Archive for the ‘Beer’ Category

Beerhind the Music: The Hopp Mobb

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

Beerhind the Music: The Hopp Mobb

This is our short film entry to the 2011 Dogfish Head Off-Centered Film Fest. We came in Second Place this year.

Here’s a segment of a review from Austin 360, which I believe is associated with the newspaper in Austin:

“But there were a lot of laughs on the stage Saturday night and, got to say it, the films have never been better. “Beerhind the Music: The Hopp Mobb” nailed the VH1 schtick brutally and featured an interview with a music journalist named, if I’ve got the spelling correctly, “Kurt Lautertun.” (That’s a reference to both Kurt Loder and a piece of brewing equipment. Everybody there was geeky enough to get it.) That film, by returning champ Erik Mitchell from Delaware, placed second. The filmmakers secret: They drank nine bottles of Bitches Brew the night before they made it.” Austin 360 link

Sour Beers and the POPE

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

Couple nice little beer side trips this weekend; an excessive amount of sour beers and a visit with the POPE.

On Friday Guy had invited a nice group of people, maybe 10 people, over to his house for a sour beer tasting. Now many moons ago Guy used to be a BMC kind of person, now he’s probably on of the biggest beer geeks in the area with a cellar and beer trading reputation that will put most peoples to shame. So when I got the invite I knew there was going to be a lot of gems available that night, very generous indeed. To contribute I brought a Bottleworks Deviation IX and an original batch or ’07 Ommegang Ommegeddon. On top of that, there were 30 other sour beers, 32 total, most in 750ml bottles. I’m still waiting for an official list from Guy, but just from the one picture above you can see what kind of stuff we were getting into: Mikkeller, ’03 Festina Lente, multiple Russian Rivers, ’07 Riserva … many a sick beers. I think overall my favorites were brewer by The Lost Abbey and Russian River, these guys crush some sour beer love. I didn’t take any notes because I just wanted to enjoy myself, and after I receive the official list from Guy I may add some mental notes on specific beers, but as of now hear are some of the comments I can remember (paraphrased): Smells like stinky feet, tastes like grand-mom, smells like olive brine, now this one is funky like Herbie Hancock funky, needs more barnyard to be rounded out, definite baby diaper in this beer, like chocolate soaked in sick, balls deep in this beer, it smells like fruity pussy (said by a female), I think this beer was strained through a used sweat sock … And yes, we liked all of these beers, even with those kind of descriptions. Big thanks to Guy for the generosity and hospitality!

Edit – Here’s the list of sour beers Guy sent over, very nice:

  • Temptation
    Sinner’s Blend
    Cuvee de Tomme
    Red Poppy
    Bullfrog Liquid Sunshine  Reserva
    Weyerbacher Riserva
    La Folie
    Mikkeller It’s Alive
    Panil Barriquee
    Upland Peach
    Ithaca Brute
    Bruery Oude Tart
    Avery Sui Generis
    DFH Festina Lente
    Drie Fonteinen Hommage
    Portsmouth Flanders Red
    Captain Lawrence Rosso e Marrone
    Captain Lawrence Cuvee de Castleton
    Cascade The Vine
    Cascade Kriek
    Iron Hill Frambroise de Hill
    New Belgium Lips of Faith Kriek

On Saturday I decided to drive up to Philly to pick up some concert tickets to avoid the wonderful Ticket Master / Live Nation “convenience” charges. So since I was in Philly I wanted to see if there was anything easy and cheap beer-centric going on so I could make the most of my time. I poked around quickly on line and saw the POPE (Pub On Passyunk East) was having their annual chili cook-off event. I have never been to the POPE before but they have a reputation of being a comfortable beer forward corner bar, plus a bunch of different chilies to taste, sign me up! So essentially it was $5 to sample twelve different chilies and then vote on your favorite. The chili was served in small sample cups, probably between two to four ounces each, so after all twelve it was a ton of chili. Most of the chilies were made in the traditional tomato base with beef, but there were of course a few twists. There was one chili that was a huge hit that was made with lamb that kicked very early in the tasting, there was another chili with breakfast sausage in it which was a really neat variation, some with more expensive cuts of meat like buffalo and pork loin, a south Philly pork variant with pork, broccoli rabe, and sharp provolone, and one veggie chili made with 60 Minute IPA. Overall I would say none of the chilies were duds, and a couple were exceptional. I did not stay long enough to see who won and I am not even sure if there was a criteria or not, but my two favorites were the breakfast sausage chili and the south Philly pork chili, both stood out above the others and were worth the risk of stepping outside of the chili box, good job. Along with the chili I enjoyed a Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA and a 21st Amendment Back in Black IPA. Overall it was a nice little pit stop in Philly and I would totally go back to the POPE again to check it out.

