Friday, December 31, 2010

The Beer List of 2010

  1. Abita (Louisiana) - Turbodog (draft)
  2. Allagash (Maine) - Black (draft)
  3. Allagash (Maine) - Four (draft)
  4. Allagash (Maine) - Tripel (draft)
  5. Allagash (Maine) - White (draft)
  6. Amstel (Netherlands) - Amstel Light (bottle, can)
  7. Anheuser-Busch (Missouri) - Bud Light (draft)
  8. Anheuser-Busch (Missouri) - Budweiser American Ale (draft)
  9. Anheuser-Busch (Missouri) - Shock Top Belgian White (draft)
  10. Asahi (Japan) - Asahi Super Dry (bottle)
  11. Asia Pacific (Singapore) - Tiger (draft)
  12. Atwater Block (Michigan) - Vanilla Java Porter (draft)
  13. Avery (Colorado) - Ellie's Brown Ale (draft)
  14. Avery (Colorado) - India Pale Ale (draft)
  15. Aviator (North Carolina) - Devils Tramping Ground (draft)
  16. Aviator (North Carolina) - HotRod Red (draft)
  17. Aviator (North Carolina) - McGritty’s Scotch Ale (draft)
  18. Bavaria (Netherlands) - Bavaria Holland (bottle)
  19. Bavik (Belgium) - Wittekerke (draft)
  20. Belize - Belikin (bottle)
  21. Bell's (Michigan) - Oberon Ale (draft)
  22. Bell's (Michigan) - Special Double Cream Stout (draft)
  23. Big Boss (North Carolina) - Angry Angel (draft)
  24. Birra Moretti (Italy) - La Rossa (draft)
  25. Birra Moretti (Italy) - Premium Lager (draft)
  26. Bosteels (Belgium) - Pauwel Kwak (draft)
  27. Boston Beer (Massachusetts) - Samuel Adams Boston Lager (bottle)
  28. Boston Beer (Massachusetts) - Samuel Adams Noble Pils (draft)
  29. Boston Beer (Massachusetts) - Samuel Adams Octoberfest (draft)
  30. Boston Beer (Massachusetts) - Samuel Adams Summer Ale (draft)
  31. Boston Beer (Massachusetts) - Samuel Adams Winter Lager (draft)
  32. Boulder (Colorado) - Hazed and Infused (draft)
  33. Boulder (Colorado) - Kinda Blue (draft)
  34. Boulder (Colorado) - Mojo IPA (draft)
  35. Boulder (Colorado) - Mojo Risin' Double IPA (draft)
  36. Brooklyn (New York) - Summer Ale (bottle)
  37. Bulmers (United Kingdom) - Strongbow (draft)
  38. California Cider - Ace Perry (draft)
  39. Carolina Ale House (North Carolina) - Hat Trick Red (draft)
  40. Carolina Ale House (North Carolina) - Red Line Lager (draft)
  41. Carolina Brewery (North Carolina) - Oatmeal Porter (draft)
  42. Carolina Brewery (North Carolina) - Oktoberfest (draft)
  43. Carolina Brewing (North Carolina) - Pale Ale (draft)
  44. Carolina Brewing (North Carolina) - Spring Bock (draft)
  45. Carolina Brewing (North Carolina) - Summer Wheat (draft)
  46. Carolina Brewing (North Carolina) - Winter Porter (draft)
  47. Coors (Colorado) - Blue Moon (draft)
  48. Coronado (California) - Islander IPA (draft)
  49. Coronado (California) - Mermaid's Red Ale (draft)
  50. Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma (Mexico) - Dos Equis XX Special Lager (draft)
  51. De Landtsheer (Belgium) - Malheur 12° (draft)
  52. Dogfish Head (Delaware) - 90 Minute IPA (draft)
  53. Dogfish Head (Delaware) - Burton Baton (draft)
  54. Dogfish Head (Delaware) - Palo Santo Marron (draft)
  55. Dubuisson (Belgium) - Cuvée Des Trolls (draft)
  56. Duck-Rabbit (North Carolina) - Milk Stout (draft)
  57. Duvel (Belgium) - Maredsous 10 Tripel (draft)
  58. Duvel (Belgium) - Maredsous 8 Dubbel (draft)
  59. Erdinger Weissbräu (Germany) - Erdinger Weissbier (bottle)
  60. Erdinger Weissbräu (Germany) - Erdinger Weissbier Dunkel (bottle)
  61. Founders (Michigan) - Dirty Bastard (draft)
  62. Founders (Michigan) - Nemesis 2009 (bottle)
  63. Fullsteam (North Carolina) - Carolina Common (draft)
  64. Fullsteam (North Carolina) - Carver (draft)
  65. Fullsteam (North Carolina) - Hogwash Hickory Smoked Porter (draft)
  66. Fullsteam (North Carolina) - Rocket Science IPA (draft)
  67. Fullsteam (North Carolina) - Summer Basil Farmhouse Ale (draft)
  68. Fullsteam (North Carolina) - Working Man's Lunch (draft)
  69. Great Divide (Colorado) - Hercules Double IPA (draft)
  70. Great Divide (Colorado) - Rumble IPA (draft)
  71. Green Flash (California) - West Coast I.P.A. (draft)
  72. Green Mountain (Vermont) - Woodchuck Pear Cider (draft)
  73. Grupo Modelo (Mexico) - Corona Light (bottle)
  74. Guinness (Ireland) - Guinness Draught (can, draft)
