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Friday, December 13, 2019

Drinksgiving 2019: Part II - The 5-hour piss break and descent into Louisville

Other than being in a bit of a sleep-deprived haze from the previous night's shenanigans, things got off to a great start on Friday morning. Our hotel amenities included a nice hot breakfast buffet, which I always like to take advantage of so we don't need to be bothered with things like lunch. I also find that a good, hearty breakfast provides an ample base on top of which to lay lots and lots of beer. And that's the reason why were traveling, so we might as well put our best foot forward.

After breakfast, we got cleaned up, checked out of the hotel, and set the coordinates for Louisville. All was going as planned, until we got about an hour away from our destination (our Air B&B). Turns out some of our party needed to relieve themselves (I'm sure one of them was me). Deuane suggested stopping at a brewery in Lexington, which happened to be the next exit off the Interstate. Sounded good to me! To reiterate one of my favorite Ricky-isms, "get two birds stoned at once!" I'll never turn down an offer to stop at a brewery that's new to me.

Well, our quick piss break turned into an enjoyable five-hour romp around Lexington to three different breweries. Sometimes you gotta just go with the flow and call an audible from time to time. After sampling my first beer, I was unequivocally certain that we'd made an excellent decision.

Outside West Sixth Brewing. It's on West 6th Street, of course!

I'd never heard of West Sixth Brewing prior to this trip, but it shall be a name I never forget after our fantastic experience at its impressive brewery, even though I usually suck at remembering brewery names with numbers in them. The brewery takes its name from its physical location, which is situated at 501 West 6th St in Lexington. Sometimes you need not look any further than your address when naming your brewery. Seems like it's worked out for West Sixth.

Like many other breweries across the country, Black Friday has become a popular release date for imperial stouts (for good reason, I suppose... imperial stouts are the darkest of dark beers). The style is also right at the tippy top of my "favorite beer styles" list. West Sixth's imperial stout is named Snake Eyes, and of course they entice their fans with a number of variations of the base beer. The one that struck my fancy was German Chocolate Snake Cake. This variant of Snake Eyes has been aged in bourbon barrels with coconut, pecans, cocoa nibs, and vanilla. Sometimes you have a beer that is so wonderful in all its complexities, it stirs the loins into a frenzy. This was one of those beers, people. It was like licking the batter from cake mixer beaters at a Belgian chocolatier's shop in Brussels. Everything about this beer was stunning: it's decadent aroma with dark bitter cocoa, baker's chocolate, high-end espresso and shaved coconut; its luscious, silky mouthfeel; it's spot-on chocolate cake flavor with an amazing balance of all the adjunct ingredients; and it's dark, ominous presence. It's like, where do you go from here when this is the first beer of the trip?! Needless to say, I bought a bottle of this to enjoy at home. I probably won't share it with anyone other than Brewslut (and Pleeps), thought... not gonna lie to ya!

Pleeps loves his stouts.

What a way to start the trip! Granted, we kicked off Drinksgiving the previous night, this was the official first beer at a brewery. German Chocolate Snake Cake set the bar ridiculously high for breweries to come, and turned out to be my second favorite beer of the trip by such a minuscule margin that I'd almost call it the "co-best beer of the trip." I made sure I didn't vacate the premises without obtaining a bottle of this liquid gold for future consumption at home.

Lots of beer flowing during our impromptu visit to West Sixth!

Since the space was fairly large, I decided to meander around a bit and capture some photos for the blog when I stumbled into the adjacent barrel room. Turns out they feature a number of different barrel-aged beers available on tap at a separate bar area. Score! As a reward to myself for unearthing this nugget of information, I ordered a pour of Barrel Aged Burley Barleywine. This meant that the first two beers of the day exceeded 10% ABV. This heavy-hitter weighed in at a whopping 15%, but it concealed its boozy warmth quite well. While not as mind-blowing as its predecessor, I did appreciate the subtle complexities of this one. The beer itself possessed a number of scotch-like qualities including a hint of smoky peat, tobacco leaf, and rawhide, which mingled with dark caramel, stone fruit, and toffee. The bourbon presence was pretty muted despite the hefty 15% ABV tag.

Inside the barrel room at West Sixth.

Meanwhile, we were also enjoying a pour of another barrel room exclusive: a tart cherry variation of West Sixth's flagship cocoa porter, Pay It Forward. The name of the beer is derived from the fact that the brewery donates fifty cents of each six-pack sale to a non-profit organization. The version we enjoyed is the sixteenth release of its Sixfold barrel-aged series. I enjoyed this one a bit more than the barleywine, surprisingly. The flavor of this beer features a surge of tart cherry bliss followed by deep, rich notes of cocoa and vanilla with a splash of coffee. The tart cherry character returns to finish with a wash of cherry pie-like flavor that was delicious. This beer was pretty damn impressive!

While Deuane and I were perusing the merchandise, we got talking to a couple who were visiting from Michigan, if I recall. The guy mentioned he visits Louisville frequently, and highly recommended a tour of Angel's Envy distillery. Coincidentally, Deuane had already made arrangements for us to take the "deep dive" barrel tour the following day. The guy also mentioned two other worthy Louisville breweries - Country Boy and Ethereal - so we decided to call an audible and check out these two places. I mean, we were already in Lexington, soooooo...

It's early to rise, early in the sack...

First up was Country Boy. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I don't think it was a big, gray rectangle of a building. I was thinking more along the lines of a farmhouse or old barn. Aesthetics aside, it turns out this little places makes some solid beers.

When we entered, we surveyed the scene and the small room was fairly full. The bar was mostly occupied, but there were a few random vacant tables throughout the place. (Eventually, we decided to set up shop at a small round table in the back of the room.) I was pretty excited to see a dozen beers on tap at Country Boy. Turns out, they had TWO beer boards each sporting twelve different beers (so that's like a total of 24 for my mathematics-impaired readers). One board featured staples and year-round beers, while the other boasted seasonals and one-offs. There's definitely something for everyone here. 

Just half of the beers available at Country Boy.

Despite having an assortment of styles to which I tend to gravitate, I threw caution to the wind and decided to take a chance on an Oud Bruin called Living Proof. Described as a "brown ale aged in oak barrels with wild yeast," I must admit this was a pretty impressive interpretation of the classic Belgian style. I'm glad I argued with my better judgment, because I was certain that a place named "Country Boy" couldn't possibly have a very good Oud Bruin. It's good to be wrong once in a while; it keeps life in perspective. This beer had a nice tart cherry-like pucker with a complex, funky finish and plenty of dark fruit notes and dry, woody appeal. I dug this one quite a bit, actually.

