Saturday, August 30, 2014

Beer Journal #10: A Week's Worth of Beers

Totally Naked is the eighth New Glarus beer I've had. Totally Naked is a lager which the brewery owners, Daniel and Deborah Carey, proclaim "is beer at its most basic."

After the many "heavy duty" beers I've been drinking, I found Totally Naked to be too weak.

Scrimshaw is my first beer brewed by North Coast Brewing Company of Fort Bragg, California.  Scrimshaw is a pilsner-style beer.

I would gladly have another of these.

Viking Afternoon is brewed especially for afternoon enjoyment, something I found quite amusing. Furthermore Brewing of Black River Falls, WI, advises "Save the big beers for later, you still have chores to do."  Viking Afternoon is an IPA, a "teeter-totter IPA."

I enjoyed this beer is every way. The drinkability, the beer name and the label details were all to my liking.  On top of all that, Furthermore Brewing is an unexpected and appealing company name.   

I rated Honey Blonde as excellent, not too weak, yet not too strong. Honey Blonde is an ale, brewed in Wisconsin Dells, WI, at Port Huron Brewing Company.

Living not far from New Glarus, WI, I can easily get my hands on all of the beers the New Glarus Brewing Company comes up with. Dancing Man is the ninth beer I've had brewed at this fairly local establishment. Daniel and Deborah encourage us to "Lick the foam from your mouth and admit sometimes you just gotta get up and dance." Dancing Man is a hefe-weizen wheat beer.

I didn't dance but my tastebuds did. The quiet presence of cloves and cinnamon prompted me to rate Dancing Man as a beer I would love to latch onto again.

Check out the freaky-looking fellow dominating the label on this White Rascal, Belgian-style white ale, brewed in Boulder, Colorado at Avery Brewing Company.

This "deviously delicious" brew, spiced with coriander and orange peel, is a beer I would be happy to enjoy again. 

Kink is an ale packed with 7.7% alc/vol. Watch your step with this one! Brewed by Ale Asylum in Madison, WI, Kink is a Belgian abbey. The label states that "Kink is brewed with passion and is best enjoyed that way."

I guarantee Kink would kick the kinks from your neck if you were ailing. I'm tempted to break my rule of having only one bottle of every beer to have another Kink.

2X Stout is another potent beer, weighing in at 7.5% alc/vol.  Southern Tier Brewing Company of Lakewood, NY makes this double milk stout which contains lactose sugars. It is brewed with 2 varieties of hops and 3 types of malts.

I must report that besides being a stout beer, the beer bottle was stubborn when it came to letting its label go. It took a major patch job to put the label back together after it came off in several pieces. But I got the job done and there it is in my album.

I reckon I'd say no if someone offered me another of these. It was too strong.

That's it for now. Until you tune in again,


Friday, August 29, 2014

Beer Journal #9: My Beer Glass Order Arrived Today

I was thrilled to receive this box from the mailman this afternoon.

I discovered four objects suffocating in shrink wrap and bound together with heavy tape. I came to their rescue, removing the wrapping and allowing them room to breathe. Yay, the objects were my beer glasses.

I washed one of the glasses and poured what was left of my bottle of KINK beer (the beverage I was enjoying when the box arrived) along the inside surface of the glass. I didn't get a head on the beer; perhaps I need practice pouring.  

I unwrapped the remaining four glasses, washed them by hand and here they are in all their glory. Looks like someone turned my beer into wine. Didn't Jesus do something similar? It does look like wine doesn't it? Trust me, it's beer.

I will leave you with the assurance that I will NEVER put these glasses in the dishwasher. I read in a comment on a beer glass website that dishwasher detergent often remains on glasses and can kill the head on beer and taint the flavor. I can't have that!


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Beer Journal #8: Drinking Beer At Home, I'll Be Using a Glass

I have been drinking my beers from the bottle. Yesterday, in order to see the color of my beer, I poured a small amount in a glass. The color was, well it was colorful. Of course, I drank what was in the glass. As quick as a bolt of lightning, I realized I've been drinking beer all wrong. Tipping a glass is a better way to drink beer. It tastes better and goes down easier.

I figured that if the juice glass I experimented with made my bottled beer taste better, just think what a glass designed especially for drinking beer would do. I searched online for a few minutes and with very little deliberation, placed an order for four glasses like those pictured above.

I almost ordered a set of several differently shaped glasses, each glass for a different type of beer. I balked at having to think about which glass to grab. When I saw the Teku glass, appropriate for all beer types, I looked no further. The following description cinched the sale. I grabbed it from the website and dragged it over here.


