Troegs Nugget Nectar is Here!!!

Tröegs Nugget Nectar is one of my absolute favorite beers.  It is not an IPA, but rather an American Amber or Imperial Amber Ale.  Either way, this beer is INCREDIBLY hoppy.  I sprang for a case last year in my excitement, and might do the same, especially after seeing CraftBeerCellar's recent tweet!  Either way, get your hands on this beer as it is spectacular right now, being fresh from brewing.

in other news, Sierra Nevada in cans (mmmmmmmmmmmmm)


Celtics Update @ NBA All Star Break

Halfway through this shortened NBA season and the All-Star break has come and gone.  Two Celtics, Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce represented the East in Orlando, where a valiant late game comeback was not enough to overcome the West; Kobe Bryant.  The Celtics are below .500, but thanks to the Bobcats and Wizards-laden Eastern Conference are on track for a 7th or 8th seed, with surprisingly good rookie Kyrie Irving threatening a game and a half behind.  This most likely means elimination at the hands of the Heat or Bulls.  The Big Three has run its course in my book, and the NBA Finals ring and several playoff runs is a pretty good return on the investment that the Celtics and Danny Ainge made.

KG is too old and immobile to be the impact MVP player that he was in the past.  Ray's shooting is still stellar, but his struggles handling the ball and aging knees show that his age is also starting to catch up.  Pierce started the season of out shape, coming off an injury, but he is also in the end of his prime.  Rondo is still exciting, but his poor shooting (and fear that comes with it) and his bad attitude (see video of him throwing a ball at a ref) are hurting the team.  Weak bench play, save the injured Brandon Bass, and the lack of a solid, healthy center spell mediocrity for Celtics nation.  Seriously, we picked up Chris Wilcox and Keyon Dooling in the offseason and thought we had a chance?

Bill Simmons, the sports guy, advocates blowing up the team in his latest column, trading Rondo + JO for Pau Gasol, although I think the Lakers would balk at trading him.  He also suggest maximizing value on KG and moving him to Dallas for Shawn Marion and Lamar Odom.  Finally, trading Ray to the Clippers for Mo Williams and Eric Bledsoe, although I don't see a ton of value in this move.  This plan is feasible, but it involves a lot of moving pieces and ifs, which means its not gonna happen.

I have little confidence in the Celtics for the next 3 years as Miami/NYK/OKC and whoever gets Derron Williams/D.Howard will dominate for the time being.  If the Celtics bottom out and acquire some draft picks, they have the ability to come back strong, but the short to medium outlook is not great.


Craft Beer Update

I have been trying and tasting a number of new beers lately, as usual.  This time I made sure to document each one of them and I will give you a quick writeup/opinion/comment on each one.  So without further ado...


Berkshire Brewing Company - Goodnight Irene - I had mentioned tasting this at BBC's brewery before and it tastes just as excellent bottled.  For $3.99 with a portion of profits going to charity, the value can't be beat.  BBC specializes in English style ales, but this is an attempt at a West Coast (American) hop-forward IPA.  It is well executed, like the Franklin County Land Trust Preservation Ale.  I do, unfortunately, believe that the hops have faded, ever so slightly.


Full Sail Brewing - Elevation DIPA - This brewery is not one that I am particularly familiar with, although I have heard good things about their lagers which come in stubby Red Stripe bottles.  This Imperial IPA may be past best drank by date, as it is bottled in 2011.  I didn't see that while at the store picking it up, but hops had faded significantly, so I do not feel a review would truly represent the beer.  It looked nice though!


Sierra Nevada - Bigfoot (2012) - Fresh Bigfoot is one of my favorite barleywines.  The hops are right in your face, but taste fresh and delicious.  Don't get me wrong, I love a good aged malty alcohol laden barleywine, but this beer is superb fresh from being bottled!


Pretty Things - Lovely Saint Winefrede - Pretty Things of MA's newest brew is called a Euro Dark Lager, which is certainly not one of my most commonly sampled styles.  This beer really delivers though, the dark, roasted qualities, mix with a hoppy finish, and present a complex but extremely drinkable brew.  Pretty Things never misses, and I recommend picking up a bomber if you have access! (Whatup Stephen Colbert)


Ommegang - Hennepin - I have had this excellent saison many times before, but have not mentioned here on the interwebs.  It is one of my favorite, easily accessible, American saisons, it is in the mid 7% ABV so it packs a punch, but it is definitely a great thirst quenching beer.  I detect a lot more citrusy lemony zest than in other saisons, which is the only thing holding me back from saying this is a perfect saison.


