Thursday, December 20, 2012

Bad Press for Magic Hat

While visiting the Schlafly website recently I found this article about The Brewers Association's latest attempts to distinguish legitimate craft beers from the imitators that A.B. and Miller/Coors love to put in front of us. Of course, Blue Moon and Shock Top are the two most notorious craft brew imitators. The Brewers Association seems to think we can't tell the crafty brews, as they name them, from the true craft brews. I don't understand this, my opinion is, if you can read you should be able to distinguish crafty brews from craft brews. Reading glasses may be required but the small print on the beer packaging includes who brews the beer, this is usually on the bottles.

I appreciate The Brewers Association intention to maintain some honesty in advertising. I certainly learned something about one of my favorite breweries too. It seems that Magic Hat imports most of their product. I am a bit confused about this as the report also claims that Magic Hat brews their beer with adjuncts. This implies that the ingredients include more, or less, than malted barley, hops and water, such as  barley malt or sorghum. I bet there's even some high fructose corn syrup in there! The accusation basically means, Magic Hat is making a drink or alcoholic beverage, they are not, by The Brewers Association standards, making a craft brewed beer.

However or where ever Magic Hat makes their beer, they have a very crafty brewer or head chef who knows how to turn high fructose corn syrup to into some very tasty beers. I am guessing that the drinks must be produced in Canada, that could explain the distribution difficulties in the South-east U.S. For me, a dedicated consumer, learning that Magic Hat has been sneaking around behind the brew kettles is a lot like learning there's no Santa. I don't intend to avoid Magic Hat's products but I will remain curious about their business practices.

Speaking of Santa, here's an early Merry Christmas to you all!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Schlafly Coffee Stout

It's about time I started sampling beer from a sniffer!
Another great American microbrewery has begun distribution into East Tennessee; this give me the pleasure of sampling Schlaflay's Coffee Stout for all of us. This is another beer that smells and looks like coffee. The pour presents an appropriate beige, brown head with plenty of carbonation. The first sip has definite coffee flavors. This is a bitter stout. It is like a quality roast coffee; not the ground Folgers stuff I drink everyday. The bitterness is a bit shocking at first but the beer seems to sweeten as it is exposed to more oxygen.

This is another beer that I recommend highly, especially  if your a fan of Stout and coffee. I am very glad to have Schlafly in distribution in our area and can't wait for more of their styles to arrive!

Grade: 4.95 out of 5 possible pint glasses.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Totally T-shirt Tumblr

While organizing the ol' shirts for inclusion in this line-up of laundered linens, I thought it might be logical to actually count the shirts which have not yet been presented on T-shirt Tuesday. I counted twenty shirts. This doesn't include a few that were in a separate shirt storage location. If we add twenty to our shirt count, 57, that's 77. Adding three shirts, which I'll present today, provides a nice even t-shirt total of eighty shirts. So, in about five weeks we should come to the conclusion of T-shrit Tuesday. I feel better knowing that the end of this project is in sight.

Today I'm bringing out three more rock-n-roll shirts. These shirts are further evidence of my misspent youth. As Bill Graham has been known to say, "Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the Grateful Dead."

Tie-Dye never was my thing.

These two are a bit older but I found the crow shirt at a Dollar General store recently.

This is 60 shirts with 20 to go. For the Tumblr content, I have a very casual relationship with my Tumblr account. It is not dedicated to t-shrits, I post photos of fantasy art, cute animals and the wonders of the universe. Sounds like hippie dippie stuff doesn't it? My Tumblr page is Fanatical Recycling Inc and is focused on frpgs, art, science and random posts.

Ah, I better add a link to Tumblr in the column and go make that short film of the tumbling d20!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Four more shirts, four more shirts!

When I was a younger man I loved to attend Rock n Roll concerts and still have many of the t-shirts from these events. There are enough of these shirts  that I should donate them to those who might need some new, clean clothes. But I can't part with them, I will wear them all some day. Here are four such shirts that don't make it into the laundry line-up very often. 

The first is from April, 1998, the last time Widespread Panic came back from hiatus. I understand they took a hiatus this year too. I should add this one to my wardrobe before it falls apart in my drawers. 

This Bob Dylan shirt has the year 2000 on it. I could not tell you when I wore this shirt last? 

Two more shirts, two more Rock groups. I never owned a Rolling Stones t-shirt when I was in high school, now I own two. I found this red Stones shirt at a second hand clothing store here in Knoxville. A friend of a friend designed the Phish shirt some time last decade, I don't wear it much either.