  75. Guinness (Ireland) - Kilkenny (draft)
  76. Guinness (Ireland) - Smithwick's (draft)
  77. Harpoon (Massachusetts) - Old Salt Ale (draft)
  78. Het Anker (Belgium) - Cuvée Van De Keizer Blauw (draft)
  79. Het Anker (Belgium) - Gouden Carolus Tripel (bottle)
  80. Highland (North Carolina) - Black Mocha Stout (draft)
  81. Highland (North Carolina) - Seven Sisters (draft)
  82. Huyghe (Belgium) - Delirium Nocturum (draft)
  83. Huyghe (Belgium) - Delirium Tremens (bottle, draft)
  84. InBev (United Kingdom) - Boddingtons Pub Ale (can)
  85. Kirin (Japan) - Kirin Light (bottle)
  86. Labatt (Ontario) - Labatt Blue (draft)
  87. Lagunitas (California) - A Little Sumpin' Wild (draft)
  88. Left Hand (Colorado) - Juju Ginger (bottle)
  89. Left Hand (Colorado) - Milk Stout (bottle, draft)
  90. Lonerider (North Carolina) - Shotgun Betty (draft)
  91. Lonerider (North Carolina) - Sweet Josie (draft)
  92. Lost Coast (California) - Keller Bier (draft)
  93. Magic Hat (Vermont) - Howl (draft)
  94. Mash House (North Carolina) - Irish Red (draft)
  95. Miller (Wisconsin) - Icehouse (can)
  96. Miller (Wisconsin) - Miller High Life (bottle)
  97. Miller (Wisconsin) - Miller Lite (bottle, can, draft)
  98. Mother Earth (North Carolina) - Endless River (bottle)
  99. Mother Earth (North Carolina) - Sisters of the Moon (draft)
  100. Mother Earth (North Carolina) - Weeping Willow Wit (bottle)
  101. New Belgium (Colorado) - Fat Tire (draft)
  102. North Coast (California) - Brother Thelonious (bottle)
  103. North Coast (California) - Old Rasputin Imperial Stout (draft)
  104. North Coast (California) - PranQster (draft)
  105. Ommegang (New York) - Hennepin (draft)
  106. Ommegang (New York) - Rare Vos Amber Ale (bottle)
  107. Orlando Brewing Partners (Florida) - Toasted Coconut Porter (draft)
  108. Oskar Blues (Colorado) - Dale's Pale Ale (can)
  109. Otter Creek (Vermont) - Stovepipe Porter (draft)
  110. Otter Creek (Vermont) - Wolaver's Oatmeal Stout (draft)
  111. Plzensky Prazdroj (Czech Republic) - Pilsner Urquell (bottle)
  112. Red Oak (North Carolina) - Red Oak Amber (draft)
  113. Reissdorf (Germany) - Kölsch (bottle, draft)
  114. Rogue (Oregon) - Dead Guy Ale (draft)
  115. Roth (North Carolina) - Dark Construct Stout (draft)
  116. Roth (North Carolina) - FoeHammer (draft)
  117. Roth (North Carolina) - Forgotten Hollow (draft)
  118. San Miguel (Philippines) - San Miguel (draft)
  119. Schneider (Germany) - Aventinus (draft)
  120. Schneider (Germany) - Hopfen-Weisse (bottle)
  121. Schneider (Germany) - Weisse Original (draft)
  122. Scottish and Newcastle (United Kingdom) - Newcastle Brown Ale (draft)
  123. Sierra Nevada (California) - Celebration Ale (draft)
  124. Smuttynose (New Hampshire) - Gravitation (draft)
  125. St. Bernardus (Belgium) - Christmas Ale (draft)
  126. St. Bernardus (Belgium) - Tripel (bottle)
  127. St. Bernardus (Belgium) - Witbier (bottle)
  128. Starr Hill (Virginia) - Dark Starr Stout (draft)
  129. Stella Artois (Belgium) - Premium Lager (draft)
  130. Stone (California) - Stone Imperial Russian Stout (draft)
  131. Stoudt's (Pennsylvania) - American Pale Ale (draft)
  132. Stoudt's (Pennsylvania) - Scarlet Lady Ale ESB (draft)
  133. Sweetwater (Georgia) - 420 Extra Pale Ale (draft)
  134. Sweetwater (Georgia) - Blue (draft)
  135. Sünner (Germany) - Kölsch (draft)
  136. Terrapin (Georgia) - Capt'n Krunkles (draft)
  137. Terrapin (Georgia) - Moo-Hoo Chocolate Milk Stout (draft)
  138. The Bruery (California) - Orchard White (draft)
  139. The Bruery (California) - Saison Rue (bottle)
  140. Tsingtao (China) - Tsingtao (bottle)
  141. Uerige Obergärige Hausbrauerei (Germany) - Uerige Sticke (draft)
  142. Unibroue (Canada) - Éphémère (bottle, draft)
  143. Van Honsebrouck (Belgium) - Kasteel Tripel (draft)
  144. Van Steenberge (Belgium) - Bruegel Amber Ale (bottle)
  145. Victory (Pennsylvania) - Storm King Imperial Stout (draft)
  146. Weihenstephan (Germany) - Kristallweissbier (bottle)
  147. Weyerbacher Brewing (Pennsylvania) - Merry Monks' Ale (bottle)
  148. Yuengling (Pennsylvania) - Traditional Lager (draft)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Thanks for the High Life