Slumbrew - Porter Square Porter - named after Somerville/Cambridge's Porter square this local porter is one of my absolute favorite new beers.  Smuttynose' Robust Porter is still the best value on the market, but Slumbrew's offering is certainly superior, if not much more expensive.  They use local chocolatier Taza's cacao nibs to impart even more chocolatey flavor with the dark malts.  Excellent desert or cold weather beer.


Sixpoint - Resin DIPA - I had been looking forward to this beer a lot after enjoying all of Sixpoint's other offerings including Autumnation and Diesel.  This left a little to be desired.  I really enjoyed the Red Bull cans that the beer came in, and as a hop-head, the ~9% ABV hop loaded beer tickled my senses.  My issues were that I had expected a west coast style IPA, which is a lot lighter, as you can see this beer is dark and the malts are definitely present.  Maybe my hopes were too high, but I was slightly disappointed with this brew.


Peak Organic - Simcoe Spring Ale - I am a sucker for beers that display the hop type, especially if that hop happens to be Nugget, Simcoe, or Citra!  This is certainly a pale ale, not an IPA, but the delicious Simcoe hops still shine through.  I believe this is fresh as it is the first I have seen or heard of this beer, so that may be a factor.  It is nothing like an IPA or DIPA, so make sure to temper your expectations, but this is a solid offering from Maine's Peak Organic.


Amazon to Open Retail Location

I am a huge fan of Amazon.com.  As an avid reader, Amazon is the go to spot for any and all titles, at a reasonable rate.  They have also expanded into other product lines and they allow other retailers to use their platform, for a small fee.  Their used book market is also the premier internet book resale market, with students searching for textbooks and adults looking for novels and everything in between offered at a great rate.  Once again, Amazon provides the software and will handle various issues, for a commission on all sales.  They must have the model priced correctly, as there are many books that sell for $00.01 + 3.99 shipping.  I am intrigued by the Kindle, and may consider it when I decide to purchase a tablet, but for now I am going to stick with my MacBookPro until it becomes obsolete.

The exciting news that is being speculated is that Amazon may be expanding and opening a physical retail location.  This is surprising due to the recent struggles of book stores, precisely as a result of Amazon, see Borders Bankruptcy, and the rapid closing of independent book stores as the general public is less inclined to read.  I think that just looking at those factors would mean that investing in retail locations would be a mistake.  However, the angle that Amazon can use to be profitable, is to sell high margin books, Kindles, Kindle accessories, and offer some kind of a cafe.  Unfortunately, fellow Seattle based - Starbucks is in contract with Barnes and Noble, the dominant physical book retailer, and fierce competitor of Amazon, because that would be a match made in heaven.  I think that Amazon could work with another company to create a great cafe experience, with free wifi, a custom, rotating, selection books, the possibility of ordering books from the site to be picked up at the store and comfy lounge chairs, could be a great way to gain market share.

According to the sources I have seen, this is basically the model they are considering.  The rumor is that they will open a location in their hometown, Seattle, known for its willingness to try new things in technology and a love for cafes!  They are not looking to create a Barnes and Noble superstore, more like a boutique, and I think it can be a successful new line of business to drive profits for the e-commerce giant.

Source: Ritholtz


Recent Beers: Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout & Founders Double Trouble

This winter has been pretty weak for the area, very negligible snowfall and mild temperatures.  This is great for me, as I am no huge fan of snow and the accompanying shoveling, slipping on ice, and all that goes with it.  I feel bad for the snowboarding and skiing enthusiasts who are wildly unsatisfied by the lack of fresh powder.  When it's snowing, there's nothing I like better than an Imperial Stout.  You don't mind the additional ABV, because you are not going to be driving anywhere.  With that in mind, I have been picking up 4 packs of more complex, heavier beers.  I like this format a lot, since you get multiple bottles, which is better than a single bomber, but not 6 beers which may be harder to go through with the vast breadth of great craft beer available.

Founder's Brewing: Double Trouble

Michigan based Founders is absolutely one of my favorite breweries.  Everything that they brew and sell is pure quality.  There regular offerings are above market average and their seasonal and special brews are world class.  Double Trouble is no exception.  Often compared with Bell's Hopslam, another Michigan based DIPA.  The 9.70% ABV smacks you in the face, this beer smells and tastes boozy.  The other main factor, not surprisingly for a DIPA, is the hops.  I am not sure what varieties Founders uses, but there are multitudes of hop notes in the scent, taste, and long finish of the beer.  It is a citrusy hops note, rather than the piney notes sometimes favored in IPAs.  The high ABV and intense hops make this beer difficult to be called "drinkable" but it is so darn delicious.  $12.99 / 4 Pack.

