Beer and Pavement

Top 5 Predictions for Craft Beer

Posted in Beer, Top 5 by SM on January 2, 2012

My apologies for some erratic posting over the holidays and such a late top-5 this week. I want to post more often, but life and work get in the way. Still, look for a beer review in the morning to get things off on the right foot for 2012. After this top-5, be on the lookout for next week’s list which will make five predictions for indie rock.

5. Gluten-free beer will become a big deal. Whether or not these beers actually contain any gluten, it will suddenly become apparent that beer brewed for our gluten-intolerant friends will make appearances on a significant number of brewery lineups. What does this mean? Gluten-free products are hot at the moment and brewers are just trying to fill a hole in the market. Don’t look for any gluten-free brews to become flagship beers.

4. Beers that are both hoppy and sour will be the hot trend in brewing. A few beers featuring sours and the like that are dry-hopped or variations of IPA’s with souring features typically provided by Brettanomyces. Whatever this style or hybrid style might be,  it will take the craft beer world by storm.

3. One TV show featuring craft beer will succeed where Brew Masters did not. I’m not talking about Budweiser’s foray into reality TV. No. With all the DIY, foodie, and reality TV opportunities out there, it’s only a matter of time before craft beer breaks through. It could come from Lew Bryson or someone else, but it will happen in 2012. My bet is that it will happen on a food-focused network and will feature people and stories from all over craft beer, not just one personality or brewer.

2. The bubble will burst…sort of. Craft beer has shown steady growth over the last decade+ with little signs of slowing down. Record numbers of breweries will open this year. Then, a bunch of them will close. The market is fast becoming over-saturated which will inevitably lead to a lot of mediocre beers crowding shelves and taps. However, the better brewers will survive. Some breweries may even pull back and focus on regional markets. The point is that something’s gotta give. Look for craft beer to take a small step back and for a few breweries to close their doors this year.

1. Someone will brew a beer for an indie rock band. I have no basis for this prediction other than the fact that this blog seems to be picking up steam and folks are just waiting for a chance to join the coalition, preaching the gospel and celebrating the intersections between craft beer and indie rock. Which band? Which brewery? We’ll have to wait and see.

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Top 5 Stout Franchises

Posted in Beer, Top 5, Uncategorized by SM on December 19, 2011

Breweries brew all kinds of beer, but only a few produce exceptional imperial stouts time and time again. Often, they use one base imperial stout in their aging and barreling programs, but other times they add ingredients to alter the flavor one way or another. These are the five best breweries at producing series of imperial stouts.

(Note – I considered including non-imperial stouts, but the list became too unwieldy and I tend to prefer imperial stouts this time of year. Had I gone with all stouts, Bells would have surely deserved a mention. Their imperial is excellent and their lineup of non-imp stouts is impressive.)

5. Mikkeller – Between the Black Hole series and all those Beer Geek Breakfast/Brunch beers, it’s hard to find a more intriguing set of imperial stouts. Add to that one of the better big beers I’ve had this year in Black, Mikkeller holds the title of best Danish/Gypsy brewer of imperial stouts all by himself.

4. Great Divide – Sometimes, it becomes easy to overlook the great beers that do regularly ship to one’s market. We get Great Divide here in Missouri which is a treat. Their Yeti series of imperial stouts is pretty impressive. They add chocolate, oak, Belgian yeast, etc. for a nice lineup of tasty imp stouts.

3. Three Floyds – I have had one Dark Lord in my lifetime and it was pretty great. If you look at any beer rating site, the top imperial stouts list is littered with variations of this one beer. This fact makes it hard to not rate it in my top-5, but the fact I’ve only personally had one bottle makes it even more difficult to rate it higher than the next two breweries.

2. Goose Island – GI is famous for a couple of things. One is the fact that they were bought out by ABI. The second is that they brew Bourbon County Stout. On it’s own, BCS is an incredible beer. However, GI does several versions that are hard to get, but if you do, it’s totally worth it. On top of that, they sell the base imperial stout used to age in those bourbon barrels known as Big John. Let’s hope the first fact mentioned here doesn’t interfere with the second.

1. Founders – Even beyond all the hype built for the release of Canadian Breakfast Stout in bottles this year, Founders brews a mean lineup of imperial stouts. The breakfast stout is the only beer with coffee (aside from some of the Mikkeller beers) that I will regularly buy. Then, there’s Kentucky Bourbon Stout and their “regular” imperial stout. Plus, there are periodically versions of these beers popping up here and there in kegs all over the Midwest. All of this make Founders the king of the imperial stout, IMO.

