May 22, 2015

I am going on Vacation!

Russell Pond, Baxter State Park, Maine
Just wanted to let you all know, I will be out of town for the next 10 or so days starting this weekend.
I'll be heading home to Maine to visit with my brothers, and my dad is coming as well. We will be spending a fair amount of the time backpacking into, and camping at Russell Pond in the middle of Baxter State Park. The rest of the time I am hoping to, along with catching up with my brothers, and their families, spend some time at a brewery or two, or maybe three, and take in the local Maine Beer culture. So, I'll be out of touch for about the next 2 weeks, but hopefully afterward, I'll have plenty of updated, photos and reviews for you!

Take care all, here, enjoy a few pic's of where I will be for the next few weeks......

Until next time
Bottoms up my friends

The Beer Czar

Russell Pond bunk house, my home next week!

Falls, just east of Russell Pond

River Crossing on the trail into the Russell Pond

Mom and Baby, enjoying Russell Pond

My good friend Scott, and I, atop Moose Poop Island, in the middle of Russell Pond.

May 12, 2015

Reasons to have a shower beer....

A while back, I did a post about a recent phenomenon I had discovered, the shower beer (you can see it here). Yes, its a real thing with reedit and Facebook groups dedicated to it, blogs about it, products developed for it, and so on. Well, recently, I was talking to a few folks about it, and they thought it odd, why drink in the shower they said? They looked at showering as a necessary step in the completion of the days activities, a way to avoid offending others with your foul body odor, and nothing more. Well, the shower is one aspect of our day when we are truly alone, (especially those of us with kids), relaxed, comfortable....why shouldn't there be a beer involved? To me, it seems like the perfect place to enjoy one, so, I came up with a number of reason why I think you should enjoy a shower beer. If you have more, by all means, please share them, Also, if you have any shower beer pictures, please, by all mean, send them along, we would love to see them, and share them!

So now, the top reasons why I think everyone should enjoy the occasional shower beer.

1. Its refreshing!

It really is! Be it a nice hot shower on a cold day, or a nice cool shower on a  hot day, it adds comfort to an already very comfortable activity! I did a sort of informal poll on my Facebook page, and just about everyone said the reason they love shower beer "its relaxing". So there, 500+ Facebook fans can't be wrong.....

See how relaxed he is.....
2. Not much relieves the stress of a long day better than a shower beer!

 Again, can you think of much more the will help brush away the stresses of the day, like cracking open a can or bottle of your favorite brew, letting the water massage your body, and just let the stress of the day almost literally wash away. I'm not overstating this, its true! This was the second most popular answer on my Facebook page...


3. Makes a boring, menial, everyday task very enjoyable 

Adding beer to almost any task makes it better, so why not add beer to something so mundane, so routine it is literally part of almost everyone's routine every morning. So, add a little spice to it, add a beer, especially for you folks like me that prefer to shower in the evening.

 4. It can (and should) be shared with a friend or loved one

While any shower can be shared, adding beer to your shower, it almost makes having company required! It just seems me, try it, you'll agree.

5. Its just sexy!

Its a shower, with beer....its sexy! See, you can't even argue with that.....

...had to get a little local love in here!
6. Forces you to slow down a bit

One of the reasons I like shower beers so much, is one of the reasons I love smoking cigars so much. It forces you to take some time, slow down, and just relax, and enjoy some quite time, or time with a loved one, either way, its hard to stress out when you are holding a beer in the shower. Now shower cigars? I may have to try that....

7. Its hygienic!

I mean you are cleaning yourself, while drinking....I can assure you that you have never come out of a bar cleaner then when you went in, have you? This is just not so with a shower beer.

Growlers are also "green".
8. Environmentally friendly!

I have no idea if this is the case or not, but it seems like it belongs on this list. Besides, don't they always say, "save water, shower with a friend, and a beer"? OK, I may have added that last part, but still, one shower, instead of two, seems logical....We're looking at you California!

Even Bon Jovi does it!!
9. It will make your friends jealous, so share it!

Take a picture of you, enjoying a shower beer, and post it on Facebook (it can be PG), I can assure you, it will make more than a few of them very jealous, and may even convince a few of them to try it....(I will warn you, a few of them will think your crazy, but screw them!)

...and drinking while naked is GREAT!
10. Your drinking NAKED!

I mean, unless you've spent significant time at a nudist resort, or maybe Spring Break, or at Mardi Gras, its probably not something many of us have done, and it seems like something most of us would want to try, at least once, so now's your time!