These make 57 shirts presented with 208 remaining to reach 365. I've got enough shirts to wear a different one every day for two months, isn't that enough? I might try that!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Magic Hat Heart of Darkness Stout

While I haven't read Mr. Conrad's book this beer certainly inspires me to catch up on my reading. Heart of Darkness pours a dark, creamy brown and smells, much like it looks, of coffee. On further review, I will amend my description of the appearance, this beer pours as dark as night. The first sip  tastes of dark, bitter chocolate with a hint of banana, (This is reminding of something else I recently reviewed.)

This stout is no heavier in volume than a lighter ale but  easily gives the impression of heaviness. Delicious, perfectly carbonated with a subtle but persistent bitterness.Why the many chocolate lovers I know don't like stout I'll never understand? The beer could be described as a liquid chocolate cake, yum!

Grade: A great, great beer and another big "thank you" to Magic Hat. 4.75 of 5 possible pints.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

More beer on Sunday, marketing fail!

Here's a lovely image I took while shopping for beer recently. This is definitely and example of a communication breakdown, or something? They can label it wrong but I'm still not gonna shop on that end of the beer cooler.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Let's do this right! T-shirt Tuesday

I can't believe I haven't posted this shirt yet! I found this one at Target a few months ago, may the force be with you, always.

53  shirts listed and 312 to 365?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Flying Dog: Snake Dog IPA

As beer distribution changes, and it inevitably does, some of my old favorites have become difficult for me to find around Knox Co. My cherished Flying Dog; Stray Dog twelve-pack and the Magic Hat seasonal twelve-packs are nearly a thing of the past. I do have a few of these beers cabineted away and recently revisited a few bottles of Snake Dog IPA.

As the photo indicates, Snake Dog pours a clear, copper with plenty of carbonation. The first sip is well balanced between the pale malt and citrus like hops. The fruity hops are dominant but remain mild for an American IPA.

Overall, a craftily, if not masterfully balanced IPA. The Snake Dog logo is pretty scary too. I need to stat up this beast for some random encounters.

   Grade: 4.25 of 5 pints.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Brooklyn Brewery: Pennant Ale '55

Since this one is called Pennant Ale I made the assumption that it would be a Summer Ale style. Brooklyn Pennant Ale is not a Summer Ale style but I'm certainly not complaining. Brooklyn Brewery has unique ideas for this tribute to the 1955 Dodgers.

Pennant Ale pours a clear amber color with moderate carbonation and light, bubbly head. The first sip is well balanced but with more hops than a Summer Ale. This is a very traditional Pale Ale, certainly not over hopped, a very palatable and enjoyable beverage.

Grade: 4 of 5 possible pints.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Yuengling Premium Lager

Here's a new drink from the good folks at Yuengling. Apparently "premium" doesn't mean what I think, in regards to beer. I would think that "premium" would mean excellent, or superior, but, in regard to beer, I believe it indicates the beer is brewed with premium cereal grains. ( I gonna look this up when I finish writing this review.)

Yuengling Premium is not the first premium lager which I have sampled. Perhaps the use of "premium" on the beer labels is just code for "Buy this beer Chris!" I can't say that the beer style disappoints me but all the "Premium" beer labels might as well read, "Lite Beer by Miller," as they all seem to be made with light malts, corn and rice and no noticeable barley.

Yuengling Premium seems to be a good example of this style, it's just not one of my favorite beer styles.

Grade: 2.5 out of 5 possible pints.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Depot Street Freight Hopper IPA

This one is from just up the road in Jonesborough Tn. It poured with a thick, mushroomy head. The first sip is a full of hoppy goodness. The hops remain in the foreground with the associated citrus tastes in the body.

I can honestly say that this IPA is sweet, and sour at the same time. The malt is stable and not too sweet and the hops remain dominant. Another great beer from the Southeast U.S.

Grade: 4 of 5 possible pints.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I had that dream again.

I'm back in school and the school's been design by post modern architects intent on bringing the work of M. C. Escher to life. It is a minimalist pyramid with stairs that wrap around the outside of each level. I discover an escalator just when I start to become lost in these crowded pathways. Of course, in the confusion, I have to climb over the hand rail to gain access to the escalator.

The school has a student radio station which constantly broadcast discussion panels. I meet some old friends who are broadcasting their crowd sourcing campaign to reprint a favorite childhood book. I am not familiar with their favorite childhood book and don't get involved in their surreal commerce.

