Archive for November, 2007

Split Rock Results

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

So I got the score sheets from Split Rock back yesterday. You should already know how I faired, now you can read a sampling of what some others thought.


  • ’05 MacRae – 18/23/21 -  “This beer should be entered as a Smoke Beer (22B).” – “Smokey phenols should come from traditional Scottish yeast not from peat-smoked malt.” – “Malt dominates, is overdone to the point of a bacon flavor.”
  • Gnarleywine – 27/29 – “A hop character in the aroma would really add to this beer.” – “A good effort, but malt is one-dimensional, caramel.”
  • Hazelnut Brown – 32/34/34 – Third Place Specialty Ale – “Overall a good beer, aromas & flavor were pronounced, nutty with malty sweetness.” – “Quite good and really interesting!” – “Overall I feel it is a good beer, maybe decrease nut flavor a little.”
  • American Brown Ale – 25/27/28/25 – Second Place American Ale – “Good overall, body too light.” – “This was a good brown ale, add more body and it will improve.” – “Pleasant.” – “Not bad, just needs a little tweaking.”

OK, that was their reviews of my beers, now here’s my reviews of their reviews (got it?). Anyway, I mostly agree with the MacRae reviews, the beer is too peat-smoky, but that’s only because I’m an idiot! No, just kidding. Actually I think I have tried to enter this beer as a smoked beer and they said it’s not smoky enough and as a wee heavy (the base style) and they said it is too smoky, it’s a bastard. Also, I mostly agree with the Gnarleywine reviews. It’s a good American style Barleywine, but it is a little one-dimensional and could use a hop punch in the end, but I still think it is sticky delicious. Again, I mostly agree with the Hazelnut reviews (do you sense a pattern here?). I think it is good, sweet, and nutty, and yes maybe too nutty. I will make this one again but with less hazelnut extract, it was definitely a favorite with the ladies!

BUT, this is where I’ll have to disagree with the reviews of the ABA, even though it placed second (with the scores that I got and receiving a second, the other beers must have sucked). First I have to state that there were three apprentices and one certified judge. An apprentice has not taken (or at least not passed) the BJCP exam, cool no problem everyone has to start somewhere, but who the hell thought it was a good idea to put three apprentices with one other certified judge? These sheets were pretty wacked, it’s almost as if all four talked about the beer first then wrote down what they remembered the certified judge saying. Seriously, one score sheet had only 14 words on it, 14!? I’ve written more than 14 words during the bottle inspection before a beer was even opened. Seriously, this is all he wrote, “Nice roasted aroma, chocolaty. Good color & head. Good finish. Good body, mild carbonation. Pleasant.” I mean jeez if you take out the word ‘good’ he only said 11 words, and if you take out all the synonyms for ‘good’ your only left with 9. Here is this judges very descriptive review of my beer that I paid five dollars for with all the words that mean ‘good’ taken away, “roasted aroma, chocolaty, color & head, finish, body, mild carbonation”. Besides the first three words it sounds like those are categories to review not the review itself. Disgusted. Regarless, the results are in.


Monday, November 26th, 2007

Couple weeks ago now (11.09.07) we did it again, another infamous tournament. This time it was the best fictional hero of all time, non-seeded and randomly drawn again.

Heroes Bracket

Click on the image above for a large view.

So, if you regularly frequent this website at all you’ll have realized that this is the third of these style tournaments that Erik, Robert, and myself have done this fall. The first was the Greatest Front-Man of all times and the second was the Greatest Villain of all time. Because the last tournament was the greatest villain we couldn’t resist doing a Greatest Heroes tournament too, so that’s how this one came about. We had a ton of names to start with this time and we had to wean them down to the top 128. Again the names were randomly drawn from a bowl to flush out the brackets, two at a time and then that was the match-up. After the initial 64 match-ups the tournament would run as a normal tournament would, well except for out “nah” rule.

Here’s a re-cap of our “nah” rules in case you haven’t understood them yet; in the first round each of us were given two “power nahs” in which we were able to say “nah” to any match-up that was pulled out of the bowl. If we used a “power nah” then that match-up would be thrown back into the bowl to be re-pulled in a different combination later. This was typically used to keep heavy hitters from going up against each other too early. For example, if Superman and Optimus Prime went up against each other in the first round then someone might use a “power nah” to throw their names back into the bowl so a big decision like that wouldn’t have to be made too early in the game. After the first round each of us was also given two regular “nahs” that could be used in the second, third, and fourth rounds. What these “nahs” did was basically give the loser of a match-up a second chance. The winner of the match-up had to get a 2 out of 3 vote to stay in verses the normal 50/50 chance – make sense?