The wheel of tap handles at Country Boy.

I honestly have no recollection of my next beer, which was apparently Laid Back Lager. Perhaps I just tried a bit of Brewslut's beer, or perhaps I was entering a brief imperial-stout-and-barleywine-induced memory lapse. Either way, I checked it in so I must have tried it. By this time, I seemed to be more occupied with Pudding. Let me explain. Brewslut happened to find a little figurine of a horse and decided to name him (or her... not sure of the gender) Pudding. Pudding ended up making the trip back home with us, and we consider this little guy (or gal) a cool little bonus memento of our visit to Country Boy.

Brewslut found this little guy and named him Pudding.

Next up was our third and final stop in Lexington, Ethereal. I'm grateful that we decided to take such a lengthy piss break, because this place turned out to be my favorite brewery of the trip! Situated on a sprawling 25-acre property known as The Distillery District, Ethereal shares its address with a myriad of other local artisans including two distilleries, a pizzeria, restaurant, ice cream lounge, music venue, arcade, and even an on-site doggie daycare. And that's just scraping the surface! Seriously, we could have spend an entire day here. We didn't even realize there was another brewery - Fusion Brewing - on campus. Carolyn and I did, however, hit up Crank & Boom Ice Cream Lounge for a sweet treat before heading out to Louisville.

Ethereal: Blurring between science and magic.

After checking out the beer menu, I noticed a trend beginning to form. Like West Sixth, I decided to explore the imperial stout path once again and ordered a beer named Breakfast Baba Yaga. This Russian Imperial Stout features maple syrup and local espresso from Nate's Coffee. It's also a heavy-hitter at 14.25% ABV. If I had a gun to my head and was asked what my favorite beer of the trip was, this would be it. The flavor of this beer was perfectly balanced with just the right amount of maple and coffee character. The mouthfeel was spot-on for the style: luscious and smooth with ample viscosity. As Linda Richmond would say, "Like buttah!" It was, by all accounts, a perfect beer. I'm still salivating about this beer as I write this.

What's pouring at Ethereal?

Up next was Bellerophon, a bourbon barrel-aged barleywine aged in Four Roses bourbon barrels. By this time, I was thinking: Man, what's up with me and high-gravity beers this trip? Oh yeah, I'm not driving! It made sense to me. Plus who doesn't love a good barre-aged stout or barleywine? I have a weak spot for both styles. Really, anything barrel-aged always seems to pique my curiosity.

Anyway, this one is a more traditional English style than the one we'd experienced at West Sixth. Bellerophon boasted thick notes of bourbon-soaked caramels, French toast, vanilla, and butterscotch with traces of dark fruit around the edges. It was pretty freakin' delicious. Curious about the name, I decided to consult my good buddy Google for answers. Turns out Bellerophon was a famous Greek hero, mostly known for defeating Chimera, a fire-breathing mythical monster. He is also known for riding Pegasus, the winged horse given to him as a gift from Athena. Shame on me for not knowing that bit of mythology. I'm surprised Brewslut didn't make the connection, as she's been teaching Greek and Roman Mythology for years. So shame on both of us, really.

Inside Ethereal.

All in all, Ethereal just has its shit together. I loved everything about this place: the beer, the atmosphere, the service. The whole vibe was aligned with what I love about traveling in the name of beer. I shared some beers with our sassy little pixie of a bartender, and she reciprocated with a pair of shirts for Brewslut and I, which was a nice surprise.

Me and my beer of the trip: Breakfast Baba Yaga!

After an amazing visit to Ethereal, it was time to hit the rocky road and finally get to our REAL destination, Louisville. Since we were a bit behind in our schedule, we decided to head straight to the Air B&B, get situated, and head back out for an evening on the town.

Our first Louisville beer experience took place at Monnik. Taking its name from the dutch word for "monk," Monnik embodies the intense focus and diligence of the monastic brewers of Europe. The beer selection was well-curated, with about 20 beers on tap featuring a mix of flagships, seasonals, and one-off brews. Plus the food menu looked fantastic, and we were pretty hungry by this point in the day.

Inside Monnik.

I kicked off with a pint of Path of Totality, a coffee IPA brewed with Sunergos Coffee & Roastery's Guatemala Los Volcanes coffee. I am always intrigued by this odd hybrid style fusing coffee and hops, and will typically order one if available. The coffee itself lends hints of chocolate, hazelnut and raisin to the hazy orange beer, which boasts a backbone of citrus-forward hops, a nice complement to the chocolate notes of the coffee. This was a very well-done beer, overall. 

Glow-in-the-dark beer.

For dinner, Brewslut and I both ordered the Pea and Smoked Trout Flamee, a puff pastry dish with smoked trout, pea puree, snow pea sprouts, and citrus. It was pretty tasty but not too filling. The puff pastry was incredibly flaky and tasty, however. We also shared some fried smelts and pepitas with D&C.

After dinner, we carried on with more beers, including Ricky's Super Saison, a 9.3% ABV farmhouse ale brewed in the Belgian tradition. Sweeter and fruitier than your everyday saison, this beer boasts notes of tropical fruit, bubblegum, light spice, and pear.

I also tried Tran Sam, a double IPA/Flanders red blend and collaboration with Against the Grain. This was an interesting blend of styles that I'd never really seen before. It came across as a dry-hopped sour, although I'd say it was neither super hoppy nor tart. With that said, I certainly appreciated the experimental nature of this beer.

Tap selection at Great Flood.

Great Flood, our next stop, turned out to be a fairly short one-and-done visit. Perhaps I was trying to bask once again in the glory I'd experienced at Etheral when I ordered a pour of Batch 400: '37 Porter with Maple & Coffee. Turns out this special beer was brewed to commemorate the brewery's milestone 400th batch. (Oddly enough, we're coming up on our 400th Scratch release at Troegs this week!) This special release takes its flagship '37 Porter and adds maple syrup and Elixir coffee from Archetype Coffee Company. While it was enjoyable, it wasn't in the same league as Ethereal's Breakfast Baba Yaga.

Pleeps gettin' his Great Flood on.

In hindsight, I'm unsure as to why I neglected to order the hibiscus and peach saison. I mean, come on... PEACH! Perhaps if they would have named it Peach & Hibiscus Saison, I might have acted differently. Sometimes you need to lead with the better ingredient, and everyone knows that peach > hibiscus. Hell, peach > 90% of adjunct ingredients in beer. Just sayin'.