11. It's just FUN!

Do you even need another reason? If there is no other reason at all, if everything you just read doesn't register with you in the slightest, well, this should. Its just fun, plain and simple! What other reason do you need?

There you have it, 11 reasons to drink beer in the shower. I am sure there are many more, do you have any? Let us here your reason, or share your shower beer picture with us, send them to with you reasons, or photos, or both!

Until next time
Bottoms up my friends!

The Beer Czar

Cheers from MY shower!

May 8, 2015

Introducing "EV Brew Co.".......

This article is going to be the first part of a continuing series that plans to introduce to you, and follow a new brewery here in the valley. EV Brew Co, in Gilbert. I thought it would be fun to follow a group of home brewers, as the make the switch to hobbyist, to professionals. They are in the very beginning stages of the process (still working on a license), so we have no idea where this road will take, or how long, but we want to tag along, and bring you along with us.

My good friend Danielle will be the one bringing you the details of the guys. In the opening bit, we want to meet the guys, and take a look at what they are doing currently. In the coming weeks and months, you'll see interviews, backgrounds, plans for the future, maybe a video or two...we aren't sure ourselves, but we are excited to bring this to you, and excited for our good friends at EV Brew, I'll shut up now, and let Danielle bring you the rest.....

Three close friends and fellow beer lovers are breaking into the craft brew scene  “Arizona Style”.
Meet Arizona Natives Matthew Rawlins, Anthony Rawlins and Eric Rawlins of East Valley Brew Co. or EV BREW.   Matthew and Anthony are Twin Brothers and Eric is their cousin.  With a strong family connection these guys have set out to create a fun, rewarding business with AMAZING BEER.
EV Brew is  local to Gilbert Arizona. Currently home brewers with a high potential to rock the craft brewery scene.
And YES ladies, they are all single! The line forms here.
I have been fortunate to follow these fellas on their beer journey over the last year. It’s exciting to watch, and learn.
I find the process quite fascinating, so much trial and error in the pursuit for the perfect beer.  Anthony brings a degree in culinary arts, which is helpful for flavor combinations.  Matt and Eric are heavy drinkers (kidding) so, they are the perfect package for brewers.
Incorporation of local flavor is an important goal of East Valley Brew Co. “EV BREW” From their
Prickly Pear IPA to the Orange Peel Ale you will see an abundance of local flavors including local honey.
Hours of harvesting and preparing Prickly Pears for the IPA- Is certainly a labor of love. The Prickly Pears are currently harvested by hand in Tucson Az.
These cousins are some pretty talented guys, from years in restaurant industry, retail, banking and finance, promotional marketing, comedy and musical abilities this is going to be an exciting journey I look forward to the ride.
I was recently invited over to brew a few batches of beer for the Top Hops Beer Festival in Tucson. I brought my husband for any heavy lifting.
We had a great time. The pains they go through to get the richest flavors is fascinating.
For anyone who is familiar with brewing, you know its hours of boiling, stirring, temperature taking, measuring , and watching.  Lots of hours on your feet.
They have a Bayou propane burner allowing them to use a larger kettle. Currently using a 17 gallon kettle but are still brewing in 5 gallon batches. For the time being anyway.
We were brewing their Toasted Coconut Milk Stout "Hydra".  They toasted the coconut the night before- I have to say one of my favorite parts was fondling the coconut balls- bringing them to my nose and breathing in the rich woody flavor-  I promise even the manliest man would love to join in the fun of fondling coconut balls… Ok ,OK, so it’s really a hop sock. Not to be confused with sock hop. But my way is more fun.
They use one hop sock of toasted and one of raw coconut. Letting them boil for 45 minutes.  These flavors are added at the same time as the hops and malts.
Selecting the right hops and malts is important for their flavors and balance.
Once all the flavor has been extracted from the coconut balls, you remove the balls and transfer the
brew to the fermenter. I know, its sad.  Removing the balls is the saddest part of the story.
From there they siphon the liquid into the carboy.  
Waiting nearby is a 31 gallon galvanized trash can with 5 bags of ice.  Shaking the carboy in a circular motion helps speed up the cooling process- the brew needs to cool from 150 degrees to 75 degrees- Once 75 degrees is obtained they can test the ABV using a vile and hydrometer – then they add the yeast. When the yeast is added you can consider it beer. YAY, but you’re not done yet.  This beer needs to be kept at about 75 degrees, free from light and heat. This is a difficult task in Arizona-  From this point the time in the carboy will vary from approximately 2 days to two weeks- depending on whether you are bottling or kegging it.  For this brew we were kegging.
The Rawlins boys have been  sharing their brews at some fantastic beer tasting parties for family and friends.  Everyone is invited to give their feedback and reap the benefits of being friends with these awesome dudes.  Not all have been lucky enough to play with toasted coconut balls though.  
EV Brew participated in the Top Hops Festival this month, they were very pleased with the response.  They received great feedback and met some great folks.
I'm excited and very privileged to bring their story to you,  Look forward to great things from EV Brew Co.
Some of the beers they have produced  
BALTIC (Tan Banana)
AMERICAN (Walk Off) Porter.
AMERICAN Two IPAs(202 and The Zonie)
AMERICAN The Hydra Milk Stout
AMERICAN The Orange Peel Pale Ale
ENGLISH STYLE “The Dookie” Brown Ale
BELGIAN STYLE Raspberry Saison
 Please make sure to follow them on Twitter, and like them on Facebook.
Here is their website... 

