Beer Review: Mutant Temple (Strange Roots Experimental Ales)

I’ve had several beers over the years from Strange Roots Experimental Ales (aka Drai Laag), and I’ve never had a single bad beer from them. Mostly known for their sours, saisons, and the like, this one is actually an IPA.

When I go hiking, I like to enjoy a good ‘hike’ beer, especially at the top or vista point of a beautiful hiking trail. In this case, it was Pinnacle Point in Kempton, Pennsylvania. (Just outside of Hamburg Pennsylvania.) (This beer was also covered in my travelogue about Pinnacle Overlook, Pinnacle Peak, and Pulpit Rock and the hike there, you can check that out here: Pinnacle Overlook, 1787 Brewing Company, and Schaylor Brewing.)

This is another case of beautiful can art. Also, since this was a trail beer, I didn’t have a glass, and drank it straight from the can; like a heathen, a barbarian, an outdoors man, a rogue hiker, a man’s man. …or well, just a person who didn’t feel like carrying around a glass, and hiking for four hours and eight miles carrying a glass that could break, especially while his hiking buddy is a four legged beast that best resembles a wolf on her best days….. (don’t worry Leela, I still love you).

So, this review will be forgoing the “appearance” section, though, I have seen pictures of it on Untappd, and it looks in the pictures I’ve seen, like a light straw colored IPA / saison looking beer, but I won’t go into details, since I did not see it with my own eyes.

Mutant Temple on the hike leading up to Pinnacle Overlook

For any people familiar with Pinnacle Overlook and the hike there; right before you get to the gorgeous vista of the Pinnacle Overlook, there is a giant cairn. Cairn works… but not really. Most people associate cairns with tombstones and what people would do to bury people in places they couldn’t dig the earth up or make a grave for, so they would dig as much as they could, and then cover them in rocks to keep prey from getting to the remains. But the true definition of cairn is: “a heap of stones set up as a landmark, a monument, a tombstone, etc.” (Dictionary.com Definition: Cairn.) (For more about graves…. you can read my beer review on Shallow Grave by Heretic Brewing …. yay for cheap plugs! I feel like Mick Foley!) Anyway, its right before you get to the overlook, its a giant stone and rock heaped pile. The very first time I went and hiked the trail, I almost thought – this was it. This giant pile, this cairn, this heap of rocks and stones, was it, and this was the “view” and the Pinnacle everyone was talking about. (Pinnacle being the height of something.) Thank goodness I walked past it and saw this gorgeous overlook….

Pinnacle Overlook in Kempton, Pennsylvania

Needless to say, this view is a lot better…. A LOT…. better than just a pile of stinking rocks (or non-stinking rocks). To get to this point, it was about a 3.5 mile hike. (Going back down, since I took a different route, and stopped at Pulpit Rocks, it was another 4.5-5 miles, making it 8-8.5 miles all told of just the mountain, plus getting to and from the car.) So, I camped out here a bit with my dog, Leela, which by now anyone reading the blog regularly has heard of quite a bit or seen in the background of pictures (she’s an 11 year old border collie that is commonly mistaken for an Australian Shepherd, named after Leela from Futurama). I didn’t bring food with, since I was going to visit 1787 Brewing Company in Hamburg afterwards, but I did enjoy my beer on the ledge with my faithful furball companion, and then did the treacherous, very rocky hike back down – which is the Appalachian Trail path.

All in all, if you are ever near Kempton or Hamburg area of Pennsylvania, and love beautiful views, where you can see and feel the turkey buzzards, hawks, and other large birds soaring right past your head, this is definitely a great hike and a beautiful view. From Hershey its roughly a 45-50 minute drive.

Mutant Temple by Strange Roots Experimental Ales

Beer: Mutant Temple
Brewery: Strange Roots Experimental Ales
Style: IPA – American
ABV: 5.3%
IBU: 5
Untappd Description: IPA dry hopped with Citra.

Since I’m not doing an appearance segment for this beer review, let me just say, I thought this cairn was the perfect picture opportunity for this beer. It looked alien, strange, mutant like, and would be a Hollywood esque temple location; like something filmed for a Star Wars planet or something. Also, the can art for Mutant Temple is phenomenal to, here it is:

Mutant Temple can art by Strange Roots Experimental Ales

Here also, I want to bring up Strange Roots Experimental Ales. According to Untappd, they are a micro brewery out of Gibsonia Pennsylvania (near Pittsburgh). They have 394 unique beers with over 102K ratings, and a global average rating of 3.86. The Untappd description reads: “Strange Roots exists at the intersection of farmhouse brewing tradition and creative, locally-driven experimentation. We’re passionate about celebrating our environment through the use of local ingredients, varying fermentation methods and micro flora, and strive to create unique artisan ales inspired by our surroundings here in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains.”

Ok, now lets get back to the beer review.

(Skipping the appearance… sorry folks…. moving right along to aroma…) Coming out of the can you get a very citra hoppy aroma. Not surprising since this is a Citra dry hopped IPA. Citra has probably become the most used hop in America in the past two years, primarily for New England IPAs, and primarily because of that. Its a very juicy hop, and gives off a ton of lime, citrus, grapefruit, some peach, some mango, and tropical fruit notes. Both aromatically and in taste. Due to the proliferation of New England IPAs in the past two years, its market has exploded, usually used in conjunction with mosaic. (Cue up the Hallmark Christmas movies meme of Mosaic & Citra.) This is a strong IPA, but not as potent as most New England IPAs, and its definitely not a New England IPA, but it has a very strong citrus, lime, aroma; some notes of grapefruit and peach and mango.

Tasting this, (out of the can, not from a glass, just for perspective’s sake), this is definitely not a New England IPA; but a classic American / West Coast IPA. But its not full blown hop bitter West Coast IPA. Its nothing like Perpetual IPA, or Hop Slam, or something extremely high IBU or hop heavy. This is smoother, but not New England smooth, its not pure juice, but its still a juicer IPA than most West Coast styled ones. Theres a great deal of hop flavor , and some hop bitterness, but I think its smoothed because its dry hopped, especially with it being dry hopped with such a fruity hop like Citra. You get some earthy hop notes, a bit of pine, a wee bit of grassy-ness, to it, but overall the citra elements kick it into ultra drive on this, and you get a lot of the fruitier, more notable hop tastes from the citra; like lime, citrus, grapefruit, bit of peach, bit of mango, some tropical fruits, and the like, and this rounds it out and makes it a lot more tastier, seems to give it a lot more to the beer. I wouldn’t call it an extremely fruity or floral or juicy IPA or beer, but its got a lot of fruit forward flavors, its still definitely an IPA, there’s still the bite and the hop – ness to it, still some bitterness to it; still a “beer’s beer”. There is a nice body to it, and its got a good mouthfeel, it doesn’t feel too light or weak or watery. It’s also only 5.3% ABV, so thats really not bad, almost in the low regions by most beer standards nowadays. Most IPAs clock in the 6-7.5% range; and DIPAs then going from 7-9%. (Of course, then there’s also TIPAs and QIPAs even nowadays too.) I like the low ABV on this, especially for hiking, and despite picking it up at Breski’s as part of a mix-a-six, I could definitely dig this in a four pack and crush it. Would make for a great mowing beer, or working around the house, or shower beer, something where a nice beer would fit, but you don’t need or want to get hammered or pounded or anything. The Untappd description also lists it at only 5 IBU, but it does (still) have a hop bite and some bitterness. There’s no off flavors or after taste, nothing you’ll be burping up hours later, nothing off, or cloying, just a nice drinking beer. Great for hiking up a hill / mountain with your pooch!

My Untappd Rating: ****.25
Global Untappd Rating: 3.93 (as of 12.26.20)

Untappd actually has a checkin spot for Pinnacle Overlook, you can see it here: Pinnacle Overlook on Untappd. I love how for even far to reach hiking places and spots where not even WiFi exists, or I even get internet, there’s still Untappd check-in spots. Thank. Goodness.

Thank you all for reading. 2020 is winding down, and we’re getting near to the end of the year. January 4th will be soon here too, and hopefully Governor Wolfe will be updating the mandates, and letting us get back to drinking and eating indoors at breweries, pubs, restaurants, and bars. In the meantime, get out there and help support local breweries. Support your favorite places, and tip your favorite staff, they all need it! (I know as someone furloughed / laid off / unemployed because of this recent shut down, its a tough time and a tough season, especially with it being the holidays too.) So help out wherever and however you can.

As always, make sure you are taking all the precautions everyone. Stay safe out there, mask up, wash your hands, don’t lick doorknobs, etc.

Cheers everyone!

-B. Kline

Please be sure to follow us on our social media accounts – FacebookFacebook GroupTwitterInstagramYouTube, and Influence. Please be sure to also follow, like, subscribe to the blog here itself to keep updated. We love to hear from you guys, so be sure to leave a comment and let us know what you think!

