Monday, July 7, 2014

Were You Expecting Ze Germans?

Movie quote... go!

My friends and I happened upon a German restaurant in downtown Orlando a few weekends ago. We had headed down there to watch some USA World Cup soccer, as they were having a block party hosted by our local soccer team. Of course, neither my friends nor I are really into crowds, so I'm not really sure what we were thinking. But after a short bout of reassessing the situation we began to meander.

That's when we came across Schumann's Jager Haus. Now, it's no Willow Tree, but it is more quaint. It's a little more toned down, and the menu is a touch more limited. The food is just as good however, and the beer just as cold. And if you're not into loud polka music, you may enjoy this place well over the Willow Tree.

The food was awesome, and the beer was nice and cold. And you could get the big ol' 1 liter of beer. Due
to my fading hangover, I only went with the 1/2 liter. But it got me thinking... Is a big ol' mug of beer really all that great? Don't get me wrong, there is nothing more satisfying than hearing a mug pounding the table in front of me, because you can only put down 1/2 a pound of beer so lightly. Unless you're about to pound it though, your beer is going to get warm, is it not? Technically if you want tap-temperature beer (depends on the style) all the time, the best method is to drink it straight from the tap.

Not practical. While awesome, it could get you arrested.

The next best method is to take shots of beer. Just like in high school... I mean, college, when we did the "power hour," a shot of beer every minute.

Slightly more practical. Probably won't get you arrested, but it would guarantee the waitress to spit in your food.

Then there's the Coronitas. I'm not sure how many beers come in cute little 8 oz bottles, but these are available, and probably will get you closest to you having a consistently cold beer in your hand.

The rub lies in the description. They come in "cute" bottles. Hard to pick up a girl when you have a bottle that looks like it came in a "my first kitchen" toy set.

Then you come to the almighty 12 oz. bottle. Technically the most practical, as it is the most widely available. In my opinion, if you want to keep a nice cold beer in your hand, you need to keep the container as small as you can, while still being practical and this is it.

But now the environment is all the rage these days. Face it, smaller bottles does lead to more waste. The large mug o' beer certainly favors the environmental argument. Which does create a strange graph. As you go from most environmentally friendly, but the worst at keeping your beer cold over the drink of your beer (big ol mug of beer, little waste, beer gets warm)... all the way to the worst for the environment but guarantees you cold beer (Coronitas, beer stays cold, many bottles wasted).

But then the graph takes a jump right at the end, where you eliminate the waste altogether and drink straight from the keg. Beer stays cold, no waste.

Drink straight from the tap people. As the cops are slapping the cuffs on you because you hopped the bar and pushed over the bartender to get to the tap, tell them you were doing it for the environment.

I'm sure they'd understand.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Rabbit Beer

Funny thing about parties. Beer tends to... multiply.

A couple a weeks ago, I ended up having an impromptu party at my house. Like I said, impromptu, so I hadn't done any cleaning, or preparing. All I had was half a case of Corona in my fridge. The next morning I woke up and checked the fridge. Apparently the Corona was busy, while some were missing, a entire litter of little Coronitas had populated the fridge. If you haven't had a Coronita, you're probably more familiar with the Corona bottle salt shakers at Mexican restaurants. Those were once Coronita bottles of beer. Cheers! Free beer.

The Coronas also had some genetic mutations, because a case of Bud Light had also been birthed.

Bud Light... I don't know about that beer. I'm drinking one now.

And in light of my recent references to beer as offspring, the fact that I'm consuming one is a little disturbing.

Bud Light is kind of "middle of the road" for me as far are cheap and sh*tty beers go. It's not quite Miller Corona on a hot day. It's not awful, but it also doesn't have any cool gimmicks like Miller, or cool commercials like Keystone.
Lite. Yet it's certainly not Coors Light. It's a decent substitution for Miller at a tailgate. Which is in the category it falls in. Bud light is not good. It is another one of those tailgate, frat party beers that is not meant for enjoying the intricacies of zymurgy. This beer is for shotgunning and getting drunk. It's somewhat refreshing, but doesn't hold a candle to

But you know what makes this particular beer I'm drinking right now better than most of the stuff in my fridge?

I didn't buy it.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Beereview: Miller Lite

That's right. Miller lite. Why? Because for a little while I'm going to be talking and trashing on some cheap ass beers. I haven't brewed for some time, so can't talk about that. I don't have the luxury now to head to Total Wine and drop 150 bucks on an assortment of random craft beers since I'm trying to pinch my pennies. So why descriminate? Cheap Beers, it's your time to shine.