For a complete set of photos from this brew day, as well as others from the guys of EV Brew, check out this album on our Facebook page...
May love and laughter light your days.
Bottoms up my friends

May 6, 2015

It's BACK! AmeriCAN Canned Beer Festival!! (here is the beer list!)

It's the most wonderful time of the year! Well, for me at least. Its almost time for one of my favorite Arizona Beer Festivals. Now in its 5th year, the festival is returning to the Scottsdale Civic Center to celebrate and showcase some of the best craft beer to be found in cans! I'll just add, if you are one of those people that still insists beer just isn't as good in cans, you can stop reading now, and continue to deny yourself some of the best beer in America!

Doors open at 1 (VIP opens at Noon), tickets are $35 presale ($45 day of) that includes your adorable souvenir 4 oz. can, and 20 4 oz. pours!

What I love about this event, its canned beer, so for the most part, you are getting a breweries core line up, their flagship brews, and some seasons offerings. There aren't these special, super limited, once in a life time barrel aged, sour beers that people stand in line for days for. Not that there is anything wrong with that, those beers are wonderful, but for me, this festival showcases what makes the breweries who they are. This is a great festival for the beer snob in you to find new favorites, and a wonderful festival for the person that may just be getting into craft, and still trying to find those styles they love. Its a great time, with great people, great beer, wonderful food, and a great location. This one has it all....

"Ok Beer Czar, but what beers can I expect to find there?" Only 300+ canned beers, representing not only Arizona breweries, but breweries from all over the country, and some that aren't in regular distribution here in our state. What's that, you want me to be more specific? Ok, well, here is a list of the beers you will find next weekend.....

