Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Waste Not vs Want Not: Do Beer Drinkers Care?

Recently I had the pleasure of attending an event thrown by Sam Calagione (DogFish Head Founder/President) & Mario Batali (Star of Iron Chef and several other of his own cooking shows), at Birreria their microbrewery/bar, above Batali's popular Eataly, in New York City.

They were celebrating the premier of the latest episode of their new Web-series: That's Odd, Let's Drink it! This episode was about food waste. Apparently Americans throw out/waste, up to as much as 40% of our food. Batali' and Calagione decided to address this issue and develop a new beer called Waste Not Pruno. The word pruno comes from an Italian term for a wine made by prison inmates using whatever ingredients they are able to get their hands on. We're talking about scraps of bread, canned fruit cocktails, even ketchup.

For the beer version of Pruno, the idea was use quality ingredients that are on their last legs, close to expiration, and would normally have been thrown out. Ingredients of Pruno include overripe tomatoes, grapefruit, oranges, and ugly fruit. Its a wheat-based brew, served from a cask, that sneaks in a 7.1% ABV that feels much lighter, despite packing in some serious flavor.

Pruno was the center of attention, behind a bar that included an excellent array of beers. An almost total Dogfish Head takeover, was accompanied by a few taps of NYC's newest all-star brewery, Other Half. Other Half is currently the most sought after beer maker in the area, with lines wrapping around their building whenever they offer a new can release. I got to meet their two brewer/owners. It was pretty amusing to me that not only were they wearing their own brand tee-shirts, but they were also drinking their own beer at an event focused on Dogfish Head and the Pruno. They seemed like awesome guys.

WastED, NYC based pop-up restaurants, were created around the theme of decreasing food waste. Menu items have included items like fish heads and collars, broken razor clams with pig's ear vinaigrette, monk fish tripe, bruised fruits, and semi-wilted vegetables.
The name WastED is also used for an associated community of chefs, farmers, fishermen, distributors, processors, producers, designers and retailers. These groups are all working together to re-conceive “waste” that occurs at every link in the food chain.
"Our goal is to celebrate what chefs do every day on their menus (and peasant cooking has done for thousands of years): creating something delicious out of the ignored, or un-coveted, and inspiring new applications for the overlooked byproducts of our food system."

We capped off the evening watching the featured episode of That's Odd, Let's Drink it! You can watch the episode here:

So, apparently some beer drinkers do care about not wasting food, and are making efforts towards change.  I'm doubtful this mentality is the norm. How about you? Does food waste matter to you? Would you go out of your way to buy beers that were proactively working to help reduce the problem, if they also tasted great?

Monday, December 14, 2015

The 20 Best Albums of 2015 & The Beers To Drink While Listening

It's been an odd year, I found myself listening to more pop music than ever before. I've always been a guy to shit on the Biebers & Britneys of the world. It seems that the other genres I've always loved: hiphop, punk, alternative, electronic, indie-rock, soul, pretty much everything, has all kind-of mashed its way into pop music over the years. In 2015 it hit a peak of integration.

For a year that I've paid more attention to beer than music, the hard part was choosing the 20 best albums. The fun part was pairing the perfect beer to drink to really match the mood of each of them.
Warning: I don't recommend you making a play list and finishing each one of these beers by the end of each song. There are some heavy hitting ABV brews in this list...lets live to drink another day.

20. Beach Slang - The Things We Do to Find People That Feel Like Us. A little beach atmosphere in the winter, stay in side, crack this album, drink SanTan's Mr. Pineapple wheat ale.
I Break Guitars

19. Towkio - .Wav Theory with Brooklyn Sorachi Ace saison/farmhouse ale. Album and beer are both pocket rockets (aces) to bust out on poker nights.
Wav Theory

18. Lamb of God - VII Sturm und Drang & Jester King Black Metal Farmhouse Imperial Stout. Dry, super roasty, destroyers of all things unpleasant around you.
Erase This

17. Internet - Ego Death  Internet makes mood music, girl on girl mood music. Try pairing with Naughty Girl Stout from Right Brain and invite that friend over that your lady is always mentioning looks pretty...just a joke! Unless you think you can actually pull it off...

