Send fire, skulls and money… that shit has hit the Windowsill!
As a connoisseur of craft beer, I know that sometimes a can, bottle or glass isn’t always good enough to hold that glorious nectar. None of the vessels do a good enough job of keeping my beer cold for long periods of time. Sometimes, they need help. With that in mind, take a look at the container on my sill today. It’s the Hopsulator by BruMate, and it’s a really cool product. It can be used in several different ways: It’s meant to hold 16 oz beer cans (with the special screw top), but you can put 12 oz cans in it (with the booster). It’s also stainless steel, so you can pour your liquids directly in it… hot or cold. I use it just about every day for my coffee, and I sometimes pour my beer in it. Just switch tops, and it’s a drink on the go (coffee for the car, beer for the beach). Awesome product!
What beer did I pour in my Hopsulator? One of the best IPAs I’ve had all year. The Fire, Skulls and Money from Iowa’s Toppling Goliath Brewing Company was unreal. Incredibly juicy, amazingly hoppy (Citra, Mosaic, Galaxy and Nelson), and with haze for days. You can see some of that amazing color shining through the dark bottle in the sun, right? Unfortunately, I took this one to the beach, so I couldn’t open it to show you guys the full pour color, but trust ya boy when I say it’s incredible.
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Let’s pay homage to all brewery pets on the Windowsill today!
Every good brewery needs an official mascot. More often than not, dogs get the nod for this position, but not at Bloomfield, CT’s Thomas Hooker Brewery. Blumpkin (yep, that was her full given name) aka Blumpy the cat was the official mascot of the brewery for eight years. Unfortunately, a year and a couple of weeks ago, she passed away. The folks at Hooker decided to preserve her memory the only way they knew how—with a beer. The Ode to Blumpy was released a short time later.
You know the owners of a brewery known for solid beers weren’t going to skimp when it came to honoring their beloved pet. The Ode to Blumpy is an unfiltered IPA brewed with tons of Mosaic and Huell Melon hops. The citrus aroma got me salivating, and the flavor followed suit perfectly. Very light on the bitterness for such a hoppy beer, too. As Hooker says in the official description, it’s got a “remarkably unique character, just like its namesake.” Hope Blumpy is still running around a brewery in heaven. RIP!
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Let’s foster some cooperation on the Windowsill today!
I love a good brewing Co-op, so I was excited to discover a new one this past weekend: Fair State Brewing Cooperative. So what exactly is a brewing co-op? According to CrafttBeer.com, co-op refers to “an organization that is owned by its members, rather than outside shareholders.” You pay your membership dues, and you have a say in how the business is run and, most importantly, a share in its profits. The first ever Cooperatively owned brewery was Austin, Texas’ Black Star Brewing, which opened up in 2010 and inspired President & CEO Evan Sallee to start Fair State in Minnesota with 250 members on board in 2014.
Today’s Windowsill brew, just named IPA, is a dry pale ale brewed with malted wheat and six types of hops: Horizon, Chinook, Crystal, Cascade, Simcoe and Centennial. One thing I love about brewing cooperatives, is that their brews often seem like a cooperative effort, too. Lots of hops in this one, but not a lot of bitterness. Floral aromas and nice, dry finish made for a pretty tasty beer. Looking forward to tasting something else from Fair State.
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We have a really atypical collaboration on the Windowsill today!
I love a good collaboration brew, so you know I was excited to find out that one of my favorite local breweries, Two Roads Brewing Company, and one of Vermont’s finest breweries, Lawson’s Finest Liquids, had come together to create a very unique Farmhouse IPA—the Typecast. For those of you know know Lawson’s story, it shouldn’t be a surprise that these two made a beer together. They already make a lot of beers together. If you’ve ever had any Lawson’s in a can, know that it was actually brewed at Two Roads. The two have had a solid contract brewing relationship for a while now.