Also…

Southern Tier – The Darkwater Series is hard to deny. Check out Chokolat, Creme Brullee, Mocha, and Java for four of the tastiest dessert beers you’ll ever find.

Hoppin’ Frog – I haven’t gotten far into the Frog’s BORIS series, but what I’ve had is pretty good. It would help if they had a wider distribution in Missouri, but I can wait for periodic shipments from Ohio now and again. Rumor has it that a DORIS is coming my way.

Alesmith – Alesmith’s Speedway stout is a pretty grand imperial, but I just haven’t had enough of it or any of its variations to be able to report on it. Plus, although well-hyped in its own right, it just doesn’t hold the cachet of a Three Floyds yet.

Top 5: Xmas Beers

Posted in Beer, Top 5 by SM on December 12, 2011

OK. So, I don’t actually like seasonal beers. The only exception are those beers that happen to always come out at certain times of the year, but aren’t necessarily tied to the season. There are other exceptions, but I find fall and winter seasonals to be particularly dreadful as it becomes the time of year to overload mediocre brews with spices. This is something homebrewers do, not quality craft brewers.

Still, there are a few holiday ales which I like to try every year. I typically only drink holiday ales that are available here in Missouri. So, the list is a bit limited that way as well. Here are five of the better holiday ales I enjoy…

5. Avery Old Jubilation – Sweet, malty old ales should be on every brewery’s holiday lineup. This one is a favorite and almost criminally available everywhere, sitting beside their spiced brethren. The Christmas-y and seemingly pedestrian presentation make me think 1995 micro-brewed concoction of frankincense and myrrh.

4. Boulevard Nutcracker Ale / Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale – I couldn’t decide between these two as they are the same beers in my mind (not really even close). Sure, Celebration is…well… more celebrated, but they are very similar beers. Instead of coming with spice, they hit you with hops, lots of them… Actually, the point is that that both beers contain a surprising amount of hoppiness in two rather different beers. Are you confused yet? I am. The hoppiness contained in the winter warmer and IPA are of the crisp variety, how I’ve been liking my hops as of late.

3. Mikkeller Red White / Santa’s Little Helper / To From / Hoppy Lovin’ Christmas – Some of these are better than others, but it’s the fact that Mikkeller puts out a full lineup of holiday ales that strikes me. All are uniquely Mikkeller and all are worth the holiday bonus you may fork over for some. I’m particularly interested in the Hoppy Lovin’ Christmas, an IPA brewed with ginger and pine needles, as it’s new to me this year.

2. Samichlaus – This beer has an enormous reputation in these parts, almost as large as its 14% ABV. The rep is much deserved and the beer is a Christmastime necessity. I don’t know that it actually has anything to do with Christmas other than the fact that it sounds like “Santa Claus,” but it’s a giant lager with which you should not trifle.

1. Jolly Pumpkin Noel de Calabaza – JP is one of those breweries at the top of my favorites list that just does it for me every time. Sure, they’re all variations of the same beer, but they’re all delicious.Tartness galore as always but this time in the form or a Belgian strong dark ale. I would have even accepted spice, but JP didn’t stoop to those levels and kept it on the real. In other words, it’s your typical Jolly Pumpkin but in super-awesome Christmas form.

Special Mention: Stone/Nøgne Ø/Jolly Pumpkin Special Holiday Ale – From what I understand, this beer has long been retired. All three breweries can be found in this beer. It’s a bit of a mangled mess, but it was my mangled mess at one time. I’ve had versions bottled by the first two breweries and each brought with them something different. I feel like the JP version has been around, possibly passing my lips at a tasting, but I have no proof and could be totally mistaken.

Top 5: Xmas Records

Posted in Records, Top 5 by SM on December 5, 2011

I debated waiting to post this until the 19th, but I thought you’d all like a chance to set up your Spotify play lists or go record shopping. Know that the following albums should fill your Xmas with happiness and joy and they won’t suck too badly. Also, I tried to focus on only those albums that have a decidedly indie slant to them. All the artists may or may not be currently on indie labels or even considered indie, but the sentiment is pure indie and the execution is all craft.

Also, I considered compilations, but that just seemed too easy. These are full albums by indie artists that contain nothing but Christmas songs. An interesting fact about me is that I love Christmas music. I don’t necessarily get into most holiday traditions, but I love interesting Christmas music. I used to give mixed tapes as gifts.

