Archive for July, 2009

Good Beer Drinking Weather

Friday, July 31st, 2009

As the weekend comes upon us, I can’t help but wonder if the weather in August will be as kind as this July. Chicagoland has experienced very mild weather compared to the usual 20 days of 90 degree weather crap we are so accustomed. Today is probably one of the nicest days of the month and what better way to end July and bring in August than a few beers on the patio making some smores on the fire pit.

Although I almost didn't have this one, I had a change of mind as it was still thirsty for refreshment.  Really an outstanding Russian Imperial Stout!

Although I almost did have this one, I had a change of mind as it was still thirsty for refreshment. Really an outstanding Russian Imperial Stout!

The toughest part of the evening will be deciding which beers to drink. Do I go with the laid back approach and drink beers that I don’t have to rate and enjoy the evening thoroughly with some Oberon? I currently have a 12 pack of Oberon and the wife and I could polish that off no problem. Or, do I go more sophisticated and drink some of the 25 – 30 beers that are in my fridge that I have never had? air jordan 13 femmes That means work: pouring, smelling, tasting, and writing about beer. Hold on, did I just call that work? Who I am kidding? Oh, this is going to be a good night.

I don’t think I will decide on what to drink tonight until five minutes after I arrive home and grab the first beer that jumps of out of the fridge and slaps me in the face. Have a good safe weekend and play outside. Enjoy!

Site Design: First Mockup

Thursday, July 30th, 2009
Two Beer Dudes first mockup of website.

Two Beer Dudes first mockup of website.

It has been three weeks since I met with Chris to discuss the web site and directions for the design. In the meantime I have been on brewery hops and working on the back end coding of the site. Pages are starting to interlink and, to my knowledge, I believe all links actually go somewhere and are free of bugs (fingers crossed).

As I have been working the thoughts of what Chris has cooked up have constantly over taken my body. air jordan 12 femmes This morning as I opened my email I noticed an email, with an attachment, from Chris. The heart quickened, the palms started to sweat all because I knew this was a mockup. Like a five year old on Christmas Day I moved my mouse as quickly as possible over the link so that I could pull up and read the email. I hastily read the words as the attachment was the glimmer in my eye.

He could of sent a picture of dog crap and I would have thought it was awesome. I didn’t care, I just wanted to see some progress. Indeed he made some and the mockup is in the early stages but we have a great foundation to work with. Hopefully things will move a little more quickly and we can launch the site on time. Enjoy!

Wednesday Beer Store Here Again

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Beer store visit seems to have come quickly this week. Maybe I wasn’t thinking that much about it because I am still overwhelmed by the amount of beer I purchased this past weekend on the brewery hop. My main goal of the day was to try and purchase some Lakefront Brewery beers since I passed while up in Wisconsin and because the wife asked (ordered) me to.

My loan pick up this Wednesday: Tyranena Brewing Company Scurvy

My loan pick up this Wednesday: Tyranena Brewing Company Scurvy

Of course I had to stop off and ask Travis what they got in new in case something really jarred the senses. They only got in two from Dog Fish Head that are both based on the “old” recipe idea. air jordan 11 femmes Neither really interested me since I still haven’t drank the Shai Tea I purchased almost a month ago. Besides they aren’t cheap.

So I asked about their selection of Lakefront which was only two in depth, neither of which my wife fancies. Going home empty handed from my Wednesday beer store visit? Oh, the thought makes my stomach upset.

So I did a quick scan of the aisle and noticed there were Tyranena Brewing Company choices on the shelf. While in Wisconsin I didn’t see the Scurvy IPA brewed with Orange Peel but there it was. I have heard good things, so we shall see. Enjoy!

Lots and Lots of Beer from Brewery Hop

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009
Pile of beer that I picked up while on the brewery hop to south-central Wisconsin.

Pile of beer that I picked up while on the brewery hop to south-central Wisconsin.

My last brewery hop was an expedition that covered four breweries: New Glarus Brewing Company, Capital Brewery, Lakefront Brewery, and Tyranena Brewing Company. When you embark on such a large journey there is a large amount of beer that has to be both consumed and purchased, not only for myself but beer drinking friends. That is exactly what happened.

