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You Probably Think This Post Is About You: The (OAKED) Arrogant Bastard

7 Jul

There’s a difference between “collecting” and “hoarding,” I’m told

My girlfriend is out of town — for six month — so I decided to spend this 97 degree Miami day moping in my air-conditioned loft burning Robbie Jr.’s college fund at Total Wine & More in North Beach. Let’s just say, per this Biscayne Mecca, I’ve seen the light (“AND IT’S SOURING MY HEINEKEN” ~ The Heineken brewer who just realized pale green bottles and 3000 miles make his beer taste of piss), and it looks like a square warehouse of wine lined by Bell’s and Belgians and Bastards.

As the Beasties might say, it’s got the ill peripheral.

So 45 minutes, $45 and a retarded lady later — “Honey, is this the eepa you like?” (referring to a Jai Alai) — I’m hauling back a sixer of OAKED Arrogant Bastard, a 4-pack each of La Fin Du Monde and Old Rasputin (because who doesn’t like an imperial Russian in the dead of summer) and a bomber, at the recommendation of bearded hipster wundersage Brian “Like The Amazon Product” Kindle, of Scheinder Weisse.

Longest sentence ever^^^.

Shortest sentence of this post^^^.

Go.

^^^Shortest sentence ever.

ANYWAYS, this is an aggressive ale. You probably won’t like it. I speak, of course, of Stone’s flagship beer, the Arrogant Bastard. I’m reviewing the OAKED version of this big brash brew — i.e. the illegitimate offspring, so to speak, of the super-hopped, slightly malty strong ale from America’s best brewery.

Sublimely self-righteous

This variant, so I’m told, is aged with American oak wood chips. But, truthfully, they don’t come through. Why? Because a nuclear hop missile just went Sum Of All Fears on your ass.

(Beer for Girls: Come for the beer commentary, stay for obscure references to Ben Affleck box office flops.)

That’s generally the issue with the Arrogant Bastard. It won’t stop looking at its abs in the mirror.  The hop bitterness is so intense as to drown out every other flavor. I dunno. Maybe I just don’t have a very discerning palate. But where are these “dark fruits” and “toffee” I hear about? I taste sharp, biting, piney hops and, to a lesser extent, caramel and scotch. Oh boy, and that aftertaste, it lasts longer than, well, Ross from Friends, for one.

Still, this brew has a lot going for it: a beautiful tan amber hue, a chewy mouthfeel, and lacing that puts Peter Parker’s spidey web to shame. Not much of a head (two Peter Dinklage-sized fingers with a healthy poor), but then, looks don’t matter so much when you have the prestige factor. And drinking the Bastard is like driving a Ferrari Mondial, only the beer goes faster.

Gone in 60 seconds

A six-pack goes for (gasp) 22 bucks at the Quick Stop down the street. I got it “discounted” for $16.99. Sooooooo…..

Next round’s on Robbie Jr, future Summa Cum Laude, Brevard County Community College.

Cheers.

The Bang-For-You-Buck IPA (working girls IPA)

4 Jul

Do you love tasty craft beer but hate the high prices?

I feel like an oldster when I am like “I remember when Dale’s used to be $8.99 for a six-pack.”

But really, am I the only one who thinks the price of craft beer has inflated recently? I mean come on craft breweries…I am not made of money and I certainly am not going back to the ANBUSCH products.

So as I scour the racks for a tasty brew that will not blow my budget, I always come back to this old Imagefavorite: Sweetwater IPA.

Located in Atlanta, Sweetwater was one the pioneering breweries of the South. It slowly tricked town to Northern Florida, where I was going to school at the time (Go Noles!).

So lets talk taste: this beer is a citrusy, hoppy IPA. True to the IPA nature, it’s strong (6.5 ABV) and rings in at $7.99/$8.99. It’s a beautiful orangish/reddish color with a great floral smell and undertones of red grapefruit. This is not a piney or grassy IPA and definitely falls heavy on the fruit spectrum.

