Thursday, July 25, 2013

Steampunk Beer Lamp


Beer Lamp For The Steampunk Beer Cave Of Your Dreams!

First, pick out vintage bottles with the peared creation site 'bottle browser". Each bottle comes with a complete historical background, so you know you're getting the real deal.

Then, chat up the company- they are open to questions, willing to international ship and generally seem like down to earth awesome! Steampunk'ed! W00t! Nerd zone!

"This lamp is constructed from industrial style black iron piping. The vintage bottle is firmly secured by custom rubber gaskets that grasp the bottle without causing damage. A low wattage bulb is used to illuminate the vintage amber bottle producing a warm ambient light. A rotating faucet handle serves as a switch to turn the light on and off, a new feature we are excited about! Power is supplied by a retro style cloth covered lamp cord and plug.

The featured brewery bottle in this listing is from the Cumberland Brewing Co of Maryland but due to sales a similar/custom bottle will replace the one featured. Each dates between 1890 - 1920 and is very heavy duty with ornate embossing (Don't make them like this anymore!) "

-Etsy site



Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Do you hate-drink beers?

Definition of hate-drinking


the activity of drinking a beer which you consider bad

"Hate-Drinking” is NOT the same as a guilty pleasure. You wouldn’t pick up a beer every week to hate-drink a really “bad” beer — that’s a guilty pleasure. Generally speaking, hate-drinking requires a beer with high ambitions and features a certain amount of aesthetic perfection ... yet fails consistently and badly enough to make it compelling.

-MacMillan Dictionary (adapted for beer)


What beers do we hate-drink and for what reason?

"I like the taste of Heineken, it tastes like... Heineken." -Unenlightened friend

In response to which one has no choice but to put the green tempered bottle to their lips and drink the beer that is known to taste like crap, err rather as defined by the above quote, Heineken. We do it so we can reconfirm that it is unacceptable. Like the tupperware container from that back of the fridge your roommate has shoved under your nose insisting, "smell it! It smells so fucking bad!" And inevitably, we smell it. It smells bad. And we'll do it again, my friends, no denying it- humans repeatedly smell, taste and generally love to sense things that make us cringe.

[caption id="attachment_1401" align="alignright" width="300"]14578-clockwork-l Do we hate-drink IPAs for their palate numbing effects?[/caption]

One might argue that extreme beers above 120 IBUs (impossible to sense, but possible to make) or with irrationally high alcohol content are consumed for the torture of the act. So perverse and obscene yet trending so hard that there is no chance of looking away.

Contrary-wise it helps if the hate-drink in question goes down quickly and the price is low: a typical beer like Corona is always purchased in large packages and is never without it's required additive, lime. Corona is hate-drank with such dedication that people have found a way to cope with the fact that their senses tell them it is skunked. Kinda like switching between The History Channel and True-Blood, you can mix it all you want but you are still watching a comedically lame vampire show.

[caption id="attachment_1412" align="alignleft" width="259"]The desired outcome of drinking Duff The desired outcome of drinking Duff[/caption]

Another phenomena of hate-drinking is more a feature of the human ability to non-taste for the sake of one's image. Duff beer (fictional Simpson beer brought to life) is often sold/purchased in France as a novelty item to impress tourists and locals (French) alike. Gauging from the TV show, Duff has no taste what-so-ever and is more than likely to lower your IQ and cause irreversible family trauma, yet here sells for a lofty price. Without fail, people drink Duff, then hop on twitter to tell all their friends how bad it is (just like any other macro lager). Then they order another one.

While we are hyphening things let's touch a bit on the a hate-drinking cousin: 'binge-drinking'. Binge drinking is the act of bathing one's insides with as much tasteless, ice-cold beer as possible. Homer Simpson is an icon of the binge drinking sport. But, with all due respect, ancient egyptians likely drank more beer then we did, so binge-drinking might be more natural to us then monogamy.

Moving right along.

My biggest run in with a hate-drink: Rogue's VooDoo Maple Bacon Ale (tasting review here). I hated it so much, I had to buy another bottle to share with my friends the epic face plant failure of Rogue. I'd hate taste it again if I came across it. Just to really, REALLY make sure it's still so fantastically bad. (Which, I'm sure it is).

What beers do you find yourself hate-drinking? Again and again, you sip, sample and possibly even order these beers for the sheer enjoyment of telling yourself (and those around you) that you hate it. Perhaps there is a once loved brew that (with your new found beer culture conscious) has developed into a parody of 'craft' beer. Or an aesthetically tasteful beer that has all things going for it in principle but doesn't live up to it's snazzy label design and marketing? Or maybe you just love to hate anything outside the BJCP style guidelines, I don't judge. Tell, tell! (but remember hate-drinking is NOT guilty pleasure, see above definition)



Monday, July 22, 2013

Tasting- Bellerose

Bellerose, what a tease.

I wanted a blend of Saison and IPA, I got the beer drinker's palate equivalent of blue balls.

'Bellerose is a Top fermented beer made with 3 hops from 3 different continents by Brasseries Des Sources(Brewery of the Springs). A mix between French “bière de Garde” and IPA with distinctive aromas of citrus & litchi with a hoppy but refreshing aftertaste ! After less than one year of brewing, this beer have won three medals in prestigious beer Competition and was elected as the “Best Ale over 5% in the UK” at the International Beer Challenge of London 2011 !'

Full label take from here. Anime pictures with the beerporn- dig.


La Brasserie des Sources

[caption id="attachment_1389" align="alignleft" width="299"]GÉRARD DEPARDIEU made a brewery to say thank you to a community, but I couldn't find any pictures of him with the beer- or ANY beer. GÉRARD DEPARDIEU made a brewery to say thank you to a community, but I couldn't find any pictures of him with the beer- or ANY beer.[/caption]

In 1997, La Brasserie Des Sources was launched by French film icon Gerard Depardieu, and fellow actors from the movie adaptation of Emile Zola’s Germinal, as a 'thank you' to the local community for their hospitality during location shooting. And what a generous gift it turned out to be. Based in the old mining town of Saint-Amand-les-Eaux, the innovative brewery has created a number of award winning brews including Bellerose, a 6.5% blend of French biere de garde and India pale ale crafted by des Sources’ owner, Jean-Luc Butez. Equipped with high-tech machineries, La Brasserie Des Sources specialises in bottle conditioning and produces a large range of distinctive brands (including Vivat Blonde and Triple) which have received worldwide acclaim. 


IMG_1410BRASSERIE DES SOURCES- Bellerose Bière Blonde Extra 6.5% ABV Golden Pale Bière de Garde

She's a bit of complex mix, this Bellerose and, like most complicated things, it takes a while to absorb all the melodies of her body and melt them into one aspect.

At first, from seeing the awards and three hop additions, I was expecting something else- always dampers when you don't get what you thought you were paying for. Once over the initial disappointment I sipped and swished the brew on my palate until I came to my conclusion: Meh.

I didn't taste the distinct three hops, for sure not the citrus and litchi it boasts but there was that bière de garde/saison spice to it. Bellerose seems like the kinda girl that one needs to get to know before the true romance can start.

[caption id="attachment_1388" align="alignright" width="224"]IMG_1417 One French beauty, one American beauty and one offer to have a cigarette lit[/caption]

Until I find a beer that tickles my beer hunting fancy, here are some real aldies (One French, one American) who are easy going, true to their character kinda chicks who are loved, my friends, take my word, they are adored just after the introduction. No label deception here!