The New Glarus Brewing Company was the first stop and most of the beer purchased here was not for me. The wife, Ed, Mark, and Rich were the wantees. air jordan 6 femmes I was just the travelling madman. From there on out, at each of the breweries, I purchased less and less. I was starting to worry about space and how I would pack the van back up for trip home. I didn’t want another causality similar to the Three Floyds Brewing Company brewery hop.

Lakefront Brewery Laverne & Shirley ornament.

Lakefront Brewery Laverne & Shirley ornament.

The biggest haul of the brewery hop whirlwind tour came from Star Liquor in Madison, WI. Great selection of beer that I can’t touch in Illinois. I was also fortunate that they had a Tyranena Brewing Company taste test going on which was nice, even if I only caught the last ten minutes of it.

So here is the list of beer (drum roll please):

Weekend of Brewery Hops Tons of Fun!

Monday, July 27th, 2009
Capital Brewery painted sign on top of the building.  Had to pull off on the side of the highway to get this shot.

Capital Brewery painted sign on top of the building. Had to pull off on the side of the highway to get this shot.

The brewery hops started an hour later than expected at 9:00am but we really didn't have anywhere to be, so an hour late wasn't going to hurt. We followed the gps directions to New Glarus Brewing Co., which took us a much different way than the last time we went. I enjoyed the no traffic roads but there was 20 left and right turn along the way, as well as two bridges being completely out for construction, adding 20 miles to entire drive. I gave the gps a stern talking to and we are both now on the same page.

My middle child wanted to go (run) through the brewery again. Done. air jordan 4 femmes The wife and I had a quick taste test (10 minutes tops for all three) and we were down stairs picking up some delicious bottled liquid. Mixed six packs, some Unplugged, R&D Golden Ale, Raspberry Tart, Belgian Red; you start to get the picture we purchased the entire joint. Not that you will believe but most was for beer friends.

Star Liquor beer store in Madison, WI.  Cozy place with good staff and a good selection of beer.

Star Liquor beer store in Madison, WI. Cozy place with good staff and a good selection of beer.

I was looking for at least one snifter glass on these brewery hops but couldn't find one at any of the breweries I visited. My wife has a Crate & Barrel gift card, just wait until she goes to sleep and I will have new glasses. 😉

The next stop on the tour was Middleton, WI to take a 3:30pm tour of Capital Brewery. There was time in the itinerary (yes, I am anal and put together a two page spreadsheet itinerary) to visit Lake Louie Brewing in Arena, WI but after a phone call that went unanswered (which Tom, the owner, told me they might not be there), so we found a public park that had a nice picnic area, lake, play ground, and water park to eat lunch. Of course the anticipation of playing in the water led to light lunches for the three kids.

Unfortunately it started to rain and we decided to head over to the actual brewery. It was still only 2:30pm but it was time to enjoy a beverage. Once at the brewery we decided to drive over to the hotel instead of keeping the kids all cooped up with the rain, especially after they starting running in the rain and getting their clothes all wet.

Lakefront Brewing Company tour coin that allows you to get one of your four allotted eight ounce beers while on the tour.

Lakefront Brewing Company tour coin that allows you to get one of your four allotted eight ounce beers while on the tour.

Amazingly the hotel I booked in Madison, WI was a mere 1.5 miles away from Capital Brewery. We were in-and-out and back for a beer within 20 minutes.

I had the Wild Rice and my wife had their Wisconsin Amber. The kids had pop and water. Yes, pop, it was vacation time.

The tour led to one tidbit of information that surprised me: Capital Brewery does all of it's bottling at a remote brewery.

After the tour we found our way to Madison for dinner and a stop at Star Liqours. air jordan 4.5 femmes Star is a small store that from the outside sort of lead me to believe I was going to be disappointed. Umm, yeah, I am dumb. Adam, the manager, loves beer, loves to talk beer, and lent a hand in selection. Star has an awesome selection of beers from the area and from some breweries that I can't buy from in Illinois. Most notably: Oskar Blues.

Lakefront Brewing Company lineup of taps at the bar where you wait for the tour.

Lakefront Brewing Company lineup of taps at the bar where you wait for the tour.

Day two of the brewery hop tour started early, again: 10:00am. We had a 12:00pm tour reservation at Sprecher Brewing Company (the only way you can do tours there). The drive to the Milwaukee area is about 90 minutes and I wanted to be early, as usual.

