2 Beer Guys Blog

Welcome to the 2 Beer Guys Blog! Here, you will be able to read our stories and adventures as we travel through the world of craft beer.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A visit with an old friend

Tonight, I spent some time catching up with an old friend. His name is Mojo IPA, and he is from Boulder, Colorado.

When I opened the door for him, a rush of citrusy hops came my way, reminding me of why we became such good friends in the first place. As I welcomed him into my glass, he gave off a clear, medium amber glow, and showed himself to be wearing a fizzy, white crown. It's amazing how well the crown stays behind even after it has been removed. The way it sticks to my glass as if not wanting to let go. It ever so subtly captures the fragrant hops jumping out of the glass towards me, as if to say No, old friend...I've saved these for you and you alone.

View the pour here

At first scent, I pick up hints of orange and perhaps a hint of pine. Missing from the equation is a malt character, but that's ok because overt malts are not on the guest list for this visit. With great anticipation, I raise the glass to my lips and take the first sip of this glorious elixir. It rushes over my tongue, leaving a light sweetness on the front of my tongue, while a moderate bitterness is left in its wake at the back, with gentle carbonation on my cheeks. After a few sips, I give the glass a swirl, awakening the head and it springs back to life with the same eagerness it displayed when it first was poured. Another sniff reveals a slightly less sweet aroma, this time with a significantly more pronounced pine presence.

Not wanting to be outdone, the mouthfeel leaves little to be desired. Upon the disappearance of the brew from my mouth, I'm left just short of a lip-smacking bitterness. I know I can get more, but overt bitterness is another guest that was not extended an invitation this evening. With a slightly dry texture, I reach for another sip, and then another. Alas, this is the only Mojo I have in stock, but as short-lived as our visit was together, it was good while it lasted, and that is all that any one man can ask for.

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Wagons.... North

This past weekend, Amber and I traveled north to her home town on Saturday. We decided to stop along the way to quench our thirst. Boy are we thirsty. We exited in Freeport and headed straight towards Gritty McDuff's. Amber enjoyed a Black Fly Stout (cask conditioned) and I enjoyed a Best Bitter (also cask conditioned).


Our weekend adventure doesn't stop there.

Around lunch time on Monday, were in Bangor. You can't visit Bangor without stopping into Sea Dog Brewery. For the longest time, I thought that Sea Dog was in Portland. I don't know why I thought that (well, I do. There is a minor league baseball team named "The Portland Sea Dogs"). Anyway, for those who don't know, The Blueberry Wheat (aka BluePaw) is one of my favorite beers. It reminds me of blueberry cake with powdered sugar on it. Oh yummy. I followed that selection with the Cask Conditioned Winter ale. It was very tasty. Amber really enjoyed her Riverdriver Hazelnut porter.

We learned an interesting fact. Sea Dog doesn't brew any of their beer anymore. Their beer is actually brewed in Portland (who would have guessed), by Shipyard.


On the way home, we decided to search out Shipyard. Amber directed me to the "area" that it was supposed to be in. Well, it's on "Newbury" street. We were on Newbury street. A one way street and it only lasted two blocks. If we drove any further, we would have driven into a building. We were lost.

Eventually, we asked for directions and learned that there was another section of Newbury Street and they don't connect. Nice.

After we located Shipyard, we quickly noticed that it was closed. Ohh. Just closed 5 mins before we got there. It's only a brewery and a store. No brewpub. What a shame.

Our luck was already down, but not out. While we were getting lost, we drove past the Portland Gritty McDuff's and Sebago Brewing Company.

We decided to stop into Sebago Brewing company for a snack and palliate quencher.
Amber enjoyed an app along with the Lake Trout Stout. I tried the "Brewers Choice". I am not sure the name of it, but it was very smoky and hoppy. It was ok, but I wouldn't order it again.


I hope that you enjoyed hearing about our adventure.


Do YOU know the secret handshake?

A few months ago, the two beer guys and friends started discussing "Home Brewing". Some of us have pseudo home brewed at http://www.incredibrew.com/. IncrediBrew is a pretty cool place. Brew on a Sunday and bottle two weeks later. They teach you how the brewing process works, but handles all of the messy details for you.

IncrediBrew is great. Dave (the owner) is great. It's just a great place to go with your friends to make a special treat.

Without openly discussing it, we wanted to take our beer experience to the next level. We realized that if we wanted to know more about beer, we would have to go through the trials and tribulations real brewers experience. WE HAD TO MAKE BEER!!!

So, in December, Ian searched out our local brewer's club. We discovered the North Shore Brewers club and decided to pencil the last Thursday of January for their 2007 meeting.

Where was this meeting? Well, thanks for asking. It was hosted by Mercury Brewing.

(Note: Up until now, Mercury was the dark horse in the 2beerguy's view. We tried to make contact with them, but we felt like our emails were falling onto blind eyes. Mercury Brewery, also known for their Ipswich line and their Stone cat series, is situated in our backyard. This is our turf :) )

We were going to a trip to Mercury. Ryan, Ian and I were pumped. Before going in, we decided that if we accepted with open arms, then we would join the club. If not, we were going to think about it.