Now remember, none of us fully agree with this, this is just what happen when the three of us ran this tournament. It would probably be different with any three people and obviously with any random drawing. There were actually a couple really tough match-ups, a couple that some people totally disagreed with, and a couple that I looked at afterwards and thought ‘how did that happen?’ You’ll also notice that this is the first time we’ve really had “teams” or big groups involved which I think totally made some potentially smaller players into big players. Regardless, I’m not going to argue with these results, but I am going to say there were a few surprises. If you don’t recognize some of the names go ahead and ask or look them up yourselves, you may be surprised who did and didn’t make the cut. And just for fun, I’ll include the “Jobbers” bracket too. This is the bracket of guys who didn’t make the initial 120 out of all the names and had to really fight to get one of the last eight spots, whatever. Click on the picture for a larger shot of it.

Heroes Jobbers


Kinda Blue Band

Thursday, November 22nd, 2007

Here’s another quick one for you. Last night I went out to Rox’s Bar & Grill to see DC’s band The Kinda Blue Band tear it up for the night-before-Thanksgiving festivities.

Kinda Blue Band

Dave’s band was booked once again at Rox’s Bar & Grill in Wilmington, DE by Price’s Corner. Originally I wasn’t going to have the opportunity to go based on the fact that another show I had said I was already going to go to was that night also, that being the Big D Turkey Testicle Music Festival. Well, during the zero hour before the show there was a punt and it was received and we wound up at Rox’s to see The Kinda Blue Band instead. Rox’s is kind of a dive bar type atmosphere that can’t decide how it wants to grow up. Supposedly under it’s old name and management it was know for being a “biker bar” with all the attributes that come from being one. It now has cleaned up its act (or tried) and can’t quite nail down the feel it wants. Is it going to be a bar with pub games (darts/billiards/video slots), a music venue with new and returning bands on a regular schedule, or just let the old crowd back in and return to its roots. To say the least I have mixed emotions about the venue.

But for me, the main three reasons to go last night was to see DC’s band play, to see Karen sing with them (6 songs I think), and to hang with all of my friends who would be up there doing the same. Dave’s band did well and sounded better than last time. Last time Dave’s bongos were either turned up too loud, or everything else was turned down too low. This time they got their sound much more in check. Johnny Z on guitar probably could have still been turned up a little and Dave’s bongo’s probably could have still been turned down a little, but all in all much better sounding. While Karen was up singing she sounded good, but again she was turned down to quiet like last time, but that was remedied by the end of the first song. Once she loosens up on stage a little bit more she is going to be an even better addition when ever the guys ask her to join them. Really the only other complaint I have about the music is that there felt like there were too many long gaps between the songs. Kind of like the band would draw us in and hold our attention for what ever song they were playing then take a minute plus long break in between songs and have to regain our attention. If they could just come up with a tight set list and follow it without to many long pauses (it doesn’t have to be continuous, just not long pauses) I bet they could really rock the crowd. All in all I had a good night out and am not disappointed at all that I missed Big D.


Thursday, November 22nd, 2007

Yesterday I took a vacation day off from work and stayed home and brewed a Belgian-style Dubbel.


It was one of “those” kind of brew days, in a good way! As the picture shows above, it was a very relaxed, non-eventful, beautiful weather brew day. For the day before Thanksgiving being about 65F and sunny was a nice treat. I had no worries about getting other tasks done during this brew day and just sat back with a book and enjoyed. The day itself went really well too, less than five and a half hours of work from prep to janitorial, and had physically active yeast within four hours. So, though this isn’t an exciting entry, it is still a happy entry. Enjoy!

Unceremoniously 100th Beer

Saturday, November 17th, 2007

So I was thinking the other day, I wonder how many batches of beer I have brewed and when will I brew my 100th batch so I can do something big and special?

 100+ Fool Circle Beers

Well, it looks like I have brewed 101 batches of beer with brewing my 100th batch in October of 2007. Very unceremoniously, oh well. But the cool thing is I wanted to do something bigger than normal and something a little special. Well, for me an Imperial Stout falls right into that category, definitely bigger than normal and special in the sense of it’s not a beer you typically get to make (my third attempt, but really my first true Imperial Stout if you feel me).