Flash forward and I'm sitting at a bar drinking beer from a can. (I'm sure this is dream symbolism for cheap beer.) I have an ink pen and am drawing an endless invisible circle on the bar, the cap is on the pen. The bartender becomes annoyed with my invisible circle and places my nearly full beer out of reach. I appeal to fellow costumers and other bartenders to retrieve my beer without success.

Next, I'm riding in a van with someone, perhaps it is a group of people? I'm telling the driver of my experience, drawing invisible circles, with the bartender. The navigator of the vehicle has little concern for my earlier experience at the bar and says, "I'll talk to you later," as we pull into his driveway. The implication being; "free beer."

Then the cat woke me up.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Yes, I still have T-shirts!

Yeah, I have fallen a bit behind with the T-shirt Tuesday feature. I could blame this on the rigors of modern life but I'll not present excuses, I'll only present t-shirts. Here are two I have acquired recently.

One of our local public schools, Karns, has chosen the beaver as their athletic mascot. I believe this is due to the local geographic point, Beaver Creek or something. Regardless, I became enamored with their mascot and found the shirt at Wal-Mart for $10.

The second shirt I picked up while Sally and I were in St. Louis. It's a St. Louis Cardinals St. Patrick' s Day shirt which reads, "Luck? I doubt it." This is a reference to any chance luck may have played in the Cardinals 2011 World Series Championship. I'm not strictly a Cardinals fan but I am a baseball fan and couldn't pass up this shirt which was on the bargain rack at the Cardinals Club House store.


 52 shirts posted 313 'til 365. As I've mentioned, since starting this project, I now suspect I only own around 100 t-shirts.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Smuttynose Winter Ale

This brown ale pours with a solid inch of foamy head. The smell is malty and the first sip has a hint of hops in the caramel malt and some chalky aftertaste. I'm concerned about the age of this beer since it's a winter ale and a purchased it at the first of Sept. The date on the bottle indicates May, 2012. This must have been produced at the end of the 2011/2012 Winter Ale production run.

Continued consumption leaves all concerns and chalky flavors to be forgotten. Flavors of cola and dried fruit and balancing hops remain consistent to the end of this surprising winter ale. Smuttynose Winter Ale was much lighter than what I expect from the style. It reminds me of a Belgian Brown Ale with dominant fruit flavor. I'm sure glad I picked this one up while traveling, it's not available in East Tn.

A solid 4 out of 5 pints.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Thomas Creek: Class Five IPA

This beer's name should be pronounced; "I. P. AHHH," and the pitch of your voice should rise an octave to pronounce the letter "A." The first sip is screaming with hops, then it settles to a more moderately measurable pallet. Subsequent sips are a more  balanced blend of fruit and malt influences. The hops never vanish, but after the initial introduction, they do not over power the taste buds.

Class Five IPA is a definite example of the fact that IPA is now an American beer style too.

Grade: Four of five possible pints.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Rock out to Pandora!

More beer on Monday should return later today. Here's a side note I'd like to share, if I had known, more, about Hawkwind when I was in college I would have been one of the biggest Hawkwind fans in North America. I've never been a big fan of Prog Rock, all those endless keyboard runs just bore me. But Hawkwind transcends Prog Rock, today they'd be referred to as genre bending.

If you'd like to check out some Hawkwind, and other odd musical assortments, just type "Radio Free Tanelorn" in the Pandora search and prepare to explore the universe with your mind. (Corny  yeah, some of this music is pretty corny too but some of it is surprisingly good.)

Monday, September 3, 2012

An unfair comparison.

Honestly, nothing could be more fair than this comparison between Ass Kisser; Tight Ass Hefeweizen and Atwater Brewery; Dirty Blonde ale. These beverages both claim to be wheat ales and each is a very distinctive version of the style.

Atwater Dirty Blonde ale pours light golden with a floral smell and pallet. It is clean, bubbly, lightly hopped, all the traditional qualities of a wheat beer. Dirty Blonde even has the banana and butter flavors so frequently associated with Wheat and Hefeweizen styles. Homer J. Simpson could appreciate this one.

Ass Kisser Hefeweizen has none of the traditional wheat beer qualities. I honestly wonder if they put pale ale in this bottle? Hops are the first impression from  Tight Ass Hefe, I'm guessing this is a west coast wheat style. I concede that brewers have the right to throw a new twist on traditional styles but I am, believe it or not, a stickler for keeping the traditional styles recognizable. The Ass Kisser Hefe was hoppy from start to finish and just doesn't qualify as a wheat beer for me.