2010 Dogfish Head Bocce Tournament

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

This past weekend, 09.10/11.10, was the 6th Annual Dogfish Head Intergalactic Bocce Tournament in Milton, DE and it was once again absolutely ri-dic-u-lous!

Click HERE to check out all the photos from this event

Click HERE to check out the ridiculous setlist from this event

This was my fifth year attending the Bocce Tournament and the Erik Mitchell Band’s (EMB) fourth year attending. In my opinion, the EMB is the unofficial 17th team of the tournament, I feel as if they are embraced overall by the majority of teams, it’s a real personal and interesting relationship between the musicians and the teams. This year was a little different from the bands perspective, a few things that were different including heading to Milton during the first day of the tournament. Typically we would be behind schedule leaving and not make it down in time, so this year there was more of a conscious effort to get there early, so we were probably able to enjoy the festivities from about 7 to 9 on Friday. Additionally, there was a new musician playing with the band, Jimmy, a second guitar player who sort of took the lead guitar role on some songs and sort of took a background role on others, in all he was a fun addition. And finally, which kind of came down on me, there was no BandVanMan to tote the equipment around in, so unfortunately we got stuck using four cars instead, I think it still worked out OK but felt a little more cumbersome and I’m sure cost a few more bucks between gas and tolls.

Per usual the event itself was crazy stoopid dumb, it had all the dope moves Chucky! Honestly, I feel every year the event takes place it generally gets a little bit more nutty and a little bit more put together, things just really felt like they flowed this year from the interaction of the teams, the schedule of events, the catering, the timing of the games, and the flow of the band. Actually, this may be the first time I can remember things kind of ending on time. Oh yeah, did I forget to mention the Discovery Channel was there filming the whole thing? Yup, take the insanity up another notch. If you haven’t heard yet, Sam Calagione the president of Dogfish Head will be hosting a new Discovery Channel show called “Brewed” which will cover different aspects of the modern beer culture and the history of beer, partially with Dr. Pat McGovern and Sam hopping around the globe to explore different ales, sounds pretty awesome to me. Well, one of the events they covered was the Bocce Tournament; two days of the most loyal Off-Centered People drinking the best Off-Centered Ales playing mainly Off-Centered Bocce while rockin the most excellent Off-Centered threads around. Or, you could say a bunch of really cool goof-balls drinking a metric ass-ton of beer while pretending to play die-hard bocce in the most ridiculous costumes around.

From what I could tell all of the teams returned again, which is really great. Let’s see how good my memory is … not very, but we’ll try … there was Punkin Drublic rockin out a “cowboy label” theme, so like the figures from the Burton Baton and Black and Blue labels and Johnny Cask. They actually re-wrote the lyrics to “Ring of Fire” and performed it with the band, pretty cool. The Alpha Males, or Micro Brewsters, or whatever their name is now (Nacho’s team) were kickin a “blind guy” kind of theme, the Pallino Pimps went all Intergalactic and were intergalactic “super heroes” including Miss Piggy from Pigs in Space, Marvin the Martian, Space Ghost on vacation, and Barbarella … let’s see here … Um, Mama’s Roast Beef was back with sort of a “jungle-tiki” theme, and they had real fake tits once again, and sweet Pumas, the Holy Rollers were back, I think they may have been trying for a “Hare Krishna” type thing or something, not sure, barely recognized Jebus with no hair or beard, Knights of the Malted Balls were sportin the same OG “knights” gear … aahhh … Midas Touch My Balls were back again as the cast of the “Jersey Shore”, The Situation, Ronny, DJ Paulie D, and Snookie were all in effect, and Snookie had one foul mouth! The Chicken-Fuckers/Cat Bird Ass whatever they are now were back, honestly can’t remember their theme this year, Beer Junta was re-invented as the “Insane Clown Bocce” and I know the one dude (old school bocce Kid Rock) was hot as balls in full face make-up, coveralls, and boots, Bonsai Bocce was all ramped up in a new “Rocky” theme, and the Bocce Beer Monks were representing their consistent style with the monk robes, … hhmmm … there was also Sam’s Team “Grape Scott” with some stylish kilts and purple tops, the Engineers from last year were back with an throwback type basketball theme, the “bocce ballers” maybe, not sure, there was also a team with Chiefs gear on hittin a “Slap Shot / Hanson Bros” type theme … oh jeez, and I almost forgot Motley Brue was in the house again, rockin the “eighties hairband” action AND winning the tournament, geez, and I almost forgot them, third time they have won, amazing. And there was one more DFH team Audrey’s Team representing a “bosses” theme where each employee was poking fun at their own bosses, haha. I think that’s 16 teams, so please let me know if I forgot anyone.