After about ten minutes of driving I brought up to my wife that I would really like to try and do Lakefront and Tryanena since Sprecher is the easier of the three to visit in terms of the number of tours. So after a promise of not to rush too much, we changed courses for a 1:00pm brewery hop at Lakefront Brewery and a 3:30pm brewery hop at Tyranena Brewing.

Tyranena Brewing Company bottle cleaning, preparing the bottle to receive some beer.

Tyranena Brewing Company bottle cleaning, preparing the bottle to receive some beer.

What a complete stroke of luck: Lakefront actually started doing noon tours, because of demand, and by the time we were done with our tour they were sold out for the rest of the day. So, if we had gone to Sprecher there is no way we could have gone on a brewery hop at Lakefront.

The Lakefront Brewery tour is aimed at all ages and all interests of the brewing process by encouraging group participation and some light comedy. Entertaining. They also give you a lot for the $6 tour price: free 8 ounce glass, four 8 ounce testers, one pint glass, and the tour. There was also an air and water show going on in Milwaukee so the kids and myself thought it was cool when the F-16 buzzed overhead a couple of times. Damn hot rod of the skies! Very loud, very fast, very cool.

Tyranena Brewing Company malt grinder preparing the malt to go into the mash where it will mix with water starting the brewing process.

Tyranena Brewing Company malt grinder preparing the malt to go into the mash where it will mix with water starting the brewing process.

After some pizza for lunch and enjoying the sun on the river outside the brewery, it was time to pack it up and head back towards Lake Mills, WI and Tyranena Brewing Company. air jordan 5 femmes The 50 minute drive back was full of anticipation and I couldn't wait to hit my third brewery hop in a little over 24 hours.

Tyranena is a smaller brewery but they have some quality and tasty products. The tour was very education as it was led by the assistant brewer, Nevin. He shared a very thorough knowledge of the brewing process and how it is done at Tyranena with the group. They even have some hop plants growing out back.

A lot of driving, a lot of walking, a lot of questing, a lot of tasting equals a crap load of brewery hop fun. I don't know if this is true or not, but one bartender at Lakefront mentioned to me that kids in Wisconsin can drink as long as they are with their parents. Nice law. Each brewery hop had its own twist on what to share with the group of people but each always centered around the idea of making good American craft beer. I look forward to planning another big trip like this either in the fall or spring. Heck, maybe I can talk the wife into one in the fall and on in the spring! My next brewery hop will be to Two Brothers Brewing Company in Warrenville, IL. Hopefully I can get Rich out there with me too. Enjoy!

Old Rasputin XII Rare Beer on this Beer Store Weekly Visit!

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009
Quartet of Rasputin XII by North Coast Brewing Co. doing a great job of making me want a drink at 6:00am!

Quartet of Rasputin XII by North Coast Brewing Co. doing a great job of making me want a drink at 6:00am!

Beer store visits are the highlight of my week. Especially when I can score four bottles of Old Rasputin XII from North Coast Brewing Company! Albeit two of these bottles are for beer drinking buddies: Ed and Mark. That still leaves me with two. I will definitely have to share one with Rich and then cellar the second for a while.

The only drawback I can see to this beer: the price tag. air jordan 3 femmes At $21.99 per bottle it is a little steep and $100, with tax, for four is ludicrous! Of course I paid it but that doesn’t mean it isn’t on my mind especially with the brewery hop this weekend that will tack onto the tab.

I didn’t even go to the liquor store to pick up the Old Rasputin XII as they hadn’t called to tell me it was in yet but just for my normal weekly visit and a chance to talk beer with Travis, the beer buyer for the store. I was on strict rules from the “boss” not to purchase anything because of this weekends’ brewery hop. Of course I had to get something, I picked up a bomber of Bam Bière by Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales after enjoying a confusing Oro de Calabaza last Friday.

I look forward to trying both beers and sharing my thoughts in more beer reviews. Enjoy!

Two Beer Dudes Brewery Hops for July 24th Weekend

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

After over two weeks of planning the plan is in place and I await the brewery hop with great anticipation. My wife has said she wants to leave on Friday by 9:00am so we can fit everything in. Yes, the wife is ready to go too!

