Blatant Brewing is a brewery founded by Matthew Steinberg, who has been working with Offshore Ale Company, of Martha's Vineyard, and more recently Mayflower Brewing. Now he has started his own brewery, producing beers at Just Beer in Westport, MA in a contract brewing arrangement, which I mentioned has become the trend in new Boston breweries, and Pretty Things has had great success brewing in Westport!
Their two beers are an IPA, that is BLATANTLY hopped, and I think the aggressive name bolds well for my favorite style of beer. Blatant is also brewing a session ale, which I am also a fan of, under 4% ABV is always welcome by me, especially for day time drinking. I will be looking to try this beer on tap at the next location that I find it.
Night Shift is following the trend of building a production brewery in the industrial cities just north of Boston. Night Shift will be based out of Everett, and the three founders seem to be Tufts graduates living in Somerville. I really appreciate the graphics and design of Night Shift's website, and their glasses are really awesome looking. At this time, there is no information on the actual beers, but there are a number of great images. I will be monitoring these guys, as they hope to open in early 2012.
Critical Mass is literally just an idea at this moment. They announced their existence on the 18th of November in a thread on Beeradvocate. I do enjoy the clever incorporation of Massachusetts into their name, and I truly hope that we are not at critical mass for breweries in the state and region! Keep these guys on your radar, as beer will be flowing summer of 2012.
Since moving to Connecticut, a few months back, this is the single beer that I have been hoping to try. Brewed in New Haven County, CT, 45 minutes south, it is a bit hard to find, as it is such a desired commodity. I was finally able to secure a 4 pack at Table and Vine in West Springfield, MA, for a fair price at $11.99, I also made sure to grab a sixer of New England Brewing's Sea Hag IPA at $7.99 too.
First off, I want to say that I love that this DIPA comes in a can. The Alchemist's Heady Topper is the only other excellent DIPA that can say the same, as far as I know. All of New England Brewing's offerings come in cans, except for the Imperial Stout Trooper that comes in ~$20 750ml bottles. The bright orange and interesting artwork make for an interesting looking can. The name Ghandi-Bot is a great one too!
The beer pours a large, foamy head. The color is a hazy orange, an excellent looking beer. The smell is noticeable as soon as it is poured out. The glorious American hops are just bursting out of the glass. The hops are definitely American, with grapefruit, orange and pineapple smells all noticeable.
The first sip is that of sweet sweet hops, but with a strong malty background. Although the beer is 8.80% ABV, which is fairly high, you can not tell from tasting it. This is not a "balanced" IPA in any sense of the word balanced. (check out local Berkshire Brewing's Lost Sailor, if that's what you are looking for!)
Amazing beer, best East Coast IPA/DIPA I have ever had. Not as good as Pliny!
As an employee in a moderate sized financial services firm whose pruimary clients are hedge funds, Scott Paterson's "The Quants: How a New Breed of Math Whizzes Conquered Wall Street and Nearly Destroyed It" is an extremely entertaining read on the topic. The industry has gotten progessively more complicated as brilliant math students graduated from top-class colleges and began gathering capital for their strategies. The book vaguely discusses the different quantitative investment funds including AQR, Rennaissance Technologies, Citadel Group, Deutsche Banks' SABA and Morgan Stanley's PDT fund, and all of its key personel.
It opens with a discussion of Ed Thorp, whose interest in investment was sparked by his passion for arbitrage opportunities in gambling, but went on to create the first convertible bond arbitrage fund. This strategy focuses on pricing inefficiencies between common stock and derivatives, warrants in Thorp's case. The strategy encourages shorting the overvalued of the pair, while simultaneously going long on the undervalued of the pair. As the inefficiency is detected by other market participants it will converge and Thorp would make money as equilibrium returned. Losses would be hedged because both securities would likely move in tandem.
