Beer and Pavement

Top 5 for October 10, 2011 in pictures

Posted in Beer, Life, Live, Top 5 by SM on October 10, 2011

Like 15 years ago, my then-girlfriend and I traded some CD’s for new music at Used Kids in Columbus, OH. One of the records I traded for was a vinyl copy of Orange. We broke up later that year. She took my record. Late last week, a reprinted replacement finally arrived. I think I may have to write more about this.


My second (successful) go at Simcoe-dependency, a single-hopped IPA, is now bottled and should be ready for consumption in ten days. This beer is pretty dry in order to showcase the cattiness of the Simcoe. It also weighs in at 7.1% ABV, higher than anticipated.

New Albanian Brewing Company is one brewery I have yet to try, but they make the most bad-ass brewing t-shirt ever! I wore it for a Sunday collaborative brew session. Several folks all added ingredients to one beer, an imperial brown something or other. I contributed molasses and brown sugar just to be redundant.

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I went to one of those fancy prohibition-style drink places with my wife before a show. Their beer list was lame, so I ordered a gingery Tiki drink. This took me back to a place I used to frequent in college and drink Miserable Bastards until I was the miserable bastard. This story relates to item #1.

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This is a shitty image of Beirut last night in St. Louis. They were good and all the band nerds in the audience gizzed themselves over the sousaphone solos.

Posted with my iPhone. RIP Steve Jobs.

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Top 5 for October 3, 2011

Posted in Top 5 by SM on October 3, 2011

I’m super-busy at the moment. So, let’s get on with it…

1. Believers – When Believers hit it big, remember that you read about them here first. Or you already knew them and have known about them long before I started posting long rants on their potential greatness. Either way, the boys have released two tracks you can download for free. The first is a newer version of “Forward Forward Back.” The second is the excellent new track “Finder.” Check below for the tracks and/or visit the Believers’ site.

2. The Lost Season – This will go down as the year my Ohio State Buckeyes go missing for 3-4 months. The offense did NOTHING Saturday and things don’t look any better for the coming month of games. I’d rather not go into details. Just know that their offense can be described as offensive vomiting. This is probably the last I’ll post anything football-related as I am choosing to focus on positive things.

3. Wild Flag in KC – I get to see Wild Flag Wednesday night in Kansas City. I’m pretty excited to see this band. Also, it’s at a venue I haven’t been. It will be a late night, but I expect it to be an excellent show, something I’ve needed for a while.

4. Home Brew Updates – Black Francis sits in bottles, doing what it needs to do. I won’t crack one open for another two weeks just to see if it’s ready. Even then, I suspect some more time in the bottle will be required. Conversely, I just brewed an all-grain version of my Simcoe-dependency, an all-Simcoe IPA, a week ago, it fermented about as well as any beer I’ve ever had, and I promptly added another ounce of Simcoe for the dry-hop. The OG for the beer was 1.066 and the FG dropped around 1.012. That puts the beer over 7% ABV. It’s super-bitter and dry, nearly perfect at this point. I’ll wait another week to bottle. Then it might be ready about the same time I try the stout.

5. Redesign – As hinted last week, there are some aesthetic changes coming. Well, sort of. I will most likely do little to the blog. There might be a move to my own URL, but the blog will generally remain untouched. That said, I plan to put together an actual website, linking all my resources and other online shenanigans. I’m not sure what exactly I’ll host on the new site, but it will generally be tied into what’s going on here right now. Stay tuned…

Top 5 for September 26, 2011

Posted in Beer, Jock Straps, Life, Top 5, Uncategorized by SM on September 26, 2011

Have you filled out my survey? Well, do it. I have a grade to maintain. And on with the list…

1. 20 Years Ago – It seems that the nostalgia cycle has firmly settled on my generation (X). There are numerous Nevermind tributes, including my own. However, there were other records that came out in 1991. That and a lot has come out in honor of feminism’s third wave taking off in the form of ‘zines and riot grrrl happenings. Of course, all of this 90’s retro fever will only encourage me to force outdated media on my child. Hence the purpose of this blog has gone mainstream (aside from the beer part).

2. The Ohio State Buckeyes 2011 Football Season – I’d rather not write much about football. All is not lost, but it’s a rebuilding year for sure. Freshman Braxton Miller started and won. So, there’s that. B1G starts this week. We’ll see how things go from here on out. The off-season of suspensions and coach firings has done a number on my favorite sports team. Here’s to hoping the NCAA is kind next month.

3. Spotify – I wish I had more time for Spotify. This is the social music tool for which I’ve always dreamed. I haven’t created a lot of complete play lists, but I’m starting. If only they had more music. At least a third of the music for which I search is not yet available. I know that I could just upload my own, but that takes time and most of my CD’s are put away. It will take time, but I’ll post some play lists soon enough. In the meantime, subscribe to my play list for the blog. It will be updated periodically.

