One man’s trash…

Have you ever consumed a beer at a location that was so unique that it’s hard to think of one without the other every time you see it?  We have, and here’s the story about it…


Let’s consider just how crucial location is for a bit.  In the pantheon of great places to have a beer, most avid craft beer drinkers could probably name a bucket list of locations that says a lot about their personal interests in life from a much broader perspective. Take a person who loves to travel for instance–can you imagine being able to say that you consumed a beer atop the Great Wall of China?  Or at the top of the Empire State Building?  Or consider someone who’s the adventurous type–aside from the unforgettable experience of summiting a great mountain like Everest, can you imagine cracking a cold one at the top of the world to celebrate?  Take the guy who loves to visit breweries–is it possible to find a cooler place to sip a creamy Guinness Draught than at the actual brewery in Ireland itself?  Or what about for golf fanatics like ourselves? We’d love nothing more than feeling cold beer barreling down our throats while we stand on the Hogan Bridge at St. Andrews in Scotland, the home of golf.  The lists could go on and on, and for each new person you talk to, you’d see a new list remaining unconquered, a quest that from time to time gets fulfilled in very small increments when the timing is just right.

A couple of years ago, we were on our way to Pennsylvania with my brother Justin to play in a golf tournament that our mutual friend Tim had invited us to.  Zack and I met up with Justin in Akron on our way, and what turned out to be a quick stop for a few beers turned into a meeting of sorts.  You see, another mutual friend of ours had a brother that we were all friends with on our untappd account.  He had quite the resume of beers under his belt, and always seemed to get ahold of the ones that we couldn’t get living just an hour south of him.

WaldosOne particular beer, Waldo’s Special Ale by Lagunitas Brewing Company, had escaped our grasp for yet another year, but after a message from this fellow we had never met, we learned that he had an extra to share with us.  Delighted to finally get to try it, we met up with him to pick it up.  Little did we know, his job as a manager at the nearby pizza place had its share of perks, one of which was storing your beer that you haven’t taken home yet in the company’s fridge.  And because it was cold at the moment and we had a road trip ahead of us, we waited no further than the very parking lot at which he worked to slam it quick and be on our way.  The dumpster next to where we consumed it has been forever etched in our memories as something we associate with Waldo’s Special Ale, a beer that’s anything but garbage.  We had a good laugh about it then, and still do now when the subject is brought up.

So the next time you share a brew with your buddies or even just by yourself, take a good look around you.  Be it a mountain top, a tropical place, a historical landmark, or even just the nearest dumpster–it’s all about location.  And if your surroundings are as ridiculous as ours were, be prepared to have a memory for years to come…

the Hopostles

Nanny State by BrewDog

Alcohol isn’t required in order for a beer to be considered a beer. Is it a nice byproduct? Sure. Does it occur naturally in the brewing process given the right ingredients? Yep. Do moderate amounts of it have proven health benefits? Yes. Can we remember the last time we had a beer that didn’t contain it? No, not really. So why try Nanny State by BrewDog now, you may ask? Well, special occasions require a break from the ordinary…

Rogue Ales

Rogue LogoAddress: 2320 SE Marine Science Dr.
Newport, OR 97365

Phone: (541) 867-3660


Flagship Beers: Dead Guy Ale, Mocha Porter, Double Chocolate Stout, Cold Brew IPA, American Amber Ale, Honey Kolsch, Brutal IPA, Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout, Hop Series

Seasonal Beers: Pumpkin Patch Ale, Santa’s Private Reserve

Special Releases: Sriracha Stout, XS Imperial Stout

The Down Low: In operation since 1988 and still going strong in the craft brew industry, Rogue brewery knows beer like the back of your hand reaching for their latest offering in stores.  And in the case of Rogue, it doesn’t matter which store in the United States you’re in, because they can be found in all 50 states.  And that’s just the beginning…

rogue beersThey’re headquartered in Newport, OR, but they have 10 other locations that can be found throughout Oregon, Washington, and California.  Their motto has been “Dare * Risk * Dream” for some time now, and it’s emblazoned on all their products as a reminder to their patrons and customers that when it comes to being an innovator, they’re not afraid to try some crazy stuff.  For instance, who would’ve thought that a sriracha stout could be possible?  Being the bona fide spice fanatics that we are, it was a must-try from the moment we set eyes on the iconic red bottle with the green cap.  Or how about making a beer using yeast from the brewmaster’s beard?  It’s a crazy, gross, and unusual idea all wrapped up into one, but we didn’t pass up the opportunity to try that one either.  After all, everything is worth a try once.

