Hootenanny Ribs

Hootenanny Ribs
3-2-1 rib perfection on my Traeger Pro 34 wood pellet grill

Monday, December 11, 2017

The Twelve Beers of Christmas 2017

It is a festive time of year. What better way to celebrate than with the annual Twelve Beers of Christmas? This year marks the tenth anniversary of this revelry. That is a great deal of stellar beers and plenty of celebrating. To be included in the Twelve Beers of Christmas, it must be a beer not enjoyed before, either gifted, muled, hauled from travels, rare and coveted. The drinking of the dozen begins on Christmas day and follows the Twelve Days of Christmas. Follow along with the celebration on InstagramUntappd, and Twitter.

1. Vintage Brewing Bock's O-Chocolates

Style: Chocolate Doppelbock

Life is like a box of chocolates. Christmas Day and chocolate goes together like peanut butter and jelly. I might drink this one pretty early, like when the kids are opening presents early. Chocolate beer for dessert (breakfast) indeed. Thank you PfoxyJohn for this bottle of candy.

"This rich and decadent true lager is brewed with generous additions of chocolate malt and organic cocoa powder then aged on fresh-toasted cacao nibs and Mexican vanilla beans. Bock's O-Chocolates has a rich malty sweetness and a serious chocolate flavor with a thick chewy body."

2. Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast 

Style: Oatmeal Stout (with coffee addition)

A breakfast beer? Yes. Oatmeal, coffee, dark chocolates all sound appealing for Boxing Day breakfast. Thank you Candace for this long time wish list beer. 

"An oatmeal stout with 25.0% oat-based ingredients and a nice touch of gourmet coffee. A beer that goes extremely well with breakfast! Good hints of coffee and smoke as well as dark chocolate and roasted malts. Ask any beer geek . . .  a hearty, complex stout is the tastiest way to begin the day. This unique mix of an oat and coffee stout creates an intense, full-bodied beer that is surprisingly balanced and full of new taste adventures with every sip."

3. Alewerks Lover's Greed

Style: American Wild Ale

Sour and wild ales, especially barrel aged variants, are at the top of the beer pyramid. Complex flavors, usually tart and exhibiting characteristics from the barrels, are extremely appealing to my taste buds. This one was acquired in Virginia during work travels.

"You hold a piece of the second iteration of Lover's Greed American Wild Ale. This batch waited 36 months in French Oak red Wine barrels before it was deemed worthy of release. This beer has moved beyond an exercise in the forgotten virtue of patience; it is a demonstration of an inclination for torment due to fascination with an elegant ale." 

4. Sierra Nevada Trip In The Woods Barrel-Aged Cocoa Coconut Narwhal

Style: Barrel-aged Imperial Stout (with toasted coconut and cocoa nibs)

I love coconut, and chocolate, and barrel-aged beers. This monster has it all. Seems like a very good nightcap on a cold December evening. Might better share this one with the better half...

"This very special version of our Narwhal Imperial Stout was brewed with toasted coconut and then left to mature in Kentucky Bourbon barrels for nearly a year. To the barrels, we added additional coconut and cocoa nibs to create a uniquely rich and decadent stout."

5. De Proef/New Glarus Abtsolution Dark Belgian Ale

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Belgium's De Proef Brouwerij and Wisconsin's New Glarus Brewing are two of the world's top breweries. This collaboration marries these stalwarts yielding a rich, dark Belgian classic with a Wisconsin twist. Abtsolution should pair nicely with a rich holiday meal. Thank you for another gem Mr. Pfister. 

"We have created a beer based on the classic Belgian Abt style, with unique Wisconsin contributions including Santiam and Chinook hops. To further highlight the Dairy State we've added lactose for extra mouthfeel and richness. The result is a dark ale with fruity esters, a velvety smooth palate and balancing wood notes from our use of French and American oak along with spicy hop notes. This ale is designed to drink now, but we believe will evolve beautifully over the next 1-2 years. Enjoy Abtsolution with roasted meats, rich cheese and of course, friends. Cheers!"

6. Southern Tier Thick Mint

Style: Imperial Stout (with chocolate and mint)

Everyone loves Girl Scout cookies, especially Thin Mints. This beer is a take on those delicious cookies in stout form - an Imperial Stout brewed with chocolate and mint. Another dessert ale for my Twelve Beers of Christmas; life is good.

"Inspired by the legendary cookie, Thick Mint joins our world-class rated Blackwater Series of dessert beers alongside Crème Brûlée & Choklat in 2017. This imperial stout is a mouthful of perfectly balanced mint & chocolate. Roasty malts coalesce with notes of Belgian dark chocolate, sweet mint & just a touch of sweet caramel. So decadently delicious, you’ll wish you’d bought another box… er, bottle."

7. Sierra Nevada Alpha Hop Society Barrel-Aged Cherry Vanilla Stout

Style: Barrel-aged Imperial Stout (with cherries and vanilla)

Another Imperial Stout, this one bourbon barrel aged with cherries and vanilla added. Just call me a fat elf. Yes this list is heavy on Imperial Stouts, dessert beers, because it is my list and these are the beers I enjoy during the holidays. Thank you Matt R for letting this go out of your cellar. 