When shopping for a wheat beer and left with these two choices, I'd take home the Atwater Dirty Blonde.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

2012 Collegiate Football Preview, of sorts

As some of you know, I am an Alabama native. I consider myself very lucky that I do not fit the "mold" of what is considered the average Alabama resident. I still have many good friends who live in Bama and many friends who are Bama fans.Perhaps I'm a better southerner than Alabama native, as I have to rock the boat, or rebel and choose to cheer for the orange and blue of Auburn University.

One of my good friends, who still lives in Bama, recently posted this photo on facebook, thanks Pat. I had to steal it and share it with you all, it's too good!

As I live in Knoxville, Tn. now, home of the U.T. Volunteers, I must wonder what the predictions are for the Vols this year. Will the go 4 & 8 or 2 & 10? We'll see, Roll Eagle Vols!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

T-shirt Tuesday returns from a long vacation.

Yes, my job is busy enough that t-shirt Tuesday has been on vacation since Jan. 31. In that time I have acquired a few new shirts and can't recall disposing of any shirts. Here are two new additions to the collection. I finally purchased a Fanatical Recycling t-shirt from Zazzle. I thought the shirt was going to be a more neutral color green and, while it is not a color I would normally wear,  I have come to accept the lime green as an appropriate color for a shirt from the recycling services industry.

The second shirt is from Estes Park, Co. when Sally was out their earlier this year. As you can see, it has the image of a moose inside the Batman logo. Both these shirts have been in pretty heavy rotation this year.

So, what's our t-shirt tally? 50 shirts posted and 315 to go to reach 365. Hum?

Monday, August 20, 2012

New Belgium: Shift, Pale Lager

After years of beer drinking, I’m finally coming around to the IPA style. Ironically, the beer that proves this is a lager. But, This is no simple lager, it is Shift by New Belgium of Fort Collins, Co. I tried Shift, at my favorite pub, Union Jacks, and, at the time, didn’t realize that Shift is a lager. It was so hoppy, I assumed that it was an ale. I purchased a few cans of Shift from a local beer store, read the label, and was surprised to learn that this very hoppy drink is a Pale Lager style. 

Shift pours a beautifully clear golden orange which reminds me of a Fosters or a Canadian lager. The pour leaves a nice foamy head which laces the glass. A whiff of Shift gives me a strong hint of grapefruit juice and the first sip is a strong IPA sensation. Yeah, this is an IPA! If this beer were brewed by any other brewery I would continue to argue that it is an ale. 

Ah, another sip and more grapefruit flavoring. Shift is a lager for beer lovers who want something more than some cereal malt in their drinks.  It is very smooth, light a lager, but deceptive with the strong hops presence. The hops certainly are not overwhelming, Shift is a light and refreshing beer. 

One of many reasons I wear New Belgium cap nearly all the time; 4.5 out of 5 pints.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Brugse Zot, Blonde Ale

This light Belgian beer smells of light malt, grasses and clover. The pour produces a huge, marshmallow type head of foam. Once the head settles the beer is much like champagne.

I believe this was the goal of the brewer, to produce a light, bubbly beer to delight the tongue and the eye. There is a hint of prune flavoring in the light malts as well. Brugse Zot Blonde could be the perfect introduction to Belgian Ales, if one is needed. I certainly appreciate the 4.25 alcohol by volume as opposed to, the more common, higher gravity Golden Ales.

I need to aquire a few of these to enjoy around the house!
Grade: 4.9 out of 5 Sniffers

Monday, July 16, 2012

St. Louis, Mo. Beer on Monday

Sally and I are in St. Louis, Mo. this week on our vacation and visited the Budweiser Brewery today. I felt this was a necessary stop on a tour of brewing shrines. Honestly, the A - B plant is nearly a  necessary stop on any tour of the American Corporate landscape, I swear, they invented the corporate logo and modern product placement advertising. (Remember Spuds McKinsey and the "Bud-Weis-er" frogs?)

All snide remarks and corporate analysis aside, St. Louis is still a Mecca of beer brewing tradition. We tried to visit the Morgan Street Brewery today but, it was lunch time, and they open late on Mondays. Yesterday we found the International Tap House in the Soulard neighborhood, also where the Bud Brewery is, so we went back today.