4. Black Francis Update – Black Francis is bottled and will sit for another 3-4 weeks in said bottles for some additional aging and conditioning. I originally planned to let it sit in the secondary for two months, but I decided to move it after six weeks? Why? Multiple reasons, really. First, I’m impatient waiting on home brew and I knew it tasted pretty great a week or two ago. Second, I have plans to brew more and figured I might need the carboy and/or the space. Third, everything was long-settled and the flavors seemed to have soaked in well enough. Fourth, I accidentally left the cover off the carboy for several days after tasting it. I don’t detect any oxidation, but I figured it was time to bottle and move on. My hope is that I have plenty of bottles to share around the holidays.

Speaking of home brewing…I brewed an all-grain batch of my Simcoe-dependency yesterday. It should be awesome. It smelled pretty awesome anyway. I may offer tasting notes once it’s ready.

5. Hopz – I tried one of those Hopz cigars. I bought them for my father-in-law for his retirement. We smoked a couple yesterday. Pretty mild, loosely wrapped, but I didn’t get any hops. Maybe it’s all marketing. I guess it worked.

Top 5 List for September 12, 2011

Posted in Top 5 by SM on September 12, 2011

Acer japonicum Vitifolium JPG1fu

I feel like this feature has to make it two more weeks for it not to be forced. This is number 3, I believe. Digest what I have to tell you and know that there will be a beer and record review on Wednesday.

1. Anniversaries
Yesterday was the three-year anniversary of our daughter’s birth. That’s right. She was born on September 11th. While not thee September 11th, it’s a pretty important day in our house. Eventually (or now), I will grow tired of every September 11th focusing on patriotism, terrorists, and fireman. For once, I’d like it to be a day my daughter can look at as her own. She’s too young to realize what a big deal everyone makes over this day. I have chosen to move on and remember this day for the life it has wrought instead of the death. Also, the Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA was pretty great and will be featured in Wednesday’s post.

2. The Womyn of Merge
Also featured in Wednesday’s post will be Wild Flag, but I’ve said too much already…I recently acquired albums by Eleanor Friedberger and Wye Oak. These were nice gets as both albums are really powerful and of the highest quality. However, since I was so late to their bandwagon, I’ll just mention them here. The Wild Flag will get a proper review with a beer (see above) on Wednesday.

3. Black Francis
Black Francis is the imperial stout I brewed that’s currently sitting on oak chips, cocoa nibs, and vanilla beans all soaked in bourbon. It tastes pretty awesome at the moment, but I’ll probably leave it in the secondary for a little while longer just to let it acquire as much flavor as possible. The plan is to bottle by October so that I have it ready for the holidays.

4. Seasonal Beers
The stores are loaded with beers meant for fall: pumpkin ales, Oktoberfests, etc. However, I’m more excited for the beers featuring freshly harvested hops that will be slowly released all fall. These beers feature a sharp bitterness that is lost in your average IPA. I’ve grown a little weary of those who go on and on about pumpkin beers and just wait patiently for my fresh-hopped beers to show.

5.  OK. I couldn’t resist. Here’s some Wild Flag…

Top 5 for September 5, 2011

Posted in Top 5 by SM on September 5, 2011

Happy Labor Day, y’all! I wanted to make a labor-themed list this week, but I wasn’t feeling all that creative. Labor Day and unions will get their due in the list, but there are other things to cover…

1. SM on Fallon
I originally wanted to share this show SM & the Jicks put on at San Francisco’s Amoeba Records, but this two-song set on Fallon was too much to resist. The image of all those kids on stage peeing themselves over the awesomeness in front of them can’t escape my mind. All the live videos of material from this album further confirms that Mirror Traffic is the best I’ve heard this year and I doubt that will change any time soon. (I would have embedded the videos here, but NBC’s and Photobucket’s embedding doesn’t seem to cooperate with WordPress.)

2. Founders 2010 Nemesis
Recently, both Draft Magazine and The Hopry suggested that last year’s Nemesis is ready to come out of the cellar. They were right. Gone is the hoppiness and bite. Present is a smooth, luscious black barley wine, aged to near-perfection. I still have two left that will wit for at least another 6-12 months. It should be interesting to see how this beer matures even more.

3. Reckids
I’ve had an influx of records arriving at my house lately (and still more to come). It seems an order of three albums was lost somewhere and finally arrived this past week. I’ve barely had time to listen to Let’s Wrestle, Boat, and Joan of Arc. The Joan of Arc is pretty wicked, though. Also, I ordered a couple records I missed along the way: Eleanor Friedberger’s new solo effort and Wye Oak’s latest. On top of that, I’ve been listening to a streaming Wild Flag all week. So, there’s music about which to write once I find a moment.

