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Wedtoberfest 2.0 and Strawberry NieuwenWeiss

I ordered supplies for my next batches of beer.  It’s a little later than I planned to start my Oktoberfest, but it’ll still be ready when I return from the real Oktoberfest.  I tweaked the recipe slightly, hoping to improve it a little and make it a little more universally liked.

 

The second beer I’m going to make is a strawberry weissbier that I want to name for New York Mets outfield Kirk Nieuwenhuis.   I’m totally winging it on this recipe, but I think it’ll turn out pretty good.

June 6th, 2012 by Ceetar in baseball, Beer, life, Uncategorized
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A Sign Of Age

One sign of age is noting what teenagers these days would not get. You noticed these more and more as you get older I imagine. 

I was struck by a Met Life ad recently, in which Lucy from Peanuts suggested that insurance should be five cents to which the guy responded, not everything can be five cents.  I started to wonder if kids these days would get the reference.  Peanuts still runs in most newspapers, but who really gets newspapers anymore, and do kids read the funnies?  It seems like a timeless classic, but I was struck with the thought that it just might not be.  It wouldn’t be the first time. If you’re a teenager do you/did you get it without looking it up?  (Try “Lucy, Peanuts, five cents”) If you’ve got a teenage kid, ask them if they get it.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iin3EVfN0Jc

 

April 12th, 2012 by Ceetar in life, Television and Movies, Uncategorized
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“Fancy” Beer for Simple Folk

A friend linked me to this article on askmen.com.   It reads like The Onion, and the tone is full of pretension that the author is trying to attribute to craft beer, but it’s presumably a serious post.  The author misses the days when beer was simple, bland, and cold.  He yearns for the days of simple working class people getting together over a couple of beers, and simply drinking them.  It amuses me that he goes on and on about working class beer but goes out of his way to use ‘fancy’ words like emetics, gullet and twee.

 

It’s an okay sentiment, if one I don’t agree with, to enjoy, even prefer, a beverage that is quaffable,  a cheap hobby, and gets you to that tipsy and relaxed state that many people enjoy whether from beer, wine, or cocktail.   What’s not okay is to suggest that his preference is both the real way to enjoy beer, and that it’s secretly what I want as well.  The idea that craft beer drinkers are hipsters drinking the beer solely to make a statement and stand out is not a new one, but it’s been steadily disproven with the growing market of not only craft beer, but of homebrewing.  There are lots of people out there making strange tasting beers in their own basements and consuming them themselves with no regard to what’s popular or trendy.  Many people have different taste buds, and enjoy the different tastes beer offers beyond a vaguely malty cold beverage.  One of the great things about beer is how many different types there are.

 

The writer of this article, one Patrick Smith, makes himself out to be the archetypal character in a marketing commercial.  He admits to being influenced by beer commercials well before being of legal age, he repeats the common marketed point of beer being better as cold as possible,and  he recites commercial taglines and insinuates that he believes them that it makes him cool to drink those beers.   Personally I think he’s stuck in a 1970s view of what’s manly.  I think, and maybe we’re not all keen with the labels in today’s society,  the typical manly man in today’s world is different than it was then, and they drink craft beer, but that’s a discussion that deserves it’s own post.

 

The more I think about it, what Mr. Smith is really missing is a time when he could be a “functional alcoholic” and be praised as a man for it.  Luckily we’ve progressed to a point where we recognize the desire to drink heavily after work, at ballgames, as a child, or at every gathering of men as symptoms of alcoholism.

 

March 16th, 2012 by Ceetar in Beer, Breweries, Uncategorized
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Heightened Senses

Lately I’ve noticed that some of my senses seem to be heightened.  Not super-powers heightened (Not yet anyway, crossing my fingers there) but just picking up on things I normally don’t notice.  Specifically my sense of smell has picked up.  I’m now noticing the scents around me much clearer than I used to whether it’s a steeping cup of tea, or the aroma of my dinner.

 

I’m also seemingly noticing colors more sharply too.  I especially noticed this during Christmas, when the Christmas lights just seemed to be brighter and crisper.   I’m pretty sure my eyesight hasn’t actually gotten better, especially since over the past year I’ve noticed one or two of those random black floaters in my vision occasionally.

 

Hearing is another sense that I’m noticing has changed.  Particularly that I’m picking up on more nuance within things.  This can be as simple as a whirl of a print spool in the background, or background percussion on a music track.

 

Taste is the easy one.  Most peoples taste buds change, and I heard somewhere every seven or so years is common.  I’ve definitely gone from a very very picky eater as a kid to pretty much being able to find enjoyable food in just about any setting.

 

As I was not bitten by a radioactive spider or operated on by Dr. Strange, something else must be happening.  My theory is that it’s the experience of age giving me a broader appreciation of the world around me.  It’s not so much that I’ve gotten super powers, but that I appreciate the nuance and know to look for it.  I know there’s nice background tracks in good songs, that the overall color scheme and constrast in Christmas lights makes an enjoyable display.  I recognize and identify more scents as being specific to something else I enjoy, such as a cup of tea.   I take note of that scent, and that information, and use it to further my enjoyment rather than letting it passively go in one nostril and out the other so to speak.  Enough positive reinforcement in my brain associated with a smell, or a sound or image, makes me take a more active notice of that sense and think “Hey, I like this.”