We asked the barkeep at the Tap House where to find a store with a big selection of beer and he directed us to Randal's which turned out to be a liquor store/ warehouse. Sally and I ignored the liquor section and went straight for the beer shelves and found plenty of labels which are unavailable at home. The best finds were; Summit Summer Ale from Minneapolis, Black Butte Porter from Deschutes Brewery, Bend Oregon, Lucky 13 Anniversary Release from Lagunitas, Petaluma, Ca, 1715 Classic Lager, Lvivska Brewery, Ukraine ($1.99.) I also got two cans of Milwaukee's Best Ice for 59 cents each, you all know how I have to revisit my roots and I did manage to avoid buying a beer named Blue Diamond Lager which was $2.99 a six pack. On  the other hand, I did find a local brew at the grocery store, Stag, in a 24 oz. can for $1.49.

We will be in St. Louis for the next two days and still have the Schlflay taproom to visit. In fact, I had the Schlafly sampler at lunch today and we tried a few at the Tap House too. The Schlafly Pale Ale is great, the summer lager is good but the Saison and Hefeweizen just didn't have enough body for me.

So far, St. Louis gets a 4 out of 5 pints as a good vacation spot and we haven't even made it out to the suburbs yet.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Paperback Friday: Stableford Finale, for now

Here's the last of the Brian Stableford novels in my collection. Oddly, this one is the first book of the Star-Pilot Grainger series for which I posted a few covers last time. I didn't have the image scanned and just threw this one in the hat for this week. Through the internet I have learned that this series is actually titled, the Hooded Swan and is supposed to be some statement about Stableford's attitude toward violence, Mr. Stableford is, in fact, Dr. Stableford and a lecturer in sociology.

In other news, Sally and I will be on vacation next week and I intend to share it with you all through the blog.

The Halcyon Drift
Copyright, 1972, Brian M. Stableford
All Rights Reserved
Cover art by Jack Gaughan.
For Val and Maureen
First printing, 1972
Daw Books Inc.
Original cover price 95 cents,
purchased at McKay Books for 90 cents.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Kapittel Pater, Brouwerij Van Eecke, Watou, Belgium

Here is a Belgian Dark Ale that is easy to appreciate, it smells of sorghum and pours a deep brown with a very foamy head. The body is so dark, it looks like a cola.

The first sip leaves a very positive impression. This is slightly sweet, slightly sour with an odd hint of salt. All this flavor seems to be based in the fruity, prune or raisin, malt origin. Still, the body of the beer is amazingly thin for the color and flavor complexity.

As the liquid warms the sweetness becomes more prominent, the cola flavor surfaces with the hint of salt and a suggestion of cereal malts. I suspect this is all the work of the wild Belgian yeasts.

I can really appreciate this beer for the masterful level of complexity and low alcohol content. Kapittel Pater would be a great introductory brew for one who hasn't experienced the Belgian styles.

Grade: 4.9 of 5 pints

Friday, July 6, 2012

Paperback Friday: Brian Stableford, pt. 2

Honestly, I buy the Brian Stableford books because they have fantastic art and they are cheap, always less than $2.00.

Days of Wrath
Copyright; 1971, Brian Stableford. All rights reserved.
Cover art by Kelly Freas.
For Christine. 
Ace Books, a Division of Charter Communication, Inc.
Original retail price, 75 cents, purchased from McKay Books for 90 cents.
Days of Wrath is book three of the Dies Irae series. 

The Paradise Game: Star-Pilot Grainger #4
Copyright; 1974, Brian M Stableford.
All rights reserved.
Cover art by Kelly Freas.
Dedication: For Barbara Carlisle.
First printing, June 1974.
Daw Books Inc.
Original cover price: 95 cents.
Purchased at The Bookshelf, Morristown, Tn. for 50 cents.

The Fenris Device: Star-Pilot Grainger #5
Copyright, 1974, Brian M Stableford.
All right reserved.
Cover art by Kelly Freas.
Dedication: For Chad and Wendy Owen.
First printing, December 1974,
Daw Books Inc.
Original cover price: 95 cents, purchased at McKay Books for $1.50.

The Gates of Eden
Copyright, 1983, Brian Stableford.
All rights reserved.
Cover art by Douglas Chaffee.
For Barry Bayley.
First printing February 1983.
Daw Books Inc. 
Original cover price; $2.50, purchased from McKay Books for $1.25.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Coopers Best Extra Stout

They say that Australia is Down-under so, I guess this beer's not from across the pond but from under the pond. This one starts with a heavy, syrupy body and definite cocoa flavors. Not just hints of cocoa, it tastes like chocolate and coffee.