Image

If you are made of $$$, try something I like to call “IPA of the gods” – Stone IPA.

If not, stick with Sweetwater. You can thank me later.

Stone’s Cold Classic

13 May

Stone IPA and Me, A Novella

Two things. Thing 1: if you need to fill a Saturday night minus the GF (wrong audience, I know), may I suggest poppin’ a Stone IPA and cranking Powerage until your neighbor’s ears bleed. And do it naked — because this is how God meant for you to hear AC/DC.

Thing 2:

Minutes before he passed out in an alleyway.

Now let me tell you about a beer that I stole from my dad no more than 9 hours ago. It was a hit and run. Swung by the old man’s house, punched the garage code, raided three of America’s finest IPAs and hit the road. I’m like the Robin Hood of alcohol — if this cat can’t appreciate a $13 sixer that I moved heaven and earth to get (i.e. hit up the “nice” Publix), then he deserves to get robbed. I mean, I bring the guy and his woman (Mom) this fancy dinner gift, drink three, and he’s STILL got three more toiling away in the back of his man-fridge a month later??

You snooze, you lose, budski. And here’s the best part: when I smuggled them out of the ice box, I swear on my life the Bud longnecks fell back like the parting of the Red Sea. Make way for the real king, boys.

Stone’s IPA is one f-cking arrogant bastard of a hazy off-orange ale that kicks the ass of Bell’s Two Hearted three ways from Tuesday. It’s a hoppy, woodsy sap bomb that rocks its 77 IBUs like the badge of honor it is. Seriously, if I spill a sip of this thing, I’ll have a pine tree growing out of my carpet by September. And look, I’m all about Stone’s (cough) “other” brew, but OAKED fanboys be damned, this is the best brewery in America’s best beer.

Period.

I can imagine the bitterness overpowering as it warms, but I wouldn’t know. My pint never lasts that long. And let me tell you, I haven’t seen finer lacing in a Victoria’s Secret. Nitro tastes like the bottle, too, which means you won’t  be confusing it for Big Nose (AHEM, Jai Alai) or spitting it back into your cup (AHEM, Two Hearted) when you order on tap.

God bless you Stone. You are to the IPA what Angus Young is to the power chord — its very finest purveyor.

~ The Fly

The end.

Ceviche Salad and Sweetwater IPA: Light and delicious summer dinner

15 Apr

Ceviche salad + Sweetwater IPA = Excellent dinner

Living in Florida definitely has its advantages.

But lets face it, this place is hot as hell.

With no pool, living in town that’s 2 hours from the beach and recently discovering people judge you for slip-n-sliding as an adult, it’s a struggle to stay cool.

So cold beer and cold yummy food are of the upmost importance to stay cool in my post slip-n-side days.

In addition, bathing suit season is right around the corner and I’m feelin’ the need to eat a little healthier and maybe shed some LB’s before I spend some time on the water.

Now, I normally don’t review food, I’ll leave that up to the pros, Healthy Lazy Food and Brave New Food, BUT this was super delicious, easy and involved no cooking. I happened to have some Sweetwater IPA’s in the fridge and a bunch of other random things that ended up being the perfect blend for ceviche!

Ceviche is a blend of random seafood, veggies and citrus. The citric acid actually mock-cooks the seafood, turning it firm and pink, as if you had heated it (no pots and pans – yay!).

The light citrusy flavor of the ceviche went perfectly with the Sweetwater IPA, which is a hoppy, citrusy beer. This is one of my favorite IPA’s, right up there with Bell’s Two Hearted, Swamp Head 10/10/10 and Dogfish 60 minute. Both were tangy, flavorful and light.

I kind of just threw some stuff together, but it ended up turning out great, so here you go.

