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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Abita Andygator (Presidential Brief)

What: Abita Andygator 8% abv
Where: Blue Monkey Tavern (Merchantville, NJ)
When: Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011
What-have-you: The name sounds like a dopplebock, but this pale brew is balanced like a session lager. Malty in a non-roasted way, with a smooth mouthfeel and an undertone of that floury pilsner flavor, which could be a result of the lager yeast and the Liberty hops. A sneaky 8% for certain.
Abita Andygator
Enjoyed at The Blue Monkey Tavern

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lagunitas Hop Stoopid Ale (Citizen Review)

What: Lagunitas Hop Stoopid Ale
Where: The 19th Floor Lounge (Philadelphia, PA)
When: March 30, 2011
What-have-you"Lagunitas makes great beers.  I got to sample several bottle of their Maximus IPA a couple of weeks ago.  Hop Stoopid has a hoppiness that you can smell well before your nose gets close to the bottle or glass.  A bit of a bitter aftertaste, but it is not unpleasant.  At 8% abv, it does not taste overwhelming but it is, as a citizen said, "in your face."  This beer is not for the IPA faint of heart (even though this is not an IPA).  I usually recommend Lagunitas beers, and Hop Stoopid is no exception."

Lagunitas Hop Stoopid Ale

Visit Lagunitas' Website!
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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Toastmaster General's Stewart's Trip (Citizen Review)

Where: Stewart's Brewing Co. (Bear, DE)
Highlander Stout- Great.
Oyster Stout on cask- very smooth, very good.
Citra IPA- good.
Governor's Golden Ale- very good.
Lenten Dopple Bock- Outstanding.

The VP has been touting the merits of Stewart's for many years now.  Read about a trip of his own: "Stewart's Highlander Stout / The VP Does Delaware"

Monday, March 28, 2011

Brewers Association Announces 2011 Achievement Award Winners

Brewers Association Announces 2011 Achievement Award Winners
(This is a press release excerpt.  For the complete press release CLICK HERE)

BOULDER, CO • March 28, 2011—Three members of the brewing community were recognized and awarded for their dedication and service before a packed room at the Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) opening session. This year, CBC was larger than ever, with 3,900 attendees and over 50 different seminars.

Jennifer Talley of Squatters Pub Brewery/Salt Lake Brewing Co. won the Russell Schehrer Award for Innovation in Brewing. As the first woman to ever win this award, Talley was clearly honored and ecstatic to be recognized alongside the 13 other accomplished brewers who previously won the Russel Schehrer Award. She has been brewing for over 20 years, winning numerous awards and accolades along the way.

"Jennifer has won countless awards at the Great American Beer Festival® and World Beer Cup® against other beers that are of higher alcohol content in styles where alcohol is a key thread to carry the flavor of the beer," explained John Harris of Full Sail Brewing Co. "She has all of the character of previous winners of this award—a passion for beer, passion for our industry and passion for expanding her and her fellow brewers' knowledge."

The Russell Schehrer Award for Innovation in Brewing was first given in 1997 to honor Russell Schehrer's contributions to the brewing industry. Schehrer died in 1996 at 38 years of age and was a founding partner and original head brewer at Colorado's first brewpub, Wynkoop Brewing Co. He was also one of the first brewers to produce mead, doppel alt, cream stout and chili beer.

BA brewery members submit nominations every year for the Russell Schehrer Award for Innovation in Brewing. Previous award winners vote to choose the honoree from the slate of nominees.

The Brewers Association Recognition Award went to John McDonald of Boulevard Brewing Co. In 1989, McDonald founded the brewery and began hand-delivering Boulevard beer to local restaurants in his own pick-up truck. A longtime Brewers Association (BA) member—since the early 1990s—McDonald's brewery now employs over 90 people and has a capacity of approximately 600,000 barrels per year.

"John pioneered craft beer in a part of the country that did not have a lot of other active small brewers," said Rich Doyle of Harpoon Brewery. "He was a missionary of sorts and has built a great brewery, brand and business. He is also a very good guy."

BA members nominate candidates each year for the Brewers Association Recognition Award, and the BA Board of Directors votes to determine the winner.