16. Erykah Badu - But You Caint Use My Phone combined with Cedar Creek Elliot's Phoned Home. Both the album and the beer play off of a phone theme, and an eerie extraterrestrial vibe that Erykah, Andre 3000, and E.T. all share.
Hello feat Andre 300

15. Sufjan Stevens - Carrie & Lowell along side Rainier. In 2004 a bear drank 36 cans of Rainier he found at a campsite. He didn't touch a single can of the Busch beer that was there... For obvious reason even a bear can tell.
Should Have Known Better

14. Bomba Estereo - Amanecer while sipping The Bruery Or Xata. Combine sounds and flavors of the south. No not that south, souther than that. Keep going until they start serving plantains and arepas.

13. Jamie XX - In Colour while entertaining your taste buds with Deschutes Back Butte XXVII. Maybe this is Jamie the 20th, maybe Deschutes is saying seven beers kissed twice. Probably I'm just reaching in all contexts, but this is a damn good beer and one of the best electronic albums out.

12. Action Bronson - Mr Wonderful covered in a pour of Sixpoint Resin double IPA. Resin tastes like weed smells. Bronson likely does as well.
Baby Blue feat Chance the Rapper

11. Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Multi-love vibing with Boulevard Love Child No. 5 wild ale. When you have multi-love, you get numerous love children, its just science. No doubt babies have been made after drinking Love Child No. 5 and while listening to Unknown Mortal Orchestra.
Ur Life One Night

10. Clutch - Psychic Warfare with ammunition from BrewDog I Hardcare You double IPA. There's no messing around here. This is music for serious metal heads, and beer for those that can handle seriously high IBU (80).
X-ray Visions

9. Drake - If You're Reading This It's Too Late. I got energy, got a lot of energy, Kona Pipeline Porter brewed with freshly roasted 100% Kona coffee from Hawaii, provides some energy for you to bust out your best hotline bling dance moves.


8. Amy Soundtrack complimented by Dogfish Head 120 minute IPA. At 18% ABV 120 minute is a beast in a glass. I love me some Amy Winehouse, she was one of a kind. Let's cheers to her the way she would have wanted, with a ridiculously highly alcoholic beverage.
Back to Black

7. Adele -25 with a champagne beer for a classy lady with an impeccable voice. A toast "to class" with Goudenband Liefmans, Flanders Oud Bruin style.

6. Skrillex-Diplo - Jack U featuring Justin Blabaer by Evil Twin's berliner weissbier. Skrillex & Diplo helped rejuvenate Bieber's career and find him a broader audience. The comedy central roast definitely helped too. Evil Twin pays tribute to the mockery of, probably the most famous singer on the planet, with this delicious berliner weissbier. Yeah, you're pretty punny Evil Twin.
Where Are U Now?

5. Drenge - Self Titled jammin' with Scary Jesus Rockstar pale ale by Dark Horse. A band and a beer that are both fiercely underrated. These are for those looking to really go hard. Scary Jesus Rockstar has the flavor punches of an IPA but crushes like a pale ale. Its what most sessions wish they were. Drenge is that hard hitting rock band that you worried didn't exist any more.

4. Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp a Butterfly trickin' Pimp My Sleigh from Fat Heads. This Belgium, strong dark, shouts 'Tis the season for sleigh rides and serious pimpin'. Bang Kendrick in the back of your ride, that'll get those reindeer moving.