I've talked cheap beers in the past. Contrary to a beer snob's beliefs, all beer has a place in society. I will reiterate that I would not bring a fancy bottle of St. Bernardus to a tailgate. Hell no. This is exactly where a beer like Miller Lite comes in.

I don't know why I can say I like Miller Lite better than the other lite garbage beers out there. They are all relatively tasteless. Ice cold they almost taste identical. I don't like Coors because it tastes sweet to me... I used to be a big Bud Light fan but that just faded. I'm on a Miller kick for a cheap beer. But it may be because of their fancy gimmicks.

A while back they introduced their box of 12 with the plastic lining. Tear open the top of the box, dump ice in, and you're ready to rock. Admittedly I had little exposure to that one at the time because I was still going to college in upstate New York. It never really got stupid hot there. Sure from time to time, but I was in college, a 12 pack didn't cut it. Also, we didn't have a cool place like the beach to go.

Then came the vortex bottle. God the vortex bottle made me angry. One of the worst parts is my ex actually thought it made a difference. Miller's claim? Swirling the beer made it easier to drink. There's so many things wrong with that idea that I don't know where to start. The ridges in the bottle didn't do anything to alter the movement of the beer. If it had any effect whatsoever, it acted to turbulate the beer so the beer would be more flat going into your mouth so you dealt with less carbonation, therefore making it easier to drink. What sort of vortex were they trying to achieve? A whirlpool? Where's the air going to come from? The only whirlpool you're going to get is if the bottle would be completely upside-down, but the bottle is still going to glug because you have to make up the air from somewhere. That or the bottle would implode sending shattered glass down your vortex filled esophagus. Yum. Seeing those bottles passed around pissed me off on a regular basis.

Then came the punch top. The punch top is god damn fantastic stroke of genius. Check out this side by side strawpedo (which I'll cover some other time). The result is the smoothest chug of beer you can get.
demonstration. The next best thing since the widemouth can. It's your answer to being able to shotgun a beer without having to carve into the side of it with a knife and risk yourself loosing a finger or some greater appendage. This all goes back to what I mentioned above. Beer comes out, air has to go in. That's why beer glugs when you pour it too fast out of a bottle. That glug is the exchange, beer out, air in, beer out, air in. But with a shotgunned beer, you can forego the air gap you need on a bottle of beer when you chug, and just suck it down. The air isn't trying to get in where the beer is coming out. Similar to the

What will they think of next?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

International Conflict

I feel like I'm full of excuses and apologies recently in the blog. Well, recently, I've been... distracted. The truth is, I found someone. She's quiet. She doesn't mind if I work late. She lets me do anything I want to her. Sometimes, on the weekend I flip her over and...

Wait. It's not what you're thinking. Meet my new love interest Svetlana.


So I haven't been doing much brewing. I've been spending upwards of 10 hours every weekend getting Svetlana back in shape. It's coming along, but not quickly.

But I did get a recent boost of motivation. Went to the bar Redlight Redlight (@redlightx2) here in Central Florida. Got a few great craft beers and ran into a lovely lady, Laura, who was taking pictures.

And who could resist taking a picture of me, right?


Laura is with Brown Distributing which distributes beer to a whole crapload of places in Florida (and Virginia, but who cares about them). Well we talked, I bragged about my beer blog, and she gave me her card. She also introduced me to Gerard Walen (@roadtripsforbeer), the editor for RoadTripsforBeer.com, who I've been following for some time now. Also happens to have written a book. Check it out. Of course I bragged about my blog to him as well.

Well shit.

All this bragging and I haven't posted since I almost killed my dog back in January. I even let my domain name laps unintentionally. I was going to say accidentally, but I have to admit I knew it was happening. Credit card expired and I never updated my account. My lazy ass just didn't get around to updating it.

Well let's get this rolling right!?

WRONG.

I hear it's a bad time to be pissing of Asians. Well tough nuts. Apparently there's groups of people sitting out
there waiting for domains like mine to expire. As my friend tells me "domains that have traffic that lapses will get snatched up." Traffic? Traffic? I get a couple hundred views a month. Pales in comparison to what "popular" sites get. So now I'm pissed off. After a few emails back and forth with Google, and a few more back and forth with Enom, I find out that my website was snatched by some Asian with a website www.double-domain.com. An under construction website none the less.

Note: I am not providing the web address for advertisement, but if there's any hackers out there that have some time on their hands, have at it

I just don't get it. What's this guy think he's going to get? He stole an amatuer blogger's website address. How much does he think he's going to get out of me? 20 bucks? Really banking there. I have an Amazon resellers account that hasn't paid out in 4 years because I haven't hit 100 bucks in sales (ahem, this is when you feel guilty and click on the Amazon link on the right). Advertisement? Yeah, again with the 100 buck minimum. Still waiting for that to pay out. 