Lastly, the F.X. Matt Defense of the Industry Award went to Dan Kopman of St. Louis Brewery/Schlafly Beer. It is difficult to speak of Kopman and his brewery without noting that he has always worked in the shadow of Anheuser-Busch, also based in St. Louis. Nevertheless, his recognition at this year's CBC has much more to do with his leadership within the craft brewing industry and his work to ensure that his fellow brewers, and his 20 year-old brewery, are treated fairly by federal regulations. Dan has devoted countless hours and significant energy to promoting legislation that would recalibrate federal excise taxes for small brewers.

"Dan deserves this award for his dedication and leadership on the excise tax bill," remarked John Pinkerton of Moon River Brewing Co.

The F.X. Matt Award is given in honor of a champion of small brewers, F.X. Matt (1933-2001), president of the F.X. Matt Brewing Co. in Utica, New York from 1980-1989 and chairman from 1989-2001.

Barbara Fusco, Sales & Marketing Director
barbara@brewersassociation.org, 303.447.0816 x152

Based in Boulder, Colorado, USA, the Brewers Association (BA) is the not-for-profit trade and education association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, their craft beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts. Visit BrewersAssociation.org to learn more. The association's activities include events and publishing:CraftBeer.com, World Beer Cup®; Great American Beer Festival®; Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America®; National Homebrewers Conference; National Homebrew Competition; SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience; American Craft Beer Week; Zymurgy magazine; The New Brewer magazine; and books on beer and brewing. The Brewers Association has an additional membership division of 25,000+ homebrewers: American Homebrewers Association.

Beer lovers are invited to learn more about the dynamic world of craft beer at CraftBeer.com.

Presidential Brief: Firestone Walker Double Jack IPA 9.5%

What: Firestone Walker Double Jack IPA
Where: Pour House, Westmont, NJ
When: Saturday, March 19th, 2011
What-have-youBig IPA with floral muscles on a malty skeleton. Hoppy enough to satisfy a craving, but a little rich to drink all night. Not quite Gubna... Think Flower Power on crack.

Double Jack

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Newcastle Brown Ale

What: Newcastle Brown Ale
Where: At Houlihan's Cherry Hill, NJ
When: Sunday, March 13th, 2011
What-have-you: Newcastle is a perennial favorite. Smooth and a touch malty. A hint of hops, but not at the fore. It's a session brew that you can order with pride when you're not in the mood for something wild and crazy.


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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

In Blogs We Trust: BeerTapTV.com

Another couple of guys I ran into at the First Ever Beer Bloggers Conference impressed me with their knowledge of beer: the folks from BeerTap TV.  Also impressive was their sheer ability to drink the stuff.  A bunch of mountain men from Colorado, these guys played an integral part in the discussions and even filmed the whole darn thing.  They hosted the tasting of Brew Dog's End of History as well as gave some pointers on taking the next step in turning one's passion into an occupation.

Erik Boles, Eli Shayotovich, Brandon Fontenot, John Romero, and Geoff Sawtell each have their own Twitter accounts as well, so check out the site beertaptv.com and check out all the info.  Their two shows, "The Buzz" and "Taste Buds" offer interesting insights into the world of beer: craft, micro, macro, and the list goes on and on... just remember that they're a bunch of beer-drinkin' dudes and their opinions do not necessarily reflect those of The Ferment Nation.  Definitely for grown-ups.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Presidential Brief: Lagunitas Fusion IV

Lagunitas Fusion IV American Double/Imperial Pilsner:
American Double/Imperial Pilsner with a sticky malt backbone and grapefruity notes. Not bitter exactly but hoppy just the same. Gubna meets West Coast? Lagunitas does it again! I love it!
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Monday, March 21, 2011

Dubuisson Scaldis Bush Ambree Belgian Strong Ale 12%

Dubuisson Scaldis Bush Ambree Belgian Strong Ale 12%

Lighter and dryer than I expected. But it's strong, make no mistake. Some fruit notes like white grapes and perhaps a bit of pear. This is my last brew of the night, as well it should be. I think it would rock a sharp cheese plate and jazz up a white fish dish.

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Moylan's Dragoons Dry Irish Stout

Moylan's Dragoons Dry Irish Stout:

In observance of St. Patrick's Day, we the Executive Branch of the Ferment Nation have done what many brewers have done before us: We have adopted the Irish celebration as our own.  In keeping with the spirit of the Day, let's review an American beer brewed in the Irish tradtion.