Ian and I walked in and it went something like this.... "Hey, are you new members" "Yeah, we are interested in joining the group" ... "Follow me". We followed bill over to the taps. "Grab a glass and choose what ever you like".

Well, it wasn't possible to have a warmer welcome.

The meeting was a fun time. We talked shop. We went on a tour. We watch some members harvest some yeast. We enjoyed some home brew and snacks.

So, we paid our membership fee and now we are members. WooHoo


What does the North Shore Brewers club do?

The North Shore Brewers meet on the fourth Thursday of each month to discuss, and drink, beer and home brewing. These meetings are held in restaurants, member homes, function halls, and even breweries.

Our members have a wide range of experience, ranging from never brewed to many years of all grain brewing experience. Home brewers and beer enthusiasts of all levels of experience are welcome. Come join us at our next monthly meeting.


Who is John Harvard?

Does it really matter who it is? Well, not really. But it is important to know that on the same day we adventured to CBC, we also ventured ~1.5 miles to John Harvard's brew pub.

While doing research for this blog, I didn't realize that John Harvard spent less than eighteen months of his life in Massachusetts. Why did they name the university after him? I don't know. But there is a statue on campus and it isn't a statue of him. Very odd.

The strangeness doesn't stop there. The John Harvard's Brew House is a chain of restaurants. OHHH it's a chain. (Ignace, could it be the red headed step child of Inbev?)

It was a rather chilly day. The walk from the car to the restaurant was unbearable. We couldn't run from the car into the restaurant fast enough. Walking into the restaurant, it was rather dark and had a pretty good atmosphere. I looked around the restaurant, trying to find the smmmaarrrt kids (thanks Good Will Hunting).

Good size bar area and different sections in this large restaurant that had unique atmospheres. We ordered some food (which was tasty) and a variety of their offerings. The food was good, but the beer wasn't anything to write home and tell mom about.

In the next few weeks, we will have the reviews available on the website.

Veritas shall set you free


To learn more about John Harvard, please visit:


To learn more about John Harvard’s Brew House, please visit:


NOW is Almost the time....

I started this blog almost 2 weeks ago...

*** A little late... but .. whateva ****

Recent Reviews:

On January 13th, Ian and I enjoyed three tasty brews from the Portsmouth Brewery. This review was rather small in variety, but large in size (three 22oz bombers). The selection included Portsmouth Brewery Cream Ale, IPA, and Holidaze. We actually purchased these bottled beers during our trip to the Portsmouth Brewery, but officially reviews them on the 13th.

For details on the review, please visit our review page.

Now, you are probably wondering why "NOW is Almost the time...." Well, you may have noticed that we are creeping closer and closer to a milestone. We are creeping upon our 300th review. "WoW. How coo,l" you may ask, "What are you planning."

Thanks for asking.

Since our trip to Stone Brewery, we decided to show our excitement of this adventure by selecting the Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale and the Double Arrogant Bastard Ale as the honorary 299th and 300th review.

About 2 Beer Guys

Following is the story that has been added to the about page on our website, but I wanted to share it with our blogging community first. I hope you enjoy!

Let me guess what you’re thinking. 2 Beer Guys seems like a pretty good excuse to just drink a lot of beer. If that is what you’re thinking, you’d be right, but that’s not the whole story. Besides, believe me when I tell you that it would be MUCH easier to just drink the beer instead of maintaining the site with all of our stories and reviews. However, as you’ll read below, there is a lot of passion behind what we do.

At the beginning of 2006, Sean and I were at Harpoon for a fundraiser for our friend’s ride in the Pan Mass Challenge (PMC). Harpoon is an event sponsor for the PMC and, as such, was allowing Jess to host the event there. In addition to learning more about the PMC and its cause, we learned quite a bit about Harpoon beer, specifically from Jaime Schier, Harpoon’s Quality Control Manager.

Now, both Sean and I were beer drinkers prior to attending the fundraiser. Mostly, we drank whatever was on sale at Market Basket or Shaw’s that particular week. After listening to Jaime speak so passionately about his beer however, we gained a new appreciation for hand-crafted beer; specifically local craft beer.

This set us off with a new-found curiosity, and we set out to try some of these lesser-known beers at the end of the aisle that we’d never paid attention to before. We picked up a few bottles of this and that, took them home, and with a review sheet that we found online, started to dissect them. That day, 2 Beer Guys, and a new passion, was born.

Now, a year and 300 beers later, we still have a lot to learn about beer and the craft beer industry itself, but we are now in a position to help others take a similar journey to the one that we are on. One particularly nice thing about the beer industry is that, in most cases (pun intended), you get what you pay for. There are a few exceptions, but more often than not, the price of the beer will reflect its quality. We’ve also found, of course, that the smaller the brewery and the smaller their distribution, the more the beer costs as they need to recoup their expenditures over less volume. In some industries, this does not necessarily mean a better product but in beer, it usually does.

