Thursday, December 22, 2011

2011 Beer Travel in Review

As I wind down my first year if writing the BBA travel blog, I would like to look back at my favorite places I visited this year.
Best Beer Bar visited:
Beer Temple in Amsterdam. Many factors went into this decision, such as draft and bottle selection, friendliness of service, comfort and layout, and patronage. The beer list was pretty good (details: ), not the best selection I have seen, but really cool to see these beers across the pond. The bartender was really friendly and helpful. The layout was pretty cool. There were also lots of variety of seats from bar stools, dining tables, to lounge chairs, and even a couple seats outside. I even sampled the strongest beer to date there. I met the good people from Raise Your Pints in Mississippi there too.
Honorary mention: Blind Tiger Ale House in New York City. It could have been no.1 if seating and ease of access to the bar were better. Has great tap take overs.
Best Brewery Visit:
Green Flash Brewing Company in San Diego, CA.
There are some great breweries in San Diego, and in terms of popularity, I would guess Green Flash is second to only Stone. The new, expansive tasting room is right on the brewery floor. You can buy cheap samples and inexpensive pints of all of their offerings right there. If the bartenders are not too busy, they will take time to talk beer with you. I would recommend a DD if you go!
Honorary mention: Port City, Alexandria, VA. In only its first year, this brewery came on strong. $5 for 4-5 5oz tastings. The Wit, Port, and two seasonal so far, are great on tap. great tasting room and tour.
Best Store:
Knightly Spirits in Orlando, FL. (Orange Blossom Trail Location)
This was the toughest category to select a top place. Knightly Spirits had a superb selection of regional and national labels and international offerings as well. During my visit, it was the only time I mentioned I was writing a blog for the BBA at that point. The staff was super helpful in pointing out selections of Cigar City and Saint Somewhere bottles.
Further, I follow them on facebook and see that their prices are way cheaper and more reasonable than many other stores. Let’s take Dogfish Head 120 Minute. At the DFH brewery, 1 bottle is $7.50. Nearby liquor Stores in Delaware: $12. Two stores in Northern Virginia, $15! Knightly Spirits, $9. They understand that beers like this can make a lot of coin at once, but keeping the price more than reasonable, keeps clients for ever.
Honorary Mention: Norm’s, Vienna, VA. Friendly staff, great selection, reasonable prices. Loyal clientele.
Upcoming travel blogs for 2012:
Outer Banks, North Carolina
Spring Break preview Daytona Beach, FL
Lots from our Nation’s Capital,
The first ever BBA Road trip! Details TBA!
Sofia, Bulgaria,
Cannes, France
And who knows where else?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Nutcracker Ale - Beer Review


Do you like your winter warmers to be a little more straight forward? Nutcracker Ale from the Boulevard Brewing Company is a little lower in alcohol and doesn't have too many holiday spices - just a little extra sugar. The brewmaster says the wet-hopping adds a piney hop flavor to this winter seasonal beer.

Thanks to billybobdick100 for sending us this fine holiday ale. We really appreciate it. Check out his channel:

http://www.youtube.com/user/billybobdick100

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Rogue Santa's Private Reserve Ale - Beer Review


If you're not a big fan of spicy holiday beers, then Santa's Private Reserve Ale from the Rogue Brewery in Newport, Oregon might be the right choice for you. They only use Barley, Hops, Water and Yeast and the spruce hop finish is the defining characteristic of this holiday seasonal. Will it be what the Better Beer Authority wants under the Christmas tree come holiday time?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

From the Heart of the "Heart of it All" (Ohio)


Ohio is known as "The Heart of it All" because of the shape of the state and it's location in the center of the country.  Its capital is located centrally in the heart of the state.   And, in the middle of that city, is a very cool shopping complex called North Market.

With farmer's market stalls on the outside, and international foods and local crafts on the inside, this place is a can't miss in Columbus. James, the beloved host of the Better Beer Authority, took me there while I was visiting for the BBA holiday party

Inside, just to the left of the main entrance is The Barrel and Bottle wine and beer store. It is small, but has a really good selection. They also have three kegs for growler fills. When I was there I saw one from Columbus Brewing Company, Green Flash, and I forgot the third (sorry, it was the day after the BBA party and things were a bit foggy).

North Market is near a lot of the insurance buildings, the hockey arena, hotels and the convention center. It makes for a great lunch spot. Three of us went, I had lunch from the Polish place, James had Vietnamese, and Todd had some Middle Eastern food. Click the link for the North Market earlier in the post to see all the merchants.

I would recommend North Market to anyone visiting Columbus, or to someone who works near there to go for lunch. There are much bigger and better bottle shops in the Columbus area, but The Barrel and Bottle is worth a visit. They may even have your favorite beer available for a growler fill.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Great Lakes Christmas Ale - Beer Review


The holidays are here and the beer section at your local grocery store has been overrun with an assortment of holiday beers. In Ohio one beer stands out above the rest. Christmas Ale from the Great Lakes Brewing Company has managed to build a cult following that buys out any these beers they find at the store. So look for some "Christmas Crack" this holiday season. Find out if our reviewers believe all the hype in this festive episode of the Better Beer Authority.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hennepin - Beer Review

Hennepin from Ommegang Brewery looks pretty shnazzy in that fancy bottle. Will the liquid live up to the high expectations of the presentation. The aroma on this is potent - like a fresh bag of hops (or a big, bag of weed). Will the guys find it pleasing? Tune in and find out!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale - Beer Review

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a craft beer classic. When the number of breweries was near its low point, Sierra Nevada released this beer and helped push the boundaries of what people thought beer could be. It seems tame by today's standards, but this well-balanced pale ale is a great session beer. Even if you've had it before, now might be a good time to revisit it. But first, see what the guys at the Better Beer Authority have to say about it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

More New Jersey, ok!


