#22 Flying Dog The Fear

**Welcome to the Fall Part II**

Happy Halloween!

I'm dressed up like a slutty beer drinker today, just so I can share a review of one of my favorite beers ever, Flying Dog's "The Fear." I've been the first one to admit on my social media slices of heaven that pumpkin ales, and pumpkin spice, and pumpkin this, and pumpkin that, is something I grow weary with quickly. Its true. Just like with "Dr. Who," a show I no longer have any interest in watching, or even hearing about anymore, the Internet has killed pumpkins dead.

That why I'm reviewing an Imperial Pumpkin Ale! I'M A HYPOCRITE! Actually, no shit, ever since I tried this straight out of the vats on my birthday brewery tour at Flying Dog in 2010, It has become one of my favorite beers, ever. And you can read about how I incorporated it into my totally awesome chili, in this previous post.

Nice head, amirite?

The pour is nice and dark, with beautiful burgundy highlights in the light. In the glass though, it's blacker than the blackest black, times infinity. A surprising, three finger, fluffy beige head. I love it. Left behind is a sticky, resilient, lacing.

The Fear smells like autumn. It smells like you're looking out of the window at crunchy leaves while you're carving a pumpkin. And then you stop paying attention and you cut your hand. Its heavy on the spice. Clove? Allspice? Nutmeg? Cinnamon? Check, check, check and check. Pumpkin?

And thank you for that Flying Dog. And thank you, Chuck Testa.

Is the pumpkin in the taste? Well, there is a hint of pumpkin at the front end, but not much.If you blink, you missed it. It really does taste  just how it smells. Spice! I love it. I want a hearth and a fire, NOW! It feels heavy in my mouth, like I would expect from it being an Imperial. The spice and the roasty-ness of this beer are perfectly balanced. To me, this beer perfect. And not to forget, the spice hides the alcohol, but even at 9% you can't ignore it.

Without going too much into detail, and it's certainly something I own up to, but Flying Dog is my absolute favorite beer. They have made beer that I have openly admitted to not liking, so I hope my review isn't too biased. If you're within the Baltimore area, you can get this beer for a short amount of time, which at this point, I think is waning. Out side of this immediate area, I'm not sure what the availability is, other than I know Connecticut doesn't get any. Its a super limited release, and that makes me happy when I get my hands on it. It's like being a part of something very special.

So there you have it, My first review of one of my favorite beers, from one of my favorite breweries. Happy Halloween and be safe! And check out the awesome bottle art from Ralph Steadman!

You can follow Flying Dog on Twitter @FlyingDogYou can visit them online, too http://flyingdogales.com/
And of course, they are on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/flyingdog

Flying Dog "The Fear" Imperial Pumpkin Ale

Smell: 5/5
Appearance: 5/5
Taste: 5/5
Feel: 5/5

Overall: 5/5

This beer pairs well with:Stolen candy & Ministy - Every day is Halloween


#21 Horny Goat Octoberfest

**Welcome to the Fall Part I**

It's fall, FUCK EFF-WORD YEAH! And because of that, my next three posts are dedicated to the beers that flood the market when the leaves start changing. It should be fun. I can thank the ladies over at Stouts and Stilettos for the idea, when they asked a simple question and it flourished into a nice conversation!

Next to Spring, this is my favorite season. Leaves are crunchy, the color palette is gorgeous and I can wear my totally bitching Puma jackets. As far as the beers go...Eh. I'm not a Pumpkin Ale kind of guy, I've only had a handful of Oktoberfest beers that I've enjoyed and I just haven't had enough hard ciders to make any real judgement. So I thought this would be a good idea to kind of force myself out of my comfort zone.

The beer that kicks off this trilogy is Horny Goat Oktoberfest. A 4 bottle sampler was gifted to me one day, containing today's brew, along with Exposed, Horny Blonde, and HornyCopia Pumpkin Ale. I drank one, tried one and instead of pouring it out, ended up putting in in a corn chowder that I was cooking, and gave the third one to my fiancee. And so I wouldn't have to go out and buy more beer, saved the Oktoberfest for this very blog post. This beer is very not good. Yeah, I said it.

Nice glass, HUH!?
Lets keep this short. it poured a  nothing special Amber, with a one finger bubbly head. No lacing. For some reason, I wanted it to be darker. I guess its fine though. The nose is...brown sugar? It's kind of sweet and a bit malty. Drinking it is boring. Meh. There just isn't much to it. No body. It's thin, almost watery.

Ugh. If I had paid for these beers, I'd be pissed. And in discussing them with the individual who supplied me with them, he was too.

I get it the name is clever, laced with innuendo. I've seen other breweries tie in suggestive names with their brews, such as Thomas Hooker Brewery, or even City Steam. But the difference being those breweries are good. You need more than just a gimmicky name to keep people interested.

Sorry Horny Goat, you're not my cup of...beer.

What do you think of the watermark?