As it warms the bitter, dark chocolate and coffee, flavors still dominate. This one remains stout to the last sip with fresh, heavy cocoa malts throughout. 'Sign me up as a fan of under-the-pond-beers. This is another highly ranked beer by your friendly T-shirt vendor; Fanatical Recycling Inc; 4.95 of 5 pints.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Marble Brewery; Wildflower Wheat

Wildflower Wheat pours very clear gold. This one is brewed with wildflower honey but it is not sweet at all. In fact, it is a very nice balance of malt and hops, much like a lager. Wildflower Wheat rivals Old Hickory Brewing's Brown Mnt. Light as the lightest beer I have ever had.

The honey comes to the fore as the beer settles and warms a bit. The finish is like a Sprite, it is that light and balanced with stronger honey presence in the end. This may be the king of light beers, a very different wheat beer and very enjoyable!

I have to give this a 4.9 of 5 pints and high recommendations too.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Moorhouse, Blonde Bitch

Moorhouse Brewery is in Lancashire England, I have sampled their Pendle Witch's Brew before but don't recall ever having the Blonde Bitch. And, based on this beverage, I think I'd remember it.

Over the years I have really warmed up to the traditional wheat beers, which this is reminiscent of, but Blonde Bitch is not a wheat beer. B. B. does pour a pale yellow with light carbonation. The first sip is very light, the mouth feel reminds me of a cider or a wheat beer. The malt and hops applications are very light. With a bit more hops this would be an English style Pale Ale. This ale definitely has the body of a cider or a whit beer. The label describes it as, "A premium, light colored, refreshing ale with a sweet citrus dry finish." The description may need more commas or adjectives, but I found B.B. to be a "refreshing" light ale.

 Looking at the Moorhouse website, I can't determine if they have changed the name of this brew to Blonde Witch or perhaps they sell it as B.B. in the U.S.? Regardless, I, personally suggest this delightful little ale and give it a 4.5 of 5 pints, at least.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

It is Official...

Que Widespread Panic: (or Vic Chesnutt) It is official, I went to make a burrito and saw, out our kitchen window, the freak of nature that lives in our neighborhood. This is a skunk that appears albino. It is not albino but is all white except for black on his feet and a black stripe on his head. I had seen him before but it was at night. Yes, like Doraville, Ga., at least at one time, Strawberry Plains is a little country in the city. (Do I need another Southern Rock reference here?)

It's only seems appropriate that I provide you all with this video of Vic Chesnutt preforming "Sleeping Man," as I had suspected, Mr. Chesnutt wrote Sleeping Man. I found this on You Tube and it had only 6 "likes" and no comments. All the videos of Panic preforming Sleeping Man were of terrible quality. The significance of this particular tune to this topic, as you should notice, the first line of the song is "your a freak of nature."

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Things that I have observed this week.

1. No, Mr. My-daughter-has-a-Hawaiian-flower-tattoo, you can not find a Hibiscus bush with a purple flower in East Tennessee. Notice how a majority of the Hibiscus flower colors are red, pink and yellow? This guy goes in my "cultural decline" file.

2. The Screaming Trees are the bastard love child of Ian Astbury (The Cult) and the Meat Puppets.

Hard to believe that, as a young lad, I saw the Trees and the Meat Puppets play at the same tiny club in Birmingham, Al. That club would be the notorious Nick, notorious if you're from Birmingham because; A. it is so small!, B: notorious for booking punk and alt rock shows or generally alternative music of any kind. I also saw Henry Rollins preform there with Rollins Band and, years later, saw Vic Chesnutt preform there.

Didn't mean for my observation to become a trip down memory lane, music's good, on any day, at any age.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Now, for your musical entertainment;

I feel I owe it to you all to play this Who video after using these lyrics as the title to my last post. Perhaps I owe it to myself too act as a fanatical Who fan? Maybe this could be the official theme song of Fanatical Recycling Inc? I'll have to think it over, in the mean time, enjoy...!

Oh yes, this is from the film The Kids are Alright. Nothing like seeing Pete bounce the Les Paul off the stage at the end of the song and then bounce the cymbal off the guitar. How much is a Les Paul, about $1000?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Here's to the new boss...

She's not the same as the old boss, but she's much like him. I picked her up from the side of Asheville Hwy about a month ago. Sally says she's not sure why she is here and I said, "to avoid being road kill and, or procreation." We have named her Iris. She is almost exactly the same size and age that Pal was when I got him.