Last week I spent six days driving all over New Jersey for my day job. Naturally, this made me thirsty for some quality beer.

I had read about Oak Tree Discount Wine & Spirits on Beer Advocate and was impressed by their A+ rating after 160 reviews. As fate would have it, I actually had a meeting in the office park right across the street!

I was greeted with a friendly welcome on my way in and pointed to the beer sections. After strolling the craft brew aisles and foreign aisles, I had narrowed a personal six-pack down. I got a fall Breckenridge Brown Ale, a sampling of Climax offerings (a New Jersey label), and got my friend a Lil' Sumpin' Sumpin' Ale. Before checkout, the proprietor of Oak Tree told me I should get the Troegs Mad Elf. So I picked up a bomber. I really enjoyed that beer later. If you are within a half hour drive, or more, make sure to go out of your way to visit this beer haven.

For dinner that night, I went to J.J. Bitting Brewing Company brew pub. I ordered the sampler and tasted all 8 of their beers on tap that night. I liked their Oktoberfest and Hop Harvest Ale. The others didn't stand out to me. However, it was a really cool restaurant and bar with good food. If you are in this area, I would not miss this place.
Side note: I asked the waitress how many IBUs the Hop Harvest had, she said she didn't know what an IBU was and said that was one of the weirder questions she has been asked. So I guess we were both a little flabergasted. We did enjoy good service there.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Greg Koch: CEO of Stone Brewing Co. - Interview

Greg Koch from Stone Brewing Co. stopped by the Better Beer Authority studio and had a lot to say. Has being loud & outspoken ever backfired on him? Did he have qualms about hiring his brewmaster from Anheuser Busch? And, what did he think about our infamous Arrogant Bastard review?

He has a new book called "The Craft of Stone Brewing Co.: Liquid Lore, Epic Recipes and Unabashed Arrogance". You can BUY THE BOOK through Amazon.com at this link:
http://tinyurl.com/6y58djb

Watch our Arrogant Bastard review:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dC5RcXXk_eo

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Greg Koch: CEO of Stone Brewing Company on BBA!

Greg Koch, the CEO and cofounder of Stone Brewing Company just stopped by the Better Beer Authority studio.  We had a great chat about all things Stone.  I'm going to post the interview as soon as possible.

This was not a good time for me to run out of room on my hard drive.  I'll start editing the interview as soon as I get some space cleaned off of my computer.

STAY TUNED!!!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Port City Porter - Beer Review


I guarantee you haven't had this beer - unless you live near Washington DC. However, I think you should try it. It's a pretty tasty beer in my humble opinion. Will the other guys agree?

Port City Brewing just opened in 2011 and they have four beers for sale. There is a tasting room in Alexandria, VA, so if you are in the DC area you should go try it.

Thanks to Richard Hartogs for sending us this beer!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Viva Las Vegas!



A general theme for a lot of my travels is that i go for business. While at these various locales, I try to sample the local beer scene or find where to get good craft beer. Las Vegas is a different breed of town since its identity is anything but the desert it lays in.
One night I took my staff to the Monte Carlo Hotel and Casino for dinner. Afterwards, I went to the Pub at Monte Carlo where they boast having over 150 beers. I was eager to get there and try some West Coast stuff that I can't get back east. I started with a Deschutes Black Butte Porter, perhaps my favorite beer on the planet. When I asked the bartender about local brews, he let me try some from Sin City Brewery that didn't impress me (although I may have ruined my palate with porter). I asked if they had Pliney the Elder or anything from Russian River; one of the bartenders had no idea what I was talking about.  I finished my evening with a couple of selections from Firestone Walker.
This is not a bad place to sample craft beers while in Las Vegas should you have the need. They carry a lot of different labels from around the world. Being in a major casino, however, the prices were higher than normal.
My first night in town, I started off at Hofbrauhaus Las Vegas. Is this a touristy place? Yes, it is. Is it a fun place, Oh yes! I have been to the original and had a great time there. It was duplicated in Las Vegas. You get the good German beer, all of which go down easily from the big liter glasses. I ordered a shot of Jagermesiter (I was on a mission that night) and the waitress spanked me with a paddle! She didn't let me return the favor.
And, the sausage and schnitzel selection were great.  I view the Hofbrauhaus as an amusement park with benefits!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ohio Breweries - Interview with Author Rick Armon


Ohio is the 5th largest brewing state in America, but it doesn't get the same recognition as Colorado, Washington or California. Why is that? Journalist Rick Armon travelled the state from corner to corner to visit all 49 Ohio breweries. What were his picks for the best beer in the state and did he gather any insight into what it takes to open a brewery?

TECHNICAL ISSUE - My apologies to Rick Armon and our viewers for the wide shot that was out of focus. I tried to sharpen it up a bit, but it was too bad. I guess that's what happens when you are the host, the lighting guy, the audio guy and the cameraman.

Buy Rick's Book on Amazon.com
"Ohio Breweries"
http://tinyurl.com/3swdvem

Rick Armon's Beer Blog About Ohio
http://beer.ohio.com

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Southern Tier Pumking - Beer Review


Do you like pumpkin pie or pumpkin bread? Pumpkin beers are very polarizing beers. Some people love them and some people hate them. Pumking from Southern Tier is no exception. It is a bold beer with big, buttery pumpkin spice flavor that forces you to come down on one side or the other.

