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Northern Monk - Heathen IPA 7.2%
Now that is more like it!!! #craftbeer #craftbeerlife #craftbeerlover #craftbeerporn #beergeek #beergasm #beersnob #beerstagram #instabeer #beerlover #beerporn #beer #beerlife #beernerd #beerkive #beerphoto #cerveza #cerveja #beer #ale #beerlove #craftbrew #beerme #bier #biere #craftbeernotcrapbeer #craftnotcrap #northernmonk #ipa

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Holy smokes! We won! The Flanders Ale Yeast (072 Wyeast) was right on the money and by popular consent was the best beer on club competition night! All I can say is the Micro Piglets are stunned almost as badly as Brazil tonight.

If any of you are reading this regularly, you’ll know that I mistakenly bought the yeast for a bit of fun from a brew store friend at Brooklyn Homebrew, not realizing that the yeast was only to be used for our club competition. Only after I’d brewed the beer without measuring the OG or the fermentation temps throughout, did I realize that I had to enter it into the competition.

Still after a pint tonight I can see why it was tasty. It has a smooth creamy head, upfront malt character from the Ukrainian honey, pilsner malt and caramunich, and a touch of bitterness on the finish from Saaz and Hallertau hops to clean your palette. I like it, it’s the Micro Pig Brewery’s best brew to date.

You can find the recipe on the link below and although I don’t have temperature control, you can be sure temps were between 72F and 76F during fermentation.

http://www.brewtoad.com/recipes/biere-de-garde-54

So tonight Legolas and boys sleep with a $49 voucher for the great bar and homebrew club venue Brouwerij Lane, Brooklyn under their pillow. Well done boys, next time let’s be more scientific…

I can’t help but wonder if Bobcaygeon Brewing has seen a jump in sales due to the buzz around The Tragically Hip’s farewell tour. After all, it seems fitting to toast Gord and the boys with a beer from a brewery that shares the name of one of their best known songs. Especially when it’s as nice a beer as the brewery’s flagship Common Loon APA, a lean and refreshing pale ale that moves from a front end of toasted bread grain and light caramel to middle and finishing notes of grass, citrus peel, and a faint hint of pineapple. Lovely! #beer #craftbeer #beerreview #beerphoto #ale #paleale #ontariobeer #bobcaygeonbrewing

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Swoosh, gushes of beer left and right and before I could reach to the sink half of the bottle was spilled over a square meter of kitchen. Eh some things just happen (over the top bottle fermentation?) but such a force wow… is it safe to drink it now? I mean what’s left in the bottle of course. Well, I took my chances and wasn’t disappointed. Neither impressed, honestly. Mastri Birrai Umbri have some impressive brews and some so-so and this unfiltered blonde ale didn’t quite reach it. The aromas are just not there enough, sorry. At least it was fun.

Magic Rock - Common Grounds Triple Coffee Porter 5.4%
Stylish can, but you would have to have drunk this beer at the tap to know that it’s brewed using Dark Woods Coffee. The Rock serve their coffee to non drinkers/drivers at the tap and it’s awesome, apart from a well hidden logo on the can there is no mention at all about a key ingredient in the brew. Considering they shout it from the rooftops in the tap, and really value their food van programme, it’s a bit weird. But it’s still a great can and its still a great beer, stuffed full of creamy vanilla, chocolate and coffee flavours, it’s a proper joy #craftbeer #craftbeerporn #beergeek #beergasm #beersnob #beerstagram #instabeer #beerlover #beerporn #beer #beerlife #beernerd #beerkive #beerphoto #lager #beernation #cerveza #cerveja #beerkulture #beer #ale #beerlove #craftbrew #beerme #bier #biere #magicrock #magicrockbrewing

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Birra Peja Original

7am. Finally, sleep. Then… BUZZZZZZZZZZZZZ! Surprise surprise, it’s the janitor with some workers all in orange and protection helmets. They were supposed to check dunno what in the cellar, yawn come in and check it at once. Back to sleep. Then… BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! Surprise surprise, they came around also for drilling holes in me house’s walls! *censored* Turns out, the plan was all along to install us the optical cable connection. For free, they underlined with pride. Announcing beforehand?? Ha, a concept out of company’s grasp, I had to notice after calling their head office… Only issue they said, they weren’t paid to move stuff out of the cellar. But who pays ME to do it at 7am for some optical fancy watchamacallit??? Finally we made peace, shook hands and exchanged a few experiences about being foreigner in Switzerland. They were from Kosovo, an Albanian speaking civil war torn part of the Balkans only recently (and not by all) recognized as independent state.

