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Showing posts from December, 2013

Big Boss Brewing High Roller IPA

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This was a Christmas present from my brother, and he glued the eyes and nose to the bottle. It also had antlers, and it was very cute. This beer is from North Carolina, and it laughably has a section of the bottle that will indicate when it was brewed. I say laughably, as it has no notches. So, I have no idea when this was brewed; still, good effort.

The color is an orange copper. The head is thick and sticky. Lacing is heavy and beautiful. The soft pad of bubbles that rests on top still allows the sharp scent of hops, a tad of garlic, and a bit of citrus to come through, but it's not overwhelming. It is all IPA in its presentation, and I'm interested to see what a Southern take on the traditional IPA might be.

First sip is a strong one. The hops come out right off the bat to let you know that they aren't here to play around. IPAs are serious business, and this one is all about the business of being all hopped up on hops. The bitterness hits up front, but it's handled …

Killing Season (2013)

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John Travolta is not Serbian. This fact becomes more evident with each passing syllable. Maybe they could have worked into the storyline that he was educated in England or Canada or something that would have allowed him to skip the accent altogether.

This movie is about a Serbian who is seeking revenge on an American who once was deployed to his country and slighted him in some way. He tracks down the American, and he creates an environment where the two of them can engage in proper one-on-one combat for The Prize of living and the confession of the other. It's supposed to be deep, but Travolta's cheesy accent really takes the seriousness out of the whole thing.

Bobby D gives a good enough performance as the crotchety old coot who wants to be left alone and dwells on the glory days too much. I suspect, like Clint Eastwood before him, this movie might hit his actual personality a little too close to home. The movie gives Bobby a chance to do a bit of action (although they hampe…

Brooklyn Sorachi Ace

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This is a bottle fermented ale. I've had lots of bottle conditioned ales, but this is entirely bottle fermented, and I really wonder what the end result of that is going to be. On top of that, this is the first Sorachi Ace hop beer that I've ever had. On top of THAT, this is the first beer I've ever had that actually had a cork. It's another gift from my friend Will, and I really have to visit whatever distributor he went to.

It's a cloudy, light gold color that is quite inviting (some might say it's a pedestrian color, but those people are poopyheads). The head is thick, but it doesn't hang around for too long. It does, however, leave a nice hunk of lacing around the glass where it falls off. The aroma is of straw, lemongrass, and lemons in general. It's not overly odoriferous, but it has a decent amount of smellitude.

First sip is strong. It has a strange kind of ginger or some spice that has attached itself to the hops (or, more likely, this is the un…

Stoker (2013)

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This movie is an odd duck. It's like someone wanted to do a serial killer movie in the style of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

Mia Wasikowska plays the main character in this film. She is a young girl, probably 16-17, who is dealing with the loss of her father and the constant pressure of her peers to conform - which she never does. She plays a character with very limited emotions, and she rarely lets any of them out.

Nicole Kidman is the name that serves as the draw for this movie, and she shows less emotion in this than she does in virtually any other movie I've ever seen her in. She is the grieving widow who doesn't seem particularly upset about losing her husband, a relatively bad mother, and eventually falls for her husband's brother recently arrived from abroad. That takes about a week (maybe less).

Matthew Goode is the uncle from afar who comes in to assist the family now that his brother has died. He also shows virtually no emotion and is given affectation…

Chimay Tripel (White)

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This will be the third and final Chimay beer. I have to say, this process has been an eye opener. The red label was very good. The Blue was outstanding. I have very high hopes for a tripel, as I am quite the fan of a hoppy beer, when it is made well.

Pour is a murky light brown with a red tint. Some might call it copper, but I'm not one of them, as I know what copper looks like, and this is too light and brown for it. It's too dark and brown for a gold, either. Maybe straw? But, a straw at the bottom of the haystack. The head winds up as a fairly thick almost quarter inch of a foam bed across the top. I think I'd like to get a fork and just eat it. The aroma is mostly hops with a bit of alcohol added for good measure. I don't smell any of the earthiness that I had with the other two.

