We have never talked about Beer


In other beer news - I really like Founders’ Azacca. An IPA with a lot more going on than just a hops blast. If your local source has any, it will probably be the last for this year. Its a Jan - March seasonal.


Ok I’ve got a fair number of new tastings

So I’ve now had a try if most of them. Deschutes were a real winner, the India Red Ale was my favorite. Mirror Pond was darn good too. Pine drops and Black Butte were also top notch, but I’d rank them lower than the other two (but still above almost everything else from this lot).

Most of the others ranged from good to very good. Ballast Point has a big rep, but I’ve never had them. The Gruniin was good, but not so much so so that I’d go out of my way. But it wasn’t the Sculpin, which is supposed to be their ‘premier’ beer.

Sweetgrass was a good ale, a solid 7. Lagunitas Pale Ale was as well, but didn’t threaten Little Sumptin Sumptin or the Brown Shugga as my favorites.

Breck’s vanilla porter was tasty, but a notch below Deschutes imo.

I’ll get back to you on the Fireside Chat.


Mirror Pond is an excellent American Pale Ale. My favorite Deschutes IPA is Inversion, but most places around here don’t stock it - they all have Pinedrops and/or Fresh Squeezed, neither of which have enough complexity for my taste.

I was surprised to actually be OK with the Vanilla Porter. Not OK enough to buy it myself, mind you, but the gift was appreciated. I’ve always just kind of avoided Lagunitas anything. Not sure why, I guess just a presumption that anything available everywhere can’t be all that great. Maybe I’ll break down someday.

And the Liberty Ale - your photo really should be on a Maytag dryer for that one…


Yeah the Deschutes was from a 12 pack variety box, so the four I got were my onlyoptikns. I don’t think they even had any others available. Actually the Anchor was as well, but I didn’t have any of the other 3 available (this was the last I hadn’t drank). They were ok, but not exceptional.


I don’t expect Liberty Ale to stand up to modern IPAs. But imagine yourself in 1976 and all you’ve ever tasted in beer was Coors & Bud…


I get the magazine as a member of the National Homebrewers Association. Indeed their membership is limited, but think of it as people with a distinctive taste for beer and making it.

I actually agree with the result. I’ve had Pliny many times, even at the brewery. Two Hearted is consistently a very good beer. Pliny is great, but when you can’t get it at all in many locations, there is no contest. People vote for what they know. To add, I understand what Vinnie Cilurzo is doing at Russian River, but he seems to just be okay with never getting any bigger or getting his beer to more people. The rarity is part of why people actually want it. Tasting it today beside many newer IPAs, it’s mostly just a piney bitter bomb, not an example of where things have gone.

A better and more telling list usually comes out prior to the Great American Beer Fest when awards are given. Those represent the latest and greatest, usually. Here is last year’s list.

@ron_debry , thanks for that tip on Azacca. I’ll look for it.


That’s how I felt about the Anchor Steams flagship beer back in the day. It was so much better than anything else available and so when it was on tap it was what you had.


I don’t think I have had a bad Deschutes beer. The porter is great, their various IPA’s are always good and the Mirror Pond is excellent.


I went out to Innovation Brewing here in Sylva, NC last night with some work colleagues during our weeklong institute out west. While I personally couldn’t finish the Black Bear Brown Ale I tried because, despite being “the least bitter thing” they had, it was still awful to my broken tastebuds, the Apricot Saison was. . . just about as close to drinkable as anything I’ve had. It tasted like bad fruit juice!

Which, from my understanding, it basically was.


I believe it. After trying them they rocketed up into one of my favorite breweries. For store bought stuff they are right there with Lagunitas. It’s a pretty sharp drop from there. Next time I see something of theirs, it’ll be in my cart no doubt.


Western is my alma mater, so I’m very heartened to hear that Sylva has a decent brewery.


From what I understand, there’s a few!

To give a less obnoxious review, several of the colleagues I went out with are big beerheads, including one who recently unlocked the UnTapped badge for having rated 90 different IPAs. The whole group really enjoyed themselves in general, though I seem to recall the Soulvation IPA and Brown Bear Ale were the big winners of the night, while the Blueberry Belgian Ale got low marks for an extremely bizarre scent that was somewhere between feet and playdoughh, depending who you asked.


I used to be an Untappd junkie but realized it just pointed out how silly it was having to try and rate everything you drink. Not knocking it though, it certainly helps let people know what’s on tap and where when you see your friends checkin in something new.

Good to hear that about the brewery though. If only Cullowhee was in a wet county. Or has that changed too?


No worse than most of NC, from what I can tell?



Well I’ll be damned. It passed in 2012 it appears. I really should get back there more for homecoming weekend.


I was at the Washington Nationals game last night and it turns out I tried a local concoction called Devils Backbone Earned Run Ale (E.R.A., get it???)

I didn’t 100% realize what it was until after I ordered it and I wasn’t very excited about it since I’ve kind of soured on IPAs, but it turns out I enjoyed it quite a bit. It was just hoppy enough and very light and citrusy so it was as it turns out it’s a great change of pace from what I’ve been drinking recently. Of course, it was something like $11 for 12 ounce cup so at that price it better be damn good!


I stopped at the Wicked Weed brewery in downtown Asheville yesterday on the way home from my work trip with our crew of beer snob alumni. They were gaga over the brews, while I preferred the food (the fried chicken sandwiches with kimchi and miso mayo were amazing)…but I’ll admit that the Gin and Juice wasn’t terrible, though the Dark Angel I ordered due to its low IBUs was insanely sour…I think my favorite may have been the Empress Trippel, which was surprisingly light, all things considered.


Love that place. Both the food and the beers. Dark Angel is a barreled sour with wonderful tart cherries. And barreled in beautiful Four Roses bourbon barrels no less. It has a taste bomb that isn’t for the feint of heart. It’s like trying going for your driving test in a formula one car. :)

In fact, that’s my favorite sour … ever.

If you want a much less sour and easily available beer, go for Westbrook Gose, from Mount Pleasant down in South Carolina. It’s canned, and should be easy to find in Raleigh.

Sours can be really, really good and pretty easy. They pair well with food too, especially the lighter styles of the bunch.


Some slugs are eating my plants, so I decided to put some beer in a bowl to kill them.

I found a bottle of Guinness in my fridge, which is apparently their 250th anniversary edition. I have no idea where this came from, as I do not great buy Guinness.

Guinness was founded in 1759, so I guess this beer is from 2009? Good enough for the slugs, so whatever.

But it only takes half a beer to fill the bowl, so I’m just drinking the rest. Seems fine.


I have drank some pretty old beers. I have some from 2009 stored now. Generally, stouts seem to make it 3-4 years pretty easily. More than that is pushing it.

The oldest ones I’ve had were some homebrews made by a buddy that were nearly 17 years old. We found them while he was cleaning his house, they had been stored in a cool corner of a basement. He opened them to dump the bottles but found they were still carbonated. Because we were half lit while cleaning that shit up, we of course had to try a sip of one. Surprisingly, it wasn’t bad. Old beer gets stale like cardboard, and it had a bit of that taste, but it certainly wasn’t horrible.

It’s crazy that we talk about wine that’s stored much longer than that but never consider old beer.