Deschutes “The Abyss”: Santa Intervenes…I Hope

I know I haven’t written to you in a few years…well, okay, quite a few years. Oh, alright, the last time was during the Eisenhower administration. Whatever. The point is, I apologize.

It wasn’t because I forgot you or that I ever doubted. When I was lying in bed, my daughter’s head resting on my arm, trying to get her to go to sleep because, “Hey, Santa won’t come if you’re awake!”, I wasn’t thinking that it was going to be me drinking up that God-awful Kroger store-brand egg nog. I was telling her what was in my heart. And, besides, I knew my wife would suck it up and drink the egg nog, if I bitched long enough. And cut it 50/50 with brandy.

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Beer Profile: Cigar City Cafe Con Leche

Profiled by Ken Carman for PGA

Black as hell amber head/lite brown pillow with a few big bubbles. The nose has a hint of coffee, some lactose sense and darker malts. The flavor is caramel mixed with dark chocolate. Hops not noticed except a slight bitter in the background. Coffee also dominants, but not out of balance. Medium body. Tad dry but some residual sweet too! Quite the dance, a well performed brew-based ballet. Low carbonation in the mouthfeel, but firm. This was rates very high everywhere I looked. Rate Beer had it at 100 twice!



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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Winter beer brings holiday cheer across the country

Winter means holidays, and holidays mean gifts. Gifts are always welcome — especially gifts of beer.

Well before visions of gingerbread cookies and sugar plums dance in our heads, breweries have the season’s flavors in mind. Brewers anticipate the season like a white Christmas; in Rhode Island, Newport Storm Brewery was busy fermenting for three months to craft its annual release — for the 17th year. In San Francisco, Anchor Brewing’s Christmas Ale, a new recipe each year, is officially the brewery’s 43rd Christmas beer on the wall.

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A Beer Judge’s Diary: Music City Brew Off

No pictures this time, more just a review of the first competition we judged at, probably 1999. It’s been said and done before in this case. Let’s have a break. Next year back to more traditional coverage, maybe?

By Ken Carman

Millie and I started judging at Music City Brew Off. I think it was 99. I still have the 98 guidelines, somewhere. Since then we’ve judged all over the east coast, due in part to the fact we’re from upstate NY originally, and I spent close to 30 years on tour doing kid shows and educational activities.
I thought this year went well, with at least one problem that seems to be increasing: the unavailability of judges. The easy thing to do is blame other clubs for not helping out, but it goes both ways. Clarksville’s August competition had one MCB judge there: Millie, she who apparently has just enough masochism to her nature that she and I have been together since 74.
When will you ever learn, young lady? Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: Music City Brew Off”

Crux “Tough Love” 2017 [Banished] Edition: The Ultimate Refutation of the Asshole Stout

We’ve all seen this before:

American-style Imperial Stout, 30-weight, insane final gravity, totally opaque in the glass, laced with additives, barrel-aged, and, these days, aggressively hopped.

There was an old car joke, from my high school days: “Why do you call a Pontiac GTO an ‘asshole’? Because everybody has one. ”

Same deal here. Everybody has one of these wood-aged assholes and, many times, they really don’t taste much different from their racy analog. When you get hold of a great one, you know it, instantly…I do, anyway.

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Boom in sugary pastry stouts shows craft industry forgetting what beer tastes like

Remember that Budweiser commercial that lit up craft beer a few years back?

It mocked people who dared to smell their beer. Who cared to think critically about their beer. Who created such things as pumpkin peach ale. Well, turns out Budweiser might have had a point.

After six hours wandering the aisles of the Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Beer last weekend, I have concluded that craft beer is betraying itself. It is forgetting what beer should taste like.

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