Pleeps called a huddle for a quick discussion.

I scoped out our next stop, Gravely, ahead of time and added it to our tentative itinerary because of its music-centric bent. As soon as I saw a picture of the bar area, I knew I wanted to check it out. See?

Vintage analog stereo equipment abounds at Gravely.

Even better was the name of its Imperial Stout, Black Sabbath. Weighing in at a massive 15% ABV, this stout is sure to have the Prince of Darkness himself screaming at the top of his lungs for SHARON!!! Overall, it was pretty solid but didn't compare to either German Chocolate Snake Cake or Breakfast Baba Yaga. In all fairness, though, this was pretty complex in its simplicity, with plenty of deep notes of leather, tobacco, cedar, chocolate and coffee. For a straight-up, no frills imperial stout, it was quite good albeit a tad thin. It did, however, mask the boozy heat of the huge 15% ABV tag quite well.

I made up for missing the peach and hibiscus beer at Great Flood by ordering a bottle at Gravely to share with the group. Described as the "second child" in its Sour Note Series, 2017 Pâle (Pale) Sour Ale displayed a bright, golden body and prevalent peachy aroma and flavor with lively carbonation. Obviously, this beer was in stark contrast to my previous selection, but you know me... I'm a sucker for peaches! Of course I had to try it. While it wasn't mind-blowing like Saison de Peche from Selin's Grove, it did have a pleasant peach character and hint of tartness working in its favor. All in all, I'm glad I tried it.

Meanwhile, Deuane was digging a pour of Sprockets, a tasty pilsner with a prominent mineral character... just the way I like 'em! It's favorite beer of Deiter, I presume. Pleeps was enthralled with the glass in which it was served, and kept thinking he was seeing his mirror image. (Would you like to touch my monkey? It was all starting to make sense now... right SNL fans?) He spent a good while gazing into the glass wondering if his tail really was that long. He also needed a break from the barrage of imperial stouts... and all you regular Pour Travelers readers know how Pleeps gets after a few of those.

Who's that monkey?!

Things were starting to get a bit cloudy by the time we rolled into Mile Wide, our final stop of the day. Located in a building that had once housed a biscuit factory and, later, Louisville’s first brewpub, Mile Wide's brewery is nestled among a towering grain silo. It was dark when we arrived, and I don't think I even noticed it, to be honest. I'm not the most observant one of the group, I'm afraid.

Outside Mile Wide Beer Co.

Figuring this was going to be a one-and-done stop since it had been a long day, I stopped reading the beer menu when I landed my eyes on Super Maris, an English-style Barleywine aged for a year in Four Roses bourbon barrels. It was definitely a day of high-gravity beers, and I certainly was glad I wasn't driving. This beer was pretty freakin' delicious, I must say. It's definitely one to be savored. Sadly, it was our last stop of the day and my brain was cloudy. But I must have loved it, because my Untappd check-in was accompanied by three simple letters: FMA! That stands for "Fuck My Ass," and despite coming from a heterosexual man, it's a positive comment. Think of it as another way to say "holy shit!" or, for all you Millennials, "amaze-balls."

Mile Wide provided a nice cap on a wonderful and productive day in Lexington and Louisville. And with that, I'll let Pleeps, Zeke, and Trevor sign off on behalf of the Pour Travelers. Until next time...

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Drinksgiving 2019: Part I - The (Half) Empty Glass


It's the special time of year that we Pour Travelers - especially Pleeps - anticipate with utmost earnestness. Now an annual tradition for us, its roots begin in 2008 when Brewslut and I traveled to the nether reaches of Michigan (we're talkin' the upper peninsula, folks) with our then-newish beer companions, Deuane and Carolyn (you know them as D&C). After four years of galavanting all around the country - Asheville, NC; Athens, OH; and Montreal, Quebec - Deuane's work scheduled eventually "flipped" and therefore prevented them from joining us until 2019. Brewslut and I (and Pleeps, of course) carried the torch for the next several years, visiting a different city or region each year. So, think of this as the Drinksgiving "reunion tour" with all the original members. Joining us for the first time was Zeke (D&C's pet eagle) and Trevor, a little beaver from the Great White North. It was nice to have a pair of companions for Pleeps, although they spent much more time in the car than our seasoned veteran drinking monkey. Pleeps NEVER needs a break! Still, the trio of mascots provided some great photo opportunities throughout the trip. 

After a pleasant Thanksgiving dinner with D&C's family, it was time to hit the road. We decided to spend the night in Charleston, WV, which was roughly the midway point between PA and our Air B&B in Louisville, KY. 

As we approached our destination, we realized that we needed to seize the opportunity and pick up our annual "shitty beer" of the trip. Readers of the Pour Travelers by now are well aware of this little tradition we started way back on Drinksgiving 2: Electric Boogaloo (or something like that). After a quick stop at a local convenience store in WV, we settled on Four Loco Black. While not necessarily a "beer" by any stretch of the imagination, it was on the shelves next to beer and thus qualified - at least in our minds - as said "beer." It's a malt beverage, if you will... according to Four Loco's web site, it's a "premium" malt beverage. Sure it is. Plus it had alcohol... 12% to be exact. The twenty-four-ounce can would provide a solid 6-ounce pour for each of us. Probably too much, but hey, it's a tradition!

We checked into our (pretty posh) hotel in downtown Charleston, quickly dropped off our luggage, and headed down to D&C's room to crack open the Four Loco Black. The anticipation was killing me. We popped the top and proceeded to pour the contents into one of our hotel glasses. Yeah, that's right... no shitty plastic cups this year! We're livin' in the lap of luxury! OK, here goes...

Have you ever seen this color come out of a can that wasn't an energy drink?

Four Loco Black... like spillage from TMI.

Yeah, me neither. This stuff is like liquid radiation poisoning. Think watermelon Jolly Ranchers, cheap vodka, and rotten fruit belches. I suppose it served as an appropriate warm-up beer for the spectacle we were about to witness. But more on that in a bit.

Cheers to shitty beer!

It seems that most of these alcoholic energy drinks have that "smooth 12% finish." Much like the Tilt abominations of Drinksgiving past, this one was no different. Honestly, I was anticipating a dark, foreboding liquid to flow forth from the can. In hindsight, I suppose the neon green writing on the can served as a veiled warning of sorts for what layeth inside the vessel. Lesson learned. 

Done... and ready to get my D-Burps on!