3. The Weeknd - Beauty Behind The Madness with quenching sub-woofer Bass Drop Imperial Stout by Tiny Rebel (Wales). Its all about that bass, no treble, and no going light when it comes to a good imperial stout. You know what they say, the blacker the beery the sweeter the juice. This beer is so good I can't feel my face.
The Hills

2. Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment - Surf in the lab with Breaking Bud IPA by Knee Deep brewing. Currently my favorite hiphop artist, Chance the Rapper, teamed up with his brother and a whole squad of talented musicians & emcees to do a little experimentation. Knee Deep took one of the best TV shows of the last decade and did a little experimenting of their own. 9 out of 10 mixologists find both the album and the beer to be 100% dope.
Warm Enough feat J. Cole & Noname Gypsy

1. Alabama Shakes - Sound & Color enhance your rhythm with Shake Chocolate Porter from Boulder brewing co. This was a tough pick for the #1 spot but I've seen Alabama Shakes live and there hasn't been anything like them since James Brown, The Shakes, and Boulder's Shake, Chocolate Porter, are both equally clutch on the dance floor, as they are curled up on the couch with some Netflix.
Don't Wanna Fight No More

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Your Turkey Day Pick 6: Beers to Drink With Your Leftovers

Everyone and their Dogfish came out with a list of beers to drink with your Thanksgiving meal this year. So I've decided to switch it up  a bit and create a 6-pack mixer that best pairs with your weekend following turkey day, and those mass leftovers.

1. Day old bean casserole, likely microwaved, let's be honest, and could definitely use a pick me up. Casseroles and November evenings both pair perfectly with porters. An exceptional one, that has, as of earlier this year, spread to a lot more markets around the country, is Breckenridge's Vanilla Porter. I'll take this bottle over any porter you can find in a grocery store sans maybe those lucky North-Westerners that have Deschutes Blackbutte Porter in their isles.

2. Leftover biscuits turned into a breakfast sandwich is a win we often forget most other times of the year. What's better with breakfast than coffee? Obliviously a coffee stout. Ale Smith's Speedway Stout is an American Imperial in a league of its own. If you have a sweet-tooth like me, its a little harder to find, but the Vietnamese coffee version of Speedway Stout is killer as well.

3. You've ran out of cranberry sauce and your turkey sammy is dry. No fear Ommegang Rosetta is here. Its very cherry, but it isn't strawberry-rita or anything like that sugary crap marketed towards sororities. *Disclaimer if there are any sororities out there that value craft beer I sincerely apologize. Unless you are on-board with mocking all of your rivals with me, then lets do this!

4. Pie? There's always room for pie.  On turkey day my favorite has always been pecan. When pairing with sweet nuts, yeah I'm talking to you sweet nuts, I like to go boozy. Weyerbacher's 11% abv English barley wine Blithering Idiot cuts pecan pie as well as that metal triangle thingy you use to dish yourself out a slice.

5. Stuffed on stuffing? You'll need something light and refreshing to wash down all that bread. Jazz it up with an unique flavored gose. Breweries at Two Roads and Evil Twin teamed up to make an excellent brew called Geyser Gose. It uses adventurous ingredients like Icelandic moss that really pop.

6. Sunday sporty Sunday. By the Sunday after Thanksgiving arrives you've likely already had a long stretch of binging and drinking. And you should probably stop, but there's a game on, actually there is a whole day of games on. At this point I'm thinking light on the snacks, maybe even some carrot sticks. For something to session that actually packs flavor, put Firestore Walker's Easy Jack in this weekends lineup.

On a closing note, I chose all of the above beers because they were easily accessible to me, in multiple grocery stores. Obviously it depends on what region you live in. But I'll take a guess that I'm not the only one slightly annoyed by beer pairing lists that recommend rare or hard to find brews. You know what else goes well with Pliny The Younger? A flight to California and a ride on an actual whale! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

It Hurts, But Needs to Be Done: The Beers We Must Give Up List...

Earlier this month A-B InBev Beers merged with SABMiller (Budwiser & Miller). Together this new powerhouse is monopolizing the industry, owning over 400 beers, and roughly 1/3 of all beer produced on the planet, 71% of the U.S.
Then, more recently, Constellation, who owns Corona & Modelo, bought Ballast Point, one of the most popular craft breweries in the country, for one billion dollars. Sculpin down! Sculpin down!

This is a problem.  In a world where craft beer is growing daily and gulping up sections of the market at chugging speeds, somebody's losing, and those losers are the big boys.  Now, what do the rich do when they start to lose to the poor? They buy out the poor and reclaim their crowns of course.