"An Imperial Stout aged in Bourbon barrels with cherries and vanilla added."

8. Yazoo Embrace the Funk Table Red

Style: Flanders Red Ale

Happy New Year to me! Brandon Jones, Wranger of Funk at Yazoo Brewing Company in Nashville, pilots the Embrace The Funk program, blending barrel aged beers with a wild and funky side. He is a genius. He is also humble and nice. Kudos to ETF and The Wrangler of Funk. I always thoroughly enjoy his concoctions. The Table Red is an uber rare small batch release that I picked up on one of my visits to The Music City in 2017.

"A light bodied Table Red ale aged for 16 months in French Oak barrels with our house souring and brettanomyces cultures. This delicious ale pairs well with plein air dinners and conversations between good friends."

9. Yazoo Embrace The Funk Funk Fest '17

Style: Flanders Oud Bruin (with boysenberries, raspberries and cherries)

Another blended ale from Brandon and Embrace the Funk, this one has a lot to offer. Richness, complexity, tartness, fruits while employing Brettanomyces and souring bacterias should make this one an enjoyable addition to the Twelve Beers of Christmas. 

"A blend of Brown and Dark sour ales aged in Rye Bourbon, Sherry and Port barrels with Boysenberries, Raspberries and Cherries."

10. Thomas Creek Driftwood Series Boys-en The Hood

Style: American Sour Ale (with boysenberries) 

"Petite Sour Ale with Boysenberry" - another sour/wild ale. Tingle my taste buds, please my palate; the love for these tart temptations continues. Picked this one up at the brewery in Greenville, SC.

"Mixed Culture Sour ale fermented in rum barrels with boysenberry added to the barrels for secondary fermentation."

11. Hardywood Cuvée Peach

Style: Belgian-style Tripel (with peaches)

Peaches are my favorite fruit. (Cherries are my second favorite.) Thus the Twelve Beers of Christmas include beers with these fruit additions. Hardywood is a highly regarded brewery in Richmond, VA. A white wine barrel aged peach Tripel ale should be amazingly delicious. This peachy Tripel comes to me via recent Appalachian Trail Hiker (all of it!), Jim aka Gravity, who knows how much I love peaches, and beer. 

"Hardywood Cuvée Peach is artfully blended by our barrel master from small batches of Peach Tripel aged in white wine barrels, at varying levels of maturation , from three months to more than a year. The resulting beer is beautifully complex with yeast-derived stone fruit esters that harmonize with juicy peach undertones. This sparkling refresher offers a pleasantly dry finish with the slightest hint of vanilla from the toasted French Oak barrels."

12. Idyll Hounds Capt'n Ferdinand 

Style: Barrel-aged Imperial Stout (with vanilla)

Another Imperial stout, this one aged in sherry barrels with a vanilla bean addition. This should be quite the sipper, full of flavor, to be paired with rich desserts. Thank you Jason for this big boy. 

The Twelve Beers of Christmas for 2017. Cheers to good friends, great beers, and enjoying family during the holiday season. I hope you enjoy your own Twelve Beers of Christmas and share with your family and friends. 

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Happy Holidays!

Twelve Beers of Christmas Past:

Twelve Beers of Christmas 2008
1. Anchor Our Special Ale (2008)
2. Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale
3. Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel
4. Great Lakes Christmas Ale
5. Bison Winter Warmer
6. Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock
7. Delirium Tremens
8. New Glarus Apple Ale
9. Corsendonk Pater (Abbey Brown Ale)
10. Corsendonk Agnus (Abbey Pale Ale)
11. Thirsty Dog Siberian Night Imperial Stout
12. Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Ale (2008)

Twelve Beers of Christmas 2009

1. Thirsty Dog 12 Dogs Christmas Ale
2. Goose Island Christmas Ale
3. Tommyknocker St. Nicks Cocoa Porter
4. Avery Old Jubilation Ale
5. Rinkuškiai Missing Elf
6. Fort Collins Double Chocolate Stout
7. Ken Schmidt / Maui / Stone Kona Coffee Macadamia Coconut Porter
8. Rochefort Trappistes 6
9. Rogue Santas Private Reserve Ale
10. Jolly Pumpkin Noel de Calabaza
11. Cantillon Iris
12. Lurgashall Christmas Mead

Twelve Beers of Christmas 2010
1. Spaten Optimator
2. Dogfish Head Olde School Barleywine
3. Ass Kisser Double IPA
4. Stone 14th Anniversary Emperial IPA
5. Terrapin Wake-n-Bake Coffee Oatmeal Imperial Stout
6. Depot Street The Limited Maple Pecan Porter
7. AleSmith YuleSmith – Summer
8. a. Oskar Blues Gordon / b. Oskar Blues Gubna
9. Maredsous 10
10. Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Urbock
11. Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Fritz & Ken Ale
12. Victory Old Horizontal