BBA T-SHIRTS ARE FOR SALE:
http://www.betterbeerauthority.com/p/better-beer-authority-t-shirts.html

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Amsterdam, more than Red Lights and Northern Lights



After five hard working days in the South of France, I decided on a little R&R in Amsterdam. I went to three really good beer places and could have gone to more, time permitting.
The first stop I checked out was 't Arendsnest in a relatively central location. Unlike most "fancy" beer places in The Netherlands, which serve many Belgium beers, 't Arendsnest offers only Dutch beer. And we are way beyond Heineken here. The interior has copper tones and an old classic look to it. Thomas Wijns was our bartender of records, and he was really helpful in helping us pick out beers. I had a Dutch Pale ale, and an imperial stout of some kind. My friend has a beer called Bed and Breakfast that was made with coffee beans, and had a golden color to it.
A group of locals at the bar seemed to have this place down. They ordered their beers along with an amazing looking assortment of food. A block of aged Dutch cheese served on a cutting board, and meatballs! I wish I was part of their group.
On another day, we visited the sister bar to 'T Arendsnest, Beer Temple; Europe's first American Beer bar (so they say!). With a few tables outside, and various different kinds of seating inside, it was hard not to get comfortable at this place. I started at the bar with a DFH 90 Minute so I could introduce it to my friend. There were taps from Flying Dog, Great Divide, Southern Tier, Stone, Left Hand, and Anchor, and plenty of bottles from even more breweries. It was really cool to see all those taps in Europe. Rick van den Berg was the bartender on duty that day, and he was very good.
I also bought a sample of Brew Dog's Sink the Bismark, one of the strongest beers in the world! It was pretty interesting to say the least. I bought a t-shirt from Beer Temple and will wear it on an upcoming BBA episode.
I also met some cool people from Mississippi, check them out here.
I also found a really good bottle shop, De Bierkoning, which translates to the Beer King. There you could buy all kinds of European and American craft beer, such as Duck Rabbit, Port, Stone, Flying Dog, just to name a few. There was also a nice selection of glasses to buy.


When in Amsterdam, I highly recommend a visit to each one of these places.

Brooklyn Oktoberfest - Beer Review



Oktober is here and once again the local bottle shops are being overrun by Oktoberfest beers. Brooklyn Brewery describes theirs as having a light, brisk, hop bitterness. Will it stand up to the competition? Is this a great party beer? Tune in and find out.
This episode also features a special guest reviewer, Jeff Taynor, who is a homebrewer and a member of the SODZ homebrewing club here in Columbus.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Victory Festbier - Beer Review



For anyone who missed this week episode, I posted it earlier this week, but forgot to share it on facebook and the website. It's October and a great time to drink Oktoberfest biers. Victory Festbier is a great option for you to celebrate with. This episode features guest reviewer Mike Beargie, a member of the local homebrew club.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Getting the Most out of Oktoberfest

The original Oktoberfest held in Munich each year in September and October isn’t just the biggest beer festival in the world but the world’s largest fair, with an estimated 5 million people visiting each year. Any true beer fan will make the pilgrimage at least once in their life to visit the original festival that spawned smaller imitations around the world, but you’ll need to have a good gameplan to get the most out of Oktoberfest. Don’t leave it to chance like a spin of the reel at slots and instead follow some of the simple tips below:

Rise and Shine: If you want to get a seat at a table in one of the 14 huge tents at Oktoberfest, you’ll need to pre-book your ticket and get there early at around 8 or 9 AM. Show up any later than that and you’ll be facing a huge queue, which just delays all the beery fun awaiting you. Once you’ve got a seat on a bench, guard it with your life; all those late arrivals will be looking to nab an empty spot the minute someone gets up.

Pick Your Tent Well: Each of the tents has a different theme and serves different food and beer (and keep in mind that all of the beer is locally brewed so no Arrogant Bastard Ale available), so do some research online first. The huge queues make tent-hopping pretty difficult so you likely will need to pick one tent and party there. If you think you already have too much of the booze, then try your luck by going to the other great places on Germany like the Casino Royale M√ľnchen but before you do that make sure that you read these guides so that you won't easily waste your money.

It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint: Even experienced beer drinkers are overwhelmed by Oktoberfest, as not only is the beer much stronger (usually around 6% alcohol by volume) but it’s easy to get caught up in the singing and drinking fun. Pace yourself with the beer and be sure you take advantage of the food on hand throughout the day, as part of the charm of Oktoberfest is eating local delicacies like pig knuckles and any of the tons of varieties of sausages served.

Don’t Be Shy: Oktoberfest isn’t for introverts and the real fun is in hanging out and partying with thousands and thousands of other people. Sure, the beer is great but you can get the same local brews in any pub in Munich, so if you’re a shy, quiet type just there for the beer you’ll need to check your shyness at the door to really enjoy Oktoberfest.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pliny the Elder - Beer Review


If you've been paying attention to the craft beer scene, then you've probably heard of Pliny the Elder. Beer nerds go crazy for this beer. Have you had the privilege of tasting it? Depending on where you live, it can be pretty hard to track down. Let me tell you, it's an imperial IPA worth looking for. But, do the other guys on the show agree with me? Tune in and find out whether the boys love it or hate it.

Friday, September 23, 2011

New Jersey Central: Far From The Shore



On a recent weekend trip to a family gathering in Northern New Jersey, my brother and I stopped overnight at a friend's house. Joey is a fellow beer enthusiast and was looking forward to taking us to his favorite bottle shops. We all were looking forward to sampling beers together (see the list at the bottom).