What can we do as citizens of hops kingdom and protectors of the craft? What must we do?  We have to fight back with our wallets.  It won't be easy.  They will hit us where it hurts most, buy out the best of the best small craft breweries, one by one, everyone willing to sell, in order to try and gain back control of the market. Their top priority is to make money, obviously. To the little guys making craft brews, its not about the dough, its about making the best beer. If they do sell out, then we know where their priorities lay, and who to no longer trust with our palates.

Hell, lets be honest, if I was a brewer I'd sell out. Then I'd use the money to start a new brewery, continue to make great beer under a new name, and laugh all the way to the bank...So I'm not passing judgement, I'm just stating what we the craft beer enthusiasts must do in order to preserve this amazing counter-culture that's been built one keg at a time.

Some of our very favorite breweries have already been captured (Elysian, 10 Barrel). We must stay strong. There are hundreds of excellent craft breweries out there for us to choose from, that are now more readily available than ever. I mean, I recently bough KBS at a mini mart (bodega) in Brooklyn. We can't lose site of this, as more of our comrades fall to the evil macro marauders.

It will hurt, but it must be done.  Here is a list of beers I'm lobbying that we give up in order to preserve the integrity of the craft.

Goose Island: Yes, this hurts, Bourbon County especially, but I think it's worth it, big picture.

Kirin: I know, its nice with Japanese food but there is almost always another option or two, and if you're eating at home I recommend Hitachi Nest Red Rice Ale or Rogue Soba Buckwheat Ale.

Ballast Point: DAMN IT. The Sculpin and its delicious variants, Calm before the storm, and so many others, this will be tough. Personally I'm going to pick up some Sculpin now for one last goodbye.

10 Barrel: Bend, Bend, Bend. If anyone was going to resist a sellout I thought it'd be the boys from eastern Oregon. Its okay though, breath. We still have Deschutes, Goodlife, Bend Brewing, Crux, and more. Like the soundtrack to every coffee shop in Bend sings, "every little thing, is gonna be alright."

Golden Road: West-coasters have been mourning this loss for a while now, but I think it's important to keep them on this list, they were one of the snowballs that started this avalanche.

Saint Archer: I never got to try, but if you loved them, sorry for your loss. 

Lagunitas: Now the Heineken of IPAs. Can't wait until they start putting them in green bottles (joke).

Elysian: Probably the toughest loss for me. For a while Elysian was my very favorite brewery, but I've moved on, and you can too.

All this said, drink what you like, choose your own battles. This is just one that I decided was important enough for me.

For now I'm banning the above list of sellouts, and doing my best to drink locally wherever possible. Still, if Double Mountain or Other Half sells out any time soon, I might just loose all hope.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Heady Topper's My Porn Name: How Important is a Beer's Title?

There are more craft beers out now than ever. We as consumers aka beer geeks have options. Like back-up-of-a-back-up-to-a-back-up plan kind of options. Beer shops, heck, even some grocery stores now, have beer sections that put kids cereal isles to shame.  So how do we choose? What is making some beers sell and others go flat on the shelves? Is it taste? Well you have to buy it  at least once before you can taste it. Is it reputation? Definitely but that doesn't build over night. Is it ratings and reviews? Sure but not all of us do a beer ratings search before every purchase. definitely all of these factors come into play but when you strip all of them away. For all the times you're buying beer and just browsing the cans and bottles for something new; how important is the name on the bottle?  

A good beer name is apparently important enough that The Great American Beer Festival created a category in their highly regarded beer awards for it. 2015's gold medal beer names included: Champion Brewing's Shower Beer and Bottle Logic's Lagerithm. 

It's definitely become a "thing" to name beers funny names, punny names, or dark and powerful names. Some of my favorites include: Citra Ass Down, Cherry Busey, Mustache Rye'd, Even More Jesus, and Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right BA Select. Don't get me wrong I'm not mocking the trend, I definitely get a kick out of the quirky names. Currently I'm home-brewing a Chestnut ale and we decided to call it Suck-a-Nut Brown. 

