Home brewing in Connecticut Discussions - CT Beer Trail

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Generic Craft Beer at Your Local Grocery?

Do they make generic "craft" beer? You betcha!

I remember when it was common to see rows and rows of generic products at the local grocery store when I was a kid back in the 80s. I'm talking about those "no-name brand" versions of products. For example, you may have seen cereal that resembled "Fruit Loops" but came in a plain white or yellow box, with no Toucan Sam or similar branding, just black sanserif font lettering that would read "FRUIT FLAVORED CEREAL RINGS" or something like that. Does anyone else remember that?

Well, now a days, stores have their own branding, and they've livened it up a bit. Now those same "FRUIT FLAVORED CEREAL RINGS" would have a lame second rate version or Toucan Sam in a weak attempt to full the general public into thinking they're "Fruit Loops" or at least close enough. Perhaps the logic is they help parents lie to their brand conscious kids about the food they're buying for them. "See Johnny, there's Toucan Sam, these ARE Fruit Loops!"

What about beer? Is there such a thing as generic or store brand beer, or do those Dharma Initiative folks have the corner on no-name brew market? You might be surprised to know that there are grocery store brand beers out there. I did not know myself until I stumbled upon some at Shaw's Market a couple of weeks ago. Kind of ironic that I found these beers shortly after I posed this question: Where do you buy your beer?

As a searched for something new and interesting in my groceries beer section I started to talk with the local distributor guy who was stocking the beer fridge and asked him why the store didn't carry local brews and more craft beers. His answer, "They (Shaw's) don't see the money in it."

Flash forward a few weeks and suddenly a display featuring six-packs of Metolius Golden Stone Amber Ale and Metolius Dolly Varden Indian Pale Ale appeared. Did this beer suddenly appear becasue I confronted the beer distributor, or am I just an egotistical self important dolt?

I was skeptical of these brews. I figured they were probably the latest attempt of a macro brewery trying to snag a little of the craft beer market with a off shoot branding and marketing effort to appear like a small time brewery. But maybe it would be good anyway, like Blue Moon or something. I was close, but still wrong. Here's what I found out...

A fish and a fly fishing lure in lieu of a faux Toucan Sam...

Apparently the Metolius line of brews is made by Pyramid specifically for Albertsons, which happen to own Shaw's. This is pretty interesting considering Al Williams, a former private label product lines manager at Albertsons was one of the "founding-fathers" of all things generic in the US. (At least that's what wikipedia told me, so it must be true, right?) Grocery stores can't legally market their own beer, but they can buy exclusive brands and sell those.

Here's an interesting article aboutMetolius dating back to 2006. I guess a two year old article doesn't count as news, but it's news to me. This quote sums up the business model behind made for store beers...

SB Northwest brewer Ron Seid said he got the idea a few years ago to provide exclusive brands to the big grocery chains.

"Quality is very important to me, and our cost to the retailer is a little cheaper compared to other brands, so it's good situation for (the grocery chains)," Seid said last week from Portland, where he contracts with the Portland Brewing Co. (now part of the Pyramid Brewing Co.) to make Metolius and Fire Station 5 beers. "The stores can make a little better (profit) margin than they can on the national brands."


I suppose this is no different than contract brewers like Custom Brew Crafters that make craft beer for local restaurant chains and bars. But for some reason, I couldn't shake the feeling they were trying to pull a fast one on us. But then again, good but cheap craft beer in my grocery store is a good thing. Perhaps this is a case of guilt by association. An association with "Big Beers" tricks...

I think its safe to say Pyramid is a craft brewer, and if they're producing the Metolius beers, then Metolius would in fact be a craft beer, correct? I think Pyramid may be doing something pretty cool here... They're providing affordable craft beer to the masses, unlike the big beer companies that are simply trying to fool the masses into believing they're drinking craft beer. What do you think?

Keep in mind, craft doesn't necessarily equate to quality. I'll be sampling these two brews and posting my reviews later this week. I'd like to hear your opinions, if you've tried these or any other made for grocery store beers.

Friday, September 26, 2008

September 2008 Fermentation Friday!

This months Fermentation Friday question/topic is...

"What indigenous brewing ingredient have you used or would you like to brew with and what style would that beer be?"

Now don't get this confused with the short list of bad ideas I came up with in a previous edition of Fermentation Friday, when the question of the month was, "What is the craziest concoction you ever came up with, on the fly or prepped, to brew with."