In addition to all the greatness that is bocce in Milton I also got to visit the pub in Rehoboth three times over the weekend. On Friday there was a band the Bullbuckers that played, sort of a Ska-Funk band, they had horns and were a ton of fun, though Erik’s camera got accidentally broken at the pub, so that sucked, but I may be able to add those pictures eventually too. Then on Saturday we went after bocce and there was a band 28 North playing that was pretty good too. And then when I sent back late Sunday afternoon it was lazy Sunday style with some billiards to wrap up the good times - fun times indeed. Additionally they had three brew pub exclusives on tap we got to try; the DFH Ale, Chicha, and Bam Bam Baji. The DFH Ale is a Double IPA that was described as having the body of a 60 Minute, the alcohol of a 90 Minute, and the hops of a 120 Minute IPA, it was a delicious beer. The Chicha is based on an old school South American style of fermented beverage where corn is chewed and spit into the mash and the saliva from the spit actually contribute to the break down of the starches in the mash process. The beer is boiled after the fact so it is completely sterile, but to some it is still a very unique idea. Finally the Bam Bam Baji is an English-style bitter and nitrogenated, it was very smooth and easy to drink. All three beers were VERY different than each other and it was a pleasure to have the opportunity to try so many special beers at one time, especially after the mass consumption of 60 Minute IPAs that weekend.

Since I already rambled on a ton and pretty much said nothing I’ll wrap this up. It was an amazing weekend that I highly anticipate each year and feel very fortunate to have the pleasure to be able to contribute how ever I can. Now, sit back, go check out the pictures and some of the older bocce posts, and try to wrap your head around the awesomeness that is the Dogfish Head Intergalactic Bocce Tournament!

Blues, Brews, and BBQ

Monday, June 14th, 2010

OK, scratch that last post, 2 out of 1,000 events for PBW ;).

Saturday 06.12.10 was the Blues, Brews, and BBQ event at Iron Hill Wilmington. I knew about the event for a while, and had mostly planned on going as long as I was in town, but I hadn’t realized it counted as a PBW event since it was in Wilmington, go figure. Regardless, Iron Hill Wilmington had an event Saturday afternoon from 1PM-5PM which included blues music from Docta D and the Infirmary, brews from a couple Iron Hill (IH) locations, Stewarts, and DFH, and in-house special BBQ platters for the day. Overall, great time.

I had seen Docta D once before, last year at the Brandywine Craft Brewer’s Fest (I think that’s what it is called, the one Iron Hill does at their Media location …). They’re a pretty decent blues cover band, the band is real tight, and the lead guy plays a nice harp. But my problem is with me, I’ve been tainted by Nate Myers and the Aces. They are a similar blues cover band, but with move of a good-times flair than full on traditional, and I guess for me that’s what I wanted, a little more eccentric energy. I’m not trying to take anything away from Docta D, I’m just giving my two cents.

The brews were picked to pair well with BBQ/smoked flavors, let me see if I can remember the six specials, there was: IH’s Wee Heavy, IH’s Munich Dunkle, IH’s Smokin’ Blonde, DFH’s Palo Santo, and Stewart’s Dark and Smokey Weisse. There actually was one more from IH but I can’t remember it at this point. The beers were good, they were doing 12oz pours for like $5.75 or a sampler of all six for $6.00, guess which direction I went in … of course! Some quick reviews of some, the IH Munich Dunkle was possibly my favorite which is surprising because I’m not always the biggest fan of the style, the IH Smokin’ Blonde was really good too, it was a Belgian Blonde brewed with smoked malts. I thought the Belgian characteristics came through well and the subtle smoke was a nice addition, good style for the kind of weather that day.The Stewart’s beer was definitely the smokiest, being almost overwhelming on first impression, but grew as you continued to sip the brew. After the smokey sampler I needed a palate cleanser, and the seasonal American IPA was just what the docta ordered, with all the lovely hops scrubbing my palate clean.

And the BBQ was what was up. I had the impression the IH was going to be BBQin’ outside on the deck, especially since it was such a beautiful day and the breeze coming off the river was perfect, but instead they were doing things in the kitchen. Additionally I had the idea that there would be more lunch type items, more sandwiches perhaps, or even small bites like hamburgers and hot dogs, like a picnic flair, but instead it appears as if they focused on dinner type platters, which I ordered anyway. They had a “smoked” accented pizza special, a half chicken, brisket, and pork loin special all available that day. I went with the pork loin and Robert went with the brisket. The pork loin was nice served with a homemade coffee bbq sauce, blue cheese potato salad, which could have used a bit more blue cheese, and grilled summer vegetables. The brisket was better and was served with a different homemade bbq sauce, cheddar mashed potatoes, and grilled zucchini. I don’t remember the details as well for the brisket, but I also didn’t order it. Overall I had a great afternoon at Iron Hill once again and hope that these types of events continue into the future.