Moylan's Dragoons Dry Irish Stout pours black with a handsome foamy, tan head.  The aroma isn't very prominent, but the flavors showcase the roasted barley.  Some chocolate notes, along with some coffee to prop up this flavorful stout.  Just a few herbal essences like licorice, maybe, and some pine from the hops, accent this stout that has a rich palate with a dry finish.

The body is fairly medium-ish, in keeping with the dry stout m.o.  I guess this recipe could be tweeked to go bigger, like Imperial style... more body, more alcohol... but I like it just the way it is.  At 5% abv, this dry stout is safe to drink at a pretty steady clip.  Very accessible without being boring.

I was very pleasantly surprised by how much I liked Moylan's Dragoons.  I had some foggy memories of my previous experiences with Moylan's brews, so I jumped into the Wayback Machine and found out why the memories were foggy.  They were a product of ... get this... St. Patty's Day 2009!  Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear:

St. Patty's Day 2009 Revisited

Moylan's Dragoons Dry Irish Stout is brewed in Novato, CA, "brewed in the Irish tradition to commemorate General  Stephen Moylan, Irish-born commander of the 4th Continental Dragoons during the American Revolutionary War."  Though it's tough to beat out a true Irish stout brewed on the Emerald Isle  

St. Patty's 2008 Revisited

Like I was saying, Though it's tough to beat out a true Irish stout brewed on the Emerald Isle, many American stouts can carry the mantle.  Moylan's Dragoons is certainly one of them.  Great version of an awesome style.

Moylan's Dragoons Dry Irish Stout:

Representation:             .99
Accessibility:                 .99
Style:                            .90
Personal Preference:     .95

Total Score:              3.83 Flags
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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Fw: St. Patty's Guinness at Pour House

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

-----Original Message-----
From: fermentnation@gmail.com
Date: Fri, 18 Mar 2011 03:16:30
To: <fermentnation@gmail.com>
Reply-To: fermentnation@gmail.com
Subject: St. Patty's Guinness at Pour House

THAT'S the way you DO it... THAT'S the way you celebrate St. Patty's Day!
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

St. Pat's In Philly

I couldn't help but take a snapshot of this typical scene regarding beer in Philadelphia.  A Schmidt's van parked outside of McGillan's Olde Ale House on Drury St. in Philadelphia. Schmidt's was a fairly well-known brewery located in Philadelphia.  I think they got bought out by a larger brewery out west somewhere, but I remember it as the brand of beer I first enjoyed, probably at the tender age of 3 or so, sipping sips from my dad's can of Schmidt's.  And the Schmidt's van parked outside of McGillan's has a Philadelphia Brewing Co. sticker slapped on the side of it.  Because of legal reasons, I cannot publish photos of what was going on inside McGillan's (for the best), but here is a photo of the van.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011



PHILADELPHIA, PA – The fourth-annual Philly Beer Week (PBW) 2011 will kick off on Friday, June 3 at 7:30 p.m., in the spectacular Independence Visitor Center (6th and Market Streets) with the Opening Tap, a celebration honoring the wide array of regional brewers and breweries whose beer helps make Philadelphia “the best beer-drinking city in America.”  Tickets for the Opening Tap are available now online, and cost $41 ($15 for “designated driver” tickets).  They can be purchased online at www.phillybeerweek.org; no tickets will be available for purchase at the door.

Guests can also enter to win a pair of tickets to the event at www.phillybeerweek.org/opening_tap_contest.cfm.  Requirements for the ticket giveaway are simple: one entry per person, and all entrants must a) be at least 21 years old and b) love beer.  Online entry requires guests to submit their first and last name, confirm their age and include their e-mail address, in order to be notified if they win.

“The Opening Tap is a one-of-a-kind event featuring our local breweries and their beers, as well as the men and women who create them,” says Don Russell, Executive Director of PBW.  “It’s only fitting that we kick off a celebration of America’s best beer-drinking city in the shadow of the birthplace of America.” 

