Dec 23, 2012

Merry Christmas from the Beer Czar

Merry Christmas from the Beer Czar!!

Little known fact, Santa is an avid Beer Czar reader

OK, where did December go? What the hell happened to November for that matter? As I sit here, the day before Christmas Eve, as so many often do, I look back at the year that was, and, well, its been a pretty awesome one. I can't begin to express (so I won't try) how grateful and blessed I, and my family have been the last 365 days. Most notably, my wife and I welcomed a new member of the family, Kelsey in Oct, to join my oldest daughter Jordan (11 years) and lil' Mack (MacKenzie) now a precocious 3 and a half.

 I've met a ton of great people this year, had a ton of great beers, and have enjoyed continued interest and expansion of this fun little blog. I can't thank you all enough for your support, readership, and in a great many cases, your friendship. I can't thank you all by name, but you all know who you are. Here is to another great year in 2013. Look for lots of exciting changes to "The Beer Czar" in the coming weeks, and months.

What's under your tree???
Again, thanks you all, I hope you have a great Christmas, a safe and happy New Year, and I will see you in 2013 (we are off to Vegas the day after Christmas, so I won't be on line again till Jan). In the mean time, send me your Christmas and New Years photos of you, celebrating either with a beer, and I'll post them!

Until next YEAR
Bottoms up my friends

The Beer Czar

Dec 21, 2012

Great times in America!

If you needed anymore proof that this is the best time to be alive in America, here it is!!!

For the first time ever, the number of "Permitted Brewers" is over 2700!! (2751 to be exact!). In fact, in 2012 alone, a record number of breweries were added, 442!!! I know, just in my area, there are about half a dozen breweries in the works! Good times my friends, good times!

Now that is something to drink too!

Unitl next time
Bottoms up my friends!
The Beer Czar

Dec 19, 2012

Intreasting disucssion....

I find this kind of interesting. I have been looking to try something exactly like this, just to see what the results would be, and listen to the discussion that would take place. I would love to try and do something like this sometime. Anyone out there want to participate in a blind taste test/panel discussion? Maybe mix it up a little bit??

Please, if anyone would be interesting in taking part in a panel discussion like this, I would love to know, please contact me, so I can set it up. I would especially be interested in having you in the discussion if you are dedicated to a particular brand of beer, or if you don't really care for beer at all, let me know, drop me a line at

Until next time
Bottoms up my friends
The Beer Czar

Yet one more gift idea for beer lovers!

OK, so it may be too late to get these in time to have them under the tree, but hey, beer lovers still have birthdays, right? Check out these awesome, hand crafted beer glasses by Matthew Cummings, from Louisville KY. These glasses are quite unique, and quite beautiful! I love the name of his company too "Pretentious Beer Glasses". Hey, people label us "beer snobs" as pretentious anyway, I like that he beat them to the punch, and called his own work "pretentious". Love it! So, if you want to stand out, and look arrogant, and snobbish, and feel and look great doing it, I suggest getting a set of these glasses! OK, so they are a little on the expensive side, but isn't your beer geek loved one worth every penny??
In all seriousness, I really think these glasses are very elegant, and classy, and really think you should take a look at them. Pretty cool, nice work Matthew!

You can check out Matthews Etsy page here....

The full set, $180! Beautiful glasses!

The Aromatic Glass

The "duel" Beer Glass, this is my favorite!

My second favorite, the Subtle Beer Glass

The Hoppy Beer Glass

I hope you'll be seeing me drinking out of one of these very soon!
Until next time my friends
Bottoms up
The Beer Czar

Dec 18, 2012

Game of Thrones Beer bottle, a first look...

So, yesterday I posted a bit about a proposed beer related to the HBO series "Game of Thrones". Just today, Ommegang released a picture of what the "Game of Thrones" beer bottle would look like, and I thought I would post it here as a sort of follow up to my earlier post. Here it is...

Until next time
Bottoms up my friends
The Beer Czar

Dec 17, 2012

"Game of Thrones" Beer!!!

OK, I will admit, I have never seen a single episode of "Game of Thrones", but I have heard a great deal about this series (anyone that has more then 6 friends on FaceBook has probably heard a lot about it from their news feeds alone). I will say, the show intrigues me, I love that genre and really, the only reason I haven't seen it, is because I don't have HBO, and I have made no effort to check really check it out. However, I may have to make an effort to check it out now, after reading about some exciting beer news regarding the show.

