A Drink at Vesuvio: Rogue Dead Guy Ale

       Jack Kerouac Alley, once a side street known for frequent garbage dumping but is now a little gateway of culture connecting Chinatown and North Beach.  Formally known as Alder Alley, this convenient little connection was renamed after Jack Kerouac, the famous beat writer who used to hang out there.  The walkway is now filled with engraved Western and Chinese poems from many poets including Kerouac himself.

      At the end of this alleyway on Columbus street is a little bar called Vesuvio, known for being a hangout to beat celebrities like Jack Kerouac, Dylan Thomas, and Neal Cassady.  Inside, cluttered with art, posters, and artifacts, was a funky little bar with balcony seating and a decent drink menu.  We had arrived early in the afternoon so the place was fairly empty when we got there, but after a casual drink and some conversation, the regulars seemed to trickle in.
      It was here I had my first beer from Rogue, a craft brewery from Newport, Oregon.  This was a nice little break from the heavy I.P.A. consumption I had been doing in San Francisco.  This would be a great beer to have with food as it is relatively mild in flavor intensity.  The beer poured a nice orange/amber with little head.  It had a refreshing smell of fruits like apricot and citrus but with faint smells of malt.  This was a good casual beer to have, my only suggestion would be to intensify the flavor a bit as I found it to be a bit too mild.

Rating: 7/10
ABV: 6.5%
IBU: 40

Back from San Fran! Beer Review: Pliny The Elder

   Nicole and I have finally returned home from our vacation with my family over to San Francisco to visit my sister.  The trip was full of laughs, good food, and amazing beers.  I didn’t get to blog as much as I wanted because the 3G coverage was terrible in the city and the wireless internet in the apartment that we stayed at was not working at all.  San Francisco was a beautiful city full of incredible scenery (minus the hippies and the homeless) but I am glad we are finally home. It was definitely a city that is great to visit but I could never live there.  Lets get to the review that I have been eager to do!
   Pliny The Elder is regarded by many as being one of the 10 best beers in the world.  My stepfather hyped this beer to me for months leading up to our trip to the point that I started to worry a bit.  Would I still be able to give this a fair review with all of this hype or would I be hit with that mild disappointment that often accompanies heavily hyped things?  It’s sort of like years ago when the “Blair Witch Project” came out.  I was fortunate enough to see this movie without knowing anything about it.  It was the first of its kind to do what it did so it was hard not to praise it however I know many that thought it was stupid and lame, all of which went to see it after hearing the hype.  When we arrived at our apartment in San Francisco, my sister had 2 chilled bottles waiting for us, and the beer was even more impressive than I ever thought.  This was the perfect double I.P.A., no question about it.  The beer pours a hazy golden color with not much head.  I found it to have more carbonation that some of the other double I.P.A.’s I’ve had.  Pliny gives off an incredible aroma of pine with barely a hint of fruit.  It was a little too cold for our first few tastes so the hop explosion was very intense, but as the beer dropped in temperature you could taste every element to this beer perfectly.  An initial hop explosion that leaves a citrus, grapefruit, taste lingering behind with absolutely no undesirable aftertaste.  The only thing that I can find wrong with this beer is that it is incredibly difficult to find.  Places were sold out of it or had limited quantities.  My stepfather was able to come across two stores that had a few bottles left and in each store he took the remaining beers.  If you are ever on the west coast, this beer is a must!

Rating: 10/10
ABV:  8.0

Wednesday Beer Review: Elysian The Immortal IPA

   Last night’s beverage of choice was the Elysian “The Immortal” I.P.A. from the Elysian Brewing Company out of Seattle, Washington.   I picked this up with a few other bottles at the Village Beer Merchant here in Buffalo.  I’ve decided that I’m going to review up to four beers a week.  Next week I’m off to San Fransisco where I will be taking note of plenty incredible beers that I will be encountering on the west coast.
   I had passed by this beer numerous times at the beer store and it had always caught my eye.  After reading some mediocre reviews that delayed previous impulse purchase attempts, today I caved in and decided to give it a try.  The beer poured a nice hazy, golden amber and had a really impressive thick, clingy, eggshell colored head on it that remained constant for most of the beer.