Another reason this cause is important to us is supporting local businesses. There are literally scores of breweries in New England that we had no idea existed a year ago. After countless emails and face-to-face visits with brewery employees, we’ve learned that beer industry people are some of the most courteous around. Everyone we come across is passionate about their product, and is more than happy to share their time with us to talk about their beer and their philosophy. This has certainly made our task enjoyable, and we thank each and every person we’ve spoken with over the past year. It is in this thought that are more than excited about sharing our experiences with you, so that you can gain an understanding and an appreciation for the local beer market.

With all this in mind, go out, explore, and find passion in a bottle of craft beer.

Friday, January 26, 2007

2007 Barleywine Festival

Last night I had the pleasure of visiting the CBC for their annual Barleywine Festival. Let me tell you, it was bittersweet because while the beer and atmosphere were great it was sad because I wished I hadn't missed the first two!

The evening started with a 10 minute walk from my office over to the CBC. A cold walk. By the time I arrived my face was so frozen I could barely get out a response to the bartender's inquiry as to my what I'd like. It probably sounded like; "Baaweywine pwease". Luckily I thawed quickly and, oddly enough, when I went out to head for the train later it didn't seem nearly as cold...

I arrived at 5pm and there were maybe a dozen people in the bar. I grabbed a seat, took a menu for the 6 offerings (I had tried the one they have regularly on tap with the beer guys and Kristen on our tasting mission last weekend) and decided what to get for my first sample. Fortunately they offered it in both 4 and 8oz servings, so I ended up having 3 of the smaller samples. Here's the CBC's description of what I had:

2004 Blunderbuss Barleywine Burnished copper with labyrinthine flavors and aromas of mellow caramel, raisin, burnt toffee, pale stone fruit, and earthy/floral hops. A protracted yet refined finish balances malt and hops with a sustained warming character. 11.25%abv

2006 Arquebus Barleywine Aged in French oak, Napa chardonnay barrels. This unique barleywine enchants with nectarous aromas and flavors of honey-soaked apricot and mango, a soft and full body, and a lustrous vanilla and sweet-but-balanced malt finish. 10.5%abv

2006 “Knob Creek” Barrel-aged, Cask-conditioned Blunderbuss American bourbon barrel-aged, cask-conditioned in an English oak J.W. Lee’s barrel, served via gravity dispense. Smooth notes of vanilla, toast, and new oak commingle with fresh malt and hops. A whisper of American bourbon spirit to finish. 12.0%abv

Let me tell you, these were all the best barleywines I've ever had. Much more complex and far more drinkable than the other examples I've had. None of them blew you away with the alcohol presence and all were remarkably unique in flavor. The CBC descriptions do them justice, so I won't try to describe them all to you, I'll just give my impressions of the night and tell you about my favorite.

Let's start with the crowd. Sorry ladies, but you did NOT represent. It was about 10:1 gents this evening, a result of what looked like a rabid following of the barleywine festival. By the time I left at 6pm the bar was packed, unusual for that time there. and I'd say 80% of what was being served was barleywine. Most people were doing the same as myself, trying a new one each round and everyone was exceptionally happy. Especially after they finished their first drink! The head brewer was there, along with his assistants, drinking up with the regulars. Speaking of regulars, I looked to my left at one point and lo and behold, there was a chubby, long-haired guy with a goatee. He looked familiar and sure enough, he was one of the people from the giant painting in the bar. It felt vaguely like being in the presence of a beer-drinking legend.

It was a great atmosphere, just a lot of people sitting and standing around, enjoying these really special concoctions. You could see the appreciation for the brewers' craftsmanship in the smiles all around.

As for favorites; mine was the 2006 Knob Creek. It seemed the general favorite, as the bartenders seemed to be heading for that tap the most. And what a tap it was. It was served straight out of the cask. No carbonation lines, no extra chilling, just right out of the barrel sitting up on the bar. Made it easy to imagine you were in a medieval pub (sans the hobbits). This beer was special. Were I to score it, it would have been 7-4-9-4. Despite the 12% ABV you could barely detect alcohol in the aroma. The beer had a slightly, but not overpowering sweetness and a little alcohol kick as your swallowed but it finished super smoothly. This one was in my top 5 beers of all time, all styles. First barleywine I ever felt like I could drink a whole pint of! I only wish there were more...

In all, a terrific event that I hope I can share with more of you beer enthusiasts next year! In the meantime, get yourself down to the CBC sometime, they really are brewing some of the best beers in the Boston area.


Thursday, January 25, 2007

A Polack, an Englishman, and an Irishman walk into a bar...

Last night, Kristen, Sean and I went to Harpoon for their latest 100 Barrel tasting. The guest of honor of the evening was #17, the English Style Old Ale.

We got to Harpoon right at six when the event was starting, got inside, got ourselves a sampler of the new brew, and settled in. We made our way out onto the deck overlooking the brewing tanks, and ran into Jaime Schier, Harpoon's Quality Control Manager. This was the first time we'd spoken with Jaime since we launched 2 Beer Guys, so we spoke with him about the site, and told him that he inspired us to create it. He discussed how beer is still the red-headed step child of the alcohol community, and how a certain wine maker is leveraging their crappy product into an ingenious marketing ploy.