I'm glad Marcus from Final Gravity, this month's host, included the words "or would you like to brew with" as I have not yet brewed with anything overly unique or interesting, indigenous or otherwise.

For me, it would have to be either apples or pumpkins. There's not much else I can think of besides those two items, unless someone knows how to make a tobacco beer, but I hate tobacco. And I think out of the two, I would lean more towards pumpkins. I'm not big on overly sweet beers and ciders. That being said, I'm not overly in love with pumpkin ales either.


Last Friday, at the Hartford Better Beer Fest, Kenn and I got a chance to try Southern Tier's Pumpkin Ale, AKA Pumking, and it was, "Very nice! The pumpkin was surprisingly subtle, but would go well with this Thanksgiving's feast." Or at least that's what I thought at the time and that's what my chicken scratch tasting notes said.

From what I've heard, many pumpkin ales are merely ales with traditional pumpkin pie seasoning added. That's OK and all, but I really want to go out, pick a pumpkin and turn it into a big bottle of beer.

According to Kenn, he read something about the colonial New Englanders who would be forced to use pumpkins for beer making due to a lack of other more typical fermentables. He also mentioned something about boiling it to make beer, and have enough left to make soup or pie, I blieve he said. Now that would be cool! Kenn, what was that book title again???


Had I more time this fall, I would give this a whirl, but sadly this season is short on free time. Perhaps next year Kenn and I will follow in the foot steps of those intrepid colonist and do a joint endeavour, diving head first into pumpkin brewing, and perhaps even a little cooking if enough of the old jack-o-lantern survives the boil... Stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hartford Better Beer Fest was a class act

The good folks at Franklin Distributors got us into the event as "VIPs"
God bless their hearts.

They wanted to give me an idea of what sort of fest they were capable of putting together
as I help plan my own charity event. Let's just say I was impressed.


The Hartford Better Beer Fest was a class act. The event was held in the "Society Room of Harford"... Ooooh... Well ladee dah! Actually, this is a beautiful building... (Photos coming later...)

From the site...

In the glorious Society Ballroom, you have a room of grand marble columns soaring to an exquisitely muraled ceiling, some thirty five feet above the dance floor. The sweeping staircase flows down from the 3,000 square floor balcony, providing a dramatic focal point for grand entrances and photographic opportunities. Marble, limestone, brass and bronze accents adorn the opulent Ballroom in a setting right out of the Great Gatsby.

Fest goers chat and enjoy some fine American craft beers on the dance floor.
(One couple actually did dance!)

Folks gather around on of the numerous imported beer tables up on the balcony.
Classy, but still down to earth enough for jeans.


Kenn admires the architecture and poor lighting over a tasty beverage.

They had live jazz playing and a delightful variety of some high-end hors d'oeuvres. Oh, and did I mention there was beer too? Is that how you spell hors d'oeuvres?

Downstairs, in the 'Society Ballroom', was a wide variety of domestic craft beers, ranging from Flying Dog and Anchor Steam, to Brooklyn Brewery and Southern Tier. Additionally there was a wide variety of imports upstairs along the balcony. I spent a fair amount of time at the Trappist table. Man, you gotta love those monks...

Kenn came straight from work (minus a detour)
So he was probably more properly attired than I.


Here are some quick notes on the beers we sampled in alphabetical order by brewery:

With so many beers available, my tasting notes were long, and sloppy...
Below is what I could manage to decipher from my fest hieroglyphics.