Random Ceviche Recipe (makes 4 servings)

Ingredients

Just the ceviche, now add salad and chips and beer. DONT forget the beer

12 Large Shrimp

1 Avocado

1 Cucumber

1 Tomato

2 Limes

2 Lemons

1/3 cup Orange Juice

1/3 Cup Cilantro

pinch Cayenne pepper

Directions

  1. Chop up all veggies and shrimp, put in a bowl.
  2. Squeeze lemon and lime juice, add all other ingredients.
  3. Stir up, cover, let chill for an hour or so.
  4. Serve over lettuce (I used organic spring mix), with tortilla chips. Enjoy!

More about Sweetwater IPA! 

Sweetwater beers are delicious in general. Brewed out Atlanta, this craft brewery has been slowly expanding over the past couple of years and now ranks at the 27th largest craft brewery in the US.

They make an impressive IPA – very hoppy, well balanced and has hints of citrus, especially grapefruit. It’s bitter, but not overpowering. It also is not overly sweet, as IPA’s can sometimes be. It has normal carbonation, foam and is overall and excellent beer – worth a try if you like IPA’s or want to try a good, strong (6.7% ABV), summer beer.

Starr Hill Brewery – 2-for-1 Special

11 Apr

If you live in an area where Publix dominates the grocery industry with their good looks, fresh produce and uncanny ability to employ the fastest mentally challenged bag boys on the face of the planet, you must have come to know and love the Buy 1, get 1 Free specials they offer.

Now normally, I end up with a cabinet full of stuff I don’t need or really even like, such as soup, popcorn and random cereal, but this week they have a sweet deal and I thought I should let you know about it.

They are offering Starr Hill beer 6-packs buy 1 – get 1.

They are normally $8.99, so you will be getting 12 for the same price. Wait, put your phone calculator down – I got this.  You’re paying 75 cents per beer, which is a great deal.

They have some pretty tasty beers, brewed out of Charlottesville, VA. The Master Brewer Mark Thompson seems super laid back. Check out this Q and A with him, it’s pretty funny.

Starr Hill is a pretty cool little craft brewery, definitely worth an honorable mention, that <3’s bright lights, chill music and other trippy stuff.

I haven’t made my way over to Publix yet, but my picks would be Northern Lights and Dark Starr Stout.

For your convenience, here’s a run down of some Starr Hill beers:

Northern Lights – 6.5% ABV. This is a good India pale ale.  It’s not overwhelming, and certainly not as strong and bold as, say Bell’s Two Hearted, but definitely a good beer. It’s slightly hoppy, amber in color, floral smelling with fruit tastes.

The Love – 4.6% ABV – This German Hefeweizen is a light unfiltered wheat beer with tastes of banana and clove.

Jomo – 4.6% – If amber lagers are your thing, this could be a good option. It’s won a couple of awards at the Great American Beer Festival.

Dark Starr Stout – 4.6% – I had this at a recent beer festival, but it was toward the end and everything sort of tasted the same. But, it is a dark, heavy, chocolate stout. They brew it with coffee, so you may want to give it a try if you like stouts. It has also won multiple awards.

Lucy – 4.4% – This spiced golden ale is their current seasonal that is out. It’s spiced with ginger, lime and coriander. I have not had this beer yet but I’m guessing it’s light and herbal.

On their website, they claim this Lucy beer will “remind you of warm summer nights on the beach”. Now this makes me wonder why this is named as such. Could it be a waterfront hook-up or a beach-side Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds experience?  Considering master brewer goes to Bonaroo, loves Grateful Dead and said he thinks he should have existed in the 60’s, I’m going to go with the latter. Rock on Mark Thompson. Below is a video of what may or may not have inspired this beer (Beatle’s stuff is super copyrighted, it’s one click away!)

10 Reasons why I love Bell’s Two Hearted IPA

5 Apr

Once upon a time, a foam heart appeared in my Bell’s Two-Hearted IPA when I was on a first date with a new boy. It was like a sign from above he was “the one”.

