Monday, January 25, 2016

PUBlication: Pliny the Elder

There's one beer in modern American micro brewing that set the DIPA standard. It's continued to be flattered by the ongoing attempts to be imitated. Thankfully I have the ability to indulge in this benchmark IPA, mostly because of who I know and where I live. Oh how I long for the days when no one was at the bar, and there were never any lines to get in. Pliny the Elder changed everything. 

Pliny was due for some PUB on eightyhoices. When the Elder cascades into the glass a beautiful head appears. The diligent nose was big and punchy, familiar, reminding me of home. As the foam disappears, a transparent quality shines through the golden and apricot hues. The Elder embraces its clarity. Just before drinking, the aroma oozes with pine and floral zest. Here's an oxymoron for you; it's smooth and bitter. Pliny starts off effortless, then at the back of the palate, the bitterness exacts its hoppy revenge. This beer is for those that want hops, not malt. If you find yourself bellied up to the bar at Russian River don't start here; work your way up, while preserving your taste buds. I recommend beginning with a Row 2 or Blind Pig. You'll impress the servers by being the only tourist not asking for a Pliny. 8%ABV 

Hop bill: Amarillo, Centennial, CTZ, Simcoe


PS. The Younger is coming February 5th-18th. Cheers!

Friday, January 22, 2016


Radiohead is back. Nothing else will impair, or inspire, like the creations they're developing; an album is in the works. They'll probably just surprise us again with an overnight digital elixir, followed by worthwhile grandeur in some limited vinyl form. Radiohead live, it's been a while (2012). First Europe, then the U.S.? Radiohead is back.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

PUBlication: Stone Collaborations

Stone Brewing Company does many things well; they also play well with others. Stone has embarked on a number of collaborations over the years, two of the more recent offerings are, Sorry Not Sorry and NxS. Below are my thoughts on these two hop-centric IPAs. I was fortunate enough to have had each on draft and from the bottle. Cheers to The Garden at Community Market for having choice selections on tap.

Sorry Not Sorry | 4 Hands | Bale Breaker | Stone
Many beers tell a story. This tale includes St. Louis, Washington state and southern California. They all got together, so that we could enjoy the fruits of their labor. The owner of Bale Breaker was the first to commercially grow Simcoe hops, so you know they're in there. An unlikely partner to the ingredients is pureed peaches, mmm. The peach is subtle, cooperating in harmony with the hop characteristics. There's also a slight malt profile, which really helps to balance this big DIPA. A clear coppery color appears when poured. This one-of-a-kind goes well with seafood and poultry, think Jamaican jerk chicken or Baja fish tacos. 9.3% | 70 IBUs

Hops: HBC 342 & HBC 344  (experimental hops w/ stone fruit notes), Warrior, Simcoe, Mosaic

NxS | Sierra Nevada | Stone
An opaque head hides an elixir underneath, which imparts a subtle aged quality. The bitterness of this partially dry-hopped, and barrel-aged IPA, exacts itself on your entire palate from start to finish. You feel the lupulin-like impact a few drinks in. The pint glows with a yellow-copper warmth. This was one of my favorite partnerships since Collective Distortion. Portions of this brew were barrel-aged—50% gin-infused bourbon barrels and 50% rye whiskey barrels. This delicious ale pairs well with bold combination foods such as pizza, burritos, and roasted vegetable chili. 8.2% | 70 IBUs

Hops: Magnum, Amarillo, Chinook, Cascade, Centennial & Mosaic

Drink responsibly,


Monday, January 18, 2016

Stop, Look & Listen

The year of the monkey is steadily approaching. With the beginning of a new calendar, comes the anticipation of new music. There are some records dropping early in 2016 that have drawn my attention. Surely there will be others, but for now, in chronological order, here are the albums I'm looking forward to.  