Twelve Beers of Christmas 2011

1. AleSmith Yulesmith – Winter
2. Brew Kettle White Rajah
3. Brooklyn Black Ops
4. Capital Eternal Flame
5. Dogfish Head Miles Davis' Bitches Brew
6. Founders Backwoods Bastard
7. Hoppin' Frog DORIS The Destroyer Double Imperial Stout
8. Lagunitas Hairy Eyeball Ale
9. Odell Mountain Standard '09
10. Olde Hickory Bourbon Barrel Aged Bardstown Ale
11. Ommegang Brasserie D'Achouffe Gnomegang
12. Three Floyds Dark Lord Imperial Stout

Twelve Beers of Christmas 2012
1. De Ranke Pere Noel
2. St. Bernardus Christmas Ale

3. Hopworks Organic Abominable Winter Ale
4. Lompoc C-Son's Greetings
5. Midnight Sun CoHoHo Imperial IPA
6. N'Ice Chouffe
7. Ninkasi Sleigh'r Dark Double Alt
8. Oakshire Ill-Tempered Gnome
9. Pelican Bad Santa
10. Port Brewing Santa's Little Helper
11. Samuel Adams Merry Mischief Gingerbread Stout
12. The Bruery 5 Golden Rings

Twelve Beers of Christmas 2013

Twelve Beers of Christmas 2014

Twelve Beers of Christmas 2015

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Heavenly Playlist

What does it take to get me out of my blogging hibernation? A celestial event of epic proportion will do the trick. Living in the Solar Eclipse 2017 Path of Totality is motivation enough. The Event on August 21, 2017 is on the minds of everyone. What would be a proper playlist for this event? Yep, that is how my mind works sometimes.

First, the Top Ten Solar Eclipse Songs, then the Best of the Rest, and finally some dishonorable mentions.

10. Darkness - Tab Benoit 

My favorite artist is required to be on the list plus it is an appropriately great song.

 9. Hear Comes the Sun - The Beatles

You would think this would be higher ranked but it is not.

 8. Moondance - Van Morrison

Love Van Morrison. Very worthy of the Top 10. Maybe a little pagan of of me but...

 7. Blinded By The Light - Manfred Mann's Earth Band (via Bruce Springsteen)

"Only use NASA approved ISO 12312-2 eclipse glasses."

6. Bad Moon Rising - Creedence Clearwater Revival

Should this song by higher ranked? Probably. I've just heard it a million times though.

5. Invisible Sun - The Police

Great song by a great band. Yes the sun will be invisible for 2:31 in Tennessee.

4. Black Hole Sun - Soundgarden

Seems to fit perfectly. 

3. Don't Be Afraid of the Dark - Robert Cray

A very underrated tune, this song once touted the virtues of dark beer. Worthy.

2. Ain't No Sunshine - Bill Withers

I know, I know, I know, I know... 

1. Eclipse - Pink Floyd

The entire Dark Side of the Moon album could be Number One. Eclipse is the song of the event.

The Best of the Rest, in no particular order:

Rise To The Sun - Alabama Shakes
Cheap Sunglasses - ZZ Top
Holidays In The Sun - Sex Pistols
Dancing In The Dark - Bruce Springsteen
Moon River - Andy Williams
I'd Rather Go Blind - Etta James
Spirit In The Sky - Norman Greenbaum
(Ghost) Riders In The Sky - Johnny Cash
Night Moves - Bob Seger
Dark Was the Night - Blind Willie Johnson
House Of The Rising Sun - The Animals
Blue Moon - Elvis Presley
Sunshine Superman - Donovan
Fishin' In The Dark - Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Walking On The Moon - The Police
Third Stone From the Sun - Jimi Hendrix
Give Me The Night - George Benson
Moon Shadow - Cat Stevens
Shine A Light - The Rolling Stones
You Are My Sunshine - Gene Autry
Wheel In The Sky - Journey
Strange Magic - ELO
Fly Me To The Moon - Frank Sinatra
Soul Sacrifice - Santana
Soak Up The Sun - Sheryl Crow
Neon Moon - Brooks & Dunn
Boom, Boom (Out Go The Lights) - Pat Travers Band
On The Dark Side - John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band
A Hard Day's Night - The Beatles
Shine - Collective Soul
Lights Out - UFO
Walking On Sunshine - Katrina & The Waves
Bark At The Moon - Ozzy Osbourne
Sunshine Of Your Love - Cream
One Of These Nights - Eagles
I Saw The Light - Hank Williams
Strangers In The Night - Frank Sinatra
Burnin' Sky - Bad Company

Dishonorable Mentions because these are just bad songs:

Sunshine On My Shoulder - John Denver
Dancing In The Moonlight - King Harvest
She Blinded Me With Science - Thomas Dolby (this is arguably a decent song. Nah.)
Children Of The Sun - Billy Thorpe 
and the Number One Worst Eclipse Song of All Time:

Total Eclipse Of the Heart - Bonnie Tyler

There it is. I know I missed some both good and bad. What would you add to this list?

Put your eclipse glasses on and enjoy your two minutes of totality and hours of eclipseness.