February 3rd, 2012 by Ceetar in Food, life, Uncategorized
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Smartest Parking Garage Ever

Ever turn into a parking garage only to be confused about the flow of traffic, and where all the empty spots are?  Ever think you found a great spot, only to find a Mini Cooper tucked into the spot you thought was empty?  Not if you’re in the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

 

When you turn the corner, illuminated signs tell you how many empty spaces there are down each aisle.   That’s pretty helpful.  I hate turning down an aisle and finding nowhere to park at all.

Once you turn, lights on the ceiling above each space tell you whether or not a car is parked there.  Eliminates all need to hunt for a space and guess if there is one a little closer or not.  Simply pick the green light you like, drive there, and park.  The lights are pretty fast too.  I pulled out of the spot, turned into the aisle, and looked in my rear view mirror to see the previously red light had turned green again.

November 18th, 2011 by Ceetar in life, travel, Uncategorized
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The Final Frontier Of Beer: Catering Halls

Beer has definitely arrived.   Whether you call it micro, craft or something else, you can often find more than just Budweiser and Coors when you go out just about anywhere you’d expect to find alcohol.  The one place where you almost never have any variety at all is in a catering hall.

 

I’ve been to a lot of weddings in the last couple of years, and excepting ones that weren’t in catering halls, the beer selection is non-existent.   Most cases even the hard alcohol isn’t very extensive; I’ve been to places that don’t even have tequila.  Beer is often just Budweiser, Bud Light, and/or Coors light.   A catering hall’s idea of a broad selection is having bottles of Corona and Heineken.  I consider it a coup when I find a place that has something as exotic as Sam Adams Boston Lager.

 

It’s like the halls give no thought at all to providing quality beverages for their guests.  This isn’t exclusive to beer, as you often find catering halls serve generic uninteresting food as well.   Perhaps because most of their customers are things like weddings and parties that aren’t often repeat business, they’re not as focused on providing an overall awesome experience.  Maybe it’s because many times the customers are there to party, dance and celebrate, not to eat and drink.  Or maybe we’ve been so trained to not expect a great meal or a good beer that we no longer demand it.

November 17th, 2011 by Ceetar in Beer, Uncategorized
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Transitioning From Beer Douche to Beer Geek

You know the type.  That guy who is somewhat new to craft beer, and always is talking about it.  He asks the waiter “What microbrews due you have?” and often orders the trendiest one.   He (or she) berates your choice of beverage, and seems to bask in the superiority of having ‘discovered’ beer.

 

The problem is; he doesn’t really like it.  He thinks he’s supposed to like an IPA so he drinks it, but his palate isn’t used to the bitterness.  He’ll hear about some new super double IPA and have to have it, not prepared for the intense taste.  This guy actually is a disservice to beer, as anyone that is trying to follow him into the world of beer may be turned off by the intense flavors.   Real beer is not about intensity, it’s about flavor.   There is nothing wrong with enjoying a good wheat beer, or a simple pilsner that’s well crafted.  Just like some people will never enjoy 100,000 scoville unit hot wings, some people will never enjoy 100 IBU beers.

 

That’s the transition stage from beer douche to beer geek.  But It’s also a good way to figure out what you like.  Some people rave about Imperial Stouts.  I tend not to like them too much so I don’t order them, even if they’re somewhat trendy.  IPAs are acquired tastes, and many people don’t want that much bitterness in their beer.

 

Another problem is that there are a lot of mediocre breweries out there.  They’re usually still better than the Bud stuff, but just because a beer is micro doesn’t mean it’s good.  So as someone breaking into beer (and I can see it being pretty daunting these days) just trying new things, it’s easy to find stuff that’s not very pleasant.  But as you learn what’s delicious, both in general and to yourself, it’s a world of difference.   Sixpoint, Troegs, Brooklyn, and Flying Fish are some of the breweries I trust to make high quality beer ‘around’ NYC.

November 2nd, 2011 by Ceetar in Beer, Breweries, new jersey, new york, Uncategorized
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Autumn Beer Season!

It’s autumn beer season again, meaning Oktoberfests and pumpkin beers.  This season is the Christmas of craft beer.  It’s the most popular season and comes earlier every year.

 

I saw Magic Hat Hex as early as three weeks ago, and since then most other seasonals have showed up, including my own.  The only popular one I haven’t seen in stores yet is Sam Adams, and I’ve heard that’s out too.  Traditionally Oktoberfest, the real one in Munich for the last 201 years, is celebrated for the 16 days prior to the first Sunday in October.

 

It’s my favorite season as well.  This is why I chose an Oktoberfest to brew as my wedding favor.  Two of my favorite brands are Sam Adams and Brooklyn, although there are plenty of other tasty and excellent varieties out there.  I’m not as big a fan of the pumpkin ales, but I’m interested to try Six Point’s Autumnation now that it’s going to be available in cans that I can get without going to the right bar.  Interestingly, the third Google result for Six Point Pumpkin is a post about how if you don’t like pumpkin ales you’ll like this, although it refers to last year’s variety.

 

So lots of fun and interesting beers to try.  I just hope they stick around long enough for me to try enough of them before the next beer season rolls around!

August 26th, 2011 by Ceetar in Beer, christmas, Uncategorized
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