A Completely Uninformed Super Bowl Esque Rant About Bud Light Seltzer

Hard seltzer is a thing. Why is it a thing? It’s bubble water with a kick! I don’t understand. No no, don’t tell me. This isn’t that post, this is a rant. Don’t muddy it up with facts and reasoned arguments.

Bud Light is making seltzer now? I could make the joke that Bud Light is basically lightly carbonated water, so it fits pretty well, but as I understand it this is only Bud Light for the sake of branding, and has no actual beer in it. So literally they’re just trying to bash you over the head with their marketing and advertising, capitalize on something that’s currently popular, and annoy the rest of us.

Yes, annoy the rest of us. There’s going to be literal minutes of advertisements from AB-InBev this coming Sunday, for the Super Bowl. We’re all going to become intimately aware of what Bud Light Seltzer has in store for us. It’s going to be painful. I see some retweeting into my timeline of something called PostyBar and PostyStore and I have no idea what that is and it sounds pretty dumb.

Can hard seltzer really taste any different than me pouring a shot of vodka into a seltzer can? What’s the point? And why not just have the vodka? Or a beer. Not Bud Light, a real beer. I actually tried to taste this for this post but neither of the places I went had singles of it, and no way am I buying a package of this nonsense. Surprised it doesn’t come in 40s to be honest.

Nasty marketing gimmick beverage. Maybe I’ll skip the Super Bowl anyway, who needs it? It conflicts with the kids bedtime anyway, and no one invited me to any parties. I do like to have some chips and pretzels, maybe some guacamole.  I bought a jar of ‘craft beer salsa’ that I’m excited to try. A beer would go good with those things, but not that Bud Light Seltzer nonsense. A nice crisp IPA, something with some bitterness. Or Nugget Nectar, which is of a similar style to the beer in the salsa, maybe it’ll pair nicely.

I am absolutely not looking forward to a summer of gigantic supermarket displays of boxes upon boxes of nasty Bud Light Seltzer blocking my view of the good stuff. 

This reminds me of that Last Week Tonight bit they did talking about how terrible Bud Light is. If you haven’t seen it, go look it up. 

Ceetar can be found on Twitter and Untappd where he’ll probably be active during the first half of the Super Bowl tweeting nonsense. You can also email him at beer@ceetar.com.

A Quick Look Inside My Fridge

Peeking at the on deck circle for Ceetar’s drinking lineup.

What’s in my fridge? I always have too much beer, so I keep the ‘extra’ beer in the basement fridge or just in the basement cabinet, anything I have up in the main fridge I intend to drink pretty soon, or have as an offering to my wife. So let’s take a quick look at what’s on tap for me.

A. Nugget Nectar, the seasonal offering from Troegs, is an amazing beer and something I look forward to every year. It’s rare for me to pound through a six-pack without deviating for variety’s sake, but this beer is often an exception.

B. Spotted Dog is a cream ale from Alementary presumably in the vein of Spotted Cow from New Glarus an in honor of their brew dog Marjie. I had one on tap the other day and found it deliciously drinkable, light and easy, with plenty of flavor. 

C. Super Eight by Dogfish Head I’ve talked about here before, and this is one remaining can that somehow snuck through from August. Fruity, slightly tart and quite yummy. Super fruits! Can’t go wrong.

D. Rum soaked raisins I meant to serve with the Coquito at Christmas and didn’t. I should probably just throw them out?

E. New Holland Dragon’s Milk. I bought a 4-pack of this tasty bourbon barrel aged stout to pair with a New Holland bourbon from the same barrels, as I thought it’d be an interesting experiment. Somehow I haven’t yet found the time to imbibe both bourbon and high ABV stout at the same time for uh, science.

F. Apfelwein. A fermented apple beverage from Germany, in a can! I’ve made this before, and it’s delicious, so I was curious what a canned variety would taste like.  It’s not quite hard cider, but not quite sparkling apple juice, but somewhere in that family.

G. Bell’s Hopslam is an amazing beer and it speaks to how far craft beer is come that you can just grab six packs of this off the shelf now, whereas even a few years ago you had to basically camp out for one bottle.

H. Nitro Pumpkin Spice Latte is something I bought for my wife. This one’s from Breckenridge. She had one and said it wasn’t really anything special and it seems she hasn’t been drawn to have another. 