So I guess I’m going to break these down into some stupid stats and see how things look:

  • Total number of different beverages made:  114
  • Total number of beers brewed: 101
  • Total number of different styles: 41 (I think 😉 )
  • Year with the most number of beers brewed: 2001 & 2007 – 16 beers each
  • Year with the least number of beers brewed: 1999 – 2 beers
  • Beer repeated the most number of times: MacRae Scottish Ale
  • My 5 favorite beers, in no particular order, and subject to change: MacRae Scottish Ale, Hogshead Porter, E.C.P.A., Pliny the Elder Clone, ABA Grand Experiment
  • My 5 least favorite beers, in no particular order, and subject to change: Banana Spice Ale, Chocolate Covered Cherries Porter, Organic Barley Brew, All Malt Ale, Old Macungie Bear Swamp
  • My 5 beers I may consider revisiting and trying again, in no particular order, and subject to change: Opaque Espresso Stout, Chamomile Brown Ale, New Year’s Eve Bourbon Stout, Moore’s Light, Union
  • Most award winning beers: E.C.P.A. II and the original Red Card Ale both have received 5+ awards.

Honestly, I would love some feedback, especially from you fools who have been drinking my beer for the past 100+ batches (thanks you idiots)! What were some of your favorites, least favorites, what would you like me to try again, what haven’t I done that you’d be interested in seeing me do? I’m interested in your comments. Thanks to all who have enjoyed the ride with me.

Split Rock Homebrew Competition

Saturday, November 17th, 2007

Today was the Split Rock Homebrew Competition at Split Rock Resort in Lake Harmony, PA (Poconos) at the 16th Annual Great Brews of America Classic Beer Festival.


I had entered four beers earlier this week in this competition.  It was a little spurt of the moment timing and coming right off the heels of HOPS BOPS, but I decided to enter anyway. I entered the 2005 MacRae in the 9E-Scotch Ale category, the ABA Grand Experiment in the 10C-American Brown Ale category, the Gnarleywine in the 19C-American Barleywine category, and the Hazelnut Brown in the 23A-Specialty Beer category. I was just clicking-around and decided to see if the results were posted yet assuming they were not, and guess what? They were. Looks like I faired pretty well with the ABA placing 2nd at the American Ales table and the Hazelnut Brown placing 3rd at the Specialty/Spice table. You can see all the results here. I am pleased with these results. Not that I thought the two beers that didn’t place were not good, I just felt that the two beers that did place were the stronger of the four. I’ll post more after I receive the score sheets.


Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

On a late piece of information I was told that the HOPS BOPS competition was last Saturday (11.10.07), so I sent out a couple quick e-mails and made some stuff happen.


So basically I e-mailed the people in charge to see if (1) they needed any more judges for the competition and (2) to see if I could still register my beers for the competition though the deadline to register had already passed. I was lucky and they said they could use both judges and I could register, plus I was allowed to hand-deliver my beers to the competition the day of the competition to avoid shipping charges.

I entered three beers in this competition, the 2005 MacRae Strong Scotch Ale in the 9E-Scotch Ale category, the ABA Grand Experiment in the 10C-American Brown Ale category, and the PABA in the 20A-Fruit Beer category as an American Brown Ale with peaches added. I was trying to wait until I got my sheets back before I posted this, but I still have not received them yet and they were supposed to e-mail them to us, weak! Anyway, the MacRae placed third in it’s group lumped in with British, Scottish, and Irish beers with only 7 entries. Actually there were only 94 entries overall. They really didn’t do a good job promoting this competition if you ask me.

Since I just got my sheets back (about seven hours after I posted this) I’ll post some of the results here:

  • ’05 MacRae – 30/28/32 – “Complex aroma. Clear, pretty.” – “Smokey caramel with a slightly buttery note.” – “Nice rich malt with some supporting hop bitterness (maybe a touch high for style) and lots of smoke.”
  • ABA – 28/31/31/31 – “Excellent drinking beer that would fit better as a Southern English Brown or even a Brown Porter.” – “Balance tends toward hop bitterness but finishes on soft sweet caramel notes.” – “Tasty, but could use a bit more bitterness, I really enjoyed the nutty/chocolate flavors.” – “Well balanced hops and malt.”
  • Peach ABA – 29/24 – “Complex, peachy, chocolaty. Wonderful!”- “Nice peach aroma with underlying chocolate from brown ale.”