Verdict on Bellerose

Famous people backed marketing and 'high-tech machineries' is no substitute for full a body and boldness.

I'll give the ol' gal anther go when I see her again, maybe my cigarette hazed French evening dampened my palate, or maybe I was too busy looking at other ladies to give her my full attention. Until the next time though, meh. Cold fish.

I never try anything. I just do it. Wanna try me?”- Varla, “Faster,Pussycat! Kill! Kill!”

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Tasting Location: Cave à bulles- Paris, France

"Jack the ripper was high on hops"

Simon, owner of Cave à bulles (cave of bubbles, CaB) in Paris, is a firm believer in the health detriments and damaging mental effects of hops on the human mind and body.

"You are addicted to hops, I can tell," he says as I look up from sniffing a package of hop candy.

"Is it the t-shirt?," I question, knowing that my West Coaster, 'DRINK LOCAL BEER' threads could be a bit bold for the region.

Simon is a member of FHL- Front Hexagonal de Libièration and believes we need to liberated from the addictive trends of the hops. (Not really.) (Well kinda.) (More later, read on)


Cave à bulles

[caption id="attachment_1346" align="alignleft" width="410"]Collage French craft beers get the main stage while American imports get a floor side box[/caption]

Located in the thrumming heart of Paris, CaB is within walking distance of the Musée du Louvre, crowded by cafés and open street shopping, housing over 100 boutique beers, most of which are French made. Thats right, you heard me- FRENCH CRAFT BEER. (I told you it was real!)

When you walk in, the shelf to the left is Northern France while the beers of Southern France fill the right. Belgium is tucked around the corner and the rest of the world get to share racks below and in the front window.

I stuck out a hand to the shop man to keep from spinning in circles like a dog chasing it's tail in fixated excitement. His name was Simon, owner, founder and all around crusader of proper beer culture.

"Of course you are looking for hops, you are an American- you are addicted." He stated plainly and then compared hop lovers to the mentally ill.

All I could do was shrug in compliance and ask, softly, "yeah, so... do you have any?"

"Of course we do! We love hops," stepped in the other shop man. He introduced himself as Brandon, but I knew him to be the American Beer Geek in Paris who's blog (now mostly discontinued due to a bustling reality) had popped up a few times in my searches, and boy howdy indeed, did they have some beers to share!

Both gents leaned into my questioning with charisma and charm, Simon pausing occasionally to greet new coming patrons. I could have put a tent in the middle of the store and lived there for a few days, but reminded myself that "this isn't holy beer Woodstock," and I would simply have to get as much of a contact high as possible.

[caption id="attachment_1354" align="alignright" width="300"]DSC01551 Simon pulled out a book and shared in depth (fairly beer feminist things) with me about traditional beer practices in Africa.[/caption]

Mr. American Beer Geek in Paris filled me in on the local craft beer scene. With about 16 brew related shops in Paris, the city is over due for some beer bars to help grow the love of artesian beer beyond the take come bottle (or box, in my case). He promptly stood from our chat session and returned with flyers and hand-out information on the two best beer sampling locations in town: Express de Lyon (adored by one of my favorite Paris blogs, Paris by Mouth) and La Finé Mousse.

He said that the facebook page of Express de Lyon was the best place to find what was on draught as the 11 taps were rotated often with obscenely hoppy and eclectic beers. Unlike Express de Lyon, La Finé Mousse has a wider selection of both bottled and tap beers from French brewers.

More about both of those locations in the future.

[caption id="attachment_1347" align="aligncenter" width="798"]Collage My Beer Company and La Levallis (upper right picture) are the same company (check out this Paris urban blog for a backstory) and are brewed using La Valleé Chevreuse's brew equipment (upper left picture). What a community feeling we have here![/caption]

Not just for beer fanatics.

CaB pulls in people from the street, locals and tourists as well as a good size circle of regulars. With a great location and tourist season in start Mr. American Beer Geek in Paris admits that a large part of business will be from tourist foot traffic.

They also deliver to local restaurants, wine shops and, when duty calls, help customers arrange international shipping or hand transport cases of beer to disabled old ladies.

"It's pretty simple though, what sets us out from other beer shops in the city as that we genuinely care about beer and our customers. We want people to enjoy their time in our shop and every customer is different, so sometimes yeah I have to carry a case of beer for a little old lady..."

imgresWhen asked what he recommends most to tourists seeking an authentic French brew, Mr. American Beer Geek in Paris pulled out a beautiful bottle of: Cuvee des Jonquilles which said he likes to suggest because it is uniquely and traditionally French. Here is a sweet blog by a beer hunter who got suggested this exact beer from a trip to CaB.

[caption id="attachment_1370" align="aligncenter" width="418"]DSC01553 Pricing is extremely easy[/caption]

Underground French Anti-Hop Resistance?

[caption id="attachment_1340" align="aligncenter" width="614"]Collage FHL FHL certified beers (left and right) 0 Hop CaB Beer (center)[/caption]

There have been points in French beer culture history when people would get into arguments about the influx of highly hopped beers, often degenerating into name calling: hop nazi, beer racist and so on. Thus the, FHL or French Hop Liberation was created to help with beer freedom, battling against people who have a hop addiction. Kinda like zombie fighters.

[caption id="attachment_1371" align="alignright" width="213"]534683_393985327297916_134234045_n FHL members demonstrating the mind altering effects of hops on the brain[/caption]

The FHL puts labels on all their supported brews and even puts out a 0 hop beer. How 0 hopped beer is possible you wonder, my friends, well dig this (high on hops) beer logic: 65 IBUs of hops form the northern hemisphere, and 65 IBUs from the southern hemisphere equal 0 hops.

"Because, as everyone knows, hops in the southern hemisphere grow downward," Simon explains with a impish curl of a smile forming from the edges of his mouth. Hops from the southern part of the globe are thusly, negative in IBUs, combine those with the positive IBUs of northern hops and they cancel each other out. Hop addiction, circumvented!

Although members of the FHL don't run through the French sewage system like typical French resistance fighters, they do believe in spreading the word and helping as many people as they can. Much like their historical counter parts, who fought to end fighting, these French combatants are working an underground sabotage of the hop industry. Mostly though, they are still in the information gathering phase, so they need to drinks a lot of IPAs...

Final Verdict

Rather you are going to CaB for some hop therapy (or anti hop guerrilla warfare training), a few bottles of french (and international) beer or just to swap beer culture, the scholarly gentlemen at Cave à bulles are more then willing to help. Heck, they'll even open beer for you!

I suggest, nay I insist, that if you, my dear friends and readers, get a foot on Paris soil, that you get your whole body into Cave à bulles. There is no better way to experience the full frontal assault of the French beer culture.

Merci beaucoup to Simon and Brandon for taking time out of their busy beer filled day and partaking in my interrogations. When FHL gets green berets with little hop toggles on the top- sign me up! Until then, Nitch signing off from France, kicking back with a locally brewed craft FRENCH American Pale Ale. Wahooo!


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Microscopic Beer Art

What do you get when you aim a high resolution microscope at crystalized chemical patterns of beer?

Answer: Art.