1 in 1,000, PBW

Friday, June 11th, 2010

So last night, 06.10.10, was the one and only Philly Beer Week (PBW) event I got to attend, Older Bud No Weiser, at World Café Live.

The event was kind of pimped as a class reunion for the class of 1996 local brewers. In attendance was Tom Kehoe of Yards, Gene Muller of Flying Fish, Mark Edelson of Iron Hill, Bill Covaleski of Victory, and Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head and it was hosted by Greg Koch of Stone. That’s some serious brewing power-house-age right there, and they all basically opened within a year of each other, crazy. The event was more or less set up like a panel with the five guys behind a long table and Greg off to the side emceeing. He would basically lob easy questions up that all five would answer, like: tell us how you started, what piece of advice would you give yourself in 96 if you knew what you knew now, and tell us a funny/embarrassing story kind of thing. After Greg was done with his questions and everyone was warmed up he turned the questions over to the people on the floor, us. We then were able to ask direct questions to a single person or ask the panel a question. They were cool and kicked down bottles of beer to the people who asked questions. Not knowing what you would get, the beers varied from 11 year old barleywines, to 750mls of specialty brews, to unlabeled secret stash brews. The event ran for about three hours.

While the event was going on we also got to sample beers from all five breweries. From Yards I believe we had their ESA, Abbey Dubbel from Flying Fish, Pig Iron Porter from Iron Hill, HopDevil from Victory, and Shelter Pale Ale from DFH. All of the beers were 12oz pours, so it was a nice bit of beer in that three hour time frame. It would have been nice if some small bites were available with the beers, but for $25 I already felt as if it were a bargain price. Also, I was smart enough to eat prior to the event, the website only indicated ‘light fare will be served’, but I didn’t trust it.

I think overall for only being able to go to one event I was able to go to a pretty decent one. Don’t get me wrong, I would have rathered have gone to one every night for all 10 days of PBW, but alas it wasn’t in the stars this year. Plus with 1000 different events, it was a little daunting to figure out which event(s) were going to be the best to go to. I think it may benefit PBW to stream line some next year, for example the event last night was maybe only half sold out, and I think that was because people had so many other options of great things to do to choose from.

Capper Style

Monday, May 24th, 2010

As in a little re-cappage for everyone. I know it probably appears I’m asleep at the wheel here, but truth be told, I just haven’t found the time to update the site. SO, here’s five small updates of things I’ve been into. Hope you enjoy.

On April 24th Robert and I ran in the Trail Dawgs Half Marathon. This was our fifth (I think) year participating. This also happened to be my personal best time for the half marathon, finishing up at 2H 12M 36S. I know it’s not fast compared to some other people, but it was fast for me for 13.1 miles. If you look at the picture you can see my number for the race, 420. Ha, it felt like a joke being the guy with dreadlocks wearing the 420 number, haha. After the race we tried a 5 year old Sly Fox Odyssey and a Stone Black IPA (forget the name). Then we made a pit stop at Twin Lakes Brewery to see what was new there. Overall it was a good little morning.

The day after the Trail Dawgs run on April 25th was the results for the DUH Homebrew Competition. DUH is Delmarva United Homebrewers, and it was only open to homebrewers in the Delmarva area. The cool thing about this competition was the grand prize was Dogfish Head Brewery would brew your beer on the brew pub system, which is an 8 barrel capacity. So the only real criteria was to enter something creative that DFH didn’t already make something similar to it. I entered the Belgian Dubbel infused with Chinese Five Spice, or Dubbel Dragon as Erik started to call it. It didn’t win, but we had a great time sampling all the other homebrews available at Dogfish Head’s upstairs room. I think something with ginger and lemongrass actually won.

The following weekend saw more stoopidity, because on May 2nd was the Sly Fox Goat Races. These are always a ridiculously good time. This year was Sly Fox’s first year at the new location, like seriously open less then a week at this point. The people really showed up in numbers with goats, and kids, and dogs, and beers just about everywhere. This year also saw a first in a back-to-back repeat winner, Dax. So once again we had the Dax Maibock poor at the end of the festivities, and it was delicious. In the bad picture to the left you can see the little goat I wanted to win, her name was Peggy, and she had three legs. Peggy made me smile and I wanted her to win, but alas it wasn’t meant to be.

