Summer is here

Summer is most definitely gearing into full swing. The Memorial Day weekend was abnormally hot, even Marina, my Brazilian wife, was sweating and complaining the whole weekend. I have been getting back into playing pick up basketball with some old friends and some new ones here in Quincy. We played some poker at my friend Joe from Walpole's house on Monday night, and I managed to drink roughly 20 craft beers!

I was in Western Mass with Marina checking out dorms at Mount Holyoke College, where she begins in the fall. She couldn't decide which one she would pick, but we made some progress. That campus is breathtaking in the summer, the old buildings are beautiful, its exactly what you think of in a private liberal arts college. We managed to grab some food and beer at Amherst Brewing Company right by UMass' flagship campus. Their beer is not spectacular, but the "Gone Postal" IPA that complemented my Bison Burger was hoppy and delicious. Didn't manage to take pictures, but I definitely recommend checking the place out, if you are in the neighborhood.

I grabbed a sixer of Founders Centennial IPA, could not find a date, but the hops were slightly faded, I was disappointed for $12. Additionally, I picked up a 12 pack of cans of Cisco's Whale's Tale Pale Ale, which is a solid English Pale Ale, that very lightly hopped, but thirst quenching and awesome in cans.

I grabbed a 750ml of Cantillon Rose de Gambrinus, mostly because I never see Cantillon in the bottle shops around here. Would drink exclusively sours if they weren't $17 a bottle! This was a 2010 vintage, and the raspberries were very clear, and accentuated the tart base lambic. I apologize for the lousy picture! Cantillon really is the master of sours, although my next sour will be Jolly Pumpkin's La Roja, to see what an American sour brewer can do.

Finally, I enjoyed my second 500ml bottle of Maine Brewing Co.'s Zoe. I grabbed 2 bottles for $10 at my local packy, which apparently is a pretty good deal. Zoe is a delicious amber, darker than something like Nugget Nectar, which is one of my all time favorites, but it was still hoppy and delicious, bottled 4/28 so the hops were still bright.

I will be volunteering at BeerAdvocate's American Craft Beer Fest on Saturday, and will try to get some photos!


Beer/NBA Playoffs

Summer is on the horizon here in Boston, although the forecast for this coming week is fairly bleak. I have been fairly depressed since the Celtics could even bring their Eastern Conference Semifinals series to 6 games against the Heat. Rondo, the tough sonnovabitch, played with what can only have been "immense pain." Apparently, if it were during the regular season, he would have been out 5-6 weeks. LBJ & Heat Co. hit a high percentage of low percentage shots, and we could not answer. At least we got Doc for 5 more years ($7mil/yr) which means even after the Big 3 fade into retirement, good players will want to come to Boston. I will post some more of my thoughts about what the C's need to do after the season is over. As far as sports go, I will be watching the Bruins, but probably not posting much, as I have nothing to add to any discussion. Heat/Bulls should be a good series, although if gambling were legal (to quote BS) I would put a bit on the Heat to win the series today, even after last night's unconvincing performance in Chicago. Like I said at the beginning of the playoffs, if Carlos Boozer is your second best player, you aren't winning a championship. Taj Gibson is one of my favorite bench players though.

Picked up a bunch of great beer over the past couple days. Thursday I found a 12 pack of the Sam Adams Latitude 48 Deconstructed mixed twelve, down the street, and a lone Narragansett Summer pounder. Friday, M and I were in Providence, so I stopped at Nikki's and picked up a mixed six with some Pretty Things Jack D'or, Pretty Things East India Porter, Newport Storm Summer, SN Torpedo, BBC Lost Sailor, and a Dale's Pale can, hoppy, summery, everyday drinkers. Saturday, M and I were in Boston, and I popped into Bauer Spirits on Newbury St. to see if they had anything interesting, and came upon a bottle of BBC's Saint of Circumstance, which they apparently brewed after receiving the wrong type of hops from their wholesaler. The hops were of English origin, and the IPA was nothing like an American IPA, hops were subdued, lots of malt, I really liked it, but would not buy again, and it will probably never be brewed again, so I wouldn't be able to even if I wanted to!

Narragansett Summer is going to be a mainstay for me this summer. 4.2% ABV, so it's pretty damn drinkable. Hopped with Citra hops, and although it is pale, definitely drinks like a hoppy wheat beer, a little brother of Lagunitas Lil' Sumpin Sumpin but available in 16 oz cans #winning.

Had several of the SA Lat 48's and gave a couple away to people who were visiting. I enjoyed the Simcoe and Zeus varieties the most, as they were the hoppiest, but I even enjoyed the Hallertau and EKG varieties, which I was surprised about. Was somewhat pissed that I could have picked these up as singles at Nikki's though, instead of buying the entire 12pk for 16$

Sierra Nevada Torpedo is one of my favorite IPAs, and is super reasonably priced, according to SierraNevadaBill on BA they will be releasing this in 16oz cans along with 12oz cans of the Pale Ale, looking forward to this!