After having enjoyed a few more samples of the beer, Fred (the brewer) came out and discussed his process for brewing the beer, and got sidetracked talking about all sorts of beer science, which prompted one friend in attendance to ask, what's flocculation? This, of course, inspired Sean and I to start saying, flocc-u-later!

The snacks were good, with plenty of pretzels, popcorn, chocolate and vanilla Oreos, and Nutter Butters. The best snack of all came at the end of the event though. Sean felt compelled to get a snack out of the vending machine at the bottom of the stairs leading out of Harpoon. He wanted something that was at the bottom of the machine, in location HH. So, without thinking, he hit the H button twice, which unfortunately dispensed the product located in location H. BBQ Frito's Twisters were not what he wanted!

After we left Harpoon, we stopped in Medford to have some tasty roast beef at Alamo Roast Beef, owned by Jenny Jansen's uncle. A night of good, free beer followed by good beef. What more can one ask for?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A cherry good mix!

I love a black and blue, a black and tan, a black anything made with Guinness!
So a few days ago I decided to get creative with mixing Guiness and the result was much more amazing than I could ever hope for!
Sam Adams Cherry Wheat Ale mixed black and blue style with Guinness. The flavor reminds you somewhat of a cherry coke, only it's no where near as syrup-y and it texture is smooth.
I call my new mix a Black Cherry! Try it and enjoy!!

Don't cry over spilled beer...especially when your dog's around.

Sunday, I was feeling very ambitious and spent 8 hours cleaning my house, rearranging furniture and doing laundry. At some point, amidst all this, I decided that I deserved a little break and tasty reward for my diligence. I popped into the kitchen and grabbed the very last Sierra Nevada Celebration from my fridge.

I continued to clean as I enjoyed the Celebration. I decided that the stack of storage bins in my bedroom, which were waiting to be taken to the basement, would temporarily serve as a table as I was looking for an open surface on which to place my beer.

As I was continuing to pick up odds and ends (seeing how when you clean, you always make a bigger mess before resolving it) I was trying to decide what to do with the things I was finding and, upon deciding their importance, realized there were some things I could live with out for now. So they were sentenced to basement storage for a while.

Holding the items in one hand, I carefully lifted the lid on one of the storage bins in the stack and attempted to place the items inside. This is when I realized my critical mistake. My Celebration, my very last one, was teetering on the top of the stack. Common sense would ordinarily have told me to ease the lid back down, but panic, over seeing my beloved Celebration in a precarious situation, prompted me to close the lid down quickly. And then it happened in slow motion.

The bottle of Celebration tipped off the edge of the top of the stack, did a full 180 degree flip in mid-air and landed on the floor on it's side leaving it's savory contents to spill out on the floor.

In a flurry of profanity, I went for the paper towels. When I returned to the scene of the tragedy, I found that a clean up operation was already under way. For Murray, the faithful and well trained beer dog that he is, had discovered the growing puddle and helped me find a way to cope with the loss. This beer would not go un-enjoyed. Murray enjoyed it thoroughly.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The man's best friend can finally enjoy a man's favorite drink

There's nothing like a fresh cold one after a hard days work. (Well, some may say that I have never experienced a hard day's work, but lets imagine that I have.) Why not enjoy a tasty treat with your best friend?

Well, if I had a dog (and I have no plans to..) It would be fun to enjoy a tasty brew with my puppy. Maybe Murray (our 2BeerGuys furry friend) would enjoy a tasty treat? Time will only tell.

Please enjoy this article...

A cold one for man's best friend

POSTED: 11:12 a.m. EST, January 22, 2007

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) -- After a long day hunting, there's nothing like wrapping your paw around a cold bottle of beer.

So Terrie Berenden, a pet shop owner in the southern Dutch town of Zelhem, created a beer for her Weimaraners made from beef extract and malt.

"Once a year we go to Austria to hunt with our dogs, and at the end of the day we sit on the veranda and drink a beer. So we thought, my dog also has earned it," she said.
Berenden consigned a local brewery to make and bottle the nonalcoholic beer, branded as Kwispelbier. It was introduced to the market last week and advertised as "a beer for your best friend."

"Kwispel" is the Dutch word for wagging a tail.

The beer is fit for human consumption, Berenden said. But at $2.14 (or 1.65 euro) a bottle, it's about four times more expensive than a Heineken.

This was reported by the Associated Press.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Cambridge Brewing Company

We're coming to you live from the Cambridge Brewing Company, just minutes from Andy's office in chilly downtown Cambridge. With us are Curley Stout and Hops. We've reviewed every offering available and, after taking them all in, we have to say that this is a solid brewery. They offer the standard fare of ales, from their golden ale to a coffee-style porter, but through their seasonal beers, they really shine. From the Blunderbuss Barleywine to the Big Man Ale, the brewers flex their brewing muscle with a diverse offering of delicious concoctions.