Anyway, here’s a list of the five best indie Christmas albums. I may do one of my favorite songs next week or the week after. Also, be on the lookout for a beer post thematically similar…

5. Aimee Mann – One More Drifter in the Snow
Aimee Mann does mopey, sad music better than anyone. This is the type of thing I enjoy when countering all the happy joy joy that runs rampant this time of year. Sadly, her best Christmas song , “Christmastime,” is not even the best version of the song. You’ll have to hunt down the track with Michael Penn, appearing on the holiday compilation album, Just Say Noël.

4. She & Him – A Very She and Him Christmas
Some may be on Zooey Deschanel overload, but She and  Him partner M Ward do some nice stripped-down versions of Christmas classics old and new. Plus, your indie cred will go up when you put on a record from Merge.

3. Bright Eyes – A Christmas Album
I know folks have their issues with Conor Oberst, but this album released to raise money for a Nebraska AIDS charity (They have AIDS in Nebraska?) is valuable find if you can locate it. Other than the strange reading of the “A Night Before Christmas,” Oberst and friends put a rather stark and desolate holiday season. You’ll notice this trend in the odd-numbered albums on this list.

2. Sufjan Stevens – Songs for Christmas
I have the free download of this album, as that’s how it was originally released. Since then, the Saint of Hipster Christians has released a 4-disc album of a pretty complete collection of Christmas tunes. This album was recorded during the manic, hyper-productive period for Sufjan Stevens when it seemed possible he’d actually write and record an album for every state. Oh well.

1. Low – Christmas
This EP just barely qualifies for the list, but for what it lacks in quantity, it more than makes up in quality. Low somehow captures the dark, lonely side of Christmas while creating a record of both old favorites and original soon-to-be-classics. You may not care for all of the artists above, but you have to own this record.

Top 5 Hip-Hop Sets

Posted in Live, Top 5 by SM on November 28, 2011

I am not really a hip-hop fan, but I have seen several hip-hop acts over the years. Most of those sets happened as part of a festival or multiple-band lineup. So, I can say I’ve seen hip-hop on stage, but I haven’t really attended a concert that featured just hip-hop or rap.

This changes Tuesday night. A ticket became available for the Jay-Z/Kanye West show in Kansas City tomorrow night and I was invited to attend. I will have no idea what’s going on or probably the words to most of the songs, but I suspect it will be a pretty impressive show. It’s a free ticket to see probably the top two MC’s in hip-hop today. There’s no way I’d turn that down. It should be interesting.

All that said, here’s a list of the best hip-hop acts I’ve seen in-person. The details are sketchy as I probably wiped portions of these sets from my memory, but I was there either way. All that and tomorrow night’s show should top any group on this list just by sheer star power alone. My street cred will skyrocket or something.

5. Big Boi (2010, Pitchfork) – Though I was really just waiting for Pavement’s set to start while Big Boi played a solo set at last year’s Pitchfork Fest in Chicago, I did watch and listen. Big Boi mixed a few of his newer solo bits with loads of OutKast tracks scattered throughout the set. So, at least I actually knew most of the songs by virtue of being under 50 and alive.

4. Arrested Development (1993, Lollapalooza) – Arrested Development marked the peek and eventual downfall of the earthy, hippie hip-hop of the early nineties. The genre just couldn’t keep up with gangsta rap. Still, it was quite the stage show with some crazy-ass dancers and actual instruments, something I never thought I’d see at a hip-hop show. I know better than that now, but at the time it was a novelty.

3. De Le Soul (2002, Unlimited Sunshine Tour) – De Le was well past their prime when I caught them sharing the stage with Modest Mouse, Flaming Lips, and Cake, but they were legends – in hip-hop terms. It may even have been a reunion or comeback tour of some kind. What was most striking is the number of white people who knew how to act for a hip-hop group. It had been nine years since my first hip-hop show and white folk had come a long way by 2002. I’m sure it happened before that, but this is the moment I noticed. De La had a lot of energy to start, but sort of fizzled as the set waned.

2. A Tribe Called Quest (1994, Lollapalooza) – This was a couple of years after the Low End Theory, but Tribe was peaking at this point. They were relatively early in the lineup and had to contest with the mid-day heat. So, the crowd was less than enthused. This was also the height of the mid-nineties alterna-rage. Smashing Pumpkins co-headlined with…

1. Beastie Boys (1994, Lollapalooza) – I don’t care what anyone says, the Beastie Boys were originators. They not only bridged the gap between rock and rap, but they connected hip-hop and punk in a way that no one has been able to do since. This was the Ill Communication tour, so they were at the top of their game. Tribe even joined them for a couple of songs.