Now onto the brew. A farmhouse IPA? Sounds wild, right? What is it? It starts out as a farmhouse ale (aka saison), and then it’s dry-hopped to perfection. One extra cool thing about this beer is that it uses all local ingredients. It uses Cascade and Wye Challenger hops grown in Connecticut, as well as Centennial hops grown in Vermont. The Typecast also includes Vermont white cedar and CT balsam fir tips in the boil. Overall, this brew wasn’t really for me, but it’s definitely an eclectic style, with some pretty good flavors that you might like. Cheers!
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Behold! A majestic mythical creature is on the Windowsill today!
A couple of weeks ago, I took a trip to Vermont. On the way home, needing to pee, I remembered that my good friend, @beer_shark, had told me about an up-and-coming brewery in Wallingford, CT named Front Porch Brewing. I decided to stop by, and picked up a couple of four-packs. Front Porch was founded in 2017 by four partners (I had trouble tracking them down, but one of them is West Haven, CT native Ryan Voytek. I’m hoping that, as time goes by and this brewery continues to grow, we’ll all know a lot more about these guys. Check out some photos from my brief visit!
The Reverse Mermaid was quite delicious. It’s a double dry-hopped IPA brewed with Citra, Simcoe and Mosaic hops. I love those hops on their own, and they combined really nicely in this beer! I also love the can art! It brings up an interesting philosophical debate. Would you rather be stranded on an island with a mermaid (human on top, fish on the bottom, like Ariel), or a reverse mermaid (fish on top, human on the bottom)?… Think about it.
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Pew! Pew! Beer and product review on the Windowsill today!
I’ve been looking to buy my own growler for a while now, and when I saw this Stanley 64oz growler on sale on Amazon I figured, why not take the plunge? This past weekend, I took it out for a spin! What’s good about this product? First of all, it’s stainless steel, which is good for many reasons. I love my stainless steel coffee cup because it keeps my coffee hot, or iced. This growler works the same way. It’s double wall vacuum insulation keeps your beer cold, and does a better job of keeping your beer pressurized than a glass growler with a screw top does. Speaking of the top, that’s lined with stainless steel too, so your beer only touches pristine stainless steel. My other favorite thing is the heavy-duty handle, which makes pouring super easy. Did I mention it’s leak proof and dishwasher safe? Really solid product. This growler, or any other stainless steel growler with a vacuum seal, is a better option. Glad I purchased this one! If you want a more robust review, check out my IGTV channel!
And now, the beer inside this kickass growler! I purchased this brew on my visit to Monroe, CT’s Veracious Brewing Company. The 29 Pews is their “house” IPA. Why 29 Pews? Well, the tasting room at Veracious is paneled with wood from 29 re-purposed church pews. That’s why it’s 29 Pews, and that’s why it’s the “house” IPA. As far as the hop build, it’s made with heavenly Citra hops as its base, and four other “brewery favorites.” It’s full-flavored and very drinkable. Solid choice for my Growler, I think.
For the purposes of full disclosure, I want to say that I purchased this on my own. However, I was approached by the company after posting it in a story of mine, so you will probably see more Stanley products on my sill in the near future. All reviews will be honest, though.
We’re going bucket list blind on the Windowsill today!
The story of today’s beer begins all the way back in 1994. Vinnie Cilurzo took his first swing at founding his own brewery in Temecula, California. There, he specialized in only a couple of year-round brews, one of which was an IPA. What was the name of that brewery? Blind Pig Brewing Company! Unfortunately, it failed, but Cilurzo took a job at, and eventually purchased, Russian River Brewing Company. For his new brewing endeavor, he brewed another IPA as an homage to his original recipe. The Blind Pig IPA was born.
Two things about this beer. First of all, the name “Blind Pig.” It’s not just an homage to Cilurzo’s old brewery. It’s also a Prohibition term. Back in the day, you could use the term to discreetly order beer from a speakeasy barkeep. Also, jars were known as pigs, and unmarked jars were “blind pigs.” The second thing to know about this beer is that it’s one of the standard bearers for the IPA style. If you like hops, you’ll love this one. The malts are barely there, and the hops are so strong, they’re almost sharp on the tongue. The new recipe is a little less bitter than the old one, (the original was 92 IBU, this one is 70) and Cilurzo has added a “small amount” of Amarillo and Simcoe to his old brew. If you get the chance to try this one, do it!