The reviews for these beers will be available shortly. As a facility, it has a nice, relaxed atmosphere. Open space and high ceilings contribute to a spacious, airy feel, enabling us to relax and enjoy the beers. Eclectic decorations from the fuzzy Jerry Garcia pirate hanging over the bar to the hand-painted canvases on the wall provide a relaxed, fun feel. Brewing operations are well in sight, peeking out from behind the bar with their shiny fermenters.

Overall, an excellent environment to enjoy beer, and with the solid lineup, there is plenty to enjoy.

From here, we are off to John Harvards, just a short 2 miles from here.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

A "healthy" obsession.

Saturday night, following the UML Riverhawks shining...er...defeat, Sean, Gavin and I went to the brewery in Lowell (accompanied by Dougie...but he's not a beer fan). It was Sean's idea to sit and sip some beer there in bar downstairs.
I ordered a Concord Oatmeal Stout (which was...dare I say...yumilicious), Sean ordered a Rapscallion Creation and Gavin, a Concord Honey Ale. Upon tasting Sean's Creation selection, Gavin and I quickly developed a bad case of beer envy. Suddenly, my Oatmeal Stout wasn't the creme de la creme selection I thought it was. All I could think about was Sean's glass, that lemony aroma, that slight hit of bitter. I wanted what Sean had and the envy was consuming me.
When it came time for round two, I became even more envious. I was driving, so the one beer was it for me. Then, Sean did something that escalated my jealousy from envy to pure obsession...he ordered a Rapscallion Premier for his second beer. I thought the Creation was the end all be all until I sampled this amazing concoction. This had similar qualities to the Creation, but was darker, smoother and reminded me of a cognac. Oh...the envy was taking me over. And it took Gavin over too. He was going to order a Creation, but Sean, with all his good beer sense, stopped him, had him sample his Premier and then Gavin quickly satisfied his beer envy, by ordering a Premier as well.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

This week in beer

For your reading pleasure, I have scoured the net for recent articles related to beer. Below are five articles that I've grabbed in .pdf format. Happy reading!

10 events that rocked our beer mugs

A Yankee Magazine with your beer

Beer calories

Five stouts and the man who makes them

Expect to pay more for that bottle of beer

Breast-enhancing beer gains popularity

NewsTrack - Entertainment
Breast-enhancing beer gains popularity

LONDON, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- Since Bulgaria joined the European Union, sales of Boza Ale, which claims to give women bigger breasts, has skyrocketed.

European men have been purchasing the beer, made from yeast and fermented flour, for European women since the extra taxes were removed with EU participation, Britain's the Sun reported Monday.

Bar owners and shopkeepers are also stocking up, the report said.

The Sun said a Romanian man, Barmy Constantin Barbu, traveled across the Dunube River just to purchase a case of Boza Ale for his wife.

"I really hope I see an improvement," Barbu said.

Talking beer with Smutty's head brewer

On a whim, in inclement weather no less, I decided to venture out of the house on Monday afternoon, as I was seemingly one of very few people to have the day off. I headed north in an attempt to find the Smuttynose Brewery, and more importantly the Imperial Stout. Easy to find is the Portsmouth Brewery, situated nicely in downtown Portsmouth. Not so easy to find is the Smuttynose Brewery, which by all appearances is in Greenland.

I brought my laptop with me to keep the directions handy, guided my truck through frozen rain and back roads, and finally arrived at my destination. I parked around back, and made my way to the iron door on the side that says simply, "Welcome". I opened the door and headed inside, and was immediately smacked in the face by the strong aroma of malts. This brewery is by no means a polished brewpub. It is essentially a production facility with a small bar at the entrance with four taps and a fooseball table. I ran into one of the brewers, told him I was interested in purchasing some beer, and sat down at the bar. He cordially poured me a fresh pint of IPA.

Let me just tell you, it was delicious.

The brewer said he would get someone for me, and headed off on his way. Not long after, a man came out to greet me, who I would soon learn is the head brewer at Smuttynose, David Yarrington. We spoke for a little while, he explained that while they do sell beer by the case there, it is at retail cost as they do not want to undercut their distributor and resellers. After a few minutes, I grabbed some goggles, and we went into the brewing operation.

David led me around, we looked at the fermenters, looked at the bottling line, he explained their current output, potential output, and plans for growth in the future. They are looking at some property to build a proper brewery, as their current location is essentially a retro-fitted warehouse, lacking the proper drainage you would hope to have an actual brewery. The bottling line is from the 70's, and the label machine is from the 50's. They are currently set to bottle 60 bottles per minute, and while they could bottle more, they are limited by the aging label machine.

Smuttynose recently surpassed a very significant milestone. They shipped just over 15,000 barrels of beer in 2006, launching them from micro-brewery status to that of regional craft brewery. The article covering this milestone can be read here. When I asked David why they were looking to expand their production, whether it was for wider distribution or better saturation, he said they wanted better saturation in their current market. They currently distribute as far south as Virginia and, as far as David is concerned, that is good enough. David also oversees production at the Portsmouth Brewery, although the brewer he hired to run the operation has a pretty good handle on things, so he doesn't really have to focus too much attention to them.