Our first stop was at Canal's Hamilton, NJ location. The first beers we saw was a massive display of pumpkin beer from just about every craft brewery it seemed like - a lot of orange on the labeling!

There was one large aisle of bottles and 6-packs from all over the world. There was a big bomber selection from Green Flash and Stone, a good number of Belgium offerings and everything in between. Local New Jersey breweries were represented, including River Horse. Also a large assortment of the big brands are available. Canal's is a large beer, wine and spirits store.
Their website is not too good, and there is no Facebook page that I found to follow them. The store has a great selection, but had the feel of a busy supermarket.

The second store we went to was Super Buyrite Wines and Liquor. Also known as Hopewell Buyrite. The outside looks like it may be some generic liquor store catering to BMC douche bags and winos. But, this is not the case for this place. It isn't fancy inside, but the beer selection was spectacular! There was a huge selection of single 12oz. bottles in refrigerators, a large bomber selection, and tons of other serving types. They have a great selection of Cape Anne's Fisherman's line, Breckenridge, Harpoon, Dogfish Head, stuff from Maine, Germany, I don't know where to stop with this list! Of the three of us, I had the least buying agenda going in....I came out with the most bottles though :)

Seriously, if you are in the area, check Buyrite out.

We did not talk with anyone at either store, so I don't know how helpful the staff is at these stores.

Canal's has another location near Princeton where they have a selection of taps to fill growlers.

As promised, here is the list of beers we sampled!

Weyebacher pumpkin
Fegley's devious imperial pumpkin
River horse pumpkin hippo lantern
Cigar city big sound scotch
Schlafly Pumpkin
Breckenridge summerbright ale
Fishermans pumpkin stout
Founders red's rye pa
Birra del borgo my Antonia
Anchor old foghorn
Victory st. Victorious
Guinness black lager
Yards cape of good hope doubler ipa
Dogfish head festina peche
Avery Mephistopheles
St. Bernarddus wit
Sierra/dfh life and limb

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Bud Light Vs. Miller Lite Vs. Coors Light - Blind Taste Test


Do you like Bud Light, Miller Lite or Coors Light the best? Do you think you can tell the difference between them? We put them head to head in a blind taste test to see if we could figure which was which. Did we guess them correctly? Does the one we buy the most turn out to be the one that tastes the best. This was a very enlightening experience for us about three of America's best-selling beers!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

#92 | Jolly Pumpkin | Bam Biere


See James on someone else's beer review! In this review we tasted Bam Biere from Jolly Pumpkin. It's a light, refreshing, tart beer that might be accessible to someone who doesn't usually pick beer over other drink options.

Monday, September 12, 2011

T-Shirts Available!!!!

Look in the column on the right.  There is a page where you can buy your very own BBA T-shirt.  You can even use the customize option to choose your own shirt color, size, shirt quality & price.  You can even make your own BBA hooded sweatshirt!

Let me know if you like the design or how you think it could be improved in the future!

Better Beer Authority T-shirt shirt

Green Flash Double Stout Black Ale - Beer Review


Green Flash makes some tasty beer. Their West Coast IPA is a staple of the craft beer community. Is their Double Stout Black Ale equally delicious? Tune in and find out!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Beer Store Worth Fighting For!



Earlier this year a beer store was brought to my attention as a local suburban community banded together to save their precious beer and wine shop.

Norm's Beer and Wine of Vienna, VA was the David in this fight going against the Goliath of Fresh Market in a battle of rental space with non-compete clause. A Facebook group called Save Norm's evolved from a few loyal customers to a 1,700+ fan page that attracted local media (Washington Post, NBC 4) in Washington DC and Greensboro, NC, home of Fresh Market. Long story short, Norm's and the community prevailed as Fresh Market learned to never mess with a tight-knit community, and never, ever, fuck with a good beer store!

Now to the good stuff, the beer! Norm's has a great bottle and 6-pack collection, and more! Name any local and regional brewery, and you will find them on the shelves. There is also a great collection of beers from Michigan, California, Oregon, and Europe.

Norm and the rest of the staff are probably some of the nicest, most helpful people I have come across in a beer store. When Sierra Nevada's Tumbler came out and was selling in a 6-pack, I asked if they sold singles of it. The guy I asked told me to just take one out of the sixer! Super cool thing to do.

This is probably pound for pound, hop for hop, the best beer shop in Northern Virgina. If you have a business meeting in the Tyson's area, be sure to check it out. If you live inside the Capital Beltway or DC, make the trek out to Vienna.

Norm's has a newsletter it sends out electronically that features new beer and wines. They also post pictures on new arrivals on Facebook.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Hop Crisis - Beer Review


21st Amendment Brewing is a fast growing brewery out of San Francisco, CA that sells its beer in cans. When hop prices shot up a few years back and some brewers were cutting back on hops, they responded by creating a beer with tons of hops. Is Hop Crisis a hophead's hop oasis? Tune in and find out!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Racer 5 IPA - Beer Review


There are four hops called the 4 Cs - Cascade, Centennial, Columbus and Chinook. Racer 5 IPA has all of them. They are commonly used together because their flavors and aromas blend well. Did Bear Republic use them to great effect in their flagship beer? Take a trip to Wine Country with the Better Beer Authority and learn more about this popular craft beer.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Bottle Shops of San Diego

Royal Liquor

So far on my West coast trip I have taken you to a tap house and a brewery tasting room. Now, where to buy the bottles you have sampled! I will highlight three stores that I highly recommend.