Horny Goat Oktoberfest

Smell: 2/5
Appearance: 2/5
Taste: 2/5
Feel: 2/5

Overall: 2/5

This beer pairs well with: Static-X - Goat


#20 A Saison Darkly (Import Series Vol 2)

**Part 3 of 3 of a Dark Beer Review**

This is a "live" blog. I thought it would be fun to drink this beer, review, write, and post - all while watching the season premier  of The Walking Dead. Good idea? We will see how it works. Tonight's beer comes from Stillwater Artisianal Ales. I bought it based on the bottle art, which you'll see is quite beautiful. I found out today, they are a Baltimore brewery, but I bought the bottle in Connecticut while on one of my visits I kind of got a kick out of it.

A watermark? Yup, stepping up my game.

Whoa, Rick is chopping zombie heads off.

Pour: Dark, with mahogany tones in the light. A nice, 2 finger, fluffy, tan head.

Smell: Sweet, very sugary sweet. Like...a brown sugary sweet. I love it. There's some spice in there, with a hint of alcohol.

Taste: First few sips are bland. As I let it sit, It's getting a much heavier, darker taste. The malts are present, but I'm not getting any of the spice or sweetness I took in with the smell. The slight burn of alcohol is dancing around on my tongue and I can taste it when I exhale. I just burped. There's the tinge of alcohol on my nostril.

Whoa, Rick just pulled off a gas-mask on a zombie and its face came off.

Overall? Meh. I picked up the bottle on a whim, not knowing what to expect. It has a pretty good score on Beer Advocate but I'm impartial. It isn't a bad beer, I'm glad I got to try it, but I don't know that I'd try this particular beer again. Too much alcohol burn, not much else on my palate. But I would definitely try other beers of theirs.

You can check them out online! 

Bother them on Twitter: https://twitter.com/stillwaterales
Befriend them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stillwaterales
Subscribe to their blog: http://stillwaterales.blogspot.com/

Holy shit, Rick just amputated Hershel!

Is that not beautiful?

This wraps up the last entry in my 3 part Dark Beer series! That was fun.

Stillwaters Artisianal Ales A Saison Darkly (Vol 2)

Smell: 4/5
Appearance: 3.5/5
Taste: 3/5
Feel: 3/5

Overall: 3.375/5

This beer pairs well with: Swollen Members - Black Magic


Brewfus Chili Cook-Off!

Ok, it's not REALLY a cook-off, but I needed an exciting title! My beef stew post garnered quite the positive reaction on Twitter, especially from one of my favorite people I follow, Katie, over at Simple Songbird.

Is there a better compliment?

It also helps that my fiancee thought it was delicious! Those two factors were enough for me to decide that I might be onto something with the beer and food related posts. Today's post is a recipe that hasn't let me down in the (only) 3 times I've made it. I get a lot of compliments, and I've had a lot of people ask me for the recipe. Truth is, I modify the recipe every time I make it. So what I'm going to do, is give you my basic recipe, and then I'll kind of cliff note it with how I changed it for this particular batch (which just might be the best one yet). The night I made it, I went and picked up one of the most important ingredients!

The excitement I have for this beer is being saved for another post!

Here is the basic list of ingredients:

2lbs of ground beef (I like at least a 90/10 %)
1lb of steak tips
1lb of sausage (Italian or ground)
2 cans of chili beans (I like 1 red/1 white)
1 can of diced tomato
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 green chili peppers, seeded and chopped (or 1 can of green chilis)
4 beef bouillon cubes
1 cup of beer
1/4 cup of chili powder
1/8 cup of chipotle powder
1 tablespoon oregano
2 teaspoons of cumin
1 teaspoon of basil
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of paprika
1 teaspoon of sugar
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons of hot sauce (I use sriracha)
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce

That is a lot of stuff!

Fear for cookin', Resurrection for drinkin'

Here are some cliff notes! If you follow that recipe, you will find yourself enjoying a deliciously spicy chili, just the way most people enjoy it! But truth be told, some people just don't want an overly spicy chili. So this time around, I reduced some of the spice, so here's what I did differently. I reduced the chili powder, chipotle powder, hot sauce (sriracha), and cayenne pepper by 50%. That's it. And it seemed to have done the trick, as my normally too spicy chili, was absolutely loved by my fiancee. I also added one can of black beans, and one pound of frozen, white corn. Is that confusing at all? Let me know.

The prep work takes a lot of time, chopping the veggies into delicious, bite size morsels. When you slice the onions, put them off to the side. I drain the beans and tomatoes ALMOST fully, leaving some of the juice in each, but not a huge amount. Id say drain 75% of each can. I like to pile all the chopped veggies (except the onions) and beans and tomato into one big bowl, and have a small dish with all your measured out spices ready to go. But hey, that's just me.

Start by browning all your meat together with the onions. Make sure you have a big size pot! This is a big recipe! I use my La Creuset 5.5 quart French Oven. I know, very fancy. So brown your meat and onions together in your pot. You can drain it, but I don't because I'm gross, and I think it adds to the flavor.

4 pounds of delicious meat!

After this, add the rest of your beans, and veggies and spices and beer! Now, like with beef stew, I like to cook chili with a dark beer. This time around, I used Flying Dog The Fear, after discussing with the fiancee, she told me pumpkin and beef work well together.