4. Beers
There’s always a constant flow of beer in my life. I recently tried and thoroughly enjoyed Dogfish Head’s Squall, which is a bottle-conditioned version of their 90 Minute IPA. This was the same beer without the bite, quite enjoyable. Also, over the weekend, I had the Schlafly raspberry coffee stout. Meh. Fruit in stouts doesn’t often work for me. In this case, the raspberry overpowered everything. Luckily, I have another to age to see if the raspberry mellows.

5. Ohio State is 1-0.
This is all that matters. The Buckeyes had a long, long off-season as wins were vacated, players suspended, coaches resigned, etc. Now, they’ve finally played a game. It was a 42-0 win over outmatched Akron, but it was a win nonetheless. First-time head coach  Luke Fickell starts off undefeated. The defense pitches a shutout (which is a big deal no matter who you’re playing). The quarterbacks looked good. There was a new-found killer instinct lacking in previous teams. They even left at least 10 points on the field, fumbling once inside the 5 and missing a make-able field goal. Now, they welcome a slightly tougher – but still a MAC-rificial lamb – test in Toledo. Hopefully, a week from now, I’m writing that they’re 2-0 and ready for Miami.

Top 5 for August 29, 2011

Posted in Top 5 by SM on August 29, 2011

Here we are again. Another week. Another top-5 list.

1. College Kids
I don’t know if they make the list because I’m glad they’ve come back or that I wish they’d all go home. Living in a college town means that the winds of change happen every year in mid-May and mid-August. Students cause overcrowding, dangerous situations on the street, and a lot of unnecessary noise. Conversely, they also bring with them energy, inspiration, and a sense of hope. There’s good and bad. Luckily, they don’t know enough about craft beer to drink it all up. Sadly, they don’t know enough about (good) indie rock to raise demand for such things in retail and entertainment. They are just what they are.

2. College Football
The season begins later this week. I will be happy to actually watch games instead of reading about a new scandal every week, especially for my Buckeyes. This season could be surprisingly great for Ohio State. They have more talent than any team on their schedule, they have been the best program in the nation the past few years statistically, and it’s the first year for a new era. That said, they will likely suffer a few setbacks as replacing your coach and starting quarterback in the same year is just too much, especially with a significantly upgraded schedule. However, if they find a way to grind out a 5-0 start, find an answer under center, and gain a boost from players coming off suspension, it could be a special year.

3.The Flaming Lips + Lightning Bolt, “I’m Working at NASA on Acid”
This track is from the collab the Lips did with Lightning Bolt, one of the most raucous and insane live bands you’ll ever see. The beginning and end do nothing to capture Lightning Bolt’s energey, but the cool, retro aesthetic is nice. In between, there’s a burst of what you’d expect from LB and about 45 seconds of noise with classic Lips imagery. Overall, it’s an entertaining clip.

4. Drink with the Wench Beer Blogger Interviews
The Wench is a pretty well-known beer blogger who is willing to share her sizable audience with struggling beer bloggers like myself. Late last week, she posted my interview. A few questions were left off (totally my fault). As a special treat for you, my dear readers, I have those missing questions here:

#. What is one of the coolest things that happened to you as a result of being a beer blogger? The week after Stone arrived in Missouri, I wrote a post on the event that is a Stone state-wide release. Greg Koch responded to my post as well as all eleven footnotes. He was super cool and gracious.#. What are you top 3 favorite beer blogs/beer websites?
It’s a Fucking Beer! (Great reviews with a potty mouth.), Hot Knives (Vegan hipsters with a penchant for matching brews with cheese and indie rock.), and Make Mine Potato (No reviews just existential ramblings about craft beer and lots and lots of beer porn you want to get with.)

(Plus, there was this mention from Appelation Beer.)

5. One more video…Here’s an unreleased track from Malk, “Independence Street.”

My beer club had a “Members Only” tasting in which we all wore Members Only jackets and drank a shit-ton of fantastic beers. Below is a picture of that lineup and you can always check my Untappd posts for the order of beers sampled.

The beers were from left to right: The Bruery Hottenroth, Hoppin Frog Hoppin to Heaven, Pretty Things St. Botolph’s, The Lost Abbey Devotion, Terrapin Hopsecutioner, Brew Dog Dogma, Boulevard/Deschutes Collaboration #2, Allagash Black, Dogfish Head Hellhound, 08-10 Stone Old Guardian (vertical), Brewer’s Art Green Peppercorn Tripel, The Bruery Mischief, Hoppin Frog Mean Manalishi Double IPA, Nectar Black Xantus , The Lost Abbey Judgement Day, Brooklyn #1, Full Sail Old Boardhead Barleywine 2011, Smuttynose Baltic Porter, Green Flash and Pizza Port Carlsbad Highway 78 Scotch Ale, Weyerbacher Heresy, Pretty Things Baby Tree,  and The Bruery Trade Winds

Not pictured: Boulevard/Deschutes Collaboration #2 (the Deschutes version, aka Conflux 2), Stone Japanese Green Tea IPA, Trappist Westvleteren 12(!), Cascade Sang Royal, and Weyerbacher Double Simcoe

Top 5 for August 22, 2011

Posted in Beer, Intersections, Top 5 by SM on August 22, 2011

I feel like there topics that slip through the cracks now and again that I don’t always have time to post. I might address them in my Twitter feed or some other social media outlet, but they fail to get proper treatment here at the coalition. This is where the top-5 list comes in. The easiest kind of post for a blogger to write is the list and this new semi-regular feature will allow me to hit those things that were passed up for this sort of thing.