The signature kick-start to PBW will begin with the ceremonial ‘first tap’ using the official Philly Beer Week keg mallet (affectionately known as the Hammer of Glory, or HOG), followed by a strolling beer tasting on two levels.  The HOG will be used to tap Brotherly Suds 2, the local collaborative beer of Philly Beer Week 2011.  The special beer, to be crafted at Stoudt’s by brewer Brett Kintzer along with Yards’ Tom KehoeVictory’s Bill CovaleskiTroegs’ John Trogner and Nodding Head’s Gordon Grubb, will have a unique nod toward Philadelphia's brewing history.  The lager, described as "sudsier than ever," will be fermented with the same strain of yeast originally used by the late, great Schmidt's brewery of Northern Liberties in its original premium lager of 1860.  At one time, nearly two-thirds of the beer served in Philadelphia taverns came from the iconic brewery, making their signature yeast strain a perfect standard-bearer for PBW 2011’s signature brew.

Beer friendly food will be available for purchase on site from Max & Me Catering.  There will also be live music by the Flathead Gang.  Attendees must be at least 21 years of age, and no children will be admitted. 

Philly Beer Week is a 10-day celebration of “America’s Best Beer-Drinking City” held from Friday, June 3 to Sunday, June 12. Established in 2008, it’s the largest beer celebration of its kind in the United States, featuring hundreds of festivals, dinners, tours, pub crawls, tastings and meet-the-brewer nights throughout Greater Philadelphia.    

Philly Beer Week highlights the region’s diverse beer scene – its world-class breweries, neighborhood taverns, trend-setting restaurants and rich beer culture and history. Philly Beer Week is organized and operated by Philly Beer Week Inc., a non-profit 501(c)(6) organization overseen by a board comprised of brewery owners, distributors, restaurant owners and others, to promote the beer and hospitality industries.

To purchase tickets for the Opening Tap, or to find general information about Philly Beer Week 2011, including the ever-expanding schedule of events and list of participants, please visit www.phillybeerweek.org

Stoudts Old Abominable (Presidential Brief)

What: Stoudts Old Abominable.
Where: The Pour House, Westmont, NJ.
When: Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011.
What-have-you: Haven't had this one in FOREVER, and never on tap. It's really awesome. Either I didn't give it a fair shake before, or the brew is just better than it used to be...but I recommend it highly. A little mild and dry, with a pinch of hoppy bitter, I may not tag it as a barleywine right away. It is deep with a malty sweetness and a finish that you think is super clean. Then some hops return for an encore.

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Philly Craft Beer Festival 2011

Here are some images and color commentary by El Presidente on the event.  Enjoy!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Thornbridge Merrie

What:  Thornbridge Merrie
Where:  The Dandelion, Philadelphia, PA
When:  Saturday, January 22nd, 2011
What-have-you:  English spiced brown ale on cask at The Dandelion. Not terribly spicy but flavorful and smooth. A bit of ginger perhaps, or clove with a citrus note. Overall a nice session brew.

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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Philly Craft Beer Festival 2011

So here is an updated review of this amazing event!  I just can't say enough about the staff of the festival and the navy yard... the breweries, pourers, volunteers... everyone.  The coolest part about this particular event is the crowd.  Yeah, there a ton of drinkers together in one place, but it never gets out of hand.  Some folks know a lot about craft beer, and some don't but everyone is interested.  They are engaged in the tasting and that makes all the difference.  After all, a party isn't very fun if you're not enjoying the company.  Anyhow, on to the beer!  Short and sweet descriptions:

First Pour
River Horse

  • Hop-alot-amus: Spicy and tangy hops.  A perennial fave!
  • Double Wit: Big-bodied wit.  Deelish.

Pale Ale: quite pale, very drinkable

Otter Creek
Copper: 5% chilled out, nothing crazy.

Alpine Black IPA: 6% Dark and roasty, flavorful yet balanced; really nice!
Original Ale: 5%. Citrusy zing -- gets ya right here! Oh, that's me pointing under my jaw.  Refresh-o-matic.

Dock Street
  • Man Full of Trouble Porter:  Dry finish.  Chocolate tones.  Tastes like... more!  Candidate for best in show.
  • Saison: At the level of ... something... I can't read my own review.  Sorry.
Great Lakes
Conway's Irish Ale: Smooth and smooth.  A little malt, a little hops.  Session brew.

Maibock: mellow and golden.