Also St. Bernardus ABT 12 quad for good measure!

In closing, Half Acre Brewing out of Chicago got some great advertising time on the Chi/Mia game last night, some dude was wearing one of their tee's behind the scorer's table! Craft Beer FTW


Rajon Rondo: the Man Made of Rubber

Celtics took Saturday night's game 3 against the Heat at home. The entire core played excellent, Allen was +21 when he was in the game, Pierce scored a bunch, and KG was the mvp, contributing 28 points and nearly 20 boards. Jermaine O'Neal was quietly excellent, I counted at least 4 blocks and a bunch of rebounds, plus his large presence made it difficult for the heat to get to the cup. Shaq was back, and although he was barely making it up and down the court, he is a huge body, and that affects the game. I will take Shaq over Big Baby Glen Davis! D. West hit a key 3, and Jeff Green contributed, and looked like he cared.

The real story of the game though was Rajon Rondo. As Dwayne Wade was falling down, he managed to pull Rondo down with him, and he fell incredibly awkwardly on his left arm. The excruciating fall was replayed gratuitously and burned into our retinas after the 20th time it was shown. He was carried off the court, with a dislocated elbow, and everyone thought the game and the series was over for the Celtics. However, in the 4th, Rondo returned, but his left arm was looking like it weighed 75 lbs. He played through it, purely on adrenaline, scored a bunch of points and contributed for our team. As he was falling, on a steal, he tucked the arm in and rolled over, clearly the thing was injured. He was making one hand passes, and scoring layups, but it was scary. The Heat looked like they didn't want to touch him, which strategically didn't make much sense. You are not going Pau GaSOFT or any other Euro playing like that, fuck yeah America.

Let's see if we can take down Game 4, Go C's!

one more shot of the elbow for the road...


Mixed 12 Packs: Sierra Nevada Beercamp & Sam Adams Latitude 48

This one time at beercamp... Sierra Nevada hosts an annual "beercamp" where they brew a bunch of beers and this year they are releasing a "Best of Beercamp" mixed 12 pack. This is huge news in and of itself, because I have never seen a mixed Sierra Nevada 12 pack, before. I like mixed 12s, because you get a bunch of beer, which is obviously great, but it allows you to buy only a couple of each beers at a reasonable price per bottle, great for craft beer newbies. This mixed pack includes a Double IPA, (previously known as (Ghidorah) a Weizenbock, a Black IPA and a California Common. (like Anchor Steam) I have heard that this mixed pack will be ~$20, which is higher than normal, but is definitely worth it for 3 DIPAs, and other beers which are produced in much smaller quantities than their standard lineup.

Samuel Adams has also come out with its out mixed 12 pack, based on their Latitude 48 IPA. The original Latitude 48 IPA is a solid IPA that has been around for the past 18 months, featuring 5 hop varieties all grown on the 48th Parallel, thus the name. This mixed 12 pack will include 2 of the original Latitude 48 as well as 2 "single hop" IPAs, using solely each of the different hops. They are as follows: Ahtanum, Zeus, and Simcoe, Hattertau Mittlefrueh and East Kent Goldings. The first three are from the Yakima region of the Pacific Northwest, and the final two are not typically highlighted in American IPAs. I am looking forward to Simcoe and Zeus most, but the other 3 should definitely be enlightening. This will run about $15, much more affordable than the Mikkeller "Single Hop IPAs" at $6/12 oz bottle. Check out more info @ TheBostonGlobe.


Celtics 0-2

The Celtics have gotten off to a terrible start in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. They lost the first two games to the Heat in Miami and are coming home to play the next 2. I am feeling a lot less confident, but I am certainly not saying that they are drawing dead. The first game on Sunday was awful, the Celtics were down the entire game, and Miami and Wade had their foot on our necks the whole way. Some terrible officiating including the Pierce ejection, and 2 miscalled flagrant fouls (that have since been changed) would have resulted in potentially 7 extra points in Boston's direction.

Game 2 went down last night, and the Celtics looked a lot better, however they were not enough for the Heat. Bosh had a solid game 2, much better than his Sunday performance. KG played bad again, missed a ton of shots, got owned by Wade on a sick crossover move, and got owned again by Lebron at the end of the game going for a layup. Rondo and the bench played pretty well, but lack of significant contributions from the rest of the Big 3 resulted in the L. Lebron seems to have settled into his role as the #2 option for the team, but his amazing skill allows him to take over games at will, which he did in the second half.

Game 3 is going to be insane in Boston, and a win is vital, Shaq being back in the lineup could shake things up. I am looking for a huge game from the entire Celtics roster and hopefully the Heat will struggle like they did during regular season games at the TD Garden. Around the rest of the league, I see no way that the Hawks can actually beat Chicago, but in the West both underdogs are totally live. Memphis is playing some scrappy basketball, and as long as Mike Conley does alright, we could definitely see them knocking off OKC. Lakers should be able to beat Dirk and the Mavs, although Pau and Odom are going to need to get angry to win! Go Bruins!