Saturday, March 24, 2012

Top 20 Beer Reviewers on YouTube

Who are the best beer reviewers on YouTube? I decided to ask our viewers for their opinions on the matter. After a brief survey and a little mathematical calculation we came up with this list of popular "beertubers". Go check out their channels and subscribe to support the Youtube beer review community.

Here are links to the channel pages of the top 20 beer reviewers in our survey.





















Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Fordham Scotch Ale - BEERTUBER TAKEOVER!!!

We picked up some Fordham Scotch Ale when we were at the brewery in Delaware. Since I didn't think we could give it an unbiased review after our fun experience there, I decided to use it for our Beertuber Takeover. Youtube beer reviewers from around Ohio converged onto the Better Beer Authority set for a fun night of hanging out and reviewing beer. Find out what the show would be like if totally different people took over the panel in this fun twist to our normal show.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Hershey, PA: A Cure for Your Sweet Tooth With Beer!

Troegs' tasting flight.  Photo Courtesy of Melissa Tribur

Every other year I make a trip to Hershey, Pennsylvania to hang out with friends and attend a Hershey Bears hockey game, the minor league affiliate of the Washington Capitals.  This year was especially nice; since it marked the first time I made the trip since Troegs Brewing Company moved their brewery from Harrisburg to Hershey.

I only knew of a few beers of note from Troegs before hand, most notably Mad Elf and Nugget Nectar.  By happenstance, Nugget Nectar was released the previous week, so I was excited to try it on tap.  The night before we went, I read about their Scratch Series, and was really intrigued to sample those too.

We had our designated driver set and drove 11 miles from Lebanon, PA to Hershey.  We drove through the little town of Annville where we would end the night at a great bar (see below).

The author, RH, with Troegs Taps
When we pulled up to Troegs, the parking lot in front of their new expansive digs was just about full.  I was already impressed.  As we walked in, that lovely malty smell of a brewery hit my friends and I’s noses just right.  I didn’t want to waste any time and finally made my way to the tasting room.  Please note, this is no “room,” It is more of a tasting hall!  It was huge.  The bar was very long, the ceiling was incredibly high, and there was plenty of standing room and tables.
Scratch #58 Photo by Melissa Tribur

The bar was crowded, but I went to the far end of the bar and had no problem getting in my order.  Luckily there ample amount of staff members to pour beer. My friend and I ordered two tasting flights, hers was one each of the five main staples, and mine were the three seasonal or scratch beers.

I don’t normally rate the beers, as I leave that to the BBA reviewers, but I have to say, the Scratch #58 was one of the best beers I have ever had.  It was a Mango triple IPA coming in at 10% abv.  The mango scent combined with extensive citrus hops was dizzying.  I think the IBUs are something over 300!  The highly acclaimed Nugget Nectar on tap was really good as well.

For food, pre-made sandwiches are available, and they are OK.

One great thing about the brewery is that you can take self guided tour of the working part of the brewery and even bring your beer with you.  There is also a huge merchandise and beer store, called the Trading Post.  I saw a lot of people walking out with growlers as well.
we are gonna need more beer! Photo my Melissa Tribur

Overall impressions, this is one of the best brewery visits I have ever done and I highly recommend a trip.  This is what a great regional craft brewery should be.

We closed our night in Annville, PA at the Batdorf Restaurant.  Our host went to high school (I think) with the owners.  The Batdorf is a super cool bar.  If it was in my hometown, it would be my go-to place.  Half of it is kind of a tiki set-up, the other half a little more traditional pub layout. 
Batdorf tap handles.

They had some beers on tap that I was very surprised to see in Central Pennsylvania, most notably Ballist Point Big Eye IPA.  There was also a selection of Troegs, including Nugget Nectar. I sat down with co-owner Mike Rotunda and chatted about the importance of having craft beer in his bar.  The only problem is that I had too many beers throughout the day, so I honestly can’t report details on our conversation, sorry!  I will say this, that Mike was very nice and that he and brothers Dave and Lou have a great bar. 

