Monday, March 19, 2012

Beers of the Week Part 5: Girl, search your feelings you know it to be true.

Let me preface this entry to apologizing to the search engines whose indexing of this blog comprises 99% of my readership. I didn't really drink the previous week and have used up my tasting notes.

Wormtown-Be Hoppy IPA
I love this beer. Living one town over from its source gives me something to lord over my brother, thus continuing the fine tradition of the youngest infuriating his elders. In addition, it introduced me to the concept of beer jerky.
I ran across multiple marinade recipes using equal parts worcestershire, soy, teriyaki and beer. They made it sound like adjunct lagers should be used. This got me wondering what one could achieve using something with an actual flavor profile. The answer was pure fucking magic.
Be Hoppy jerky went quickly. Hoppy flavors survived the dehydration and imparted this awesome citrusy kick to the meat. It was totally worth the nerve wracking that went with cooking off alcohol right next to a heating element.
Beer: 95/100
Jerky: 97/100

Stone Brewing Co-Arrogant Bastard
I've always been a fan of the beautiful balance malt and hops in this beer. If not for the moderate alcohol content and dog walking duties, I'd session this monthly. So it was a natural to attempt during my jerky experimentation. Taste buds told me most it would need was a hint of smoke. Sadly, I listened to the Internet and shortened marinating time by about eight hours. The end result was still delicious but I prefer my meat completely saturated in the stuff. Part of the fun of beer jerky is getting to taste great beer when it's unwise or illegal to do so. This jerky had some traces of malt and hop flavors but nowhere near enough for my taste.
Beer: 90/100
Jerky: 75/100 due to my error

Wachusett-Milk Stout
I dig this beer. Milk stouts in general scare me as lactic sugars are easy to overuse. It drinks smooth and has just the right balance of chocolatey malt flavors and sweetness. This one is so beautifully balanced I just had to try some jerky.
The Jerky Bastard failure made me curious as to what I could do to reduce the time meat sat in the fridge I share with my vegetarian wife yet still get flavorful jerky. So I decided to try enhancing flavor with brown sugar which I figured might be earthy enough to compliment a stout. It turned out okay all told. Dehydration unbalanced the brew in favor of malts a bit so yay on the sweetness. However, next time I'm either double bagging the meat or storing it in the beer fridge.
Jerky: 80/100 due largely to my learning curve

Wormtown-Pro-am Porter
I have a knack for missing this beer when it's in production. Lucked out this time and finally met this nicely malted baby. It drank smooth, tasted chocolatey with a smidge of roasted coffee in the background.
I decided to add a dash of brown sugar to the jerky marinade as this batch was supposed to be shared with a non-beer geek type. It got about 24 hours to soak and came out fantastic. There's this really robust maltyness counterpointed beautifully by a sweetness that manages to be earthy enough to not clash. Someone on the brewery's twitter account told me I could get beer in exchange for jerky but I'm not sure I want to give this stuff up.
Beer: 92/100

Jack's Abby-Smoke And Dagger
Chocolate malts with a hint of smoke? I believe Frank Oz put it best OM NOM NOM NOM NOM.

Jack's Abby-Jabby Brau
Malts and hops in perfect balance to produce a delightfully sessionable lager with a nice light body and fruity hints in just the right places. Very worth spending a Sunday afternoon correcting label machine errors just before shipment.

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Cthulhu crocheted hat by CraftyPA

Sometimes, you stumble across cool grannies while hunting for handcrafted goods. Not only does the proprietorix of Etsy's CraftyPA fund visiting the grandkids by crocheting garments of unfathomable evil but her response to my head measurement was "let me add a couple stitches" instead of the typical "yarn stretches." On top of that, she agreed to refund my original purchase price if efforts to clad me in atrocity failed.
Coolness of the seller aside, this is one of my favorite Cthulhu ski mask patterns. Several others mistake the my elder god for a green dude vomitting calamari or appear based off those wonky headdresses from the "Collect Call of Cthulhu" episode of The Real Ghostbusters. This one has a large alien-looking forehead, evil shaped eye openings, and nicely varied mouth tentacles.