I took these photos a few weeks ago, when Sally was visiting North Alabama. In the second photo, I imagine Iris is saying, "where is the nice lady?" She was probably saying, "Why's this glass (window) between us?"

Que the Who, Here's to the new boss...!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Yazoo Brewing, Hefeweizen

Here's another brew from one of the many craft breweries of the South Eastern U.S. Yazoo Brewery is just down the road, in Nashville, Tn. Recently, I was delighted to spot Yazoo Hefeweizen in the cooler at my favorite pub and have since purchased a few to enjoy at home.

 Right out of the bottle this smells of flowers and Bananas. I have often heard of banana used in descriptions of Hefeweizen but have never experienced this level of detail in the style until now. After the pour the banana smell tapers off a bit, but the bananas are certainly apparent in the first sip.

Yazoo Hefe pours with very little carbonation, creating a thin, short lived head. The color is, very clear for the style, golden orange. The body of the beer flavor is, appropriately, reminiscent of fresh bread. Perhaps banana bread as banana flavors play hide and seek with my taste buds.

Yazoo Hefeweizen is one of my new favorites, I have to give it a 4.75 out of 5 pints, at least. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Magic Hat Howl, Black Lager

So I've been writing about Magic Hat beers for nearly two years and still haven't written about #9, Vinyl, Wacko or their winter seasonal offering, Howl, Black Lager. Lemme get with the program!

With Howl and Ravell, Magic Hat is really leaning in the direction of dark beers and this is great too. Howl shares many of the flavor characteristics of Ravell but is a bit heavier on the tongue. My first impression of Howl leads me to believe that I'm drinking a Stout, this is no simple Black Lager.

The beer pours with plenty of foamy carbonated goodness. The first sip is a heavy coffee and dark chocolate flavor with just a bit of sweetness. Howl stays thick and malty through out and remains tart and stout as well. I'm tellin' ya, this one is a Stout! By comparison, Ravell has a  lighter mouth-feel and is more similar to other black lagers I have had.

Howl's not a beer that I'd hunt for in a six-pack but I'll  continue enjoying them when  Winterfest 12 Pack season returns. I'll give Howl a 3 out of 5 pints, while it was a great representative of it's style, perhaps I just drank it out of season? (Or, perhaps I should have enjoyed it with some chocolate chip cookies?)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Magic Hat, Encore IPA

I have been trying to write about this beer all year. It is very difficult for me to come to terms with a beer that mostly tastes like citrus juice. IPA is not one of my favorite styles but I  still enjoy it occasionally.

Magic Hat Encore pours with a good to great foamy head. I even over flowed the glass, and I haven't done that in ages. (I borrowed the photo from the entree-net, thus the lack of head in the photo.) The smell is yeast and citrus. The first sip is, what I associate with IPAs, grapefruit. The fruity and hoppy flavors dominate until the last sip. Encore's as good an IPA as I require and I give it a 4.5 of 5 possible pints and a Hats Off to Magic Hat.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Eulogy for a domestic pet

Warning: Sad Content Follows

 How do we eulogize a pet, how do we eulogize anyone? Our pets are friends and family and certainly earn their share of emotional attachment. So, the loss of any pet is not easy or pleasant to discuss but, invariably, as with much of life's unpleasantness, these things must be discussed.

Thus, I share with you all the passing of our FRI family cat  from this mortal coil. It seems he, Pal, developed cancer. Pal was a rescue cat and I am certain that his short life was much more pampered and joyful than any enjoyed by his litter mates. He met and loved many people during his short life and was known by many who had never met him.

In the words of Johnny Allen Hendrix, "Fly on my sweet angle. Fly on through the night."

2005 -- 3.24.2012

If he were still with us he would give me the very look in the photo, as if to say, "get on with your beer writing funny man."

Monday, April 2, 2012

April Twools!

That's two and fools combined, not an implication that this post is about tools. Although, it certainly could be and yes, I'm posting this photo all over the internet. (With similar comments.)

Cypress Mulch, that must be what the kids call it these days? With as much mileage as I'm getting out of this photo, I should give Kudos to the artist who painted these pallets of mulch in Lenior City.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Whatever happened to April Fool's?

Is April Fool's Day just an occasion for school boys? Do we out-grow the recognition of April Fool's Day as we become adults? There's no easy way to celebrate April Fool's, nothing simple like putting on a green shirt for St. Patrick's Day. Which brings up another point; they say that St. Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland which is obviously not the case. If St. Pat had driven all the snakes out of Ireland than James Joyce would have had a very different social landscape to memorialize.

