Monthly Archives: August 2009

Brass City BrewFest!!

Brass City BrewFestSeptember is looming, and that brings the end of the summer, and the beginning of the fall season.  The crisp air, the tumbling leaves, the Octoberfests, Pumpkin Ales, and the Porters…  Mmmmmm…

Ever since I moved to Woodbury I’ve been wanting to go to their yearly brewfest.  Looks like my timing was good as they’re only in their 3rd year, which is nearly exactly as long as I’ve been in town.  I ended up missing it for one reason or another, but this year I’m making a point of it.

I haven’t been to one of these before, but I’m excited to finally go.

One price, endless samples, 150+ brewers and live music to boot.

You pay extra for the Belgian tent (well worth it if you like them I’m told), but otherwise its one price for all.

I’ll have to check back later when they have a complete listing of the vendors, but there are definately some favorites I’d love to speak to the master brewers about.  There’s also other brands that I’ve always been curious of, but because of costs I couldn’t really afford to buy all the beers all at once – but now I don’t have to!

It is hosted by my favorite beer store, Mountview Wines & Liquors in Naugatuck.  They have an incredible selection, and some of the best prices I’ve seen.  If you’ve never been there, and you’re on the lookout for a good deal, I can’t say enough about them.

I’ll have a list soon of what I’m looking forward to, and we can compare notes.  More to come.  See you there!

P.S. – Did you know we almost named our son Festival October?  True story!

Share

On Getting Older – But Not Old

Laughing At LifeWithin the last two weeks, I’ve been given glimpses of my past to tell me how far I’ve come and perhaps where I’m headed.

Last weekend I rolled off the walker and met up with the other refugees of High School at the class reunion.  It was organized by the class of ’89, but our grade couldn’t really get it together so I glommed on with the rest and enjoyed our 19th.  In one sentence – It was very surreal.

Don’t get me wrong, I had a great time.  I was oddly nervous before I got there.  Unsure of whether the old anxieties would pop up, like the all too common zits on my forehead back in the day.  I pretty much knew the cliques would reform, but it was a small school and everyone was friendly to a degree anyway.  It was all in my head in the end.  Even the people I’d consider small time arch enemies were good to catch up with.  Letting bygones be bygones and all.

Most people were the same, but a few had aged.  Inevitably I compared myself to them.  Not to feel either better and smug, or worse and a failure, but rather just to see where I stand in the grand scheme.  And I’m happy where I am.  Not top of the heap when it comes to job, house or status, but more successful in many ways than others.  More importantly I am satisfied with what I have been given and what I have accomplished.

So this past weekend I was lucky enough to hit the water with an old best friend.  We used to snowboard, wakeboard, mountain bike, hike, and do all sorts of things together a few years back.  I got married and had some kids.  Did the house and the dog thing, and ended up changing priorities.  I’ve got more to take care of than just myself now and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

But to my surprise I held my own.  I haven’t been on a wakeboard in 5 years easy.  In that time I’ve gained some forehead, outwore a belt or two, and found the menu catching up with me.  Just as at the reunion I had that anxiety beforehand, and it all panned out.  I grabbed the rope, let it pull me up and within moments it all came back to me.  I might not have been able to hit the jumps quite as high, or hold an edge too well, but being out of practice will do that to you.  I managed a few runs, and it was enough for me before my out of shape muscles told me enough was enough.

I guess looking back at both of them, I would have to wonder what all the fuss is about.  Yeah I’m getting older.  Yes there’s things I’ve done in the past I might have changed, but I also have to wonder if that isn’t what made me what I am today.  If those same slips weren’t just the thing that got me to where I am in the now. I may be older, but I’m far from old and doing all the things I love, just in a different way.

Share

Brew Review – Summertime Wheat Times Four

Sierra Nevada Kellerweis

RiverHorse-DoubleWit

Ever since I found more in the beer stores than in the supermarkets, I’ve been drawn to the summer wheats.

A nice heartier drink that just makes you smile as you gulp it down.  All the more so when its nice and cool, and you’re hot and thirsty.

Since I drank a number of these all at once I figured I’d group it together into one review for comparison.

Sierra Nevada – Kellerweis.  A nice honey color much like the rest in this category.  I was drawn to this thanks to a review in Chow magazine, but in part because I like Sierra Nevadas in general.  It had a nice unfiltered, foamy head.  The flavor had citrus tones to itIpswich-SummerAle, and there was BoulderBeer-SweatyBettysomething to this one that made me say “Give me more!”

River Horse – Double Wit.  Not a true summer beer in that it was made just for the season, but it falls into this group anyway.  When I first tried this I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would.  Maybe it was the higher 7.4%ABV, or maybe it was what I had just eaten at the time that it didn’t match with.  It is definately more of a true Belgian style wheat than the more mass produced ones.  I had it again a few days later and it was a far better experience.   I loved the rolling cloudy bits floating in the foam.  The scent was much stronger too with the citrus and light spicing.   I think it lent itself more to the role as a great beer when you’re in the mood for a beer when you’re hot and thirsty.  Pretty much what you’re looking for in a summer beer.