So, let's market research the shit out of this question. How important is a beer's name? Perhaps the answer is in the competing influences?  Here are a few relate-able stats from Mintel: 

  • Discovery of new beers is popular with 84% of craft beer consumers.
  • 1/3 of craft beer consumers ask sales associates for advice/info when buying beer.
  • 73% of craft beer consumers say they usually know which brand of beer they are buying before they arrive at the store.
  • 84% of craft beer consumers like to choose their beer depending on the season. 
We'll assume these statistics have a lot of cross over, if 73% of us know what we are getting before we get to the store but 84% are interested in discovering new beers to try, I'll take an educated guess that we're coming home with something old, something new, something barrel aged, and something triple hops brewed. Translation most beer enthusiasts can't leave the store with only one beer. 

If 1/3 of us are asking for advice, that leaves over 66% that are free ballin' it, and although I have been guilty of in-store phone research, I haven't noticed a ton of others staring at their screens. Most often I see my beer-compadres staring at the cans and bottles. 

When we come face to face with a bottle-time decision, and we choose not to use our phones or customer service as a crutch, what are the main factors that come into play? Art, name, style, ingredients; typically in that order. So if you're a beer maker, you may want to consider hiring a creative writing specialist to help name your beers. If you're a craft beer drinking enthusiast like myself, you may want to consider heading to the store with more of a game plan, so you don't end up suckered into bringing home some trash water with a hilarious name on the bottle. No matter who you are, I think its safe to say that if someone tries to tell you a beer's name doesn't matter, just use a beer title from Black Lotus and reply, "I'm Rick James Beach", and put them in their place. 

Monday, September 7, 2015

How to Snag a Craft Beer Babe

That actual beer went into that actually belly. This is not an ad, and that is not a model.  That is craft beer enthusiast, beer blogger, and artist, Amanda Miller. Pimpin' knows how difficult it can be to meet a good woman in this day and age. Skew that down to beautiful women with a palate for craft beer, and your odds just got dissected into fractions. So Pimpin' is going to help a brother out.  I interviewed Amanda, and tried to get the inside scoop on just how best to go about trying to meet a hop-forward heroine. 

Pimpin': What are the best places for guys to approach you?  Beer bar? Park? Event? Etc?

Amanda: Honestly all of the above.  You could even throw in the grocery store.  Love me a man that cooks!  Key is confidence, don’t be scared but don’t be a douche bag either.  No cheesy lines, hello works just fine.  If you have Facebook or Instagram and you have shirtless selfies in the bathroom, just walk away.  Nope.  Bye Felicia!  If we are in a beer bar just ask me what I’m drinking, simple conversation starter because I enjoy talking about different brews.  Let’s play Jenga or a game of pool, I’ll most likely win.

Pimpin': There's always a fine line to tread when playing competitive games with a lady.  Never act cocky, never let her win, but definitely never let her lose.

Pimpin':  Are there any stereotypes, general differences in personalities between women that drink craft beer and those that hate beer?  How about those that drink macro PBR/Bud Light? 

Amanda: For those women that hate beer…HIGH MAINTENANCE BITCHES!  Just kidding, sort of.  Not all of them are.  I have a very good friend that is cool as shit, loves sports and outdoors, and can hang with the guys much like myself, but she prefers tequila or vodka.  She just doesn’t have the taste for it and that's fine.  I have turned my macro beer drinking girlfriends into craft beer drinking friends.  That or I just surround myself with the craft girls now.  They seem to have a laid back personality like I do, mixed with a bit of adventure and wit!  Almost all the girls I hang with, and there are only a select few, drink craft beer, so that is pretty rad.  I love sharing my beers with others and letting them taste something with actual flavor.  But to each their own. 

Pimpin': High maintenance bitches is kind of a harsh label, how about we just refer to them as basic bitches?

Pimpin': What is the best pick up line you've ever heard? Worst?  Do you generally find them amusing or annoying?

Amanda: Oh they are amusing alright...
"Are you from Tennessee? No why? Because you're the only ten I see."
"Are your legs tired? No why? Because you've been running through my mind all day." 
"Did it hurt? What? When you fell from heaven."

