Day Drinking (Deserves a beautiful day)

With apologies to REM, I thought I’d get that title out of my system. Partly because I think it’s funny; partly because I think it’s an accurate representation of the amazing experience I had this Saturday at the new Monday Night Brewing Garage, which also served as MNB’s 6th anniversary party.

Long-time readers (and everyone I’ve ever met at a cocktail party) know I’ve been a fan of Monday Night Brewing for a long time. Their Garage location gets its name from the garage where they originally brewed and shared their beers. I think the space and the beer did an amazing job of capturing the energy and camaraderie
of those Monday nights over a decade ago.

My main goal on Saturday afternoon/evening was enjoying myself (a nice couples date with our awesome cul-de-sac neighbors), drinking some beer & playing a little bit of ping pong. For this reason I don’t have many good pictures – save for me holding chalices of beer – but my wife has some awesome photos if you’re lucky enough to be her friend too.

Here’s the beers I tried, in the order I tried them, not a ranking:

  1. Front Porch
  2. Han Brolo
  3. Situational Ethics (Rum Barrel & Coconut)
  4. Applied Knowledge
  5. Tears of My Enemies
  6. Ante Meridiem
  7. Situational Ethics (Maple Bourbon Barrels & Cinnamon)

I also stole sips of Dr. Robot (fruity), Excolatur (like an Oud Bruin), and Impulse Control (sour!) from my wife. All in all a fantastic slate of beers, though I didn’t get any Above the Clouds before they ran out. :-(

You can see the full list of beers here.

The two versions of the stout I had were both great. I’d love to have either of those beers in a bomber this Christmas (hint, hint!) but I prefer the rum version just a little bit more.

Han Brolo is going to be a great addition to the canned lineup MNB has, though I’m sad to see Eye Patch Ale retired. Something about the drinkability and smoothness of a Pale Ale w/ Lactose is just really hot right now.

For my money, the best beer I had all night was Ante Meridiem. It was just a fabulously balanced beer. I would’ve had an entire pint (and maybe the Excolatur too).

If you’re in Georgia you owe it to yourself to buy some Monday Night beer and come out to either of their locations in town. Now that the beer laws have changed, you’re sure to have a good time & drink some great beer.

It’s also nice to have a brewer that is expanding and succeeding with a fun brand who isn’t experiencing growing pains that are self-inflicted.

Come to the garage and sign their wall (if there’s space) or come to their midtown location and donate a tie. You won’t regret it.

Beers of Walmart

Sooner or later everyone ends up at a Walmart, whether they’d like to be there or not.

Unfortunately for me I had to purchase some items for Jenn this weekend that are just better/easier to get at Walmart, but fortunately I found some new beer I haven’t had, so it wasn’t a total loss.

Now I’ve come to find out that, much like the big macro brewers globally, Walmart is trying to get in to the growing category of craft beer.

I was able to get a six-pack of Cat’s Away IPA (by Trouble Brewing) for under $6 which is pretty amazing. The quality was a lot like an early aught’s knock-off of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, but there are worse things to drink especially at that price point!

I also bought a tallboy of Rockdale Classic.

There are differing sources online, but it seems like it’s contract brewed by the same company as the Trouble Brewing line, exclusively for Walmart.

This beer looked more like a house brand and was similar to a Coors in it’s can & taste. I had to do a double-take to make sure it wasn’t actually the banquet beer. ;-)

Both beers were better than similar beers contract brewed by Winery Exchange for Kroger, notably Caguama & Dieselpunk, but maybe that’s damning with faint praise.

Whether or not the Walmart beers were objectively good, they were both decent for what they were. The Trouble Brewing beer was actually quite pleasant and I could see buying it again if I were at Walmart.

I wouldn’t go out of my way to get it, but it might make a good beach beer or last minute decision in a crunch. Maybe if I was late to a tailgate or even if I wanted to spice things up for a price-conscious craft newbie.

Whatever the case I think this will be a hit for Walmart. The price is right, the branding is right (no sillier than actual craft brands) and the flavor is what you’d get from some craft beers of those styles.


Craft Beer Contains Multitudes

Does craft beer contradict itself?

Can the same movement that chastises folks as “wussies” for enjoying “fizzy, yellow beer” also embrace the popularity and acceptance that those drinkers might deliver them?

If that brewer is Wild Heaven and that beer is Emergency Drinking Beer, the answer is a resounding yes. The story of their flagship beer, its striking yellow can and the success it has brought them is worth a read.

On the flip side of that argument is To ØL out of Denmark. Their brewers actually made freeze-dried beer, which is about as crafty as you can get. Some might even say hipster-y.

So, yes, craft beer is full of contradictions. It’s full of real people making a real product they want to share with others.

Craft beer is large and getting larger, it contains multitudes.

A few Springtime beer thoughts

In no particular order …

  • If I’ve only had 3/10 of the beers on this list, how long should I give myself to finish?
  • Canned beer season doesn’t really begin, for me, until Summer, but I’m willing to make exceptions.

  • Normally I’d apply Betteridge’s Rule to the headline “Bored by IPA?” but there are other styles out there.
  • In my household Creature Comforts’ Athena is always welcome, but we like Gose’s too, especially Westbrook’s. I also dig Saisons, Creature Comforts’ Brettomatic, Wakatu Sour and anything else sour or funky (from Spring to Fall, it just seems right).

    And yes, even a hop-head like me gets tired of drinking nothing but IPAs.

  • Not all sponsored content should be made. Case in point: Guinness
  • I get it. The first dark beer I loved was also Guinness Stout, but this was in an era before craft brewing became the norm and Pete’s Wicked Ale was hard to find. If you really love dark beer (and craft beer for that matter), you’ll take the point of the second link and drink some great Bocks & Doppelbocks. I’d imagine the same sponsored content from someone like Shiner would be better, but maybe that’s damning with faint praise.

Until next time, prosit!

Drinking, Men & Problem-Solving

I feel a bit like Karnak with that title, but recent news articles have conspired to force one inevitable conclusion: the world would be a lot better run if (maybe) men had a beer or a cocktail more often.

Now I’m not suggesting we return corporate America to Mad Men levels of excessive alcohol consumption, but I’m also not so naive as to believe that we are a nation ruled by teetotalers.

That would be truly horrible.

What I am saying is this: science & facts back up the assertion I’m making. Men, particularly, seem to be better equipped for innovation and problem-solving if they imbibe/partake/slake their thirst regularly.

Per Researchers at The University of Illinois in Chicago:

“We found at 0.07 blood alcohol, people were worse at working memory tasks, but they were better at creative problem-solving tasks,” psychologist Jennifer Wiley reported on the Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences (FABBS) site.

Wiley conceded that her findings run counter to popular belief that alcohol hinders analytical thinking and muddies the mind.

“We have this assumption, that being able to focus on one part of a problem or having a lot of expertise is better for problem solving,” says Wiley. “But that’s not necessarily true. Innovation may happen when people are not so focused. Sometimes it’s good to be distracted.”

And per an opinion piece of U.S. Presidential drinking habits in the New York Times:

I’ve always thought the beer buddy threshold was nonsense. Still, it’s worth considering what a White House without a tippling tenant would be like. Sobriety, laudable in many respects, does imply rigidity of thought. The best presidents were open-minded, and generally open to a drink. The nondrinkers, at least over the last century or so, were terrible presidents.

Neither article advocates drunkenness or drinking to excess, but a little bit of social lubricant can be a good thing: for easing a tense meeting, a terse negotiation or helping connect the dots of a stubborn problem.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go make myself a drink. ;-)

“To Alcohol! The cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems!” – Homer J. Simpson