Saturday, December 30, 2017

Beer Flow: 2017 Flowing Pints Award Show

This past week we took a look back on 2017 and discussed some of what we found to be our favorite beers. Check out the recap of the show here which covered the following categories:

• Favorite/Best Beer of 2017
• Favorite/Best Brewery of 2017
• Favorite/Best Hop-Forward (Pale Ale, Session IPA, IPA, DIPA) Beer of 2017
• Favorite/Best Dark Beer (Porter, Stout, Imperial Porter, Imperial Stout) of 2017
• Favorite/Best Fruit Beer of 2017
• Favorite/Best Barrel-Aged Beer of 2017
• Favorite/Best "Simple" Beer of 2017
• Favorite/Best Local Brewery of 2017
• Favorite/Best Local Beer of 2017
• Favorite/Best New Brewery of 2017
• Favorite/Best Foreign Beer of 2017
• Favorite/Best Seasonal Beer of 2017
• Favorite/Best BeerTubers of 2017

All beers were chosen from beers that we actually tasted obviously so keep that in mind as well, as some beers are not as easy to come by in some areas as we know. Hope you enjoy and Cheers!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Beer Review: Collective Arts Basil & Cranberry Gose

Here is my look at the Cranberry Basil Gose from Collective Arts Brewing which is another one of the beers that I received from a recent beer mail from my buddy Joe. This sour beer comes in with an alcohol content of 4.7% ABV and despite being highlighted by cranberry and basil; it didn’t seem to fully become what I expected. Highlighted by a nice refreshing quality, it did though still provide a nice flavor profile and was highlighted by a very pleasant color. Check out my other thoughts on this beer by watching the video and remember there’s always time, Get Your Beer On! Cheers!

Appearance - 11 / 15
Aroma - 10 / 15
Flavor - 11 / 15
Palate - 10 /15
Overall - 34 / 40

Total Score - 76 / 100

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Beer Review: Gun Hill Hessian In Paradise

So my buddy Average Joe decided to drop me out a beer mail more recently and one of the beers happened to be Hessian In Paradise from Gun Hill Brewing Company out of the Bronx, New York and the focus of this review. Coming in with an alcohol content of 3.8% ABV, light and refreshing is what first comes to mind and this beer definitely encompassed that. Check out my review here to see my in depth thoughts on this one and grab a cold one so you too can “Get Your Beer On!” Cheers!

Appearance - 12 / 15
Aroma - 13 / 15
Flavor - 12 / 15
Palate - 12 / 15
Overall - 35 / 40

Total Score - 84 / 100

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Beer Review: Heavy Seas The Partner Ships Cigar City

Heavy Seas Beer decided to partner up with Cigar City Brewing for the #6 collaboration of their Partner Ships series. The Partner Chips Cigar City IPL is an India Pale Lager that comes in with an alcohol content of 7.8% ABV and initially became available July 2017. In all seven beers make up the series and if they are like this one then I will also be giving them a look and taste as well. So grab a beer, check out my video here to see my thoughts and enjoy while you “Get Your Beer On.” Cheers!

Appearance - 14 / 15
Aroma - 13 / 15
Flavor - 13 / 15
Palate - 14 / 15
Overall - 36 / 40

Total Score - 90 / 100

Beer Review: Avery duganA

Here is my look at the Dugana from Avery Brewing Company, an American IPA that comes in with an alcohol content of 8.5% ABV. Now this bottle was a little older but thought that I would share anyway, I had it fresher when at that time I rated it 4.5 out of 5 which would place it the vicinity of a 90 on my newer scale. It is a beer with a 93 IBU, but it is so malted out that one doesn’t really get hit with the bitterness that would be expected. I found it to be a tasty beer and I believe that it should be released here again in 2018; nonetheless here is my look back on this one. So grab a cold one, and check out the video while you “Get Your Beer On!” Cheers!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Beer Review: Sierra Nevada Pronto IPA

Sierra Nevada Brewing decided to show some love to Trader Joe’s for their 50th anniversary and brewed up a special beer for a dedication. This beer is the Pronto IPA which is a 6.7% ABV American IPA featuring mango and hibiscus and uses the hops of Calypso, Comet, and Centennial. Grab a cold one, check out my review here, and as always join me and “Get Your Beer On,” Cheers!

Appearance: 11/15
Aroma: 13/15
Flavor: 11/15
Palate: 11/15
Overall: 34/50

Total Score: 80/100

Beer Flow: Jack of Spades Episode 14 - Lagunitas On Tap

Another week and another Beer Flow, come check out what we discussed including a look at Lagunitas this week. So grab a beer and join us and lets “Get Our Beer On!” Oh yeah, Cheers!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Press Release: MadTree Collaborates with Top Cincinnati Chefs on Charity Cookbook

MadTree Collaborates with Top Cincinnati Chefs on Charity Cookbook

Mix and Mash pairs MadTree beers with gourmet recipes to support La Soupe

CINCINNATI (December 18, 2017) – MadTree Brewing and top local chefs have collaborated to bring food and beer together in a new cookbook, Mix and Mash: Recipes for the Table and Glass. MadTree has a long history of working with local chefs to create unique new beer flavors through their Chef Series and now they have created a full-color, hardbound cookbook to showcase their combined talents. As a part of MadTree’s belief that beer builds community and community builds beer, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to local non-profit, La Soupe.