At this point all I'm really doing is ranting. I'm pissed off about it sure. But it was my mistake, and I take responsibility for it. Maybe that guy out there will read this and feel really bad (yeah right). Anywho, please take a moment to reset your bookmarks to www.ataleof2brewers.com.

If you really haven't notice the "two" became a "2." Clever, I know.

Monday, January 13, 2014

PSA: Poison

Yeah, did you know hops were poisonous to dogs? Me neither.

Saturday was a great brew day. R2-DBREW worked like a charm. I even remembered all the ingredients, and I didn't break anything! Fantastic!

Well, ok. I did forget to make a yeast starter. No matter though, I'll still get good beer in the end.

But this is where my day started, but at the time I didn't know it. I was cleaning out my kegs in the back yard, something I typically do in the front yard. I dumped my spent grain into a bucket to send off to my buddy's compost, and washed the rest of the grains out into the back yard. I also took my cop canister and tapped that out in the backyard (which in retrospect is strange because I usually add that to the compost as well). As I looked a the pile of spent brewing materials I knew I was going to be cleaning up dog puke later. I really couldn't think of a way to prevent my sweet dog Savannah from getting into the leftover ingredients. Not that I spent a lot of time thinking about it, she's got into them before. At some point, when I'm not looking, she eats some, and later she throws it up. No big deal.

As I was doing some evening gaming I stood up to get something from the kitchen. That's when I noticed the little pile of puke on the back door rug. I was thankful, having it on the rug made it very easy to clean. I picked up the rug, brought it out, hosed it off, and left it to dry. No big deal.

An hour or so passes and I emerge from my man room again to top off my diet coke. Savannah is laying on the ground (typical), panting (not so typical).  I laughed and thought, "silly dog, apparently hops give you indigestion and dry mouth." Made sense to me. Hops have a way of drying you out. No big deal.

Another hour or so passes, I emerge from my man cave to check on the laundry and watch some Hockey. Savannah is still panting. Poor girl. I'm going to post about this on facebook!

#dogpukesonrug

Not ten minutes goes by when I get a comment from an old friend that I haven't seen since 2002. Keying me into the fact that HOPS ARE POISONOUS. Yes, you heard right. Hops are poisonous. That's when I headed to a website talking about how 5 out of 5 greyhounds died from eating hops. Canine hyperthermia. Makes the dogs body temperature rise dramatically. 104 is dangerous, 108 you pooch is either dead or warming up on an Asian bbq grill.

Red flag. Savannah lying on the ground, still panting. Part of me still really isn't believe this. I take her temp its just a hair over 103. That's when I text my vet friend. I'm still half thinking "she didn't get into that much..." Vet says call animal poison control. Animal poison control answers and asks some questions. Puts me on hold for a quick 15 seconds and responds:

"Yeah, lets get your payment information really quick so you can get her to an emergency vet right away."

Well shit.

Now I'm panicking a little bit.

I get Savannah in the truck (11pm) and I start driving. 5 miles down the road and a damn spider crawls over my window, and I think, "really? now??" Well instincts kicked in and I atomized that spider with a swift left karate chop against the window.

One day I will break my window doing that. I hate spiders.

Then at that point I notice that my tank is on E. And I mean really on E. I remembered a that point parking it
in the driveway earlier that day with the empty light on thinking, "well I'll fill up the tank tomorrow." At this point I'm only a few miles from the clinic and I start going through scenarios where I run out of gas. The image that keeps running through my head is hanging Savannah over my shoulders while jogging barefoot (I was wearing flip flops) to the emergency clinic.

Well the story ends well. She did have an elevated temperature. But she's a big dog, and she only got into less than an oz of hops. I ended up getting home at about 1am. The clinic decided to keep her overnight. They gave her a catheter and did some other stuff as well, and she is alright. My bank account is a little lighter, but oh well.

Which makes me think, as they go over the price with me, they itemize everything, which is nice. Then they ask "how does that sound?" What am I supposed to say to that? No, do this, but I don't think that's necessary. I'm not veterinary expert. Just keep her alive!!!

So in summary, hops are very poisonous to dogs. Savannah managed to get into less than an oz of spent pelletized hops, and it was enough to see noticeable side effects. That's less than an oz. affecting a 65 pound golden retriever mind you. If your dogs do get into it, call animal poison control immediately. A lot of vets don't know about the effects of hops. Poison control will give you a phone number and a case number, so the second you get to the vet, they can call the poison center and the center will give the vets step by step instructions.

I almost killed my dog. On the off chance that I made a post on Facebook possibly saved her life. Thanks Nikki and Brandin from high school! If you're ever in central Florida you've got a place to stay.