Pimpin': How about "what's your boyfriends name? You don't have one? How about (insert name) does that sound like a good name for a boyfriend?"  That's the only line I've ever used. Tried it twice when I was in college. Worked both times haha. No, no lines...they're all super cheesy, okay, got it.

Pimpin': Is there anything that makes a craft beer drinking guy more attractive beyond just what beer he's holding?

Amanda: They seem to come with a touch more intelligence lol, sometimes a beard too and that is great!  They have a little more adventure to them because once you love the taste of the craft you seek them out.  They aren't afraid to explore and try new things, and that’s a nice trait aside from just the beer.  They are also not normally the “frat” type that are trying to pound down shitty beer to get buzzed.  They look for new places that have different varieties, you don’t just stick to the same old sports bar that has nothing craft on tap.  They want to visit breweries or craft beer bars in different places.

Pimpin': The popularity of the beard is really helping us beer-geeks out, that's for damn sure. We still have to keep in mind we're always going to get sloppy seconds after these guys (below), they rule the bed. Its a wonderful thing how often beer people tend to be dog people as well. Your dogs are adorable Amanda.

Pimpin': Have you ever turned down a guy that tried to meet you at a bar based on the beer he was drinking?

Amanda: Hmm, I can’t say that I have turned one down yet, since I frequent craft beer bars mostly. But if one was drinking a shit macro beer elsewhere, then I at least talked shit to him and tried to explain the importance of quality brews.  Some of them don’t care, and some I have gotten to try craft brews and they enjoyed them.  I try not to judge, but I will try to persuade you into something better.

Pimpin': I guess the moral of the story is: drink shit beer, expect to hear some shit-talk.

Pimpin': There is a popular new trend that many women say they prefer a guy to buy them a book when they are at a book store instead of a drink at the bar. What are your thoughts on this?

Amanda: Well I did not know this was a trend.  So if I was at a dog park, is the new trend there for the guy to pick up my dog’s shit? I can get down with that!  I enjoy a good read, but actually download my books, even though a bookstore is actually nice to be in.  I find a bookstore a more personal setting.  What if I was buying a self-help or The Guide to Getting it on (which I do own for conversation/humor purposes)? Not sure we want to dive in head first on the initial meet and greet.  Never met a guy in a bookstore before.  I’m happy to talk beer and have him buy me a delicious treat at the bar though. 

Pimpin': I'll go ahead and humor Amanda that I believe she bought The Guide to Getting It On for conversational purposes. After all, in the words of the great Young M.C. "tell a funny joke just to get some play, then you try to make a move and she says no way." I'm imagining a world where craft beer is served on tap at the bookstore, its a glorious world.

Pimpin': When you're talking about beer, what types of things do you find engaging, and what types of things do you find boring or annoying?

Amanda: Knowledgeable but not over the top like a know-it-all.  Don’t try to explain to me why Coors or Bud Light is awesome.  I ain’t havin' it.  I like recommendations on things that I haven't tried.  I like to learn and share new things I've learned to those that are new to the craft.  We always have room to learn.

Pimpin': Except about macros, there is no room for learning about how Budweiser is awesome, I think we can all agree with you there...except my dad, I love him but he'd go to bat for Bud in any and all occasions. I guess I should just be thankful he didn't name me Bud...

Pimpin':  Many women don’t drink beer because of calories. Do you eat certain things to leave room for more beer? Workout? Or just don't give a damn?

Amanda: I have never really been a calorie counter.  I thank my parents and my eating habits for my small frame.  I have always been a pretty healthy eater, and never really eat very big portions.  I used to workout more than I do now, but I have maintained my weight and clothing size all my life.  So I guess I don’t really give a damn, I like beer, so I drink beer.  I think it keeps me youthful. 

Pimpin': Many women are hating you right now Amanda. I applaud your healthy eating habits, and to your efforts of not conforming to societies bullshit ideals that women shouldn't drink beer because it will make them fat.

Pimpin': Have you noticed that guys treat you differently because you are a craft beer drinker and enthusiast? In what ways? 

