Thursday, April 26, 2012

3 Word Beer Review

Here it is! I’ve been slacking on the beer reviews lately and it took this brew to snap me out of it. I was killing time the other day on BeerAdvocate and ran across a thread discussing the downfalls of Belhaven containing their beers in clear glass bottles. Belhaven Scottish Ale is one of my all time favorites so this article caught my attention. I originally fell in the love with the Belhaven Scottish Ale at the Flying Saucer, of which they have it on nitro tap. The typical Saucer trip for me is picking out a couple of giant beers (Imperial Stout, Barleywine, etc) and then eventually coming to the conclusion I need to lighten the mood. What always comes next is the Belhaven Scottish Ale. The sad part of the story was I figured I would be forever limited to experiencing this brilliant creamy nitro’d creation only at the Saucer. That is until now! I was glancing over the comments on the BeerAdvocate thread when there it was…a picture so great it brought tears to my eyes… it was a Belhaven Scottish Ale in a can with a nitro widget! Could this be? Is this here and I didn’t know it? The answer is yes and yes.

I could go on and on about the qualities of this brew but it wouldn’t do the brew any justice. I tried to “review” the beer the other night and describe its consistency, its smoothness, its subtle malt sweetness, and so on but I kept coming back to damn that’s good. OK concentrate this time, drink, damn that’s good. OK that’s enough spacing out, write something down, drink, holy crap that’s really good. I reached the bottom of the glass in short order and didn’t have much to show for it. So I conceded to greatness and wrote a 3 word review.

The review:

Smooth Creamy Awesomeness.

Every time I taste this brew I am reminded of the Benjamin Franklin (mis)quote: “Beer is proof that god loves us and wants us to be happy”.

The original quote referred to wine and went something like:
“Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards; there it enters the roots of vines, to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy.”

Bam! You’ve just been hit with some knowledge. Sorry if you own the shirt.


Monday, April 23, 2012

FatCat's Inebriated Parkville Review

What a difference a year makes!  If you’ve been following me the whole time you know that last year’s Parkville Microbrew Festival busted my beer festival cherry.  I was rather intimidated in 2011 by the sheer mass of humanity.  Just a simple glance at all of those people reinforced the fact I just wasted $40.00 and I would never get a drop of beer out of this mob.  Choices:  Break my tasting glass against a tree and leave; wade my way into the masses for whatever brew I could scrounge.  Luckily I picked the latter and really enjoyed myself in 2011. 

I planned ahead for the 2012 Parkville Microbrew Festival and purchased online tickets.  This seemed to be what everyone else had in mind so FatCat didn’t get too far ahead on that strategy.  The line to enter the event was tremendously large.  By dumb luck we got out of line to check out the little tent to the left of the main tent and scored.  We only waited behind about 10 people and we were in.  My friend who came later advised that strategy was no longer viable and he had to wait quite a while to get inside the festival.  Not wanting to miss out, I used the mobile website to make a list of all the brews I wanted to try beforehand.  Once we got in, I tried to hit as many of the chosen tents as I could before the crowd fully engulfed us.  In fairly short ordered I was in full beer festival mode!

The beer I was most excited to taste was the No. 50 Liberty Stout from Gella’s Diner and Liquid Bread Brewing Company out of Hays, KS.  This stout won Great American Beer Festival Gold in 2009 and 2010.  I had been salivating over this brew all week and I think the anticipation got the best of me.  I made my way to the tent and acquired my pour of this gold medal brew.  It was a solid brew but was not a knock out.  It was more of a dry stout with good roasted malt character.  In an attempt to coax out some additional malt character I let the brew warm up. It improved but still not what I was dreaming of.  There was nothing wrong with the brew, I think I was expecting way too much for it to live up to. 

My second most anticipated brew of the festival was the Blind Tiger Top Gun IPA.  This brew did live up to expectations.  This was a brilliantly complex hop concoction of greatness.  The smooth citrus character up front clears the way for some delicate floral notes.  Then the citrus comes back dancing with the flowers providing an amazing finish.  Awesome!

The other beer I was “looking forward” to was the brisket beer.  I didn’t really expect anything outstanding about it, I was just interested.  The first taste of this brew was almost enjoyable.  The brew was decent through the middle of the palate and finished with a very briskety smokey flavor.  It went down hill from there as subsequent tastes allowed you to catch up with the almost slimy consistency of the brew.  It was definitely interesting but I think I’ll keep my BBQ and my beer in separate containers.

My favorites of the festival were the Top Gun IPA (of course), Nebraska Brewing Barrel Aged Hop God, Broadway Brewery Oak Aged Imperial Stout, Buffalo Rye IPA, and Lucky Bucket Certified Evil.

This year at the festival I didn’t think the lines were too bad.  We went through Broadway’s line to get the Imperial Stout at 3pm and were about 5 minutes early.  We went to the back of the line and made it up to the front again in less than 10 minutes.  The layout was poorly planned and was not at all conducive for travel inside the “ring” of tents.  Hopefully at future events they will spread the tents out better and not make a circle of madness.  My other gripe was the tasting notes booklet.  They were very nice quality but whoever puts them together should really learn to use the SORT function.  Is it too much to ask to put the damn breweries in alphabetical order? 