A sip brings wheat, slight hops, and lemon. It's actually a very simple taste compared to its brothers and compared to its own smell. I'm actually quite taken aback by how simple i…

The World's End (2013)

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This was the third movie in the unofficial trilogy: Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World's End. They are all essentially the same concept - a peaceful, small town turns out to not be peaceful as a result of something terrible that is happening to everyone there except for Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and a handful of others.

We follow Pegg's character - who has never grown out of his young partying mentality - as he rounds up all of his old friends to go for a recreation of an old bar crawl that they failed at so many years ago. The goal is to go from one bar to the next down the "golden mile"to ultimately end at the bar called "The World's End."

In the process, they discover something is wrong with the town, and they have to try to figure it out and defend themselves while acting normally - which means completing their bar crawl. All the while, the evil builds up around them and their own personal demons combine with issues that they thought the dealt…

Epic (2013)

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This is a CG animated movie. Some people call it a 3D animated movie, but it's really only 3D if you are viewing it on a screen using whichever tech is necessary to get two slightly different images in to your eyes. Sometimes there are glasses, sometimes they are active, sometimes they are passive, sometimes the screen has to be at a certain distance, etc.

Fact is, this movie isn't particularly epic. It was ironically named, but only a little. Like the old animated movie that was not particularly good, FernGully, the entire epic battle takes place in the microcosm of a single wooded area. They refer to it as a forest, but we have no way of validating their claims. Anyway, these little people have to fight each other for the woods to stay alive.

Tossed into the whole thing is a human girl who falls in love with a tiny man and is given the responsibility of ensuring the stability and life of the forest. It's pretty much Disney's bread and butter, but this was not produced…

Cammo's "Headless Monk" Pumpkin Dubbel

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Cammo makes beer. He does it in small batches and with a significant amount of forethought. He thinks hard about his potential drinkers, and he tries to make something interesting and delicious. Some are better than others, but there's a lot of heart in each attempt.

The beer is a very murky reddish brown. I mean, this thing looks like it may well have half inch twigs and leaves floating around in there (I exaggerate.) The beer is not as carbonated as any of the previous Cammo beers. The moderate head dissipates to a thin veneer across the top of the beverage. The aroma is overwhelming with its pumpkin and clove that hit the nose from two rooms away. Cammo has done some serious pumpkin infusing. I'm wondering if I should properly drink this out of a hollowed out pumpkin.

First sip is pumpkiny. It's got that and the clove as the biggest tastes, but there's definitely more going on. The complexity is lost in the speed of a sip, but I can also taste something sweet coming…

Cammo Brewing Beta Chocolate Maple Porter

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Cammo produces some good beers. I know he pours some heart and soul into it, and I love a good porter. Cammo tells me that this is his beta batch of porter to see if it is good enough for a full batch, and I'm in favor of Cammo making good beer pretty much any day of the week.

It pours as black as the midnight sky in Pittsburgh (so there's loads of overcast). The head, as with pretty much every Cammo beer so far, is huge. He packs more CO2 into a bottle than Daisy packs into those little CO2 canisters for air rifles. I don't know how he does it - I suspect he's a wizard. The aroma is powerful. It rides the air like Aladdin riding his magic carpet. It smells of roasted malt and coffee.

First sip is solid. It's a beer that I should probably eat with a fork. The malt is heavy with the weight of unanswered customer service tickets and log files that haven't been parsed yet. I get a lot of coffee in there, too, and I can't say I'm tasting a lot of maple. I ca…

The Family (2013)

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In a shocking turn of events, Robert De Niro plays an Italian mobster.
I know - I'm just as stunned as you are.

This movie is directed by Luc Besson who did the excellent action movie The Transporter, the almost as good Transporter 2, and he also directed a movie called Transporter 3. So, he has action movie directing chops, but it would be hard to imagine a 70-year-old Robert De Niro doing a whole lot of action scenes.

