Changes at the Castle’s Kettle & Pub – What does it mean to the beer selection?

Changes at the Castle’s Kettle & Pub – What does it mean to the beer selection?

There are some changes going on at the Castle’ s Kettle & Pub.

Castle’s Kettle & Pub.

I’ll let them announce most of the changes, but would like to inform folks about what’s going on with the beer. They have gone from 24 taps to 12 – 11 when I was there the other night. This is temporary according to management. They are going to make the 12th tap a mug club tap selected by the members of the mug club. They also plan to have different taps for the various styles of beer such as hefeweizen, stout, IPA, pale ale and so forth, with 5 or 6 rotating brands for each tap. That would be nice so folks could have a little variety. Of course the Harp, Guinness and Smithwick’s will remain on both levels, but the namesake pub beer may be in for some changes.

Some people around town have suggested that they actually have mugs assigned to each member but I’m not sure if that’s the best way.

When I paid my tab guess what? I received an actual paper tab and just paid it. Not sure if the iPad system is gone or just being revamped. It seems like a good idea, but the actual execution was a bit off.

I’ll keep you posted about that’s going on. In the meantime…Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Where can you find Blues and Brews in Roanoke, Virginia? Why Blue 5, of course.

I often write about Blue 5, but there’s a good reason. They have the best beer AND the best music the close to me. Now, you may or may not agree with me on what the best beer or the best music is, but that’s ok. I’m writing this so I get to decide.  🙂


I was wondering if there they had a good band this weekend, so I looked on the old Internet and discovered that they had great blues bands for the next several weekends:

Biscuit Miller and the Mix 7/27

Zack Harman 8/2

Skinney Velvet 8/3

Little Ronnie and the Grand Dukes 8/4

Mac Arnold and the Plate Full o Blues 8/11

Then a little classic rock on 8/17 with Runaway Jones. Who doesn’t like a little classic rock?

Other music beer venues would be mentioned if they would just step up and provide this kind of entertainment and craft beer. How about it Blacksburg? Bring us the Blues and Brew!

What about the beer you ask? If you are a craft beer aficionado and I tell you that they have both Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA and Firestone Walker Double Jack IPA on tap right now, you would know what I mean. In fairness, they may run out tonight and be replaced before you get there, but let me assure you the replacements will be acceptable. They keep about 25 beers on tap all the time that are “regulars.” I would prefer that number to be somewhat lower and have new and unusual beers on most of their taps, but that might upset the less imaginative amongst us. Still plenty of good beer there.

Might see you there during one of the great bands coming up drinking one of these great beers.

Laissaz les bon temps rouler!

What the heck does “Laissaz les bon temps rouler!” mean, anyway?

What the heck does “Laissaz les bon temps rouler!” mean, anyway?

Many of you may have noticed that I end most posts with “Laissaz les bon temps rouler!” Many of you may have not…

It’s a Cajun French expression that translated literally as “Let the good times roll!” I first heard it in New Orleans, Louisiana during one of my trips there. Since Tuesday is “Fat Tuesday,” the traditional end of the festival season or Mardi Gras and the beginning of Lent for many, I thought this might be a good time to talk about it.

There’s no question that Mardi Gras is a great huge party; it’s also expensive and difficult to navigate if you aren’t familiar with the particulars. There’s plenty of fun to be had in New Orleans the rest of the year with out the pressing crowds and jacked up prices. Bourbon Street is a must-see if you go, but be sure to check out some of the other  attractions in the city. The cemetery tours are very informational and can be combined with historical tours as well. Here’s a cemetery website with a detailed list of cemeteries.

St. Louis Cemetery Number 2 New Orleans.

One of the more interesting things about going there is that no matter what folks may think about your habits where you come from, no one has a drinking problem in the Big Easy. It’s a land of drive-thru hurricane shops and no open- container laws, at least in parts of the city. They have made a booming business out of being a “go to” location for a good time.

There’s a museum devoted to the floats that are built for the parades during the festival. It’s actually a storage facility and shop for building, re-building and repairing the floats. It’s also a must-see if you not there for the “live” activities.

Mardi Gras floats at Mardi Gras World

Strange things can happen there, too.  At one point we saw Batman get his car towed…

New Orlean’s tough on the Batman.

And of course New Orleans also has good beer. Abita’s brewery is just across Lake Pontchartrain from the city, and there are a couple of local brew pubs there as well. In an alcohol-soaked city you can be sure there are several multi-tap bars in all areas of the city. The trolleys are a good way to look for some of them. Like the tours, it will take you through some of the old neighborhoods. You  will have to provide your own snappy banter, depending on who is on the trolley with you.

Beautiful traditional New Orleans architecture.

My fascination with the culture of the people of New Orleans and the way they embrace the concept of letting the good times roll leads me to close my posts with that as a toast to their enjoyment of life and ability to withstand adversity in the process.

Laissaz les bon temps rouler!

Here are some more pictures from our trip last year.