Teku Beer Glass by Rastal

This hard to find craft beer glass is a must have for your beer glass collection.  The shape of this glass makes it very unique and hard to find outside of Europe.  Perfect for enjoying many different styles of beer.   This glass is completely blank and without any branding whatsoever. We can engrave this glass for you if you like here:

The Teku glass was developed by Teo Musso of the Baladin Brewery in Torino, Italy, and Italian sensory analyst Lerenzo Dabove (Kuaska).  The design of the glass allows for a full sensory drinking experience by capturing and releasing a beer's aromas in the outward curve of the glass.  This glass is one of the world's finest beer glasses ever created and is perfect for use with most craft beers.

  • Manufacturer: Rastal
  • Country of Origin: Made in Germany
  • Beer Glass Type: Stemmed Tulip Glass
  • Size: .33 liter or 10 oz
  • Dimensions: 7.75 inches high



Beer Journal #7: I'm a Valued Subscriber of Flying Dog Brewery's Emails. CHEERS!

One thing leads to another.

Per Beer Journal #6, OLD SCRATCH is one of Flying Dog Brewery's beers.  I'm drawn to the weird artwork and crazy stories on their beer bottle labels.

My curiosity led me to their entertaining website where I "joined their community" and will receive periodic emails.  I "fear" I'll fit in just fine.       

-Flying Dog Brewery
Valued Subscriber,
Welcome to Flying Dog Brewery. We are happy to have you as a member of our community. Your email address and interest preferences have been recorded in our database. In the future, you will receive periodic emails specific to your interests.

Privacy is important to us; therefore, we will not sell, rent, or give your name or address to anyone. At any point, you can select the link at the bottom of every email to unsubscribe, or to receive less or more information.
Thanks again for registering. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact us.

Erin Biles
Flying Dog Brewery



I had another Flying Dog Brewery beer and this cherished label in my album is all that's left of it. Sniff, sniff. (Don't strain your eyes to read the accompanying story--a label enlargement follows). 

Too crazy!!!  Perhaps, this narrative is stranger than that on the OLD SCRATCH beer label.

"Good People Drink Good Beer."
I leave you to dwell on that wisdom.


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Beer Journal #6: Flying Dog Brewery & Their "Old Scratch" Amber Lager

I must say that this beer has the weirdest label I've found so far.  The artwork is bizarre! Upon visiting the brewery website, I learned that the artist is Ralph Steadman.

If you think the crazed insects are creepy, let me tell you what's on the back side of the label. The exact words are:

"Tom Walker and his wife loved money more than life, so they surrendered their souls to Old Scratch.  And when her liver and lung were found lying on the forest floor, Tom forever feared a certain rapping at the door. Knock...Knock...Knock."

Okay.  Well, it's not really okay.

Old Scratch (5.5% alc/vol) is brewed by Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick, MD. They have an interesting website. I contacted them on their website, praising the artwork and inquiring about the character, Old Scratch, of whom Tom Walker is so terrified and about his wife. I'll let you know if and when I get a response. Perhaps no explanation exists and we're to be left wondering. Being bizarre may be the only goal being sought after by Flying Dog Brewery.

I also found this quote on the edge of the bottle label:  "Good People Drink Good Beer" --Hunter S. Thompson

As I've mentioned before, I love the entertainment many beer labels provide.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Beer Journal #5: A Few Beers & Their Priceless Labels

I enjoyed the beers in this blog post on August 18th through the 21st, 2014.
"Rocky's Revenge" is the third beer I've had that's brewed and bottled at Tyranena Brewing Co. in Lake Mills, Wisconsin. I love the creative names they give their beers.  The other two beers from this brewery that I've had are "Headless Man" and "Three Beaches Honey Blonde."

The New Glarus Brewing Co. is located not far from my home.

"Two Women" is the seventh beer I've had that's made in New Glarus.  Creativity abounds in the naming of these beers, for instance, "Moon Man," "Yokel," "Spotted Cow," "Back 40," "Fat Squirrel" and "Coffee Stout" are the uniquely named beers I've enjoyed so far.

These brewery owners always sign their name to the narrative on the bottle label. The "Back 40" label reads like this: "The 'Back Forty' is property commonly found on the outskirts of the Wisconsin family farm. Here uncultivated acres wait prime for adventure - forts, tree houses, rope swings and first kisses! A place to run away, to camp, to climb, to build, to play. Not actually home but not too far away. That's the Back Forty. The beer you hold is similar, both dark and adventurous, still smooth and familiar.  Here's a beer you can enjoy without pretense or explanation. Every mind requires some acres of possibility, space for dreams, the great escape, everyone needs a back forty.  Cheers, Daniel & Deborah Carey."

Initially, I photographed each new beer and shared a little bit of information from the label. Here are two examples: 

Leinie's Red Lager is a "Vienna-style lager, carefully brewed by the Leinenkugel family for five generations. The pride of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin since 1867."  I'm looking forward to sampling the many other beers brewed by this company. 