After savoring my requisite share of Four Logo Black (ah, who am I kidding? I chugged that shit!), we set off to begin our evening. "Drinksgiving opening night," if you will. As always, it's difficult to find something cool happening on Thanksgiving that also involves beer. Brewslut and I were lucky to find a variety of things to do in Columbus during last year's outing. However, finding something in Charleston, WV proved a bit more taxing. Fortunately (thanks Facebook) I stumbled upon an event called "Stanksgiving." The name alone intrigued me, so I dug deeper. Turned out Stanksgiving is an annual event that takes place at an old-school beer bar and music venue in Charleston called The Empty Glass. Yes. Stanksgiving. I kid you not. Here's the official show handbill:

Stanksgiving, muthafuckas!

As soon as I read the name of the band hosting the event - Dinosaur Burps - I knew we'd be in for a treat as sweet as the aerosol whipped cream atop a big honkin' slice of pumpkin pie with honey-glazed crust! Over the next few hours, I became fixated on the event and in turn obsessed with Dinosaur Burps, much to the chagrin of my traveling companions. I mean, come one... the name of the band is DINOSAUR BURPS, for God's sake! Actually, it's not really a band, but rather a rap duo consisting of local hip hop legend B. Rude aka Megalodon Juan aka Baron Von Vittles on the mic and DJ Sqweazle aka DJ Buttery Biscuits on the tables. I knew they were legit by all of the "aka" references. B. Rude turned out to be a burly white guy with a red beard, but he had tha skillz to pay da billz, IMO, yo. (By the way, you MUST check out their Facebook page and read their bio. Fucking hilarious!) Sadly, we were pretty beat (especially Deuane) and only stuck around for part of DB's set. But let's Tarantino this shit and go back to when we first set foot in The Empty Glass.

We arrived at The Empty Glass shortly after a motley bunch of musicians called The Charleston Rogues had taken the stage. This 7-piece mixed gender group featured the instrumentation of an Irish drinking band, complete with accordion, fiddle, and penny whistle among other more traditional instruments of guitar, bass, and drums. They even had a chick playing banjo. You'd think one of the seven of them could carry a tune, but nope, not really. The main guy (who also doubled on acoustic guitar) had a decent "rowdy drunk Irishman" voice, but the other members were only good for shouting drunken one-liners here and there. But hey, this is a beer blog, not a music critique. OK, I guess it's kind of both at the moment. Of the night's trio of musical entertainment, D&C seemed to enjoy this band most. 

The Charleston Rogues kicked off the night with a romp through the Irish drinking song playbook.

The crowd was probably the most diverse gathering of people I've ever seen at a small show. People of all different age and ethnic groups, sexual orientation, gender, social cliques, and musical backgrounds made for some seriously interesting people-watching. Goth-ish young women with neon-colored makeup mingled with corduroy-donning hipsters with unusual facial hair shapes. Hippies grooved with hip-hop fans. I even talked briefly with a dude wearing an Iron Maiden shirt. It was pretty remarkable, to be perfectly honest. 

Beer-wise, the tap selection looked pretty bleak, so I inquired about "local WV beer" at the bar. We were in luck! Turns out The Empty Glass carries some cans from a few local breweries. The first, Big Timber based out of Elkins, WV, produces an IPA and Porter, both of which I tried during our Stanksgiving experience. 

The IPA weighs in at a middle-of-the-road 6.5% ABV and is on the piney side of the spectrum hop-wise. With a backbone of Marris Otter malt, this beer boasts lots of Ahtanum, Centennial, and Chinook hops, which bring on hints of pine and grapefruit, then finishes with a slight lingering bitterness. This one comes in a pounder can, and I was pretty thirsty after all that time in the car - not to mention I needed to wash away that "smooth 12% finish" of the Four Loco Black - so it went down the gullet with ease. 

The Porter was packed with strong coffee and dark chocolate notes as well as hints of stone fruit and mild tobacco. Overall, it came across as fairly sweet and slightly dry, but with a rich, round mouthfeel. I definitely preferred this one over the IPA, although I had no issues with either beer. Overall, this beer is a nice representation of the porter style. 

While Big Timber was a new brewery for me, I was actually familiar with Greenbriar Valley from last year's Drinksgiving trip when we rolled through Wheeling, WV, on the way to Columbus, OH. I'd tried its Mothman Black IPA and remembered enjoying it quite a bit. Carolyn said she preferred the Devil Anse IPA from Greenbriar Valley over the Big Timber IPA, so I ordered one. This beer is definitely on the sweeter side of the IPA spectrum with notes of bright citrus and tropical fruits. The hops definitely take center stage, forcing the mouthfeel to come across as thin but slick and oily. I'd probably give the nod to Devil Anse as well if asked to choose. Well, actually I did have to choose, because I ended up ordering more of these as the night progressed. Some local even bought me a can in my semi-drunken haze before DB took - edit, OWNED! - the stage. 

Editor's note: Perhaps they call it "The Empty Glass" because everyone orders cans and bottles. 

Unfortunately, we had to sit through the middle band, Mediogres, much to the annoyance of, well, all of us. They turned in the absolute worst rendition of Pink Floyd's "Time" I've ever heard in my life. It was wretched. It was a turd that stunk up the entire venue. Their originals weren't necessarily awful and they seemed to be fairly competent musicians, but the singer was simply atrocious. I even tried singing like him throughout the trip, but even Deuane commented, "You can't suck that bad even when you try!" I actually love the band name Mediogres, though. The bassist was kind of ogreish in his own right, actually, and looked like a slightly chunkier Krist Novoselic from Nirvana. He didn't really fit in with the band from a "looks" perspective, but he was gettin' down with the tunes, that's fo' sho'! 

Mediogres... the quality of their merch is indicative of their musical prowess.

I pleaded with Deuane stick around for some of DB's set. I had to check these guys out! I mean, I'd been waiting for this all week (OK, more like two days). Besides, we were having a great time despite the sub par music. Carolyn and I were even up front jamming for a bit, and we ended up meeting some people from Hawaii. Come to think of it, that may have been the guy who bought me a beer near the end of the night. 

I thought DB was pretty legit. The guy on the tables had some skills, and B. Rude belted out some pretty dope-ass rhymes. There was one dude right up front singing along to just about every lyric. I guess he's B. Rude's official stalker. Just as I was getting into their set and the beer really started to kick in (coincidentally, perhaps?), Deuane and Brewslut pulled the plug and it was back to the hotel for some sleepy time. 