Abita Brewing, Purple Haze, Strawberry Lager and Jockamo IPA
Alameda Brewing, Klickitat Pale Ale, P-Town Pilsner and Yellow Wolf Imperial IPA
Alaskan Brewing, Amber and APA
Anchor Brewing, California Lager, IPA and Summer Wheat
Anderson Valley Brewing, Hop Ottin’ IPA, Summer Solstice, Kimmie, Yink and Holy Gose
Austin Beerworks, Black Thunder, Fire Eagle, Peacemaker, Pearl-Snap and Heavy Machinery Half IPA           
Avery Brewing, White Rascal, Ellie’s Brown Ale and Avery IPA
Ballast Point Brewing, Longfin Lager, Pale Ale, Sculpin IPA and Big Eye IPA
Barrio Brewing, Barrio Blonde, Barrio Rojo and Barrio Blanco
Bell’s Brewery,Two Hearted and Oberon
Big Sky Brewing, Moose Drool, Big Sky IPA, Trout Slayer, Scape Goat, Pygmy Owl and Summer Honey
Black Market Brewing, Hefeweizen, Deception, Rye IPA and Aftermath
Borderlands Brewing, Noche Dulce
Boulder Brewing, Hazed Hoppy Session Ale, Mojo IPA, Buffalo Gold and Singletrack
Caldera Brewing, Caldera IPA, Pilot Rock Porter, Hopportunity Knocks, Lawnmower Lager, Caldera Pale Ale and Ashland Amber
Cigar City Brewing, Jai Alai, Maduro, Invasion, Florida Cracker and Tocobaga
College Street Brewhouse & Pub, Big Blue Van and Fraternity Of Hops
DC Brau Brewing, The Public Pale, The Corruption India Ale, The Citizen Belgian Style Pale, El Hefe Speaks, Penn Quarter Porter and On the Wings of Armageddon
DESTIHL Brewery, Vertex IPA, Hoperation Overload Double IPA, Abbey’s Single and Wild Sour Series
Epic Brewing, Escape to Colorado and Lil’ Brainless Raspberries
Firestone Walker Brewing, Union Jack IPA, Pivo Pils and Easy Jack IPA
Fort George Brewery, 1811 Lager Quick Wit, Sunrise Oatmeal Pale Ale and Cavatica Stout
Founders Brewing, All-Day IPA
Four Peaks Brewing, 8th Street Pale Ale, Sunbru, Hop Knot, Peach Ale and Kilt Lifter
Golden Road Brewing, Golden Road Hefeweizen, Point the Way IPA and Wolf Among Weeds IPA
GoodLife Brewing, Descender IPA, Mountain Rescue Dry Hop Pale Ale and Sweet As Pacific Ale
Goose Island Beer, 312 Urban Wheat Ale, 312 Urban Pale Ale and Goose IPA
Grand Canyon Brewing, White Water Wheat, American Pilsner, Sunset Amber Ale and Black Iron IPA
Hops & Grain Brewing, Greenhouse IPA, Pale Dog, PorterCulture and The One They Call Zoe
Huss Brewing, Scottsdale Blonde, Magic In the Ivy and That’ll Do IPA
Joseph James Brewing, Hop Box and Fox Tail
Lumberyard Brewing, Diamond Down Lager, Flagstaff IPA, Lumberyard Red and Knotty Pine Pale
Marble Brewery, India Pale Ale and Pilsner
Maui Brewing, Bikini Blonde Lager, Coconut Porter and Mana Wheat                               
Mike Hess Brewing, Claritas Kolsch, Grazias Vienna Cream, Jucundus Orange Honey Wheat, Solis Occasus IPA and Habitus Rye IPA
Mission Brewing, Cortez Gold, IPA, El Conquistador and Shipwrecked Double IPA
Moab Brewery, Johnnys IPA, Red Rye IPA, Rocket Bike Lager and Squeaky Bike Nut Brown
Mudshark Brewing, Full Moon, Desert Magic IPA, Wild Water Melon Wheat and Upriver Light Lager
Nebraska Brewing, Brunette Nut Brown Ale, EOS Hefeweizen, Cardinal Pale Ale, India Pale Ale and Alestorm Blonde Ale
NOLA Brewing, NOLA Brown, 7th Street Wheat, MECHA, Irish Channel Stout and Rebirth Pale Ale
Oskar Blues Brewery, Dales Pale Ale, Mama’s Little Yella Pils, Old Chub Scotch Ale, G’Knight Imperial Red IPA, Deviant Dale’s, Pinner and Gubna Imperial IPA
Papago Brewing, Orange Blossom
Phoenix Ale Brewery, Camelback IPA, Watermelon Ale and Biltmore Blonde
Prescott Brewing, Achocolypse, Ponderosa IPA and Liquid Amber
Rahr & Sons Brewing, Rahr’s Blonde, Pride of Texas and Bucking Bock
Revolution Brewing, Anti-Hero, A Little Crazy, Bottom Up Wit and Eugene and Fist City
Rogue Ales, Rogue American Amber Ale
Saint Archer Brewing, Blonde Ale, White Ale, Pale Ale and IPA
Samuel Adams, Boston Lager, Sam Adams Summer Ale and Rebel IPA
Santa Fe Brewing, Happy Camper IPA, Black IPA, Java Stout and Freestyle Pilsner
SanTan Brewing, Devil’s Ale, Mr. Pineapple, HopShock IPA, Hefeweizen, SunSpot Gold and Fat AleBert
Sierra Nevada Brewing, Pale Ale, Torpedo Extra IPA and Nooner
Ska Brewing, Modus Hoperandi, Mexican Logger and True Blonde
Sleepy Dog Brewery, Red Rover Irish Amber Ale, Wet Snout Milk Stout and Tail Chaser IPA
Snake River Brewing, Monarch Pilsner, Snake River Lager, Snow King Pale Ale, Snake River Pale Ale, Pako’s IPA and Zonker Stout
Sun King Brewing, Sunlight Cream Ale, Wee Mac Scottish Ale, Osiris Pale Ale, Fistful of Hops, Indian’s Lager and Afternoon Delight
Traveler Beer, Curious Traveler
Two Brothers Brewing, Wobble, Ebel’s Weiss, Outlaw, Dog Days and Side Kick
Uinta Brewing, Ba Ba Black Lager, Hop Nosh IPA, Wyld Pale and Sum’R Ale
Upslope Brewing, Upslope Pale Ale, Upslope IPA, Upslope Brown Ale and Upslope Craft Lager
Victory Brewing, Summer Love
Worthy Brewing, Worthy IPA, Lights Out Stout, PreFunk Pale Ale and Easy Day Kolsch 

