January 20, 2012
Look for this logo. You won't be disappointed.
Have you ever thought about starting a brewery?
I think about it a lot, but then I’m reminded that I live outside of Boston, and that to start a new brewery here would be like opening a new steakhouse in Omaha. Only it would be a lot more expensive. And I’d probably have to pay somebody some graft along the way to get the required permits before the year 2016. And I’d fail because I don’t know what I’m doing. I often need to be reminded of all these things so that I stick to drinking beer, writing about it, and remaining in my marriage.
I also need to be reminded (mostly because I drink too much beer) that not everyone lives outside of Boston (although it sure seems like it during the morning commute). Apparently, some people live in places other than the Boston metro area. In fact, I just learned there are even people who live in southern West Virginia*
*It’s true. I looked it up. Read the rest of this entry »
January 4, 2012
I dreamt I was at the bottom of this hill. It was a good dream.
Yesterday, I wrote about the levels of craft beer consumerism. The premise was essentially that everyone who walks into a bottle shop looking for beer can be put into a few categories based on how far along they are in their transition to becoming a full-fledged alehead.*
*i.e. insufferable beer snob
One characteristic of those who’ve made the transition to level 3 is that they tend to know when certain seasonal brews come out. Well, here’s what I’m going to be looking for over then next several weeks.* It’s not an exhaustive list by any means. It’s not meant to be. Most of these are beers from the larger or more prestigious regional breweries, and they happen to distribute their wares in my quiet hometown. I realize I’m missing a bunch, but I’d argue that this is a good start. Read the rest of this entry »
August 28, 2011
NOTES: 22 oz. bomber. I was psyched to see this limited edition Troegs in my local bottle shop. My local beermonger pointed it out, saying “this won’t last long.”
I think he’s right on a number of levels.
STYLE: Imperial Pale Ale
APPEARANCE: Golden, straw. Nothing dramatic or rich. Extremely clear. Looks like it could be any old pale ale.
HEAD: Two fingers at the beginning of the pour. Looked promising, but it dissipated within minutes.
LACING: Splotches here and there. Not like some. Read the rest of this entry »
June 10, 2011
Nothing but Corona Light at this party? I'd have jumped already.
If you’re like me (and trust me, for your sake, I hope you’re not), you’ve been spending your nights over the past few months watching the steady stream of never-ending playoff matchups. The NBA Finals, anyone? Yes, like most of humanity outside of southern Florida, I would relish the sight of Dirk finally hoisting the O’Brien trophy, while LeBron and company take their talents and, well, shove them. And then there are the Stanley Cup playoffs, which, while they receive considerably less attention nationally, are the biggest thing going since the 2004 Red Sox here in Boston. If you’re not a hockey fan, just follow a team in the NHL playoffs, and unless you have no soul (guess that sucks for you, Voldemort, John Edwards, and Oprah), you’ll be hooked.
There’s nothing like sports on television, and the male 18-49 demographic on their couches in front of those televisions, to give the guys on Madison Avenue one big collective pants-tent. I’m watching as I type this, and the last 10 commercials I’ve seen (not including networks promoting their own shows) were trying to sell me: a new movie, a car, a faster smartphone, another movie, beer, ED medication, tires, more beer, more technology, and another car. Read the rest of this entry »
May 19, 2011
When I walk through my local beer store (which happens much more often than Lady Copperpot would prefer), I’m always looking for what’s new. I do this mainly because, like any good Alehead would, I’ve tasted everything they typically have in stock. I’m there so often that the distributors have started to recognize me. As such, I can pretty easily visualize what each shelf looks like. The Ommegang bombers are next to the Stone bombers, which are next to the bombers of Wachusett Larry. The same bottles are usually in the same places.
When they’re not, though, I’ll notice almost immediately.
In a recent trip, a new 12-pack among the typical inventory caught my eye. My local beermonger had picked up some sampler packs of Butternuts Beer & Ale. I’d never heard of Butternuts, but they passed the test for me: it was new, it was craft, it was canned, and how could any sentient being possibly resist purchasing the most colorful, whimsical Goddamn box in the industry?
Read the rest of this entry »
May 18, 2011
No, really. Ask any of the aleheads who know me well, and they’ll tell you.
“Copperpot? He’s a good guy. Reliable. Fun. But yeah, he’s usually about two steps behind in the conversation.”
That’s just how I roll.
Like with this whole craft beer thing. I’m much closer to the “new convert” end of the spectrum than I am to the “seasoned veteran” end. And although I know much more about beer than most of my family and friends, among the Aleheads I’m still at the back of the pack in terms of my expertise on the topic. But as I said, it suits me. I can’t quite keep up in a conversation about Belgian IPAs between Doc, Barley, and Slouch, but I’m ok with that. I’m learning, I’m having a great time, and I realize that it’s a process.
Read the rest of this entry »
April 21, 2011
My first experience with a Dieu du Ciel offering came from a bottle of Corne du Diable, the Montréal-based brewpub’s standard IPA. At the time, I wrote “If you’re expecting a generously hopped beer with hints of spice and grapefruit, as you would in most IPAs, you’ll be sorely disappointed. Malt rules the day with this IPA, overpowering the hops that I love so well in IPAs. I look forward to tasting their other selections, but its lack of balance just didn’t impress this alehead.”