I. Why do I have jarred tomato sauce? *hands in Italian-American card* I think this was a last minute ‘oh crap, we have no food. Frozen ravioli and sauce it is.’

J. Recess is a CBP infused juice beverage thing. It tastes good, but I don’t think the CBP does anything beyond that.

K. Cayman Jack Margarita. Another wife product, and margaritas are yummy.

L. Duchesse De Bourgogne cherry chocolate. One of the first sour beers I ever had, way back in 2007, this time in cherry and chocolate, which are great flavors too. Was one of my christmas presents and I’m happily enjoying them. A reflection on that first beer fest might be an interesting post. 

M. Las Colombia Coffee Vanilla Draft Latte. Was a present my wife got, one of us will get to this as an afternoon/early evening pick me up one of these days.

N. Left Hand Chai Milk Stout, Nitro. I have no idea. I thought my wife would like this but she hasn’t touched it. I think that’s too many flavors for me, but there is a delicious brown ale with some chai tea in it that’s pretty darn awesome on a not-pictured shelf, so maybe I should try this too. 

So, what’s in your fridge?

Ceetar can be found on Twitter and Untappd where he’s already consumed three of the beers in this picture. You can also email him at beer@ceetar.com.

Brewery Review: Freight Yard Brewing, Clay, NY

I’m really the type of person to listen and pay attention to the signs out there.  Not street signs, although I pay attention to those too, best as I’m able.

I mean an omen.  A signal, telling me that I should go do something or go someplace.  This is the beer drinkers’ equivalent of Harry Potter drinking the liquid luck and then going to Hagrid’s.  You just have to go where you think you need to go and trust your instincts.

So, when you’re driving around your town, and you see a big fancy new sign on a building, on a stretch of road that is largely otherwise unoccupied, well, that’s a sign right there.

Especially a sign like this baby.

Blockin out the scenery breakin my mind

 

Turns out, as per their web site, this place has been making brews since 2016. Now there’s no way I missed a sign going up four years ago, 15 minutes from my house. No sir! Turns out, the tasting room just opened in the fall.

I finally made my way to this place the other night.  They’re only open on Fridays-Sundays, for now, so it’s a bit tougher to work that into my schedule, but when you get that sign, you follow it!

The building that houses this tasting room, as per a very personable bartender named Joe, has been many different things, as it sits near a train crossing or some other notable junction.  In any event, they’ve got some inventive decor and a real comfortable feel.

Not actually bouncy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s move on from the assfeel of those stools to talk about the merch that matters, the brewskis.

While their web site details quite a number of enticing sounding drinks, they had just four of their own beers on tap the night I was there.  The bartender apologized that he didn’t have any of their wheat beers or other varieties to offer me.  I started instead with their signature beer, the Hitch IPA.

This beer, ITBMCBB*, is best described as a “traditional IPA, hop forward, unfiltered.” I found it to be refreshing and hoppy. It’s a 7.2% IPA, which is a happy place for me to get my blur on.

Any local place should be putting their own best IPA forward as the first beer to start with, and the Hitch IPA gets the job done.  This was despite the misgivings of my adjacent stool mate, who after a sample asked if they had “any beers that tasted like beer.”  He was offered a Kolsch which I think he preferred (I thought less of him for saying so).

I moved from the IPA next to their brown ale. As per the bartender, the brewer was attempting to make her own take on a Newcastle. Now, why someone would want to do that is beyond me. Newcastle is some thin, watery slop.  This self described “English style” brown ale, the “Loucastle,” was far more enjoyable. I think, after the fine Brooklyn Brewery Brown Ale, this is probably my second favorite of this type that I’ve enjoyed personally.

This place has much to offer. First, don’t underestimate the value of a friendly and engaging bartender. This guy was on his own impetus offering me samples of the guest taps he enjoyed the most, just as one beer enthusiast sharing his joys with customers. That’s a first for me.

Another thing is that their menu included eight beers from other local craft breweries, including both a couple of known favorites of mine from Buried Acorn as well as some others I had not tried prior.  This is a very welcoming and open brewing community and the best places all seem to enjoy serving each others’ beers.

They also have some complimentary snacks for the drinking set – always a nice perk.  As Ceetar would tell you, a hard crunchy pretzel is the perfect compliment to a cold hoppy beer.