Amanda: Uh, a beer drinking babe.  Pretty much enough said right there.  The fact that it’s craft over macro really hits a home run!  I am laid back and easy to get along with, good at kickin’ it with the guys and the fact that I like quality brews is a plus.  I mean what guy doesn’t like a beer drinking chick?  I tell them that I have a craft beer blog and that typically sparks an interest.  Right now my Instagram is my “blog” because it is quick and easy.  People like visuals and it’s easy to follow and like. 

Pimpin': "Uh, a beer drinking babe." Definitely my favorite of your answers today and you've had some good ones. Guys, and gals out there in reader land, definitely check out her work:  Instagram: @theartofbeers)

Pimpin': What is one piece of advice you'd give to beer geek guys trying to snag a beer geek babe?

Amanda: Be yourself, drink good beer together, and have fun! 

Pimpin': It's that, being ourselves bit, that so many of us struggle with...

Pimpin': Lastly do you have any funny or interesting or horrible stories involving meeting guys and beer or dating and beer? 

Amanda: Nothing too wild.  What’s cool is the whole craft beer community I've been exposed to now.  I did my first beer trade with a guy that works for one of the best breweries, Ballast Point Brewing.  He even helped brew one of the beers he sent.  It’s nice to be part of something no matter what it is.  More and more people share things with me now as far as new beers, or beer events, because they know it is something I am passionate about.  You know, it’s a hobby and it’s fun!  Drink good beer my friends.  Cheers!

Pimpin': Well, thank you very much for taking the time to shed some wisdom on our Pimpin' readers. We definitely enjoyed your insights, and look forward to continuing to follow you through your website and social media.  

Pimpin': Guys, let's have some fun, and leave a comment below for Amanda, with your favorite, funniest, or cheesiest pick up lines!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Are You A Beer Ticker? 10 Things I Hate About You

Maybe I should have titled this 10 things I hate about me, because I fear I may becoming somewhat of a beer ticker, which consequently might be turning me into a bit of a snob. Let's have a man to man, or man to woman, or person to person (covering all my bases here), chat. Now be honest, are you still the beer drinking enthusiast you were when you began this journey into beer-geekdom? Or have you transformed into a label collector, a tradesman, or a beerleontologist of sorts?

What is a beer ticker? The term's origin began in England. Obviously. Ticker... You wanna have a go on my skipping rope gov'na? But whether you call them tickers, searchers, collectors, traders, or snobs, its all circumstantial.  Do I sound like I'm about to do some serious shit talk, probably. Why am I allowed? Because its self deprecation,  I have found myself turning into something I detest. A beer ticker. Its like when its okay for the unpopular to label themselves get where I'm coming from.  As the saying goes, "it takes one to know one," and I feel like my beer-ducation has been growing my elitist views.

The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. Don't worry! This has nothing to do with AA (me, quit drinking? Ha!). The problem I have involves the type of beer drinker I've become. So here are 10 things I hate, a.k.a. 10 things to work on:

1. Its worth drinking buds, to spend time with buds
Gag, sorry, just a reflex. Nobody likes a buzzkill. So keep your beer snobbin' comments to yourself at parties and get-togethers. If all there is to drink is Miller High Life, guess what, it's the champagne of beers for you, and keep you mouth shut about it.

2. Its a drink not a trophy
Getting your hands on rarities is awesome. But its nothing to brag about. You should be sharing your treasures with your friends not gloating over the beers in your basement that no one will ever drink.

3. Sometimes you need to choose quantity over quality
Beer keeps getting more and more expensive. I've spend $33 on a howler (320z), $26 on a mixed 6-pack, and $30 on a bomber (22oz) and I've known many of people that have spent way more than this. Unless you have money to burn, sometimes its more important to buy four cases of PBR for a BBQ, rather than four 220z bombers that everyone gets only a small taste of.

4. Normally people don't give a shit about ABV or IBU
If you're having a beer enthusiast convo, that's one thing, but don't perpetuate the geek stereotype by boring non-beer lovers with stats on ABV and IBU levels.