And then there's "Little Sumpin'" brewed by Lagunitas Brewing Company in Petaluma, California.  It really is something!!!!

First, it is 7.5% alc. by vol.  Need I say it's pretty potent?  I got a kick out of the words that border the label on the bottle front.  "So, we're all on collective disability. That's cool. Let's put some ice on it and keep ourselves elevated for a while. So, what's on the tube? Honey..? Get me a beer from the frige..Will ya..? Sweetie..? Pleease..?"

What a hoot!!!

The label also states:  Life is uncertain.  Don't sip.

Beers, such as this, motivate me to keep trying as many different ones as I can find.  Besides the relaxation a beer provides, entertainment is often an added bonus.   

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Beer Journal #4: An Album for My Beer Bottle Labels

As my hobby progressed, I realized I needed to keep my beer labels somewhere that allowed me to admire them, right? I selected this album for my label collection.  I put one of my favorite labels in the frame on the cover.

I order album pages with 4 by 6 inch pockets, 6 pockets per page.  Two labels, back to back, fit in each pocket, allowing me to store 12 labels per album sheet.  This loose leaf binder gives me the freedom to move and add pages.   

Since I'll be putting labels back to back in each pocket and they come in all shapes and sizes, I bought some 4 by 6 inch index cards to slip in the pockets. They separate the labels and provide a nice white background for the labels on both sides of each page.  

I organize the labels in the binder alphabetically under the brewery name.  As I pondered how to arrange them, this made the most sense to me.

Of course, I always sip a "new-to-me" beer while I work on my hobby.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Beer Journal #3: How I Take the Labels Off Beer Bottles

I'm sure you're dying to know how I remove the beer labels from the bottles. I found this product which works well most of the time. I order it online.

This is a label lift sheet straight from the box.

I peel the backing off of the adhesive sheet.

I place the pull tab end of the adhesive sheet close to the right edge of the beer label.

I slowly smooth the adhesive sheet over the label, making sure no bubbles form between the sheet and the label.  This process took a bit of practice, but now, it works 99% of the time.

Using the back of a spoon (I use the largest metal spoon I have), I press the adhesive sheet onto the beer label, going over the entire label, at least two times.  I wait a few minutes for the adhesive to fully set.  

Label Lift works by laminating and then removing the upper printed surface of the label from its backing.  I was anxious to remove this label and I didn't wait long enough for it to set up.  I peeled back the pull tab and only some of the label adhered to the sheet.

Although this label didn't cooperate, I persisted. I used scraps of Label Lift that I had saved, placed them over the remaining parts of the label which were still attached to the bottle, pressed the laminate to the label with my spoon and eventually removed all of the printed label from the bottle.

After a lot of patch work and after trimming away the excess laminate sheet, eventually, I have a label that is far from perfect, but complete.  It took about 5 patching jobs to get this all together.

Thankfully, most labels come off all in one piece.  If they didn't, I'm quite sure my label removing days would be over!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Beer Journal #2: A Beer a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Besides drinking a wide variety of beers (anything available in single bottles) and salvaging the labels, I stage each bottle and take a photograph. I post the pictures on Facebook on the day I enjoy them and, about once a week, I post the photos on my blog.

  I told you I'm serious about beer, thus, documentation is essential.  Surely, you understand,....or not?  Well, I request that you humor me and we'll get along just fine. 
Ending a work day on the deck with my husband and a new-to-me beer is an excellent transition into the evening.

I really do believe that having a beer a day is a good idea, for me, anyway.  Why?  It relaxes me and makes every day a little better.  That's good medicine.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Beer Journal #1: I Become Serious About Beer

A couple of years ago, I began a new hobby. I had been drinking wine in the evening due to the health benefits promised. Soon, I put more value on the relaxation offered than health issues. I'm unsure how it happened but I came to my senses and begin drinking beer. As I enjoyed beer, I examined the labels of the beer bottles. They are often quite entertaining. Appreciation of the labels is what propelled me forward to my hobby of drinking a new-to-me beer, or two, every day.

With craft beer breweries popping up all over the country and the resulting flood of new and unique beers, many grocery and liquor stores are selling single bottles of beer so consumers can try a beer without buying a six-pack or case. Of course, that worked for me.        

Over time, I accumulated quite a collection of beer bottles that I gathered on our screen porch. I was intrigued by the labels so I kept the bottles. 

I soon realized that I'd be buried in beer bottles if I didn't do something different. I cherished the labels but not the bottles. I found the product, "Label Lift" online and ordered it. It worked. Soon I was removing the labels and tossing the bottles, a very good thing on many levels.