Some recent beer reviews:

Mutant Temple by Strange Roots Experimental Ales

Beer Review: The Soft Glow of Electric Sex (RAR Brewing)

It is Christmas Eve and there is no greater tradition on Christmas Eve than TBS airing A Christmas Story nonstop for the next 24 hours straight. TBS started this back in the fertile Nile Delta River Valley around 3996 B.C. and they have continued it every year since, all the way up to – and including – 2020. Not even a global pandemic could stop them from airing it for a continuous 6016 years. Thank God!

This one comes flying in right into the “IP” (Intellectual Property) theft debates I’ve been having with a lot of friends, from both in and out of the industry, on my personal Facebook page. Hershey’s recently sued a brewery over their marketing of Jolly Ranchers used in a beer they made. Their lawsuit was for 8,500$, which was the amount the brewery made on the beer made and sold. IP Theft has been a big issue I’ve been thinking about a lot lately with the craft beer industry, and is something I’d like to do an article on, and the Hershey’s lawsuit has given a lot of ammunition to the idea of the article (perfect timing in a way…. well… not perfect if you are the brewery in question I suppose). This is an interesting topic, and I think there’s a lot of merit to both sides. Look at this beer in question – the quote is a direct quote from the movie, and the can / bottle logo for the beer and packaging for it is spot on too, so do you consider that IP Theft? RAR Brewing is no stranger to using pop culture, nerd culture, mainstream, etc, for their beers. Look at their lineups of the “Out of Order” series. One of which I reviewed – Beer Review: Out of Order: Blue Milk (RAR Brewing). Or take a look at another one I reviewed from RAR Brewing, Jon Voight’s Car. This one has an exact replica of George Castanza on the can label, as well as having the car in question in the background. You can see that review here – Beer Review: Jon Voight’s Car (RAR Brewing).

Here is the can and bottle label for “The Soft Glow of Electric Sex”:

The Soft Glow of Electric Sex

It has the “fragile” box in the background, the lamp itself, and of course the iconic quote from the movie (which is the beer title). Where do you all stand on this – does this look like IP Theft to you? Is this fair ground? Is it just a cool and fun little cultural nod? A way to sell beers? I’d love to hear from all of you and your thoughts on this.

Like I said, I love diving into pop culture named and themed beers here for the blog. I have done – a TON – of them. (As with most of the pop culture beer reviews, I’ve included a section at the end of the review listing all of the other ones for you to easily find them, as well as tagged it so you can search through the blog itself easier for them). I’ve done beers from The Simpsons, Seinfeld, Star Wars, Back to the Future, Space Balls, etc. Josh has also done a few, with one recently being a play on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Beer Review: Terpenes in Time (BAREBottle Brewing Co), and there is no shortage of beers out there to review. My most recent beer review (before this beer of course) was “This is the Whey” by Bolero Snort, a play on “This is the Way” which is a catchphrase from The Mandalorian. (Which, I also did a This is the Way beer review, by Broken Goblet). You can see those here: “Beer Review: This is the Whey (Bolero Snort)” and “Beer Review: This is the Way (Broken Goblet)“.

I have been wanting to get out a lot more articles than I have recently, and I apologize for that, life has taken a bit of a crazy turn in recent days. I figured with the local (Pennsylvania Mandates and Shutdown) that we had starting on December 12th and lasting until January 4th, I would be able to get out a lot of beer reviews, and other articles, and I wanted to do a lot of local ones. But sadly, my life has gone ‘full crazy’ right before the Christmas season. So I sadly haven’t gotten as much written as I have had wanted to do. I have gone through a bout of several health related things, some familial things, dealing with my own second unemployment of the year, and fighting with unemployment itself, as well as a host of other things. (Firstly, let me just say, I would never wish insomnia on the worst of my enemies, that is honestly one of the worst things in the world, and its not nearly as “productive” as you might think, writing with insomnia is no where near as easy as you would imagine.) I haven’t even gotten much reading done, something I figured with a snowstorm, snowy and cold weather, as well as lockdown, that I would, but sadly, I haven’t. I’ve found my hours becoming less and less productive and more and more just me staring at walls, more and more of me just trying to figure out whats going on, and working to get past a lot of blocks in the road. Hopefully this writing and getting this beer review out will help with that. Fingers crossed anyway. Tomorrow is Christmas afterall, and we all need to be in the festive spirit, even if I am quarantining and unable to see my family and being all alone for Christmas, I am keeping my head up high, and will be wishing all of you out there a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holidays.

Ok, so lets move on. Lets get past that crap, and get to why we’re here. A beer review about a beer named after a holiday staple and a holiday tradition. My daughters have grown up with A Christmas Story playing on loop in the background of our Christmas’s in the house starting on Christmas Eve when it first airs. Its how I’ve fallen asleep every Christmas since I was probably 16 or 18, whenever TBS first (legitimately) did start airing it.

There is so many classic scenes, many of which remind me of my own childhood. I think I learned most of the words I now use as an adult from listening to my dad assemble various Christmas gifts (one of which was a basketball hoop we got for Christmas one year, that the instructions said could be done with the simple tools around the house; apparently my dad didn’t have a dowel rod, and he made sure to write to Huffy and explain to them in three page – five hundred or so word essay – how a dowel rod was not a common thing around the household; …they promptly shipped him a dowel rod and a 5$ coupon). I think this is why A Christmas Story stands the test of time for so many people. Its an agglomeration of stories, of all the ways Christmas can get screwed up, that it fills us with our own memories, like nostalgia. We remember the Christmas’s where things went helter skelter. I recall the time my Grandparents had a Christmas tree with worms and we could hear them eating the tree. Or my parents “Christmas Bush”. Its much like Christmas Vacation and Home Alone. The mistakes, the missteps, the crazy, is why we love it; because it reminds us of the various Christmas’s where things went off the rails in our own lives. I have often thought about this with my own daughters. The trips we have taken where things didn’t go as planned, have become more memorable than the ones where they went perfectly planned. Like our trip this year to Monocacy where I got sick and we ended up making it a two day trip, rather than a four hour trip.

But lets move on, and get to the beer review shall we? Enough about A Christmas Story, and enough about my own crazy Christmas’s in my past. Lets review some beer!

HO HO HO
The Soft Glow of Electric Sex by RAR Brewing

Beer: The Soft Glow of Electric Sex
Brewery: RAR Brewing
Style: IPA – American
ABV: 7.6%
IBU: None
Untappd Description: Brewed with Mangos, Lactose, Citra, Amarillo, Ella, and Columbus. Tons of citrus and ripe mango juice flavors.

HO HO HO

Appearance is a bright glowing orange. This is probably much closer to a New England IPA, but when first created for Untappd they didn’t really have the New England designation for their IPAs on there, otherwise I’d imagine this would fit it. This is hazy, its orange juice in appearance, has a nice foam head, and well carbonated with nice lacing on the glass as well.

HO…. HO…. HO…..

Aroma is very heavy … very… very heavy mango. I love it. One of the few fruit flavors I really love, and its mango, and it works so well in IPAs (especially New England IPAs), that this is just wonderful. Theres a hint of peach to round it out, but its so much mango and so much upfront it just smells amazing.

Schwartz: Hey, smart ass. I asked my old man about sticking your tongue to a flagpole in the winter, and he says that it’ll freeze right to the pole, just like I told ya.

This is delicious. Maybe for some it might be too much mango, I don’t know, but I love it. Its so heavy mango flavored, but that fits most New England IPAs, and I love it. Very heavy citrus, some lactose, some creamy smoothness to it, a nice slick mouthfeel, but the hops shine through wonderfully here. Citra, Amarillo, Columbus, and Ella hops are used, and they are all lead towards that juicy mango flavor, with some peach, some stone fruit, some zest and citrus, but at the end of the day its all mango flavor all the time. I think the peach rounds it out a fair bit, but overall its very subtle, like a hidden note you can only find after unlocking all the mango flavor. Its a well rounded New England IPA too, it has a little hop bite to it, but nothing substantial, nothing too acidic, nothing cloying, nothing poor or off putting with this. No off flavors. No bad aftertaste, etc. This was the very first RAR Brewing beer I had, and I traded for it back in January 2018. When I first started to get into doing some trading for beers or buying and having people mule beers. I had gotten this and I had gotten the Jon Voight’s Car beer. Fell in love with both, and I’ve enjoyed RAR Brewing ever since pretty much, though I think their Out of Order series has been taken over and changed a bit too much over recent years, and I think they lean a bit too much on the gimmicks for that series (they just released a whole slew of Home Alone themed Out of Order beers, with the can art and the beers being slightly different in each, some representing Kevin, Marv, The Wet Bandits, Pesci, and the Shovel Slayer), but ultimately I think RAR Brewing still makes some fine good beers and they aren’t lacking in quality. The internet can be a bit harsher on them with respects to their Out of Order series, but thats also the internet for you, and who reads the internet anyway…….. (…oh….). But anyway, back to this beer, it is a bold, bright, beautiful, tasty Mango flavor bomb, and a wonderful New England IPA. Its juicy, its tasty, slight hop bitterness, but full on hop flavor, no off flavors, nothing cloying, nice mouth feel, no aftertaste, this is just a fine well made beer, with a cool logo and name, and definitely an eye catcher. And perfect for Christmas Eve and watching A Christmas Story on loop for 24 hours!