From left to right: Steinlager (shaped like the NZ coastline), La Fin Du Monde (a bit dark on the left, like Canada), Fischer LaBelle Strasbourgeoise (French beer, I had to put it in but it's not good, even the picture looks like vomit), Anchor Steam (the more I look at the picture, the more I taste the beer), Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout (it's the oats, they draw you in), Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout (two stouts, yet so different, like sisters), Rogue American Amber Ale (if ever there was a reason to call Rogue's beer art, here it is in the brush strokes of nature), OB Dry (Korea's like tie dye), Hackerbräu Edelhell Malt Liquor (that's right, the german one looks like boobs) AH-MAZE-ING! What more convincing do you need that this is the coolest thing you've ever seen?

Well, the beer list goes on and on! Yet still they are in dire need of more beer. Here is a list of the countries that they don't have beer from, one of them being Belgium. Embarrassing, but in 2003 (the last update of the website) the science geeks weren't able to find many foreign beers in Tallahassee, Florida. Can someone please help these guys out? ... There aren't any IPAs on the list. The IPA one will look like Jesus, I'm sure.

"We usually look for cells that are photogenic."

Where does microscopic beer art come from?

This guy:

hint: beer stuff doesn't come in until 4:48 but the whole thing is worth a watch

Michael Davidson, research scientist at Florida State University is one of those science geeks turned starving artist, turned... science geek.

Dividson starts out stating that his department at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory isn't so much driven my science but commercial applications. So what ARE the commerical applications of microscopic photographs of chemical crystalizations.

Neck ties. Starting with vitamin neck ties and then on to moon rocks from Apollo 11 landing.

"unfortunately the general public does not have an aesthetic appreciation of a photograph of a moon rock through a microscope."

So they didn't connect with the moon rock neck tie collection. What did 'sell like hot cakes' and make Mike his 2 million? The cocktail neck tie collection. Aw yes. Makes sense. The 2 million earned from the cocktail neck tie collection is what funded the institution he works in now.

[caption id="attachment_1360" align="aligncenter" width="489"]You are looking at a Zima (it was listed under beers!) You are looking at a Zima (it was listed under beers!)[/caption]

Back to the beer

It takes 500-1000 samples of same beer to get one good sample. Assuming that a sample is one drop, I'm fairly sure this guy drinks the back up testers.

You can purchase your very own high resolution 18" x 22" poster of one of the listed beers (unless someone wants to see if they take requests, hint, hint) for about $30 plus shipping and handling.

I'd love to see some updated versions of these- I'm a nerd of many things, science being one of them. Just in posting these pictures, I've memorized which ones are which and that makes me geek-a-liciously happy.

Hello desktop wall paper for the next year! 


 All pictures posted here were taken without consent and will sadly (but sweetly) be removed, if so asked by the owner(s).


Stone CEO Greg Koch's online argument with vblogger

"I don't get beat down easy, but man forums can really take a lot out of you. I stopped commenting on them as they too often kept me from doing the job I love." -GK

Greg Koch (GK, in trendy kid talk) recently completed a row of video blog battles with well known video blogger StumpyJoeJr (Ryan Reschan). The two had been tossing back and forth video responses to each other about Stumpy Joe's Arrogant Bastard Ale review, in which, he gave the ol' AB a D rating.

Initial Arrogant Bastard Ale Review about one month ago:

GK, as busy as he is, takes time to make a video response to the review. He states that he was caught off guard by the D rating and that the text was written in a different era (1997). He pokes a bit of fun at Ryan's weak, bitter loving palate.
"The beer or me are not the one's saying you're not worthy, that is up to the person themselves to decide."

Ryan responds to GK's video in shock but states that he still thinks the beer is too bitter and that it doesn't have the drinkability of other hoppy ales. He also complains that the Better Beer Authority reviewed AB with some big thumbs down but was rewarded with a personal interview and apology re-review with the Stone CEO meeting while Ryan only got trash talked.

Ryan then goes on to say that he thought GK would contact him directly, in private but instead was handed another video response!

They both seemed highly aggravated by the each other's arrogance, (maybe GK was living up to that famous Arrogant Bastard stereotype), chest pumping with things like: "I feel like you're calling me out a bit here." 

Maybe they should get together and have a beer?

"We shot all this in June at Ryan's house. My 1st 'response' was shot in front of his house, and my 2nd one was shot in his back yard. We were wondering if any of Ryan's friends were going to spot that or not. Each time we shot our segments the other person was just off camera goading & laughing. I really had to push Ryan to be more mean in his responses as it's just not his nature! Thanks Ryan for doing this & helping highlight the importance of civil discourse. You're an awesome dude." -GK

I admit to having a beer geek crush on Greg Koch. He is my Elvis/Jesus/Louis Pasteur and I respect him in the highest manner possible for being nearly the coolest guy alive today (nearly because Bill Nye is still around, my first love). The only thing that would make me love him more is if he was a female.

Which clearly he isn't- note the lush man beard with touches of Sean Connery grey.

Thus, my yt comment was gushing fan goo:

If I make a REAL bitchy beer review of Arrogant Bastard Ale, can I too can get GK in my house, on my couch, drinking my beer, making up words and stoner pausing.


You can come too Ryan.


I couldn't help myself, I was smitten over the delightful turn of events in what otherwise seemed like an extremely awkward internet argument.

Point being, internet conversation degenerates very quickly into trollish commentaries thusly the collaboration on a funny video blogging to demonstrate civil discourse, well played gentlemen, well played.

R&R Coconut IPA (so named for home brewer competition winners, Ryan and Robert) talked about in a quick interview with Beer Geek Nation:


I want a Greg Koch to tackle me.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Beer Swimwear

Always striving to bring the haute de mode of beer fashion and things uselessly beerified, today we dive into beer swimwear!

It's in season!

Beer Swimwear 2013 fashion suggestions:

Vintage macro, Bottle caps and Beerkini

[caption id="attachment_1318" align="alignnone" width="614"]F5UQI7GGSIFFWN7.LARGE Whats a Beerkini?[/caption]

Now, let's us be honest, we boutique beer lovers wouldn't be caught dead drinking a Budweiser, for more then just fashion reasons but when it comes to vintage macro beer items, Nitch's diva senses get a little tingly, channeling 2014 swimwear trends with vintage pieces. Yeee!

Macro should be ew and never do it, but when we toss the term vintage in front of it, we get some magic happening.
Oh baby..."this Buds for you" and you will definitely be the "main attraction" at your next pool party!

Har har.

[caption id="attachment_1313" align="aligncenter" width="570"]il_570xN.452941048_cawk Etsy sale![/caption]

If macro vintage isn't your route, then try just stringing together some bottle caps and putting a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model in it:

The beer used to craft this masterpiece? Dos Equis.

Stay thirsty my friends.

[caption id="attachment_1316" align="aligncenter" width="500"]tumblr_luhhpexZGA1qezpw2 On display in the Letarte flagship store in Paia.[/caption]



What is that? More beauties in bottle caps, you say? Well here is a full photo shoot done with Heineken bottle caps. If you look closely, you can see the fine craftsmanship of the... uhh.. bikini.

When in doubt, take the suite that you have and beerifiy the crap out of it so you can impress your friends. This instrucable gives you a how to on turning any ol' swim suit into a a Beerkini! Wahhooo, tackily delicious.