Bonus: Cypress Hill (1995, Lollapalooza) – Two words: giant bong. That’s all you really need to know.

Top 5 Go-To Breweries

Posted in Beer, Top 5 by SM on November 21, 2011

The Beer and Whiskey Bros. provide me with a lot of ideas for beer posts here. This week’s top-5 was inspired by a post on go-to and no-go breweries. I will abstain from calling out the no-go breweries and just give you my top-5 go-to breweries, breweries that I’ll buy whenever I see their product on the shelf, in the cooler, or on tap.

5. Schlafly/Boulevard – These are the two big breweries in Missouri, Aside from that one brewery. Bothe breweries provide us with entry good beers from which to choose. Of special note are Schlafly’s bourbon barrel beers and Boulevard’s Smokestack series. Both breweries also offer nice (A)IPA’s as well as some seasonal favorites.

4. Founders – I’m not sure any brewery gets the intense flavor of every style of beer better than Founders. Their IPA’s are straight bitter with a citrus nose. The stouts and porters are blacker than night and easily some of the best in the business. The only thing I’ve found that Founders doesn’t do well is subtlety. And is that so bad?

3. Jolly Pumpkin – I pretty much always have a JP in the cellar. Whenever they put out a new brew, I am sure to grab one, despite their somewhat steep prices. A Jolly Pumpkin beer tastes like no other as they employ a wild fermentation with all their beers. Even their ESB’s and stouts are funky. We don’t get a ton of JP here, but whenever I can, I grab one.

2. Stone – This was the brewery (specifically Ruination IPA) that turned me on to craft beer. I consider them the Founders of the west (or vice versa), but they can do subtlety. At least when I pick up a Stone beer, I know every time that it will be enjoyable. This was a major get for our market this last year. Now, we have some of the best IPA’s, stouts, and barley wines available for very little money.

1. Mikkeller – Like Jolly Pumpkin, I pay an extra premium for these beers. The trouble is that we only get a few of their brews at a time. Then, one has to decide if $12 for 12 oz. is worth it. Often, the answer is yes. And they do every style imaginable, plus a few they made up. Even if I don’t like a Mikkeller beer, I will at least find it interesting.

Top 5 Beers in My Cellar

Posted in Beer, Top 5 by SM on November 14, 2011

The following list is based on my anticipation for cracking open the following beers. I may have some beers that are rated better or that I may actually like more, but this is more of a list that highlights some oddball beers and beers I just can’t wait to open. Some I’ve had already, but some will be new to me once I open them in the coming months or years.

5. Allagash 2010 Odyssey and 2009 Interlude – The Odyssey was scored in a Yankee Swap last Xmas. I have no idea what’s inside. The Interlude was found while on a business trip in Richmond, VA. Again, I have no idea what’s inside. Anything barrel aged and produced on a small scale by one of the more respected American craft breweries has me intrigued. Now, if they’re terrible, the brewery’s mystique will fade. However, I suspect these beers will be pretty awesome.

4. 2009 Alaskan Barley Wine – Someone told me that they had this beer and vintage at a beer festival recently. It was the hit of the fest according to this one guy, but I trust his opinion. That’s why this beer’s days are numbered and I’ll be cracking it open at some point this winter.

3. Never Forget Barley Wine – This was the barley wine I had planned for my daughter’s first birthday. I didn’t get around to brewing and bottling until a few months after her birthday, but quite a bit of it has been consumed, leaving me with only two bottles. At some point, I’ll open one to see what happens. The other may have to wait until a significant birthday. 18? 21? We’ll see.

2. Cantillon Lou Pepe – This one I just bought this past week. At $22, several factors are at play. First, I could only justify buying one as I had already purchased three bottles of something else that day. So, I will have no idea what it tastes like. This may mean that this one has a short stay in the cellar/closet. Second, the high price point makes me hesitant to just open it for any old reason. Regardless, it will be saved for a special occasion, of which there will be plenty with the oncoming holiday season.