This post might seem like a bit of catharsis, and perhaps that is the case. A few weeks ago, El and I ended our five-year relationship. I am not sure there was any single reason for the breakup. I guess we had different thoughts about the future, had different wants and needs, were growing apart, blah, blah, blah. Anyway, she moved out of the townhouse and into her own apartment a couple of weekend ago. Some of her friends from work came over to help her pack and move her things. El bought some pizza and beer for everybody while they were here helping.

Her stuff is gone, so now the place is pretty empty. Since I am not the most adventurous of cooks, we agreed that she should clean out the refrigerator and take whatever food and ingredients she knew she would use and I would not. The fridge was not particularly full before and was even more empty afterward. One of the few items left was a single bottle of Miller High Life that was left over from a six-pack she had bought during the move. It occurred to me that an ex-girlfriend leaving a bottle of High Life in the fridge would make a great country song. It would be appropriately titled "Thanks for the High Life".

Many country songs are written in a simple three-verse formula. I have not really listened to country music regularly since the 90s, so most of these examples will be dated. Songs that follow the three-lyric formula include "Don't Take the Girl" sung by Tim McGraw, "Copperhead Road" by Steve Earle, and "Love Without End, Amen" and "Check Yes or No" from George Strait. Incidentally, George Strait happens to be my Mama's favorite singer.

The first verse in this type of song presents the theme of the song in a straight-forward manner. It could be an innocent story about an early-life experience like learning to drive or memories of a favorite pet. It could be a reference to sports such as winning the big game. Another option is to present a challenge that has to be overcome. The first verse of my song would establish the story of a guy whose girlfriend has broken up with him and left a bottle of beer in the fridge. It would not have to be a single bottle in the song. Perhaps, a six-pack or a case would be more appropriate. This verse would end with a simple thanks for the beer.