  • Brewery: Achel (Belgium/Trappist) - Now I failed to take note of which Achel I sampled, so these notes are only so meaningful. The beer was pleasantly complex, with flavors ranging from grapefruit to maple to raisin. This may be my new favorite Trappist beer, if only I knew which one it was...
  • Brewery: Anchor (US/Liberty Ale) - I dig this beer, after all we share a birthday. Just a good all around Ale, even Kenn enjoyed it despite the hoppiness. He said he, "could have a few," and thought he detected a hint of grapefruit.
  • Brewery: Avery (US/Beast Cru) - Not bad, but the flavor of alcohol was apparent, although it was balanced by the malty backbone, not for the faint at heart. A big beer.
  • Brewery: Flying Dog (US/Dogtoberfest) - A typical Oktoberfest, not overly flavorful, but easy going down. A kin to Spaaten, less flavorful and less smoaky, then say a Sam Adam's Oktoberfest.
  • Brewery: Flying Dog (US/Kerberos Tripel) - Not a bad beer, less fruity than the Stoudts Triple lower on this list. More of a dry finish.
  • Brewery: Franziskaner (Germany/Hefe Weiss) - Tasty (fruity/wheat), with a strong pleasant aroma even I could detect.
  • Brewery: Hartford Better Beer Company (US/Praying Mantis Porter) - Surprisingly light, toasty and effervescant, even I could smell it. Kenn called it the spritzer of Porters, meaning it's light and fizzy.
  • Brewery: McEwan's (Scottish/Scotch Ale) - Too sweet for me, I've had better.
  • Brewery: Nøgne Ø (Norway/IPA) - A big malty backbone on this IPA, not what I expected.
  • Brewery: Nøgne Ø (Norway/Imperial Stout) - Thin, but leaves a residue. Flavors of chocolate, coffee and raisin come to mind.
  • Brewery:Rochefort (Belgium/Trappist 6) - Nice and easy, very tasty. Fruity and malty.
  • Brewery:Rochefort (Belgium/Trappist 10) - Also nice but less easy. Alcohol flavor is detectable, but not offensive, mixes with the malty body. A sipping beer, to be enjoyed slowly by the fire.
  • Brewery: Southern Tier (US/Pumkin Ale) - Very nice! The pumpkin was surprisingly subtle, but would go well with this Thanksgiving's feast.
  • Brewery: Southern Tier (US/Java) - The name says it all. A nice sipping beer that taste like java. Not bad, if you go for that sort of thing.
  • Brewery: Stoudts (US/Triple) - Not bad, taste like apricot.
  • Brewery: Tririez (France/Farmhouse Extra Ale) - Tasty, another beer with an aroma that hits hard. Citrus, meets honey, meets hops.
  • Brewery: Unibroue (Canada/Maudite) - Good, malty, hints of raisin. (I tasted raisin a lot that night...)
  • Brewery: Unibroue (Canada/La Fin du Monde) - Malty but hoppy, interesting, not great, but certainly complex. Worth a try, it maybe your thing.
  • Brewery: Westmalle (Belgium/Trappist Dubble) - Very tasty... Perhaps my second favorite Trappist beer, perhaps...
  • Brewery: Westmalle (Belgium/Trappist Triple) - Tasty, sweet, smooth, with grapefruit undertones. I like it, but prefer the Dubble.
I ran into, sorry man can't remember your name, from CT Beverage Mart. He's helped me select the right beer for that special occasion more than once or twice. For some reason, he had me mistaken for another patron of CTBM, and thought we had an altercation in the past. Something about me punching him after not enjoying a wheat beer he recommended. That must have been some other guy...

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Hartford Better Beer Fest

If all goes as planned, I'll be heading out to the Hartford Better Beer Fest with my buddy Kenn. (Tonight, Friday, Sept19th)

I'm pretty excited about Kenn's growing interest in both home brewing and craft beer. Although his brother is an avid home brewer, I'd like to think I had a hand in his beer-geek enlightenment. Kenn recently got his own set of home brewing equipment, and he's the guy that gathered (and paid for, God bless him) all the ingredients for Franken-Beer, so he's well on his way at this point.

The Hartford Better Beer Fest is sponsored by Franklin Distributors. These guys have been kind enough to offer some assistance with the charity event I'm planning, and invited me to this fest to give me a little fest planning education. Good times!

Stay tuned, I may twitter the event... As always my twitter feed is available on the site. (Top left corner for the moment... Under Have Beer Will Travel...)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Franken-Beer Might be Getting There

Awful camera work and lighting, but you can see the carbonation that was developing.

Franken-Beer has been bottle conditioning (in bottles and in the Tap-A-Draft) for about a week and a half now, so I figured I'd stick a bottle in the fridge and give it a try to see how the beer was maturing. If you recall, I tasted a some of the beer as I siphoned it out of the secondary into the bottles and it was a little sweeter than I was hoping for...

So far, I'm not overly impressed. It's much more sweet than I wanted it to be. I'm hoping the bottle conditioning followed by some fridge time changes things a little along with some natural carbonation. For now, I'll just wait and see. I plan to let the beer carbonate for 2 weeks in the same air conditioned room the primary and secondary sat in. Then, I'll just move the whole lot to the fridge.