Pizza Port Bottle Shop in Carlsbad, Ca. Next to the Pizza Port Carlsbad location. From their website, "Local’s tip: The Bottle Shop has lots of great beers from San Diego breweries that you won’t find outside of the area. Make sure to ask about some of the local rarities!"
There is also a great selection from outside of San Diego, Avery, Russian River, Deschutes, Dogfish Head, and a selection of European labels. I have been to this bottle shop two times. The first time I found everything I was looking for and the guy running the shop was very helpful. The other time the selection was more limited.

Two draw backs: The bottle shop hours are not the most convenient, so check with their website for details. If you want to grab a draft next door at the Pizza Port bar (they do have an awesome selection), it can be a zoo inside with lines for the bar.

Bristol Farms is what I would consider a high-end grocery store. Given their location in La Jolla only supports my claim. Their beer selection is fantastic. And one amazing thing about it, given the price of the food there, the beer prices are very reasonable. My brother cleaned them out of Life & Limb, I bought some Deschutes Black Butte Porter and picked up a bottle of Idiot Imperial IPA from Coronado Brewing Company.

The third place we went to was an unassuming liquor store in Encinitas, Ca. - Royal Liquor There is no website or Facebook page for it, but you can read my review at Beer Advocate here for full location details. My brother and I were very surprised at this place. We had been looking for Pliny the Elder to ship back to the BBA reviewers all trip, and we finally found it here! To save you from reading a lot more, just go to this place and thank me later. It is also very close to our favorite surf break in that area, Beacons!

Since most of the time I was in board shorts, I only have one picture, which is of Royal Liquor.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald - Beer Review


Edmund Fitzgerald from Great Lakes Brewing Company is an award-winning porter from Cleveland. Will the boys support this brew from their home state of Ohio? Where do they think Great Lakes ranks amongst other Ohio breweries? Tune in and find out!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Green Flash Tasting Room, San Diego

 David Hartogs (left) and author Richard
Hartogs (right) enjoying multiple tastings
after a fun surf session.


This is the second blog from my West Coast vacation. There will be a few more over the next several weeks.

San Diego is known for many things; surfing, fish tacos and beer. I could write a separate review for the Better Surf Authority and Better Fish Taco Authority, but they don't exist.

As far as beer goes, San Diego is a hop-head's paradise. Green Flash Brewing Company has one of the quintessential IPAs - West Coast IPA.  The newly relocated brewery and tasting room near the Mira Mesa area of San Diego was on my list of places to visit. (P.S. How great is it that the parking lot is on Top Gun Rd.???)

The "menu and description of each
Green Flash Beer available.
It's located in an office park, where a brewery felt a little out of place. But it's a great location for them at happy hour time!  Check their website for hours. We arrived at 10 minutes before the 3pm opening and were followed in by many thirsty people.

Pretty much every beer they make is available, and at very reasonable prices too. $1 samples, and $4-$6 pints. Given the samples and pricing, three of us were able to try almost every beer on tap, including the Palate Wrecker Double IPA; which was surprisingly good and not really a palate wrecker.

One of the neat things about the tasting room is that it is located on the Green Flash factory floor. There is virtually no travel distance between tap and source.

They don't have a restaurant on-site, but food trucks come by. The one the day we were there was set to arrive at 5pm and have truffle tater tots! I didn't try them, but wish I did!

There is outdoor seating, picnic tables and such, but I hesitate to call it a beer garden. That being said, I highly recommend a visit to the Green Flash tasting room. One bartender was happy to talk to us and stoked we came from the East Coast.

Stay tuned for next week's travel blog. Will I write another report from the West Coast, or mix it up?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Lagunitas Hop Stoopid - Beer Review


I went to brew beer with Youtube Beer Reviewer Kyle Klaiber, also known as hophedbrewhaus. After brewing two beers (That I can't wait to taste) we shot two beer reviews. This is the first of two reviews that we shot together.

Make sure you check out Kyle's channel on Youtube and subscribe. Here is the link:

http://www.youtube.com/user/hophedbrewhaus

Samuel Adams Boston Lager - Beer Review


I had never spent that much time thinking about this beer and I was pleasantly surprised by the nice balanced flavor and the citrus notes from the hops. Is it a good session beer? Is it a craft beer? We touch on all that in this great discussion.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Going Yard in Orange County



Quick note from editor first.
While on a 10-day vacation ending earlier this week to Las Vegas and Southern California, I made an effort to sample as many beers as possible from as many different places as possible. This will be the first travel blog of a few from that trip.

I met up with a friend and took her to an Angel's game in Anaheim, CA. It was baseball and I had zero rooting interest in the two teams playing, so I was bored. I noticed plenty of advertising for Yard House and asked Shannon what it was. She told me it was a restaurant with 100 taps! We left after the fifth inning, and even missed a grand slam!

We drove to the Yard House location at the Irvine Spectrum, some kind of mall. I didn't know it at the time, but Yard House Tap Room is a chain with locations in roughly 10 states.

The amount of taps is impressive there. The quality of the taps at Irvine Spectrum location was pretty good. It did have a lot of BMC stuff on tap, but also a lot of craft selections. Since I was driving I had to limit myself. I started with Deschutes Black Butte Porter which quickly put a smile on my face.

I decided to order a sampler of 6 beers since I figured it was the best way to stay under the limit and be able to drive back to my hotel. I did not get to choose the beers, they were chosen for me, but I was given a 7th by request as I wanted to try Moose Drool Brown from Big Sky (it was great). Other than that, the selection was weak. Rasberry Cider, Shock Top (bud product), Harp (so unnecessary) and three average selections of their home brew. The bar tender saw I was unhappy and took the sampler off my bill without my asking.

