming Saturday we are at it again, this time with an experience under our belt we have a more coherent plan.  Get there as early as possible, get our number, head to the Skinny Pancake for breakfast.  I am gonna hurry over to the Co-Op and try to secure some Heady Topper cans, then back to the market at 10 to check out the food vendors and wait our turns for Lawsons bottles.  Then on the way home, I have a few thrift stores in mind to hit and check out both in Vermont and Western New Hampshire.  I would love to stop at The Worthy Burger in South Royalton, but burgers are not really my love's favorite food, so we shall see if thats in the cards.  I will attempt to take some photographs during the trip.

Anyone else making a similar journey?

3/2/14

Three Floyds (FFF) Zombie Dust Review - Hoppy American Pale Ale

Three Floyds is known for their aggressive beer names and cool artwork.  Zombie Dust is rated #6 on BeerAdvocate's Top 250 Beer and #1 on their Pale Ale list and for good reason.  This beer has everything going for it, and is reasonably priced at $11 a 6 pack at retail or $35 for a full case straight from the brewery in Munster, IN.


Appearance:  The bottle is extremely cool, featuring the zombie graphic as well as the other information about the beer.  It includes a bottle date, this one was 2/18/14 so the beer is about 2 weeks old, as I am reviewing it on Sunday 3/2/14.  It pours a hazy light gold, and is 75% opaque.  There is some great lacing after a vigorous pour and a solid creamy head.

Smell: you take a whiff of this beer, and you smell fruity citrus hops.  Much less of the piney smell you sometimes get.  Since I have been partaking in a lot of the Alchemist's hoppy offerings lately, this smell does leave something lacking.

Taste: Amazing pale taste.  This is the perfect pale ale for IPA lovers and pale ale lovers would consider it an IPA.  Tons of floral and citrus hops that coat your mouth, but don't linger as long as Heady Topper or some of the other DIPAs.  It is not as astringent and is easy drinking.

Overall:  Awesome beer, very drinkable, reasonably priced.  A+



Thanks to a generous trader!

12/30/13

#PROPERGLASSWARE



It should come as no surprise that I am a huge fan of craft beer.  Something that I think is extremely important to tasting beer is the use of a glass.  Many beer drinkers go straight from the can or bottle, but this is a complete rookie mistake.  Beer is meant to be poured out of its container and into a glass, regardless of what John Kimmich says about Heady Topper.  #PROPERGLASSWARE is a bit of a meme in the beer trading/beer geek/untapped/twitter universe, that refers to drinking the beer out of the brewery's or even the specific beer's specialty glass (see above).  I don't get into quite that level, as my collection is still relatively small, though my wife and limited cabinet space disagree!

The workhorse for higher gravity beers is the tulip.  This can come as a much like a snifter or a little bit skinnier with a dip in the middle.  I have pictured both pieces below.  I generally use this kind of a glass for almost all of my beers, it is versatile and handsome.



Oktoberfest Bier Mug - This type of glass is typically oversized and perfect for mass quantities of lager or festbier.  These beers are very sessionable and designed for the biggest beer session of them all Octoberfest!


A variation of this style is "Das Boot" made popular by the movie "Beerfest," if you haven't seen it check out below!




The glass that most people will be familiar with is the pint.  This typically comes in a 16 oz format and is great for relatively sessionable beers and is referred to as a shaker pint.  This glass is usually very cheap, so feel free to grab a bunch from different breweries when you visit.


It's less popular, but equally useful brother is called the Nonic Pint Glass.  It features a notch at the top and is typically sized for a true English pint, 20 ounces.  This is ideal for a lower ABV brew, particularly a real or cask ale poured on tap.  


A goblet is perfect if you are pouring a high ABV Belgian brew like a tripel or quad.  These beers have a great yeast character, and this glass allows you to take a very deep smell of these unique beers.


Gueuze/Lambic glasses are popular for the sour styles originating out of Belgium.  The wild ale train is just getting started, and as they become more popular, the quality sours become more expensive to buy or even impossible in the case of Cantillon these days.  This glass works almost like a flute for Champagne.