We're just getting things fired up, folks! We covered a lot of ground in a few short days, including an impromptu "pee break," which turned into an exploration of three fine breweries in Lexington, KY, before we arrived at our Air B&B. We also experienced tons o' fun in Louisville with a dash of distilled spirits for good measure, as well as a fine stop in Cincinnati, OH, and West Virginia on the way home. We even managed to revisit a favorite from last year's Drinksgiving trip to Columbus! Stay tuned for more Pour Travelers hijinx - including plenty of Pleeps - in parts 2, 3, and 4. Until next time...

The one and only B. Rude!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

The Point of Bro Return

It seems 2019 was a pretty good year for concerts. I definitely filled my quota and even crossed one or two acts off the bucket list. Much like our recent trip to the Keswick Theatre to see Dennis DeYoung of Styx, I threw out the idea of going to see Kansas at the Santander Performing Arts Center in Reading to Darin and Doug, two of my music buds, and we decided to make it a "Dude's Night Out." You may remember Darin from our recent outing to see DDY last month, which concluded with a day of brewery hopping around suburban Philadelphia. I met Doug through Darin when he started attending my monthly rock trivia nights at the Corvette Grille. Not only does Doug have the most ridiculous CD collection I've ever seen in my life (somewhere between six and seven thousand, all meticulously alphabetized and in chronological order), he's also an old-school craft beer fan. As a matter of fact, he was one of the earliest employees of Tröegs back in Harrisburg during its infancy, and his shrine of old Tröegs memorabilia is only rivaled by his music collection. He also has many stories of being on the road with Clair Brothers. So yeah, he's a keeper.

Similar to DDY's presentation of The Grand Illusion album in its entirety, Kansas was celebrating the 40th anniversary of its quadruple platinum-selling magnum opus, Point of Know Return. (And yes, it is actually "know" not "no," which even I didn't realize until decades later despite my brother having this cassette during the formative years of my rock music upbringing.) The album was originally released in 1977, so I suppose the band found it necessary to celebrate the shit out of this album. Since the show was taking place on a Friday night, I got the notion in my skull to get an early start and - what else? - visit a few local breweries.

Our first stop of the day was Schaylor Brewing Company situated in Shillington, PA, a few miles off the turnpike exit for Reading. I'd first visited Schaylor during our Team D(r)INK reunion tour about a year ago and thought it had promise. Shillington is the back yard of our stomping grounds dating back to the mid-late 1990s. Brewslut's first teaching gig was actually at the Governor Mifflin High School in Shillington.

Outside Schaylor. Photo taken from our original blog post.

While the tasting room is pretty spacious, the brewhouse is tiny. Surprisingly, they had about fifteen beers on tap running the gamut of hazy IPAs and sours to more traditional styles like pale ales and a Kolsch. They also like using fruit. Many of the beers listed on the menu had some kind of fruit. I opted for three of them (four if you consider pumpkins fruit) and was quite pleased with everything. Looking back to that initial visit, I also remember enjoying my flight, which consisted entirely of IPAs. So I was happy to see this little place keeping up to snuff.

As for my flight, it consisted of the following beers:
  • Aim for the Bushes - IPA with pink guava and tangerine. While I love the name, it was perhaps my least favorite of the lot. That's not to say it wasn't enjoyable; I just preferred the other three. The blend of guava and tangerine produced a grapefruit pith kind of flavor. 
  • Plumus Rubus Hibiscus - Sour ale with blackberry, plum, hibiscus, and honey. Nice blend of flavors overall with a dominant earthy berry and dark fruit character. 
  • Functional Prototype - Sour ale with cherry and vanilla. This was my favorite of the four beers in the flight. The vanilla counterbalanced the tart cherry flavor with a hint of soft sweetness, giving this otherwise thin-bodied ale a lush finish. 
  • Basic Witch - Ale with pumpkin, graham cracker, gingerbread, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, vanilla bean, pumpkin pie spice and lactose. That's a lot of ingredients! The lactose didn't come through as much as I'd anticipated, but the beer was nicely balanced overall despite the hefty spice bill and adjuncts. Otherwise, no complaints here. 
Luckily, I planned ahead and made sure we had somewhere to eat. Schaylor has a very reasonably priced menu including various flatbreads, salads, and sandwiches, as well as signature items like stuffed pretzels - I got the buffalo chicken version and it was bangin'! - and build your own mac & cheese featuring twenty-odd "toppings." Overall, a great way to kick off the evening.

As we were about to park the car before our next stop, I noticed a sign on the corner for Vertigo Music. I'd been there several times, but the store actually originated in nearby West Lawn, which was one town over from Sinking Spring, where we lived between 1997 and 2000. Since the three of us are all avid music collectors (Darin and especially Doug have vast collections of CDs), I'll always jump at the chance to dip into a music store for a quick dig through a few rows of records. I picked up a couple of things and spent less than $30, which is good for me. I'm really glad to see this place is still in business after 22 years!

More or less across the street from Vertigo is a new-to-me brewery called Broken Chair Brewery. I was surprised to learn that this place had celebrated its 2nd anniversary recently, which prompted my comment to the bartender: "I must be slacking in my old age." Had this been 10 years ago, I would've been there opening week. There are simply too many new breweries to keep up with these days. But, as always, better late than never, right?

Tap Handles at Broken Chair.

We immediately noticed framed original pressings of classic records by the likes of The Who, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Doors, and others decorating the exposed brick walls of the place. Bonus points! Any time a brewery marries beer with music - unless it's, like, The Eagles or some bullshit like that - I appreciate a little more.

Since I was driving, I decided one 12-ounce pour at each brewery was the responsible thing to do. I glossed over the lengthy computer screen beer menu and after a bit of debate, settled on Beach Bomb, a milkshake IPA with toasted coconut and fresh pineapple. The aroma was pretty juicy and tropical, reminding me of a piña colada cocktail. Coconut dominated the flavor with a hint of fruit in the mix. There was also just the faintest burnt flavor, which might have been a byproduct of the toasted coconut. Still, it was enjoyable and went down pretty easily despite not really possessing any qualities of a "milkshake" IPA.

Darin got a pour of a habanero IPA called Hot Pants and said it was the hottest beer he's ever had. We joked about flaming anal cavities and all that fun stuff you tend to discuss during a "Dude's Night Out." (Stay tuned for more funny "ass" stories coming shortly.) Doug enjoyed a pour of Beerhemian Trappsody (I see what you did there, Broken Chair!), a Belgian-style Tripel. 