Bobby plays a mobster who ratted out his mob family in exchange for witness protection. As he only ever knew how to make a living illegally, he keeps getting into trouble and needing to be moved around. At the same time, the Family is looking for him, as they have not forgiven his betrayal. So, every place they move to, he has a new name and has to make up a profession. He quickly discovers how hard it is to pretend to be an expert on things with only a cursory understanding of them.

Michelle Pfeiffer is the wife who has quite a mean streak. As they are in France, t…

Starship Troopers 3: Marauder (2008)

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So, Casper Van Dien's career wasn't going as great as it looked like it would when he starred in the original Starship Troopers. The second movie got made without him, and this one could probably have been made without him pretty easily. I'm not sure if he was enough of a draw for the movie or not - it was like when they made Jurassic Park 3, and they brought back Sam Neill. I guess it added legitimacy to the movie.

The internet tells me that Casper is 5'10", but they must be casting giants to costar with him, because he looks downright tiny. His eager anger/brooding is on display just as it was in the first one, and I guess that's another thing he brings to the table. In general, his character is cookie-cutter, and he doesn't see a need to change it.

Special Effects are really what these movies are about, and this one has the worst in the series. It's like they couldn't afford a computer, so they wanted to hand animate all of the aliens using MS P…

Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation (2004)

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When making a cut-rate sequel to a big budget movie, there are some rules you have to follow:

Use stock footage from the previous, better funded film.Film scenes using background that is dark or foggy, so it is not evident that the rocks are made of Styrofoam.Lots of yelling - it's the easiest way to act.Use props that are similar to the original, but are cheaper to make and with effects that make them look stupid.
Good news - this one checks all the boxes.

For most of this movie, it has the feel of a cut-rate Aliens clone more than a sequel to the first movie. You don't get the impression that there is a massive army of humans - we see mostly a small group that has little or no support. Piled on top of that are the aliens who run really fast, are impressively deadly, and dislike humans for some evolutionary reason we cannot fathom. Add in the dark, dank environment that the troops find themselves in, and you've got Aliens' cheaper copy. They even have a bumbling, useles…

Starship Troopers (1997)

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Remember when Denise Richards was not a cautionary tale about insane women who date Charlie Sheen?

It's been a long time since I saw this movie the first time. I forgot how intentionally camp it was some times and unintentionally camp it was at others. When you think about the way they demonstrate the way that this is a world movement against the bug aggressors by having the lead characters from "The Latin Paradise." And everyone who is from Buenos Aires happens to be very, very white.

Space dramas suffer from the need to develop uniforms that make sense and still look military (where applicable). The fact that the flight teams wear heavy wool overcoats that look like re-imagined Nazi wardrobe while the infantry wears cut down Members Only jackets when off duty and clearly plastic and horribly ineffective armor when going into battle shows that the designers here didn't quite understand military uniforms in general.

The special effects generally stand the test of tim…

Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)

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This is the last of the original continuum. I don't expect that they will make another one that is in the same universe - they will likely concentrate on the spin-off timeline from the two new movies instead. This concludes the stories that included the original series, Enterprise, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager among others.

So, this is the fourth and last of the Next Gen movies. Let's face it - the TV series was pretty good, but they ran into issues with their movies. They knew this was the last of the movies, so they had to try to make it better than the previous ones. So, they had a nebulous energy distortion and a mad scientist in the first movie, they had the Borg in the second one, they had the terrible aliens in the third, but here they go for the Romulans... kind of. They actually use the Remans (who are from the crappy planet in the same system as the Romulans).

So, the Remans are bigger, stronger, have telepathic powers, and are more evil than the…

Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue)

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It seems a little unrealistic to think that a beer should be served within a four degree window (50-54 degrees Ferenheit). But I know that there have been many beverages that I have recomended people drink a little warmer than others because their ingredients simply mix together better when the temperature is only a little cool. I'm typing this very paragraph while the beer is sitting next to me trying to warm up. From there, I'll probably only have a few minutes of optimum temperature time - not that I will be too strict about it.