Continuing with the stemware trend, I am will move to the oversized wine glass.  You can use a regular wine glass in a pinch, but they are typically sized for smaller beers.  This works similar to a tulip, but usually the stem is much more elongated.  This makes for a more elegant experience.  My favorite beers for this style glass are saisons and other farmhouse ales made with Brettanomyces yeast.  I have included photographs of the Hill Farmstead and Pretty Things versions.



This next glass is called a Teku, and is a combination of the tulip and extended wine glass.  It features a 16 oz chamber, with a perfect shape for tasting beer.  Developed in Italy, more and more breweries that cater to beer geeks are having them made.  This is certainly on my wishlist, probably will end up with the Firestone Walker version.


Another glass recently developed is the so called IPA glass.  I know this was originally designed by Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada for their hop forward beers.  I don't know why but something about this glass doesn't excite me a ton.  Looks like it would break quite easily.


Finally, tasting glasses, a great variety of which are pictured below made by Three Floyds of Indiana for their Dark Lord beers.  These are great for tastings where a 22 oz bomber of beer is shared by 4+ people.  Plus they look very cool.  Pro tip: Crate and Barrel has mini snifters if you have a last minute tasting coming up!


If I am missing your favorite style of glassware or you want to get in on the conversation, jump in the comments or shoot me an email!

#PROPERGLASWARE


11/20/13

Vintage 100% Vicuna Coat Jacket by Ganz Bros of New York - Double Breasted Peak Lapel - Forstmann



I managed to score an amazing true vintage 100% vicuna jacket the other day at a thrift store.  I am now auctioning it on eBay, there has been considerable interest, and the auction ends shortly.  This is a piece that was commissioned by a Mr. Leach and completed in 1953, so the jacket is 60 years old!  There are a few minor flaws, but nothing a cleaning and a couple quick stitches can't fix.  This is why I go to thrift stores.  So much softer than cashmere.
















11/13/13

On the Hunt: Suede Loafers - Alden, Crockett & Jones, Sid Mashburn, etc

Alden loafers are produced not too far away from me in Eastern MA.  I have had a number pairs over the past few years, but the pair I am currently looking for is a suede pair of loafers.  Brown snuff suede is great, and in a loafer form is awesome.



Alden $472 @ The Shoe Mart



Crockett & Jones Harvard $595 @ Ben Silver



Suede Loafers $295 @ Sid Mashburn



Tod's Gommini $425 @ Nordstrom









10/22/13

Victory Brewing: DirtWolf Double IPA


Victory Brewing out of Philly has a penchant for awesome hoppy beers. Some that I have loved in the past include Hop Wallop and Hop Devil. When I heard that they were releasing a new Double IPA, I was certainly intrigued. For all Hop Wallop fans, Victory is temporarily putting that beer on hold in favor of DirtWolf, but don't worry you will not be disappointed. I call/visit my local beer store every week on delivery day, and I made sure to pick up a 4 pack, at $10.99 as soon as it became available.

Typically, I try to limit beer consumption to the weekend, but sometimes you are just jonesing for a beer in the middle of the week, and that was the case. The Red Sox happened to be in the playoffs, which is just another excuse to drink a delicious beer. So, I popped open the first bottle and poured it in my trusty tulip (see above). My wife, who is not a beer fan, immediately commented on the aromas. Tons of juicy hops, including Mosaic, which is one of my favorite varieties that has been gaining popularity of late. Color is hazy, and light brown, standard IPA. Taste is ALL hops, there is a solid backbone of malt, but there is little balance. Hops on the finish as well.



I quickly finished my 4 pack, and picked up a second at the grocery store last weekend. Highly recommended, great value.  Receiving a 96 on Beeradvocate, others agree as well.

I also grabbed a Dogfish Head Bitches Brew.  Solid beer while watching the Sunday Night Football Manning v Luck matchup.