Report from the taps at Blue 5 – Roanoke’s now a real beer city!

Report from the taps at Blue 5 – Roanoke’s now a real beer city!

I received a FB message from Mrs. Fin that she wanted to ride the Smart Way  Bus from Blacksburg to Roanoke and have me pick her up so that we wouldn’t have to drive back and forth. That blended in well with my desire to check out the new taps at Blue 5 and hear some great blues.

Allie and the new taps! New beer, old bartender…oops, I mean “experienced”!

Blue 5 has been one of my favorite restaurants since they opened, and I’ve been hanging out with the owners since before it opened. I’d like to think I had some influence on the development, but the guys are blues lovers and craft beer lovers, so it was probably minor if any.

I arrived at eightish and was surprised at the huge crowd!

Not an empty seat in the house at Blue 5 with 46 taps and good blues playing!

I had two first-time beers, Lagunitas Pilsner and Gnomegang and then went to pick up Mrs. Fin at the bus stop. She had the whole bus to herself from Blacksburg to Roanoke. We came back to B5 and took a tour of the keg cooler.

Don't see any of the "usual suspects" in here! Definitely a high-falutin' crowd in Blue 5's keg cooler.

Chris from the restaurant told me he had heard other places were adding taps. Knowing the local beer scene, I can’t see anyone even coming close to competing with this quantity and quality of beer. The choices for these taps were obviously made after careful study and consideration of good craft beer. Most of the selections in Roanoke are made by a persistent salesperson or promoter who may or may not have the best interest of the craft beer public in mind.

The blues band was just starting up when we got back and they were really good.

Tom Principato and his band slayin’ ’em at Blue 5 in Roanoke.

That’s another thing that stands out about B5 – they are the best Blues music venue in the area. Other places have an occasional blues act or are too small to really bring in the good blues acts. B5 has consistently brought in great blues since the beginning. It was good to see at least 15 fellow members of the Blue Ridge Blues Society there last night. There’s another great band there tonight – JW-Jones.

We are going back soon. Perhaps we will see you there!

Laissaz les bon temps rouler!

Devil’s Backbone comes to Roanoke – 46 taps now on-line at Blue 5!

Devil’s Backbone comes to Roanoke – 46 taps now on-line at Blue 5!

Breaking news! The new taps at Blue 5 are on-line! The official announcement and party will be next week, details to come.

Nice looking choices at Blue 5 in roanoke!

The Blue 5 hosted the folks from Devil’s Backbone last Thursday evening as they try new beers to fill out the increase in tap capacity they are installing. They were giving out samples of four of their craft beers to a happy group of beer lovers. There are going to be a bunch of events all across the state as DB rolls out their increased production from the new brewery in Lexington, Virginia.

Brian from DB hands out craft beer samples.

The new taps are not fully operational yet but are in place on the bar back and being hooked up. I gave ’em a test run while I was there…

Couldn't find a glass.

Blue 5’s 46 taps will be taking Roanoke to a whole new level of craft beer. They will likely have more of each style on tap than all the other bars in Roanoke put together have on tap collectively right now. Six IPAs or five porters will make Blue 5 a destination for microbrew lovers from all over the region.

Sneak peek at what's going to be on one of the 46 taps!

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait…should be sometime this week! See ya there!

Laissaz les bon temps rouler!

Saraveza serves the best beer in Portland, possibly the world.

Saraveza serves the best beer in Portland, possibly the world.

There’s a great beer place in Portland Oregon. I’m gonna stick my neck out here and say that it’s a must see in town where’s there’s plenty of beer to see. They don’t just have great beer, they achieve the trifecta…food, beer, and service! It’s called Saraveza Bottle Shop and Pasty Tavern.


Saraveza Bottle Shop and Pasty Tavern

We were lucky enough to meet the owner, Sarah Pederson, who was featured in the documentary “The Love of Beer” about women in craft beer. The movie was done by Alison Grayson and we attended the premiere as part of the beer blogger conference. The movie was great as were the women of craft beer we got to meet.


Sarah Pederson and Huck hanging out by the BBC11 Sign at Saravaza.

A couple of other women of craft beer hanging out at Saraveza.


Sebbie Buhler and Tonya Cornett at Saraveza.

Food? How about pickled deviled eggs and stuffed jalapenos? We had a pasty which our English friend said wasn’t authentic, but after sampling real English food, that might be a good thing. I thought it was tasty.


Nice spread!

Lots of bottles priced about 1/2 of what I pay in Virginia and Maryland – not sure if it’s a tax issue or just closer to the source.


Bottles, Bottles, Bottles.

We actually left and went to some Portland beer week events at other bars and then came back because one of our bud’s didn’t get to go on our earlier excursion. OK, pehaps some of us wanted some reasonably priced beer to take back to our respective homes.

Since we were so inclined, you should be too and get your butt over to Saraveza and check it out! You won’t be disappointed!

Lassaz les bon temps roulez!