Pour is a simple affair with a noticable chunky ending. Yes, this was bottle conditioned. It's a very dark brown with reddish hints. The head leaves a bullseye in the middle of the top of the beer and the usual bubbles gripping the sides. The aroma is deep and sweet malts - almost like a wine. I can detect some earthiness to it as well, and that would be very similar to the red label I had yesterday. Honestly, this aroma is like a giant symphony …

Star Trek: Insurrection (1998)

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This is the second movie directed by Johnathan Frakes. The first one I saw was the last Star Trek movie, Star Trek: First Contact. He certainly did a passable job in that one, but it is generally inadvisable for actors to try to direct movies they are in. With a few notable exceptions, they just have too much to do and don't do most of it very well.

This whole movie comes across as a really long episode with a big budget and F. Murray Abraham screaming maniacally. The problem is that the episode that it would be is - at best - middle of the road. The series had its ups and downs, and concentrating on one of Picard's many and fleeting love interests simply isn't the way to go with these things. It slows everything down, and it is hard to really develop something like that in the timeframes that these movies are written for.

They managed to ham-fist Worf into this one just like they did the last one. Again, the weapon he wields isn't enough during a battle and he uses it …

Chimay Première (Red) Ale

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Another gift from my good friend Will. I was first introduced to this beer by a self-proclaimed beer expert who, in retrospect, was a complete idiot I never should have paid any attention to. The fact is, there are few people I would consider beer experts, and they all brew their own beers. I am not one of them. I'm a slightly skilled consumer who simply knows what he likes.

The pour is a very hazy copper. I mean, this is clear as mud hazy. But that just means that it's not over processed and filtered into oblivion. I would say that this is fairly self-evidently bottle conditioned. I remember my first Chimay as having an old-style metal and cork topper instead of a cap. The massive head eventually shrinks down to a manageable eighth of an inch of bubbles nestled on top. The aroma is mild and very grainy. I expected more hops and less malt. There's also some citrus in there.

First sip reveals a surprising amount of tartness in the beer. It's not the usual bitterness of …

Star Trek: First Contact (1996)

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There are those who say that the Borg are not a good villain. Mostly, their problem is that the Borg are portrayed as more powerful than the Federation in every aspect, but somehow the scrappy Federation manages to beat them every time. At one point, the Federation was going to defeat all Borg everywhere by simply showing them the digital equivalent of an MC Escher drawing. That seems more than a little stupid.

In this encounter, the Borg are personified by Alice Krige as the Borg queen. Okay, let's ignore the fact that this flies in the face of everything we have ever known about the Borg hierarchy. Let's ignore the fact that she, for some reason, has to make gestures and speak commands to other Borg that she is, presumably, completely linked to at all times. Picard comments that she wanted an equal to "bridge the gap" between Borg and humanity. What? Huh? I remember that storyline from the series, and it didn't make any sense then, either.

I find it interesting…

Star Trek: Generations (1994)

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This is the first movie with the Next Generation cast, it follows the outstanding 6th movie (Undiscovered Country), and Paramount decided that the Next Generation was an unproven entity, so the budget was arbitrarily low. Expectations, therefore, should not be too high for this movie.

By the good movie, bad movie pattern of Star Trek movies, this movie already has a black mark against it. There's little chance that it would be as bad as Star Trek 5, but the pattern is believed by many for a reason. As it sits, this is just a knock against this movie from the start, but it doesn't have to be true.

There are a lot of Star Trek fans out there who despise the Next Generation and everything it stands for. They stay firmly with the original series and think that Gene Roddenberry was smoking something when he decided to produce this as a series. To them, I say: You are missing out on some very good stories and fine acting. Okay, everyone has to deal with Johnathan Frakes' questio…

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)

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In my personal opinion, this is the second best of the original series cast movies. Wrath of Khan is a fantastic movie, and it is hard to argue with the idea that it is superior. I mean, you have Ricardo's pecks, Shatner's best acting job, and an immensely compelling storyline. How can you compete with that?