So we will start off for New Glarus, WI and will restock with beer from New Glarus Brewing Co which has already been a brewery hop. Also, I have had requests from friends to pick up some Spotted Cow and various other flavors. While visiting New Glarus, I will give Tom a call from Lake Louie Brewing to see if there is chance they can fit me in their busy schedule for a look see. If not, I understand.

Map of Wisconsin.

Map of Wisconsin. Home of a lot brewers and our next brewery hop.

The hop will continue in Arena or onto Middleton (near Madison) for Capital Brewery and a date for a 3:30pm tour. air jordan 1 femmes After this tour it will be time to check out Star Liquor (suggested by the owners of Furthermore Brewery in Spring Green) to pick up some Furthermore as well as some other beers not distributed in Illinois.

The end of day one will bring us to the hotel and some fun in the pool. Hopefully a good reward for the kids after a long day of travel. Day two will start off with a little more swimming followed by breakfast and a trip east.

Sprecher Brewing Company in Glendale (near Milwaukee) will be our destination for a 1:00pm tour. We will follow this up with a tour of Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee at 3:00pm to finish off another busy and final day.

The ride home will be filled of thoughts of all the liquid goodness I have ahead of me to taste and review. Enjoy!

New Beer From a Traveling Neighbor

Monday, July 20th, 2009

My neighbor from across the way recently traveled through Pennsylvania and New Jersey for a family wedding. Of course I had to impose and give them a list of potential beers from breweries that I can’t get in the Chicagoland area. The list was brief but I was trying for some beers that were from little breweries.

Weyerbacher Brewery Company - Quad

Weyerbacher Brewery Company - Quad

After my neighbor, Miles, arrived home I eagerly awaited the ring of the doorbell that signaled the arrival of the liquid goodness he was able to score on the trip. He brought me over a six pack with Magic Hat Circus Boy (can get in the area, here is the beer review), Weyerbacher QUAD, and Michigan Brewing Celis Grand Cru (one Big Sky Summer Honey was thrown in since there were only five beers). air jordan 14 Not what I expected but I am gracious nonetheless that he took time out his family vacation to try and get me some beer. Thank you Miles.

Every story has a funny side though. This one has is tragic. As Miles was packing up the vehicle for the return trip, pushed some extra belongings from the inside of the vehicle towards the back, and, of course, pushed all the beer onto the ground. Yikes!

Now it becomes easy to see why he only came back with five beers and three of those had scratches on them from where they had bounced on the asphalt. I guess I was lucky to even get those five 🙂

What have I learned from the second friend/neighbor that has traveled looking for beer: I need to give them specific instructions if they can’t find what I am interested in, don’t bother. Enjoy!

Four New Beer Reviews

Saturday, July 18th, 2009
Obovoid Oak-Aged Oatmeal Stout by Boulder Beer Company.  Nice and unexpected creaminess.

Obovoid Oak-Aged Oatmeal Stout by Boulder Beer Company. Nice and unexpected creaminess.

Last night was a good night for tasting. I took a visit to an old friend, Ed, that I hadn’t seen a while. We talked a lot, caught up, had some grub, and then we got serious drinking and talking beer!

The first beer of the night was Cocoa Loco from Arcadia Brewing. This is a beer that, as the name insists, has a lot of cocoa in it: both aroma and taste. Beer review for Cocoa Loco.

Beer number two was Obovoid Oak-Aged Outmeal Stout from Boulder Brewing. air jordan 12 Obovoid has plenty of roasted malt, oatmeal, and chocolate. There was a creaminess to the beer that was unexpected but was placed. A really good beer that Ed and I both enjoyed. Beer review for Obovoid.

Furious by Surly Brewing Company in Brookly Center, MN should be hung on a wall as a fine work of art.  Yes, it is that good!

Furious by Surly Brewing Company in Brookly Center, MN should be hung on a wall as a fine work of art. Yes, it is that good!

Third beer to the plate was Furious from Surly Brewing. Words are hard in describing this beer but everything you may have heard about is true: even more so in my opinion. 99 IBUs of hop goodness that are well balanced throughout. Hop lovers web dream! Beer review for Furius.