My Untappd Rating: ****.25
Global Untappd Rating: 4.01 (as of 12.24.20)

Thinking about how this was one of the first beers I traded for, makes me think back to the early days of trading for me, when I first started getting into that. When I was at Breski’s Beverages just last week preparing for the big snow blizzard we got, I saw Zombie Dust and Alpha Space Station from 3 Floyd’s on the shelf for 3.50$ each, and I remember trading and buying that from people in a Facebook beer group who muled it back. Crazy to seeing it being a “shelfie” now. Just like seeing JREAMS making it up into the Central PA midstate area and in places like The Fridge, Breski’s, etc for their crowler machines. Definitely not complaining about that! That’s for sure!

Well thank you all for reading this, and thanks for checking out another Pop Culture beer and “IP Theft” potential beer. I could almost make that its own category now on the blog. Like I said at the top, would love to hear everyone’s thoughts and opinions on that, and what they think is acceptable or not. Just in general, I always love to hear from you guys, so be sure to leave comments, questions, etc, either here on the blog, or on our social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter. We recently hit 1K followers and likes on Facebook which is a pretty big deal and I love how its bringing all kinds of people together.

Also, AJ Brechbiel is likely to be writing some new posts for the blog again, so be sure to check out his stuff when he releases it. I’m eagerly looking forward to that.

Another note I wanna make, there is another beer that was released with the same title as this. “The Soft Electric Glow of Sex” by Turning Point Beer, which is a brewery from Texas, and I have done a beer review from them before (from a beer trade); that beer was: Beer Review: $#!+ Ton (Turning Point Beer) as well as a beer review of one they were collaborated with – Beer Review: Virtually Inseparable (Celestial Beerworks and Turning Point Beer). But anyway, they did the exact same name as this beer, but made it a stout, and with a very similar logo too:

Turning Point Beer – The Electric Glow of Sex (photo courtesy of Untappd)

Their beer is a 15.6% Stout. I would love to get my hands on it and try it out for a future beer review as well (…well… and just because I like to drink stouts, and because the beer sounds good).

If I wanted to be really proper with this beer, I should have went out and gotten the “leg lamp” beer glass to drink it in:

The Leg Lamp Beer Glass

Maybe if I get that stout, I’ll make myself buy this glass to review it in. Who knows. I wanted to get a Festivus beer for yesterday (Dec. 23rd, 2020; Festivus), but sadly, wasn’t able to get one in time to do a review here on the blog for it. Next year!

That Star is Crooked….

Thank you everyone for reading. And I am hoping to get a lot more reviews and articles out from here to the end of the year. I feel like I have about a thousand beer reviews to do, and no time to do them, despite being stuck at home on quarantine. I have so many things I need to do from now until December 31st, 11:59:59, and not sure if I’ll get it all done. The pressure and the anxiety is mounting up, but the stuff’s not getting done. Fingers crossed it will. Thank you all for putting up with it, and for reading, and I hope you enjoyed the beer review! Cheers! As someone who just took a COVID test today, please stay safe out there, mask up, wash your hands, and take care of each other and your local breweries, they need it! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays Everyone! Happy Festivus!

-B. Kline

FRA-GEE-LAY
It’s a Major Award!
The Soft Glow of Electric Sex

Please be sure to follow us on our social media accounts – FacebookFacebook GroupTwitterInstagramYouTube, and Influence. Please be sure to also follow, like, subscribe to the blog here itself to keep updated. We love to hear from you guys, so be sure to leave a comment and let us know what you think!

The various pop culture / nerd culture beer reviews we’ve done here on The Beer Thrillers:

Star Wars:

Space Balls:

Game of Thrones:

The Simpsons:

Back to the Future:

Scrooged:

A Christmas Story:

Pro Wrestling:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:

Other:

Beer Review: This is The Whey (Bolero Snort Brewery)

So Tuesday night, while snorting around at Breski’s Beverage, filling out two mix-a-six packs, trying to get a good healthy sampling of beers to survive the Snowmageddon 2020 or “2020: The Season Finale”, I found this on the walk in cooler freeze shelf with some of the other Bolero Snort beers. Always been a huge fan of Bolero Snort. They are always one of the must stop at tents at the Atlantic City Music and Beerfest that me and my buddies go to every year…. ….except 2020….. *insert sad face and low whistle sound*…. Anyhoo…. they are always fun beers, good beers, and have some great names. I usually pick up one beer from them whenever doing a mix a six there; usually for the purposes of this blog, and because I love their beers. (I have several beers of theres with half-written reviews that I need to finish out, like the Hoofa beer – like Jimmy HOFFA but instead its HOOFA…. and Mue? instead of CLUE its MUE…. get it?). Anyway… you will most likely be seeing a few reviews of Bolero Snort in the near future, so if you enjoy their beers, or enjoy me making cow and bull related puns…. hold onto your antlers you are in for a treat! (Oh… no…. its already started.)

But enough of that. This isn’t about cow related punnery, this is about STAR WARS…. don’t you like STAR WARS? (Try to do that in your best RLM / Red Letter Media impersonation… if you know who they are; which you might, based on the Mr. Plinkett reviews of Episodes One, Two, and Three, you’ll understand what I meant there.)

The season finale of The Mandolin…. I mean…. The Mandalorian Season 2, just came out today, and just ended, and wrapped up the season. Have no fear, this review is spoiler free. As much as I really want to dive into it, and discuss the show and all the spoilers, I’m not going to, so have no fear… I won’t talk about how Darth Vader rises up from the dead and joins Darth Bane and Freedon Nodd to take over the galaxy, but luckily the Mandalorian with Jango Fett (who is also resurrected, though headless), get off two lucky shots killing them all in a fiery explosion aboard the Death Star III and saves the galaxy at the last second….. oh…. no…… I spoiled it all. I ruined everything!

This is the Way

So as we all know, Season 2 of the Mandalorian establishes that the big baddie is Moff Gideon, that he’s done evil things, he’s a Moff, he’s Giancarlo Esposito, ie. Gustavo Fring, ie. a suave dude you don’t want to **** with. This season, we’ve gotten to see a lot of cool things, and here I will drop a few spoilers for past episodes, so if you don’t want to read about things that aired several weeks ago then don’t read the next few sentences of my blog, and just skip down past the next .gif where you will be safe and spoiler free again. So…. here comes the spoilers, so tune out here. In Season 2, we’ve gotten to see that The Child or “Baby Yoda” now has a name – Gogru, we’ve gotten Ashoka coming back (as Rosario Dawson), we’ve gotten Thrawn’s name thrown out there, Boba Fett coming back with his ship Slave One, as well as seeing the Mandalorians like Bo-Katan and several others (one of whom is played by Mercedes Vernado aka Sasha Banks from WWE – who is also related to Snoop Dogg by the way), and overall lots of cool things have happened in this season. The finale is set to look like its going to be Mando, Gina Carrano’s character, Fett, and the Mandalorians taking on Moff Gideon to rescue Baby Yoda… err… Gogru. Ok… so, now heading back to non-spoiler territory now.

Awww…. look how cute Baby Yoda is…..

Ok, and we’re back into non-spoiler territory. Hopefully you are still reading this. As everyone knows who has done any reading on this blog, I am a huge Star Wars fan. (My youngest daughter is named Mara – named after Mara Jade; who ended up being Luke’s wife in the old Star Wars EU [Expanded Universe] before Disney “deleted it” to make their new Expanded Universe with the Sequel Trilogy and other movies, books, comics, and shows.) I have covered several Star Wars themed beers on the blog before, which you can see here (most are Mandalorian themed):

Actually, in fact, I’ve done a lot of pop culture related beer reviews, and Josh has done a few as well. I’ll link them all at the very bottom of this beer review, in case you want to see what all pop culture and nerd culture beers we’ve covered (everything from Space Balls, to Back to the Future, to Seinfeld, to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles).

And there’s nothing really wrong with doing pop culture beer reviews right? I enjoy doing them, because then it gives me something to talk about on here, more than just saying, “Ok, this is a nice color…. this smells nice… I like how the hops work together….”

Don’t You Agree?

Craft beers and pop culture go hand in hand too. Due to naming, and trying to find market shares, a lot of breweries do themed names and borderline IP (intellectual property) theft to sell their beers. Which is actually a big debate and something I might cover at some point here on the blog. How much do craft breweries owe to these properties they steal from? Is using something like the Mandalorian and calling your beer “This is the Way” by Broken Goblet a bad thing? Is it IP theft? Are they indebted to Star Wars, Lucasfilm, etc? Honestly, I don’t know, and its a big debate and controversial topic to talk about. Theres a lot of factors on both sides. I enjoy doing pop culture and nerd culture beers and covering them, so in a way, I kind of feed off on this, so I guess I am a bit guilty of it all too. Like I said, who knows, maybe I’ll cover this in a big opinion piece sometime in the near future here on the blog. If I do, be sure to check it out please. (Shameless shill there.)

