It’s the time of year to make New Beer’s resolutions, so here we go!
1. Strive to try styles of beer we think we don’t like. Many craft beer lovers drink the same styles over and over and turn down offers of the beer styles they think they don’t like. One way to try new beer styles is to get samplers. If you find you don’t like one, it’s not a big deal to let two ounces go to waste. Fourteen ounces is a different story! Or bring a friend with different tastes in beer and they can drink your culls. Best be a close friend…
Left-hand Fade to Black Vol. 4 at the Ginger Man in New York City! This covers numbers 1 and 2.
2. Endeavor to go to new place. We all like to frequent the brew pub where everyone knows our name. Sometimes it’s a bit of an adventure to go somewhere you haven’t been before. Don’t be daunted by the unknown! You never know what you might find.
3. How about mead and cider? These black sheep of the craft beer family have something to offer as well. It’s a pleasant change to try either of these crafty beverages. Step and out and be different!
4. Teach a beer impaired friend about craft beer. You should start them out with a nice craft pilsner or wheat beer. Who knows, maybe you can create a new drinking buddy. Everyone needs more of those!
Just drink the ones you like…
5. Finally, be positive in your beer endeavors. You control what’s in your mind. Don’t be put off by things beyond your control. If the Pliny the Younger tap blows just as you order one, have an Elder. Instead of drowning your sorrows, drink to your joys!
One last one just for me. Huck is at 788 unique beers on Untappd. Let’s see if I can make my 1000th beer happen at the 2013 Bloggers Conference in Boston in July! That’s just slightly more than one new beer a day. A craft beer a day keeps the doctor away.
Mrs. Fin and I headed to Salem for the Red Sox game and found some good craft beer. Ok, they had good beer before, but not on draft. Just went to a game and saw some Devils Backbone and some River Company beer on draft there. It was Thirsty Thursday so I had some Keystone Light for a dollar. Reminded me of my college days at Radford University, except for the fact that you couldn’t get any beer from Colorado in Virginia back in 1975, and it was just a college back then.
Taps at Salem Red Sox concessions.
The Sox were whipping the Nationals’ a** so it was a good game. Ran into some friends and had two-for-one tickets from those fine folks at Next Three Days who we saw at Steppin’ Out.
Of course, one of the best parts of the game is Mugsy, and he didn’t disappoint us.
Looks like he really likes to…Laissez les bon temp rouler!
Since we are based in Blacksburg, VA now, I decided to check out the phenomenon known as Hokie Football.
I took a stroll through town to Lane Stadium to see what all the hype is about. It seems that every parking lot in town is the site of some tailgate activity.
Tailgating before the big game at VA Tech!
There are no alcoholic beverages allowed in the stadium, nudge, nudge, wink, wink, if you know what I mean…but many people rent spaces in the parking lots and have all sorts of interesting tailgates. Next game I will go around and get you a flavor of the different types. There was a pretty big crowd for the game today, even though it is not a big rivalry or even supposed to be a close game.
Lots of students and everyone but me was wearing school colors, either maroon and orange for Tech or black and gold for App State. There were even some lovely ladies selling special “Stadium Stomper’s”.
These ladies can stomp me anytime!
The real beer in Blacksburg is in the bar’s though. I recommend the Cellar, The Underground, or the Rivermill. All have excellent selections, good food and atmosphere. See ya there!
I accompanied the kind folks from the Wine Gourmet to the New Belgium Brewing announcement of the expansion of their market to Virginia. The Wine gourmet will have the beer at their new location at 3524 Electric Road in Roanoke. The event was held at the Taubman Museum in Roanoke. It was sponsored by Blue Ridge Beverage of Salem, the local Miller distributor.
The Wine Gourmet "Party" at the New Belgium roll out!
One of the people above misbehaved; fortunately, I caught it on film!
They put on a pretty good spread…
Lots of yummy food!
They provided some beverages…
Lots of yummy beer!
Somehow I missed the actual announcement, but I was able to chat with Neil Reeves, the head beer bringer for New Belgium in Virginia. You can see it on my YouTube channel here. The gist of it is that you will see these around soon…
Fat Tire beer trucks!
I think we can all look forward to some good beer coming to our area in about two weeks.
Since we were already in Baltimore working last week, I checked the calendar and noticed that the Flying Dog Birthday celebration was going to be in Westminster, MD at a place called Maggie’s Restaurant. It is a really nice local place with great beer, food and service.
The bar at Maggie's.