(I believe this beer (the PABA) was ‘digged’ hard because it was a ‘gusher’. I have a theory on why the PABA has become a gusher of a beer: I feel as if I should have moved the beer to a tertiary fermenter to let the peaches completely fall clear since I peached the ABA during secondary thus voiding the potential for the effects of the secondary fermenter, and because the beer had not fallen mostly clear a significant amount of sediment was carried over to the bottles, thus giving increased nucleation sights for the carbonation to escape suspension in the beer, leading to a gusher. I feel as if this beer did not have off flavors, was not infected, and was thoroughly tested by drinking 18 of them in one night, thank you Erik & Robert.)

Not only that, but I felt as though this competition was very disorganized. It was supposed to start at 9:30AM so I arrived early at 9AM so there would be time to register my beers, have some typically supplied breakfast and coffee, and get situated for the morning. I actually beat the organizers to there own competition and I live in a different state! Anyway, I was early to say the least, they didn’t supply breakfast, not even coffee (blasphemy!), and things didn’t get really rolling until almost 10:30. I had heard the day of the competition that they had less than 100 entries so I figured we were going to bust them all out in the morning and have an early day, but instead they tripled and quadrupeled some of the tables of judges together – ugh! It was like pulling teeth to get through the day in general.

I judged Specialty Beers in the morning and Strong Ales, Wood-Aged, and Smoked in the afternoon. Though the specialty beers can be quite a scary category (think everything that doesn’t fit into another category) it was actually better than the afternoon category. In the morning we had a black honey lager, two rye beers, an apple cobbler beer, an Altbier light, and one dubbed the Peanut Butter Bomb. The Peanut Butter Bomb was a stand-out for all the wrong reasons, quite a lovely gusher it was. In the afternoon we had a really terrific Old Ale that the other two judges weren’t feeling, four English Style Barleywines, a wood aged beer, and a smoked beer. The wood one was like sucking on oak chips and the smoked one tasted like a burn-out from a car, both pretty gross.

Overall it was a long, kind of boring, relatively expensive day. I left the house at about 8AM to leave for Philly and got home a little after 5PM, I really would have liked to have seen us bust out the whole session in just the morning but instead it was way drawn out, and between entry fees and parking it cost me $45 to volunteer my help for the day. Well, on a slightly more positive note, the food and beer at Nodding Head Brew Pub was good.

Zymurgy November/December

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

Just wrapped up the Zymurgy “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” issue the other day and now it’s time for me to ramble.

Zymurgy November/December

Wow, I was just flipping through to see what I wanted to write about and didn’t hit anything worth mentioning until page 19, yikes! Seems like BYO and Zymurgy may have switched roles for content quality this release. The article that grabbed my attention is an article about recreating historical Porter at Colonial Williamsburg. The writer, Frank Clark, is a food historian at Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia and it is his job to research and make food without modern conveniences the same way others did in the past. Of course beer is a beverage and beverages are lumped in with food so naturally it would be his responsibility to research and make Colonial-style beers. The beer he chooses to focus on and talk about its slippery history is Porter. Clark states; “Most historians agree that the first porter was brewed by Ralph Harwood, a brewer at the Bell Brewhouse in the Shoreditch section of London in 1722. Harwood created this “new” beer…” It appears to be a decent well informed article, but is later contradicted in the same issue by another writer who talks of some of the Porter myths whom this historian is stating as fact, like name, place, and date. Seems like some editor wasn’t paying full attention to which truth they were going to publish.

The next article, the main article, “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark”  was written by one of the homebrewers I recognize from the internet and seems always on point, Drew Beechum. He is very good at writing from the homebrewers perspective and really for the homebrewer. I this article he explores the different styles of stout and supplies tried homebrew recipes for each, including the infamous Jonny Lieberman’s Blackwine IV recipe for the “new” American Mega Stout category (think WWS from DFH).

Later there is a second article on Porter by Randy Mosher where he also tries to explore the mystery / history behind the beer Porter. This is the article that contradicts the historian in the first article. Mosher even adds his main contradiction in an aside by placing it in parenthesis that could easily have been omitted; “Far from being invented (despite the tales about Ralph Harwood and the Bell Brewhouse in Shoreditch), porter emerged over a generation or more… [saying] There never was a single thing called porter.” Ummm, OK? Anyway, both articles read well but were amusing to read hard contradictions 20 pages from each other, whatever.