The most important thing for Thorp's strategy was risk management. He understood that many of his wagers had only a 55% chance of success, which seems small, but over the long term can be infinitely profitable. However, the % of capital invested in each position has a direct impact on the risk of ruin due to short term bad luck. He discovered the Kelly criterion, which he used in his blackjack strategy was an appropriate tool for determining "bet sizes." Many believe the crash was a result of firm making wagers of a size far higher than Kelly would suggest, by used leverage. The profitability of these strategies has fallen as more particpants understand and enter the market, but even if all positions had a 60% chance of success, a short term down swing from equilibrium can easily cause a devastating loss if the bet size is too large.
My only critiques of the book were that it was not techincal enough for my tastes as an insider, but I believe the level of sophistication and detail was appropriate for an outsider. Also many of the story lines felt a little overly fantastic, although not neccessarily exagerated by the author. I felt a lot of the parallel story lines were recycled and I believe the layout of content had room for improvement.
I really enjoyed mention of the poker influence on the industry including mention of famed degenerate TJ Cloutier and Jen Harmon. Tales of high living such as "models and bottles" are always nice as well!
Most vending machines are the antithesis of paleo, filled with carby snacks such as candy and chips. A new type of vending machine in Alabama offering MEAT will be popular with the paleo set.
This NBA lockout is one of the most infuriating things I have experienced as a sports fan. The NFL lockout was childs play, those guys were just trying to divvy up the boatloads of money they are making. The NBA is not as profitable, I understand that, so they need to make a change. Players need to understand that agents are telling them one thing, but for the overall health and viability of the league, as well as their fans that they are going to have to take a miniscule paycut. Small market owners can't afford the huge contracts you people are demanding! I am not going to rant about this anymore until the season has commenced, but you all know I am a huge NBA/Celtics fan and coming off an amazing post-season the NBA has dropped the ball big time.
ESPN ran a documentary recently called Unguarded. It is based on Fall River, MA native Chris Herren, who was a sensation in high school, played at BC in college, and eventually made it to the pros. However, he was heavily addicted to painkillers, heroin, and other drugs, he was a complete addict. I remember this guy when he was on the court for that terrible Celtics team, but then he was cut and I never heard from him again. Bill Simmons spoke with Chris on the BS Report, and it really is a good listen. Just because someone is rich, doesn't mean they can't fall prey to opiate addiction, I know a lot of people in my life who have been affected by this, and I can totally relate to Chris. Worth checking out.
Yesterday was a pretty intense day of football, Miami stunned the red hot Chiefs and halted their 4 game win streak. Tim Tebow once again made miracles and defeated the Raiders. The reigning Super Bowl Champ Packers hold off the Chargers who nearly were able to recover from two pick-6s in the first half. The Sunday Night game came down to the last play, with Flacco connecting to Torrey Smith for a last second TD and a win for the slumping Ravens.
2008 Super Bowl catch by Tyree
This brings me to my big game of the week, my New England Patriots against the New York Giants. In a repeat of the traumatic 2008 Super Bowl, the Patriots were nearly double digit point favorites against NY's hometown team. Injuries to the Giants top RB and WR, Ahmad Bradshaw and Hakeem Nicks respectively, made for a pretty fortunate matchup against the Patriots who had not lost at home in years and were coming of a heartbreaking loss in Pittsburgh. I did not think the Pats would cover, but I would have wagered at 4:1 that the Patriots would get a W.
Unfortunately, that was not to be for my Patriots. The first half was scoreless, ending with Gostowski missing a makeable field goal. I can understand missing a 40+ footer, but come on bro! Both defenses were playing pretty well, but everyone knew there would be some scoring in the second half. The Pats looked good, until the last drive of the game, where Eli connected with a receiver for an insane pass for a big game keeping their hopes alive. The Pats were up 3 with a 3rd and goal on the 2 yard line and just needed a stop, but a play action pass for the Giants resulted in a short TD and the ultimate win. Very dissapointing, although a ton of fun and drama for spectators to enjoy!