  This wasn’t as hoppy as I normally prefer my I.P.A.’s but it was rich in honey citrus flavors without being too sweet.  What impressed me the most was the incredible balance of flavor.  It wasn’t  too sweet but it had just the perfect blend of pine, grapefruit, and sweet fruits.

Rating: 8/10

22 oz Bottle
ABV: 6.3%
IBU:  54

Availability: Year Round  1/2Bbl Kegs and 22oz bottles.

Tuesday Beer Review: Southern Tier IPA

    I’ve been a vegetarian for almost 3 years I think.  I haven’t really been keeping track but I’m pretty sure I was closing in on 3 years.  For about 4 months I’ve been having a struggle in my head as to why.  I was never really a big meat eater, although I would occasionally enjoy different meats, but not very often.  So when I had decided to become a vegetarian, it wasn’t very difficult for me to make the transition.  For about 4 months I’d been wondering to myself why I am vegetarian.  It had become more of a religion to me and had gotten to the point where I really didn’t know why I was doing it.  Tonight I have decided to toss out the label that I assumed years ago and I cooked a blackened salmon dinner.  This isn’t a gateway into the world of meat addiction, I really don’t see my diet changing all that drastically.  Instead of chicken, I’ll always prefer seitan or tofu, its delicious.  That part of me has not changed, and I will not be eating fast food like Whoppers or Big Macs because I don’t want to die when I’m 50 or weight 400 pounds.  Tonight I wanted a piece of fish and that’s exactly what I made.  I am declaring myself no longer a vegetarian, but a healthy eater.  With that being said, lets get to some beer.

The Southern Tier IPA won’t blow your mind, but its a decent quick beer to drink when there’s limited selection.

   Tonight I enjoyed a glass of Southern Tier IPA from the Southern Tier Brewing Company of Lakewood, New York.  I have had a few beers from Southern Tier and my thoughts remain the same after each one.  Southern Tier makes a decent beer.  Its not amazing and its not awful. It’s just plain decent and its a beer that I will get if I’m out at a bar that has a limited selection.  The beer has a decent helping of citrus and hops and doesn’t leave an undesirable, lingering bitterness in your mouth.  This is actually a beer that I thought tasted a little better as it got warmer, becoming sweeter but still maintaining a decent malty flavor.  I poured the beer into a standard pint glass where it displayed nice color and mild carbonation.

A loyal companion to a blackened salmon.

     Overall, the Southern Tier IPA would be more of a casual beer that I would keep in my fridge.  It goes well with spicy food and is reasonably priced.

ABV: 6.9%
IBU:  65

It’s Friday! Go Sabres!

    The weekend has finally arrived and its slam packed full of things to do.  My parents get into town today for an overnight visit which usually involves drinking, good food, and fun.  Tonight is a huge playoff game for the Sabres as we try to pull ahead in our series with Philly.  When they get here we will be going to the blue monk for an afternoon treat that I am looking forward to.
   Also I started on some of the model pictures for the site.  I think they came out pretty awesome and look forward to doing some more.

Busy Weekend!

    This weekend was pretty busy. Seeing as I did nothing creative this weekend, I figured i might as well write about the weekend. On Friday I finished work early itching for a delicious beverage.  Nicole and I headed down to one of our favorite places for beer, The Blue Monk.  It’s a Belgian beer garden with about 50 beers on tap.  I am not a Belgian beer drinker, in fact I hate Belgian beer, but Nicole likes it and there is usually a delicious I.P.A. of sorts on tap that I can enjoy.  I like my beer to be hop overload.  Usually at night its almost impossible to get in there at night because its the best place to get beer in the city, so getting there at 3:00pm was quiet and relaxing. 