Overall I liked this year better than last.  I personally didn’t think the lines were as bad as last year but I arrived earlier this year.  I was in “festival mode” earlier as well so maybe that’s why it didn’t bother me as bad this year.  The variety of special releases was a big plus over last year.  If the organizers can figure out a better layout and expedite the entry process, this festival could be absolutely positively awesome.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Boulevard New Year-Round Brew

Boulevard is in the midst of adding a new year-round brew to their arsenal.  What could it be?  Is the suspense killing you yet?  Wait for it…wait for more time.  According to Bob Sullivan of Boulevard, it will be called 80 Acre Hoppy Wheat.  I’ve heard a lot of fan fair about the Hoppy Wheat of old but I’ve never had the chance to partake.  There isn’t any additional info as far as if this new Hoppy Wheat is the same as the old or what taste profile they’re shooting for with this new one.  It makes sense.  Their leading brew is Unfiltered Wheat, so to introduce another wheat beer in hopes of snagging a few more customers seems logical.  The release date is anticipated to be late summer. 

Derived from article:

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Top 50 Craft Breweries of 2011

There were some movers and shakers but for the most part the list looks a lot like last year.  The top ten look pretty much the same except for the #6 last year International Brewers United (IBU) being removed causing those under 5 to move up one spot.  The exception is Lagunitas who shot into the top 10 by jumping up eight spots to #9.  Boulevard is holding strong at the #10 spot.  Schlafly moved up three positions to the #39 spot.  Check out the rest of the list and as always support your favorite local brewery.

Top 50 Craft Brewing Companies

(by 2011 beer sales volume)

1 Boston Beer Co. - Boston MA (-)

2 Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. - Chico CA (-)

3 New Belgium Brewing Co. - Fort Collins CO (-)

4 The Gambrinus Company - San Antonio TX (-)

5 Deschutes Brewery - Bend OR (-)

6 Matt Brewing Co. - Utica NY (+1)

7 Bell's Brewery, Inc. - Galesburg MI (+1)

8 Harpoon Brewery - Boston MA (+1)

9 Lagunitas Brewing Co. - Petaluma CA (+8)

10 Boulevard Brewing Co. - Kansas City MO (-)

11 Stone Brewing Company - Escondido CA (+3)

12 Dogfish Head Craft Brewery - Milton DE (-1)

13 Brooklyn Brewery - Brooklyn NY (+3)

14 Alaskan Brewing & Bottling Co. - Juneau AK (-2)

15 Long Trail Brewing Co. - Burlington VT (-2)

16 Shipyard Brewing Co. - Portland ME (+3)

17 Abita Brewing Co. - Abita Springs LA (-2)

18 Great Lakes Brewing Co. - Cleveland OH (+4)

19 New Glarus Brewing Co. - New Glarus WI (+2)

20 Full Sail Brewing Co. - Hood River OR (-2)

21 Summit Brewing Co. - St. Paul MN (-1)

22 Anchor Brewing Co. - San Francisco CA (-1)

23 Firestone Walker Brewing Co. - Paso Robles CA (+3)

24 Sweetwater Brewing Co. - Atlanta GA (+3)

25 Rogue Ales - Newport OR (-)

26 Flying Dog Brewery - Frederick MD (+2)

27 Victory Brewing Co. - Downingtown PA (+2)

28 CraftWorks Breweries & Restaurants - Chattanooga/Louisville TN/CO

29 Oskar Blues Brewery - Longmont CO (+7)

30 Odell Brewing Co. - Fort Collins CO (+3)

31 Stevens Point Brewery Co. - Stevens Point WI (+1)

32 Ninkasi Brewing Co. - Eugene OR (+18)

33 BJ's Chicago Pizza & Brewery, Inc. - Huntington Beach CA (-2)

34 Blue Point Brewing Co. - Patchogue NY (+3)

35 Bear Republic Brewing Co. - Cloverdale CA (+8)

36 Lost Coast Brewery Cafe - Eureka CA (+2)

37 Big Sky Brewing Co. - Missoula MT (+2)

38 North Coast Brewing Co. Inc. - Fort Bragg CA (+2)

39 Saint Louis Brewery, Inc./Schlafly - Bottleworks St. Louis MO (+3)

40 Gordon Biersch Brewing Co. - San Jose CA (+7)

41 Breckenridge Brewery - Denver CO (+4)

42 Founders Brewing Co. - Grand Rapids MI (not listed last year)

43 Saint Arnold Brewing Co. - Houston TX (+5)

44 Karl Strauss Brewing Co. - San Diego CA (-)

45 Real Ale Brewing Co. - Blanco TX (+4)

46 Mac and Jack's Brewery Inc. - Redmond WA (-5)

47 Smuttynose Brewing Co. - Portsmouth NH (not listed last year)

48 Utah Brewers Cooperative - Salt Lake City UT (-2)

49 Left Hand Brewing Co. - Longmont CO (not listed last year)

t.50 Anderson Valley Brewing Co. - Boonville CA (not listed last year)

t.50 Four Peaks Brewing Co. - Tempe AZ (not listed last year)