We got there really early and told Guy the bartender of our quest. He seemed surprised that someone would travel just to drink beer but was kind enough to tell us about other offerings in Westminster! There is no beer mentioned on the Internet about this town, but we were able to determine that there is craft beer in the neighborhood. He directed us to a couple of bars owned by the same people – an Irish bar with Irish beer and another bar called Johanssons.
Johanssons in Westminster, MD
Johanssons is really three bars in one. Upstairs there’s a fancy pants restaurant and bar with an amazing selection of beer. Downstairs a working person’s bar whose beer selection doesn’t slack but has more mainstream brands on draft. We ate downstairs and had a 4-pound basket of cheese fries we couldn’t finish as well as some other staple starter items all prepared by the bartender. The third bar of the three in one is that this place is a brew pub as well.They had several tanks in the basement bar and were serving three of their four beers – out of the IPA, of course. I’ll assume it was good; the pale ale was palatable, but after I heard about the upstairs bar, I headed that way – 90 minute Dogfish Head on draft and a Goose Island Kolsch and many more – even a couple of cask choices.
Back to Maggie’s for the birthday party. There was a large contingent from Pennsylvania there to partake in the free beer and promotional items. Met a couple of ladies who liked IPAs and other hoppy beers, Lois and Lana! Pretty sure they were Superman’s ex-wives as they had nothing good to say about him…
The Flying Dogmobile!
Turns out I had met the Flying dog rep, J R Woolsey, last year at the Beer Bloggers Conference. We reminisced a while and drank a couple of Raging Bitches, mmm mmm good! There was the beer manager there from College Square Liquors who has a pretty good selection from the sound of things.
Friday at FloydFest X the eXperience was a bit hot! Fortunately, so was the music. The bands are really too numerous to mention but a couple of highlights were the Sam Bush band and the Carolina Chocolate Drops.
The food was hot as well, I had more than I should but one needs to keep their energy up. Feel Good Foods had great Quesadillas with Feta Cheese and other wonderful fillings and they were right in the beer tent!
Ready for Action!
Speaking of the beer tent, Floydfest serves only craft beer! They were four breweries, Starr Hill, Foothills, Breckenridge, and Magic Hat. There was also a cidery listed as beer, to each their own!
They were all serving a good selection of their brands so there were plenty of choices to go around! There were two beer areas, one by the main stage and one that had it’s own stage within the beer garden. There was wine as well but I didn’t get the specifics, Chautoue Morrisette was there I’m pretty sure.
To drink beer you have to get your ID checked, they seemed pretty reasonable about that, and then purchase a stainless steel cup, above. It was $6 for the cup and $5 a beer, not cheap but not really exorbitant for a festival.
After some rigourous experimentation at the Huck Fin Lab, it was determined that the SS pint glass actually holds about 18oz. So you are getting a pint for your money even if it looks smaller…that’s what she said…sorry, couldn’t resist!
You do have to stay in the designated area which is fine at the wooded beer garden but a bit of a problem at the main stage. You can’t really see the stage that well, it was crowded and not enough shade. By comparison the beer garden was well shaded , large and had plenty of room. The other issue was that the metal cups were prone to foaming so you sometimes got too much head, which is a problem in this case.
There was a lot going on at the festival. Interesting creatures…
Dragon at Floyd Fest I think it was names Davina!
Lots of people…
Some of the visitors at Floyd Fest.
Interesting items for sale…
Kinetic art by Mike!
In terms of logistics, the festival was a well oiled machine. Off-site parking was well organized with a shuttle service provided by boy scouts in their bus. It’s $10 for the weekend, they give you a little sticker on your windshield that you can leave on so people will know you are cool and attended the festival. Plenty of bathrooms reasonably clean considering the crowd, I never had to wait more than one person to get in. A station where you could fill up your cup with water between beers for free. Plenty of first aid and security for any types of issues. The only problem I saw all day was one guy outside the gate getting rowdy with he security folks. They just kinda surrounded him and let him yell until the cops arrived and dealt with it.
The camping comes in many flavors and shaped from VIP camping with your tents provided to folks just crashing on the ground or in a hammock. There is a large RV area and tent villages everywhere. I checked out where my daughter and friends were camping. They had a section in the “Not so quiet camping” area. Everyone was getting along and looking after each others stuff. Most of the campers brought their own food and other necessities to offset costs of purchasing everything at the festival. It seemed like a cool way to spend a weekend. I would need an air conditioner or at least a fan myself.
So if you missed it this year, now’s the time to start planning for next year! See ya there!