Now that everything is on your pot, I bet your kitchen and rest of your house is starting awesome. But you're not quite done yet! Stirring it once in a while, cover it and let it simmer on your stove top for about 2 hours. Truth be told though, the longer it simmers, the better it's going to taste. The last half hour to 45 minutes though, I like to uncover it and let it continue to simmer so it starts to thicken. Throughout the duration, make sure to taste and season as you go along to fit your tastes!

Isn't it pretty??

Like with any recipe, feel free to mess with it and make it your own if something seems unappealing. And if you make it, share it with me, let me know what you think!


#19 Anchor Brewing Porter

**Part 2 of 3 of a Dark Beer Review**

Woo, my 30th post!

...And following through with my second post of these neat little dark beer thing I thought I would do.

Today's post is a treat, and was a total treat to drink! I could write a post just focusing on the history of Anchor Brewing, but that's a post for another day. I found Anchor about 6 years ago during a trip to San Francisco, with their more flagship brew, Anchor Steam. The brewing process for that, is another post, for another day. This is a brewery that needs to be taken seriously, as today's beer has one of the highest ratings of any of the beers I've reviewed. Anchor Porter brings in a score on Beer Advocate of 99. That is damn near perfect.

I picked up this 6 pack at Manchester Wine and Liquors, during my first time in there, while on a trip up to visit. I always get excited when I see a sixer of Anchor anywhere, so I couldn't really pass it up. I brought it back to my hotel, and got it on.

I slipped it into something more...comfortable.

This is a fun beer...It pours black. Blackity black. Devoid of all light. And its so smooth and velvety looking as it flows into the glass. Left behind we have a beautiful, full, tan fluffy head. And some sexy lacing!

It really is a beautiful beer.

It smells of a strong, tangy alcohol. Similar to bourbon? Whiskey? One of those. There's some dark chocolate, reminiscent of bakers chocolate. You can almost smell the bitter. And something that didn't really surprise me, coffee. Sipping it brings you a perfect balance of bitter and malt. A smooth, delicious hint of vanilla, and much like the smell, there's a strong coffee finish. It's such a pleasing experience, it isn't too thick, but not too thin. Very little carbonation and almost scary in its ease of drink-ability. This is a Goldilocks beer, everything about it was just right. There really are not enough good things I can say about this beer. So go and get some. Seriously.

And I love the labels!

Anchor Brewing Porter

Smell: 5/5
Appearance: 4/5
Taste: 5/5
Feel: 4/5

Overall: 4.5/5

This beer pairs well with: DMX - It's Dark and Hell Is Hot


I Am Not A Beer Snob

Do you call yourself a "Beer Snob?"

I used to. I used to tout the fact that I was a beer snob. But then I'd be all kinds of hypocritical by enjoying 40's and PBR. But seriously, I used to consider myself a beer snob. I'd turn my nose up at any kind of Bud product, or Coors, or any of the infamous "domestics."

And then I started this blog, that is when everything started to change. In trying the countless different beers, I have had what alcoholics refer to as a "moment of clarity." Drink whatever the hell you want. If you like it, you like it, Good for you. I may think you like shitty beer, but who CARES what I think? I'm just a dude with a blog. So I've been working on trying really hard not to say things like "Oh, you like Shock Top? You know that beer sucks, right?" Because that's what a snobby person says. And who really likes snobs? I don't. No one does.

Being as involved as I am, sometimes its hard to keep my stupid trap shut. And find myself Googling things like "Blue Moon is bad beer" to read what people have to say. I did that today, and I came across this gem:

"Blue moon is a good beer.   If I can't find Hoegaarden on tap, I'll take a Blue Moon over the crappy hoppy beer most craft breweries in the US are coming up with.   Frankly most beer snobs I know think the more hops the better - I'd say someone that drinks Coors has more taste than these idiots.     At least Blue Moon has more balance like the better European beers.    Take your crappy hops, I'll have a Blue Moon.   Keep it coming, at least its something I can count on being available along side all the other garbage."

I didn't respond, I actually read it with a quiet bemusement. That simple comment on some random blog is what sparked this entry. But the general thought of "Beer Snobbery" is something that actually rattles around in my brain quite often. Had I found that comment when it was originally posted, in 2010, I'd have blasted him with some snobby rhetoric. But now, to me, it really just sums up the whole "taste is relative" thing I was talking about. This guy likes Blue Moon, let him drink Blue Moon. Who am I to say "YOUR TASTE IS WRONG!"? I've been guilty of this a million times, and I know plenty of other folks are also. It's not right and it's not fair. We like what we like, they like what they like, and that's all it should be.

Of course, this can expand over to another avenue of when the big companies we don't like, such as InBev, have a stake in well known, and popular craft brewers like Goose Island. Things like that can divide the craft beer enthusiasts. But alas, that's a topic for another day.

So I'll stand by my "I am not a beer snob" and I will work hard to not talk down on you if I don't agree with what beer you enjoy. Because when it comes down to it, beer isn't important enough to inflate your own ego. We're a great community, lets try harder not to ostracize and instead let's try to encourage and maybe educate. Who's with me?!