I will add, it is no fun when April Fool's is on Sunday because any possible jokes and gags that might arrive at work are abandoned. Hopefully regular, foolish, postings will resume soon.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Paperback Friday: Brian Stablefore pt. 1

I discovered Brian Stableford in a little used book shop in Morristown, Tn. He produced novels for Daw in the 1970s and the cover illustrations for his books just scream out at me. I've collected over half a dozen of his Sci-fi novels but haven't read any of them. Most of these books from the Deadalus series came from McKay Used Books and still have price tags of $.75.

The Florians
"A biological surprise awaits the Deadalus's first planetfall."
Copyright 1976 by Brian M. Stableford
Cover art by Micheal Whelan.
First printing, Sept. 1976
Daw Books: Printed in U.S.A.
Original cover price: $1.25

Critical Threshold
"The second landing of the Deadalus mission."
Copyright 1977 by Brian M. Stableford
Cover art by Douglas Beekman.
First printing, Feb. 1977
Daw Books: Printed in U.S.A.
Original cover price: $1.25

Wildeblood's Empire
"The third landing of the Deadalus mission."
Copyright 1977 by Brian M. Stableford
Cove art by Michael Whelan.
First printing, Oct. 1977
Daw Books: Printed in U.S.A.
Original cover price: $1.50.

The City of the Sun
"The fourth landing off the Deadalus mission."
Copyright 1978, Brian M. Stableford
Cover art by Don Maitz.
First printing, May 1978
Daw Books: Printed in U.S.A.
Original cover price: $1.50.

Balance of Power
"The fifth landing of the Daedalus mission."
Copyright 1979, Brian M. Stableford
Cover art by Don Maitz.
First printing, Jan. 1979
Daw Books: Printed in U.S.A.
Original cover price: $1.75.

The cover art for these books all look to me like some Sci-fi based rpg fun! I have a few more Stableford books which I will feature next Friday.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Magic Hat, Ravell

I try to keep a Magic Hat mixed 12-pack in the house at all times. At the moment I still have the remains of a few of the Winterland 12-packs which each include 3 bottles of Ravell. I didn't know what to expect when I poured this brew into the pint glass. Ravell is very dark which indicated that I'd be reviewing another Porter.

I managed to pour some of the ale straight into the glass and it produced an average beige head. This disappeared quickly but Porters aren't highly carbonated beers. I anticiaped lots of chocolaty flavor but I got a mouth full of coffee instead. But, I've learned that, Ravell is a vanilla porter not a coffee porter. In Ravell the vanilla translates into coffee flavors for me. As the drink warms the chocolaty flavors appear.

Ravell is a well crafted, well balanced porter. The roasted malt dominates the flavor to the end but a skilled application of hops keeps the drink chewy without becoming too sweet. I give Ravell a 3.95 out of 5 pints.

Here's a photo of a guitar painted as a Magic Hat promotional item. I love these old el cheapo guitars and I love the random images I find when searchin' the entree'-net.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Paperback Friday: Joanna Russ & Theodore Sturgeon

And Chaos Died
Copyright 1970, Joanna Russ
An Ace Book. All Rights Reserved.
Original cover price: $.75.

To Sidney J Perelman and Valdimir Nabokov.

I have had this book for years, and years and read it long ago. I purchased it for two reasons; the cover art really leaps out at me and, at the time, I was pretty unfamiliar with female Sci-Fi writers. It is one of the few books that I have never returned to the used book stores but I still have only read it one time. I think it's about time for a review.

The Female Man
Copyright 1973 by Joanna Russ
A Bantam Book / February 1973
This book dedicated to Anne, to Mary and to
the other one and three-quarters billions of us.
Original cover price: $1.25.

I'm pretty sure I purchased The Female Man at the Friends of the Knox Co. Library Sale where I also found a copy of the Philip Jose Farmer novel Flesh. Someday I'll share the contents of both of these books with the blog-o-sphere.

Sturgeon in Orbit
Copyright 1964, Theodore Sturgeon
First Jove/HBJ edition published: January 1978
To the most patient of all editors, who is out-shown by Perkins only for his lack of a wolf, Don Bensen and his lovely wife Anne.
Original cover price: $1.50.

This is a collection of five short stories originally published in the pulps from 1951 to '55.

Next time I'll be featuring some Brian Stableford book covers.