  • Jewish Rye: holy crap! That tastes like Jewish rye bread!   Not as zippy as, say, Dock Street's rye, but light and tasty.
  • Edel Rauch: Beginner's smokebeer.  If you get through these gates, it may open up possibilities.
Innis & Gunn
  • Rum cask aged.   45 days in Jamaican rum barrels.  Yeah.  Really awesome.  Touch of sweetness but mostly dark and sexy.  Tastes like nighttime.  Sandalwood?  Really awesome. This may be the best beer I tried all day.  Maybe.
  • Original: Oak without bourbon.  Rockin'.
Love is Evol Strawberry/Jalapeno brew:  Dark flavors and light body.  One of the day's hugest surprises and also a candidate for best beer.  Two flavors that complement each other shockingly well.

Appalachian Brewing Company

Celtic Knot Irish Red: Quite quaffable!

Prankster's Porter:  Chocolate and roasty; really nice porter

Forest & Main

  • Kinch IPA (cask-conditioned): 6%.  Soooo stinkin' drinkable.

  • Tiny Tim Bitter: Tasty also, but not quite as pronounced.

  • Roy Pitz
    Old Jail Brown Ale: Pretty drinkable with a teeny bite.

    • Werewolf Ale: 8.2%.  Pale-ish with a malty base.  Not bad.  Warm you up on a chilly night, that's for sure.
    • Missing Elf Double Bock: 8%.  Light for a double bock, it seems sorta like a malty maibock.
    • Before/After Triple Bock: 12%.  A sneaky 12%, this is the gateway to the darkside.  I was expecting blackness and pain, but malt reigns.
    Still solid.  Special Dark is a drinkin' beer.  Man up.  Not too dark, but rich enough.

    Knot Stock Black Peppercorn.  Hooo-ahhh.  Peppery.  Intriguing.  Light body and disappearing finish.

    Dark Horse 
    Amber:  Has a certain feel to it...

    Bavarian Barbarian
    Hammerin' Ale:  Pretty good.  Drinkable and a little funky.

    Cigar City
    Bolita Brown Ale: 9%.  Malty.  Brown.  Oh boy.  Rich.  There's chocolate in there somewhere.

    Brew Dog
    • Dogma Scottish: 7.8%.  Way lighter than I thought, a lemony flavor.  Brewed with Fruit Loops?
    • Punk IPA:  Skunky, funky, smelly green $#1+.
    Six Point
    • Sehr: Crisp pilsner
    • Redd:  American Red Ale.  Smooth, red, well done.

    • Flashback India Brown Ale:  Oh, that's a ton of flavor.
    • Hazed & Infused:  Classic!
    • Killer Penguin: Barleywine > smooth.

    St. Somewhere
    • Lectio Divina &
    • Saison Athene: disappointing.  A few years ago, these were among my favorites.  Now poured from tap as opposed to a bottle, something is lost in translation.  A shadow of its former glory. : (
    Lemongrass Wheat: I must have had a sip of this, but there's honestly no review here.  

    Merry Monks:  That's how you DO it!  That's how you finish off a beer fest!

    So, what was the winner of El Presidente's Bestest Beer in the Whole Wide Festival?  It's really tough to pick an ultimate favorite, but I suppose I should tell you which beer I kept telling people to try time after time.  Even though I was blown away by Innis & Gunn's Rum Cask aged beer...

    Even though I really loved the Dock Street Man Full of Trouble Porter...
    I have to say that I was really shocked and amazed by the stylings of the PRISM Love is Evol Strawberry/Jalapeno Brown Ale!  

    So intriguing and different, I have to give mad props to this North Wales brewery for cooking up something a little crazy.  
    So raise your glasses in acknowledgment, everyone:

    Here's a link to the website's own rap sheet of this saucy beer:

    Please keep checking this site for even more pictures and some updates from the office of El Presidente.  I hope to have a slideshow of all our pictures up on the site in the next few days, so stay tuned!

    And thanks again to all the breweries and all the staff and all the participants of the Philly Craft Beer Festival 2011!  Special shoutouts to Sis, Pat, Tim, Bud, and Rachel for accompanying me on this epic journey.  And extra special props to Pat for hooking us up with tickets!  

    I think we may have even ended up at McGillin's...