Another good thing happened later that week, on May 6th I received my first new shipment of ingredients in quite some time. I had already arranged things so that I had around 150 lbs of base malt, and still lots of extra hops from the order that was placed for the 1oth Anniversary Batch, but now I needed more specialty ingredients so that I could make a more diverse line up of beers. So I ordered enough for seven batches plus, and they are: an American Wheat, an American Brown, a Saison, two different Pale Ales, and two different IPAs. All of these will be 10 gallon batches, and realistically all of these should be brewed by the end of the summer. There should be enough “extra” specialty malts to squeeze out one or two hodge-podge beers too afterward, though I will probably need more base malt by then.

And finally on May 15th I brewed my first batch of been since the beginning of March, I think. I started with the American Wheat, all Perle hops, sort of based off of my Cluster Wheat recipe from last year. For this beer I believe I am going to keep 5 gallons traditional and then add fruit to the other 5 gallons. I was trying to think of something different but still appealing to try and then it hit me one morning at work. A Grilled Pineapple Wheat Beer. I know, it sounds funky, but it also sounds summery, and I think it may just have a chance. I think the grilling will add a cool caramel flavor and will mellow out the pineapple bite a bit. The other thought was similar, Toasted Coconut Wheat Beer, but unfortunately I’m not a huge coconut fan and 5 gallons of that could be a little much for me.

So I promise I’ll keep posting if you promise you’ll keep reading, that goes for you all of you: Dave, John, Scott, Erik and Robert 😉

DFH Off-Centered Film Fest 2010, pt2

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

So, I’ll try to pick up where I left off and make this as coherent as possible.

You can see all the pictures from the trip here, just CLICK

We woke up late on Saturday, probably close to noon. We were all a little out of it, but no one was broken. First thing we had to do was contact the car rental company and make sure everything was in order, of course we weren’t able to get a hold of anyone so our consciouses were not at ease. We decided that going into Austin for the day and walking around would be a good idea. I can’t remember the name of the street now, but it was a definitive thoroughfare sort of like Main Street in Newark or Rehoboth Avenue in Rehoboth. Lots of food, lots of nitchy stores, lots of people watching, you know, lots of everything, but Austin-ized. As we were be-bopping around in one of the stores Erik realized he had lost a credit card. So now we had that to worry about too. We were hoping he left it at the Draft House or the Draught House, but we could not get a hold of anyone at either. We figured we’d score some lunch, call again, and if nothing else pay each a visit before a full on freak out occurred. Lunch was kind of a long decision, no one had an opinion on what they wanted only what they didn’t want. We settled on pizza slices which I think was a good choice, and it was good pizza too. After lunch we tried calling the two bars again in hopes of scoring the credit card, and we did! Erik accidentally left it at the Draught House the night before, so off we went to rescue the credit card and see how much of tab was put on it. When we got there Erik ran in, picked up his card, paid the tab, and ran back out. We were all waiting for some sort of end-of-the-night-tab-that-wasn’t-ours to be charged on there, but it was only $4.25, haha. I asked if he left a good tip, and I believe he responded that he didn’t leave any because he was pissed they didn’t look for him at the end of night :).

We then left the Draught House and went back to the hotel to chill out for a couple hours and clean up before the movie premier. On the way to the theater we stopped and re-upped on non-alcoholic beverages, specifically Gatorade, we needed to make sure we were going to have an OK flight home, right? When we got to the theater Erik was interviewed by the local Austin newspaper (check that … now that I think about it I believe that was Friday, but regardless, it happened) about the film fest and our movie. The picture above is the four of us with Sam from DFH which was in the paper. Of course we couldn’t find a copy of it before we left, but here’s a LINK to the article if you care to read it. The movie premier was of course a ton of fun. Sam and DFH filmed a short film of their own for the fest, plus they showed like the top ten honorable mention films which I thought some of them were pretty good, and then they showed third, second, and first. After the honorable mentions and before they showed the top three, they called one person up by name from each group to come up on stage and talk about the film. Erik went up and said a little bit, but as he said he didn’t want to say too much to ruin the film or anything. I liked all of the top three, though third was my favorite of the other two. Ours got a pretty good crowd reaction too, which was cool. We filmed the whole movie premier, so it should be interesting to watch that version of our film and see what a bunch of Austin beer-geek strangers thought were the “good parts” versus which parts didn’t get the pop we thought they might. Below are You Tube links to the DFH movie, third, second, and third.

After the premier we wound up hanging at the theater, which has a bar in the lobby, I love this place. We probably stayed at the theater drinking different DFH beers until about midnight, and then it was time to go, we had one more stop to make. From the theater we went to Pluckers, which is a local TX wing bar, think ala Hooters but without the scantaly clad waitresses. We wanted to go back to Pluckers more because we be-friended a bartender, Deuce, last year and wanted to see if he was still working there, which he was not. Though he was no longer there his protege was. He was a goofy young kid who had been there about a year and was trained by Deuce. He was OK, but didn’t hold our attention enough to stay longer then a couple of local beers. When we got back to the hotel we were all giddy for some reason. We got the giggles real bad on the car ride home and it never really stopped. So from like 2AM to 4AM we were loud as shit in our room, bumpin music, drinkin beers, throwing shit around, it was a hot mess. We started to fall out around 4AM with Roby and I falling out first, and Mitchell and Wooly still rolling. Supposedly they went outside around that time and the second and third place teams were actually leaving the hotel to catch their flight, talk about different time frames. Eventually they must have gone to bed too :).