But, I think we’ve discussed enough about everything else other than the beer, and this is a beer review afterall, so lets get to the beer itself!

This is the Whey by Bolero Snort Brewery

Beer: This is the Whey
Brewery: Bolero Snort Brewery
Style: IPA – Imperial / Double
ABV: 8.4%
IBU: None
Untappd Description: The force is strong with this one. The next entry in our Steer Wars Saga, This is the Whey is our tribute to the gunslinger from Moondalore. Make no Fetts about it, this big Corellian vessel comes in at 8% packed with Galaxy, Bru-1, and Cryo Idaho-7, and is sure to make you feel like you’re covered in some Besko Armor drinking some intergalactic tropical juice!

Gotta love all those puns in that Untappd description! (Though…. I do want to point out – its BESKAR armor, nor BESKO armor…. but anyway….)

Appearance for this is similar to a New England IPA, more than just a regular IPA. Actually, I would say its more of an ‘in between the two’ type. Its golden to honeyed color, its darker, and a bit richer looking than a New England IPA, and its not as unfiltered or hazy, but it is darker, not opaque, but also not see through. It has a nice white foamy head, and great carbonation out of the can.

Aroma is very hop heavy, and an interesting combination of hops too, with Galaxy, Bru-1, and the new Cryo style of hop with Idaho-7. Cryo hops are newer, and are more concentrated hops basically. They are a way to get extreme, concentrated bittering oils out of hops, and are very high alpha acid. This is very strong hop nose because of this, a very heavy hop pine, tropical fruit, citrus, and smells very good. Borderline pungent, but in the right way. Super strong, but good.

Taste is certainly interesting on this bad boy, and I love it. I think the cryo hop use of Idaho-7 and Galaxy is really good. Galaxy is a fun hop and I love the profile on it. Its very citrus, between the Galaxy and the Idaho-7 hops (which are in concentrated form too), you get a very strong, hop presence, mostly citrus, a lot of pine, some peach, passion fruit, earthy notes. I also get a bit of pineapple, some stone fruit like apricot, which all might be from the Bru-1 hops, not 100% sure on that, I’m not too familiar with Bru-1 hops. There is a bit of a kick to this beer in the hop department, its not full juicy and dank like a New England IPA would be, but its not a full bitter West Coast style IPA either. I think its a nice middle ground between the two, and would probably appeal to fans of both styles. It is a bit strong at 8.4%, but you don’t outright taste it, but you can feel it creep up pretty quickly. This is still a smooth drink, and has a nice mouthfeel too, its not too heavy, its not thin or slick or watery, it tastes right, there’s no off flavors, nothing acidic, nothing cloying, nothing too bitter, nothing out of place with the flavors or the malts or hops, no bad aftertaste, you won’t be burping this up hours later, its a very well done, well crafted beer. The beer looks nice in a glass, it has good carbonation out of the can, it leaves nice lacing on the glass, it has an amazing aroma, especially if your a hophead, and it tastes like a fine IPA. A middle of the way IPA between New England IPA and West Coast IPA. Its strong at 8.4% so you can’t really full kill a 4 pack of this by yourself (well… I mean… I guess you could, if you want to… but I hope you’re safely tucked in at home watching The Mandalorian on TV in your pajamas and have already called it a night anyway), but its also not so strong as to fully knock you on your butt right out of the gate on one of these. This was a great pickup at Breski’s Beverage for me, I think it was the last one on their mix a six shelf too when I was there, and at 5.99$ for the can, it was definitely well priced. I fully, highly recommend everyone grabbing one of these if you see it out on shelves, either in four packs or in singles, not sure if its on draft, but if it is, I still recommend it that way too. The can art is also stellar, and I always love the Mandalorian themed can arts (like Tattered Flag’s The Pandalorian), and this fits that bill.

My Untappd Rating: ****
Global Untappd Rating: 3.96 (as of 12.18.20)

This is The Whey by Bolero Snort

See, just look at that can art, isn’t it beautiful? Its a Baby Yoda as a Baby Bull, and the Mandalorian is a Bull / Cow Mandalorian. Its great. There’s even little Millennium Falcons on it, and sound effect words on it too. Great beer, great can art. I do love Bolero Snort too, from the brewery and the workers to their presence at the AC Beerfest, to their pun beers, great stuff from them, make sure to check them out if you haven’t before.

Hopefully you all have gotten to watch The Mandalorian Season 2 finale now. I will be interested in hearing your comments and thoughts on it, be sure to leave them in the comment section here. Love hearing from you guys either way, especially about The Mandalorian and Star Wars and craft beer. Check out the reviews below of other Star Wars beers or other pop culture / nerd culture beers too. Thanks for reading everyone, stay safe and healthy during this pandemic, make sure to wash your hands, stay distant, mask up, etc., we’re getting near the end of it. I’m off to Tattered Flag in about an hour to do a canning day, so be sure to read about that in the near future too. I always enjoy my canning days there. (Nothing like getting to crack open beers and drink early in the day while “doing work”.) I was at Boneshire Brew Works yesterday, sitting out in the cold drinking with Drew, and we went back and watched Santa’s Slay, Silent Night Deadly Night (we watch this every year), and Silent Night Deadly Night II, and drank quite a few Other Half beers (so you can expect some beer reviews of those), and somehow I was still able to wake up at 7:30AM, despite only leaving his house at 2:40AM and getting gas. Tonight is also a Christmas type party with Ming and Don at their place, and I’m supposed to get up bright and early tomorrow, we’ll see how that goes. But, you will be getting lots of beer reviews in the near future, especially since I’m still furloughed until (at least) January 4th. We’re also 5 days away from Festivus everyone, so Happy Holidays is an expression we can now start using. Alright, see you guys hopefully at a brewery in the near future, and hopefully you’ll be back to read future articles here on The Beer Thrillers. Cheers!

-B. Kline

Please be sure to follow us on our social media accounts – FacebookFacebook GroupTwitterInstagramYouTube, and Influence. Please be sure to also follow, like, subscribe to the blog here itself to keep updated. We love to hear from you guys, so be sure to leave a comment and let us know what you think!

The various pop culture / nerd culture beer reviews we’ve done here on The Beer Thrillers:

Star Wars:

Space Balls:

Game of Thrones:

The Simpsons:

Back to the Future:

Scrooged:

Pro Wrestling:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:

Other:

Search for ‘Star Wars’ on The Beer Thrillers

Yoda dad joke.

Beer Review: B-52 Belgian Dubbel (Bottle-Conditioned, 2017) – Cox Brewing Company (CBC)

It’s winter here in PA, and making it more apparent than ever that it is that time of year is SNOW. On the ground. Actual white, powdery, cold, SNOW. The fact that the temperature has plummeted into the lower 30’s is just the icing on this very chilly cake. With projected depths of 24″ in places, it’s time to settle in and ride out this “Snowpocalypse”. However, at the time of writing this, we’re sitting at modest 2″ just after 5pm. As with the colder months, glasses of heavier and thicker alcohols must be filled, if only to trick the brain into thinking we’ll get warmer. Stouts are typical and almost expected this time of year, but I’m not one to always follow the trend. Winter Ales exist for a good reason, though the subject of this review goes a step further. I’m especially referring to Belgian beer styles. Dubbels, Tripels, and Quads are among those heaviest of hitters. Three beer styles that can range anywhere from 9-15% and still come off impossibly smooth and delicate. Just don’t try to stand up too fast…or at all if you’ve had more than one. Perhaps then it seems fitting that I suggest you sip those styles of beers on a “night in” when you’re able to get regrettably pants drunk and don’t have to be seen or heard from at any local venues or watering holes. Wait…this is 2020, so what the heck am I talking about?! Let’s crack open a bottle and find out.

The mighty B-52 Stratofortress

Just before we crack on, I would like to set the scene a little. The beer that I am about to write a review for is the better part of three years old. Because of that, I am going to elaborate more than normal as this is decidedly not an IPA and as such, deserves a little more time and effort spent waxing philosophic. You’ll want to strap in.