For starters, you make Christopher Plummer a Klingon with an eyepatch bolted directly into his skull. Mr. Plummer does an amazing job in this movie as he manages to come across as both a bloodthirsty Klingon and an armchair intellectual (not an easy task after Doc Brown did his Klingon). His style is unique in the Klingon lexicon, and he manages to be both intriguing and menacing in a way not too dissimilar from Khan, but he comes off as smarter, less meniachal, and more grounded.
Then, you add the crew. When the second movie was made, the crew had established their characters, but they only had one movie under their belt. That first movie was pretty terrible, and they red…

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)

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After the middling success that Leonard Nimoy had in directing the last two Star Trek Movies, it's time for a change; maybe a REAL man can direct better. It's time for the directorial debut of William Shatner. Possibly as a consequence, our first scene with any of the known actors is that of a Kirk who is clearly not Shartner free climbing up a steep stone wall in the middle of the mountains. Such a manly thing for him to do while Spock uses rocket boots to match his feat.

There are Klingons here in a Bird of Prey, but they are - at best - a distraction to fill time. They created flamboyant characters and a lot of not entirely convincing headgear to make them look alien. They are as much of a filler as the repetitive camping scenes that are intended to be endearing but effectively just drag this movie on and on.

The main thrust of the movie is Spock's half brother (who has ALL of his emotions) wanting to get to the center of the galaxy, cross the Great Barrier, and meet God…

RED 2 (2013)

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Let's not beat around the bush. This movie isn't as good as the first one. It's still a decent popcorn movie, but it lacks much of what made the first one good.

All the effects are still there, although it looks like the spent less money on them. There weren't as many slow-mo blowing up, flying things through this movie, and that was really what made the last movie enjoyable. The wanton destruction and big ol' explosions are really what draws the crowd (aside from the big names in the movie).

Speaking of big names, we get introduced to the crazy professor in this one. He is played by Sir Anthony Hopkins, who does a completely expected amazing job with the character.  There are two others who are introduced in this movie. We meet Catherine Zeta-Jones as The one that got away from Bruce Willis. And we also get the guy who played StormShadow in GI Joe as the "world's greatest assassin."

Malkovich is back with his cute character, but he seems more formulai…

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)

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The is Leonard Nimoy's second attempt at directing one of these movies. Unlike the last one, he was on screen much of the time for this one, so he didn't have the luxury of concentrating on doing one thing, doing it right, and then moving on.

Saavik is back again. Played by Robin Curtis, she exists as a brief glimpse of what happened in the last film, and then she remains back on Vulcan while the rest of the crew takes the captured Klingon vessel back to Earth to face the charges of stealing and then destroying the Enterprise; I'm sure there are many other things they are in trouble for like assault, terrorist threats, etc.

There is a ship travelling toward Earth, destroying everything in its path. Yes, it is very much like V-GER in the first movie in that regard, but this one is sending out a "transmission" that is clearly audible to the human ear (even through the near vacuum of space) and of such immense power that it disables or destroys everything that comes…

RED (Retired and Extremely Dangerous) (2010)

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The idea isn't new. A bunch of old, retired guys have to get back into the game to right a wrong that has either been done long ago or was only recently uncovered. It's Space Cowboys with less space and more guns.

We follow Bruce Willis as he is enjoying retirement in Ohio. He has a long distance, phone only relationship with a girl who handles pensions, as he routinely tears up his checks so that he can call her to complain. Inevitably, something happens that makes him come out of retirement. Specifically, a strike team sweeps in to attack his home in a loud and direct assault. It kind of reminds me of the recent video game, Call of Duty: Ghosts, in the way it handles subtle operations.