The final and cleanup hitter of the night was Oro de Calabaza from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales. Unfortunately our “gusher” leaked all but six ounces out of the 24 ounce bottle. The little taste we were afforded was definitely different, complex, and something that I want to experience again. The whole wild yeast bottle fermenting is interesting. Jolly Pumpkin makes an entire line of beers out of their Dexter, MI brewery that run along these lines. Beer review for Oro de Calabaza.

Oro de Calabaza by Jolly Pumpin Artisan Ales in Dexter, MI uses wild yeast bottle conditionig to give a unique aroma and taste.

Oro de Calabaza by Jolly Pumpin Artisan Ales in Dexter, MI uses wild yeast bottle conditionig to give a unique aroma and taste.

I want to thank Ed and his wife for opening their home to me, air jordan 13 treating me to dinner, and sharing some beer after a two year hiatus. Next time let’s get together at my house and I can reciprocate.

Time to wrap this up, purchase some minnows, and take the little ones down to the river for some small mouth fishing. I just have to make sure to control myself and not try to out fish them 🙂

Enjoy!

Two Beer Dudes Beer Review Rating System

Friday, July 17th, 2009

Two Beer Dudes has been trying to find a simple beer review rating system since Rich and I hatched up the idea of the site some eight months ago. Over our many discussions of what we wanted the site to be and do, we decided to make the site fun and have a rating system that was easy to use and understand by even the most casual of American craft beer affectionados.

As we thought about this and threw out tons of ideas, we decided that the rating scale should be a grade based on overall feel for the beer and the necessity or lack there of, to have another one of the beers in hand. We wanted this scale to be similar to other rating scales that people had seen and used. We also wanted the scale to be pliable to the point in which a person might be able to insinuate their own values, after all the site is about your personality and subjective views of the beer. So the 10 point scale was born.

The 10 point scale is just from 1 to 10, air jordan 10 with 1 being the lowest rating and 10 being the highest. As I mentioned before: something you are familiar with from other areas of life.

Below is my attempt to explain the ten point beer review rating system in my words just to give some general guidelines. Before the site goes live in October, I would imagine my thoughts on the ratings might change, again.

  • 10 – Perfect Beer: A beer that you would drink anytime, anywhere, and all the time. Should have a crown placed around the neck of the bottle!
  • 9 – Superior Beer: The brewer must have read my mind when coming up with this recipe. I think I function better when I drink it.
  • 8 – Excellent Beer: This is some awesome stuff. Throw this over a bowl of cereal and you can’t help but start the day off right.
  • 7 – Above Average Beer: Somebody knew what they were doing when they made this beer. Would drink it often and if it was seasonal, I would get it each season.
  • 6 – Slightly Above Average Beer: A good beer that I would have again. Just a sliver away from making me say “wow” out loud.
  • 5 – Average Beer: Exactly! I would have the beer again but only occasionally. In the right scenario, I could have a few. Nothing makes it stand out.
  • 4 – Slightly Below Average Beer: Something about the beer never allowed me to turn the corner into liking it. I might have another, sometime, but wouldn’t seek it out.
  • 3 – Tolerable Beer: A beer that was okay at best and because I am trying to be kind. I personally wouldn’t buy it for myself again but I may drink a free one.
  • 2 – Not That Good Beer: Could barely swallow the beer, but only since I paid for it. But I would never have another.
  • 1 – Yuck Beer: This wasn’t pleasant to drink at all. Possibly an old or contaminated beer. I would choose a root channel over this again but the Novocain might help the flavor, especially if I was drooling uncontrollably.

Remember when you write a beer review, more than likely, you are taking your first taste of a beer, possibly only, and that there is a lot that factors into the reason you felt the way you did when you wrote a review. Some factors: mood, feelings, like or dislike of beer style, food, other beers drank before, etc. air jordan 11 These are the reasons that Rich and I will never put a review on the site below a 5. We will try and give the beer another chance on another day.

One last thing: when tasting beer only have about 2 to 3 ounces and drink beers of the same beer style. Split a 12 ounce bottle between friends, formulate your own opinion and then share with each other. Each of you may have found something different within the confines of the glass container. Really try to enjoy the beer for the style that it is and appreciate the effort that the brewer put into making the beer. Trying to be unbiased will give the best overall chance and rating for a beer. Enjoy!

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