HBO and Brewery Ommegang from Cooperstown NY (a favorite brewery of mine, especially for Belgian style beers) are teaming up to produce a "Game of Thrones" series of beers! From what I can find, it seems at least 4 beers are slated, or planned. The first being "Game of Thrones Blonde Ale" (I will admit, I think a little more thought could have gone into the naming of the first beer) is set for release about the same time season 3 premiers in late March.

The other 3 beers haven't been named yet. I could find out, they are all slated for 750ml bottles, and will run about $8.50 a bottle, which, isn't bad, considering the pricing of most of Ommegang's brews are well over that, a lot of them breaking the $10 a bottle mark, so this might be a bargain.

Serving suggestion??
I'm thinking these beers will best be served is a hefty chalice, or large pewter tankard!

Until next time,
Bottoms up my friends

The Beer Czar

Dec 14, 2012

Breckenridge does it again!

A while back, I posted a handful of commercials done by Breckenridge Brewery that I found just this side of hilarious. Well, they added a few more to their line up, and I wanted to share. One is pretty funny, poking fun at "ultra light" beer, another, takes a shot at the "lime flavored beer" craze, but the last two, in my opinion, might just be the best of the bunch! Poking a little fun at a few Sam Adams commercials! Enjoy!

"Ultra Light Beer"

"Lime Flavored Beer"

"How to be a Passionate Brewer"

"Classic Smelling of the Hops"

Again, well done Breckenridge, well done!

Enjoy, until next time
Bottoms up my friends!
The Beer Czar

Dec 12, 2012

New Video from Sierra Nevada

OK, Sierra Nevada has long been one of my favorite brewery's. They consistently release quality beers, year after year, at a great price, and its widely available, easy to find. They have an impressive, and ever growing line up of fine brews. My love of Sierra Nevada started with their Pale Ale, and later, moved on to Tumbler, their brown ale, then their Porter, and later, one of my all time favorite beers, Bigfoot (of which I have 5 six packs from the last 5 years waiting patiently in my cellar, well, closest). Most recently, I've been digging on their Narwhal, and I still even have a bottle of Ken and Fritz's 30th Anniversary Stout, one of my all time favorite stouts! Again, the fine folks at Sierra Nevada are always impressing me.

Just this evening, I stumbled upon this video about their humble beginnings and subsequent rise to the forefront of the American craft beer movement. Check out this video, if this doesn't make you love Sierra Nevada even more, well, then, I am not sure what will.

I might also ad, I think Sierra Nevada also has some of the best, classiest label art in the beer world! From the playful Bigfoot label, to the elegance of their "Ruthless Rye" and now their Narwhal label. I just love their labels. OK, so, enough of the Sierra Nevada love feast, I just thought this was a pretty cool, very well done video, and wanted to share it with everyone.

So, raise a glass of Bigfoot, or Narwhal, or Pale Ale, and enjoy the fruits of Ken Groomsman's dedication and passion for beer, we've all benefited from it.

Until next time by friends
Bottoms Up
The Beer Czar

Phoenix Brewers Invitational 2012

I will be the first to admit, I don't go to nearly enough beer festivals. Being married, and having 3 kids, one of them less then 3 months old, getting away for the purpose of drinking beer is getting harder and harder these days. Admittedly, I probably don't try as hard as I should, or at least could, but in the grand scheme of things, beer festivals are fairly low on my ever growing list of priorities. So, you can imagine my excitement when I was actually able to make it to one of them this passed weekend. The Inaugural Phoenix Brewers Invitational took place in Phoenix's historic Heritage Square. So, Mrs Czar packed up our newest mini Czar, loaded her up in the family truckster, and made our way to downtown Phoenix.

Now, the festival ran Friday and Sat, 12 to 10 both days. We got there about 12:15 on Friday. Now, let me say, there are some real advantages to showing up so early, as well as a few disadvantages at the same time. Some of the pluses;

 Got our tokens!
There was hardly anyone there yet. I am assuming, since it was still during work hours on a work day, had a lot to do with it. We got ourselves a few tasting glasses ($10 a piece, and they were cups actually), a handful of tasting tokens ($1 per token, 1 token per taste), and started to make our way around to the various tents, trying to make that all important, difficult decision as to what to try first!