Brooklyn Brewery: Black Chocolate Stout

Brooklyn Brewery's Russian Imperial Stout has been one of my favorites for the past few years.  The value is incredible, at only $7.49 / 4 pack.  There are not many Imperial Stouts that are affordable AND high quality, with many notable iterations running well over $10/22 oz bomber.  Brooklyn's BCS is able to hang with these beers, although could possibly be considered a little less complex.  As a common theme, the first thing you notice on this beer is the alcohol.  10.00% ABV makes this beer a one - and - done night for me.  It is not surprisingly very chocolatey, both in smell and taste.  The mouthfeel is very silky and carbonation is lower than most beers, but this is true to style.  This is one of my favorite blizzard beers, sipping on the dark chocolatey elixir as it warms up allowing the high ABV complexity to shine, while the white snow falls outside.

In addition, I am still loving the fresh Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye, what an excellent beer at the perfect price.  I am looking forward to Sierra Nevada in cans, which is extremely favorable in my mind!


eBay Items

I just posted a gaggle of items to eBay.  Feel free to check them out, or just ignore this post!

1) T.M. Lewin Dress Shirt

Great TM Lewin dress shirt.  Spread collar, perfect condition, the sleeves are too long, and I like a pocket on my dress shirts.  $33 shipped buy it now seems fair.

2) Mercer and Sons OCBD

Another great dress/casual shirt.  These boxy, baggy Mercer & Sons shirts are great.  I picked this one up off the bay with a twin brother for $50 a year ago or so.  I like the shirts, but the fabric is a little bit lighter than I would like, and the color leaves something to be desired.  Huge collar roll is nice.  $36 including postage.

3) Vineyard Vines Tie

Lovely Vines tie with the Susan G. Komen Cure for Breast Cancer logo on bright yellow silk.  Someone gave this to me.  Its yours for a penny, to start.

4) Ermenegildo Zegna Tie

Italian tie, why buy it at Neimans when you can get it for $22 on eBay?

5) wife's Barneys top (XS)

It was either here or the thrift store...someone will want it I hope!


Red Clay Soul x Smather and Branson Belt Giveaway

Red Clay Soul is giving away a Smathers and Branson needlepoint belt.  These are the best belts out there, and they run a pretty penny to boot.  Red Clay Soul is a great blog written by a southern guy who has a great sense of style and taste. 

Act fast, because you must enter no later than midnight ET on Wednesday, February 15th.  The winner will be announced on Thursday around lunchtime, and will receive any in-stock, non-custom, non-monogrammed needlepoint belt!

Check out the contest here.


Larry Bird on Bill Simmons B.S. Report


Larry Legend was on Bill Simmons' BS Report podcast today. I am a huge fan of Bill Simmons and I have read both his book and mentioned his work on here in the past. He is from the Boston area and went to school at Holy Cross. His hilarious writing style and gambling references can be seen at Grantland, and definitely worth checking out.

It must have been special for Bill to be able to chat with his idol Larry, and you can clearly sense how genuinely excited he is to pick the Legend's brain about Indianapolis and the Celtics' history. Larry mentions how he thinks that the Colts and Peyton Manning should try to make it work, so that Manning is a Colt for life. Larry relishes his experience and believes that elite players should stay in their market, unless a trade is made. Bird is a bit of a parallel to Peyton, both are loved in their respective cities by sports fans and are transcendent athletes.

I also found that it was interesting that Bird said that he would have retired after they drafted Len Bias, had Len not passed away. I never watched the Bird, I was a baby when he was a champion, but my parents and grandparents speak of him reverently. I love that he was a reknowned trash talker, which I think is hilarious. I also admire that he is still passionate about basketball, and is still a GM for the Pacers. It seems that they are having a ton of success, relatively speaking, and Bird's strategic acquisition of talent is the genesis of that success.

Here is a link to the podcast.



What a tough pill to swallow.  The Superbowl was a great show.  As predicted the under came in, with a lot of room to spare, and the line actually went down to 53 at kickoff.  Unfortunately, the New York Football Giants were crowned champions once again.  Eli Manning led a late 4th quarter drive and ended up scoring with 57 seconds remaining on the clock.  They timed this perfectly, and 57 seconds was just not enough time for Brady & Co. to score. 

Madonna's halftime performance was well-received by the women that I watched the game with, and I honestly did not pay attention to the ads, which were fairly star-studded.  The Giants sacked Brady right at the beginning causing a safety, which is extremely rare, and I am sure hurt the Nevada and offshore sportsbooks, who offer odds in the range of 9 to 1. 

I would have written a lot more if the Patriots won, but I am still feeling kind of sick from the 12 beers and 20 wings I ate last night.  Congrats Giants.