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by Sean on April 21, 2016


The Firkin for April 2016

by Sean on April 30, 2016

I entitled a pair of posts this months, “Just Stop”. That continues here with other miscellaneous bothersome beer things that can I am so done with, as of yesterday.

Beer bets between cities in major sports – Whatever the local delicacy, it seems Mayors love to make bets and put out a press release about it. Maybe as a dodge or deflection from real political isues? I don’t know but somehow beer got roped in and seems a big part of the bets nowadays. I am all for themed sports beers, especially when it comes to Portland’s Trailblazers or Timbers but these bets don’t add much to craft beer.

Game of Thrones – I am sure to be in the minority here but I have grown weary of the annual themed beer from Ommegang and the inevitable variety pack that will soon follow. Last season’s beers are still a’molding on the shelf in a couple stores and Seven Kingdoms did nothing for me. Now I don’t hate them as much as Ian McShane hates the show but I have grown weary of the branding being cooler than the beer.

Not time stamping your bottles/cans – I know that I can’t trust BevMo or CostPlus to rotate out the old let alone a corner store and I would rather not have to be wary upon entering a beer shoppe so do us a favor and time stamp the shit out of any beer that even remotely would be better fresh. It is the easy way to protect your reputation and help out the consumer.

Hating a Hater – I still don’t understand why some people out in the beer interweb world get wound up when someone says they don’t like a beer or a brewery. I say, Great! More beer for me at the end of the day if it is a brewery that I like. I guess some people prefer typing out swear words instead of having a beer. Not to mention that the chance that the person is trolling the fans is probably close to 90% means that you are basically wasting your time.

Rebranding – Full Sail, Fort Collins, AleSmith, Bell’s and a bevy of others have been re-branding lately. Was there a memo telling everybody to hit the refresh button. I long for a re-brand like Stone where the recipe was freshened up as well.

It feels good to get that off of my chest.


One should realize as a Governor that you serve many niches of people and what you do to charm one will cause another to rise up.

And rise up people did upon hearing of House Bill 757 which would have given faith-based organizations in Georgia the option to deny services and jobs to the usual bogeyman of the right.

Only after pressure was put to bear from corporations large did Governor Deal finally backtrack and come out with this statement:
“I do not think we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith-based community in Georgia, of which I and my family have been a part of for all of our lives,” he said.

Now as far as I can see, no one is abridging anyone’s right practice their religion. What can be regulated is when you interact with humans, in public. Much as you are not allowed to yell “Fire” in a crowded restaurant there are limits to your faith when you are not alone. It is not a parapet from which you get to yell hateful things or deny access. Yes, a person can buy a product from people who believe the same way you do (and probably should) but eventually that leads to a grocery store where every checker can deny people from buying something and you end up having to split your purchases among 10 lanes just so as not to infringe on religion.

If you want to see real religious persecution, how about heading to Syria, or any other number of countries where you can be killed for your beliefs?
Now that we are “free”, lets take the discussion to a suitably religously named brewery, Reformation Brewery in Woodstock, Georgia.

Named after Martin, the iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. Per their website Luther, “…developed the pastime of inviting students to his home after class to have conversations about theology, life, and culture while sharing a pint of his wife Katy’s home-brewed ale.” Seems appropriate if the discussion is light and frivolous or lengthy and serious.

I would start my taster tray with their canned line-up…

1. “Cadence Reformed Belgian Ale is a beer created to acknowledge that indeed there is a rhythm to life and that every day deserves a moment to give thanks and to enjoy the good gifts of life. We have also crafted fig into Cadence. Why fig? Well, it certainly combines well with the malt to produce a deep fruit aroma and caramel flavor. But in addition to that, fig trees are survivors. Its roots dig even through crevices and rocks to find water in the valleys of their natural habitat. It’s an ancient tree, providing shade in times of intense heat. So figs are not only delicious in beer, they have sheltered life’s cadence as long as history.”

2.”Atlas IPA is a celebration of an honest journey and a gathering of stories along the way. It’s an American style IPA as diverse as the Atlas.” Brewed using Columbus and Cascade hops.

3.“Union Belgian White is about relationships. Created for that moment when a stranger becomes a friend. When the fear of judgment becomes the freedom to become known. Union is Belgian style white ale you can pull up chair and spend some quality time around–with and for those who matter.”

4. “Stark Porter is a beer created to share life and moments with each other, accepting and celebrating the good gifts that bring us together in harmony amid the noise of everyday life. Originally brewed to share and raise support for Cambodian Heritage Camp (our brewmaster Nick is an adoptive father to two Cambodian children) the beer has been served to connect adoptive families from all over the United States to each other.”

then finishing with a big bottle of…
5. “Providence is a Belgian tripel. Deep gold in color, its aroma and flavor are complex with estery sweet and citrus finish which is largely produced during the marvel of fermentation and then dry hopped. The enchantment of the beer is that it packs 9.2% ABV that goes largely unnoticed, much like providence. Best served at 45°-50°F.”


Tower of Beer-or?

by Sean on April 29, 2016

Adult beverages for parents seems to be the new thing at theme parks. Universal kinda-had to have a Moe’s Tavern for it’s Simpsons Land and their new Harry Potter attraction also has some magical alchoholic potion.

Disneyland hides the good stuff at their Club 33 but next door at California Adventure, beer and wine were there from the start and if they follow the suit of their Florida brethren, the Twilight Zone – Tower of Terror may end up with a Hollywood meets falling elevator drinking spot.