We are now happily married with two kids, an array of adopted pets and a hybrid mini van.

Just kidding.

He was lame.

And he had horrible taste in beer.

Beer gods, you’ve deceived me again.

Bell’s Two-Hearted is my favorite beer and has been for a hot minute. And unfortunately I now associate it with this lame date/beer heart deal.

But regardless, this is a great beer, you should try it, especially if you love IPA’s like me.

10 reasons why I love this beer.

  1. Brewed in Kalamazoo, MI. Lets face it, Kalamazoo is fun to say. Kalamazoo. Kal-ah-mah-zooo.
  2. Hints of tropical fruit and citrus. Most IPA’s have a fruit flavor, but this is different tasting and very distinctive. I detect maybe mango, grapefruit or/and passion fruit flavor.
  3. Intensely hoppy. Like a frog wearing moon shoes.
  4. Perfect aroma. Sweet, floral and fruity smelling. If I could bottle it and wear it as perfume…ok I won’t go that far.
  5. Beautiful color. It has a golden copper hue, and not opague, but a little cloudy. This beer just looks delicious.
  6. 7% ABV. ‘Nuff said.
  7. It has a bite. This isn’t your mama’s watered-down holiday punch – unless your mom is a complete bad ass. It is quite bitter and very hoppy which most definitely gives it a kick. Truck through the first few sips and you will adjust to it .
  8. Well balanced. Sweet malts and grapefruit flavors up front, a piney taste and distinctive hops. Overall, delicious.
  9. Started brewing out of a 15-gallon soup kettle, now a regionally known craft brew company. Legit.
  10. Good carbonation, good foam. Not flat, bubbly and overall fresh tasting.

Put a couple of these bad boys in your fridge and impress your friends.

Did I mention this is my favorite beer?

Swamp Head Brewery: 3 Best Beers

3 Apr

Gaines ville, Flor ida

(geynz– VIL, FLOOR-duh)

– noun

1. A small town in the heart of Florida with an unhealthy infestation of Alligators, Koran-burning lunatics and pretentious academics.

2. A town where Tebow is an acceptable unisex first name for a child.

3. A town that is literally hotter than hell during the months of May, June and July.

4. A town holding the award for ‘most orange and blue infrastructures’ in a 5-mile radius.

5. The birthplace of Tom Petty and Gatorade.

Besides being a quaint small town, Gainesville as a community is very supporting of local music, art and beer.

Bar hop around Gainesville, and you will notice local bars with 2 or more Swamp Head beers on draft. As much as businesses like to support other local business, they would not house these beers if they were not good. These beers are good and have serious potential in the world of craft beers.

Swamp Head Brewery makes a variety of tasty brews that I have come to know, love and recommend at my bar. Here is a run-down of my 3 favorite beers they brew.

Big Nose IPA

As you may have guessed from other posts, I can be a little partial to IPA’s. What’s not to love about them – hoppy, fruit flavors, usually pouring a beautiful orange-red color.

Big Nose is an admirable IPA – full-flavored, strong and hoppy. It has a strong floral smell to it and a slight fruity taste. I like this IPA because it’s not too overwhelming in the bitter category. Overall, love it. If you like IPA’s, a must-try.

Stump Knocker Pale Ale

I like to think of this beer as a less intense, less fruity version of the Big Nose IPA. While this beer is milder than an IPA, it is still flavorful, hoppy and slightly bitter.

Whenever I have sold this at my bar, it has been very well received. Good beer.

Midnight Oil Oatmeal Coffee Stout

Perfect for dark beer lovers. This beer is thick, chocolaty with tastes of coffee. It pours with little carbonation and a light layer of dark brown foam. It has a bite to it and the roasted barley and malts are definitely identifiable.

I often recommend this to people at my bar, and it is always well received. It masters the art of making dark beer drinkable – not too heavy, but still dark, creamy, smooth and enjoyable.