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Today’s Windowsill brew was so good, it vanished almost immediately!
Vanished Valley Brewing Company opened its taps in Ludlow, MA in 2017, and the tiny brewery slowly been getting a very big reputation. The name comes from an interesting story—four towns that disappeared from the face of the earth in the 1930s. Dana, Enfield, Greenwich and Prescott, Massachusetts were disincorporated and flooded in 1938 in order to create the Quabbin Reservoir, the largest inland body of water in the state. Along with the Wachusett Resevoir, it’s the primary supply for Boston. Sad those towns had to go, but water is important, and so is the great beer Vanished Valley brews.
Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find out much about the Watershed IPA. I don’t know what hops are in it, or the malts, but I can say this: it’s very hazy, very hoppy and extremely good. Bright and hop-forward citrus (like tangerine and grapefruit) flavors and aromas, low bitterness and super pleasant. It’s also dry-hopped, which is always a great addition to an IPA. The Watershed is definitely worthy of the high rating from untappd!
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We’re getting out of this world on the Windowsill today, thanks to my good friend @beer_shark!
Let’s give a shoutout to the head brewer, and part owner, at Cellarmaker Brewing Company, Tim Sciascia. Sciascia graduating from, of all places, the New England Music Conservatory with a major in classical saxophone. All the while, he was developing his love for home brewing, and quickly got a job giving tours at Sam Adams. He soon moved out West, spending five years working his way up the ranks (and brew tanks) at Larkspur, CA’s Marin Brewing Company. Today, he’s responsible for some of the most buzzed about craft beer in the country.
The Alien Lifeform is an IPA brewed with tons of Galaxy hops, and a “cosmic dusting” of Simcoe, Mosaic and Centennial. It’s very hop forward, has a lovely tropical aroma and really does taste good enough to be made by Aliens. Anybody out there remember ALF? If you read the official description for this brew, you’ll know that the folks at Cellarmaker do. “This exploration in flavor reminds us of a day trip to Melmac. A different world with a green sky, blue grass and a purple sun.” If you know your ALF, and you have the Alien Lifeform in your fridge, you’re already running to make sure your cat is OK. Really awesome beer!
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Is someone performing the Wuxi Finger Hold on the Windowsill today?
This past weekend, I fulfilled one of the dreams I’ve had ever since I got into the craft beer game: I visited The Alchemist. I got to Stowe, Vermont around 5:30 or so, and the lads and I immediately popped over to The Alchemist’s beautiful, state-of-the-art taproom—it opened officially in June of 2016—for a visit before closing. I was bowled over by the beauty of the building, the decorated tanks and artwork inside, and just how pristinely clean everything was. We quickly hustled over to the tasting bar, where they were pouring two-ounce samples of Heady Topper, Focal Banger and Holy Cow… for free! After we drank our samples, we all bought as much beer as we could carry and headed off to dinner. It was a brief visit, but at least I can say I’ve been. Bucket List Brewery visit…achieved!
Among the many cans of beer I purchased at Alchemist, was the Skadoosh. I did not know this before I drank it, but it turns out the Skadoosh is a rotating series of IPAs that Alchemist makes with different recipes every time. There have been 23 varieties up to this point, and I got variety 23—fresh from the canning line! This variety is interesting, in that it’s the first variety of Skadoosh to be 100% chyo-hopped. That means that only the concentrated lupulin of whole-leaf hops is used. You get all the intense hop flavor and aroma, without all the other stuff. The Skadoosh 23 uses Simcoe and Citra cryo hops. I really loved it. It’s super up front with the hops, but still very citrusy and tasty. Get down to Stowe and give it a try!
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