All in all, the Freight Yard Brewery is a choice spot and I’ll be headed back there soon.  I’m looking forward to their soon to be expanded hours (hopefully, later in 2020, to include Wednesdays and Thursdays), and to perhaps plan a running route nearby so that I can add this as a Run, Relax & Refresh spot to add to my list.

So if you’re in the vicinity of Clay, New York, do stop in and check this place out, and better yet, call or text me first and I will meet you there for a brown ale and an IPA.

 

 

The Darkest Beer Holiday

It’s time again for the winter solstice and time again to drink the darkest beer for the darkest days.

Let’s make this one a tribute to Brooklyn Brewery’s Black Chocolate Stout. A true classic. A delicious no-nonsense Russian Imperial Stout. There’s nothing added to this beer, no gimmicks, no pastries, no lactose. It’s a 10% darker than night, true pleasure of the winter season, beer.

It also ages fantastically. I’m on record as enjoying high alcohol beers more a year out than fresh. I’m not opposed to drinking a Black Chocolate Stout fresh, but I typically buy some and start drinking ones from last year, or even older than that. I had a 2018 this week, and it was just terrific. The alcohol burn you’d get fresh had mellowed into a roasty, bitter chocolate deliciousness. I actually did a three year vertical of this beer a few years back, which was a lot of fun. I still have one of those in my cellar, which is five years old now. I think I’ll open that one this season too.

Don’t fret though, I have plenty of other darkest beers to drink this season. I think I might celebrate the solstice with the Collective Arts beer on the header image, Origin Of Darkness. The store had a few variations of it, but I couldn’t resist the one with chocolate and pistachio cannoli. Dragon’s Milk is also a delicious one, and the heaviest of all of these. Arecibo by Alementary is more of a sweet stout, with the lactose and the coconut. It’s a beautiful pairing of flavors. That’s a good one to open while backing cookies.

Enjoy the Winter Solstice, beer’s newest drinking holiday. 

Ceetar can be found on Twitter and Untappd where he’s racking up the dark beers. You can also email him at beer@ceetar.com.

Ode To Overflow

An overflowed beer glass can be a beautiful thing
It may happen when you toast mugs with the king
The foam cascades down
But there’s no need to frown

Don’t fret the bad pour
We can always brew more
Enjoy the fluffy head
Even on an Irish red

The cascading foam
Makes me feel far from home
Like in a beer festival hall
Where I’m tasting them all

It may make a mess
All over your dress
But when does a night full of win
Ever end with clean linen?

So play cheers with your buds
Let’s drink down those suds
And always remember
To tip your bartender.

Ceetar can be found on Twitter and Untappd where he’s rarely poetic. You can also email him at beer@ceetar.com.

Reports from the Wild: Ellicottville Brewing Company Super Duper Jelly Strawberry Cream Ale

I’m happy to bring you another updater from our intrepid gal on the mean streets of Buffalo, the indefatigable Breezer Marieezer (follow her on Instagram here!), sampling the Ellicottville Brewing Company’s very verbosely named “Super Duper Jelly Strawberry Cream Ale” beer and giving us her thoughts on it.   Cheers, Bree!

Inaugural Barley Prose Beersport: Oktoberfest Edition

The name of the game is Beersport – two beers enter, one beer leaves. Beersport.

The return of Beersport! Made famous by J.R. Shirt on BeerGraphs and on the Drinking With Shirt Podcast. Feel free to badger Shirt to reprise either here. This classic beer competition returns with a classic Oktoberfest battle between Von Trapp Oktoberfest and Alementary Oktoberfest. Vermont vs. New Jersey. Go. 

Oktoberfest season is tailing off as October comes to an end, but I assure you these beers are still tasty well into November, and further!

Preconceived Notions:
I’ve had both these of these beers a fair amount. I like them both. The style is not super broad that I can easily say much about them cold, so it’ll still be a good head to head battle. I’m a member of Alementary’s Order of the Atom, which maybe gives this an unconscious bias, but you’re just going to have to live with that. 

Appearance
The Von Trapp had better head retention, otherwise they’re both pretty similar bronze colors typical of an Oktoberfest. The packaging is both appropriately Bavarian blue with the brewery logo. Both in 12oz cans. 

Winner: Von Trapp

Aroma
The Von Trapp has a sweet malt smell with a lot of light biscuity caramel notes. Reminds me some of some dark cherry smells. 

The Alementary has a much stronger smell, and a much richer one. Almost like a fresh loaf of bread with butter wafting into your nose. 