I also had a great appetizer there, the Hawaiian Poke Stack. I was happy with the service and overall selection of beer and would return again. I would stay clear away from the sampler though. I think Yard House serves communities well that don't have a craft beer scene or a very small one.

Next week I will write about our experience going to the Green Flash Brewery tasting room....stay tuned!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

All-Grain Beer Brewing - Overview


Thinking about brewing beer? This video will give you an idea of what you are getting yourself into. Also, if you are already brewing beer you might find it interesting to see the setup of another brewer.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Wychwood Hobgoblin Dark English Ale - Beer Review

Wychwood describes this as a ruby beer. What the heck is a ruby beer!?! The boys dive a little deeper into this dark english ale and come up with their own descriptions. Is it a big beer or a session beer? Who is this beer going to please?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hitting the Rapids in Search of Beer


As we mentioned last week, a couple us planned on going on a canoe paddle and brewery tour with River and Trail Outfitters.

We met near Frederick, MD, a town about an hour or less from Washington DC. The downtown is quite charming and even boasts some quality dining options. The surrounding area is filled with outdoor adventure and access to four historic rivers.

We gathered at 9:30 Saturday morning south of Buckeyestown, MD on the Monocacy River and were driven as a group upstream to the canoe launch place. It was a beautiful hot sunny day and we brought a few cans of beer with us. There were some rapids that would have been more fun if the river was a little higher. Half way through the canoe trip, our guide, Mike talked to the group about the importance of the river and the necessity to keep it clean.

When we were done with the three hour paddle, we were naturally parched. We caravanned to Barley & Hops Grill and Microbrewery. We were given five samples of their beer and got to choose our favorite to have a pint of. Larry, the brew master was our host and taught us a lot about beer and even gave some tips to the home brewers.

The five we have were all quality, I chose the stout, and my friends chose the Pale Ale. The seasonal Hefeweizen was the most popular among the group; of the 27 people in the group, 14 chose that as their pint.

Larry previously brewed for Flying Dog and his passion for brewing came out in his speech. He is responsible for their Raging Bitch Belgian India Pale Ale.

All in all, I would do each activity separate. Being on the river was great, but I didn’t feel that I got to sample the beers enough. Which is too bad, as the beer was very good.

Monday, July 18, 2011

120 Minute IPA - Beer Review


120 Minute IPA is not cheap and it's not easy to get. Dogfish Head releases it several times a year and it sells out quickly. Is it worth the effort of tracking down a 4-pack? It's called an IPA, but at 18% it's not like most IPAs. Does it even taste like an IPA? So many questions about a beer that we've wanted to review for a long time. It was so special that I even wore a tux for the occasion.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Lagunitas Little Sumpin' Sumpin' Ale - Beer Review


This is our highest rated beer of 2011! Tune in and find out why!

Little Sumpin' Sumpin' Ale is a wheat beer that will challenge your assumptions about what a wheat beer is. This wheat IPA surprised our panelists in a good way. SPOILER ALERT! This beer gets a high rating. But, just how good is it?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

SnobbyBeer - Interview w/ Beer Reviewer Max Spang



Max Spang, AKA SnobbyBeer, is from Dayton, Ohio - the home state of the Better Beer Authority. So, he decided to stop by to help us review some beer and talk to us about his approach to reviewing beer. Definitely check out our Dale's Pale Ale episode featuring Max (Dale's also happens to be our highest rated beer of 2011).

You can find out more about Max at SnobbyBeer.com. He also has two Youtube channels - SnobbyBeer and ERRATICTV.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

No Need to Bring Sand to this Beach!


Err, don't bring beer to the beach, there are plenty of places to get great beer near Rehoboth and Dewey Beaches!

As you gear up to head to the beach for July 4th weekend, you will have to fight traffic leaving town, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Wilmington, or Philadelphia, you will most likely get stuck in traffic on Route 1 outside Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach.

Never fear, here is your beer guide to combat road rage.
Coming down RTE 1 southbound, you will find three places to satisfy your beer needs.

The first is the Pickled Pig Pub located just past the first set of outlets in a nondescript strip mall. They bill themselves as a gastro pub; though I have never had any food there. Their sister restaurant, Pig and Fish (eat like a pig, drink like a fish) in Rehoboth Beach has good eats, so I assume they have the same. They have a really good tap and bottle selection. On my visit last week, I had three beers I never tried before, two I really liked: The Fish Paralyzer Belgian Ale from RJ Rockers (South Carolina) and St. Victorious from Victory. Their website is up-to-date with their tap and bottle offerings.

As you slowly make your way south from Pickled Pig, you will find the hard-to-miss Atlantic Liquors. It is a legendary liquor store in Delaware. The selection of every kind of liquor, beer and wine there is amazing. This is the place to buy cases of craft beer and single bottles alike. For the most part, the employees there are most helpful. Be sure to go all the way to the back to see all the cases they sell (and bombers).
Please note that their website is flash driven and not the easiest site to navigate...refer to their Facebook page instead.

Continuing south from Atlantic Liquors is Timothy’s at the Beach, a tap house and raw bar. They have 36 taps! I had a decent dinner there and an Evolution Lucky 7 draft.  The waitress also gave me a sample of Blue Point Toasted Lager which was good.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rivertown Oatmeal Stout- Beer Review


Rivertown Oatmeal Stout is from a new brewery near Cincinnati. Brewer Chris Alltmont from Gordon Biersch Columbus helped us review it and gave us some insight about the role of oats in brewing beer.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Dispatched in Columbus: O-H... I-O!



To coincide with this week’s beer review of Elevator’s Dark Horse Lager, I have decided to do a beer travel guide for Columbus, Ohio - home to the Better Beer Authority!