1. Stone Vertical Epic Series – With 11/11/11 happening, another in the series of beers not meant to be consumed until after 12/12/12 hits stores this week. My sister’s birthday happens to be December 12th and the goal is to consume as many of these as possible – in a commemorative glass – on or more likely after her birthday next year. We’re now one year and beer closer. I currently have ’08-’10. My sister grabbed a bottle of ’11, but I may grab another when it arrives here next week just to be sure. It will be a surprise no matter what the beers taste like. Hopefully they all do stand the test of time.

Top 5 Bands I “Discovered” Opening for Other Bands

Posted in Live, Top 5 by SM on November 7, 2011

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I’ve been to a lot of shows over the last 20 years. Less than some, more than most. I’ve seen pretty much every important artist of my generation (aside from REM and Radiohead for some inexplicable reason). Of course, I’ve also seen a lot of openers. Sometimes I skip the opening act, but sometimes I catch a set better than the headliner’s. There have been other times I went just to see the opener.

So, here’s a list of bands who opened for other bands that I “discovered.” Surely, there were people who had heard of these bands before I, but I found them in a place I wasn’t looking.

5.Dirty Three – The first time I saw Pavement marked the night I discovered Dirty Three. Between rants about struggling to find one’s personal pharmacist in the middle of the night, DT played the most intense guitar rock at a slow, methodical pace. Instead listening to a singer go on and on about his #whitewhines, the most sorrowful violin imaginable gave us the soundtrack to the Three’s tales of woe.

4. 764-HERO, The Shins – I discovered these two bands at completely different points in Modest Mouse’s history. 764-HERO opened for MM in the fall of 1996 in a tiny Columbus, OH club called Bernie’s, a bagel/beer joint in a High Street basement. I saw the Shins on MM’s first tour on a major label’s dime. It would be a full year before their record would be released and several years before Natalie Portman changed Zach Braff’s fictional life.

3. Iron & Wine – Like the two above, I saw Iron & Wine open for an Isaac Brock-fronted band. This time, it was Ugly Casanova. We had been anticipating UC’s set that we hardly noticed the bearded man whispering on-stage.

2. Superchunk – This one makes me a little embarrassed to admit. For various reasons, I was slow to picking up on Superchunk. They opened for Guided By Voices, a band I was quick to accept. For that night, Superchunk was the superior band.

1. Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – I was late to jump on the JSBX bandwagon but at least it was during their Orange tour. The band opened for the Breeders and all I could remember was a man screaming “Blues Explosion” as he made love to a theromone.

Top 5: Session Beers

Posted in Beer, Top 5 by SM on October 31, 2011

I’m starting over with this Monday top-5 list feature. Instead of five random things, I’m going to do an actual top-5 list based on some theme or topic. Some will be beer focused; others will be primarily about music. There might even be room for something else, but every list will make sense.

Argue with me in the comments. However, be aware that these lists are based on my opinions and feelings at that very moment and could change tomorrow.

For this week’s list, I’m listing my top-5 session beers. A session beer, according to Beer Advocate, is a beer that registers at no higher than 5% ABV. This post isn’t intended to question the validity of this definition or to argue the finer points of a session beer. My intention is basically to list five beers that could be enjoyed throughout a period of time with drinking buddies. The idea that there is a huge difference between a 4% and 5% beer is ludicrous and somewhat arbitrary. For the purpose of my list, I’m drawing the line at 5%.

5. Schlafly Kölsch – Honestly, there were some hoppy pilsners and sweet bocks I wanted to include in this list so as to represent all the decent lager alternatives that are out there, but all my favorites don’t meet the 5% standard I set above. So, I’ll go with a Missouri beer in Schlafly’s Kölsch, the closest an ale can get to being summary and lager-like. The beer is a pleasantly crisp, clean drink during the hot Missouri summers.

4.  Stone Leviatation Ale – If you want the hops and malt presence of an American IPA/DIPA without drinking yourself under the table, Levitation is the way to go. The bitterness and floral aroma we hopheads crave is there only in a much lighter package. I’m not one who likes to limit a beer to a style, but this one still manages to adhere to the boundaries for an amber without boring me to sleep. This is seriously one of the best hoppy beers you can drink while standing.

3. Jolly Pumpkin Bam Biere – It’s no secret that I love oddball breweries who tinker with style and fermentation processes to create lovely beers. Jolly Pumpkin is one of my favorite breweries and Bam Biere is a go-to whenever I can find it on tap. Even a 750 mL bottle won’t put me under when a beer like this measures at 4.5% ABV. It’s a dry, earthy Saison that also features a pleasant amount of bitterness. This is a fine example of a beer that can be low in alcohol and big on flavor.