Winner: Alementary

Taste 
It’s a fairly gentle sweetness with the Von Trapp, but with some bitterness/astringency. The malt is not dominating as much as I would like, with some drying taste on my mouth from the hops. Though the malt builds with each sip which is nice, it sort of rounds out into form. 

Alementary’s taste is rich too, with a nice complex malt flavor. It’s sweeter and maltier. A nice sweet glaze on a good loaf of bread. This beer has a vibrant taste and rich malt flavor, but not overbearingly so. There’s a sense of fullness that then fades into a gentle almost honey aftertaste.

Winner: Alementary

Mouthfeel
Von trapp tastes a little airier, a little more carbonated, and a little less full bodied.

Alementary is almost sticky, and hits more tastebuds, is a more fullfilling experience.

Winner: Alementary

Overall 
I like both beers. They both make me happy. The Von Trapp is a little simpler, maybe a little easier to drink in volume, but the Alementary is a more complete beverage and is really wonderful. 

Beersport Winner: Alementary

Alementary takes down the inaugural BarleyProse Beersport. Great beer, check it out.

Ceetar can be found on Twitter and Untappd where he’s pondering starting a Barley Prose podcast. You can also email him at beer@ceetar.com.

Beer’s Great Companion: The Pretzel

Beer and pretzels.  Great combo, classic combo even. I think the dryness of the baked bread and the wetness of the, well, the drink, is what draws them together. This isn’t the podcast Gastropod or Savor though, I’m not going to delve into the history of beer and pretzels, but I can imagine a barkeep thinking he needed something that would soak up some of the beer his customers were consuming.

I’m not going to pretend pretzel necklaces at beer festivals are classy or anything, but I see the appeal. It’s a fun little thing to do, it’s a portable snack, it’s that bar bowl of pretzels but in mobile form. Here’s a picture of me doing just that at a beer festival in Philadelphia back in 2011. 

Ceetar with his Pretzel Necklace and a small beer

Another classic place you get pretzels is, of course, Oktoberfest. Again, I don’t really know the history of this but I do have the suspicious that giant over-sized pretzels ‘Bavarian’ style are a somewhat new occurrence. These are typically a soft pretzel, very doughy, and very delicious. The pretzel has often risen during baking so much it’s actually split the outer shell, much like a well cooked bratwurst might. To continue the trend, here’s a picture of me at Oktoberfest 2012 with a giant pretzel and a liter of amazingly delicious beer. 

Ceetar with half a giant pretzel and a beer at Oktoberfest

And because a few months later I was still basking in the glory of that trip, here’s a piece of the Gingerbread House I made as an ode to the trip.

Gingerbread House of Oktoberfest beer vendor

Snyder’s makes an Oktoberfest style box of pretzels around this time of the year that you can find in stores. It’s nothing like a soft pretzel, though the description does say they let it rise longer to get that airiness. They’re very good pretzels, though they’re crunchy and hard. They’re airy on the inside and flake into pieces when you bite into them. I get a box every year.

 

Here’s a new product I stumbled upon recently. Typically you think of the malt part of beer going well with pretzels. The sweeter, breadier part of the beer right? These guys from Unique are made with malted barley AND hops. That’s cool! That means it’s got grain, yeast, hops and water in the process…which means that these pretzels ARE beer? Blowing my mind right here. sourdough pretzel ring

They’re sourdough so they already lend a little different mouthfeel and a little bit of tanginess that’s different from other pretzels. The hops are surprisingly apparent though. I find often these ‘craft beer ITEM’ purchases are very meh, especially when they’ve got such a gimmicky name. The french fries? Couldn’t tell. These pretzels have a slight hop bite to them though, that taste of the beer foam of an IPA, that slight grassy bitterness that hops give. It took a little getting used to, but once my taste buds adjusted I did really enjoy these.

Pretzels taste good! Who knew?

Please tweet your best pretzel necklaces and follow Barley Prose on Twitter and Facebook. You can also follow Ceetar.

You Know Those IPA’s That Are Like, Double IPA’s, You Know?

(Hat tip to the Simpsons, and Otto, for the phrasing of the title of this blog post. )

I’m here to once again bring you a series of platitudes about beer drinking.  And that, my friends, is this.

Higher ABV in a beer makes it better.

This comes from the “bang for your buck” school of thought.