Now, one of the disadvantages of showing up that early, well, not everyone was quite ready to go yet. A few tents were still being erected, and kegs being tapped as we were walking around, not a big deal. We just gave them a little time, and they were up and running in no time.

Not a lot of folks there! It was kind of nice!
One of the things I didn't like about this festival, (the only thing really) and this again may very well have been a factor of us showing up so early, but there was a surprising lack of actual brewers there. In the few hours we were there, we talked to just a handful of folks that actual worked for the brewery they were pouring for. Some of them had a shocking lack of knowledge as to what they were serving, and a few had no idea what it was they were even pouring. I asked about a tap labeled "seasonal" from BJ's, and the very nice young lady told me "I think its an Abby Ale". The one that made me kind of chuckle was when I saw a tap for Mission Brewery's "Dark Seas" I was actually rather excited, as this was a beer I had been DYING to try. The guy pouring it, proceeds to tell me it was a "dark IPA". OK, so its a RIS, but close? Like I said, it made me kind of chuckle, and again, this minor issue (to me its minor, I know some people that probably would have left for such things) wasn't enough for me to say this wasn't at the very least, a VERY good event. I have heard Saturday afternoon and evening were packed, and I've heard and read a lot of great things. Oh, there was also a severe lack of Beer Girls there, but then again, it was lunch time, on Friday, dang!

Tamera Morken, Johnny, and Mike Willis of "That Brewing"
We did get to meet some great people, as well as running into a few "old friends" as well. I had a great chat with the fine folks of "Craft Brewed Clothing" that I wrote about previously. I also got to chat, and get to know a few folks from 'That' Brewing Company, in the picturesque Arizona mountain town of Pine. Great folks up there. I haven't been to Pine in a year or so, but you can rest assured, next time I am, I will certainly be stopping by! We got to meet Mike Willis (Sales and Distribution), his mom Tamera Morken (Co-owner and self appointed "Brewzette", and her dad Johnny Willis (official taste tester), 3 generations of beer folks! Some very friendly folks, that make some pretty great beer. I had their Abby Ale, which was a very unique, but very tasty Abby Ale. The other, was the Arizona Trail Ale. With proceeds from this beer going to help fund the Arizona Trail. This is a hiking trail the runs from the Mexico border to the south, all the way through the state, to Utah. This was a copper colored ale, with some spice notes, and a little caramel flavoring. If you can find it, try it, great beer, and ever sip helps to fund a pretty good cause. So, if you find yourself in the beautiful Pine scented air of, well Pine Arizona, stop in and say hello to these fine folks!

I was able to try a pretty nice list of beers I have never had before. We weren't there for the tapping of a lot of the truly rare, exciting beers, but the standard line up they had available when we were there, was enough to make any beer geek smile. The list of beers I tried were

The Beer Czar
1. That Brewing Abby Ale
2. That Brewing Arizona Trail Ale

3. Mission Brewing Dark Sea's
4. Ommegang Biere D' Hougoumont
5. Left Coast Hop Juice
6. Desert Eagle Holiday Hooch
7. Lumberyard Brewing Pilsner
8. Alaskan Brewing Baltic Porter

Mrs Czar
I didn't get a chance to try out the Valley's newest brewery "Fate Brewing" but they are just up the road in Scottsdale, so I will just have to make our way up there someday soon.
All in all, I think this was a pretty great event. Aside from a few of the issues I mentioned above, the event was great. Again, even those issues I mentioned, I could just chalk it up to either being so early in the festival, or the fact that this was the first year. I loved the fact, that this even was so affordable. We paid $10 each for our tasting cups, and $1 for each taste. So, for $40, my wife and I were able to taste 10 beers each. Most beer festivals are $35, or $40 a pop, at least. So, aside from wanted to chat with a few more brewers, and getting to ogle over a few more beer girls, I think this was a great festival!

So, a big thumbs up to the Inaugural Phoenix Brewers Invitational Beer Festival! I can't wait till next year!

Dec 10, 2012

One more gift idea for the beer lover.......

This passed weekend, my wife and I had the pleasure of attending the Inaugural Phoenix Brewers Invitational Beer Festival. While I plan on writing a little more about this event very soon, I wanted to take a moment to let you know about a GREAT gift idea for the beer lover in your life, and one that should be added to my list of ideas I wrote about a few weeks ago, before I was aware of this company.