The Beer

Beer: B-52 Belgian Dubbel (Bottle-Conditioned, 2017)
Brewery: Cox Brewing Company (CBC)
Style: Belgian Dubbel
ABV: 7.7%
IBU: 10
Untappd Description: A smoked Belgian Dubbel, bottle conditioned one year before release and aged with raisins.
Enjoy In: Tulip, Snifter
Enjoy At: 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit or 30,000ft

The last dram

The Review

It’s 2017 and a friend of mine has asked me to join him and his father at a small brewery in Rheems, PA. Back then I had never heard of Cox Brewing Company, much less tried any of their beer. However, it’s local brewery and I’m more than willing to check a new place out. We pull into an industrial and farm looking part of town and up to what appeared to be a hole in the wall. The kind of place that only those that were “in-the-know” frequented. And there we were, walking into a crowded and cramped garage that was abuzz with conversation. The whole time I was wondering just how good the beer was, but after the first sip, all doubt fled through that same garage door and I began enjoying myself. Spent a few moments scanning the chalkboard menu and spotted something very interesting. I was going to choose by name, and then I noticed the style. WOAH! “Dubbel” Now there’s something you don’t find very often. While being very happy to see the style, I have to admit I was still a bit of a sceptic. My personal experience with US brewed Belgian styles has been a bit spotty at best. Not many breweries seem to be able to replicate the unique taste found in Belgian beers. So naturally, I did what any beer nerd would do: I ordered a pint. I remember being very glad I was sitting down as much fresher versions of the flavors I’ll depict later washed over me. I enjoyed it so much that I vowed then and there that I would be back to buy two bottles, because only a fool would buy one. I returned a week later, making good on my promise. One of those bottles was had two years ago, and thought it unlikely that it would get any better.

Fast forward those two years and I finally popped the cork on the last bottle that had been sleeping in my cellar ever since. It doesn’t feel like it’s been three years, but with the way 2020 has gone, time is a mere construct, and a fickle one to be sure. Regardless, after carefully coaxing the cage and cork from the glass bottle, the sound of bubbles frothing and bursting echoed forth from the long neck to the tune of a Geiger counter. The effects of the beer contained within wasn’t quite so nuclear, though it will blow away the day’s stress or the frigid temperatures outside. This is a sipping beer in much the way that relaxation and a comfortable lounging chair are the quintessential furnishings of an in home get-a-way. The bottle reads 7.7% but with the way it drinks, you’d swear it was hovering just above the mid 5% range. Either way this beer doesn’t wash down the throat like either of those as it slips easily beyond the tongue and tonsils (if you still have them), down the esophagus and into a waiting stomach. Tickling your nose isn’t the sensation of bubbles popping but the rich, almost candied essence of raisins toiling and rising with a very mild and light smoke. And now to look at the gentle fluid now occupying space in your vessel of choice. A gorgeous, deep ruby red hue briefly accompanied by a coarse, thin, light brown head that evaporates shortly after being poured. Open the hatch, over the gums, and bathe your tongue in liquid bliss, as the taste buds pull out sweet notes of the raisins your nose sniffed out, laced with a subtle, yet comfortable smokiness. The concept might sound a little weird at first, but I assure that this combination not only works, it’s downright delicious. For having such heavy flavors and notes, this is a beer that disappears from your glass and you’re left wondering where it all went and why it’s all gone. Don’t stand up. Allow me to repeat myself a little louder: DO. NOT. STAND. UP. Not only will you likely stumble if you’ve downed the bottle yourself (which I may or may not have done in this case), but you’ll ruin the cozy, warm feeling you’ve likely built up while reclining in your favor chair. Allow the rich flavor to linger and envelope you as you sink deeper into that recliner. Relax and let your mind wander. Oh for that last sorrowful dram of sweet release, how does it linger. A slow flavor evolution that ends with hints of milk chocolate. Odd? Yes, but given that raisins appear in the flavor profile, chocolate only bolsters the thickness of this flavor. This was well worth the wait, so perhaps I should be happy there was snow as I would have left this one to age even further. Prost!

Only proper glassware will do

My Untappd Score: ****-1/4
Global Rating: 4.21/5 (as of 12/17/2020)

PROST!

J.Doncevic

Beer Review: Snow Tracks (New Trail Brewing Co.)

I’m gonna come right out and be honest on this one, I picked this up from Breski’s Beverage solely for the blog, and knowing that today would have the blizzard, I got it for the aesthetics and the blog. While running my errands and doing some Christmas shopping yesterday, I stopped at Breski’s for myself, as well as getting a gift card for a friend, and I picked this up primarily for the blog. Knowing it would look good for a beer review photo op in today’s Snowmaggeddon. Call me a hack, a fraud, or whatever you like, I purposefully picked this thinking about the background of snow and making foot prints in said snow for the sake of the photo to go with the beer….. and…. well… here it is:

The perfect photo op: Snow Tracks by New Trail Brewing Co.

I will be forthright here now too…. I’m not the hugest fan of New Trail. Don’t get me wrong – they make wonderful beers. Actually, their IPAs are typically top notch IPAs…. but… here’s where my problem with them kind of lies; every New England IPA (which is practically every IPA they make) is pretty much indistinguishable from the last one. IF they set a sampler flight in front of you of ten different taster glasses of ten different New England IPAs from New Trail Brewing, and then told you, and then asked you to spot differences between them…. you’d be real hard pressed to do so. And then, swerve, they tell you that three of the ten were the exact same beers, and you need to pick which ones out of 1-10 were the same beers, and which seven were unique beers…. again, I think you’d be hard pressed to do so. And thats going off visual and aroma and taste.

This isn’t really a knock on them. They make great beers, and they are good beers. I’ve only had a few times where I’ve been ‘meh’ to them, and then thats usually the rarity. But when it is a ‘meh’ its usually a ‘meh’ out of…. wasn’t that the same as X beer they made? Not because its ‘meh’ bad, or ‘meh’ boring, its more out of the idea of ‘meh’ the same. Like Hallmark movies….

The Citra / Mosaic Hallmark Meme that’s been going around the interwebs lately.

This. This above pretty much sums up New Trail IPAs to me. Could I tell you the difference between Goggles, Hammock, Broken Heels, and Neither Here Nor There, Double Broken Heels, Rocksylvania, or any of the other dozens of NE-IPAs they’ve done? Nope, probably not. Shrug. Maybe this is because its now 5:12PM, and I’ve shoveled, walked the dog, and worked through a few ‘Snowmaggeddon beers’ (a few of which were 10%+ stouts, like the Lickinghole Cookies and Cream); maybe its also me being grumpy old man shaking his fist at the clouds, but I dunno, they all seem so much the same, so much repetitive, but still very good.

According to Untappd, New Trail Brewing Co, has 190 unique beers. Of those 190 unique beers – 50 are New England IPAs, 30 are Double New England IPAs, and 5 are Triple New England IPAs. Of the remaining 105 beers, 11 are Milkshake IPAs, 15 are American IPAs, 2 are Double American IPAs, 2 are Triple American IPAs, and 1 is a White IPA. So thats 190 unique beers and a total of 116 are IPA variants. Leaving a remainder of 74 non-IPA variations in beer. Thats not the worst thing ever, and if you know your strengths, play to them. I agree with that. But, I want to be a fair reviewer, and I’m working my way through a good Snowstorm buzz, and drinking now my second Snow Tracks, so I am trying to be fair and impartial. I have enjoyed all of the IPAs and NE-IPAs I’ve had from New Trail, but, at some point, originality has to factor into the beer review, and I feel like after so many iterations of “Same Beer but with X hop changed” you have to ding them for it. Maybe I’m crazy, I dunno. Online, in Facebook groups, such as Breweries in PA, and others, they are constantly touted as being great. Their beer names lend to some great photo ops (see myself for being a hack, doing just that), with hiking photos, hammock photos, twilight sunset photos, and snow related photos, etc.

My resources to survive the Snowmaggeddon 2020 blizzard of December 16th, 2020. Or as I like to call it: The Season Finale of 2020.

So, last night at Breski’s I picked up the 4 pack of Snow Tracks, as well as two mix a six packs, I had also stopped at 2nd and Charles for books (both for Christmas and for myself), and stopped at Rubber Soul for food for the night. Everything I got from Breski’s is pictured above, as well as some others, both from the cellar and the fridge. Working my way through these as I shovel, do indoor stuff, like reading, watching JoJo Rabbit, writing, and just working myself a good buzz. Isn’t it funny though, how much easier it is to drink when with company? When hanging out with my friends, I can kill a four pack in no time, but by myself at home, its a little bit slower. Am I alone on this?

Anyway, enough blabbering, lets get to the review, because I need to walk across town to my parents to shovel their driveway and sidewalk…. because god knows their not going anywhere for the next three days, but it needs done tonight while its still snowing an inch to two inches every hour……… onward review:

Snow Tracks by New Trail Brewing Co.

Beer: Snow Tracks
Brewery: New Trail Brewing Co.
Style: IPA – New England
ABV: 6.7%
IBU: None
Untappd Description: Snow Tracks is a Hazy IPA, brewed with light wheats and honey malt. Impressionally hopped with Ekuanot, Mosaic, & Sabro. Expect big citrus and fruity notes complemented with light tropicals and dankness. Follow your path, or don’t and go make your own.

Ok, lets start off with the obvious – it looks like a New England IPA. And this isn’t another ding on New Trail here. This is what its supposed to look like. Look at all of the New England style IPAs we’ve reviewed here on the blog, both my reviews, as well as Josh’s, as well as reviews on Beer Advocate, or just people’s pics on Untappd. This. Looks. Like. A. New. England. IPA. And. Thats. A. Good. Thing. Don’t know why I typed it like that, but I did, so enjoy. This is orange, its bright, its cloudy, its hazy, it looks dank, its opaque, it has a small minimal head, but its carbonated. So far, it looks like a New England IPA.