Fortunately, Bruce comes off as young enough to be the romantic interest of Mary-Louise Parker, the girl on the other end of the phone. He handles the role like... well, like he handles every role he's ever in. He's supposed to be the good guy who is willing to get his hands dirty, fin…

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)

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This is probably the most underrated Star Trek movie. The general rule about Star Trek movies is that you should avoid every other movie. With the first one being pretty bad, and the second being excellent, the pattern would dictate that this one is going to be pretty crappy. And it is that stigma that this movie has to overcome.

Christopher Llyod as a fierce Klingon is a questionable choice. Having Doc Brown as a bushy-eyebrowed, ribbed-foreheaded Klingon who is a physical match for anyone is iffy. To then make him a homicidal maniac who kills his own crew when they upset him is to venture into the unbelievable.

This whole thing was directed by Leonard Nimoy, and it demonstrates that talented actors, who may be talented directors, should probably not try to direct a movie they are in. This will become even more clear as we see the rest of the Star Trek cannon, and the actors start taking turns directing to varying degrees of success. Leonard spends most of the film behind the camera,…

Bridgeport Old Knucklehead Barley Wine Ale

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I've had other barley wines, and the experience hasn't been 100 perfect for me.My friend Will decided to pick me up some beers for the blog, and this was one of the ones I have the fortune to try. I expect I will like some of them and dislike others, but I will enjoy the process, and that should be worth it, right?

This might be clear, if it wasn't so dark. It's head dissipates into a thin film protecting the top from stray dog hairs that may or may not be in the air. the aroma is pretty strong with its sweet malt, slight spices, floral scents, and noticeable hops. I have to admit, I'm really looking forward to the whole bottle. After all, I'm writing this on the weekend. Why not indulge just a little?

First sip is freaking strong. The sweet malt starts things off, but the rest of the beverage is dominated by the taste of liquor. I'd say that it is closest to Southern Comfort as far as taste goes, but I wouldn't recommend anyone who drinks Southern Comfo…

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)

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This is widely considered to be the best Star Trek movie ever, and there are few good arguments against that assertion. It combines a compelling storyline with good dialog, a bit of overacting (but tolerable), fantastic special effects, and Ricardo Montalban's pecks.

The idea of taking a storyline from an old Star Trek episode and extending is was a brilliant one. Space Seed was a completely forgettable episode from the first season that really seemed like it would have been best left untouched. But this movie takes the basics established in that simple beginning and expands deeply. As a result, the storyline surrounding Project Genesis is actually just background to the true story of revenge.

It's nice to see Kirstie Alley settling in as recurring Vulcan character Saavik. We can rely on her and Spock to give the much-needed exposition where applicable. The two of them form a good team of mentor and student to the human condition.

Ricardo relishes his role pretty substantially…

Mike's Hard Smashed Apple Cider

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I recently had a very good cider. I am wondering what the odds are of me running into another one. Mike's just shoved a crappy beverage into my glass, and I really hope that was an anomaly. I'm not sure what to make of the idea that this is a smashed apple cider as opposed to a regular one.

It looks like apple juice from Juicey Juice, just like all the other ciders have so far. When I say it has only the faintest whiff of apple aroma to it, I'm unusually not sarcastic about it. I really expected more of a smell to come off of this, but I am putting my nose right down to the top of the beverage, and I'm only catching the slightest bit of apple.

First sip is similar to others with its apple+alcohol=drink equation. It has more of the alcohol tang to it than most of the others. It also has more of a carbonation feel than the others with less of a green apple and more of a red apple taste. It's definitely different than the others, but it's not wildly different.

A b…

Samuel Adams White Christmas

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I'm in the middle of my Sam Adams Holiday Pack. Sam has grown on me more and more over the past months, and I would have to say I am truly a fan. They are doing some fantastic things over there, and, if I were one of the big brewers, I would buy them up and suck them of their talent while the string of delicious beers was still flowing.

It's a bit hazy and a light golden color. When the head gives way, a semi-sticky film rests calmly on the top like a parent slumps back in their chair after the mayhem of unwrapping present has subsided. The aroma is a spicy mix of hops, citrus, and malt. The malt there is as sweet as the candy cane on the tree (without the mint). Really, it's mostly citrus.