Next was an article that was an excerpt from Jamil Zainasheff and John Palmer’s up coming new book “Brewing Classic Styles” that I have talked about on FC before. This, I believe, was what a ‘section’ in the book was supposed to be like and this was for wheat beers. I was mildly disappointed. I had been anticipating this book to be really sweet, and instead the article (excerpt) read very dry and a little repeatative.  The best part is when they relate a story about how dad would carry a Weizenbock with him in the wagon at Halloween when he pulled the kids around the neighborhood as his treat. I’ll probably still get the book anyway.

BYO Magazine November Issue

Sunday, November 11th, 2007

Thank goodness! BYO really stepped it up this month, not only was the lead article really cool but the rest of the magazine flushed out nicely.

BYO Magazine November Issue

I just renewed my subscription to BYO so I guess I really couldn’t have been that disappointed with it, but they were really lacking any meat recently, so to read this issue was a nice sigh of relief. The cover story grabbed my attention right away, how to build the Brutus Ten, sweet! In short, the Brutus Ten is a semi-automated single-tier ten gallon homebrew sculpture designed and built from scratch that has gained a huge internet following and many copy-cat systems. The gentleman that built it actually sells the blueprints and advice on the system on his website for like $25, so to see that they were going to cover how to build and use this system in this issue was huge. I’m assuming the information he sells on his website is much more thorough, but this gives anyone a very good starting point to try to duplicate a similar system.

OK, so that’s what I knew before I read the article, then I got to reading. The article was good, it was written by the guy that designed and built the system, Lonnie McAllister. This is Lonnie’s tenth Brutus design and system, thus the Brutus Ten, and was designed in 3D CAD so you know this shit was drawn out properly. He says this system is able to be built for approximately $2300 and a lot of quality hard work, obviously you could tweak things on his system to make it more and less expensive or more and less extravagant, but this would definitely be a good launchpad. The system I say is semi-automated in the sense of it will do all of the temperature control for you with the mash tun and the hot liquor tank (HLT) but pretty much everything else is manual; the whole kettle side, the pumps, and the cooling. He does have things set up so that it would be super easy and probably more fun to use than the tradition (back-breaking) methods. I like his cooling set-up with a double-recirculation-whirlpool-counter-flow-chiller (CFC). Basically he pumps the hot wort through the CFC and pumps it back into the kettle in a whirlpool while simultaneously pumping iced-down chill water stored in the HLT through the CFC the other way and back into the HLT. By doing this he cools the wort down very fast, saves water that can be used in other applications, and has a much larger percentage of not getting cold break in his fermenters. I think if he was using whole hops and a false bottom with this system he could probably just recirculate the wort minus the whirlpool and have crystal clear wort.

If I were to use this design (which is awesome) for my own system I would look into making at least a few changes. I would be interested in incorporating electronic ignition for the burners instead of using pilot lights. I think it would look cleaner and be easier over all, but of course more expensive. I would want to keep the system as basically a ten gallon system, but I would look into how much larger the stand would have to be to accommodate the footprint for kettles to make twenty gallon batches too. Of course a twenty gallon batch is never necessary, it would just be nice to be able to do it if you wanted to. And finally I think a Tippy Dump mash tun would be nice, which is essentially where your mash tun is cradled in a locking pivot so that you can just swing the mash tun forward and dump the spent grains. I think he has one awesome system there and and I give him mad props for sharing it with the homebrew community through BYO Magazine. Another sweet and similar system I’ve been eying up for years is over here at MoreBeer, I’m pretty sure these two are the kind of style I’ll be focusing on in the future.

Another article in this issue was called Ancient Brews Two where they explored the modern versions of thousands of year old alcoholic beverages, quite possibly beer.  The two they really talked about and explored there history some were the two Dogfish Head (DFH) recreations Midas Touch and Chateau Jiahu. Both “recipes” were micro-biologically taken from pottery shards found in tombs. The Midas Touch information came supposedly from the tomb of King Midas in modern day Turkey and was over 2700 years old! The Chateau Jiahu information came from a providence in Northern China over 9000 years old! Crazy! BYO talked to Bryan Selders (head brewer at DFH) to get the skinny on these recipes and then broke them down to a homebrew level in case any of us would want to try our hand at an ancient brew. I’d consider the Midas Touch, but the Chateau Jiahu is a little out-there for me to want five gallons of it.