5. Its okay to drink a beer more than once
Do you love Untappd? I do! But let's not forget how enjoyable it is to find a beer you love and drink it over and over again.

6. No matter how much you train your taste buds, it doesn't mean what you like is the best
Taste is subjective. Even sommeliars will tell you, people like what they like. Don't ever judge people for liking beers that you don't, or not liking ones that you do...even if it is Budweiser.

7. Hey sheep! You don't have to like it just because it has high ratings and reviews
If you don't like Pliny, you don't like Pliny. Don't pretend just to fit in. If you'd rather have a Heineken, be real about it.

8. Sometimes you should drink wine, or a cocktail, or god forbid...water
If you're reading this, you can probably agree that beer is the best. And you can probably make a solid argument for why it should be included in any and every occasion. But that's the thing: dicks argue. If the event calls for a different beverage, roll with it.

9. Its okay to rate more than one beer a perfect score
Its hilarious to read posts or reviews like "this beer is amazing", or "absolutely delicious", and then they rate it 3.5 out of 5 stars. It's okay to rate every beer that is super delicious a perfect 5. No need to Bogart high rating scores.

10. So what if it's rare, aged, and hard to find, its just beer
If you have beer in a glass case that isn't serving to keep it at a certain temperature, haha, you might be a beer-neck. If you have dates marked on your calendar for when to open beers you are aging, you might be a beer-neck. If you are taking offense to these redneck style jokes or any of the above-mentioned things that I hate, you might be a beer-neck. Chill out, there's nothing wrong with our passion for beer, as long as we aren't acting like our shit smells better than Coors Light drinker's...Coors Light. People will like you more, you'll like yourself more.  Stop judging people, and stop judging beer with anything beyond your five senses.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The U.S. Open and Zymurgy's Best Beers & Breweries: A Pimpin' Break Down

U.S. Open Beer Championship Entries Due June 1-12

Results are in and the big winners at this years U.S. Open Beer Championship are:

Best Brewery: 
Ballast Point (California)

Most Creative Beer Name: 
Funkmaster Brett & the Furious Hops - Revelry Brewing (South Carolina)

Best I.P.A.:
HopShock IPA - SanTan Brewing (Arizona)

Best Imperial I.P.A. (aka double IPA):
Ruination Double I.P.A. 2.0 - Stone Brewing (California)

* Special Pimpin' shout out to GoodLife Brewing for winning the silver with their Comatose Imperial I.P.A.

Best Experimental Beer:
Salty Scot - Parallel 49 (Canada)

Best Barrel-aged Sour Beer
Roeselare - Perrin Brewing (Michigan)

Pimpin' thoughts on the U.S. Open's picks: 
Ballast Point totally deserves the title, Its great to see little breweries like Good Life getting honors, I just tried Salty Scot yesterday actually and love it, where is Founders in any of these catagories? Sorry I'm not sorry this is a run-on sentence and Stone Brewing is way overrated, and my favorite original beer name goes to Bees in the Trappe from Grimm.

Click here to see who won the gold, silver, and bronze in stouts, porters, and all of the other 60+ categories at the U.S. Open Beer Championships.

Zymurgy Magazine's pics for best beers & breweries were also announced recently:

Top Ranked Beer 
1. Pliny the Elder - Russian River

Top Ranked Brewery
1. Russian River Brewing Co. 

Pimpin' thoughts on Zymurgy's picks:
Solid picks, nice to see Founders with mentions, thought it was strange that their regular breakfast stout was ranked so much higher than their KBS which I think is on a whole other astral plane. Interesting to see Ballast Point all the way down at #9 for breweries but those above them are all pretty stellar as well, with the exception of Stone and Laguanitas which I feel are both overrated. I think they put together a well done ranked list of beers and breweries.  My biggest problem with their picks is that they picked the same brewery for best beer and best brewery.  I think they have a good case for Pliny the Elder being number one. However why not show some love to another brewery that has more stand-out brews in more categories than Russian River?

Click here to see their entire ranking lists: Zymurgy Magazine.

We'd love to hear your opinions about the US Open winners and Zymurgy's rankings, leave us a comment!