The company is called "Crafted Brewed Clothing", and what it is, is basically a tshirt of the month sort of thing. You sign up, for a single month, or 3, 6 or 12 month "membership". What do you get for signing yourself, or a loved one up? You, or they will get one t-shirt a month, and the best part, the shirts come from brew pubs and craft breweries from across the country! Seriously, how cool is that? Like Cousin Eddy from "Christmas Vacation" would say....."its the gift that keeps on giving the whole year through Clark". It sure is!

If only Clark got a membership to "Craft Brewed Clothing"!
 The reason I wanted to write something up about this wonderful company, is, not only is the concept of this company pretty cool, for people that love beer, or cool t-shirts, or both, but also, I had the opportunity to talk with Josh and a few other fine folks at their booth, and they are just super cool, friendly people, and I wanted to do what I could for them to help them out.

Josh (far right) and the fine folks from Crafted Brewed Clothing
  So please, if you know someone that loves good beer, or fun t-shirts, or both, by all means, check out Joshua, and the fine folks at "Craft Crewed Clothing", and give the beer lover in your life "the gift that keeps on giving".

Check out their website here....
Or like them on Facebook

Single month, $19.95
3 month membership $59.85
6 month membership $109.70
12 month membership $219.40

(additional charge of $2.50 will be added for sizes XXL or 3XL)

So please, check them out, the beer lover in your life will thank you!

Until next time
Bottoms Up my Friends!
The Beer Czar

Dec 3, 2012

I saw it on Facebook, so it must be true.....

Earlier this year, I stumbled across a photo of what appeared to be a dogfight, taking place under a row of Heineken banners. With a caption that made one believe that Heineken was a sponsor of this barbaric event. As with about 95% of crap I see on the Internet, especially facebook, I ignored it, because any rational person would assume an international company, as large as Heineken wouldn't be stupid enough to open themselves up to such awful PR. So, like I said, I ignored it, and moved on to ignoring other stupid crap on facebook in my daily attempt to find the 2 or 3 percent of facebook content that isn't a complete waste of time (its getting harder and harder with each passing day.

This is the photo that cuased all the "uproar"

Well, it seems this picture has popped up again, and well, this time, I have had a few friends actually either send me this pic via email, or one was even "kind" enough to tag me in the picture, gee thanks (I promptly removed said tag). All assuming I would be all worked up about this picture, and asking me if I 'hated Heineken even more now??" Well, my response to them was, well, honestly, my opinion of Heineken hasn't changed a bit, as a result of this photo, since, well, I assume this picture is either fake, taken out of context, or at least given an inaccurate description. One of them got seemingly a little upset with me, that I could brush off something seemingly SO heinous, so easily, without the least bit of research. Isn't it just as wrong to get so worked up about something, and make some horrific accusations without doing the least amount of research? Well, since everyone else seemed to be to friggin lazy to do it, I did, and it took me all of about 12 seconds to confirmed what I already figured was the case.

The picture, is not a fake, it is real, it was taken in a nigh club in Mongolia in 2010. Heineken had no financial interest or sponsorship, or even knowledge of the event taking place. The banners were put up, by Heineken, the night before to sponsor (I am assuming a much less barbaric) event the previous night, and, I am sure much to the dismay of Heineken, were not taken down after the event. As a result, Heineken has dissolved its relationship with that night club, even removed all of its remaining stock of products from the club once this was brought to life.

See, Heineken is too classy
I like Heineken's response to this. They were made aware of the problem, and dealt with it, swiftly, and without and grandstanding, or theatrics. The didn't threaten any action, or pander to all the idiots that thought they were sponsoring such barbarism by donating to some charity or something. They did nothing wrong, and they didn't apologize for someone else's discretion's. So, if anything, my opinion of Heineken my have actually gone up a little as a result of this. I still think, as a beer, their product is pretty horrific, but as a company, they seem level headed, and not prone to pander.

So, rest assured my friends, Heineken doesn't sponsor dog fights, they only sponsor those high brow events one normally associates with beer, stuff like beer pong tournaments, and wet t-shirt contests. Oh, they also are the preferred beer of James Bond, so they must be doing something right! So please people, if you are going to pretend to get all pissed off over something, PLEASE make sure it at least makes sense before you go spreading it as gospel. Remember, if you read it on Facebook, its probably bullshit.

Until next time my friends
Bottoms Up
The Beer Czar

You can read the write up on snopes here...