First sip is... not as good as I'd hoped. The lemon taste is way too much for the rest of the beer, and the malt overwhelms the hops. I really expected more from Sam with an ale, and this really doesn't showcase the hops as well as I wanted it to. The lemon is so pronounced that…

Samuel Adams Winter Lager

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Sam is a friend. He brings me good beer. He is a patriot. He is a brewer. He is long dead.

Today, he brings me his Winter Lager. It's part of the seasonal sampler pack that I've been going through. I have grown to appreciate lagers as I've been writing for this blog, and it's good to enjoy one every now and then. While winter typically sees seasoned ales, a lager tossed in with the bunch is a nice change.
The color is a hazy copper. The head is kind of sticky, and it goes away to leave a good film across the top. The aroma is pungent, which typically indicates a beverage that will have quite a bit of taste. I can definitely pick up hops, which is odd for a lager. The malt smells sweet, too. I'm thirsty, so I'm going to take a sip.
First sip is good. The malt and hops are well balanced, and the kind of caramel in there just makes things better. It has just the right amount of flavor with just the right amount of bitterness to be smooth. I'm really starting t…

Leinenkugel's Snowdrift Vanilla Porter

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Nothing says Christmas or snow to me like a good porter. A good porter is hard to find, but when you do the taste is sublime. Today's effort is too difficult to pronounce, but it's from Wisconsin. It pours a very dark brown with a thin head that has a hint of red to it. The aroma has none of the vanilla that it touts on the bottle, but it does have a nice helping of smokey malt all in there. It smells very distinctly sweet, as well.
First sip is a pretty good one. It's got heaps of smoke, a bit of coffee, and even some dark chocolate hidden in there. A sip, however, doesn't bring forth any of the vanilla that the bottle screams about. I'm not sure that's entirely bad. I mean, I'm not sure that it needs the vanilla to come out. It's a pretty good beer right from the first sip. As I said, I do enjoy a good porter.
Time for a holiday swig.
That smoke is unrelenting. It takes over the tip-in with a bit of carbonation at the tip of the tongue. The sweet malt…

Tap Room No. 21 Shebeen Shandy

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The Tap Room Pale Ale was crap. The Copper Lager was okay. The Amber Ale was top notch. This beer bills itself as a temporary beer that is a "flavored ale." I like all my beers to have flavor, and I guess flavor always gets added with some ingredient, so I'm not entirely sure where they are going unless they specifically added things that don't normally belong in a beer. I guess we'll find out, won't we?

The color is a watery, hazy light gold. The head is a little sticky, but it runs away for the most part. There is barely a sheen on top of the beverage. It's got a little floral scent to it, and it has a huge citrus aroma. It is VERY orange. There might be some lemon, too. Shandys are best tried in the summer, and today was a bit cool, but I'm going to go ahead and try it out.

First sip is rough. It bites with a carbonation sting and then follows with a sickly sweet citrus. The whole thing makes me think of a synthetic orange cough drop. Wait - a suga…

Twisted Tea Original

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This is not beer. I have to remind myself of these things when I start to drink something that I'm going to review for this blog. Fact is, I tend to be harsh about things that are not beer, and it is unjustified. I'm working through my prejudices. I still hold that calling a cider an "ale" is opening yourself up to a world of hurt from me, Redd.

This smells like iced tea with a bit of alcohol added to it. It looks pretty much like what sweet tea looks like. There isn't a head, because iced tea isn't supposed to have a head. The fact that the bottle says, "True Iced tea Taste" implies that I will be tasting something that is essentially iced tea with a hit of alcohol. And really, what else would you expect? This is a very straight-forward beverage.

First sip, and it tastes like unsweetened iced tea with a little bit of alcohol. It's almost like they just brewed the iced tea in an old whiskey barrel, but it was a very bland whiskey. It's not a…