Other then that, my ladies and gentle drags, beer and swimwear goes down a dark and (more than normal) sexist route of Corona, Bingtang and Coors bikini swag (so what another give away).

Thats 2014 Summer Beer Swimwear by Nitch! Next year isn't likely to bring about anything new, but we'll keep searching to bring the newest and most exciting in all things beer and fashion!

And then there is this picture which I can't justify but wanted to share. Thank you to the girl who took this picture- I love, uh, Maui Brewing. julie-henderson-cleavage-beer

You're welcome.



Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Let there be beer and beer bloggers

After Justin's Session #77 wrap up and reading nearly all the beer blogger responses, I discovered that I developed a slight twitch each time my web readers scan the word IPA. 33+ bloggers from around the world converged on the question: "Why is <twitch> IPA a big deal?"

1. HOPS! for the taste/flavor

2. Different than mass-produced “macro” beer

3. Hype/abundance of supply

One of the best things about The Session is getting a look at each writer's views and adding some new beer blogs to one's Newsblur list.

I added Looke from LikelyMoose after reading his <twitch> IPA lover's break down, suggesting that the contrast between the macro lager is what drives our hop passion: "It's a beer for real beer lovers and it helps to set us aside from those that drink any old swill just to get drunk. We drink it and love it because it's not like your average beers..."

Always curious to know more about a blog's author I read his about page and did an honest, LOL to my empty office room, gasping for air and shaking my head. Genius:

Favourite Nicki Minaj Song: Beez in the Trap.

Most disliked artist in the history of music: Nicki Minaj

Not only do Looke and I share the fate of being nicknamed by people who have reading impediments, but we share precisely the same view on Nicki Minaj.

Looke goes on to post about Let there be beer, which I read about only today- ties in lovely to my rant.

Let there be beer!

The Let There Be Beer campaign is currently on Facebook and Twitter, with their own website expected August 11th 2013 and focuses on advertising for general beer consumption.

Looke states: As well as CAMRA this campaign is being backed by AB-inbev, Carlsberg, Heineken, Miller Brands and Molson-coors. I like the idea of all of the big boys in brewing coming together and just saying “look. Let’s just have a beer”

Let there be beer! Or let there be intoxication?

Although I admire CAMRA's eternal quest to bring people into the beer world- I feel there might be other, possibly better, ways to promote good quality beer drinking. Beer Bar Band's upcoming Session will likely give some great fresh insight into craft beer marketing, from the people for the people.

Which is also why I squint an eye at CAMRA working with the macro devils, I see them as the enemy and prefer to promote people drinking good quality red wine, with locally grown products, rather then suggest an ice cold Heineken to quench stressed souls.

Post long work days, awkward family situations and blazing hot bbqs all require something in one's hand that can be placed between them and the world. Social lubricant is important, I agree and often insist, but defining beer as simply a reward for bearing the weight of a shitty position causes it to become like vodka in the 60's.

Shhh.. no one has to know that you are drinking.

[caption id="attachment_1301" align="alignnone" width="696"]SONY DSC The secret to holiday cheer is to be so secretly smashed off your head that you aren't aware your mother is cheating on your father, your auntie thinks your gay and your brother hasn't said a word. Classic.[/caption]

Promoting the savoring and responsible enjoyment of alcohol instead of it's socially dimming effects is the turn that progressing craft beer culture is making.

[caption id="attachment_1302" align="alignright" width="300"]16257a Husband pleasing breakfast beer is likely to work about the same[/caption]

Beer is an intoxicant, but then so are cigarettes, shopping, exercising and coffee. Coffee ads don't show people having a cup then cranking out a million invoices, even though people often junkie up on ground coffee beans for just that reason (don't even get me started on energy drinks). Instead, they advertise about how lush and decant a good cafe in the morning is.

Coffee people smell coffee beans like we smell hops- THAT is what 'Let there be beer' should be focusing on. How a great beer can make you smile, how sharing a home brew with a friend is akin to being Santa Claus and how the post work drink is to be looked forward to because it tickles you- not because you need it. Let there be GOOD beer and not just any beer to help dull the pain of reality.

Nitch sticking her tongue out at the efforts of the marketing monsters and on to hunt the city for a cold gueze with some friends.




Monday, July 15, 2013

Homebrew Share

[caption id="attachment_1287" align="aligncenter" width="700"]DSC01533 Tape mummified beer[/caption]

With a light skip in my feet (as usually happens when one is walking through town with a big air mail package), I returned home with a present from America. Once I got home and came off my high horse, I realized that there were huge red lettered stipes of tape all around the box- damaged?

For a little under $50 USD my close friends (family really) had sent me two items from Escondio California- A Ballsack and a beer.

[caption id="attachment_1290" align="alignright" width="418"]DSC01576 2 A Ballsack... for my balls[/caption]

What more could a girl want?

The Ballsack was for my birthday (February 10th fyi) and the beer for my upcoming marriage (I need a visa). The big flesh toned ball sack had been sploodged on a little and as I moved the package peanuts to the side I found the culprit. A bottle of tape mummified home brew.

We now know Nitch has been craving, more then craving, lusting like a breeding mare in heat, for IPAs so to discover a hand made with love American IPA delivered right to my city was like being told flat out by the person you've been flirting with all night, "I'm going to fuck you." Insert fist pump and self high five!

USPS had tacked on a 'we care' message after sampling my beer. I'm sure they popped it open after scanning the thing, selfish creatures. Sorry for kicking around a parcle with carbonated items in it, I'm sure.

Popped open the swing top of the home brew- POP, Fizz, pow! A gush of foam and rush of hop aroma. Hello evening drink. She went directly into the refrigerator for chilling.

[caption id="attachment_1288" align="aligncenter" width="557"]DSC01534 USPS cares about my homebrew shares[/caption]

What I had forgot was that we had plans to travel up to Paris for the next day, leaving that evening. One assumes that things in their home fridge would be safe- not so, oh so, so not so.

The Homebrew is not safe!

I'm in the middle of a beer bitch rant (loudly and in English) about how Frog Pubs are a lie, how my beer is a disappointment and my food is only being eaten because I was hungry when I get this text message from my Mother in law: "Hey Nichol (she refuses to spell my name correctly) Is the beer in the fridge in a brown bottle your production?"

Let me set the stage for you, my friends before we continue with this tale.

My mother in law insists that we live with her at her bed and breakfast (groovy, two roomed place built in 1530) because she travels a lot, has a house in anther city and needs me to do the immigrant thing and work for low wages while she is gone. I'm always on call and always at work. Although she is the sweetest lady, quirky as hell, she has this bizarre distance unlike any mother figure I've ever known, like a landlord or a roommate. She writes her name on things in the fridge or hides stuff in the back, never saying anything, but just spiriting things away that she considers hers. Also, because it is her place she is constantly moving furniture and objects, making it impossible to keep oneself organized. In general causing my partner and I to feel completely unwelcome.

She has been watching the home brewing events around the place, supportive as she is and if I had finished my home brew, she would be one of the first to know, naturally (so it would seem to me).

To my roommate, employer and mother in law's text I reply:

"Lol! No! my friend made it, in California. Home made."

Mother in law: "Oh my god clients wanted beer and I opened it for them... :-(( Sorry..."

Me: "Aw!! :-( Not all of it I hope. I haven't even tasted it yet. Mine will be done in a few weeks, you'll know."