Hopfenstark Post Colonial I.P.A.

  When the Middle Ages truck is parked OUTSIDE, that means its time for me to go INSIDE.  

       At night we made BBQ Seitan on onion rolls with salt potatoes.  We felt we should probably eat in because this weekend was going to involve spending money.  The Sabres are in the playoffs and when that happens, we live it up!

Nicole slicing and dicing

   After dinner we watched “In the Company of Men”.  Its one of my personal favorites and Nicole has never seen it.  The movie is dark comedy about these two business men that hate the way women go through men like they are nothing.  They both come up with a horrific plan to find a vulnerable woman, make her fall in love with them, and then destroy her emotionally.  Its totally out there but I enjoy it ever time I see it.

    Saturday was Sabres Day.  5:00pm game at one of our favorite playoff hot spot, Gramma Mora’s.  We enjoy catching the playoffs because we always get a seat at the bar right in front of the TV and its some of the best Mexican food in Buffalo.  We had a good time there as always even though we lost the game.  Minus the insane amount of penalties we received in the second period, it was an awesome game that we could have won if we didn’t push our luck in the second.  We will take them on Monday.

This was the Garden Platter which was delicious.  I don’t remember exactly what was in it but it went down  fast and I was satisfied.  Above the Garden Platter is the Guacamole Nacho platter Nicole ordered.

    We had met our friends Molly and Patrick at the restaurant and after the game we came back to our apartment for some boardgames.  We usually play Apples to Apples which is usually fun but then I broke out an intense oldie but goodie…..Jenga.  It was an intense session of skillfully removing blocks one at a time, hoping not destroy the fragile foundation that it created as each piece gets removed from the foundation and placed onto the top.  We then ended the night with a game of 90’s trivial pursuit where Nicole and I mounted a comeback and then I blew the game at the end by asking Patrick a question that he answered before I even finished asking the question.
     It was a fun weekend and I’m looking forward to next week/weekend.  More playoff games, a fundraiser to attend for a new micro brewery, and my parents visiting.  I should have some new ideas and shirts to present this week and I have already been brainstorming and am ready to do something sweet.

Back from Rochester

   The weekend flew by but I managed to get a lot done.  I had to go back to Rochester, where I am from, so that I could get some help from my financial adviser (my step-dad) with my taxes. This is the first year that I am filing my taxes with the business so I wanted to make sure I was doing everything correctly.  Our trips to Rochester are usually a lot of fun, usually involving great drinks, food and lots of laughs.  This weekend was no different as Nicole and I, along with my mom and step-dad, went to the Owl House for dinner.  The Owl House is amazing and I wish Buffalo had something similar.  In Buffalo, we have Merge which is basically what the Owl House would be it did everything wrong.  The food at Merge is bland, boring, and unimaginative. The place just lacks anything that would make it special.  The food and drinks at the Owl House are just awesome.  Although they didn’t have the BBQ braised Seitan that I ate the last time I was there (which was by far my favorite), I had a grilled cheese sandwich that was phenomenal.  It was grilled Daiya cheese with mashed potatoes and asparagus right on the sandwich.  That accompanied by a delicious Black IPA made for a great dinner.  My mother even tried the grilled cheese with the Daiya cheese (which is a vegan cheese) which is big for her because she is hesitant to try vegetarian things.  Nicole had this gorganzola mushroom pizza that was also pretty delicious.  She gets this one drink that they make which I believe is called the Smoke Monster.  Its basically a Bloody Mary with liquid smoke. It is out of this world.
     Good food, family, and two days in a row of Sabres victories clinching a playoff spot makes for a great weekend but its time to get back to work!  Orders have been constant and my new screen is ready to form into Charles Bronson!  I will have pictures when it is completed.

Izzy gets sad over everything, even Sabres victories.

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