2.  The Bruery Hottenroth Berliner Weisse – I love what The Bruery does. Aside from Dogfish Head, I’m not sure another brewery makes beer that is more ideal for the dinner table than The Bruery. This beer is an example of the under-brewed style of Berliner Weisse.  The Bruery adds lactobacillus and brettanomyces to the beer to attain a certain tartness, but it seems that this may be a departure from more traditional brewing methods of this style. Either way, it’s a beautiful beer and something one can enjoy all day long.

1. New Glarus Wisconsin Red – It’s funny to me to include a “Wisconsin Red” to the list after what transpired this weekend, but I would be an idiot not to include this beer on my list. In fact, Wisconsin Red has a permanent spot on my all-time-favorites list. From the first time I tasted it, I knew that I would always have to have a bottle of this nearly perfect beer in my cellar. Whenever someone heads to Wisconsin, I always ask them to bring me back a bottle. The tartness of the cherries is nailed without the overwhelming presence of cough syrup. It’s light and flavorful, pairs well with all kinds of food…I could go on and on about Wisconsin Red, but I’ll stop there. Maybe I’ll do a proper review when I finally open the bottle I have.

What are the session beers you like most? If you have an issue with my arbitrary definition of a session beer, let me have in the comments.

On a programming note, look for reviews of Eleanor Friedberger watching the World Series, Sebadoh battling me on the Twittersphere, and a post a day for the month of November.

For more on session beers, follow The Session Beer Project.

Top 5 for October 16, 2011

Posted in Beer, Top 5 by SM on October 17, 2011

Another week, another top-5….

1. “Senator” gets the MTV treatment. – Maybe the year’s best single finally has a proper video. Somehow, Malk secured the services of Jack Black to make what must be the song’s narrative incarnate. Office Space‘s Gary Cole even makes a cameo. I really wish the narrative was more fleshed out to represent some of the nuances suggested in the song, but it’s as entertaining a video as one could hope.

2. Black IPA’s vs. Cascadian Black Ale – Really? There’s still a debate over this? Whatever. It’s a great beer style – whatever you call it. Why all the fuss? What I like is how so many can be so different. I had my last Stone 15th Anniversary Ale this weekend as well as a Clown Shoes Hoppy Feet. Both were incredibly different from each other. The Stone beer is so clearly a West Coast DIPA with some dark, roasted malt. The Hoppy Feet has a ton of cola flavor and doesn’t feature the aroma of Simcoe and whatnot as prominently as the Stone. Still, both were good beers.

3. Sports Ball – I planned not to write about Ohio State at all with what was looking like the worst season in 10 years, but they somehow pulled out a win versus an undefeated and raked team on the road…with one completed pass ( a 17-yard touchdown pass in the second half). The Buckeyes’ opponent, Illinois, didn’t score until just over six minutes left in the game.

Even if Ohio State hadn’t won, it’s been fun to watch the St. Louis Cardinals come out of nowhere this season. They were left for dead a month ago before going on a tear that’s seen them catch the Braves for the Wild Card, beat the unbeatable Phillies, and beat the Brewers who happened to beat the Cards for the division race. It’s been a hell of a run and I hope it continues.

4. Homebrew Update – I cracked open a Black Francis and it’s packing hear along with a load of bourbon. On top of that, I can sense the cocoa nibs just under the bitter. I’m hoping the vanilla flavors will emerge as it ages, but I don’t know how long it will be around. There’s also the Simcoe-dependency IPA which I have yet to open. It’s been in the bottle for a week and a day, but I’ve found that waiting at least 10 days insures there will be carbonation. I’ll drink one this week in order to make sure it’s ready for a party we’re attending on Saturday.

5. Gordon-Moore Separation – While some fret over Ashton and Demi’s breakup, I’m more concerned about the separation of Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore. For completely selfish reasons, I don’t want to see Sonic Youth end over this. Here’s to hoping they figure out a way to still make Sonic Youth work despite their separation. I suspect it’s not that big of a deal as the reality of such relationships rarely matches the ideals many of us hold concerning marriage.

Bonus: I am the 99% and I fully support the #OccupyWallStreet protests. I have chosen not to write about it mostly because I have tried (and sometimes failed) to avoid politics. Still, it’s everything I rail against with regularity on Facebook and Twitter discussion threads. I just hope it doesn’t get co-opted, leaving it powerless.