I had the Buffalo wings that night and I remember really liking them.  My friends tell me the food at Batdorf is pretty solid overall.  Again, I highly recommend this place.

The Hershey area is a great place to spend a weekend.  In 24 hours, I did the Hershey Chocolate Factory tour, Troegs Brewery, and saw a great minor league hockey game.

Hershey Bears game.  Great Arena! Photo by Melissa Tribur

A big thank you to Jon Bowman for letting us crash at his house!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Guinness Draught (bottled) - Blind Taste Test

We tackled a giant - Guinness Draught from Dublin, Ireland. But, we did it with our eyes closed! Will this classic from Ireland show it's true colors? How does it match up with the preconceived notions that are panel have about this beer? We reviewed the bottled version, which does not have a nitrogen widget. Will that affect the classic, creamy Guinness mouthfeel? So many questions? Tune in and find out the real story about one of the world's best known beers.

Columbus Winter Beerfest 2012 - Event Overview

The Columbus Winter Beerfest 2012 was held January 14th at the Columbus Convention Center. It's a great way to get to try some of the best craft beers from around the country, but more importantly in my opinion, you get a chance to try all the wonderful beers from around Ohio. This video talks about the Better Beer Authority's trip to the beerfest, which brewers they talked to & shows off some of the great breweries that were in attendance.

Friday, March 9, 2012

BBA Delaware Road Trip, Part 2, Rehoboth Beach

L-R: Mark, Joby, DH, RH, Scott, Mitch, Chef, James taking picture. @DFH
After our first day of brewery tours and interviews, we were tired and parched.  Following a short rest, we each had a Dogfish Head Aprihop that Sam gave us.  It was bottled that very day.  I had not had it in a while, and forgot how good it is.

We walked 10 minutes from the beach house to the Dogfish Head Brew Pub and Eats.  Sam's kindness extended even there.  No reservations are accepted at the busy restaurant, but there was a table waiting for us.  It must have looked cheesy with eight dudes walking into a restaurant wearing the same t-shirt.  But we had to represent!

We hit this trip at a perfect time.  The weather was unseasonably great, we saw 120 Minute IPA getting bottled, and visiting the DFH Brew Pub on Fridays is the best day of the week.  They bust out Randall, a contraption they invented where you run a tap through fresh hops before it enters your pint glass.  The few times that I have been there with Randall, including this night, they had 90 Minute run through fresh cascade hops.  It adds an incredible aroma that was sublime, and tasted surreal.  All eight of us enjoyed this as our first pint at the pub.

Our waitress was incredible.  A lot of us ordered a number of samples, pints, and vintage bottles, and she kept track of everything.  The food at the pub is pretty good.  I have always liked the calamari and salmon sandwich.
Service is usually pretty solid too, even though it is always very crowded.

Some great things to note at the brew pub:  They usually have 1-3 brew pub exclusives on tap.  When we were there they had Positive Contact 2, Flux Capacitor, and Black Lodge.  I have also been there when they had a 2008 120 Minute on tap.  Try comparing that to a fresh pour of 120, it is interesting.  They also have Sam's secret stash.  Vintage bottles for sale that are to only be consumed at the brew pub.  We shared a 2007 World Wide Stout and a 2008 Palo Santo.  This is the place for all DFH enthusiasts  There is also a small swag shop where you can buy growler fills, 4 packs, 6 packs, bombers, cases of beer, t-shirts, taps, bottle openers, signs, hats......

Sam, thank you for the first round!  Truly a classy guy!

Scott's seafood dish
Next, a few of us went to Henlopen City Oyster House for some beers.  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.  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.

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 wasn't there the next night but half of the BBA crew went for dinner their and had an amazing time. Scott posted a picture of a seafood dish that was exquisite and the boys sampled each of the oyster shooters..

Chris and bartenders Jamie and Amy (apologies if I spelled your names wrong), are a great staff.  Seriously, do not miss this place!

After a lot of beers, we ended up at the Frogg Pond where I lost my shirt and James sang karaoke! 
yes, I gave the shirt of my back for a free shot!

Unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances, I had to leave the next day to attend to family matters in New York, so for the time being, there will not be a travel blog about Evolution and Dominion Breweries, yet....I will make a point to visit each!  Word form the BBA crew was that both breweries welcomed the crew with open arms.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

BBA Roadtrip: Delaware Part 1

BBA crew in front of Steampunk Tree House at DFH
When one courteous e-mail to Sam Caligione's assistant at the Milton, De headquarters of Dogfish Head Brewery was returned with stunning news, that we could sit down and interview Sam, the first ever BBA trip was set in motion.  After that, we set up interviews with other Delaware craft breweries: 16 Mile, Evolution, and Dominion.  With cheap flights from Columbus to Baltimore bought and two idiot brothers offering transport and a place to stay, the trip was on!  And what an experience we all had!  I will try to share it with you loyal Better Beer Authority followers!

Mark and Mitch drove and left early Thursday for Rehoboth Beach, DE.  James, Scott, Joby and Chef flew in around 7:45pm that night.  We were all eager to get to the beach house and pop open a few brews!

With Mark and Mitch's early arrival, they had growlers of DFH India Brown and 90 Minute IPA waiting for the rest of us.  We shared a few home brews and some other stuff, Sixpoint Bengali Tiger, Hopslam, etc... then we had a BBA meeting and it was off to bed for an early rise!

James attaching the mic to Sam
We arrived at the Dogfish Head Brewery early and were escorted into the tasting room/swag shop.  Everyone's eyes were wide-open as we were staring at almost every production beer they do.  It took a bit to set up the equipment for the interview, but I think we nailed it.  Sam came in and introduced himself and disappeared for 10 minutes.  He came back ready to talk with some nice gifts, including some great hats!  It was super classy of him, and he really was a great person.  He really epitomizes what craft beer is about, sharing good beer with friends. You may notice in the interview, James didn't focus too much on specific beers and how they were made.  The interview was more about the Dogfish Head way of life and its employees.
Mark Smith holding a sample of Palo Santo on the wood's namesake.

After the interview and our goodbyes to Sam, we packed up the equipment and all went on a shopping spree of beer and DFH swag.  Mark was by the far the most stoked and walked away with a shopping cart full of beer and clothing.  We then had a tour set for 11am and the other people on the reservation did not show.  So, all eight BBA guys got a private tour!  It was a great tour. We even saw a new batch of 120 Minute getting bottled!  Afterwards, we had four small samples: Tweason'ale, Noble Rot, Burton Baton, and 120 Minute IPA.

I highly recommend visiting the brewery if you have not done so.  Every employee that we came across was really nice, and seemed to love their job!

Next we hit a crappy fast food lunch on the way to Georgetown, DE to tour and interview the great folks at 16 Mile Brewery.

Being at 16 Mile was a stark contrast to being at DFH.  But, that's OK.  I am really glad they are different.  Claus Hagelman gave us a really nice, in-depth tour of the facility, which just completed a nice expansion project.  The final part of the tour was in the new tasting room.  The first thing you notice there is the beautiful bar top.  It is made from a giant fallen tree, and really is a work of art.  We then sampled every beer on tap, including the yet to be released oyster stout! (It has now been released and used for the Georgetown, DE Fire Department annual Oyster Eat!)  Claus described all of the beers as being "bold session beers."  And I think that description is perfect.

James talking with 16 Mile's Chad Campell.  BBA members in background
After the tasting, we set up an interview with Co-Owner Chad Campbell next to some of the tanks.  As it is a working brewery, we had a lot of noise to battle, including the CO2 tanks being refilled.  Chad gave a great interview, and I can't wait to watch it when it is released.

16 Mile Tap handles
After the interview, we went back to the tasting room and bought a couple of pints each before we retreated back to the beach house to prepare for a big night ahead!

If you are in outhern Delaware, I recommend you visit 16 Mile, their beers are good and the new tasting room is fantastic!

Both 16 Mile and Dogfish Head welcomed up with open arms and gave us an incredible experience.  To both, thank you so much!

PART 2 tomorrow:  The Big BBA Night OUT!