Overall, this is a cool little unpretentious place with a music-centric vibe and solid beers. I'm glad to see the Reading area adding more decent drinking establishments over the last few years. I remember a time when Canal Street and the Northeast Taproom were two of the only options for good beer in the area.

Outside Chatty Monks. Photo courtesy of Beer Busters Podcast.

About a block away (on the same side of the street, even) is Chatty Monks. I'd been there twice in the past, but it had been some time since our last visit. Also, I'd never featured the brewery in any edition of The Pour Travelers, so I figured we'd swing by for a quick one if time permitted. When we arrived, the downstairs area was pretty packed. We ordered our beers at the bar, had a fun conversation with a woman about the human rectum and Brussels sprouts, and eventually meandered upstairs to sit at the bar. Actually, I didn't even know there was an upstairs area at Chatty Monks. It served as a good final place to relax - and also drop my pre-show "D" - before heading to the venue.

But enough stuff about asses.

Upon perusing the chalkboard, I eventually landed on the evocatively named Drunken English Football Hooligans. That pretty much sums up European soccer fans in one convenient phrase, doesn't it? This variation takes the base beer, Berks English Ale, and ages it in Hidden Still bourbon barrels for more than a year. Despite having a hefty bourbon nose and flavor, this sucker is less than 6% ABV. It drank like a classic English bitter with caramel and toffee notes, but finished with a warming bourbon note. No heat, just flavor. It was pretty enjoyable overall.

After finishing up at Chatty Monks, it was time to head over to the venue for two hours of fine American progressive rock courtesy of Kansas. While there are only two original members left - guitarist Rich Williams and drummer Phil Ehart - the band was incredible tight, the set list was fantastic, and the sound quality of the venue was top-notch. It was a very enjoyable show to say the least!

...and if I claim to be a wise man, it surely means that I don't know.

After the show - and a few altercations with one-way streets, we made our way to the Ugly Oyster, a classic Irish pub-style corner bar that's been a hallmark of downtown Reading since opening on St. Patrick's Day in 2000. Actually, the history of this drinking establishment can be traced all the way back to the 1700s. As a matter of fact, the building is the oldest pub operating in Berks County. It's a great spot for a post-show beer, as it's only about three blocks away from the venue. The last time I went to a show in Reading, it was Kansas at the same venue, and we did in fact stop at the Ugly Oyster afterward.

The kitchen was about to close and I was hungry, so without examining the menu too closely, I ordered a large plate of fries, which turned out to be small than I had anticipated. I washed 'em down with a pint of A Tiny Beautiful Something, a solid pale ale from Maine Brewing Company, which I was surprised to see on tap. Darin picked up the tab, but I must say that $8 was a little dicey for a 5.5% ABV pale ale. A group of concert-goers came in after us, hungry and wanting some grub. I told them the kitchen was closed, and one of them bummed a fry off me. They reciprocated by passing around some Tootsie Pops, which I enjoyed on the ride home.

It was great to get some guy time in with these two music and beer lovers, and we plan to do it again next February when Blue Oyster Cult rolls into Lancaster for a show at American Music Theatre.

Your brothers, they echo the words
"How far to the point of bro return?"
"Well, how long?"

Next February, I reckon. Until next time...

Thursday, November 7, 2019

The best of times are when we're all drinking brew

I'm not ashamed to say that I'm a fan of Styx. As a matter of fact, I love 'em... especially their original singer, Dennis DeYoung. One of the earliest memories of rock music I can recall is when I'd sneak into my brother's bedroom, switch on his awesome stereo, and listen to Paradise Theatre with headphones. Many people might say that DeYoung tainted the band's hard rock cred with songs like "Babe" and "Mr. Roboto".  You know what I say to that? They can eat a bowl of dicks. And not a mere soup bowl, but an entire tureen. Scratch that. A cauldron. They can devour a cauldron of huge, girthy, veiny, sweaty dicks. One of the many items on my personal bucket list was to witness DeYoung (DDY as he will be called hereafter) belt out the aforementioned hit from Styx's 1983 magnum opus, Kilroy Was Here. Well folks, I can finally scratch that one off my long list, which also includes visiting the pyramids in Egypt and the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City. For you see, we recently traveled to nearby Glenside, PA, to the Keswick Theatre to experience the legendary singer in concert. But more on the greatness of DDY in a bit.

We met our friends Darin and Jeni at the homestead on Friday, October 18 to head down to the show. I coerced them into getting a hotel after the show and hitting several breweries on Saturday, all of which were new to Brewslut and I... and, of course, Pleeps. They both appreciate good beer, so that worked in our favor. Even better was the fact that Jeni offered to pilot the caravan since the rest of us liked to drink beer more than her. This was our first overnight excursion with our newish friends, so taking one for the team was certainly appreciated on our end. Of course, I had planned an itinerary in advance, which included a stop for dinner before the show, followed by an overnight stay at a nearby hotel and five local breweries on Saturday.

The last time we attended a show at the Keswick, we decided to forgo our usual visit to Union Jack's and check out the Neshaminy Creek Borough Brewhouse. We enjoyed our visit quite a bit. The beer was solid, the food was legit and the atmosphere was chill. So, I decided a revisit was in order.

I must begin by saying that I'm pretty sick of hazy IPAs. While there are some amazing ones, the vast majority of them are garbage. As a result of getting burned so many times with sub par beers, I've been on a lager kick lately. There's something elegant about four simple stark raving nude ingredients. You can't hide behind anything with a lager. Thankfully, some of the best American craft lagers are made right here in little ol' PA. I'm lucky enough to work for a brewery that makes a world class Pilsner. So, I was ready for a lager-heavy weekend. I dove right in when we arrived at Neshaminy Creek. We grabbed four seats at the bar and perused the menu.

Pleeps is ready for the weekend!

First up was Lamp Lady Lager, and unfiltered German-style Helles brewed with Pilsner and Munich malts. This beer boasts a pleasant cereal grain character with hints of baked bread, raw honey and a subtle herbaceous bite courtesy of Tettnanger hops. This was a good start to the weekend.

Up next was Churchville Lager, one of Neshaminy Creek's year-round offerings. As I already mentioned, Pennsylvania is known for its exceptional lagers, and this one happened to take home a gold medal at the 2013 Great American Beer Fest in the Vienna-style category. Crisp, clean and malty, this one features notes of toasted bread and plenty of caramel sweetness. It was very good, although I almost always prefer a Helles or Pilsner over a Vienna.