If there's anything I don't dig 100%, it's the puny human mouth opening. It's nigh impossible to lift the tentacles out of the way and aim the fairly minuscule opening at the mouth of the average pint glass. However, that's a very minor concern.
In terms of construction, it's abundantly apparent CraftyPA knows what she's doing. I went through row by row looking for odd gaps or loose stitches. In the end, I found nothing posing a significant threat to structural integrity. I'd honestly say that if the one odd looking spot isn't a byproduct of the method, it adds a lot of character and isn't worth sweating.
All in all, this particular incarnation of Cthulhu was a steal of a deal at $23.00. Due to being made of acrylic fiber, there is a high degree of scratchiness. However, that fiber is a bit less likely to shrink if washed improperly. That's a real bonus if you plan to sip a pint without removing any layers. It also came in handy as the garment smelled of cigarettes enough to feasibly remind the cats of my ex. They sort of declared a jihad upon all signs of her return and might have killed Crochethulhu if I had to undergo a particularly complicated wash ritual.


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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Beers of the Week Part IV: So apparently making a shitty fourth movie then calling it the first doesn't compensate for a crap script, eh Georgie?

Wachusett Homegrown Hop Ale-This one's simple but tasty. It's a moderately hoppy pale ale. The brew manages to pull off simple drinkability without being so boring as to warrant water comparisons.

I remembered adoring this beer in 2010. The 2011 didn't go down so smoothly, though. It was still fairly delightful but I picked up this weird semi-metallic taste. That's true of another brewery in area so I'm wondering if it's water related.

Blue Hills-Wampatuck Wheat
This one is a bit odd. It has a semi-cloying sweetness going on. The wife says that enhances the flavor. I say it distracts from the wheat flavors and therefore sort of sucks.

I would just assume dump some pumpkin pie type spices on my tongue. It tastes about the same, costs less, and is equally nauseating.

Botswain American IPA
This one tasted a bit... stale. Not the worst IPA ever but far from the best.

White Birch-2
Anniversary ales should celebrate a brewery's successes. This one honestly tastes alot like Trader Joe's Winterfest but a bit less drinkable.

Wormtown-Be Hoppy
I needed an IPA that tasted vaguely fresh after the Botswain. This one hit the spot.

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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Phuddy Duds Red Warrior Helm

The wife often asks me why I hate on hipsters. It's because they keep on following me and tainting perception of how I roll. Ironic appreciation was my thing for fifteen+ years now it makes me an insta-bastard. Cool kids gave me shit at a Between the Buried and Me concert for wearing a hand-knit Froghat. Within six months, I caught some of the same skinny-jeaned bastards on the subway wearing Knitwit penguins. Then the other day, I got some mail encouraging me to buy an amazing LULZy insta-beard hat to amuse my clear-lenses glasses buddies.
Those hideous machine-made turds struck me as downright blasphemy against the glory of Phuddy Duds masterpiece.

Let's start at the tippity top. That bump rendered so poorly by my ultra-deficient camera is the traditional hub where the seams in steel helmets meet. Such details will be missed by most but the Phudsters included both as well as using a yarn with sparkly threads to lend the piece some glint.


Something else my easily overwhelmed picture generator cannot truly convey are the textural flourishes of the main body. Rows alternate between slanted vertically oriented stitches then horizontal "mini-braids." Facial hair is far less smooth than the gentle fiber used here and the little textural touches really help maintain the standard for realism set in upper potions.

As Louis Jucker from The Ocean illustrates, the braids are very well done too. They flow and hang like properly weighted facial hair and look positively spiffy during rounds of headbanging.
Phuddy Duds did a great job on their Viking hats. Some might prefer the white-haired version. It suggests a higher rank in the hordes and has a nicely shaped helm portion complete with nosebridge. However, I'd stick with the red version as the beard style is better for Metal shows. Plus, the open facial cavity makes it easier to fit on more epic heads.


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