I think the Disney Anaheim folks can utilize the Downtown Disney and Hotels to sell themed drinks in those bars. If you can afford Disneyland nowadays, and you really have to put a drink in your hand between rides, then head to a bar and get a Star Tours Mos Eisley Cantina Margarita or Captain Hook’s Crocodile Mezcal.

Some places should retain the child like wonder.


Draw the Label

by Sean on April 29, 2016

I have never been a huge fan of the painted on bottle look from AleSmith (I would describe it as plain and utilitarian) and now if I had any (I mean any) art skills I could do something about it. But maybe someone out in craft beer land will and enter the Evil Dead Red Ale Bottle Art Contest.

Evil Dead Red Ale is an iconic beer on shelves and conjures up all sorts of Halloween imagery and I will be hoping to see not only the winning choice but also the runners-up too to see if I agree with which art makes it on the label.

Artists may submit as many entries as they like to from April 8 to May 9. Check out the AleSmith website for all the rules and regulations.

Submission Period: April 8-May 9, 2016
Winner Announcement: During American Craft Beer Week, May 16-22, 2016


Untappd Tapping Data

by Sean on April 28, 2016

Pulling people to your website, be it a beer website or blog is much harder than pushing information to a set list of people. With the added benefit of having said names and information to possibly sell to others who might covet it.

The user base of Untappd is a niche group that might act on pushed information and that’s probably the reasoning behind the fact that they announced the launch of Untappd for Business. “Verified venues” that sign up and fork over the cash will have the ability to share tap lists plus event info to the 3 million users of the app.

Users (like me) can “friend” one of these venues to get the tap list and event info plus receive notifications when your favorited beers are tapped at one of your “friends” within a 15-mile radius of their location.

Expect more updates and additions to Untappd now that the founders are part of Next Glass and have more time to devote to the app.


1st Visit – Scholb Premium Ales

by Sean on April 28, 2016

I e-mail corresponded with Scholb Premium Ales which you can read over on Food GPS. Now I actually visited. (After a side trip to Smog City and before a short jaunt to King Harbor)
Scholb is in the same complex as Absolution Brewing but at the latter I was unimpressed whereas Scholb is off to a good, strong start. The Columbia Street Pale Ale was bright and fruity and better than most in this crowded category. My second favorite was the Cherry Wood Smoked Brown which at first seemed thin but filled in nicely with a different smoke note that I found pleasing. Dad’s IPA was a strong third. My only clinker was the Bat Ray Red IPA. It seemed a little dimmer compared to the other hoppy offerings.
It’s s nice big space. Big logo on the wall and super cool taster trays made out of plastic piping. There are Wisconsin ties to the four part ownership group and maybe they can bring a Midwestern beer or three into the line-up for the out-of-state expats. As it stands, it is worth a visit to try the new kid in Torrance.


Take a Trip

by Sean on April 27, 2016

Break out your backpacks and hashtags, Eagle Rock Brewery has teamed up with the National Forest Foundation to brew up some canned beers to take with you out into the Great Outdoors (for me it is the Great Indoors). Plus, as a bonus, portion of the proceeds of all sales will be donated to the National Forest Foundation.

The cans will be released into the wild tomorrow, 4/28 in time for you to hike or climb or (for me go out on the patio) and enjoy the #ERBdaytrip.


A Stone Garage in Coedo

by Sean on April 27, 2016

Now that there are two Surly Goats, I have to make sure to clarify when cool events are scheduled. So, at the WeHo branch on Santa Monica Boulevard, tomorrow night, the 28th you get the chance to try some unique Pacific Rim based breweries and Stone too.
Starting at 6PM with a brewer Get-together at 8PM, you can try the new collaboration brew Tsuyu Saison from the triumvirate of Coedo of Japan, Garage Project of New Zealand and Stone of the U.S. & Germany.

The new saison is “brewed with American Jarrylo and New Zealand Motueka hops, infused with ume plums and red perilla leaf, and aged in New Zealand chardonnay barrels; Tsuyu Saison is an enticing East-West fusion.”

After you sip through that you can talk to Haru Asagiri the owner and brewer of Coedo, Jos Ruffell and Pete Gillespie the founder and head brewer respectively of Garage Project.

The Goat will also be tapping: Coedo Beniaka (Japanese sweet potato Amber), Coedo Shiro (Hefeweizen), Garage Project Pernicious Weed (New Zealand Imperial Ale brewed with Nelson Sauvin and Rakau hops), Garage Project Umami Monster (Smoked Brown Ale brewed with fermented bonito flakes, kelp, and seawater), and two delicious Stone brews (TBA).


This is no IPA, style wise. Although acronym wise it is. The Imperial Pelican Ale from the Pelican Brewery on the coast of Oregon pours a dark orange color. Has some serious strength behind it. The 2015 bottling celebrates the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. The gold/black label showcases 50 plants and animals (+ a QR Code) that can be found in the Ridgefield, Washington refuge on the banks of the mighty Columbia River. Since this beer was initially released in 2015 the caramel aroma and Barley wine characteristics make sense though even at the advanced age it still holds quite a bit of dank bitterness.

If I had been smart, I would have gotten a newer bottling to compare/contrast.


Session Mash-Up

April 26, 2016

I haven’t been buying much in the way of six-packs. I like to make my own mixed-up versions with a can of saison here and a bottle of ESB next to it. Which is why the Session Mashup, from Full Sail Brewing is perfect. It is a new variety 12-pack with a rotating group of […]

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