I’ve been trying to curtail my intake of late – as a parent of both teen and pre-teen children, I know that eyes are on me to make sure my head is screwed on straight.  Those post work beery meet ups and workout inspired hard seltzers, which lead to “cooking beers,” and so on, and, well, it’s a slippery slide.

Like a lot of folks, I’m what you call a “Black Diamond” drinker.  What I mean by that is, like a skier tackling the toughest of slopes, I start my day with a long gradual descent, during which my mood improves, my confidence builds, and, yes, my ability to make sense and limit profanity pushes its outer boundaries.  And then, as if being ejected forcefully from a lift, I go sailing down that downward side of the mountain, hurtling towards danger and potential destruction.

My answer to this has been the “one day, one beer” motto.  During the week, I’m holding myself now to just a single beer, had with dinner, to wash down my meal and hopefully pair up nicely with what I am cooking.  I try to keep a few Guinness or other darker beers in supply that go well with red meats, stews and other fall oven baked goodies.

But the go to beer has got to be a double IPA.  I mean, if I’m only going to have one, it should give me a bit of a brain wollop.

 

Having added more IPAs to my routine, I can say that the double IPAs only bring double joy, and no real negatives. The extra hoppy flavor is not overwhelming but rather a comforting friend, like Bob Saget’s homosexual companion Joey from Full House.

The Southern Tier brewery is based out of Lockwood, NY, which is in the very southwest corner of New York State, closer to Erie PA than any metropolitan area of the Empire State.  They have a wide range of beers and I’ve yet to have one that I didn’t enjoy.  This particular 2X IPA, ITBMCBB*, is “an India Pale Ale kicked up a notch to form a true Double IPA: feverishly hoppy with a malty backbone and higher-than-standard alcohol content. Citrusy hops tease the senses with aromatics and lingering bitterness, while just the right balance of malts disguises 2XIPA’s extra gravity.”

I mean, sure, yep, I agree!   I have no gift for flowery compliments.  It tastes good, yo!  It pairs well with chicken, or pizza, or, well, you know, anything you’d want to wash down.

I’m on the lookout for more locally available 2X IPA’s.  Please feel free to share your faves.

Let’s dust off the Prose-inator to bring this home:

“This beer tastes like what it would taste like if a

made love to a

in the middle of a

while listening to the Greatest Hits Album of the world’s greatest band, ever, that being of course

and then together raised a baby with their shared feelings of

and, finally, that baby cried

tears of

into a frosty pint glass.”

Some Rambling Thoughts About Beer

I have lots of thoughts about beer. Perhaps too many thoughts. Even though I run a beer blog, I don’t typically think these thoughts in easily organized fashion, or I think them in in-opportune places like the car or as I’m falling asleep. So this is an attempt to pull out those thoughts into a post.

I have not had a fresh hop beer this year. This is extremely disturbing, as it’s one of my favorite ‘styles’. I know it’s not as big a thing in NY/NJ as it is in the Pacific Northwest, but usually I stumble across enough to scratch that itch. The beers are so fresh and grassy and wonderful. The bitterness is definitely more pronounced, more piney, than is common these days, but I love that. Checking on Untappd for two of the ones I know get packaged, Founders and Victory, it appears late October/early November is when I’ve had them in the past, so I was perhaps just a wee bit early, thought I suspect this isn’t as ‘fresh hop’ as you’d get if you lived in a hop farm. Between starting this post and publishing it, I’ve found and consumed two Founder’s Harvest Ales.

The weather has started turning towards chilly, the pumpkins are out, as are the spider webs and all the associated Halloween accouterments. Does that mean we’re supposed to start drinking those heavy dark beers aged in delicious spirit barrels? Because I’m down. Bring on the stouts. My goal, as usual, is to consume more beer than I buy. I suspect I’ll fail. 

I’ve noticed that I see a lot of really interesting single bottles out there that I buy and feel like I need to share to open. Things like Dogfish Head Raison D’Extra, or Firestone Walker’s Anniversary beer, or some interesting wild NY beer from Plan Bee that sounds amazing, or this special stout blend from Alementary that’s amazing. The problem is I clearly don’t have enough friends, and not enough friends that are over enough regularly to drink beer with. I need to remedy this, but does ‘hey want to be my friend I have beer’ go over well at the Kindergarten drop-off line? It’s possible I should just drink these beers myself or with my wife and stop trying to make them fit into some special event.

Just some things I’m musing about.