Not that the rest of the magazine was fluff, it was actually quite good, but I’ve already rambled a lot here, so just go get a copy yourself. But there was also a good article on Black Patent malt (the malt that makes stout what it is), and a good article on choosing the right metal for different pieces of equipment, and how these metals react with that is going on in each process of brewing. There was also a weak article on building your own hopback, which is a devise that you can fill will hops and pass the hot wort through after boil but before chilling to extract the most (in the sense of an aroma addition) from your late addition hops. I thought it was weak because I thought it was a stupid design, period. Followed by a pretty weak article on using conical fermenters in the Advanced Brewing section. This was supposed to be the Advanced Brewing section, not the please tell me something I don’t already know section, thanks Chris Colby. Nuff said.

Iron Hill & Victory

Sunday, November 4th, 2007

This weekend had the potential to be a diverse beer weekend for me, instead it got off to a rough start and never really started rolling.

 Iron Hill Brewery Logo

On Friday Iron Hill Brewery in Wilmington was hosting one of their Mug Club parties. Essentially these are a way for Iron Hill to show their appreciation to some of their most loyal customers (ie – Mug Club members), and a way for the Mug Club members to come out enjoy Iron Hill in a more intimate way through basically a cooler extended happy hour. I think each location does at least two Mug Club parties per year, and with six locations and number seven on its way, that’s potential to go to a lot of these parties. This time the party was approximately 7-9PM at the Wilmington location. They were doing free 1oz pours of a bunch of their bottled beers which is really cool because they are typically some of their best beers, but at an average of about $18-20 a bottle it’s a little steep to typically buy one. I tried the Oak-aged Quad, 2004 Old Ale, 2005 Old Ale, and the Russian Imperial Stout. They also had three special beers on tap that night, their Bourbon Porter, Oak-aged Fe10, and the Hopkowski. These three beers were $3 a mug (20oz), not bad. They also put out a spread of free appetizers, some bruchetta, nachos, hummus, and wings. And towards the end of the night they had a raffle where they were giving away bottles of beer, gift certificates, dinners for two, and a year membership to the Mug Club – pretty cool. I had the Oak-aged Fe10 which was pretty much the best that I’ve had the Fe10 yet, but a mug was a lot of that beer, a 10ozer would have been better. Then I had a Bourbon Porter, which is one of my all time favorite Iron Hill beers. I decided the wings and nachos were a good idea too, but I should have skipped the sour cream and blue cheese that had been sitting out for at least an hour. I’ll let everyone use their imagination at this point and I’ll just say that something didn’t sit right with me. I barely made it home before my body forcefully evacuated (Tom Jones!?) everything from it’s system that it could. To say the least this put me in bad shape for the next 12-18 hours, not cool. Mug Club party was cool and I had a great time, next time I’m going to skip the white creamy stuff that has been sitting out for public consumption for over an hour. Just a guess, but my bad.

 Victory Brewing Company Logo

So on Saturday we had plans to go to Victory Brewing Company in Downingtown, PA for my brother’s annual birthday celebration. By the time we were getting ready to head up I was just starting to feel “normal” from the night before and the last thing I was thinking about was food and beer, but I didn’t want to miss out and we had already planned on going. Dave has had his birthday get together at Victory for the past seven years or so I would guess and I would have to say that this was one of my favorite times so far. Originally when he was trying to make reservations Victory informed him that they do not take reservations for Friday or Saturday any longer regardless of the size of the party. I’ve seen Dave’s table size grow into the 15+ numbers so I was worried that we would be waiting for a table all night, but fortunately the table size this year was only 10 and Dave went down early to try and secure a spot and everything seemed to work out just fine. I enjoyed a cask-conditioned Storm King Stout and a Hop Wallop along with my chicken Caesar salad while I was there. The Storm King was perfect, right were I was at, the Hop Wallop was a little too much last night, but I finished it all the same. Overall it was a pretty positive experience. I often have issues when we go to Victory for one thing or another especially Dave’s gatherings, but this time was probably one of the better times. Victory felt less crowded, the wait for food felt shorter than in the past, the waitress was relatively attentive, there were only 10 of us versus the monster group, the noise level in Victory seemed much better (Dave pointed out they put noise dampeners in the ceiling), no headaches from the beer (some reason beers on tap at Victory almost always give me a headache), and we left before we ran into the typical “there isn’t enough money for the bill” fiasco. So as of now, I am looking forward to my next Victory experience.