Mother in law: "I am afraid yes... What can I do??"

Me: "I am heart broken. No way to fix it. Don't worry about it."

What else could I say? No way to put spilled milk back in the cow. No tasting of the beautiful homebrew share. The beer gods are punishing me for some reason, I'm cursed. Tears dried and anger subsided I'm putting together a:

HomeBrew Share Circle!

with my friends and family brewers. As soon as my brew is done, I'm sending some out- Legal or not.

I had spent a fair bit of time researching shipping beer internationally a while ago when my friends started asking about the possibility of a homebrew share and came up with a bunch of different answers on rather or not it was legal/safe or possible.

Billy Brew drops some tips with an Ins and Outs of shipping beerIf you’re wondering about beer trades or shipping homebrew, I do both frequently. Just make sure you use UPS or FedEX and not the USPS. 

My frind used USPS and they 'care' but home brew talk forums think otherwiseIf USPS is your only choice, then you can't legally ship any beer. With carriers like UPS/Fedex/DHL, its against policy to ship alcohol but not against the law...

That same thread is where I found my nugget of advice, which I passed on to my friend: ...then claimed they were "Barbeque Sauce" If the bottles are brown and have no labels, I doubt they will open them to inspect the contents.

She put Hot Sauce on the package invoice- clever girl. And, even though the thing cracked and came all over the box, USPS didn't seem upset.

Homebrew Share Circle International!


Friday, July 12, 2013

Beer Origami Art

moose beer thingThere is nothing better than mixing two loves in life to create one magically delicious feast for the mind: wifi and coffee, bacon and donuts, bath time and beer, origami and bear moose.

Beer Origami Art

[caption id="attachment_1254" align="alignright" width="430"]anderson-valley-brewing-logo Moose Bear inspired beer origami[/caption]

OriirO shared this skillfully crafted piece of artwork on today inspired by a bottle of Anderson Valley's Seasonal Winter Solstice. The moose bear logo of Anderson Valley is turned into a grey wood pulped mass of Japanese folding expertise.

Origami is one of those art forms that requires geometry skills, patience and a touch of insanity. Master origami artist Eric Joisel talked in an art film I once watched about how mastering origami takes a bit of insanity and, "well, I'm a french man, so I'm naturally a bit crazy.' Crazy like a fox! Nitch, always on the quest to turn everything into beer, fully supports mental illness, as long as it is channeled into making happy beery things for her hungry art loving ming.

[caption id="attachment_1255" align="alignleft" width="361"]Hoppin-Frog-Logo The only origami I know how to do is a frog, but it won't look anything like Hoppins Frog's Frog mascot.[/caption]

Hopefully we'll be seeing more beer origami from our friend OriirO, as I'd love to see an origami hop or creatures from other breweries. A dogfish head brought to life? Or a New Belgium bicycle?

Not only is beer origami good for table art and creative expression but origami could come in real handy:

How to make an emergancy beer glass with origami

Once again, Nitch bringing you the culture, art and oddities of the ever expanding culture of beer. 


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Ladies confused by beer or bad advice

"You walk into a bar. You pick up a beer menu. You’re a LADY, and you’re not sure what to order.”

This video makes me cringe.

[caption id="attachment_1234" align="alignright" width="220"]flatnonirtp2 1950s cans were marketed for both men and women, but were likely to have tasted like the metal they came in.[/caption]

This isn't the 1940's, you (most likely) are not wearing pearl earrings and a girdle, so although you are a LADY that doesn't mean you are a segregated and looked upon as a different species. Ladies being confused by beer or confused by bad advice- I vote the latter.

Claire Lower in her article today called: 'Ladies be confused by beer: Please stop trying to identify what a person drinks based on their genitals.' She rips the video into beautiful tiny weeny little shreds that are just about dainty enough to pass right through the video presenter's (and her bulky man mule's) itty bitty brains.

She goes on to state that: The Higgs Boson is confusing. Things written by David Lynch are confusing. The fact that my skin is both oily AND flaky is confusing. Beer is actually pretty simple.

All well made points that Nitch agrees with fully. She continues her points as they are taken into detail, ranting about the fact that they list three 'beers' while one is a cider, that the presenter is excited over a the 'pretty red' color of one beer and that the beer 'professional' is, in fact a male and excludes darks beers.

One of the reasons ladies through out recent history (we are talking the past, oh, 100 years or less) have had a dislike for beer is that beer tastes bad. Macro swill is gross (due to more reasons then is listable) and the female wonder women taste buds detect that while men were able to blind eye it in search of the intoxicating effect. Women are more likely to have better palates then men. "Better means that they can taste more flavors and smell more aromas because they havemore taste bud receptors."- Why women have better palates.

Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice

"Women tend to gravitate to sweet things" says the video beer 'professional'. This is a common statement because we've been told (by media and social conditioning) that we should. Note that the childhood saying say 'sugar, SPICE and EVERYTHING NICE.' Chocolate is sugar, hops are spicy, whiskey barrel aged double pecan porter is everything nice"

As for putting fruit in your beer. Damn Widmer Brothers (and later, Blue Moon), thank you for starting that crap. Absolutely don't put effing fruit in your beer, unless you are a professional beer cocktail mixologist, nothing should go in your beer other then your upper lip.

[caption id="attachment_1247" align="alignleft" width="420"]didnt_burn_the_beer A women's place is in the kitchen- over the brew kettle[/caption]

While on the topic of upper lips, make sure that your lips aren't greased and painted while sampling. Lipgloss and beer don't mix! Take it from me, a highly lady like woman who loves the ol' rogue and whale fat lip concoctions (I don't think my lipstick is really made of whales any more, I donate to the Sea Shepard), take a second in the bathroom to remove lip products before beer time. After drinking, or when there is a change from beer to something else, re-apply the gloss and color.

Ladies confused by beer -No-

Ladies confused by bad advice -Yes-

If you walk into a bar, you pick pick up a beer menu and you're a LADY, try not to be defined by what is in your pants (or skirt) but rather take a moment to think about how you feel, what you are interested in at present and ask the servers questions. It is their job to sample and explain the extensive beer list- if they are unable to do so, then leave- they hired idiots, they don't know what they are doing.

Happy beer hunting, ladies and gents!


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Canadian beer is stronger than American beer

I saw this video over at Shades of Pale Brewing's Blog and, although I don't like country music (or conform with any of the stereo types listed in the song) I laughed out loud remembering the friendly banter I've shared with friends from Northern Cold Country.

Our silly billy Canada cousins (as it turns out) have this rough rumble battle going on between us and them, but most Americans are oblivous to Canada all together. We don't know too much about the norther cold lands and don't see them as someone to battle with. Americans are too busy pissing off countries over the ocean to notice that we have a raggle tag bunch above us who want to play footsie.

That being said, hold the phone:

IS CANADIAN BEER STRONGER THAN AMERICAN BEER? (that just doesn't seem right...)

Mr.Spiess over that Fermentarium has multiple posts on the topic, satisfying my shaking head and turning it into a nod. Aw yes, we win. Again. Not much of surprise, (insert chest puffing and pompous grin).
Think global, drink local

Traveling has made me more of a patriot then I assumed I could be. Double standards like: I can make fun of my country, but you can't followed by, 'yeah, well okay dude, like, I'll agree about the President bit, but leave Busweiser outta this.' When our sweet and sour name calling gets too deep I pull out my finishing move, 'listen, if American wanted to own Canada, we would. End of story. We took Alaska and left all the shitty blank stuff in the middle to the French.'