That said, consider this to be the first in the series of top-5’s. Don’t expect this to be a list of five records that or five brewers who kinds of lists. This is more like those lame lists editors stick in magazines to fill space. None of the items have much to do with the other except that they all appear here, in the same list. If any of these topics need further development, comment and I’ll try to get back to them, but no promises.

1. The California IPA
This is old news, but few people still discuss the merits of the West Coast IPA over other IPA’s and DIPA’s. I have enjoyed several straight-up IPA’s from the west coast and have enjoyed what they have to offer. There isn’t the booze of the typical DIPA or the syrup-ness of the Midwestern IPA or the overly hoppy characteristic of the East Coast IPA. No, the West Coast IPA is crisp, clear, dry…It may be one of the most beautiful beers there is. It’s often lost as it’s not that big and boozy, but IPA’s from the left coast were many of the beers that turned so many of us on to craft beer in the first place.

2. Stephen Malkmus
With Malk’s fifth album, Mirror Traffic, coming out this week, I have been devouring interviews and his entire discography for the past week. There’s a lot to digest before this record arrives at my front door and I let you all know what I think. What I’m rediscovering is that Malk’s work since Pavement has continued to develop. There’s more to the man than his role as father of indie rock.

3. Discoveries in Richmond, VA
I was in Richmond, VA this past week and made several unexpected discoveries. First, I found a Vietnamese restaurant called  Mekong that specializes in craft beer. I showed up for some Pho and found that Mekong was celebrating their 16th year in business with a tap-takeover by Stillwater. For the second time this summer, I was able to hang out with Stillwater’s Brian Strumke. There, I was able to try several Stillwater brews, particularly the barrel-aged Stateside Saison and the Cellar Door from a cask. It was a chance reunion, but I nice way to spend an evening in a strange town with a new friend. (Admittedly, “friend” might be too strong a word, but acquaintance isn’t quite accurate either. Facebook friend? Two-time drinking partner? Stalker and stalkee?)

Other things I stumbled upon by chance included a few nice records in Richmond record stores, a brewery that will be up and running in the next month, and a nice little restaurant featuring a decent craft beer list as well as some expertly prepared eats. Be sure to check out Deep Groove Records, Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, and Magpie the next time you’re in Richmond. Deep Groove is the ideal record shop with loads of quality finds, record players for testing the vinyl, and a knowledgeable owner. Hardywood doesn’t even have beer to sell just yet, but from the looks of their website and the brief chat I had with one of their owners, I can tell they’ll do craft beer right. A guy at Hardywood sent me Magpie’s way and I’m glad he did. Magpie is a nice place on the corner that served me this phenomenally-prepared fish (can’t remember the variety) over a bed of bok-choy and gnocchi. Best meal I’ve had since returning from Spain.

4. I just read the greatest single review of an album and it was a novel.
It took me a while, but I finished Camden Joy’s semi-schizophrenic  first novel, The Last Rock Star Book Or Liz Phair, A Rant. It’s not really a novel at all. Rather, I consider this book to be the most complete and obtuse record review of all-time. The man wrote a story about a fictional self who stalks Liz Phair (and/or his ex-girlfriend), blows up things in his boring hometown in Iowa that’s best known for the airliners that constantly encircle the town, and deals with the fact that his girlfriend may be the illegitimate daughter of the Rolling Stones’ Brian Jones. Through all this, Joy gives the best reading of Exile in Guyville I’ve ever read or considered. He nails the cultural importance of that album and places it into its proper context of rock history.

5. Terroir.
I read this article about terroir which  is a French word that suggests things like wine or tea carry with them characteristics of the land from which they come. The article was in a beer magazine that makes the argument that beer also possesses terroir and I believe this to be true. There’s even the possibility that the people who produce such things also provide a bit of terroir to their concoctions. This idea made me think long and hard about how terroir plays out in music. Oh, there will be more to say about this in a forthcoming post, but know for now that the idea of terrior is on my mind and in my top-5.

What’s your current top-5 look like? Do you want to hear more about any of these? Do you think it’s okay to stalk Liz Phair? Does this explain her notoriously inconsistent stage fright? Should this post have garnered some footnotes?