DGA WhiskeySo how does a brewery keep up with a 50-state demand for distribution, not to mention 54 countries worldwide?  In the case of Rogue, it comes in the way of owning their own farms.  Growing their own ingredients for use in their beers expanded their horizons exponentially, and in addition to making beer, Rogue also operates a distillery as well.  Their most beloved flagship beer, Dead Guy Ale, has been turned into a whiskey, using the barrels from the beer production to house the whiskey that’s made.  It’s just another way that Rogue stays on top of their game, not only in the cutthroat craft industry, but in the Mecca of beer states that only Oregon folks can brag about.

Keep an eye out for Rogue beers near you the next time you’re out and about.  They’ve been around for 30 years, and with a goal of daring to risk and dream, they’re likely gonna be for another 30 more…

the Hopostles

Icehouse Edge by Miller Brewing Co.

As the month of March descends upon us, we somehow thought that the idea of “Macro March” sounded like a cool endeavor. You know–a shout out to all those macro beers that we craft beer drinkers still have from time to time, a dirty little secret that we only disclose to our closest friends. Well, this bad idea begins with Icehouse Edge, a trash beer that your nearest gas station laughs about every time some new sucker walks out their door with one in tow. That’s where we come in to play…

Spit that out!

spitWhen we were kids, we likely heard our parents yell that from time to time. Whether it was something bad for us, something that we weren’t allowed to have, or something that came from an unknown source, the words were shouted and immediate results were expected. Who would have ever thought that those words would be taken so literally one day to be used as a main ingredient for beer? Dogfish Head apparently did.

Read on to find out more about the beer that they actually produce with spit and corn, a disgusting thought that’s got our full attention and curiosity peaked…

Cael & Crede Ale by Carrig Brewing Co.

Some would argue that beer shouldn’t taste like fruit, while others (like us) love a great fruity brew, especially in the summer. Some would shun beers that taste smokey, while others (like us) think it enhances a nice, smoked meat. And some think that beer should only taste like beer, while others (like us) will try any beer flavor available at least once. But if there’s one thing all beer drinkers can agree on, it’s that beer shouldn’t taste like dog food. Finishing up our barrel-aged month with a gross rendition by Carrig Brewing opened up a conversation that we never could have expected….

Beer History: Pale Ale

snow-restaurant-mountains-sky.jpgPale Ales are considered to be the old timers in the craft beer industry. They were one of the very first styles created outside of standard lagers and ales. The history of pale ales reaches back some 300 years ago in England, but since there is so much history of the pale ale style, we will only touch on a few key points about it.

Back in the 1800’s, stouts and porters ruled the area since pale malts were expensive. Brewers in Burton-on-Trent, England were looking for a way to produce a more consistent, pale beer.  They created it using coke, which was a process where coal burned at a hot and steady temp, giving them a clearer, paler beer. Once malts started decreasing in price, pale ales started permeating the market, which eventually started pushing stouts and porters out of popularity.

SN Pale AleThe type of water seemed to be the area in brewing where brewers devoted most of their time. Since Burton’s water was considered the “flagship,” many brewers tried to duplicate the water type since it created such a clean flavor.  Pale ales were also called “bitter” to help differentiate between the sweeter or milder ales of those times.  It wasn’t until 1980 that Sierra Nevada out of Chico, CA crafted the first pale ale in America. With the use of American malts, this beer had a much crisper, hoppier flavor than that of the English pale ales.

If you’ve ever done a side by side comparison between an American Pale Ale and an English Pale Ale, you will notice a stark contrast in flavor and smoothness. English pale malts are more robust, which give their beer a smoother flavor, whereas American malts give off more of a crisp character. The hops also play a vital role in pale ales. English hops are earthier, while American hops usually give off more of a piney or citrus character. One really doesn’t have to be a beer connoisseur to notice the difference between the 2 styles.