Although they are owned by the same owner, Peter Egelston, Smuttynose and Portsmouth Brewery operate as two separate entities. If you have been to the Portsmouth Brewery, you may have noticed that in addition to brewing their own beers, they also carry Smuttynose's Shoals Pale Ale and Portsmouth Lager on draught. What I found intriguing is that, because the two businesses are separate entities, the Portsmouth Brewery has to purchase their kegs of the two Smutty beers through a distributor, just like any other establishment would have to.

In closing, it was a very educational experience, and I was glad to have had to chance to speak with David and get his take on the current state of beer at Smuttynose, certainly one of our favorite local breweries. Although the Imperial Stout is not quite ready for release, it has been bottled and is just conditioning for a couple of weeks before it is sent to market.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Appearances can be deceiving....

Yesterday, Amber and I spent the day in Boston (to watch the Bruins...who won...and we had really amazing seats 2 rows back from the ice...oh yeah!). Side note: we had winter hook and blonde ale from Red Hook while were there. I love the fact that you can get Red Hook there.
Anyhow, after a day of hockey and getting around really well on the "t" we decided to head to the Bell in Hand for a beer before we called it an evening and headed home.
Upon examining what was on tap....something caught our eye. Bell in Hand Ale. What a find! Something that could only be had there at the Bell in Hand. Very excited to try this new brew, we each ordered a 22 ounce. Eagerly, we took our first sips. We were both pleasently surprised with the flavor. Oh yeah...we'd found something totally amazing and unique and were so excited to share it with the rest of the 2 beer guys crew.
Amber, taking a picture of the tap handle to show Sean, drew the bartender's attention back to us and he walked over in our direction. He never asked anything, but Amber offered up that her husband was really into beer and she wanted a picture of the tap handle for him. The bartender then asked if we were enjoying the "Bell in Hand" ale and in unision we conveyed our pleasure with this delicious beer. That's when the bar tender let us in on a little secret.
He said that the Bell in Hand ale wasn't their product at all. It was, in fact, made by the Sam Adams company. Amber and I looked at one another, slightly miffed, but not entirely suprised. Our enthusiasm slightly ebbing, we enjoyed yet another sip. Then he dropped the bomb.
This unique beer that we thought we'd discovered was anything but. It was, in fact, a clever marketing scheme by the Sam Adams company. Turns out they make unique tap handles sporting local pub names, indicating a product that you can only find at said local pubs. And then they distribute this "unique" beer to the local pubs under these "unique" aliases. And if you look over at the next tap...the secret is then revealed, because they also sell this "unique" brew under it's real name. We'd been had! Our small moment of beer triumph came to a screeching halt as this Bell in Hand Ale was exposed for the imposter that it really was. For all along, we'd been enjoying.....Sam Adams Boston Lager.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Long Hammer IPA

At the turn of the year, Redhook re-named their very popular IPA to Long Hammer IPA. As I sit here in the Redhook Cataqua Publick House, sipping this concoction, I can assure you that it is every bit as much the IPA that it was before. Long story short...it's the same beer.

Now, for me, this would appear to be a good thing. Redhook's IPA is one of my favorite local beers, if not my favorite. It's smooth, hoppy, but well balanced, and is very drinkable in more than one bottle.

However, this is also disturbing news for me. Given that they haven't tinkered with the recipe, I have to wonder what their motivation was for re-titling the beer. None of Redhook's other offerings have 'names'. They are very much a truth-in-labeling sort of company. IPA, ESB, Blonde...what you read is what you get. With the introduction of Long Hammer, you get their first launch into the popular craft beer trend of having clever names for beer. Redhook, to this point, has been able to get by with just a solid product, without any clever marketing gimmicks. This is where its gets disturbing.

As we've been assured several times, Anheuser-Busch's 49% stake in Redhook affords them nothing more than handling the distribution channels. However, the move to naming the IPA just calls out to me saying "Hey, we want to grab some more attention and hopefully people will cling onto this flashy name." Well, to me, it reeks of big brother intervention, perhaps not in a forceful way, but perhaps someone on the board saying hey, how about this? I can only hope that this is not the case, and that someone in the marketing department had too much to drink one night and had a zany idea. It would be unfortunate if big A-B had anything to do with this decision, as most certainly more "big ideas" would trickle down, eventually into the beer itself.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

IBU's not the bitter end on taste

We had an epiphany the other night at The Tap in Haverhill, regarding the relationship between ibu's and bitterness.

One would think that there would be a direct correlation between the ibu count and the bitter profile of the beer and, for the most part, you'd be right. However, the ibu's don't tell us the whole story. Case in point, the Leatherlips IPA that is brewed by The Tap.