The second verse continues the theme but usually with some twist. The childhood friend from the first verse could become a teenage girlfriend or a young wife. The high school football star could be shipped off to war. The second verse in my song would turn depressing with perhaps a touch of meanness. In this verse, the thanks for the high life would be a sarcastic reference to his lonely future without her. This verse might include lyrics about the beer helping him forget her with a sad joke about the sips being his first steps on the road to becoming an alcoholic.

The final verses of these songs continues the theme from the first two verses, but can take that theme in a variety of directions. If the song is a love song, the obvious answers are for the girlfriend to become a wife or for the verse to reflect on an older couple's life together. The final verses of country songs frequently include references to religion or patriotism. If the second verse is the low point of the song, the final verse can serve as the light at the end of the tunnel. The third and final verse of my song would turn reflective and show closure to the relationship. In this verse, the high life would refer to their relationship and how he appreciated their time together.

There are my thoughts for a country song. I do not think this will be the perfect country song like "You Never Even Called Me by My Name", but it is an idea.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Copy Cats

A couple of weeks ago, I stopped by the local movie theater and caught the alien-invasion flick, Skyline. The movie was not particularly good, and its stay in theaters was short. To me, the story and cinematography are reminiscent of the monster flick Cloverfield. The plot revolves around a couple who have flown to Los Angeles for the birthday of the guy's best friend. The friend is some sort of media mogul and is played by Donald Faison who is best known for playing Dr. Turk on the sitcom Scrubs. None of the other actors were familiar to me, but that certainly does not mean they are not well-known.

During the couple's first night in LA, they are awakened by bright blue lights coming through the window blinds. The lights are from spaceships belonging to aliens with not so nice intentions. When people see the mesmerizing lights, their body is frozen in place, and then they are vacuumed up into the ships. The rest of the plot revolves around characters either trying to hide or escape from the aliens. Neither of these approaches are successful. The military also makes some appearances to provide some action but little success. In the end, the audience is left to assume that the aliens were successful in their conquest of the planet Earth and the human species. I am not kidding. Not to worry, there is already a sequel in the works.

One thing that I noticed was the movie depends on the standard signals to inform the audience that the lead female character is pregnant. For anybody that does not grasp the subtleties of Hollywood symbolism, when a woman pukes and/or declines an alcoholic drink, it means that she is pregnant. I think screenwriters go to those wells far too often, but I guess it makes things easy for both the writers and the audience. There are few other reasons for either of those two situations to be worked into a story. I suppose if the story is about a woman recovering from alcoholism, it would be reasonable for her to decline drinks. If a female character is hungover, is being treated for cancer, or is being poisoned, then it is understandable that she would throw up. I think those examples are about it though.

Speaking of regurgitation, it seems increasing popular nowadays for movies and television shows to recycle previous ideas. As I mentioned above, Skyline is basically a remake of Cloverfield with the Godzilla elements replaced with the extraterrestrial elements from Independence Day. Moving over to the small screen, one frequent source of regurgitated ideas for American television shows is the BBC. Some of the best examples are ABC's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, NBC's The Office, and TLC's Trading Spaces which was based on a BBC show named Changing Rooms. The show What Not to Wear is another example from the network TLC. The original hosts of the British version of that show even went on to have their own show on American television.

The latest show to get the BBC-to-America treatment is Top Gear. The British version of the show is shown here on BBC America. Let me say that I am definitely not a gear-head. I own a 1998 Honda Accord Coupe with peeling paint. It is the EX version with the 3.0-liter V6 engine. That is about all I know about cars. I do not change the oil in my car. The extent of my car maintenance skills are pumping gas, changing wiper blades, adding air to tires, and changing bulbs and fuses. I was quite proud of myself when I replaced the main relay in the Honda. Also, I do not know how to operate a manual transmission. It just seems a bit silly that I would watch a show about high-end sport cars that I would not even be able to drive if I somehow managed to afford. All that being said, I do enjoy the British version of Top Gear.

That enjoyment does not exactly carry over to the American version of the show. I have watched all the episodes so far, and the best I can say is that I do not hate the show. Unfortunately, the American version just does not work as well as the original. While the hosts from the BBC version have an easy, dare I say organic, relationship, the relationship between the three hosts for the American version seems forced. The individual segments are also a bit discombobulated. Some of the segments seem more like the bland car reviews from the PBS show MotorWeek. Other segments, such as the Stig test-driving supercars and celebrities driving on the track, are just straight duplicates of the British version. The one improvement to those segments is the little diagram that traces the path around the track. I always thought the British version should have something similar. I do not even know the shape of the track on the British version. I was glad to see this improvement included on the American version.