(guess who took the lousy pic)

Peja Original is also from Kosovo but owned (if not sold already…) by the financially troubled Sloven brewery group Lasko. I got it in a local food chain which given the recent immigration wave (every 30th Swiss resident is Kosovar or Albanian) decided to take also this Kosovar beer, with the requirement to change its name from Peja Pilsner to Peja Original (don’t ask why). They sell nothing from Romania though, apparently we Romanians aren’t that many around here to matter while the *ahem* well known Romanian sex workers weren’t counted dammit. Anyway, the beer is a slightly bitter pale lager rather bland or in a word: unimpressive. 6 like in six.

(img Nicola Pitaro, TA)

Courtesy of Sean Lock, The Tiger who came for a pint. Except this one stayed on for a gin and finished off on de-icer the dirty bastard! #craftbeer #craftbeerlife #craftbeerlover #craftbeerporn #beergeek #beergasm #beersnob #beerstagram #instabeer #beerlover #beerporn #beer #beerlife #beernerd #beerkive #beerphoto #cerveza #cerveja #beer #ale #beerlove #craftbrew #beerme #bier #biere #craftbeernotcrapbeer #craftnotcrap #8outof10cats #seanlock

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Black Market Brewing - Aftermath IPA 5.8%
Firstly, this is lovely. Fragrant, hoppy, zesty, right up my boulevard!
But I want to draw your attention to what they say on the can, this is where things have changed so much from the days of strong beers like Stella and Kestral super strength, and when a session beer was 3.8%. They say about their 5.8% beer “Aftermath was produced for the IPA drinker who seeks a lower ABV without sacrificing huge hop flavours and aroma. We believe Aftermath achieves this and will become one of your favourite sessionable IPAs.”
Don’t know about you, but I don’t know how many 5.8% beers I could have on a session. I sure as hell am enjoying this one, love the walking dead style can complete with nuclear mushroom cloud #craftbeer #craftbeerporn #beergeek #beergasm #beersnob #beerstagram #instabeer #beerlover #beerporn #beer #beerlife #beernerd #beerkive #beerphoto #lager #beernation #cerveza #cerveja #beerkulture #beer #ale #beerlove #craftbrew #beerme #bier #biere #aftermath #blackmarketbrewing

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Aare Amber and spring impressions

The spring definitely reached Zurich yesterday. Not that we had much of a winter this year anyway - it snowed once in November and maybe two flurries in between, temperatures slightly below zero at night and… that was all of it. Last week the sun gathered more and more courage and yesterday it was obvious: winter’s gone for good so half of the city population went sunbathing around the Bellevue side of the lake. The other half of the city probably drove down south for Ticino and the Italian border, a unnecessary trip as Zurich had over 15°C the whole Sunday afternoon. The tide of Fasnacht (whatever, Mardi Gras, carnival…) was receding, partygoers with the hair full of confetti and an occasional brass band or themed group were sitting around, having a quiet beer and a sausage while watching the sun setting. The only hue of stress came from the huge queue for Mövenpick ice cream and the few hasty street sweeper machines.

The blue cabin you can see behind is actually a floating theater, a place I plan to visit once… but no, yesterday was beer time. Nobody ever sells interesting beer on the streets, quite obviously, so I decided to BYOB and picked this Aare Amber for the trip. No bad choice for a spring afternoon, everything was there what an amber means but still not quite what I have expected. A nice smell, a taste a bit atypical with more yeastiness and more bitterness than I’m used to, not too carbonated… overall I was more confused than impressed. Could be only because I couldn’t properly place it? In any case, it was fine drinking it at the lakeside, could have been cooler though - I didn’t have a full cooling chain between cellar and lake…

Störtebeker Glüh-Bier

Mulled wine, no no pardon me, mulled beer? That is something new for me, and I won’t put it on my next Christmas wish list. I mean, brewed with elderberries, brave idea, but does a beer need elderberries at all? I argue it doesn’t. Yes yes, I admit, it technically really does remind you of mulled wine even when you drink it cold. It has some spices and some sourness and all (although the brewery talks about sweetness…), but I just don’t think it should. Ok? Ok. So I’ll give it a generous 7 - mostly for originality.