If you can't find something you like in this list, well then you are a first rate beer snob, and I can't
help you.   

ALSO,  local restaurants and food vendors will serve up some delicious grub including Brat Haus, Honey Bear’s BBQ, Craft 64, Arizona BBQ Club, Burgers & Fries, and Treatery.

There is live music too! The entertainment lineup includes Two Tone Lizard Kings, Dry River Yacht Club, Catfish Mustache and DJ Slippe.

This is a 21 and older event, no exceptions.

For more information on this event, go to the official event website here.....

If you go, keep en eye out for me, I get there early, so expect to see me there as the gates open, and stop by, and say hello, I'd love to meet you!

Until next time (or next Saturday!)
Bottoms up my friends

The Beer Czar

May 5, 2015

Cooking with Beer Cinco de Mayo Edition "Stout Beef Barbacoa Tacos"

Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone! While I have never been a fan of just about every Mexican beer I have had (ok, before you get offended, I'm not saying there is no good beer in Mexico, I'm simply saying I haven't had one yet.....) I love Mexican food more then just about any other "ethnic" cuisine....(second to only Caribbean food!).

One of my favorite Mexican dishes is tacos. Now, if you say "I don't like tacos", hear me out. Saying you don't like tacos, is a very broad statement, like saying "I don't like sandwiches" or "I don't like juice". Contrary to a lot of what people think here in America, tacos are not simply a hard shell tortilla, with shredded lettuce, tomato, taco seasoned beef, with cheese and taco sauce. If that is what you think a taco is and should be, then please stop reading now, and go enjoy your Taco Bell. What I love about tacos is they can be literally almost anything you want them to be. If you like it, you can make a taco out of it.....seriously. Don't limit yourself to just a few basic fillings! One of my all time favorite meals is a good, authentic Baja style fish taco. However, I also love beef, chicken, veggie tacos, you name it, wrap it in a tortilla, and enjoy it.
Ahhhh, The Beeroness.....

For this Cinco de Mayo/taco edition of cooking with beer, I turn once again to my online cooking with beer crush, the lovely and talented Beeroness, and her Stout Beef Barbacoa Tacos!! SO amazing, and pretty easy to make.....
recipe for

So, crack open your favorite beer, and prepare some of these for your dinner tonight!!!

Stout Beef Barbacoa Tacos

  • 1 dried Chile Negro pod
  • 1 dried Ancho chili pod
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 white onion, cut into large sections
  • 1.5 lbs pounds chuck steak, cubed
  • 3 chipotle peppers in adobo
  • 1 tbs adobo sauce
  • 1 cup stout beer
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • juice from one lime
  • 1 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 12 homemade corn tortillas
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped

  • Heat oven to 300.
  • Heat a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the dried chili pods, toasting on each side until warm and slightly crisp, about 2 minutes. Remove and allow to cool, tear into pieces and add to a blender or large food processor.
  • In the Dutch oven heat the olive oil, add the onions and cook until slightly charred on each side. Add the onions to the blender along with the chipotle, adobo sauce, beer, broth, garlic, lime juice and vinegar. Blend until smooth.
  • Return the Dutch oven to heat, add the beef cubes, cooking until seared on all sides, about 6 minutes.
  • Add the blender sauce, reduce heat to a simmer, stirring for about a minute.
  • Cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Cook at 300 until the beef is falling apart, between 3 and 4 hours.
  • Remove from oven, shread in the pot using two forks.
  • Transfer to a serving bowl along with all the sauce.
Serve with corn tortillas, onions and cilantro.
There you have it folks! I can't miss, delicious and fairly simple taco recipe that will impress your friends!
Until next time
Bottoms up my friends.....
and remember, Drink Local
The Beer Czar