Ipswich – Summer Ale.  I love their oatmeal stout so I figure I’d give this a try when I saw it on the singles rack.  I’m not really into the taste of IPAs, and this was more in that realm.  If you like IPAs I’m sure you’d be loving this, but as I’m not – I wasn’t.  The over hoppy tones erased any other stand out in the beer for me.  Otherwise it wasn’t bad, but I don’t think I’ll pick this one up again.

Last, but definately not least was the Boulder Beer – Sweaty Betty.  This was a great brew.  They classify this as an American Pale Wheat.  It had a nice tang that you get with a pale ale with the hops, but not overly strong to take away from the rest.   It was only slightly fruity with not as much of a strong flavor as the others, which made it harder to tell whether it was orange, lemony or something else.  Whatever it was I’m liking it.  A really good mix of flavors, and overall probably my favorite of the group.  I’ll be on the lookout for more from their lineup.

Try some for yourself.  1 month to the Octoberfests!

River Horse Double Wit (4pack only) PP6Pack = $11.98

Sierra Nevada Kellerweis PP6Pack = $9.99

Boulder Beer Sweaty Betty PP6Pack = $8.99

Ipswitch Summer Ale PP6Pack = $7.25

Share

Brew Review – Avery Samael’s

AverySamaelOne of three they’ve deemed part of ‘The Demons of Ale.’

Can’t say I’ve tried any others, but this one was pretty damn good.

When I walked up to the cashier he asked me if I had tried it before, and when I said I hadn’t he asked “Do you like full beers?”  I had an idea of what to expect from right then on.

It’s definately a strong beer – 14.5% ABV.  My wife thought it was a liquor when she tried a taste.

Much of its flavor supposedly comes from oak barrel aging.  Its very rich, and somewhat syrupy.  There are some caramel tones along with vanilla, with a great smell and spice to it.

I thought it had just the right amount of hops, which Avery says is one of the least in their lineup.

The color is great too, though the picture doesn’t show it too well with a nice cloudy reddish brown.

I’ve heard good things of Avery Brewing, and if this is any hint I’ll have to give their others a try too.

Definately recommended if you like a full bodied beer.

Only available in singles.  PP6Pack = $27

AverySamael02

Share

Microsoft supports those who support it (NOT!)

microsoft_logoOk, so I’m one of those that wasn’t too keen on Vista when it came out.  Seems I wasn’t the only one as I couldn’t even download drivers for my “Vista Ready” laptop until 6 months after it was on the shelves.

Here we are years later, with most of the Vista kinks worked out in a few Service Packs.  And along comes Windows 7.

Now this doesn’t get released until October.   You can get it next week if you have an MSDN or Volume License, but end users have to wait until it can begin gathering dust in the middle of Autumn.

I’ve actually been running this for nearly a month, as an RC user (pre-release version).

If I were to sum it up I’d say it is what Vista should have been, but wasn’t when it was rushed out the door.  That isn’t to say it doesn’t have odd quirks, but I’m hoping the full release (RTM) version has this sorted out.

Built in screen cropping.  Improved program taskbar and pinning.  I really like the program autopreview option as you hover over the open programs.  And I’ve already taken it upon myself to let everyone who asks know how I feel.

And how does Microsoft reward this loyalty?  This willingness to test drive and potentially ruin my data?  Stocks you say?  A nice T-Shirt perhaps, or a ball point pen that says “7 – better than Vista!”

Nope.  In usual Microsoft fashion they stomp those who embrace them.

In the latest TechNet newsletter, they release the upgrade paths, and among the details is the line that:

“Upgrades to Windows 7 from the following operating systems are not supported: Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows XP, Windows Vista® RTM, Windows Vista Starter, Windows 7 M3, Windows 7 Beta, Windows 7 RC, or Windows 7 IDS”

Ok, no lost love with my Win95 upgrade.  But I’m one tiny step away from the full version.

I’ve toiled on making sure all the apps I need are modded up the ying yang.  Now you tell me that I get to wipe it all out and need to perform a reinstall?  That tease back in May that an upgrade would be possible, was all just vaporware.

Gee.  Thanks.  Next time you release a patch that crashes another server – leave me out of it…

Share

River Horse ESB

RiverHorse-ESB (Small) Ahhh River Horse.  So we meet again.  :)

This is their ESB Special Ale.

I’d have to say the closest mainstream is a Sam Adams.

A nice carmel color, with a great smell to it.  It goes down as easy as you might think.

Though I don’t know about the ABV – so you might want to take it easy.

The cost is a little on the higher end for a six pack, but not by much, and I would have to say worth it.

PP6Pack = $10.99

Share