Whenever my first impression of a brewery is disappointing, my tendency is to 1) generalize that impression to all subsequent beers I sample from that brewery, and 2) proceed with unhealthy cynicism, rather than healthy skepticism. I’m sure I’m not alone in that behavior. In fact, I’m willing to wager that it’s the norm. First impressions are so ridiculously important, because frankly, they’re usually pretty accurate. Read the rest of this entry »
March 19, 2011
I quickly realized during my recent trip to Florida that there’s really no reason to drink anything other than Cigar City beer. They make so many great versions of so many of their beers, and their distribution is so limited, that while you’re there you might as well make the most of it and drink what you can.
I quickly learned that, while it was tempting to try some of the local south Florida microbrews, I should have stuck with Cigar City. I’m still at the point in my Aleheadedness where I can’t pass up the opportunity to try something new and different–even if I know it’s going to be inferior to the beer on the shelf next to it. Perhaps when I’m an older, wiser Alehead (50% of those things are likely to happen), I’ll just stick to what I know is a world class beer. But door #2 is so tempting…can’t…help…myself… Read the rest of this entry »
February 23, 2011
Ah, South Florida in February: to whose sun-soaked beaches swarm the most gorgeous young women, along with the ugliest, fattest living senior citizens on the planet, as they flee their harsh winters in search of vitamin D. Though I fit into neither category (not yet, anyway…my sex change operation is next week), I headed down there with two goals in mind: to find great beer, and to play 18 holes. I’m happy to report that I accomplished both. Accompanied by Lady and Little Lady Copperpot on Hollywood Beach, in between soaking in the rays and the sights, I took a few minutes (read: several hours) away from the beach and the 82-degree pool to sample whatever local craft brews I could get my hands on. After all, there must be some decent beer being brewed in southeast Florida, right? Here’s a rundown of the non-Cigar City selections I found (Cigar City selections to come in a subsequent post): Read the rest of this entry »
January 27, 2011
This is Lord Mashtun Copperpot and Commander Pint O. Chug’s first tag-team tasting note. Like many of our joint ventures, we hope this is a complete and utter train wreck. And if so, we will be sure to consistently duplicate the effort.
Now, we harbor as much nostalgia for Harpoon as the next guy, having grown up in New England and spent our formative years in a fraternity basement frequented by an alum who worked for Harpoon (even if he did occasionally arrive with UFO in hand). As such, we have heard a lot — too much — about the Harpoon Leviathan series.
Read the rest of this entry »
December 21, 2010
The Pretty Things Ale Project is not your typical brewery. It’s really not even a brewery. Pretty Things is basically just a guy with some happy helpers.
Dann Paquette has been brewing beer for almost 20 years, and from the looks of their marketing and any articles you can dredge up, he seems to be a pretty unique dude. The mustachioed brewmaster treks from Somerville, MA (where I successfully found lodging and unsuccessfully dodged criminals, for almost 9 years) all the way down to the shores of Buzzard’s Bay in Westport, MA to brew Pretty Things. His trademark? Pushing our understanding of traditional beer styles.
Three of Dann’s beers have graced my fridge recently, and I loved two of them. First, let’s talk about the good. The Jack D’Or is an American style saison. For someone who’s just developing a taste for Belgian yeast funk, I found this beer to be extremely accessible. And Saint Botolph’s Town is easily the best English brown ale I’ve ever tasted. But don’t just take my word for it. The Baron has already expounded upon these tremendous offerings. He gives 4 hops for both, and who am I to argue? (I’m nobody to argue. That’s who.) Read the rest of this entry »
December 19, 2010
So life happens and I haven’t had the opportunity to tell you how our Bodega experience ended up. If you recall (which, of course you don’t), the Commander and I had ditched our wives and children somewhere in central Ohio, and proceeded to visit Bodega in Columbus for happy hour. After sampling the Goose Island Minx and the Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron, we had time for one, maybe two more beers.
We scoured the menu, and I arrived at Left Hand’s Twin Sisters Double IPA. It had been tantalizing me since I got there, so I had to try one (despite the Commander’s protests). Read the rest of this entry »
November 17, 2010
After thoroughly enjoying the hoppy, yeasty Goose Island Minx, I was ready to cleanse the palate. And what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a Dogfish Head malt bomb, aged in Paraguayan wooden barrels. Yes, friends, my next stop at Bodega was to the Palo Santo Marron. On tap.