In this blog, we tour the downtown Columbus craft beer scene by visiting Elevator Brewing Company, Columbus Brewing Company, and Barley’s Brewing Company.

With 11 brews available and an extensive dining menu, Elevator Brewing Company has a lot to offer. Come hungry and thirsty. They also offer tours for $20 on the third Saturday of each month.

The Columbus Brewing Company Restaurant is located near German Village and the Brewery District in downtown. With a full food menu and a number of their beer offerings, I would be surprised if anyone left unhappy. The first Thursday of each month, they have A Hop Odyssey. It is basically a special cask or draft tapping party. Sounds great to me!

Barley’s Brewing Company has two locations. Barley’s Ale House on High Street and Barley’s Smoke House on Dublin Road (3 miles away). Both offer food menus, and obviously the smokehouse is all about barbeque. But this blog is about beer! The list of offering between the two joints is extensive - taps from Columbus Brewing Company, Southern Tier, Breckenridge, and Founders. For bottles, they have offerings from Dogfish Head, Victory, Green Flash, Stone and more. Each location has its own beer list, so visit their websites to see which offerings suit your palate best.

Overall, I think you can put together a pretty good beer drinking night, or weekend together in Columbus.

Note: each brewing company's website has extensive directions and information.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Elevator Dark Horse Lager - Beer Review


Elevator Brewing Company is a great stop for people visiting Columbus, Ohio. Good food and good drinks in a historic atmosphere. They bottle their beer and distribute it mostly in Columbus - but - there reach is growing and I expect you will be able to find them in more places with each passing year.

It was originally brewed as a contract beer for Schmidt's Sausage Haus, but after winning a bronze medal in the Great American Beer Festival, Elevator decided to take this beer to the next level. Tune in and learn more about one of our local beers.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A KC Masterpiece, Boulevard Brewing!


About six months ago, well after Better Beer Authority climbed out of its infancy, I went on an unrelated business trip to Kansas City.  During my first lunch (at the Embassy Suites I was staying at), I asked the bartender my customary question when I first get to a watering hole in a new city, "What local beers do you have here?"

"Boulevard"

"Boulevard?

"Boulevard Lunar Ale" was his response.  So I ordered it and was quickly impressed.  The one thing I was looking forward to most in Kansas City was the BBQ, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  I wasn't expecting to find a well-polished local brew.  I sampled another offering from Boulevard and I was hooked.  If I remember correctly, it was the Pale Ale.

Boulevard Brewery Pint GlassBefore I went back to my hotel room, I asked the concierge where the nearest beer store was; since it was a block away, I didn't hesitate to go buy more "samples."  I came back to my room with a nice variety of their beers.

As luck would have it, the conference's closing party was at the Boulevard Brewery itself! How awesome is that?!  It was a great time.  The party was in the Muehlebach Suite with two very important components (three, if you count the bathroom). A great circular bar with most of their offerings and a great outdoor balcony over the city.

Boulevard offers tours; though I didn't take any, I would in a heartbeat on my next trip to Kansas City. If you have done the tour, please comment and let the beer drinkers know how it was.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lindeman's Kriek Lambic - Beer Review


If you don't like beer, then this might be the perfect beer for you!

Another episode with the guys from Rivertown Brewing. Always cool to get there perspective on these world-famous beers.

Great episode to learn what a lambic is.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Columbus Beerfest 2011


The Columbus Beerfest is always a great event. Mark and Chef went and brought back this great report about the event.

Orlando's Real Magic: Beer!


On a recent trip to Orlando for a wedding, I found myself wondering what kind of beer can be found outside the Magic Kingdom. After a few wrong turns and a pit stop at a Chic-fil-a, I was in beer nirvana.


Knightly Spirits on South Orange Blossom Trail is definitely a theme park for beer fans. There are a few locations, but the aforementioned location is the beer Mecca. I haven’t seen a selection of bombers (pictured left) this big in any store, anywhere. Local labels for sale are Cigar City and Saint Anywhere.  There is also a good selection of Dogfish Head, Smutty Nose, Heavy Seas, to name a few.

Bottles from around the world included a couple different Polish porters, a Norwegian Sahti and a healthy dose of Belgium offerings.  Their 12 oz selection is equally superb. I picked up Bell’s Batch 10,000 ale.

When driving there, if you do not have a Florida Sun Pass, make sure to avoid the toll roads.

The person who answered my questions at Knightly Spirits recommended Redlight Redlight Beer Parlour to me, but I was unable to go.

After my visit to Knightly Spirits, I was thirsty, so on a recommendation from a colleague, I went to Orlando Brewing to sample their offerings in their taproom. Driving up to the brewery, I was skeptical I was in the right place at first, as it was in a pretty industrial area.

The taproom was large and welcoming. I ordered the 8 beer sampler plus one extra so I could try the stout. Since I am not a beer reviewer, I will leave the reviews for others. I really liked the dry porter and English pale ale. This is a great place to sample many different kinds of beers at one time. You can compare a pale ale, red ale, brown ale, and European Pilsner all at once.

They offer free tours at 6pm most evenings, but check with them to verify.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Brew Review App for your Phone

Word on the street is that there is a new application (I hear the kids call them apps) for your iPhone that helps you rate beers.  I was sent a preview from Cory who is working on the app.  If you invite five friends to sign up for the app, then you get a copy of it for free.  Here is the link and a few screen shots from the web.