Well, it's definitely beer folks... I had my doubts...

I'm pleased to say, Franken-Beer IS in fact beer, and not just dirty brown water... After letting the beer condition for a little bit, there has been some noticeable improvements. It's still malty, but the saccharine quality has begun to mellow just as I had hoped. It's not there yet though, and I'm hoping a little more time will yield a better tasting beer with proper carbonation. I'm fine with malty, because, the original intent of an Oktoberfest inspired Ale would lend itself to a malty beer...

The German style is most often characterized by a medium to full body, a malty flavour balance, a wide range of colours, and a clean dry finish, though wide variations are notable amongst German breweries marketing Märzen. Amongst these variations are colors ranging from pale to dark brown.


I'm not so sure about the dry finish, but I suppose the wide color range makes the makes my beer acceptable, although I think a lighter more orange/amber color would have been better. On the positive side, this is the clearest beer I've ever made, even if my poor photography doesn't make that abundantly clear. Click on the blurry image on the right for a better idea of how clear it is. I guess everyone was right about the magic of the secondary.

video
This video, again poor quality, gives a better impression of the clarity.

The bottle I tested had some carbonation in it, but again, yeast haven't had enough time to do their thing yet. All things in good time I suppose. With that said, I wonder if I should let it bottle condition a little longer than 2 weeks before plopping the batch in the fridge. I'm not sure another half a week will be enough time to right all the wrongs I've found in this brew.

What do you think? how much longer should I give it before I stick it in the fridge?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Hippity-Hoo Tap-A-Brew! Franken-Beer is bottled

Franken-Beer's transfusion, err... I mean bottling is now complete...



Yesterday was yet another chapter in the ongoing saga that is Franken-beer. Bottling day! If you recall, this was intended to be an Oktoberfest inspired Ale, based on a poorly chosen recipe found on beertools.com. After seeking out feedback from the homebrew-blogosphere, I learned that it was closer to an Altbier.

Tip: "Wiked" the musical (from the library) also doubles as a great secondary wedge...

I was surprised by the amount of sediment at the bottom of the secondary. But this is the first time I ever used a secondary, so this maybe typical... (hint hint, feedback anyone?)

After picking the wrong recipe, surviving a slow fermentation process, doing my best to keep the temp down, and plopping my bung into the secondary, I finally reached bottling day. Just to keep things interesting, I decided to try out a new gadet, the Tap-A-Draft 'keg' dispenser kit. I'm sad to report that my kit was short one cap, but it wasn't a show stopper. I intended on only using 2 out of the 3 of the 6 liter bottles so I could put the rest in a case of flip top bottles for smaller samplings. The jury is still out on the Tap-A-Draft, but it certainly cut my bottling time down. I really hope this setup works out, it could be very convenient.

I hate the sanitizing. Tip: Use a freshly cleaned dishwasher as a dry rack!

Hippity-Hoo Tap-A-Brew! The bottom of the Tap-A-Draft bottles are round. Not a good design. You need to use the old fermentation bucket to keep the bottles upright.

video

Extra fermentation buckets come in handy...

Behold! My bung amongst the murky brown bottom. (That marshmallow looking thing)


video
My bottling bucket needs new seals. As you can see from this clip, the spigot leaks...

I did have one other issue. My hydrometer broke open in the sanitizing bucket. Thankfully it was after most of the stuff was removed, but I had some concerns about safety. After reading up on the issue on Homebrewtalk.com and on Beeradvocate.com, I feel the risk is minimal. I'm sure I got all the glass out, just one piece, and I don't think there's any lead risk. Then again, you never know. Time will tell I guess, but you only live once. I'm throwing caution to the wind on this one. Let me know if you think this is a foolish course of action or if you think my risk analysis is dead on... Maybe I shouldn't say 'dead'... *gulp*

Here's a tip, don't break your hydromter's tip...


I only had enough beer to fill both 6 liter Tap-A-Draft bottles and 10.5 of last flip top bottles. That last half bottle was calling me out, so instead of capping it, I tried it. So far, I'm not overly impressed. It's much more sweet than I wanted it to be. I'm hoping the bottle conditioning followed by some fridge time changes things a little along with some natural carbonation. For now, I'll just wait and see. I plan to let the beer carbonate for 2 weeks in the same air conditioned room the primary and secondary sat in. Then, I'll just move the whole lot to the fridge. (The Alewife is going to kill me when I invade the fridge...) Stay tuned for further updates...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Session #19 - Deutsches Bier

The Session is a monthly event for the beer blogging community which was started by Stan Hieronymus at Appellation Beer. On the first Friday of each month, all participating bloggers write about a predetermined topic. Each month a different blog is chosen to host The Session, choose the topic, and post a roundup of all the responses received. For more info on The Session, check out the Brookston Beer Bulletin’s nice archive page.