We are definitely grateful for those men who took the time to craft what has become one of the best styles out there. Without the pale ale, where would IPA’s be today? Next time you are at the grocery store, pay your homage to the style by grabbing some Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. It’s still up there with the best of them, 38 years later….

the Hopostles

Rye on Rye by Boulevard Brewing Company

Barrel-aged beers always peak our interest. And though they’re usually bourbon barrels, current trends in the beer industry are calling for whiskey, scotch, rum, and even wine barrels to get the job done. But do they stack up? It all depends on whose taste buds are involved. Seeing as we’re the ones doing the judging this week with Boulevard’s Rye-on-Rye, it stands to reason to see if you agree with us…

Fool’s Gold

Have you ever pursued a beer for years, only to find that when you actually landed it, your joy was somewhat diminished?  I have, and here’s the story about it…


First off, let’s set the record straight.  As beer drinkers, we all have that unofficial list of brews in our mind that we’d love to get our hands on.  That hoppy IPA from a brewery far away, that stout that slips from our grasp more times that we can count, or that limited run of anything in-between, but there never being enough to satisfy everyone.  Sure, we’ve all been there.  But that’s not what I’m talking about here.  I’m talking about your other list of beers.

If you’re like me with an Untappd account, this list is a tangible one that you see pop up on your home screen every time the app is open.  It’s a list among the lists.  In fact, one could argue that it’s the only list that matters.  Scoring beers on this list are nothing short of a pipe dream, a rare possibility that only seems to occur when the planets align correctly or when enough money is shelled out.  I personally don’t even add beers to this list unless I know they’re going to be difficult to get, ensuring for me that the “Wish List” is like my own personal “Make-a-Wish” foundation that grants requests every couple years or so.  These are the true white whale beers, and every serious craft drinker has them on their own personal bucket lists.

Over the past few years, I’ve gone out of my way to score a few from my list.  Maine Dinner.  3 Floyd’s Dark Lord.  Bell’s Black Note.  Sam Adam’s Utopia.  Burnt Hickory’s Charred Walls of the Damned.  Whether by being the beneficiary of someone else who bought them, going in on a purchase together, or buying them myself, they have all become part of liquid history.  Crossing them off the list has been weirdly gratifying in a way that only other craft beer people would understand.  And sure, something else always gets added to the list, but the pursuit to find these beers has always been what it’s all about.  The hard work always seems to pay off.

CBSEnter Canadian Breakfast Stout by Founder’s Brewing Company.  For those who know beer, this was virtually unattainable unless you were willing to fork over in excess of $300 for a bottle.  A true whale in the pod, this stout only saw a limited production run of bombers in 2011, and a brief resurgence in 2014 on draft only.  Few had the opportunity to have it, which made it that much more enticing.  I contemplated pulling the trigger on the steep price more than once, just to satisfy my curiosity and finally put to rest the longing for such a gem.  However, as a final piece to the barrel-aged series releases of 2017, Founder’s announced that they would be opening the vaults and releasing the long-sought after CBS, causing nothing short of pandemonium and elation among beer fans everywhere.  And so, in the first week of December, it hit the shelves.  EVERYWHERE.  And therein lies the problem.

What problem you ask?  Well, let me put it this way.  Remember when the Boston Red Sox finally won the World Series in 2004, putting an end to the seemingly endless streak of not winning one since Babe Ruth got traded?  How about the Cubs winning it all in 2016, finally shutting up the people who claimed the curse of the goat was going to keep them from what they had been wanting for the past 108 years?  Or what about our own Cleveland Cavs finally taking it all last year?  The goal finally achieved, the inevitable question lingers:  WHAT NOW???  You see, in some sick and twisted way, I did want the streak of not finding CBS to eventually end, but I wanted it to be elusive enough to merit a feeling of satisfaction when I did.  With the floodgates being opened and every Tom, Dick, and Harry being able to get their hands on a bottle, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow had been cheapened.  Heck, I was able to get my hands on 4 bottles of it myself, while being in 2 different states during the week it came out.  For some reason that I just can’t seem to make sense of, I didn’t want it to end this way.

what now

So, after finally getting to taste a beer that was on my wish list for years, I can say it truly is one of a kind.  A beast of a stout brewed with real Canadian maple syrup, it will always hold a special place on my wall of bottles.  But I’m always going to wish that it just would have been a bit harder to get there in the first place.  And though I may be the only one that will be looking this gift horse in the mouth, I’m OK with that.  After all, the wish list goes on…

the Hopostles

Barrel Aged Blackout Stout by Great Lakes Brewing Company

Ok, let’s face it–we’ve all had our bad experiences with beer before. Too sour. Too bitter. Too flat. Too malty.  Too carbonated.  As seasoned craft beer drinkers, we’ve come to expect the disappointments from time to time, knowing full well that for every bad beer on the shelf, there’s sure to be 10 good ones to restore our faith in trying again. But have you ever just not been able to open the beer at all? In what has got to be a first for both of us, we needed to employ the use of some unconventional tactics in order to get to the beer itself. Watch and see…