Friday, July 19, 2013

The McCarthy Era

Once again Stephen T. McCarthy has provided us with (this time) 3% 0f the total collection in one shot!  Out of 26 caps he sent me, I had a use for 24 (including a Sierra Nevada that replaced a less-lovely doppleganger).  But before we get into these newbies, let me describe some of the processes that go into... well, processing a cap.

First of all, I have a main list on the computer that IDs the cap, tells me how many of that type, tells me the location, and gives me a page in my little cap notebook.  This is backed up by a hard copy of the list which I write newbies in by pen until I print a new list.  On the back of the last page, I write in the ones I don't have room for, tagging them with a number that corresponds to a balloon tied to the location it would go.  Right now, with all the financial fun we're having, the printer is on the DL, and there are 21 balloons currently on the last page.

Then we go to the previously mentioned notebook, which has an entry for each cap with a reasonable likeness and other necessary info so if I get a cap I might have, I can consult the main list for the cap and its page in the book, get a basic idea of what I'm dealing with, and if it proves ominously similar, the location so I can compare.

Then it gets attached to its place in the latest book (except that the latest book has yet to be purchased) after being photographed and researched for the blog post.  And that brings us to the new guys:

So we start with a Bud Light I found this morning (can't let Scrappy have all the glory).  The only other "pry off" BL I have just says, "BL".  Then on to the STM gang.  The next two on the top row, and the little "devil" are (according to STM-and thanks for the ID page- I wish people who send stuff through eBay would do that!) Levitation Ales from Stone brewing.  This is one of their "lighter" ales, described as a dry hopped amber ale.  The quote on the one is from Beverage World Magazine: " of the most devoted cult followings this side of the Grateful Dead."  Next to the devil in row two is another Stone Brewing, this time their Smoked Porter, which is an American style (more on the "smoked" part later).  Its logo reads:  "Stone Brewing has quickly established itself as a craft brewery to be reckoned with."- Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, NY.  And finally, their Arrogant Bastard Ale, a brew strong enough that they tell you on no uncertain terms that it ain't for everyone- barely for anyone.  At 7.72% alcohol, if you can gag down the first slug, the rest will be easy.

Finishing out row two, we have a Stella Artois that was just enough different from my other one to earn a spot, and a Dixie that he got on an amazing trip cross-country in 1983, I believe.  Dixie brewed out of NOLA until Katrina flooded the breweries and the fine people of NOLA looted the plant for everything not bolted down.  The owners still say the plan is to brew in town once again, but as of 2010 they were still contracting out to other companies.

Row 3 opens with a Bacardis Mojito, which is a malt liquor beverage laced with lime and mint.  Then comes a Red Dog, which was once a premium brew on Miller's Plank Road letterhead.  It started to fade from view in the early 2000s, so they re-positioned it between High Life and Old Milwaukee and it's back to doing fine.  Next is a Batch 19, from Coors' version of "Plank Road".  Another "pre-prohibition style"  Vienna lager, supposedly based on recipes in use in 1919.  Next to that ambles a Bear Republic Brewery cap, specifically their Red Rocket Ale a "bastardized Scottish ale" (which apparently means its like a cross between a strong ale and a barleywine.  Don't ask me, STM drank it!).  Finishing out the row is Alaska Breweries' Smoked Porter.  Smoked means it was brewed with barley malt dried over an open flame, giving it a bit of smoky flavor.  The neat thing about this brewery is it was started in the 1980's with recipes based on ones found in the files of the old Douglas Brewing Company which operated from 1899-1907.

Picture Two, row one, leads off with an Odell's, my second, this one their red ale.  The Polish import from Heineken, Zyweic, is fascinating in that the Hapsburg Family of Austria owned the brewery from its founding in 1856 till the Soviet takeover in 1946.  They now operate the most state-of-the-art building on the continent.  That next one has three hummingbirds on it, because it is a Nectar Ales brew, Red Nectar American Amber.  Nectar Ales is now owned by the Firestone Walker Brewery since 2005.

I can honestly say there's no way I'd drink that next one, Black Mountain's Cave Creek Chili Beer, with hot Serrano chilies brewed in.  It would seem this is the only beer that Crazy Ed Chillins' company brews.  The Green Flash at the end of the row is their Hop Head Red, a "West Coast style ale", which one commenter said means, "hops, hops, hops."