Sunday morning seemed to come out of the blue. We started waking up around 10ish and had to be checked out by 12 and be at the Gospel Brunch at Stubb’s BBQ at 1PM. While we were packing up our stuff we wanted to secure our film fest posters. Last year we ran to a FedEx/Kinko’s within walking distance and bought a 1″ diameter mailing tube for the posters. It was an OK idea, though the tube was a little tight and a little long, but it kept them safe. So, this year I brought down a 3″ diameter poster tube cut to fit the posters from last year. Guess what? They changed the poster size and the tube was too short. In all honesty in retrospect it probably would have worked OK with only about two inches of poster hanging out, but instead we tried to source a new poster tube. Of course we spent way too long looking for a tube we never found, similar to how I’ve already typed way too much about something no one even cares about. After the poster tube search we were off to Stubb’s BBQ to enjoy one last bangin’ Austin meal and listen to some blues-gospel music. We did this brunch last year and knew we wanted to come back. Last year they had us tucked in some corner were we couldn’t see the stage, this year we made reservations plenty of time in advance and requested a seat downstairs so we could watch the performance. After we got situated we headed up to the buffet line, which includes authentic BBQ including brisket, chicken, sausage, and smoked bacon, plus biscuits and gravy, pecan pie, eggs three ways, breakfast burritos, fruit … all sorts of stuff. I tried not to eat until it hurt, but it was the only meal I had that day, so I’m sure I had plenty.

We really had nothing left to do at this point, plus were were all burning out on booze and food, and wanted to see what’s the haps on the craps for the rental car. So we went to the airport about three hours before our flight. When we filled up the rental car on gas it cost only $20 for four days of driving around TX, I guess that Prius does get good gas mileage. We then went to Alamo to turn in the car. The guy actually made it seem like it was no big deal since we had the renters insurance, so hopefully we have heard the end of that and won’t get hit with some crazy bill months after the fact. In the airport it was pretty boring with all of us pretty much just staring at each other trying not to fall asleep. We had one layover in Dallas but didn’t even need to get off the plane, so that’s a cool layover, and the Temple Female Gymnastics team boarded and were sitting near us, so that was entertaining too. We arrived back in Philly about 12:30AM-ish and I was home by about 1AM. Morning came fast again and work went slow on Monday, but it was all totally worth it, AND I hope to have the opportunity to do it all again in 2011 :).

I think that pretty much wraps the trip up in a nutshell. If anyone has any direct questions that I didn’t address feel free to ask and I’ll give you my two cents. Otherwise, go check out those pictures, the newspaper article, and short films from the trip! (now)

DFH Off-Centered Film Fest 2010, pt1

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

Better late then never I suppose … but Austin 2010 was AWESOME!

You can see all the pictures from the trip here, just CLICK

This may be a little briefer than it could be, but we’ll see… So this years Dogfish Head Off-Centered Film Fest was April 16/17, 2010. We had gone last year because of our award winning movie World Wide Clout which came in third place AND we got to back again this year because of our new award winning movie Burton Baton and the Legend of the Ancient Ales which came in first place – unbelievable! So this year Erik (Klaus Von Hommelbier), Robert (Burton Baton), Wooly (Johnny Squall), and myself (Sah’Tea) all went down from Thursday to Sunday to get our Austin rock star on! To say the least we had a blast.

So Thursday we had a reasonably timed flight, we left Philly around 9:00AM and arrived in Austin around 3PM-ish. DFH had us booked at a pretty nice hotel for Fri and Sat but on Thurs we decided to book at a different hotel down the street to save a few bucks, it was pretty ghetto. Mental note: next time front the extra couple bucks for the nicer digs. When we got to the hotel we all kind of fell out without saying anything to each other, before I knew it we were all basically asleep for a little over an hour. When we came to we wanted to go out and buy supplies for the room, like beer, water, snacks, and then head out for the night. So we went to our favorite spot the H.E.B. (which we call the heeb) and stocked up, got some decent shit, and some weird shit, like pickle juice, HEB-buddy grape body wash, and some snack that made Roby’s fingers all red that looked like death wiped off on a white hotel towel – I can’t remember what that shit was! After the HEB we wanted food and beer. Erik had pulled up some breweries/brewpubs on his phone and we went on the hunt. After our second one came up permanently closed we needed to punt. Since we were all tired and hungry we decided to go with a reliable choice, the Gingerman. The Gingerman has like 90 taps and probably almost as many bottled beers too. We all got something to munch on and tried a few local TX beers, good times. We weren’t out too late, probably made it back to the room like 1AM-ish and sat up bull shitting and drinking Full Sail Session Lagers out of stubby bottles until about 3AM or so.