September’s Session, hosted by lootcorp 3.0, topic is Deutsches Bier - German beer...


Here's the "Ale Wife" dressed up for Halloween a few year ago... Prost!

Every year, a good friend of mine (Mike) would host an Oktoberfest party, every year that is until the build up to his first child about two years ago. This will be the third year in a row (if memory serves) with no party. How sad, but it's the sign of the times in my little circle of friends, we're all either having our first child or getting a divorce, thankfully no one has done both...

Mike's party was always a lot of fun, Mike would share stories of his time in Germany in his earlier Air Force days. There would be a little German music, food and beer of course, and plenty of good friends.

In an attempt to bring some fun back to Oktoberfest last year, I invited some of the guys out to East Side Restaurant for some German goodness. Over all, it was a pretty good time, check out some of the crappy video clips here. If you're ever in CT, and looking for something out of the ordinary, try this place out. Authentic German food, beer and atmosphere. A little diamond in the rough, as the neighborhood kind of stinks, but the place is fun. The night reminded me of a training deployment I went on much earlier in my military career.

We were down in Florida, supporting some Aviation training at Patrick Air Force Base. On a down day, we decided to go to Disney, Epcot Center in particular. You maybe asking yourself, what would a few red blooded American military guys do at Epcot on a down day? We spent the bulk of the day and evening in what we called "Germany World" but most would call "Biergarten Restaurant". (Side Note: Mike, the guy who hosted the Oktoberfest parties was sitting across the table from me... Go figure...)

It's sad really, I've traveled the world with the military, but have only gotten as far as the base bowling alley at the now closed Rhein-Main Air Base, Germany, while waiting for the final flight home from the Middle East. That being said, I vaguely recall a pretty good beer selection there. At any rate, Disney's Biergarten Restaurant was more German than my time in Germany...

Meanwhile, back at Epcot... I'll never forget that moment when we were more than a few steins of tasty German beer into our evening. I can still hear the loud chants of "Zicke-Zicka, Zicke-Zicka, Hoi, Hoi, Hoi! Zicke-Zicka, Zicke-Zicka, Hoi, Hoi, Hoi! Eins, Zwei, Drei G'Suffa" And as we clinked our huge glass mugs filled with beer together, the bottom of mine opened up and dumped what must have been close to a gallon of dark German beer all over everything we had on the table. We ruined a good camera that day, but on the lighter side, I won the yodeling contest, and my buddy won the German dance contest, dancing with the saucy German girl in the traditional Dirndl.

I guess I've really only blogged about watered down Americanized German culture, and not so much about the beer so far. Sorry...

As far as homebrewing goes, I've only brewed two German beers at this point. I brewed a successful batch of Witbier. A very tasty brew that did not last long in my fridge. A refreshing beer perfect for the warm weather, seasoned with coriander, bitter orange, and hops of course. I really enjoy this style of beer when done right. If you want an excellent Witbier give Allagash White a try... Good stuff! Don't forget to pour it properly, see the robots in this post for details.

The other "German" beer I brewed is still a work in progress. It was originally suppose to be an Oktoberfest inspired Ale, but I later found out the recipe was closer to an Altbier. I'll let you know how it goes once the conditioning phase is all said and done. You can read up on the saga of "Franken-beer" in some of the recent posts on this blog. By the way, I bottle this beast today... Wish me luck!

OK, so there's a mixed bag of some what inter-related anecdotes that in some way connect to German beer. At any rate, this is how German beer has "become intertwined in (my) life"...

Auf wiedersehen!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Just say no to pairing politics with beer

Pairing beer with politics is an American tradition older than the nation itself. Elements of the American revolution were planned and prepared for in pubs across the North East, some of which are still open for business to this day. In a recent article on beer and American history, found in the pages of the July issue of Beer Advocate, a few examples are given.