No real offense intended of course, because there are a million things that we (the American government) do without true use of our democratic rights. For every back country thing I can spit about the Canadians, they have a dozen or more things to toss back. It's imbarassing how little footing my country has to stand on, 'um, yeah but like, we have the Kardashians. Wait, is that point for your side or mine?'

[caption id="attachment_1230" align="alignright" width="640"]kim_kardashian_keg_stand_e_110221_vidim Please do not define America by our Television[/caption]






The conversation would then turn from Canada vs America to both of us versus Australia and the rest of the world. Most people outside Northern America can't tell the difference between the American and Canandian accent anyway.

New acquaintance: "So.. are you Canadian?"

Me: "Nope, American."

New acquaintance: "Oh! I'm so sorry, I can't tell the difference between the accept. I'm really sorry."

Me: "Sorry about what?"

New acquaintance:  "Most Canadians get upset if I guess that they are American. Americans don't mind being called Canadian?"

We don't mind being called Canadian, as we consider Canada a cousin, long distance and far off with some diseased cancerous areas filled with French people. American beer, Canadian beer, Mexican beer- when we drop all the ethnic jokes, there is one thing we all share, a love of being drunk.

But soon, Canada, American and Mexico we will all be as one: The Amero!


Monday, July 8, 2013

Unrewarding hop seed planting


Today I planted some darling seedy peeds of the hop assortment!

This large envelope labelled Exotic Garden arrived in the mail this afternoon from a scowling delivery lady who looked at me and my shrieks of joy as if I had ordered a 'grow your own dildo' set. Which I hadn't, but if I had, it wasn't her business to be jealous about it.

I immediately ripped open the packed with my teeth (the scissors being inconveniently located in the kitchen), discarded the thank you note and proceeded to sniff the seed pouches. No hop aroma as of yet, my dear friends, but that should change- with time. I transplanted the bulbs in my mini green house to a less comfortable lodging and gingerly laid two seeds per pot in rest. Cover with more soil, properly aerated, sprinkle with water and wait. I left two seeds in the packages, for safe keeping. If the apocalypse hits, you know with zombies, power outages, riots and the such then seeds will be a form of currency (or so my brother tells me, survivalist that he is). Hop seeds will likely buy me a whole cow or motorcycle, I reckon, so keeping a few in the original packaging is like, an investment of sorts. DSC01459

Waiting is not rewarding. Or rather, waiting might produce something fantastic eventually but it doesn't reward me right now. These are not jack and the bean stalk seeds, unfortunately (and a bit to my surprise/disappointment).

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="438"]DSC01458 Mr. Red Boots will have none of these dirty hand activities pushed on him, today, no sir.[/caption]

I want hop vines falling all over my outdoor area, me having to beat them back with a stick and apologize to the neighborhood for their fiendishly weedy smells and fertile sporing on open garden plots. Hops don't spore, they seed, I know but I invision them misting around the house like a protective aura of green goodness. Hop seeds through the air, into Mrs. Really old dog lady's garden patch across the street. Me watching her unknowingly mother a hop plant through to the next season. Bwahhaaahaa.

This land will be infected as of yet, my dear friends, Nitch is here and times are a changin'!

All be it, slowly.


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Beer Blogger's Conference EU 2013 and I'm not going

BBClogoThe Beer Blogger's Conference has been something I've lapped my lids at more then a few times, holding back tears of isolated jealousy.

Dog's balls and bloddy, stubbed toes! Once again, I'm going to miss another effing beer blogging event. Boo hoo, in the most sincere way. This time I'm peering over the pond from France to Scotland. Hey guys, how is the whiskey cask ale? Oh, I can't hear you, that's nice...

It is like watching all the festivals that people in Canada and across the US get to bramble over to. Then there is Australia with Melbourne good beer week, New Zealand's Beervana and countless other sloppy, sloshy, beer drinker hand shaking events that I get to read all about. I'm a team player and a bit of voyeur, so I have no problem living through all my beer blogging companions, but I'm jonesing for some skin on skin with like minded froth fans.

I'm stuck in France until I pan out my visa- another month or so, hopefully less.

Oktoberfest?! Pilsen?! (Although I don't like lagers much, I appreciate the effort and hear that Germans do beer in a beautiful way. There are places in Pilsen where a weary beer traveling lady can soak her body in a tob of warmed beer. Yum, sign me up.) Maybe make some plans for a bicycle tour of the Belgian monistaries? Amsterdam?! Copenhagen! (And) of course London.

I have a list as soon as the visa paperwork clears. Until then- I sit like a pervert in a tree, just scoping all the sweet love festivals in neighborhood net earth.

Beer Blogger's Conference activities layout is lean with some bits more chewy then others:

Keynote Speaker
Garrett Oliver of Brooklyn Brewery  will provide the keynote address. Garret spoke at BBC12 in Indianapolis and was a hit. Please see the blog post announcing Garrett for details.

Yee for keynote speakers.

History of Brewing in Scotland
Get insights into Scotland’s brewing past, and learn about the history of Scottish beer and what makes it different from (or similar to) other regional brews. Our speaker is extremely well qualified: John Martin is president of the Scottish Brewing Archive Association.

Yaa for brewing in Scotland.

Whisky Barrel Aged Beers
Harviestoun brewmaster Stuart Cail will present this short seminar on aging beers in whiskey barrels, providing a brief history of the process and taking us through a tasting of various beers so we can taste the effects of the wood.

Now we are talking- and tasting!

Beer Blogging Around the Globe
Learn about the similarities and differences in beer blogging through Europe and from farther abroad. Reuben Gray from the blog Tale of Ale in Ireland will moderate this panel as we hear from some of your fellow attendees who have traveled from far away to attend EBBC.

I'd love to meet Reuben Gray outside the web and am sure this discussion will hash out some interesting convo.

Drinks Writing: When Every Word Counts
When the liquid is only part of the story, how do you engage your reader? Veteran drinks writer Susanna Forbes shares her top 10 tips from her experience writing and editing for trade and consumer titles as well as setting up

Sounds like a useful whip up of information.

BrewDog does Social Media
Sarah Warman, who manages social media for BrewDog, will be sharing insights and her maverick marketing know-how with beer bloggers. BrewDog on a macro scale has employed many social media tactics that a beer blogger can learn from and apply on a micro scale to effectively grow your readership, reach, and influence.

Meh. BrewDog, you cunning macro crafters you. How I'd love to hear your devilish marketing tactics.

Becoming a Beer Sommelier
Find out if you have what it takes to become a Beer Academy Sommelier and learn about the differences between beer sommeliers in the UK and US. Learn from Sophie Atherton, the first woman in the UK to be accredited as a Beer Sommelier.

It irks me that Sophie Atherton from FemAleView is always followed by that moniker of 'the first women in the UK to be accredited as a Beer Sommelier.' First of all, why is beer capitalized? I get heavy with the pro noun capitalizations as well when I'm feeling snotty, but does the term Sommelier hold so much water that it can bump up the status of the word before it? Most of all, I'm tired of hearing the talented Ms. Atherton being remembered as merely the first female to do something. As if that is all it takes to make in the world- do something in the male dominated genre, first. Ick. I'm sure her session will be fantastic and she has more to offer than being a trail blazing female.

