Monday, August 20, 2012

Beer Filled 24 Hours

So I mentioned last week about posting from my vacation spot pending inebriation.

Inebriation happened, posting did not.

Currently I'm sitting in the Albany Airport however drinking a pint of "Saratoga IPA." Not a bad IPA, just not very unique. The kicker here is that with a 22oz glass I get a 3 dollar shot of liquor! Why the hell not. Unfortunately the nice scotch and expensive vodka was a steep 5 dollars. I do love scotch, but I managed to squeak a shot of silver 1800 Tequila which is one of my favorites. And with a reasonable price for a beer and a delayed flight, I'm going to be lit getting on this plane.

I love flying.

Boston was fantastic! I'm recollecting the best I can, it's a little fuzzy. We got in late on Wednesday and immediately hit the bar scene. The history of this place is layered on thick as the BS on your favorite candidate's political agenda. History is oozing out of Boston's pores, and to tell you the truth I don't care much about it. The bartenders were awesome however and very quick to offer up a sample of beer. If you follow me on Untappd, you'll see I earned a number of badges that night. We had one beer at each bar (and a number of samples). The night went like this:

Bell in Hand - I really wanted to see our bartenders Honker's... Ale. The Honker's Ale was awesome, I dont remember why, but it was good.

Union Oyster House - I had the Sam Adam's Boston Brick Red. Normally I wouldnt have gone for a Sam Adam's but the brick red is only sold in choice bars in Boston. Why not get a beer you cant get anywhere else?

The Green Dragon - sounds like something out of a sci-fi video game, when in fact it is another crazy old hole in the wall bar in Boston. Favorite bar of the night. I love a good ol' hole in the wall. Had a Harpoon IPA. Good. Local. Win.

The Beantown Pub - Cool place, had a Crisp Apple from Angry Orchard which, get ready for this, is made by Sam Adams! Go figure. Angry Orchard was awesome.

Finally we stopped at the Scholar's Boston Bistro, where I had a Racer 5 IPA. The IPA was good and strong, weighing in at 7% ABV. I gave it 4 stars, which means it was good, but I can't for the life of me remember why. The location however was way too posh for my liking. The exact opposite of a hole-in-the-wall, this place was trendy. My fellow metro-sexuals probably would've liked this place. But the bartenders were cool and again offered me a number of samples.

Finally (the next day) we went to Doyle's. I'm skipping over the Boston Beer Co. tour because I've said too much already. But go to Doyle's and buy a $6 Sam Adam's product and you keep the glass. Score.

Thanks for the recommendations of places to go. I would've loved going to the Harpoon Brewery but I just didn't have the time. I was in Boston for less then 24 hours, and covered a lot of territory. And I was tired. I slept half the way back to the airport to continue the other half of my vacation. Some guest I am. Also, thank you Chelsea for driving us around in Boston, but get your AC fixed. Wow. Hot.

Monday, August 13, 2012

This post has nothing to do with the Olympics

But that doesn't mean I'm not watching it as I compose the medley that is this wonderful blog.

This upcoming week I'm doing a short tour in Boston beer. This post will be relatively short, because I plan to be sober enough to be able to blog from Massachusetts. Heading out Wednesday and arriving in Boston on Wednesday night I plan to hit up some brew pubs with the brother-in-law and wife. Then the next morning we'll be heading to the Boston Beer Company to partake in what I understand is a pretty outstanding tour. Again, pending sobriety, we may have some on the spot commentary. At least some tweeting. Afterwards I'll be heading up to the northern parts of New York to a technology dead zone to spend some quiet time and do some fishing.

R2-DBREW is coming along swimmingly. The frame is 95% done, pending some tweaks along the way. The gas train is 95% done pending on some troubleshooting. The next step is to install the pumps and plumbing, kegs, then the controls. Then trouble shooting, and a killer paint job and then it's time to get serious and do some killer brewing.

About troubleshooting. What is troubleshooting anyway? Trouble shooting? I have nothing to shoot. No matter. I finally tested my gas train, which made me a little nervous. Nothing should go wrong, as long as there aren't any leaks you shouldn't have any explosions. I checked and double checked for leaks. I checked the low pressure side, I checked the high pressure side. Low pressure works perfect. High pressure.... not so much. After a few seconds of burn flames start shooting out the back of the burner venturi. Flames are not supposed to be coming out of both ends. I sat and stared at it for a few minutes. I tried it a few more times, and now I know that it certainly happens ever time. I had two choices, delay building and troubleshoot, or put it off... Put it off!! I'll troubleshoot everything all at once at the end of the build.

Low Pressure Side

I think it's safe to say R2-DBREW is at 50% completion. After a month and a half of construction, I'd say that progress is pretty good. Save last week progress has been fairly steady. Things got crazy at work as multiple deadlines collide in one exciting (stressful) week. Hopefully after getting back from vacation things will be a little calmer, but I'm not counting on it.

I hope you enjoyed the Olympic games! I'm supported the Olympics by drinking beer, just like many fellow Americans!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Beereview: New Belgium Ranger IPA

This is a short story about a man shown the world, only to have it ripped away from him.

Which is way too dramatic to describe what I'm about to tell you. First we're starting a beereview about a beer so striking, that I'm still able to write about it 2 days after drinking it. New Belgium has quite a cult following. Many people have never heard about it. Those who have will tar and feather you if you speak the name in vain. Fat Tire is there flagship beer, but this post isn't about Fat Tire. This post is about their stance on IPA's, the Ranger IPA. My coworker Jeremy brought this in for me, but I'll gripe about that later.

Ranger IPA is one of those radical craft beers that are starting to come in cans. So far, so good. I haven't had a bad (craft) beer from a can yet. Something about the craft beer in cans just tastes a little better. I picked up a 12 pack of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale in cans, and it tastes awesome! Also, I can fit more cans in my fridge than I can bottles, double score!

Not knowing what to expect, tired and lazy on Friday night, I sat down to watch the Olympics with the Ranger in hand. I look at the can, "New Belgium huh? People go pretty crazy over Fat Tire... I wonder how this will be." I don't even sniff it before I drink it. I take a swig... and holy s***. The hops in this beer are amazing. Sweet, fruity, citrus-y, smooth and easy to drink. Finally an IPA not packed to the gills with cascade hops. Not that cascade hops are bad, but in large quantities they have a pretty harsh bite to them. A big part of why I'm not a huge hop-head. No, no, these are Simcoe hops, something... different. The beer is so smooth, so rich, tasty, and drinkable! A fantastic IPA, but you can still pound these like you were trying to forget the night! I hand it to my wife, only once she promises to give it back. Well, it was a struggle to get it back from her. Both of us agree, New Belgium Ranger IPA is our new favorite IPA. Personally, its climbed it's way up my beer list quick.

Now for Jeremy, and why coworker Jeremy is both a saint and a do!$#bag. I text Jeremy, "Dude, this beer is amazing!" He says "yeah, bittersweet thing huh?" Then he proceeds to drop the news on me. New Belgium isn't sold in Florida. Nope. It's sold in Georgia, sure. Not here. If I want more Ranger, I have to drive over 3 f*%(ing hours to get my fix. What's Georgia got that Florida doesn't?? Peaches? Pecans? Seriously people. Georgia is not usually on my mind. Georgia started as a PENAL colony. If you don't know what that means, it's not phallic. But it probably smells like one. That's a colony where people go as punishment. A prison. Why does New Belgium send their wonderful product there, and not to poor Florida.

Dear New Belgium, this is a personal plea to bring your delightful nectar to Florida.

I have finished. Hopefully, it will be enough.