"On a Philadelphia night in late June, sitting in a tap room as the air fizzed with flies and was thick with the adolescent summer heat, three men pored over the day's work. That night, amidst "the temptations of pipes and bowls, cards and dice, beer and rum" at the Indian Queen Tavern, a new form of government was born, in the words of historian Charles Mee.

The three Constitutional Convention delegates in the tap room on June 30, 1787 - Roger Sherman of Connecticut, and John Rutledge and James Madison of Virginia - came together in the same tavern where Thomas Jefferson wrote a draft of the Declaration of Independence. They left with the idea for the republican model of government."


There's two examples of constructive political discussion carried out over a few beers. Critical building blocks of the very foundation of the USA were achieved, in part, within taverns. In some cases, beer and taverns were used, not to foster intellectual pursuits, but to get folks riled up, and to incite some less than civil behavior.

"The Boston Tea Party, on Dec. 16 1773, took place after Samuel Adams and John Hancock met with the Sons of Liberty in Boston's Green Dragon Tavern "to conspire and incite," writes Smith. The wealthy Hancock had donated barrels of beer, and the Sons consumed plenty of it before offering the infamous cargo to the Atlantic"

While the Boston Tea Party is a key event in the American revolution, all too often, I've been a part of discussions of a political nature that have turned a bit boisterous and certainly less intellectual than should be expected. I'm happy to report, however, that I never once illegally entered a ship dressed as a Native American, not have I ever dumped crates of tea into Boston Harbor. Well, there was that one time...

My point is, discussing politics with friends and family over a few beers can easily turn into something less than civilized. Sadly, I know this first hand.

Some background on me
I've always had strong political opinions, but I really embraced following politics as a hobby around the time of the 2000 Presidential election. The events of September 11, 2001 only amplified my interest in politics. My military career is largely affected by national politics, so one could say I have a personal stake in what happens in Washington. I think its a good thing to be interested in and informed about politics. The trick is not to let it consume you. For a time, it did consume me. It was nearly all I thought and talked about. I even started a web site to discuss politics and blogged about all sorts of related topics every day, regularly engaging in blog warfare with those that had different opinions than I. What a complete waste of time.

Whoa is me...

I'll just get this out in the open, I'm a conservative, but I do not belong to any political party. As a conservative living in a very liberal state, I'm also a minority of sorts. My view points are mocked and looked down upon by most of the folks that live around me. Even my traditional Christian values are ridiculed at times, interesting that I'm mocked by folks that claim to believe in diversity and tolerance.

Some of my friends may even think of me as a close minded mislead kool-aid drinker. This creates a feeling of being under siege, surrounded and disrespected. Not fun, not fun at all. Add beer into the mix, and it can get down right ugly. I can remember a few conversations that nearly came to blows a few years ago. How stupid...

At some point, I got tired of defending my political views, of trying to convince my friends that Jon Stewart may be funny, but he's not an actual unbiased news source. So, I gave up, and decided to make every attempt to avoid political topics in my social life, particularly at the bar.

An epiphany... Why can't we all just get along?
The fact of the matter is, I like my friends despite our political differences. I respect the fact that folks can agree to disagree, and that having a very different view point doesn't necessarily make you or your candidate an evil, unpatriotic, idiot who is hell bent on destroying our country. The sad thing is, I'm not so sure all of the folks around me have come to that same conclusion.

I now find myself biting my tongue when I hear childish, personal attacks on candidates and regular people that share my values. I'll tell you though, it IS difficult sometimes. I find those urges to "fight back" often simmering just below the surface. For some reason, it really REALLY irritates me when folks develop political view points based on a Daily Show gag and a few blog posts they found on Fark.com. That being said, Jon Stewart is pretty damn funny, and Fark is a great site.

In the interest of 'fair and balanced' blogging...
Now don't get me wrong, I have a couple of conservative friends that swing a little too far to the right for my taste. I think it may be a reaction to their environment, but none the less, they're just as guilty for coming up with snap opinions based on blogs and questionable media sources. And they're all too quick to use personal attacks on those that hold different views.

Where am I going with all of this?
Why am I talking politics on a beer blog? I really hate it when partisan politics get in the way of good friends enjoying good conversation over a few good beers. As this political season heats up I ask that if you can't be civil and fair when discussing politics, if you can't avoid the cheap shots, regardless of how you lean politically, then lets respectfully agree to disagree. Now please keep it to yourself and hand me a beer. I'm sure there's something much more interesting we can discuss...

Cheers!

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