Current State of Beer Blogging and Discussion of EBBC14
In March of this year Zephyr Adventures, organizers of the Beer Bloggers Conference, conducted a survey of beer bloggers worldwide. Cindy Molchany from Zephyr will present the results of this survey, allowing you to compare yourself to your peers. This will be followed by a discussion among the audience of possibilities for holding EBBC14.

'Current state of Beer blogging...' sounds like an environmental summit with great deliberations to be pondered. Likely not.

What is this survey of bloggers world wide? I dont want to compare myself to anyone else but I want to know if I'm being surveyed.

I'd drink heavily for this part, if I were there. The discussion at the end is likely to involve changing the country of the EBBC. I don't see any Frenchies on the attendance list. Come to eye it, I don't see much of anyone outside the UK attending other then maybe a Swede or two. Er rather, saying that it's an entire Europe conference is bit reaching, but seeing as how all three years has been in the UK, the king of the castle can be the queen if he wants.

Oh whoa is me. Anyone want to hold a Skype beer bloggers conference with Nitch 2013? You can wear whatever you want, drink whatever you want and we'll talk about important stuff- like what to do for next year's international beer blogger's Skype conference.

Meh. I'm grumpy.



Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Session #77- Why the (hop) hype?

sess11Beer Blogging Friday is in session!

Beer bloggers from around the world converge on Justin's Beer Blog for the monthly installment of opinion and rant chat.
'Each month, a different beer blogger hosts The Session, chooses a topic, and creates a round-up that lists all of the participants.'

I've been eyeing The Sessions for a few months now, but have always seemed to have missed the cut off or been mentally delayed on rhetoric. This month's topic:  what makes the India Pale Ale (IPA) style of beer so popular- a topic that hits home for me.
'I don't care if a watered-down pilsener is labeled as "triple-hops brewed"; it wouldn't satisfy someone looking for an IPA.'

Nitch is looking for an IPA! And because she lives in France, IPA is impossible to find. Correction, not impossible- just really effing difficult.

To which people always shrug their shoulders, palms to the air, stating, 'but you have Belgium right there!' Oh yes, I know. And Germany, the Pilznering, lager loving maniacs are next door as well. Nitch doesn't fancy lagers- haven't been a fan since I realized that there were other brewing possabilities than what was mandated but the Reinheitsgebot. Call it a Saccharomyces cerevisiae discrimination that turns my nose up when that specific brand of yeast friend is used in anything drinkable. I'm more of a 'from the top down' kinda woman, if ya know what I mean.

[caption id="attachment_1177" align="alignleft" width="320"]Fox Valley Foodie talks about the difference between Ales and (Meh) Lagers. Fox Valley Foodie talks about the difference between Ales and (Meh) Lagers.[/caption]

And what about being snug a bug by Belgium? Well, lets compare it to California and Mexico. San Diego to Tijuana is MUCH closer in drive time (although, maybe not as safe) than Paris to Brussels, but shares the same lack of beer transfer. Oh sure, Mexico gets imports from America, but it sure ain't Stone IPA. Likewise, America gets Corona and not the itty bitty baby craft breweries that are budding in Mexico. The same with France and Belgium- we get Duvel, La Chouffe and Lindeman's Kriek readily at the grocery store (and Corona, mind you) but we don't see the craft beers that have saved the Belgian brew culture from sinking. On that same row, Belgium (and the rest of the world) doesn't see the lovely craft beers that are (all be it a little slowly) flowing about France.

So sure, I can track down some a Mikkeller IPA after a 20 minute tram ride, 10 minute bus ride and a 15 minute walk but then I stare down the barrel of a price tag which makes me consider skipping my rent payment and I long, deeply and whole heartedly for the days of Ninkasi Tricerahop IPA at the corner store.

While reading A Good Beer Blog, I had an 'ah ha' moment as to why my addiction to IPA is currently so strong. Alan passed on some Gen-X nuggets of wisdom he had once received: 'the most attractive girl at the party was the one with the accent.' The hype over the hop, for me, is partialy because the hop tastes like home and at the same time, it is the most exotic. The IPA might have a long history in the UK, with hops being used in beer since the fourteen hundreds, but in today's beer culture- American brewers have the know how on hop brews.

[caption id="attachment_1176" align="alignright" width="445"]Nothing like the blast of fresh infused hops to make the tongue tickle! Nothing like the blast of fresh infused hops to make the tongue tickle![/caption]

Even things like the Duvel Tripel Hop, while having been brewed since 2007 (which implies that they've had time to tweek and perfect their recipe), doesn't ring my bell the way a clean fresh blast of Randall The Enamel Animal injected IPA does. Whoosh! Sip. Wham, Pow, Pop! Phew.

My partner is French- extremely French, with high cheese and bread standards that cause him refuse food rather than touch mediocre grubs, a foodie to the max. Since him and I have been in relations, we've had our eye balls popped out at each other like looney tunes over which is better: wine or beer. We've debated the historical and social values, health detriments and benefits then sat down and agreed to disagree. He was raised French and I'm an Oregonian- in terms of nectar of the gods, we come from two different schools of worship entirely.

After three years of partnership- he is a hop addict and he isn't even aware of it yet. My French man hasn't been to America since his beer epiphany, but he will take a beer like BrewDog's Punk IPA (not a fantastic brew, but hop headed like a mother eff) and giggle like a school girl. His eyes will roll back and I'll watch with jealousy as he deeply inhales the hop resins with his big French nose nuzzled just above the beer bubbles. It's sexual, these little green flowers and no amount of substitution will replace the real thing.

[caption id="attachment_1184" align="aligncenter" width="737"]Collage This is what we get in France[/caption]

"Unlike wine, which tastes like earth, spice, fruit and maybe sunshine, hops taste like a mountain river. You don't get that kind of sense from any other liquid. I can taste the river rocks, smell the mountain air and glacier water. IPAs taste like the other side of nature from wine." -The French Man

So, after we pull our minds out of the hop house and take our hiking boots off, (hop body scrub anyone?) lets take a look at one other thing that makes Nitch not afraid to tattoo her heart with hops: I'm not too cool.

I'll agree that if I was still in a strong beer culture, where IPAs are getting crazy mixed into new 'styles' and every pub, bar and restaurant carried at least one IPA, then sure, I could imagine my palate wanting variety. All good things in moderation.
Excess on occasion is exhilarating. It prevents moderation from acquiring the deadening effect of a habit. -W. Somerset Maugham

CollageI had a fairly strong romance brewing with sours (sour stouts in particular) before starting world travels and continue my face pinching appreciation with Belgian Cantillons when possible (although still not easily accessable or pocket book friendly here either). So sure, I would have my time (and belly) full with options other than IPA if I wasn't in a creative beer desert. There is nothing like a nose full of hops to wake up one's appreciation of beer.

What I keep hearing from bloggers who are waist deep in beer revolution is, "I'm not a hop head" (anymore). You (most of you) know that hops were what helped lure you away from the macro swill that was standard like breast milk. Now you are branching out, which is natural because you've been beaten over the head with hops and are gaining more depth in the tasting field. Call it a hop soul cleansing that has completed it's cycle.