And it smells like a New England IPA. It smells hoppy. It smells piney, earthy, citrus, it smells honey, it smells wheat, it smells pretty tasty. So far, its looking like pretty good odds this is a duck – errr – a New England IPA — it smells and looks like a New England IPA; but does it taste like one?

Oh ho! It does! It does taste like a New England IPA. Huzzah! We got ourselves a duck everyone! A New England IPA Duck! It looks, smells, and tastes just like a New England IPA! Now. Let me be outright clear here – there is nothing, NOTHING, (shouts it for the people in the back of the room who have their hearing aids turned off) N-O-T-H-I-N-G W-R-O-N-G with that. ….Nothing wrong with that. Capiche? Ok? Ok. BUT…. now, lets be forthright and honest again…. there’s nothing AMAZING about that either. Especially if you’ve had a varied amount from New Trail. Maybe I’m just not enough of a New Trail fanboy? Maybe I’m not constantly singing their praises on Breweries in PA’s Facebook group, or the various other PA style Facebook groups, or even Beer Facebook groups en large, but, this tastes good, but it gets a ‘meh’ from me for originality. Is it a good beer? Yes – check. Is it a well made beer? Yes – check. Is it a good New England IPA? Yes – check. Is it pretty much the same as the last four New England IPAs I’ve had from New Trail? Yes – check. Now, your mileage may vary on this. Is that a bad thing? Is it a good thing? Is it a horrible thing? Is it worth writing a blog post or a beer review about? Eh. I dunno, debatable I suppose. Do I like this beer? Yes. Do I ding them for the lack of originality? Yes. Should I do that? Maybe, maybe not. This is where I probably come off as a pretentious hypocritical DBag. (Can you tell I watched a Bill Burr Netflix special this morning?) Do I rag on other breweries for lack of originality? No, and I haven’t yet, but if I get ten beers from Boneshire that are the same style and they taste the same, I should, and hopefully, I do so in the future. Same with Tattered Flag. Or Rubber Soul. Or Troegs. I want to try and stay impartial. But, this is my twenty fifth beer from New Trail (out of their 190 beers), and I feel like most are the same. But, I digress, and will move on. Lets actually discuss the beer itself.

This is a piney, with some citrus, flavored New England IPA. Its smooth, with no hop bitterness or hop bite. This is rich and creamy, and its relatively low ABV too (6.7%), and no booze or heaviness in that way. The pine makes this a nice ‘winter IPA’. Its tasty, its a nice juicy hop bomb with lots of flavor of the pine and citrus and a really well done New England IPA. Juicy. Piney yet fruity / citrusy. Nice flavor. Nice mouthfeel. Nice aroma. Nice texture. Nice appearance. Its a well crafted New England IPA, that I may or may not have had thirty times over by now, who knows. Shrug. I hate to make this beer review sound like a hate fest, but the originality does bug me, and I know some of ‘into craft beer but not fully into craft beer’ friends get a bit annoyed by it too. “So whats the difference between THIS New England IPA and THAT New England IPA? Whys the one 6.7% and the other 6.8%, they both look the same and pretty much taste the same….” etc. But, in all honesty, this is a GOOD, New England IPA, just a bit boring in the sense that its been done to death. Maybe I’m just over the fad of New England IPAs in general? Or maybe I just don’t buy into the New Trail New England IPA hype train? I dunno. Shrug. I’ve enjoyed all of their New England IPAs, just not been ‘wow’d’ or blown away or mesmerized by them, and they all taste so similar as to tell much apart from each other. Shrug. I do hope you at least try it, I do recommend it so far as that goes, if you like New England IPAs, you will like this. Hopefully your mileage will vary better than mine did on this. Again – double shrug.

My Untappd Rating: ***.75
Global Untappd Rating: 3.97 (as of 12.16.20) (6:00PM)

Well, the snow is coming down a lot heavier now, and I’m bundling up as I write this, to prepare myself and Leela (my 11 year old boarder collie) for the trek across town just to shovel my parent’s sidewalk and driveway, knowing I will have to do the same thing in the morning again. Luckily, my hoodie from Boneshire has a bit in middle pocket to hold a can or bottle beer. Which I will need for this walk.

Cheers all! Stay safe in the snow and the pandemic!

-B. Kline

Mad Elf on the Shelf Fundraiser

Mad Elf Fundraiser

With the latest spat of mandates and changes by Governor Wolfe for Pennsylvania breweries, restaurants, and bars, around fifty (50) front of the house employees at Troegs Craft Brewing have been laid off. On top of that several others have taken wage cuts to help the brewery out during these times.

So to help these employees out, a GoFundMe page was started by Alle Confair. You can find the GoFundMe here: Mad Elf Fundraiser – GoFundMe to Help Troegs Employees.

<div class=”gfm-embed” data-url=”https://www.gofundme.com/f/mad-elf-on-the-shelf-fundraiser/widget/large/”></div&gt;https://www.gofundme.com/static/js/embed.js

Front of the house employees at Troegs Brewing

The fundraiser was posted and started today. They are looking to make 25,000$ for all of the employees as a whole. (Edited: As of the morning of 12.16.20, they are up to 2,225$ of the 25,000$ goal.)

You can read the description on the GoFundMe here:

“Come one, come all,

Help raise some holiday cheer;

Your local Tröegs beertenders are facing their worst fears.

As the corona-virus continues to take,

It is our turn to give back to those who are at stake.

A small token of faith can make a big change,

Especially for those suffering with no wage.

Let us locals pay it forward to make someone’s day,

Together we have the power to save another’s holiday.

Let us propose a toast from afar,

Until we meet again across the Tröegs bar.

Cheers from our Mad Elf on the Shelf!

Please consider making a donation to those who heavily rely on service tips for their income and livelihood. As the hospitality industry continues to suffer extreme hardship, all we can do is try to find ways to support each other. Thank you and Happy Holidays from ours to yours!

Graphic Design by: Caroline Voorhis
Instagram: cv_designs”

We here at The Beer Thrillers know several people in the above picture, as well as several other employees at Troegs Brewing, I myself have been temporarily furloughed until January 4th as well. So we here know how hard and difficult of a time this, especially with the holidays, and the New Year, and the uncertainty of the pandemic and the virus and everything going on. This is a very scary and uneasy time for so many people.

So we are hoping if you are reading this, you are able to donate, or at least share and help where you can. Thank you!

Cheers everyone, and lets remember, we are all in this together! Help your local breweries during these tough times at the holidays!

Happy Holidays.

-B. Kline

Beer Review: Space Broccoli (Other Half Brewing Co)

Space Broccoli by Other Half Brewing Co.

So Thursday was certainly an interesting day for the restaurant, bar, brewery, …. well just the service industry in general in Pennsylvania. I was out walking my dog and doing yard work, and then I had to grab my daughter Lily to run to the Hershey Library before they closed (had a book that was due), and while at the library and on the road with her, all hell broke loose basically.

Had about a hundred texts from co-workers, people in the brewery industry, my parents, everyone wanting to know whats going on, or telling us whats going on, or saying ‘where do we stand now’ or ‘should we defy orders’ etc.

Needless to say, I get Lily back to her mom’s, I handle some of the texts I can, and head home. Reading the news then at home, I see we had until Friday night at midnight to do our inside dining. Drew invited me out to his place as he was starting a stream, I told him I needed to get something to eat, so I walked down to Rubber Soul, ate in – had their fantastic and delicious pierogies and their newest release – Soul Breaker (beer review coming soon), and then walked home. Then went over to Drew’s.

He was playing Super Mario RPG for the SNES on his stream – Knights of Nostalgia. So I joined him and drank along with him as he played. His brother in law from New York sent him a shipment of beers he tells me, a whole assortment of beers, so I check out his mini-fridge and “oh hot damn!” moment, the beer is stocked full of Other Half beer! His brother in law sent him Other Half. Drew loves his craft beer, but didn’t know just how great Other Half was. So we proceeded to drink four and share some others while he finished out his stream.

(Oh, and for those who were wondering – yes, Drew was able to beat Super Mario RPG for the stream. Sorry, spoiler alert.)

I finally left Drew’s at 5:20AM. Now that the mandates and restrictions, both me and Drew are effectively unemployed for the next three weeks. So, you will probably get a lot more streams, and a lot more content here on the blog. Enjoy!

Now, lets get to the beer review!

Space Broccoli by Other Half Brewing Co

Beer: Space Broccoli
Brewery: Other Half Brewing Co
Style: IPA – Imperial / Double
ABV: 7.9%
IBU: None
Untappd Description: Our classic Broccoli recipe with Mosaic, Simcoe, Hallertau Blanc and then we swapped the Cascade for a ton of Galaxy.