Finally, I watched the premier season of The Walking Dead which is a television show about zombies. The show is broadcast by AMC, and as one might expect from the channel that is known for the hit show Mad Men, the focus of The Walking Dead is more about the drama between the living survivors than their efforts at fighting off the undead. Of course, it would be impossible to do a show about zombies without borrowing from some of the many zombie movies. Despite the fact the Evil Dead movies are among my favorites, I am usually not one for horror flicks, but I have seen a few zombie flicks relatively recently including the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead, the horror comedy Shaun of the Dead which starred Simon Pegg, and Zombieland which starred Woody Harrelson. I suppose working with zombies does not give one much flexibility, and the zombies from The Walking Dead are basically the same generic zombies as from those movies.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Beer Dinner

I have a list of draft posts that are aging in the queue. I also have a backlog of beer to discuss. At the end of the year, I hope to move the Beer List to a stand-alone post as a summary for the year. I want to cover those brews before then. The topic of this post dates back before my trip to China. Unfortunately, the Chinese government's block of Blogger kept me from posting while I was there, and I have not gotten around to finishing this post until now. The week before my flight to Shanghai, El and I attended a beer-sampling dinner at Zely & Ritz which is a tapas and wine restaurant in the Glenwood South area of downtown Raleigh.

El and I have always thought Glenwood South would be great for tapas hopping. The area has four tapas restaurants within a few blocks plus several great restaurants featuring a variety of cuisines. The tour could start at Zely & Ritz which is at the south end of the stretch. A block north is a relatively new place named Cashmere. I have never visited Cashmere nor the restaurant previously housed at that location which was first named April & George and then just the George. I have visited the final two stops on our proposed Glenwood South tapas tour. The next stop would be the Red Room which is another block north. Red Room is one of several local restaurants owned by Rocky Top Hospitality. Two others, Bogart's and Hi5, are in the same building. Our tapas tour would finish up at Tasca Brava which one of our favorite restaurants.

Back to the beer dinner, the featured brewery was Fullsteam which is located in Durham. The dinner featured four courses including desert, and each course was paired with a different beer. I kept a menu to help me remember which is very convenient since two months have now passed. Two representatives from the brewery, Sean (also from Pop the Cap fame) and Chris, were in attendance, and they regaled us with stories for each brew. Unfortunately, I have waited too long to write this post, and I have now forgotten their stories.

The first brew was their Summer Basil Farmhouse Ale which was served as people were arriving at the restaurant. This beer was the first produced by Fullsteam. I know that farmhouse ales are flavored by a variety of fruits and spices, but I thought the basil in this beer resulted in a odd taste which reminded me of soap.

The first course was a Swiss chard salad with goat cheese, apples, pecans and maple syrup. The brew paired with the salad was the Rocket Science IPA. I do not remember why they decided to call this particular beer Rocket Science. I suppose brewing a very good beer is complicated work, but the finished product is much tastier than a Saturn V. The IPA is an enjoyable pale ale that does not go too crazy with the hops.

The second course was an arugula salad with shiitake mushrooms and barley. It was paired with the Carolina Common beer which now seems to be named Southern Lager and is their flagship brew. The style is steam beer or California common beer and was made famous by Anchor Brewing out in San Francisco. This was my favorite of the brews we sampled.

I remember the third course being completely fabulous. It was smoked bacon and pork rib roast with mashed sweet potatoes. Some of the mashed sweet potatoes were purple which made for an interesting look on the plate. The pork was from Coon Rock Farm which is located over near Hillsborough. The paired beer was Hogwash Hickory-Smoked Porter. I was not overly impressed by the smoked porter. Most of the people in the place either did not like this beer at all or absolutely loved it. El fell squarely in the later category.

For desert, a local bakery named Crumb provided their take on the Moon Pie. It was another hit. The brew paired with desert was the Working Man's Lunch which is a chocolate stout. Both the desert and the beer were quite tasty and the pairing provided a great end to the evening.