A Beer-y Good Story: Competition Partners

 I understand: “Beer-y Good” may not apply to this one, except as a warning flag to keep up with your sponsors. I was glad I did.

Written by Ken Carman

 Be watchful who you dance with…
 Last year I partnered with a local organization for my competition. This is a case of, “Uh, oh.” When I heard everyone I had worked with last year was gone I knew in my other, more professional, life this rarely is a “good” sign. There’s a reason why “a new broom sweeps clean” is usually stupidity to the max. People know how things work, and more important how they didn’t. The best example I can think of; from before I started my life as a full time entertainer, is a car dealer I did transfers for. The company sold twice and the second time they fired everyone and radically changed the business model. The doors shut six months later. Continue reading “A Beer-y Good Story: Competition Partners”

Maria Devan Reviews Ayinger Octoberfeat Marzen

It is a little buttery. You can taste it right at the back end when you swallow. For me diacetyl puts a frown on my face and this time it did.

I will say that other aspects of beer can put a look on your face like the slight pucker or gentle kiss of a lambic or sour beer or the chewy motion when you first taste a big roasty stout. It’s kind of slick and that slickness stays at the back of your throat after you swallow.

The malt taste is trying but not as crisp as it would have been. It’s a good toasty beer though. Hop bitterness becomes more forward after a few sips. The other thing that diacetyl will do in a beer is take away from malt scent on the nose and flavor. This one does. And accents hop bitterness. This one did. Another gesture that tells you diacetyl is the hand up at the waist, palm forward. No more .

A Beer Judge’s Diary: the 11th Beaver River Beer Tasting, Beaver River, NY, 2017

STRANGE person with obvious tongue defect who does this beer tasting year after year

By Ken Carman
By Ken Carman
 Really, this was the 11th Beaver River Beer Tasting? Yes! Doesn’t seem that long ago. Of course, along with the good crowd some regulars showed up, like Donna Fruit Beer Brown: seen in the picture at the bottom of this column, Joyce Carman Lovelace and her daughters: May and Dorothy, the Hutchinsons. Of course what would an annual Beaver River Beer Tasting be without award winning brewer, beer judge, steward, winemaker Mark Franey… who also blows mean bagpipes?
 Mark brought several browns to educate the palate including maple brown, hazelnut brown, pecan brown, caramel brown and chili coffee brown. He also brought some of his wine. No one whined about that. Since we have limited time, about 5 beers in, Mark took over. We only have from about 1:30 until 3:30 when the busses arrive to take everyone off to the Riverboat back to Stillwater. Luckily they pick up in front of the house. Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: the 11th Beaver River Beer Tasting, Beaver River, NY, 2017”

The Setting Sun: Five of Vienna’s Best Spots for a Late Summer Beer

A colleague of mine at the Wien Museum (Vienna’s city history museum) asked me over lunch today about some of my favourite places to have a beer in Vienna. It was a fitting question. He had recently participated in a learn-to-brew day at Brauwerk and has kindled an interest in beers beyond his favourite styles. It was also a timely question. Today was my last day at the Wien Museum. Two years in this fine city, and five days left.

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Deschutes Black Butte XXIX: Black Beauty, The Sequel

Deschutes Brewery’s first beer was Black Butte Porter.

Most breweries come out the chute with something a bit less menacing, more crowd-pleasin’. But Deschutes, from Day One, held their company’s slogan, “Bravely Done”, in a octopus-like grip and have operated off that ideal ever since. They arguably have the country’s greatest American-style Imperial Stout – the immortal “The Abyss” – and they tinker with it constantly, gleefully, like a bunch of tweener kids who just found an erector set in the attic. They experiment annually on two of their primary IPAs, “Hop Trip” and “Fresh Squeezed”. They found a barrel of their absolute iconic Winter ale, “Jubelale”, half buried in a snowdrift, after some would-be thieves broke into the brewery and drastically under-estimated the weight of a full 15.1 gallon steel cask, and turned that little disaster into a series of Jubel ice-ale releases, with a crazily high octane version of Jubelale that tastes like Jubelale, only waaaaaay Moreso.

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Beer Profile: Caldera’s Hopportinity Knocks

Courtesy West Coast Beer Geek

Profiled by Ken Carman

82 out of 100 BA, 3.6 out 0f 5 Untappd

I suppose it’s just right for those not expecting more. Strong bitter, really no flavor. Hopportunity has that kind of grapefruit hop nose one expects, but not what one finds when a brewer also plans on fruiting your tongue (or spicing, or floral-ing, or…) as well as bittering. Too many late additions? A tad astringent, which would be fine if there was something else there.

The mouth screams for at least a little malt sense. I understand hops are the star, and I can take super IBU bombs, but I expect at least some complexity.

I have found Caldera a mixed bag brewer. Nothing I’ve had outstanding, nothing really bad.

Mouthfeel? BITTER. The malt comes across as an ever so slight slickness. carbonation is low side medium.

Visually yellow, clarity: tad hazy. Light yellow. Many small bubble head that holds OK.

Again: just a tad more complexity please? Some hop flavor and just a hint more malt might do the trick. As it is it’s a bitter bev that hints there may be some malt way in the background. MAYBE. (Of course there is, but point made.)


Readers: for now we are using only BA since InBev owns Rate Beer. We may get UnTappd but their site security is done with something that resembles a bad version of Candy Crush!


Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “perfecto.”


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Beer Profile: Chimay Doree

Profiled by Maria Devan


Herbal hop smells earthy and green. Reminds me of gruit beer. Invigorating and fragrant but soft spoken.

Drinks like crackers and spice. Crisp, mellow and resounds with a little twinge form herbal bitterness. It’s like suckin’ on a piece a grass under a tree as you walk .



Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “perfecto.”


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Profiled by Maria Devan who lives high on a hill over looking Ithaca, NY. Look! If you live in Ithaca there she is with her field glasses spying on you! Are you drinking a beer worthy of attention. Beware, she’s Ithaca’s beer police. Can’t you hear the siren on he bike as she rolls down the hill? We kid. She’s been writing for us for many years now. We’re lucky to have her.