> Tortoise | Catastrophist | January 22

> Animal Collective | Painting With | February 19

> Santigold | 99 Cents | February 26

> Thao & The Get Down Stay Down | A Man Alive | March 4

> Lucius | Good Grief | March 11

Unspecified release dates: Rihanna, Anti | M.I.A., Matahdatah | Frank Ocean, Boys Don't Cry


Thursday, January 14, 2016

PUBlication: Brew Detective

Holidays are a time for gluttony, that can sometimes extend beyond the new year. I headed south on the 101, gift card in hand, to sip some suds at Beer Craft. With a strong tap list and a deep selection of bottles, this local libation dealer is tapping into the market. Beer Craft also specializes in shipping your bottles. Sonoma County is a destination for foodies, beer geeks and wine aficionados. 

Pulling up a stool to the communal table situated by the taps, I perused the offerings. The draught list leaned heavily toward the hoppy end of the spectrum, which I dig. I decided to go for two different pale ales. My first selection was from AleSmith, who have merged two of my favorite things, sports and beer. The SD Pale Ale .394 is a homage to one of the best hitters in baseball since I've been alive. Tony Gwynn will always be remembered as a classy ball player and an even better person. The .394 encompasses a crispness that is sheltered beneath an airy head. A big hop bouquet hits your nose before tasting how clean it is. There's a lingering quality to this ale, in a good way. Look for this delicious selection on draught or in six packs. AleSmith does it again. ABV 6% | 26 IBUs

My second choice was a single hopped pale ale by Sante Adairius. Brewed with Mosaic hops and 2-row malt, this stripped down pale was far more subtle than expected. I didn't get that same nose or punch from the Mosaic hops as I have in other beers. On top of the hazy golden hue lies a foamy head. As I snouted it out, a popcorn-like quality kept hitting my nose. That same popcorn trait also popped up late on the palate. ABV 5.8%

I also walked out with a couple of bottles because you cannot use a gift card on draught beer. One is a Gose-style Saison IPA from Stillwater Artisanal Ales; it goes by the name Money Tree$. The other is a Belgian-inspired, Bad Habit from Jack Rabbit Brewing.


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

NBA Midseason Report

There are a few differences in the standings at this point in the NBA when compared to my predictions from before the season. Of course there is time for the current configuration of each conference to change, but who had the East with more .500 clubs than the vaunted West? Most of the prominent players coming back from injuries have stayed healthy thus far. The rookie college coaches in OKC and Chicago have shown some growth; success takes time. I think both of those clubs are primed for a trade. Speaking of success, the Dubs are straight rolling teams, while not being whole. The Spurs are insane, lock people down, and are beginning to unleash Aldridge. The East will go through Cleveland if they remain the one seed, which looks more likely now that they've begun to integrate their full roster. As far as my playoff predictions...

I'm looking a little ragged in the Eastern Conference. Three teams I predicted who'd be in, but  are currently out, are Boston (+500), Washington (right there scratching), and Milwaukee (they're going to figure it out right?). In their place stands Indiana (who I thought would battle for the 8, but have reinvented themselves), Detroit (the Jackson/Drummond pick and roll plus good D) and Orlando (young players overachieving, what's not to like?). So I'm five for eight.

In the Western Conference I owe the Dallas Mavericks an apology. I just didn't think they'd be this solid. They compete and run what they're good at. Rick Carlisle is definitely one of the best coaches in the Association. Then there's dirty Dirk, he's sixth on the scoring list! Injuries and new schemes aside, what's up with the Pelicans? Will they deal Ryan Anderson? I thought they'd take the next step, instead New Orleans looks like a lottery team. We're almost halfway there. Only in the NBA.


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

PUBlication: Brew Detective

Brew Detective...
Driving east onto the 101 corridor I recently stopped in at a Santa Rosa taproom. While bellying up to the bar I had the pleasure of sipping on a brew from Ballast Point and another from Ninkasi. Fathom, an India Pale Lager, smells like a delicious IPA, reminiscent of Russian River. An airy head tops the bounty below, not thick enough to prevent the aroma from being taken in. Big flavor up front is aided by the constant stream of carbonation. ABV 7% | 70 IBUs

The Devil Went Down to Oregon is an Imperial Dark Rye from Ninkasi, brewed in collaboration with Devils Backbone Brewing. The color reminds me of holiday glass candy. The nose is sweet, covered by a doughy head. There's a lot going on early. It finishes smooth, kind of melting away. High praise for a rye blended with five hop varietals. ABV 7.2% | 65 IBUs