For those ‘not in the know’ Other Half Brewing Co is one of the top notch East Coast breweries, and one of the more traded and sought after breweries from New York. Other Half started in 2014, they have 975 unique beers according to Untappd, with over 2.4 Million (nearly 2.5 Million) ratings. Their average rating is 4.24. Which is just incredible to think about considering the sheer volume of ratings and number of unique beers. Their Untappd Description reads: “In 2014, Sam Richardson, Matt Monahan and Andrew Burman founded Other Half Brewing Company, a local brewery in New York City with a simple mission: to create beers that they wanted to drink from a company that they wanted to be a part of. Their vision was to build a passionate team that brewed great beers in the state of New York—done so with effort and thoughtfulness—to represent the “Other Half” of the industry. Today, Other Half craft beers in their Brooklyn brewery and are dedicated to collaborating with breweries both in New York as well as across the world in an effort to constantly move the industry forward while elevating the craft. The Other Half team believes that local breweries play an important role in their communities which is why they partner with these other likeminded brewers and brands in local nabes across the country and the world—but always return to their home state of New York and their Brooklyn taproom.” Their top beers are listed as – Forever Ever, Green City, All Green Everything, and a lot of various double dry hopped variants of their other beers.

Firstly, this is basically a New England IPA. It doesn’t say that on the label or on Untappd, but thats what it is. As you can see from the picture, it is a gorgeous, beautiful beer. Perfect New England hazy IPA look. Its bright orange, like orange juice, its hazy, cloudy, opaque, beautiful head to it – white, with interspersed and varied bubbles, and left a lovely lacing on the glass as I drank it down (quickly too).

Aroma is a heavenly bouquet of hops. It has that nice heavy handed hop aroma that comes with a very juicy New England IPA. The Simcoe and Mosaic hops come through on the nose the most. The Galaxy is a nice addition, and probably helps this better than the Cascade would have, I do love Galaxy Hops.

Wooooh booooooy….. this drank waaaaaaaay too easily. Especially for a DIPA…. not that I’m really complaining, and really at 7.9% its not too crazy ridiculous high, though its getting on the higher end of the spectrum. (I consider 7.5% the tipping point.) This is one of the best New England IPAs / DIPAs I’ve had, in a long time, or period, for that matter. Its downright juicy and so tasty. This is very smooth with no hop bite, no bitterness, no acidity at all. The mosaic hops give this a nice berry, fruity, stone fruit taste. The simcoe gives it a piney, earthy undertone, and the galaxy hops give it a very strong peach, citrus, passionfruit. The hops blend together very nicely in this. Nothing is too overpowering or too strong. You don’t get too much pine or too much berry or too much peach or citrus or passionfruit, you get them all in equal measures, and this works very well together. Its a very nice conjunction of hops and tastes and flavors, with nothing being too strong, nothing being off, nothing tasting funky or wrong or different. It all just blends so well together, like its a peaceful orchestra harmony or some kind of poetic crap like that. This is a beautiful New England Double IPA. Hands down, it looks beautiful, it tastes wonderful, its just amazing and fantastic. So mad props to Drew for letting me snag this from him (he got some of it too), and for his brother in law shipping quality beers like Other Half down to Harrisburg, and of course to Other Half itself for brewing such a great beer. Seriously, if you’ve never had the pleasure of Other Half, make a note, make ten notes, but make sure you get yourself some Other Half at some point. You won’t be disappointed, I know that much, their IPAs and DIPAs and TIPAs are complete ‘fire’ right now as all the cool kids would say. If you’re not from New York or NYC, your best bet might be to look up some Facebook beer trade groups or Beer Advocate and try and get it that way (trade or $); though $$ might be expensive with secondary mark up. But it will still be worth it. But in the meantime, in the Pennsylvania area, support your local breweries; first, otherwise they might not be here in the future. Anyway, I digress. Summary: Fantastic beer. Delicious. Great NE-DIPA. End summary.

My Untappd Rating: ****.5
Global Untappd Rating: 4.24 (as of 12.13.20)

Alright everyone, this is technically day two of the mandatory restrictions. I know a lot of places, restaurants, bars, breweries, etc, are disobeying the Governor’s orders. Its your decision on who to patronize and who to help and support. I’m not taking a side here or there. This is a tough climate and tough decisions for all of these businesses. I know its going to make things harder with them staying open, and gives the Governor more cause to keep the mandates and things going, but hopefully not, and hopefully the numbers will start lowering soon. Fingers crossed. The vaccines are rolling out. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Lets just get there! I want to go to some brewfests in 2021 dammnit!

Cheers!

-B. Kline

Please be sure to follow us on our social media accounts – FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube, and Influence. Please be sure to also follow, like, subscribe to the blog here itself to keep updated. We love to hear from you guys, so be sure to leave a comment and let us know what you think!

For some other beer reviews check out:

New Mandates and Urge to Support Local

It is now 6:30PM, and just a few hours ago, Governor Wolfe issued new mandates for the state of Pennsylvania. Starting Friday night into Saturday at midnight there will be no more indoor dining, casinos, gyms, etc, are closed; bars, restaurants, and breweries can only do outdoor dining and to-go or takeout.

(There is more restrictions / mandates, but that’s what is relevant to this blog.)

What I want to do here and now is to urge everyone to shop local. Don’t go to McDonalds for your food, or buy Coors Lite or Miller or In-Bev. Buy from your local restaurant, your local brewery, your local drinking hole, and tip, help those who will be hurting. This is a big time of the year for restaurants (up til New Years Day). They need all the support they can get right now.

Support local craft beer. Drink and help your local favorite brewery. We are all in this together, as cliche as that sounds, but we all need to do everything we can to help our local and small breweries survive these tough and troubling times.

Please mask up when you go in for your take out and to-go. Be respectful and kind to the service and staff and the help. Tip as much as you can. Buy as much as you can. Share their posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. Review them highly if they deserve it and are doing the right procedures. Support as best and as much as you are able.

Support. Support. Support. Help. Help. Help. I can’t stress these things enough. Be kind to everyone. Be helpful to everyone. Lets get through this together!

Cheers all. And best wishes and hopes for all those in industry jobs. I know how it is working at a casino, that will be shutting down til January 4th as well. This is a scary and troubling time. Let’s all pitch in and help each other!

-B. Kline

Please be sure to follow us on our social media accounts – FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube, and Influence. Please be sure to also follow, like, subscribe to the blog here itself to keep updated. We love to hear from you guys, so be sure to leave a comment and let us know what you think!

Cinderlands Beer Company is Expanding to Their Third Location

Cinderlands Beer Co.

Cinderlands Beer Co. has announced that they will be opening their third location – this one in Wexford, Pennsylvania. They announced on their Facebook page earlier today:

Cinderlands Beer Company’s Facebook announcement

This will be their third location. Wexford is roughly (depending on traffic) 23 – 27 minutes (depending on final location in Wexford; and according to Google Maps).

From Cinderlands Warehouse to Wexford, PA

Cinderlands Beer Company already has two locations currently running in the greater Pittsburgh area. One location is the Cinderlands Warehouse. This opened in May 2019 in the Pittsburgh Strip District. The technically oldest of the two locations, is their Cinderlands Foederhouse in Lawrenceville. This was their original location, but was originally a tap room, and they re-did it, renovated it, and made it into their Foederhouse in December 2019.

This marks their third opening / changing / renovating / expansion in under two years time (though, the Wexford location won’t be opening until 2021). This is fantastic news for Cinderlands Beer Co and fans of their wonderful beers. I got to stop out at their Cinderlands Warehouse location in August 2019 with my daughters on a trip, and loved the beers I had.

According to Untappd – Cinderlands Beer Co has 203 unique beers, 72K+ ratings, and has a global average rating of 3.91 (as of 12.9.20). Their Untappd description reads: “A Craft Brewery & Scratch Kitchen located in Pittsburgh, PA”

For more information on Cinderlands Beer Co and their expansion, you can check out their following social media platforms:

As always everyone, thanks for reading. Speaking of Pittsburgh, be sure to check out the new article we wrote about the upcoming Pittsburgh museum on beer – BREW – The Museum of Beer. Or our new article on Hop Culture being bought out by Untappd / Next Glass. As always, be sure to get out and support your local breweries in restaurants, this year has been a year of uncertainty, but right now we are in even more uncertain times, (here in Pennsylvania especially) as there is constant talk from every corner on which day, when / if , what / if, etc, about new mandates, restrictions, lock downs, or quarantines. So while you can, support your local small breweries and restaurants so they’ll still be here after the pandemic.

Please follow us on our social media platforms below, and also make sure to check out other expansions, openings, and closings, and brewery news with the links below. Thank you all for reading. Cheers!

-B. Kline

Please be sure to follow us on our social media accounts – FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube, and Influence. Please be sure to also follow, like, subscribe to the blog here itself to keep updated. We love to hear from you guys, so be sure to leave a comment and let us know what you think!