But now, it's as if people who are on the crest of the beer world are too cool to appreciate hops at the fore front of brews because IPAs have been taken over by hipsters. Alors, dégage hipsters (pardon my French). They are hop crazy because it's the cool thing to do, but also because craft beer is hip. I'm not cool, I wear high waisted pants and I like IPAs nearly as much as I love my  Maui Coconut Porter.

The IPA trending craze will hopefully lead new drinkers onto to greener (or maltier) pastures when given time, so let the IPA fever continue and those who develop in beer will do so. Those who don't like IPA rage can move on (to other creative beer styles). But to look down one's nose at the progression of the IPA is to be just like being the cool kids. Soon, hipsters will like what you now like and then you'll have to find something else! Where does it end?

To recap on 'whats the deal with IPA craze' to Nitch:

[caption id="attachment_1182" align="alignleft" width="334"]DSC01530 Am I addicted to hops? I just spent 6€50 on a Punk IPA at the one bar in town that sells the only IPA.[/caption]

1. Distance makes the heart grow fonder- IPA is exotic to me in a way that only an expat can understand. The hop blast delivered by American IPAs is like walking into a bar and getting imitate and prompt service, you simply can't get it in France no matter how much you wave and smile.

2. Hops are their own beast- maybe because they are the closest relative to Mary Jane, endowing them with some kind of unstudied psychedelic powers or maybe because they effect the body in slightly sexual way (some more then others), whatever the case, hops are for sure a distinct character that is complimented by the malt sugar balance and efferveance bubble display of beer. They have the ability to turn life long wine lovers into blossoming beer connoisseurs- they are the shady side of nature.

3. I'm not too cool- . Oh sure, IPAs are popular and it's embarrassing some of the crazy things people do for a stronger dose of the drug (ahem, Randall the enamel animal) but that doesn't mean that one should slink off in serach of next big (but currently under appreciated) thing. If you are too cool to say you love IPAs then maybe you are suffering from the same "harder to reach the sweeter the apple" complex as in Nitch's point #1, and spending more time and money on ever harder to find brews when there are highly quaffable liquids within reach.

Oh okay, so I sound like I would snort crushed hops off a bathroom stall toilet paper holder with a stranger, but try going without it (or the option of it) for a few years and see what happens to your will power.

In any case, that is the IPA craze breakdown in my neck of the world woods, I can't wait to read across some of what other international bloggers are cranking out! Hopefully I'll get signed up for an IPA anonymous group until I'm once again living in a higher per capita of beer culture.

Nitch's Session #77 rant signing off with a little video showing what happens to Nitch when she receives her home brew hop delivery.

Don't judge me.


Friday, July 5, 2013

Tasting- Duvel Tripel Hop

Duvel Tripel (not triple) Hop


DUVEL Tripel Hop 9.5%

A: Green beer! Tinged green color on the straw hay matte. Fast falling head. Sounds fizzy like champagne.

S: Hop pellets, caramel and a green hillside of spices, mostly clove.

T: Bitter lemon lime soda. Still very Duvel in malt and spice but for sure they added hops. Check.

M: Medium body with a shockingly uncomfortable hop bitter that messes up the taste buds.

O: Not redeeming this hops thing. Hops and belgiuan bitter. Bitter beer face happened around the table. This is not what Americans are looking for either.

Ugh and Meh but it is the closest thing to a hop blossom I've nosed in weeks- Yum!

The Tripel Hop bounces itself out of the Belgian family tree into the mouths of the chirping American craft beer drinkers in an attempt to be hip with the hop. Unfortunately you have you have more then just a heavy handed hop wholesaler to make a pint sing with the green, instead of just looking ill. Duvel did a great job of sticking to it's guns and keeping their hyper caramelized Belgian national the same as it was (meh) while adding triple the amount of hops.

Although three hops are used, the two base stay the same (Saaz or Citra I assume), the third changes each year 'for the true beer lover' says the website. This year there was Sorachi Ace Hops.
By using three instead of two hop varieties to brew, we obtain additional hop aromas and an increased bitterness. The typical Duvel palate is enriched with Sorachi Ace hops providing fresh notes of citrus and mint.

[caption id="attachment_1170" align="alignright" width="432"]horse3 Duvel isn't the right color for the Emerald Hop City inhabitants, but that'll change[/caption]

The Tripe Hop does have that tangy, refreshing bouquet that the hop hunter cocks the gun for, but on a better examination Duvel isn't the beast we are seeking. Still out of season. Give the company a few more years of (american) beer culture saturation and we'll be able to tear into the thing with raw hop addicted abandon. They've been making Mr.Tripel Hope since 2007, which isn't surprising. This isn't an IPA, mind you, but a Belgian Strong Ale- an animal of a different color (mostly green) all together.

Nitch MIGHT be purchasing Duvel Tripel Hop again, seeing as how it is oddly exotic, changes annually and (in France at least) is more easily accessible then an IPA.


Thursday, July 4, 2013

S'il vous plaît, more hops!

Another French drinking evening that was packed with Belgian clove spice and little gnomes, today. We are having great weather in France, so outdoor drinking is essential and equally essential is chilled (appropiately priced) beer. The Delirium Café in Orléans, has a great outside seating that one can shuffle around to meet grouping arrangments, but beware the outdated beer bible and it's incorectly priced "craft" beers.

[caption id="attachment_1159" align="alignleft" width="240"]400px-AKE_Duff_Beer_IMG_5244_edit What an abomination.[/caption]


Although I've learned not to ask for American beers for fear of getting a Busweiser or Duff (a completely fictional beer from The Simpsons, which seems to be associated with America is if The Simpsons were reality), I haven't given up on my Hop Hunting in France just yet.

I asked the watier for the most hoppy (houblon) beer that they had- I'd even settle for that beastly Duvel Triple Hop. My mouth was screaming for heat beating hop bursts and I was like a pregnant woman craving pickles and ice cream!

He came back with this:


Hop Hunting Fail

At 9.3% ABV Mr.Urbock, while being a perfectly lovely beer on a regular occasion, is like malted sugar syrup in the summer weather. The head disappeared before I had finished pouring and only continued to devalue itself as time went on. The nutty, earth tones of the brew warmed into existence and I was wishing I had followed the French and ordered La Chouffe with it's thick, snowy head.

Again, like a picky five year old, I was the last person to make my second order. After sipping the hugely spiced and fruited La Chouffe, I amended my longing to be French and reverted to pouting. Once all my friends had ordered I grabbed the waiter for another try at hop achievement.

[caption id="attachment_1143" align="alignright" width="418"]La Chouffe is hopped with belgian sweat- not recommended good for hot weather. La Chouffe is hopped with belgian sweat- not recommended good for hot weather.[/caption]

I explained to the waiter what an IPA and how important hops are to American well being. He said they had nothing close to that, that Urbock has a lot of hops and he suggested maybe I should try the Delirium. I'm sure Urbock does have a good handfull of hops, to counter act the mountain of crystal malt used to feed the yeast that create the high abv, but I was looking for hop presence.

Wilted like a wet flower, recently trampled by a pack of wild horses, I opted for the highest alcohol beer that was least stressing on the palate: La Corsaire.

Nitch drudges on. Having failed at hop hunting, she reverts back to pirate status. Yarg.