Touted as a brew for serious hopheads only, we expected that it would have an extremely high ibu count. For those not certain of what I speak, ibu stands for International Bitterness Units, and is a unit of measure for determining the bitterness in a beer. Upon our examination of the beers statistics, we realized that it only had 50 ibu's. For a basis of comparison, both the Redhook and Harpoon IPA's have ibu's around 45-50, and both have a relatively smooth finish that is not overly biting. Needless to say, we were a little skeptical that the Leatherlips was going to be anything more than a mild IPA.

This was not the case. Due to a lack of a significant malt profile to balance out the hops, and despite the relatively low ibu's for this style of beer, the hops jump out of this beer with gusto, seemingly screaming "Hey, you better not overlook us!". The style was much more like a West Coast IPA, or a Double IPA, where the hop profile is put on display, as compared to an East Coast IPA (see Redhook and Harpoon) which is much more balanced. As such, Leatherlips, and other beers that do not have a significant malt presence, come across as extremely hoppy and bitter in their taste, despite not immediately displaying themselves as such when examining their numbers.

Again, to re-emphasize the point, while ibu's will tell a lot about a beer, they aren't the end-all-be-all as it relates to bitterness. In fact, you could argue that the malts have as much to do with the bitterness as the hops do, although in an inverse relationship.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

What's Yellow & Fizzy and tastes like #$%@

Last Thursday (January 4th, 2007), we were overdue for a queue clearing and we needed fridge space for more beer. :)

Amber, Ian and I decided that now was the time...... We anticipated this evening would come, but we weren't too overly excited for it. We hoped to be surprised, but since we are hop heads, we didn't have high expectations. (Note: Amber is a Malt Lover.)

The beers that we choose for this review night were the following:

Carolina Blonde
Cottonwood American Wheat
Copperhead Ale
DeGroens Marzen
Fordham Lager
Curve Ball Kölsch
Stoudts Brewing Company's Pils

It was a low scoring evening (check out the beer table for comparison)... but the Fordham Brewing Co - Copperhead Ale and the Pyramid Breweries Inc - Curve Ball Kölsch, scored pretty well. The Copperhead and the Curve ball were true to their style and would be enjoyable on a hot summer afternoon.

In past tense, we refer to this evening as the "Yellow Fizzy Beer Night" because the selection contained mostly light lagers. If you are a light beer drinker, check out our reviews to see if these styles would wet your whistle.

Tap it in.... Tap it in

Last night was an impromptu evening that was kick started by Curley Stout (Andy) with an invitation to visit the Tap Brewery in Haverhill, Ma. It's quite a conundrum why I have never been to the tap before. It's only 1 block over from where my Improv group met for 3+ years.

In the past few months, we saw Leatherlips (one of the Tap's offerings) in our local liquor stores. We were quite surprised that they had taken the leap towards mass production and distribution into our local area. It must have been a tough decision to reach out to a larger market. Since we wanted to be true to our local brewery, we vowed to have Leatherlips on tap before we bought it in the bottle.

Anyways, after twisting Ian and Amber's arm, I convinced them to go the Tap for some beer and tasty food.

The tap has a great pub menu and a variety of beer offerings.... 8 in total. Unfortunately, they were out of the Nut Brown. The beers that we reviewed are the following:

American Pale Ale
Charlie's Porter
DP's Irish Red Ale
Leatherlips IPA
Whittier White

Check out our reviews for more information about the individual offerings.

For directions to the Tap Brewery, please visit http://www.tapbrewpub.com/

Also, we would like to officially announce the "DogFather" into the 2Beerguy family. Steve, the DogFather, has been a in the family for quite sometime, but yesterday we informed him of his new 2Beerguy Malt lover nickname.

Confessions of a serial...

They say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, so here goes.

It happens to me all the time. I'll be driving along minding my own business, and then it just hits me out of nowhere, and I'm powerless against its draw. No matter what I do, I can't seem to help myself. It doesn't matter what time of the day it is. Lunch time, after work, weekends, irrelevant.

It's not like I don't have enough of it already. I've been stockpiling it for months, but that doesn't seem to matter. Once you have some of it, you want more of it. And the more you get, the more you want. It's a disease, and one that I'm ready to face and share with the world

I am a serial beer buyer.

If I see a liquor store, I'm in. Scouring the shelves and the back rooms, looking for some magical elixir that I have not yet seen. It's irrelevant to me that I'm already backed up 60 deep in the stockroom, I just have to have more.

Now that I've put this out there, I hope someone can empathize with me and, if nothing else, buy me a beer.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Holy Grail for Hop heads

On Saturday, I was searching for my Redsox swap gift.

(For those who are confused, in New England, we don't condone an Evil Empire swap, hence the Redsox swap.)

I stopped by my favorite adult beverage store (Leary's in Newburyport, MA), and stumbled upon the holy grail of IPA. We have been searching for this beer for over 6 months and it just happened to arrive on Saturday.

Is this suspense killing you? Ok, it was the Dogfish Head 120 min IPA.

We had tasted the 60 and the 90, but were unable to locate some 120.