Friday we woke up around 10AM-ish to the dilemma of Erik’s iPhone breaking. It sounds kind of lame, but honestly we relied on that thing as our calendar, our GPS, our contacts, and general interwebs connection to find shit in Austin. So we looked up the nearest Apple store which was at a mall like 30 minutes away, actually, everything seemed to be like 30 minutes away from everything else, go figure. Anyway, we got to the mall and found the Apple store and had to wait. Robert, Wooly, and I basically cruised the mall for like two hours. It was actually a half way decent mall, but when you’re just killing time two hours at a mall is too long. Fortunately Erik was able to get his phone “fixed”. Actually, it was three weeks out of warranty and the phone died, but the little Apple dude was cool and basically kicked down a refurbed one for free. So though the phone was wiped of all personal stuff (suckage) we did have access to the world again. After the mall we went for some lunch at a BBQ brewpub, Uncle Billy’s,  that Wooly’s cousin had recommended. BBQ + brewpub together, genius idea. The place was pretty cool, roll-up doors all the way around, so when they’re up (which they were) you kind of feel like you’re sitting outside. The house Pale Ale was pretty good, though their seasonal hop handle was empty, which I was a little disappointed about. The BBQ wasn’t bad either, I had brisket, coleslaw, and fries, though their sauce was a little weird for me, kind of a cross between a tomato based BBQ sauce and a vinegar based. When we were getting ready to leave we stuck our heads into the brewery door to see if the brewer was around. He was, and was brewing, but still made time to chat us up a little bit. He was a really nice guy, though I can’t remember his name, and totally gave us some recommendations of places to check out while we were in Austin, nice. After lunch we went to our other hotel, which was much nicer, thanks DFH. We kind of just lazed around the hotel from like 3-6PM, drank some beers, ate some snacks, listened to some tunes, and watched TV on mute while overdubbing our own commentary (So many rooms …) – you know dumb boy stuff.

Around 6PM-ish we got our asses in gear and headed over to the Alamo Draft House to get ready for the DFH beer pairing/tasting. This year they decided to kick it up a notch from last year, so that was awesome. It was 15 beers paired with 15 small bites, all while this great local jazz band, Torch, played while old school black and white cartoons silently played over top on the big screen – really neat. We ran into a bunch of people from Austin from last year too, it was really cool, it kind of felt like we all picked up right where we left off, like it was the next weekend not a year later. Here’s a list of what we had, both appropriate for foodies and beer geeks alike, and since I’m into both, well, score!

  • Aprihop w/ Chicken, corn, and black bean fried mini burrito
  • Raison D’Etre w/ Medjool Date stuffed with gorgonzola, Marcona almond and wrapped in bacon
  • Black & Blue w/ Crab wonton with blueberry sauce
  • 60 Minute IPA w/ Full Quiver farms white cheddar
  • Burton Baton w/ Prosciutto, melon, and lime
  • 120 Minute IPA w/ Blue cheese soufflé puff
  • Chateau Jiahu w/ Pulled pork slider, with house pickled red onions, and spicy mustard
  • Pangaea w/ BBQ Bison slider with cheddar
  • Punkin Ale w/ Chorizo/ beef slider with avocado mayo, lettuce, and tomato
  • Indian Brown Ale w/ House made smoked duck sausage
  • Palo Santo Marron w/ Chorizo, jack, and cojita quesadilla with roasted tomato salsa
  • Immort w/ Truffled parmesan cheese fries
  • Midas Touch w/ Midas Baklava
  • Raison D’ Extra (no pairing)
  • Fort w/ Fort Sherbert