Moving to our last full row, the "solar powered brewery" is the Anderson Valley brewery of Booneville, CA; the cap is their Boont Amber Ale.  Next up is my second Full Sail, this one their ESB (extra special bitter) a spring-only "medium-bodied ale."  Middle of the road is a Bridgeport IPA, from a Portland, OR, brewery that was bought by former big player Gambrinus in 1995.  Then comes my second Big Sky, again an IPA.

Finishing out the row is North Coast's Pranqster Golden ale, a Belgian pale ale.  This brewer bought out another of those "former big players,"  Acme ( not the kind that Bugs and Fudd drank).  And all by himself is a Sam Adams Summer Ale, my second- the other was a more readable blue-and-white.

And with that, and after fighting my computer for the ability to download pictures yet again, we have concluded this journey.  The cap total is up to 778.  Just think if I collected all the different rebus-on-the-underside stuff!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Pssst... come closer... shhhh....

This is Scrappy, and I had to tell you what I did tonight! (Thank God for Google Translate, eh?)  Anyway, Daddy took me for a late walk, and, well, his eyes aren't as good as mine at night ( and not much better in daytime, really).  And I found him this:

Daddy says it's a Michelob Light, and it's the first one he's got since 3/18 (which I guess means he's filled 18 pages of caps since then).  Anyway, I wanted to let you all know before you-know-who took the credit!

BTW, I really like beer.  Daddy gave me a sip of something he called Canoe Paddler last night.  Mmmm.  I don't know why he won't share more with me...

Saturday, July 6, 2013

KC and more beers

My son KC brought over another mix of beers.  In addition to a six-pack of the Canoe Paddler we tried before, he brought a sample pack that netted me one improved-condition cap and four newbies.

The first one I dug into was the Third Shift (which has been pretty heavily advertised by parent Coors).  I can definitely tell you it does NOT taste like Coors.  A "pre-prohibition style" Amber Lager, it actually tasted better a bit warm.  The bitter backflavor becomes more pronounced when colder; it was smoother and better blended of flavors a bit warm.  Scrappy liked it over the Molson Canadian when he was offered.

KC had started off with the Mikes Strawberry Margarita, a flavored beer with (to KC's chagrin) no tequila.  Normally, I wouldn't have put this into the collection, until KC showed me "flavored beer on the neck label.  He then went to a Molson Canadian, which he thought had a "funny smell" and, after the Third Shift, tasted to me like the bottled had been returned to the brewery, filled with water without washing the bottle first, and sent back out.  It had zero flavor cold and vaguely like an olive had marinated in it warm.  I think KC ditched it halfway.

I drew the Victoria next.  It is a Mexican brew made by Modelo, a Vienna Lager.  That is apparently the same thing as a "pre-prohibition style,"  Because they're both amber lagers.  But two strikes against Modelo:  one, the Third Shift was better (perhaps because the Victoria was colder), and while they are the same general style, the TS was 5.3 abv next to the 4.4 of the Vic.  According to the wiki, every bottle has a drawing of King Gambrinus on it, a heritage of the Austrian immigrants who brought the style to Mexico in the late 19th century; unfortunately, I was much too occupied by baseball and pizza to pay attention.

mmmm..... beer....

I forget who had the Labatts, I think KC.  Oh, yeah, I did because then he  got a Michelob Ultra.  I have plenty of Labatt's Blue caps, but only two say imported, and this one is quite a bit different than the other.  You can see it (kinda, it was taken with the old camera) here, sixth picture down, second on the bottom.  One day, I'll have to go through and update those pictures.

I think I ended the night with another Third Shift, and a Canoe Paddler, but by this time a pizza had arrived (just 11 minutes after ordering, somehow), and we were playing music and commiserating on the lack of good vocal performances nowdays, so attention on the beer began to wander.  Scrappy tasted a Budweiser Black Crown, but again preferred the Third Shift (before anyone calls PETA, he basically was licking the mouth of the bottles and got precious little actual liquid- though I think that we considered going ahead with giving him the rest of the Molson Canadian since it was flavored water anyway).