Brew Review App



Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Chris Steltz (BeerGeekNation) | Interview With A Craft Beer Enthusiast



I got a little shoutout in this interview between two of Youtubes more popular beer reviewers. Shoutout is around 8 minutes in. Thanks to Chris and Chad for remembering my name! :)

Rehoboth Beach, DE - Is It the Nation's Summer Capitol?


update July 31, 2012
It has been over a year since I wrote this original blog, but I thought I would take the time to add a couple more watering holes.

A place that has become favorite since my original Rehoboth Beach Blog post is Henlopen City Oyster House. Some of us visited this place during our Delaware road trip.  Just two blocks from the ocean, this is one of the best places to eat and drink at in Rehoboth Beach.  The owner, Chris, is really cool and has an awesome beer program going on.  He bought a lot of empty casks and sends them to brewers around the country.  One time they had Hop Head Read on cask from Green Flash.  It was damn good. I have also had Stone Pale Ale with Chinook hops on cask their as well. The night we went there, he had Hop Rod Rye from Bear Republic.  It was really good.  That night, he also tapped a 2009 Double Bastard from Stone.  Holy smokers was that good!  Overall there are about 10 taps there and a really dedicated bottle list.  And a special bottle list of bombers and big beers you may want to share with friends.

The food at Henlopen City Oyster house is really good, and the oyster selection is outstanding.  The oysters are so fresh, you don't need the good cocktail sauce and mignonette they are served with, the oysters speak for themselves. I also love their fried clams.

Although Finbar's has been in Rehoboth for a few years, they have only had a craft beer program for four months.  Situated next door to Dogfish Head Brewery and Eats, it is a good place to grab a beer while waiting for a table at DFH if their bar is too crowded.  I have only been to Finbar's once for about a half hour, but I was pretty happy with their draft and bottle selection.

exterior
They had three different Stone offerings, including Ruination, which has been elusive for me.  Other breweries occupying their tap lines included Flying Dog, Victory, 21st Amendment, RJ Rockers, 16 Mile, Yards, and more.

I have not had any food at Finbar's, but I anticipate that will change over time as I dive further into their tap list.







 published 5/31/11
As you enter Rehoboth Beach Delaware, you will see two things after you drive around the lighthouse circle on Rehoboth Avenue, a sign in the middle of the street, "Welcome to the Nation's Summer Capitol (due to its proximity to Washington DC), and Dogfish Head Brew Pub. As you drive past DFH Brew Pub, there are more great beer places closer to the ocean. Arena's Deli a few blocks up and Zoggs, almost on the boardwalk.

I will start with Dogfish Head Brew Pub. This is a must-see destination for the serious beer enthusiast, nerd, idiot savant, or beer geek. Less than 20 miles away from their main brewery in Milton, DE. Aside from their year round brews, Chickory Stout, Shelter Pale, 60/90 Minute IPA etc....you can get their seasonal offerings there, such as Punkin, Aprihop and more when the season is right. Also they have a selection of vintage beers. When I was there over Memorial Day weekend, they had some 2009 vintages. Since I had already had the rare 120 Minute IPA from the tap, I forgot which ones they were offering. They also have brewpub-only beers where they may only have as much as one keg of a random experimental beer. View their websites for hours and directions.

Arena's Deli and Bar (pictured above) has an impressive sandwich list and and even more impressive beer list! While doing "research" for this piece, I had the shrimp nachos and washed them down with Smutty Nose Brown Dog and Red Seal Ale. Arena's is in an alley of shops between Rehoboth Avenue and Baltimore Avenue, so you can't see it from the road. When I was visiting, they had Dogfish Head Hell Hound on tap even after the DFH Brew Pub ran out. They have live music most nights there; I recommend visiting before the music starts if you like to have conversations with others about beer.

Zoggs is a personal favorite, but I would not call it a must-see for the beer enthusiast. Rum is their game, and they have an impressive bottle collection. The food is pretty good there (anything jerk is worth getting at Zoggs). The owners are really cool too. I give this shout out because I love that they have a tap from from four different Delaware breweries. Dogfish Head's Midas Touch, 16 Mile's new IPA, Evolution Summer beer, and Greenville's Twin Lakes Pale Ale. I love that they have a special place for local beer efforts.

Before the July Fourth Weekend, I will write a blog about the beer places of Route 1 in Rehoboth (as there is a lot of traffic, a beer store is a great place to stop and stretch the legs).

Monday, May 30, 2011

Westmalle Tripel Trappist Ale - Beer Review


There are only 7 trappist breweries in the world. Westmalle in Belgium is part of that exclusive club. It produces a tripel that is the classic example of the style. If you want to be a beer geek, then you have to drink this beer. Watch this episode to learn more and then head to your local bottle shop to do some "research"!

Thanks to the guys at Rivertown Brewing Company for helping to make this an outstanding episode!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Better Beer Authority - Behind The Scenes with Snobby Beer



Max Spang, Youtube User SnobbyBeer stopped by to help us review Dale's Pale Ale. He brought along his cameraman, Sherif, and shot this behind-the-scenes video about his experience with the Better Beer Authority.

I like this video a lot. Great shooting. Great editing. Nice narration. ...and it has beer in it. Cheers!

Thanks Max.

-James

Dale's Pale Ale - Beer Review


Dale's Pale Ale is one of the most famous craft beers in a can. Whatever your thoughts were on beer on a can you should leave them at the door. This is a full-flavored, hoppy offering with more IBUs than Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA. Take a six pack of this on your next camping trip. Spoiler Alert! - The guys loved it!

I wanted to share two comments that we received on Youtube:

khunopie:

The world's shortest poem about getting hammered on hoppy beer:

Adam had'em,

Dale's Pale Ale


ilovefastcars89:

This was originally called an IPA but they changed the name cuz it sounds better for the name