Well, the Redsox swap turned into a Swap/Beer review with our 2beerguy friends.

Read the review of the 120 to learn what we though of it... Click here

Thursday, January 04, 2007

It's a xmas miracle


I'm in! What an honor, thanks Beer Guys!

And thanks again for the Xmas sampler 6 pack... Here's some thoughts one one I tried on NYE. The Frambozen Raspberry Brown Ale from New Belgium Brewing Company was a nice treat. Poured a dark reddish brown with a good head and decent lacing as it went down. There's no doubt that it's a raspberry beer, as the aroma is very strong. Reminded me of the old Oregon Raspberry Wheat Ale. An excellent beer to sip with a dessert, especially with chocolate, I think, though the sweetness makes it something I dount many people would want to have more than one of at a sitting.

Thanks again and looking forward to 2007!


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A man's best friend - beer?

Say it ain't so. I have always heard that a dog is a man's best friend. Not anymore!!

Dec 29, 2006
BERLIN - A thirsty German sold his 6-year-old step-daughter's pet beagle to the owner of a bar to pay for beer, the Bild newspaper reported on Friday.

The unemployed man offered to take the dog for a walk and then stopped at a bar where he convinced the owner to buy the 3-year-old dog for $53 (40 euros).

The man spent the proceeds quenching his thirst for beer. The bar owner has now returned the dog to its owner.

This article was found on Msnbc.com

Great News for those allergic to wheat or gluten!!

Interesting news coming out of the Anheuser-Busch camp...

Anheuser-Busch has developed what it claims is the first nationally available sorghum beer.

Targeted at consumers following a wheat-free or gluten-free diet, the beverage, called Redbridge, will be sold in stores carrying organic products and restaurants.

Sorghum, the primary ingredient in Redbridge, is a safe grain for those allergic to wheat or gluten. It is grown in the United States, Africa, Southern Europe, Central America and Southern Asia.

Sorghum beers have been available internationally for years and are popular in many African countries.

“We set out to create a fine, hand-crafted specialty beer made without wheat or barley,” said Angie Minges, product manager, Anheuser-Busch.

“We've made Redbridge nationally available to make sure adults who experience wheat allergies or who choose a gluten-free or wheat-free diet can enjoy the kind of beer that fits their lifestyle.”

Redbridge contains 4.8 per cent alcohol per 12-ounce serving. It will be available in 12-ounce, six-pack bottles. Redbridge is brewed at the Anheuser-Busch Merrimack, N.H., brewery.

Anheuser-Busch worked with the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) during the development of Redbridge to get a better understanding of the needs of consumers who are leading gluten-free or wheat-free lifestyles.

Celiac disease, caused by an intolerance to gluten, the protein found in wheat, rye and barley, is said to affect an average of one in 300 people in Europe and the US. In Germany the figure is higher at one in 200, while the UK reports a figure of one in 100.

Food intolerance and food allergies appear to be a growing problem. Though true food allergy is comparatively rare, affecting perhaps 8 per cent of children and 4 per cent of adults, food intolerance is more common.

Based in St. Louis, Anheuser Busch is the leading American brewer, holding a 48.8 percent share of US beer sales. Anheuser Busch also owns a 50 percent share in Grupo Modelo, Mexico's leading brewer, and a 27 percent share in Tsingtao, the No. 1 brewer in China.

Note: This article was found on http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com

Celebrating NYE 2007

Out with the old and in with the new. As many of our friends and family know, 2006 was the first of many years for 2beerguys.com. Sorry wives/gf's, we aren't going away that easy.

We would like to thank all of our 2006 guest reviewers and supporters for their support and interest in tasting good beers. We have high hopes and expectations for 2007. Our queue is loaded with many tasty beers, with the 300th beer ready for the challenge. What do we have planned? Well, something special from Stone Brewery.

OK, back to appropriate topic. Was Santa good to you this year? Did you enjoy tasty beers for NYE 2007? If so, please let us know.

I enjoyed many tasty beers on NYE. I decided to enjoy the beer with beers that we have already reviewed. I started the early afternoon drinking an Arrogant Bastard Ale, while watching the New England Patriots beat the Titans in the last regular season game. Here's the lineup for the rest of my NYE 2007:

Brooklyn Chocolate Stout
Stone IPA
Delirium - Noel
Racer 5 IPA

It's tough to beat a selection like that, but please let us know what YOU drank :)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Beer Holiday?

This was a very merry beer holiday...

Did you get what you want?

2006 was the year of sharing and giving beer gifts. For me, this was a crazy beer year. With gift purchases made from Bear Republic, Redhook, and Alaska Brewing company for family and friends. It was nail biting right down to the end. Packages even arrived on Sunday, NYE.

Receiving other special gifts from Gritty's and Sebago. There won't be any returns --- unless you count the bottle return. HA HA

The year of the Taps and Beer books. Tap displays, recipe books and home brewing guides. What will 2007 bring? Who knows, but there are rumors that the 2beerguys and friends will be enjoying some home brew.

Did you have a merry beer holiday?

If so, please share....