More interesting is the brewer’s name. There was a pirate haunting the hanseatic harbors end of the 1300’s and his nickname was, you guessed, Störtebeker - “stürz den Becher” (“empty the glass” - and we’re talking 4-liter beer mugs in one gulp). Unfortunately as it happens with many legends, also this one happened to be proven wrong lately - many exploits attributed the pirate were actually of a mercenary with a similar name. Well, we have an independent brewery at least, named like this since only 2 years (although almost 200 years old).

Ah but the story of the pirate’s demise is quite good. He was captured with his whole crew, and aligned all in one row. Störtebeker was to be beheaded first, then the authorities would let live as many crewmembers as his corpse would be able to walk past. Headless Störtebeker was able to walk past eleven folks until the deathsman said FTS and tripped him, then beheaded the whole crew. What?

Below’s an artist impression of the scene, like 300 years later.

Schützengarten Schwarzer Bär and spring skiing

Weekend’s gone and the skiing for this season is also pretty much done. We couldn’t invest as much time in running down the slopes as we usually do - the kid just had a tough exam for the middle school and you know, it’s March already! There’s a slight chance for a round of glacier skiing over Easter, but that’s still in the stars. That aside, today was a great spring ski day in Flumserberg. Pleasantly sunny, quite warm but the snow not really wet and in shadowy places rather icy. Somehow, or rather usually, when spring is here the locals forget winter completely and run to warmer places, leaving the slopes almost empty. Better for us, roaming free just under the crests of the Swiss Alps… technically it’s pre-Alps, but let’s not dawdle in minute details.

Another detail I’d like to forget is my finger ruining the above picture. Well, that’s how it works when you’re in a hurry, unpardonable especially when you pour yourself a glass of beer. See the beer head in the Black Bear glass (Schwarzer Bär that is) below? Now imagine how much flew in the tray one instant before - not enough to see in the picture but still way more I’d have expected. The bear on the label seems pleased with the overflow, I should have licked it the same way and I’d have had the whole attention of the other guests. Just… the beer is not so special to deserve such passion, Schwarzer Bär is rather what I’d call a summer beer. It tastes ok tendency malts like a decent dark, but it’s soft and refreshing and definitely not a “winter” creation. Luckily, winter is gone…

Brewdog - Abstrakt AB:19 13.1%
Got the urge for something big after seeing all the imperials that @swany85 has been smashing recently. Enjoying this whilst watching Team GB teach the world how to ride a bike #craftbeer #craftbeerporn #beergeek #beergasm #beersnob #beerstagram #instabeer #beerlover #beerporn #beer #beerlife #beernerd #beerkive #beerphoto #lager #beernation #cerveza #cerveja #beerkulture #beer #ale #beerlove #craftbrew #beerme #bier #biere #brewdog #abstrakt

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Bad Seed Brewery - Lemongrass and Thyme Saison
To me it doesn’t matter how many thing have lemongrass in them, I just can’t taste it. Can really taste the Thyme though
#craftbeer #craftbeerporn #beergeek #beergasm #beersnob #beerstagram #instabeer #beerlover #beerporn #beer #beerlife #beernerd #beerkive #beerphoto #beernation #beerkulture

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Guess what I got for Valentine this year? A Boxer Old beer can - for my cans collection. Guess what I brought along blissfully happy just moments before that? Two Boxer Old beer cans - for my cans collection. Now if YOU think you could get safe out of that, you must be delusional. I managed to barely survive and I call myself lucky. On the flip side, I have now cans for my collection and got to try a beer I didn’t have in years. First note: it certainly tastes waaay better when you drink it in a club. A pale lager very light, a bit sweet and little head, a taste to remember (not necessarily good just specific), fizzy alright, hmmm, I ran out of positive things to say about it. Final note: it makes no sense to drink it outside a club.

I remember first drinking Boxer in the now defunct Abart (a hint to the German word “abartig” - deviant). This alternative scene black and red and always packed nightclub was placed not far from Zurich’s center, under a never-to-be-finished highway bridge. Recently the powers to be owners decided to tear the whole area down and build fancy condominiums instead, but those were the times… one of the best concerts I lived there was Killing Joke back in 2003, with a Jaz in top form, war paint and all, but without playing “Love like blood” (let’s not dwell on this fact). This video I found is however from 2012, same venue, same group, 9 years later and few months before the club was tore down. RIP Abart!