The Palo Santo has to be one of the more ridiculous beers you’ll ever try. Seriously. Who thought it would be a good idea to put a malty beverage in barrels (pictured) made out of some of the most bizarre and obscure wood on the planet? The Ryan Howard imitators at DFH, that’s who. When they strike out, they whiff badly. But when they connect, as they have with the Palo Santo Marron, they look like hitting prodigies…and the ball doesn’t stay in the park for very long. Palo Santo (literally “holy wood”) is replete with spicy resin, which gives off a powerful, sometimes overpowering, aroma. Moreover, it’s so dense that it’s one of the few types of wood on the planet that will not float on water.*
*If you have 20 minutes to kill and want to know the whole story, the New Yorker wrote an article about DFH two years back that starts with the story of the Palo Santo. Well worth the read (as is the case with nearly every New Yorker article…except for that goofy-haired Gladwell character). Read the rest of this entry »
November 16, 2010
Looking over Bodega’s beer list is, to an Alehead, blissful frustration. There are over 50 amazing beers (blissful). We’re getting older, and with our collective tolerance waning, a dive into more than 3 high-ABV beers in one sitting is inadvisable (frustrating). Happy hour has all draughts 50% off (blissful). Choosing the correct 3 beers that 1) you’ve never had before, 2) will enjoy, and 3) are unlikely to be found in bottles at the local store, before you have to cut yourself off (frustrating).
Luckily, the quality of the beers is such that you really can’t go wrong with anything. Well, almost…I’ll get to that later. For now, let’s talk about the good stuff.
I’ll start with my first beer of the day, the Goose Island Minx. Read the rest of this entry »
October 2, 2010
NOTES: Bottle at Copperpot Hollow with the Professor
STYLE: American IPA
APPEARANCE: Clear copper/orange. It looked yummy.
HEAD: Light, but substantial enough to produce some consistent and intricate…
LACING: As I said. It was consistent and intricate. Can’t you people fucking read?
NOSE: Like most Aleheads, I’m a sucker for IPAs. This puppy is no different. As any great representation of the style should do, the nose consisted of strong citrus, pine, floral essences, and a touch of malty sweetness.
TASTE: As the nose implies, west-coast-style citrus and hops greet you at the door, invite you in, and introduce you to pine, resin, and just enough malt sweetness. Bitter hops see you out, with no sign of Mr. Alcohol Burns.
MOUTHFEEL: Medium-bodied with crisp, steady carbonation.
DRINKABILITY: The Professor and I agreed that we could have drank these all day. Unfortunately, he had to drive into Boston after lunch, and I was left to drink the rest. Alone. In my barn.
RATING: This is a fantastic representation of the style. Although the pirate-themed marketing for their company is corny at best, I bought it anyway. I’d never heard of this beer; needless to say I was pleasantly surprised. 3.5 Hops.
September 18, 2010
Every few summers, when fair New England villagers are steeped in oppressive humidity and sweltering heat, the Lord, Lady, and Little-Lady Copperpot retreat to their Saignon villa, perched in the Luberon mountains of southern France, for some much deserved relief and rejuvenation. It is a land of pain au chocolat, wine that flows like water, afternoon naps, and rich, creamy, impossibly inexpensive cheeses. Zanadu, really, except for all the French people. Basking in the arid, rarefied air of the Provencal countryside, I reified my quest to find exquisite brews that might befit this idyllic setting, and that might achieve a true harmony with our other luxurious indulgences.
Read the rest of this entry »
July 4, 2010
The 3rd marked my 31st birthday, and with the Commander in town, we decided it was necessary to celebrate in style. Here’s what we had in the fridge:
Oskar Blues Gordon – 4 pack (x2)
Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale – 6 pack
Founder’s Rye P.A. – 6 pack
Ithaca Brewing Company Flower Power – 6 pack
Weyerbacher Heresy Imperial Stout – 4 pack
Sam Smith’s Imperial Stout – bottle
Clown Shoes Clementine – bottle
The Bruery Rugbrod – bottle
Southern Tier Unearthly Pale Ale Oak Aged – bottle
All the Pretty Things Jack D’Or – bottle
Chatoe Rogue Single Malt Ale – bottle
Rogue Shakespeare Stout – bottle
For now, the Commander shares his initial thoughts:
Read the rest of this entry »
June 1, 2010
Spread out across western New York state, you’ll find numerous towns with similar stories to tell. Lately, those stories haven’t been particularly positive or hopeful. Once bustling with industry just a few decades ago, most of these hamlets haven’t adapted as quickly to the ever-changing new economy, and they’ve been bleeding jobs, money, and population ever since. Interstate 86, once thought by many to be an economic godsend for the area, now allows travelers and long haul truckers to drive by these desolate spots at even faster speeds than they did previously on Route 17.
And let’s not even get into the whole Buffalo Bills thing.
So when I came across Southern Tier brewery’s IPA on the menu at a local eclectic restaurant, I had my hopes up that something would be going right in that area of the world…that perhaps, by some measure of justice, the good folks in that area have the good fortune to be able to sit down and enjoy a fabulous, fresh local brew once in a while. Read the rest of this entry »
May 21, 2010
So I’m not actually Canadian, nor can I profess to be an expert on Canadian beer, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. Actually, I’m married to a Canadian, which means I find myself trekking to the great white north to spend all sorts of special occasions with in-laws…which means I drink a lot of Canadian beer (for obvious reasons). After nearly a decade of abusing my radials on I-89N to Montreal, I can safely say that Canadians are quite good at:
- Smoking cheap cigarettes
- Smoking while drinking.
- Paying taxes
- Failing to use those taxes to improve infrastructure, and therefore their economy.
I think that about covers it.
Read the rest of this entry »