Food-wise, I was pleased to see a vegetarian sandwich in the "specials" menu during our visit: an eggplant meatball grinder. I've been endeavoring to be a full-on vegetarian for many years, and I'm making progress. I've recently cut out turkey, so I'm only eating chicken and fish at the moment, although I'll almost always opt for a vegetarian or vegan dish when given the option.

We were cutting it pretty close, so we finished up, quickly paid our tab and headed to the venue.

Who the fuck is that other guy?!

I won't bore you with the details of the show (after all, we're a beer blog), but I will say that I've never seen someone of DDY's age - the geezer is 72! - belt out the tunes like he was still in his twenties. Everything was spot-on, the band was fantastic, and the set list was enjoyable (first set included The Grand Illusion album in its entirety, while the second set was heavy with hits from the entire Styx catalog... the majority written by DDY)! After the show, we retired to our nearby hotel for a few more beers before hitting the sack to rest up for a long day of brewery hopping on Saturday.

When I was putting together the day's itinerary, I was pleased to find not one but two small local breweries that also roasted their own coffee. To paraphrase Ricky, "it's like getting two birds stoned at once." First on the agenda was Track 3, a microbrewery and coffee house located in Dresher, PA. The place itself is situated in the Dreshertown Plaze shopping center and reminded me of so many small breweries we'd visited on past trips to California. My initial reaction to the name "Track 3" led me back to a favorite episode of Freaks & Geeks, where Daniel Desario cheats on a test and gets caught, which prompts a seemingly sincere monologue where he admits to being a "track 3" student (you know... where they place the dumb kids). However, I was pleased to learn that the name in fact refers to songs that appear as the "third tracks" on classic albums. As I studied the beer board, I quickly realized I could have figured it out on my own.

Beer AND coffee? Yes please!

Case in point, my first beer (actually a beer cocktail) was Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, the psychedelic tour de force from the Beatles' 1967 Sgt. Pepper album. This tasty concoction features cold brew coffee, one of its stouts, and a touch of maple syrup. It's supposed to be made with a porter, but the bartender insisted it was better with the stout. Not gonna argue there. It was indeed delicious.

Brewslut was eyeing up something called Tart Cherry Upper DUBerLINer Weisse. The reference to this one was lost on me. Apparently, the name of this beer is play on Track 3's home location, Upper Dublin. Slightly tart and low in alcohol, this Berliner Weisse style beer features Michigan-grown Montmorency from Traverse Bay Farms to provide a hint of tart cherry pie filling.

Inside Track 3.

Darin was digging Shake Your Rump, which was listed as a Blood Orange Creamsicle Milkshake IPA. I knew this one was a Beastie Boys song, but it appears as track 3 on the trio's Anthology: The Sounds of Science album. (That's kind of cheating, if you ask me.) Blood oranges, vanilla, and a hint of lactose plays nicely with the beer's citrusy hop bill to elicit a sweet, orangey creamsicle flavor.

I couldn't leave without trying a double dry-hopped beer named Fearless after the fantastic third track from Pink Floyd's seminal 1971 album, Meddle. The beer is actually inspired by another Pink Floyd referenced beer, Set The Controls. The difference is copious amounts of El Dorado, Citra, and Mosaic hops for a balanced but juicy and tropical melody.

All in all, this was a great way to begin the day. Plus we didn't feel weird starting our day of drinking well before noon. Who am I kidding? When do I ever feel bad about drinking? (That's a rhetorical question, kids.)

Up next was Tannery Run, situated in nearby Ambler, just a hop, skip and jump away from Track 3. When I was doing some recon on all the local breweries in the area, I noticed a lot of beers from Tannery Run referred to as "SPLATCH". While it sounded an awful lot like "Scratch" (our limited small-batch beer series here at Tröegs), I didn't really think much about it. Turns out it refers to a  brewing process in which two beers are brewed from the same initial grain bill.

OK, I get it now! SPLATCH = Split Batch. Way to go, brain. High five!

Essentially, Tannery Run takes the same grains and steeps them in the Mash Tun to create the wort, which is then transferred into two different boil kettles. It's there where they begin to become different beers. By utilizing different hops, adjunct ingredients, and yeast strains, you're not simply getting a slight variation on a beer. For example, they may brew a German Pilsner and a Belgian Tripel using the same initial grain bill, but the finished beers will be vastly different. Pretty cool concept, eh?

Although we'd partaken in the free hotel breakfast, by now we were in need of a snack. Upon perusing the menu, the "Chili Con Carly" jumped out at me. Made with three types of beans, fall squash, kale, and plant-based protein, this vegan delight is topped with pickled jalapeños, spiced tortilla strips, and cilantro. This was fantastic and really hit the spot. Plus it's vegan.

Beer-wise, I was still in lager mode, so I decided to try Wild Horses, an imperial pilsner. (I say "imperial" because although listed as a German Pilsner on the beer menu, this sucker is 7% ABV, which is well beyond the pilsner ABV threshold.) I really enjoyed this one a lot. The prominent herbal and floral hop bite is tempered by a sweet graham cracker malt flavor. It finished with just a hint of alcohol twang and lemon zest. I wish I would have ordered a full pour instead of a half.

Wild Horses couldn't drag Pleeps away.

In keeping with the lager theme, I also decided to try Sozin's Comet , a Festbier aka Oktoberfest or Marzen. Malty and Clean, this deep copper lager blends Pilsner, Munich, and Vienna malts to create a toasted graham-cracker and sweet caramel flavor with a touch of herbal hops in the back-end for balance. Perhaps a little too toasty and sweet for me, I'll say it was pretty tasty overall although I definitely preferred Wild Horses.

Inside Tannery Run.

Our third brewery of the day (and third brewery beginning with the letter "T") was Ten7. It was yet another name about which I had to inquire. I've heard of 10-4, which essentially translates to "understood" in CB radio or walkie-talkie lingo. But what about Ten7? Turns out it's the police code of "off duty." Thus, when a cop is Ten7, he can have a beer. I dig.

No Ten7 for The Pour Travelers. We're always on duty.

Despite not being privy to the greatness of DDY, the staff here were really friendly and talkative. Turns out we were talkative too, as we tend to be after already hitting up two breweries with the added convenience of not having to drive. This time, we opted for sample flights. While we're taking numeric codes, here's the 411 on my flight:
  • Curling Irons & Elbows - IPA hopped with Azacca, Ella, El Dorado and Denali.
  • Jambrosia - mango/strawberry - kettle sour with lots of fruit
  • Jambrosia - pomegranate/coconut - kettle sour with lots of fruit
  • Pigeon Milkiatto - Collaboration with Abomination Brewing. IPA with cinnamon and coffee balanced by lactose and vanilla in a creamy milkshake base. Think Chai tea and coffee with full-on heavy cream.
First off, the presentation of the flight was pretty cool. They use cupcake tins for the sampler glasses and give you a few handfuls of mini pretzels in the empty cups. I always appreciate some crispy carbohydrates between beers. A small magnetic sign attached to the tin and displays the beers in the flight. I must say that Pleeps was digging this unique photo opportunity. 