They served the pairings in 5 courses, three at a time. In between each course Sam, owner of DFH, and Paul, chef at Alamo, would get up and talk about their beers and food respectively and then discuss why they thought they would make a good pairing. It was actually interesting and you could tell they really cared about what they were saying. I think my favorite pairings were the Raison D’Etre with the stuffed date (called the “Date Rape” by the chef), the Burton Baton with the prosciutto, and the Immort with the fries. All of them were delicious, I don’t think there was one stinker in the bunch. Wooly wasn’t eating and drinking all of his pairings, so we all got to have a little bit extra of certain ones too, so that was nice. After the tasting we were still ready to go, so we went to the Draught House in the city. We really had no idea where we were going, so thank goodness for the iPhone. We did happen to make one wrong turn, so we had to make a U-turn in a parking lot. The problem with driving in the dark, in an unfamiliar town, and being in a hurry is that sometimes you don’t see things, like the pole we backed into making the U-turn. Yup, jacked up the rental car, a 2010 Prius. It wasn’t horrible, but I bet the bumper and the rear quarter-panel will need to be replaced. We did purchase the renters insurance, so fingers crossed there won’t be any repercussions because of it. At the Draught House we ran into this cat Pliny who we met last year, super chill dude. The funniest part is he is originally from Delaware but now lives in Austin, WTF! So we pretty much saddled up with Pliny and his crew and hung until like 2AM when the bar closed and they kicked us out and then we all hung out front for like another hour. We got back to the hotel like 3:30AM-ish, grabbed another beer, and hit the hay.

Overall Thursday and Friday flew by, but were great times. The DFH tasting that night was superb. And we still had two more days of kickin it in Austin to go! Stay tuned and hopefully I’ll have part two with Saturday and Sunday up soon. Saturday was the actual film fest and Sunday was gospel brunch and the flight home. Until then …

Come to the Dark Side…

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

So yesterday, 04.03.10,  was Iron Hill Wilmington‘s Brewer’s Reserve / Dark Side release day.

Overall it was a real good time. Things were supposed to get started around 12:00 and I wound up getting there about 3:00. I had anticipated that things were going to be quite crowded by that point, but to my surprise it wasn’t very busy at all, and I was totally down with that. I was hoping they were going to do a dark beers only sampler, and they didn’t disappoint. The Sampler consisted of ten different dark beers each approx 5oz for $20. So 50oz of reserve beer for $20, that’s a pretty good deal I think. Plus if you were a Mug Club member they had Dark Side T-shirts they were giving away, which was a nice little perk. Some of the stand out beers for the day were the Dark Side, a crisp dark lager weighing in at about 10% alc, dangerous beer indeed, the Black IPA, a highly hopped dark beer that was more IPA with color than roast, and the Bourbon Russian Imperial Stout, a boozy blend of a big tasty beer and bourbon.

I wound up meeting up with Wooly which was cool, he got a sampler also even though he’s not a big dark beer kind of guy. His favorites were the American Stout, a “lighter” stout compared to some of the options in the sampler with a nice hop presence, and the Oompa Loompa Chocolate Stout, a chocolate/vanilla stout. Honestly, the OLCS was not my favorite of the day. Though after talking to the brewer, Paul, about the beer it seems as if the beer we were being served yesterday may have been the “last keg” of the batch and wasn’t of the same characteristics of the rest of the batch. It reminded me of a milkshake or chocolate milk in appearance, with kind of a chalky after taste, oh well. Per usual, good times at Iron Hill and can’t wait for the next event.

Iron Hill Mug Club

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

So the other night it was time to re-up on my Iron Hill Mug Club renewal, and I gladly paid the annual fee to take advantage of this great Mug Club.

This is my sixth year as a member of the Iron Hill Mug Club I believe and every year I feel it is a great opportunity for anyone who goes to any of the Iron Hill locations even on a semi-regular basis. Here’s the basics: you pay a $35 annual fee to be a member, with said membership you get to take home a lovely 24oz ceramic mug (each year it’s different), you get any Iron Hill beer poured in your 24oz mug for the same price as a 16oz beer (quick math, every two mugs = 1 free pint), they have Mug Club only promos throughout the year, there’s an easy points system to acquire gift certificates, and all of this can be used at any of their eight locations! Jebus, enough of my jibber-jabber, here’s the straight dope from the horse’s mouth:

Mug Club Loyalty Card Perks

  • Drink from an exclusive 24 ounce signature handmade beer mug
  • Any-time filling of the mug for the same price as the 16 ounce pint
  • Use of your mug during any Iron Hill pint promotion
  • Invitations to exclusive mug club events throughout the year
  • Direct contact via email with the head brewer regarding upcoming releases and events
  • Earn a $25 credit reward for every 300 points accrued
  • 200 free points credited at time of sign-up
  • Take home collectible mug at time of sign-up or renewal
  • Mug design changes each year

Mug Club Loyalty Card Rules

  • Cost of membership is $35 per year
  • Mug club memberships expire yearly and must be renewed each year during the month specified on the back of your membership card
  • Unused points roll over at time of renewal
  • If you choose not to renew, unused points will be forfeited
  • Membership and card are non-transferable
  • Points are accrued for each dollar spent, excluding tax and tip and the purchase of gift cards

Pretty freakin’ dope, I know. So come on out and support you local brew pub(s). Bring a friend, join together, now the two of you have something else in common and something else to do to keep yourselves occupied.