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What Is Your Quest? March 5, 2007

Posted by Andy in beer.
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What is your name?
What is your quest?
To seek the Holy Grail .

In the town of Fred City is a British grocery and cigar store, that among other eclectic treasures sells a nice variety of unusual beers. To celebrate my new job, the Mrs. and I stopped at this store after a tasty dinner at Firestones restaurant. Perhaps the half bottle of Kim Crawford Pinot Noir that was coursing through my veins provided me the inspiration to give Monty Python’s Holy Grail Ale a try. Either that or I just could not resist a beer that was “Tempered over burning witches”

On Saturday night, at the counting of five (I mean three) I was ready to give the ale a try. In the glass, the beer had a rich caramel color and was very slightly cloudy. The aroma was very fruity, though it did not smell of elderberries.

You don’t buy beer, even Python beer, to look at it and smell it. It was time to give it a swallow (African or European?) It was very mild and and much less hoppy then a one legged knight, with a slightly fruity finish. It would be easy to drink many of these. Alas, I had only one. It reminded me of some of the summer brews I enjoy on a hot summer day.

So, thanks to the folks of Black Sheep Ale’s for an entertaining beer.


Big Heads at Dogfish Head September 9, 2006

Posted by Andy in beer, Dogfish Head.


Last Wednesday, I went on the free tour of the Dogfish Head brewery in Milton, Delaware. I’ve always been a fan of brewery tours, and not just for the free samples. I think it is fun and interesting to see how things are made. One of my dreams in life is to tour the M&M’s factory so I can see for myself how they get those M’s on there. But I digress.


Dogfish brewery is fairly large and rapidly expanding to keep up with the expanding demand for their brews. The tour began at 3:30 with the tour meister, whose name I never learned, greeting us from between the bar and wall o’ merchandise. He spoke over a wireless headset that broadcast from a handheld speaker that he carried around. The fidelity and background noise was such that I often found it hard to understand what he was saying (thus me not knowing his name). The gist of the first part was that they started off really small but are so great that they keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger. The “how great they are” was kind of the theme of the whole tour. During this stage, we got to try samples of their seasonal Punkin Ale and their 90 Minute IPA. I enjoyed the first so much that I bought a case to take home, so I have that to look forward to, which is nice. I liked the second more that I expected since I am not heavy into hops.

The next part of the tour went through where the beer is brewed (picture dozens of large silver tanks) and bottled (picture many bottles rolling down a line like in the opening to Laverne & Shirley, minus the glove and Laverne, and Shirley). Unnamed Tour Gguide seemed to phone in this part of the tour like he did it three times a week, and it also seemed rushed. We got a peek into the warehouse, which was about as exciting as you’d expect a warehouse to be. I think he showed it to us for us to gasp at it’s size. They also gave out more samples.
The third part of the tour was back to the bar, where we were encourgaed to try more samples, and purchase t-shirts. Because of all the samples, the t-shirts really seemed like a good idea (I got the long sleeve mocha shirt and Shelley got a hat). This shot is a fairly accurate depection of how things looked at this point.


This is also the point at which Unamed Tour Guide said something that really turned me off. I mentioned to him how I lived down the road from Frederick Brewing Company (now called Wild Goose Brewery though they actually are part of Flying Dog). He remarked how he was glad that I now had a chance to try good beer. Okay, Mr. Dogfish Head Man. Sorry I didn’t realize you guys made the only good beer in the world. I guess that’s why Delaware is considered a beer capital of the world.

All that aside, and ignoring the fact that between the case of Punkin Ale, the shirt, and the hat this free tour cost me around $80, I still ecomendend you check out the Dogfish Head brewery tour next time you find yourself in Milton, DE.

Trail Of Beers August 31, 2006

Posted by Andy in andy roth, beer, soapbox.
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Thanks to this post at Hop Talk, I learned that New York is launching an official Empire State Brewery Trail in September to highlight its beer. According to an article in USA Today “The trail is similar to promotions that the wine industry has used to attract tourists to visit vineyards in the Finger Lakes, Hudson Valley and eastern Long Island.”

Now this is an idea I can get behind since it combines two of my favorite things: beer and hiking. OK, I don’t know if this is really how it is, but I picture a rolling sylvan trail along a winding brook, and every few miles there is a brewer ready to share free samples. (In my mind, there are also ice cream cakes and dancing girls every so often, but those are beside the point.) It reminds me of the Englischer Garten in Munich which also has trails and streams and several wonderful Biergartens (and nude sunbathing – but again, beside the point).