To see the list as posted: 

Collaboration #3

Collaboration #3 anyone? After the booming success of the Deschutes/Boulevard collaboration white IPA why not #3. According to an article published over at, Boulevard will be teaming up with Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project for just that. The target style is a Stingo. Now if that doesn’t sound like one of those weird sexual positions I don’t know what does, sorry I digress. A “Stingo” is a barrel-aged English style ale that describes how this beer “stings” the palette. The brew is planned to have wood, fruit, and some sourness in the taste arsenal. Does a sour-barrel-aged-English ale sound strange to anyone else? Strange or not this should be one interesting brew.

Pretty Things Beer is a husband and wife team (Dann and Martha Paquette)of gypsy brewers. They travel around and brew their own concoctions at host breweries around the country. The Collabo #3 was conceived over a beer between Pauwels and the Paquette’s at a Boston beer festival. To check out more about Pretty Things Beer visit their website


Thursday, April 12, 2012

A FatCat Public Service Announcement

As a lady do you ever go out to bars and have nice gentleman offer to buy you drinks? Of course this gentleman has only the purest of intentions and is willing to entertain you on his dime from the goodness of his heart. Wait, you mean the gentleman is hoping to get you inebriated enough to make bad decisions? This couldn’t be, could it? Well a couple drinks couldn't hurt could it ladies?  A couple might be all it takes.  According to a research study this scenario appears to actually have some scientific validity.

Typically the term “beer goggles” is most associated with a condition that overindulgent males suffer from. But wondering minds and bar patrons want to know, do women suffer the same fate? To test this myth a study conducted by researchers at London’s Roehampton University involved more than 100 men and women in which they rate pairs of faces. Some were given beverages containing alcohol and others were given drinks without alcohol. The premise of the study was to have the study participants identify which faces were symmetrical and which were asymmetrical. Apparently symmetry is one of the major traits we use to measure the attractiveness of one person compared to another (I guess if you listen to those fancy mind doctors). Based on the results women were particularly bad at discerning between symmetrical and asymmetrical faces after consuming alcohol. There were no statistics given so I’m not sure how decisively the intoxicated women failed the symmetry test.

There you have it ladies, you like uglier (or at least less symmetrical) guys when you drink. So unless you want to meet the asymmetrical man of your dreams, it’s better not to hook up with people when you are drinking. I probably just saved your dating lives, you can thank me later.


To read the entire article click here:

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Anyone Hungry?

Does this sound absolutely delicious to anyone else?  Most people I mention this to seem to scrunch their faces up in disgust.  I don't know about the "lager style" of which I have to assume they are talking about light lager.  With the light lager insinuation aside, there is something about beer, ham, cheese, and waffles just gets me all excited.  I haven't made this recipe yet but I will most definitely not use a light lager,  I was thinking more along the lines of wheat beer or maybe go full on adventurous and make a half a batch of stout waffles.  Now that's what I'm talking about.  Anyone have a waffle iron for sale?

Photo from:

Recipe adapted from Miami Herald Article -

1 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup room-temperature lager-style beer  
1/2 cup room-temperature milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Nonstick cooking spray (optional)
6 slices Cheddar cheese or 6 ounces grated cheese
4 ounces ham, thinly sliced and finely chopped

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Pour beer, milk, egg and butter into flour mixture. Stir until just moistened (do not overmix). Heat waffle iron. Spray with nonstick cooking spray, if necessary. Pour enough batter onto the grids to just cover them. Place a slice of cheese on top of each large square and sprinkle with ham. Pour on more batter to just cover cheese and ham, spreading to edges of iron with a spatula. Cook until golden, 4 to 6 minutes. Keep warm on a platter in a preheated, 200-degree oven. Repeat with remaining batter and serve. Makes 6 large waffles.

Per serving: 363 calories (50 percent from fat), 20 g fat (12 g saturated fat, 6 g monounsaturated), 93 mg cholesterol, 15.4 g protein, 27.6 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 730 mg sodium.

Holy crap when I posted this I just saw the nutrion information.  Now that's a freakin' breakfast!


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

April Fools Day!

I'm four days late and I'm sure more than $1.00 short but here goes anyway...April Fools Day!  We have located the ultimate white whale.  It is so rare that there was only one bottle ever made and is probably the best malt/hop concoction ever devised.  It is the best beer you'll never taste.  You may be asking yourself, "How do you know that FatCat?, Have you tried it?"  No I haven't tried it but the fact is every beer you never try is always the best beer you could have had.  Since there is only one of these beers in existence it has to be the best beer ever made, right?  The real treat is this beer was brewed right down the road in St. Louie.  Don't believe me?  There is a video to prove it.