Cups and cakes... Pleeps is so full his tummy aches!

Overall, I was definitely more into the two Jambrosia beers over the IPAs, especially the pomegranate and coconut variation. The Pigeon Milkiatto was interesting but still pretty tasty, and it gets extra points for creativity. But the consensus was Jambrosia > all others.

By now, I was fast approaching 10-51 (police code for "subject is drunk"). OK, I wasn't necessarily drunk but was perhaps a bit more tipsy that I normally would have been since we had a DD in tow (thanks again, Jeni).

See ya, Ten7. Duty calls.

Following our enjoyable visit to Ten7, it was time to start working our way back homeward. This led us to King of Prussia for a stop at Workhorse. My initial reaction to this brewery was surprise, in that I was pretty blown away by not only the size of the tasting room, but also the size of the brewery itself. I hadn't even heard of Workhorse prior to this little weekend excursion. The tasting room itself is expansive with a large U-shaped bar in the middle and a variety of seating throughout including communal tables. There's even a shuffleboard. Overall, there's a nice balance of classic and modern, with plenty of colorful signage everywhere you look.

Inside Workhorse.

In keeping with my lager theme, I opted for a pour of the not-too-cleverly-named Helles. A traditional golden lager with origins in Munich, Germany, this example is brewed exclusively with German malt and hops to keep things traditional. The flavor is malty with subtle notes of lightly toasted bread and baked biscuits with a touch of spicy hops. Crisp and easy-drinking, just the way a Helles should be.

Since the Helles was solid, I decided to follow up with a short pour of Sour IPA, a tart IPA with hints of green apple and citrus. I've been digging sour IPAs lately as a general alternative for hazy, NE-style IPAs. Most breweries these days have at least one sour or wild IPA. This one was decent enough, but I wish I would have stuck with my trusty lagers, as I hadn't really been disappointed with one yet on the trip.

The brewery and adjoining tasting room are pretty expansive - 70,000 sq. ft. to be exact - and you can take a pretty bitchin' virtual tour of the entire. It's actually cooler than I was anticipating! The brewhouse itself was also larger than expected. At 30bbl, they can crank out lots of beer. While the place immediately struck me as a production facility, it turns out they only self-distribute throughout PA. Seems like they have a lot of room for growth. Their branding seems pretty on-point for a start-up brewery, too. They've only been open for about a year or so.

Workhorse's 30bbl brewhouse at its KOP facility.

After Workhorse, we set the controls for another brewery/coffee roaster, Stolen Sun. I'm not gonna lie to you... I could get used to having more of these brewery/coffeehouse combos around. Like Track 3, this place was pretty small and seemed to have a music theme, this time more of a Grateful Dead vibe. Dancing bears were replaced with dancing hop cones, and skeletons were abundant as well.

It seems like we were all craving coffee when we arrived, and three of the four of us ordered pick-me-ups. I must admit that the coffee - slow-drip and handcrafted from start to finish - was delicious. After finishing our roasty liquids, it was time to move on to beer.

Now, onto the beer. I kicked off with a beer called Sour Baby, a kettle-soured version of Baby Juices (more on that beer in a few shakes). Described as "crushable hazy-juicy-sour," this 4.9% ABV sour IPA is hopped with a combination of Citra, Mosaic, Lemon Drop, Mandarina Bavaria and Huell Melon to produce flavors of mandarin orange, honeydew, guava, and mango.

Interior of Stolen Sun.

I decided to move onto the original Baby Juices next. This one replaces the Huell Melon hops with Hallertau Callista but remains sessionable and light yet fruity. Ultimately, the beers here were pretty middle-of-the-road and overshadowed by the coffee.

We decided we had a bit more in us, so we pointed the airship toward Ephrata and set a course for one of our favorite breweries, St. Boniface. Darin and Jeni are regulars there in the way that Brewslut and I are regulars at Selin's Grove. We each visit often even though we aren't "townies." Although SGB is considerably further for us than SB is for them.

I liken a visit to Saint Boniface to swinging by Pizza Boy: I love the brewery even though we only get there sporadically. I've been a big fan of St. Boniface since the beginning, and have always felt they are criminally underrated as a PA brewery. They aren't doing a lot of trendy beers, but just about everything is solid, and they have several outstanding beers. I'd place their Berliner Weisse as one of my Top 5 in the country (that I've had, anyway). They just make great beer across the board. I also love the LSD Lizard beers they've been cranking out for the last year or so. (If you're in the dark about the reference, just search "LSD Lizard" on YouTube... you won't regret it.)

I was excited to see something new on tap this time: Offering #44 - Capo on Four. This Marzen style lager, or Oktoberfest, or Festbier, or whatever you're personal preference is. The name of the beer is a reference to bluegrass, which makes sense because its recipe comes from brewer Jeff Campbell, who performs in a bluegrass band called Colebrook Road. This was a pretty solid interpretation of the style, but by this time I began craving hops and St. Boniface makes one of my favorite easy-drinking pale ales with enough hop character to satisfy.

Enter Paideia. I've enjoyed this beer on many occasions, and it never disappoints. The name of the beer itself comes from a Greek word meaning "education" or "learning" and refers to the development of a perfectly well-rounded citizen through mastery of a variety of scholastic subjects. It uses Citra hops exclusively and a blend of malts to create a bright citrusy flavor and aroma with minimal bitterness. It was a great way to end our little overnight excursion and paired well with our pizzas. I opted once again for my favorite, the BBQ chicken, while Brewslut went with The Shire, a tasty white pizza overloaded with a variety of fancy mushrooms.

And with that, another chapter of our ongoing Pour Travelers companion comes to an end. I find it only fitting to finish with a quote by DDY:

"Our memories of yesterday will last a lifetime
We'll take the best, forget the rest
And someday we'll find
These are the best of times"

True dat, DDY. True dat!

Thanks for reading, kids! Be safe out there and don't forget to crank some Styx! Tune in again next time for our recap of Drinksgiving 2019 with our old drinkin' pals, D&C. Until next time...