Be sure to check out our other articles on brewery openings:

You can read about more brewery closures here:

Untappd (Next Glass) Purchases Hop Culture

Announced earlier today (roughly around 7AM) the parent company to Untappd and Beer AdvocateNext Glass – has purchased Hop Culture. Next Glass also currently owns OZNR a direct to customer sales platform app.

Hop Culture logo

Hop Culture, a popular site that has organized brewfests and events like Beers With(out) Beards, Juicy Brews, and others, is a digital beer (craft beer) website, blog, and brand. Hop Culture LLC is based out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Next Glass is based out of Charlotte, North Carolina. Next Glass has a lot of different software, app, and other systems already in place, and the acquisition of Hop Culture adds to their growing list of websites, apps, and other beer and beverage related brands and products.

Next Glass logo

From the Forbes article about the acquisition: “Hop Culture founder and CEO Kenny Gould says the partnership will help Next Glass develop a suite of business tools — a “cohesive ecosystem,” if you will — to streamline experiences for consumers and provide operational efficiencies for businesses in the beverage alcohol space, from producers to wholesalers to retailers.”

In a long piece that Kenny Gould published to Hop Culture after the announcement, he stated: “But first — know that I’m not going anywhere. Neither is my team. Although they’re not regularly in the limelight, Hop Culture Managing Editor John A. Paradiso and Head of Partnerships Grace Weitz each played essential roles in Hop Culture’s growth and development, and we all plan to continue our work with the company in expanded roles.”

From the PRNewswire press release about the news: “The Hop Culture team has built an engaging and important platform with voices and events that resonate within the industry,” said Trace Smith, CEO of Next Glass. “We’re excited and proud to welcome a brand and team with values and a vision that so closely mirror our own.”

Founded in 2017 by journalist Kenny Gould, Hop Culture got its start promoting small, independent craft breweries via their Instagram and digital magazine. Over time, the company also grew to include a popular merchandise line and event series.

“Hop Culture couldn’t be more excited about this partnership,” said Gould. “At Next Glass, Trace and his team have put together the largest network of beer drinkers in the world, and we look forward to working with them to continue producing compelling content and world-class events.”

Untappd Logo

Untappd was founded on October 22nd, 2010 by Greg Avola. From wikipedia: “Untappd is a geosocial networking service and mobile phone application founded by Greg Avola and Tim Mather that allows its users to check in as they drink beers, and share these check-ins and their locations with their friends” As of 2017 it was estimated that Untappd had 9 Million Users and 125 Internal Employees.

Beer Advocate

Beer Advocate was founded in the early days of the internet (and craft beer) – in 1996 as a website for rating and cataloging beer. It along with Rate Beer (founded in 2000) were the pioneers for beer rating systems, until smart phone technology and apps paved the way for Untappd.

The banner for Hop Culture’s Juicy Brews Valentine’s Day beer fest.

Gould: “Breweries (and other alcohol producers) operating a lot of different systems have to rely on disparate tools, and you start to see why that’s a problem when you look at scale, going forward, they’ll have one company and endless integration for a seamless back end experience.”

Gould claims that Hop Culture will keep its same journalism, with the same editors, and same workers (working from home currently) despite the buy-out. He states that it is a mutual buy-out that will offer Hop Culture and Next Glass much for the future. While Hop Culture gets to stay relatively its own thing, Next Glass gets out of the deal – is someone to oversee branding (both internal and client / external needs), a ready to go team that is already connected to the beer community (and with strong ties to a thriving craft beer scene in Pittsburgh), and a brand that has demonstrated success at hosting small, medium, and large scale events and festivals.

According to the Forbes article (under why the purchase was made in 2020): “Seven-year-old Next Glass has grown tremendously this year, from buying Hop Culture, Oznr and some of BeerAdvocate’s assets, to naming a new CEO, taking in investment from Providence Strategic Growth, and hiring its first consort of executives and managers.

Just as Gould gets excited talking about his newfound ability to draw on a far greater pool of resources than his four-year-old beer-magazine startup ever allowed, Next Glass CEO Trace Smith says the deal with Providence, which went through in March, gives his business the resources to do more in the future, including boosting its presence in Europe; recover from COVID losses; and launch initiatives to help the hospitality industry much sooner.      

“We certainly hope this is a temporary speed bump, and we understand that the economic conditions might be soft coming out of it,” Smith tells the Greater Wilmington Business Journal. “But that additional capital will help us regrow more quickly post-COVID-19 and will help us bring more (furloughed) team members back.” For his part, the 30-year-old Gould’s instincts haven’t led him astray. The Pittsburgh son and grandson of entrepreneurs started the Hop Culture website in 2017 as a way to highlight positive stories in the craft beer world. As Gould, who also works as a freelance writer and Forbes contributor, says, “I never set out to start a business. I set out to write about beer.”

Gould is hoping that with the purchase, Hop Culture can expand its efforts to be more inclusive in the beer community. With the goal of expanding Beer Kulture (black / African – American promotions), Beers With(out) Beards (women promotions), and starting a queer beer festival.

About Next Glass (from the PRNewswire Article): “Founded in 2013, Next Glass develops software and creates experiences that connect enthusiasts, retailers, and producers in the beverage alcohol industry. The Next Glass family of brands serves the unique and varied needs of the industry via multiple platforms. Its award-winning Untappd mobile application and BeerAdvocate website are used by millions of beer enthusiasts around the world and its menu publishing software tool, Untappd for Business, enables venues to streamline publication and promotion of their beer, wine, cocktail, and food menus while Oznr, the leader in direct to consumer technology for the craft beverage industry, partners with craft producers to manage their membership programs, can/bottle release pre-sales, and event ticketing. The Company’s recently-introduced Untappd Marketplace enables alcohol resellers to streamline ordering of beer, wine, and spirits from wholesalers and self-distributing breweries. The Company’s Live! division produces world class festivals and events for the Untappd and BeerAdvocate communities.”

Juicy Brews WestFest Promotional Poster

Kenny Gould wrote a long article on his site, giving a history of Hop Culture, as well as telling why he sold to Next Glass. He details the early years, how they became a business, their first festivals (the first of which was in October 2017),

Juicy Brews: Hop Culture Homecoming (photo courtesy of Kenny Gould’s article on Hop Culture, link below)

He goes on to discuss the ‘glory years’, and ‘turning the wheel’, and then goes into the search for his ‘future’ rather than just looking forward to the weekend. As he says in his article: “So I began my search. Luckily, I wasn’t under any sort of deadline. Over the past couple years, the team and I worked against the odds to build an awesome little engine that supported us, our projects, and a great team of freelancers. I could afford to be choosy. I could steward my baby toward a solution that offered the greatest potential for a continuation of the mission, practices, and values we found important.

At first, I thought about approaching venture capital. I gathered my materials and started the research to find a great partner. But before I could send my first email, a Forbes interview changed my life.

Back in 2018, during a Brewers Association dinner at the Union Square Café, I met a Forbes writer who told me her friend in the food and drink section was looking for new contributors. What the hell, I thought. I can always do some more writing. So I threw my name in the hat and started contributing a couple articles a month, mostly highlighting underrepresented voices in brewing and the beer industry.”

You can read more from Kenny Gould at his article on Hop Culture here: “The Next Chapter”.

From his article on Hop Culture, Gould says: “Additionally, thank you. The past four years have exceeded all expectations I had for an exciting life. And I’ve been moved and inspired by every single person I’ve met along the way. From brewers to distributors, from retailers to fans and everyone in between, I’m in your debt. This ride has been nothing short of incredible.

And the best part? We’re only getting started.”

And to think, says Gould, Hop Culture started as a “glorified blog. I was doing it because it was fun.” (This certainly sounds familiar…….. I think I’ve used this line often times when co-workers, friends, and family ask me how my silly ‘blog’ thing is going; I’m just doing it for fun.)

For more information on the purchase, you can check out the following links:

You can check out some of our latest craft beer news, brewery news, and industry news here: “BREWERY / INDUSTRY NEWS”. Including our latest about the BREW – The Museum of Beer, which is set to have an online exhibit opening on December 15th (Tuesday), 2020. The Museum will eventually be open in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Please be sure to follow us on our social media accounts – FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube, and Influence. Please be sure to also follow, like, subscribe to the blog here itself to keep updated. We love to hear from you guys, so be sure to leave a comment and let us know what you think!

Thank you everyone for reading. Any comments, questions, or anything you want to discuss at all, just leave a comment and I’ll make sure to get right back at ya. Love chatting with you guys about craft beer and breweries! Be sure to stay safe out there and keep supporting your small breweries and businesses, times are getting tough again, and all your support, no matter how little, can make the difference in a brewery staying open or shuttering their doors for good. Cheers everyone!

-B. Kline

For more information, you can check these references:
www.untappd.com
www.untappd.com/business
www.beeradvocate.com
www.oznr.com
www.untappd.tv
www.hopculture.com
www.instagram.com/hopculturemag

Be sure to check out our other articles on brewery openings:

You can read about more brewery closures here:

Create your website at WordPress.com
Get started