The 125-page book features more than 25 recipes created by the chefs using a MadTree beer as an ingredient. The recipes span from vegetable fritto misto to roasted pork belly tacos to citrus IPA bars. Readers will also get to know a little bit more about each chef along the way. Additionally, MadTree has included the recipes to brew their most popular beers at home.

“Creating Mix and Mash has been one of the most rewarding projects we have ever done at MadTree,” said Sarah Gast, MadTree Brewing marketing manager. “We have always admired the creativity of these chefs and loved brewing beer with them. This time, we were able to step into their world to help share some amazing dishes while supporting a great cause.”

La Soupe’s mission is to rescue otherwise wasted produce to create delicious and highly-nutritious meals for customers, non-profits, and food-insecure families. In 2016 alone, La Soupe rescued 125,000 pounds of perishable food from going to the landfill (“ugly” or over ordered produce from grocery stores) and donated almost 75,000 servings to people living in food insecurity. They are on-target to double that amount in 2017. MadTree previously partnered with La Soupe for the launch of their Pilgrim fall ale, donating a portion of sales at the can launch party in September of this year.

Mix and Mash is available now for $50.00 at the MadTree Taproom, online at, and at Joseph-Beth Booksellers’ Rookwood, Crestview Hills, and Christ Hospital locations.

The chefs featured in the book are:
Dana Scott Adkins
Paul Barraco
Jared Bennett
Brad Bernstein
Rachel DesRochers
Mike Florea
Patrick Hague
Dylan Jones

Jeff Ledford
Andrew Mersmann
Arik Messerschmidt
Josh Parry
Jackson Rouse
Jose Salazar
Stephen Williams
About MadTree Brewing Company
Cincinnati’s MadTree Brewing made history when they opened in 2013 by becoming the first modern craft brewery to can its beer in Ohio. In February 2017 they opened a new $18M brewery, taproom, beer garden, and private event spaces in Cincinnati’s Oakley neighborhood. MadTree is known for focusing more on great tasting beers rather than following traditional brewing style guidelines. Their award-winning beers are distributed throughout Ohio by Cavalier Distributing and throughout Kentucky by Beer House Distributing. For more information about the beers, brewery, and taproom, visit or connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.

About La Soupe

Headed by Chef Suzy DeYoung, La Soupe is bridging the gap between food waste and hunger. They rescue “ugly” and over-ordered perishable food to create delicious and highly-nutritious meals for food-insecure families. A small percentage of soup is sold to paying customers and sales of the meals fuel our donations to Cincinnati’s food-deprived individuals. La Soupe is a non-profit organization that relies on soup sales and individual donations to operate.

Cider Review: Blake's Hard Cider Co. Cyser

Well, I had one more cider left in my collection and again it is one from Blake’s Hard Cider Company out of Michigan. This time it’s the Cyser which comes in with an alcohol content of 6.9% ABV and is one of their seasonal offerings featuring a combination of honey and apples used in the fermenting with hints of bergamot and jasmine. Not sure what bergamot is but everything else sounds delightful for sure. So without further ado, check out my video here and let’s see what this cider has to offer.

Appearance - 12 / 15
Aroma - 13 / 15
Flavor - 13 / 15
Palate - 12 / 15
Overall - 36 / 40

Total Score - 86 / 100

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Cider Review: Blake's Hard Cider Co. Flannel Mouth

Mixing things up again as I decided to check out a cider here, and this time it is Flannel Mouth from Blake’s Hard Cider Company. Now, usually ciders aren’t something that I get often look to get, but it was such a good deal that it was like the saying in the movie, “it was an offer that I couldn’t refuse.” Check out the video to see and hear my thoughts, but if you want to quickly see how I rated it then see those numbers below the video.

Appearnce - 12 / 15
Aroma - 13 / 15
Flavor - 13 / 15
Palate - 13 / 15
Overall - 37 / 40

Total Score - 88 / 100

Monday, December 18, 2017

Unboxing Video: What's This? Rare Beer Club? Well, Ho Ho Ho!

Hello and once again it's time to do an unboxing, and this time it comes from two of my business partners as a gift for Christmas. A gift that keeps on giving as they had enrolled me into a rare beer club as part of so every three months over the next year I will receive two what are considered rare beers. This video is the unboxing of that first shipment and I am looking forward to seeing what is included. So let’s get to it and thank you Brant and Emily for the nice gift.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Beer Flow: Triumph Episode 13 - Great Lakes Brewing On Tap

Another week and another Beer Flow, come check out what we discussed including a look at Great Lakes Brewing out of Cleveland, Ohio. Once again, it was another fun time so grab a beer and join us and lets “Get Our Beer On!” Oh yeah, Cheers!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

BeerTuber Spotlight: Talking Beer With Eric's Beer Reviews

Time for a look at another YouTube Beer Tuber, and tonight I talk with Eric from the channels EricALionsFan and Eric’s Beer Reviews. Based out of Michigan, Eric has been talking about beers since 2015 and likes to enjoy a variety of them. So check out the video here to see and hear our conversation, and then make sure to check out his channels as well. What do you say? And oh yeah, make sure to grab a pint and “Let’s Get Our Beer On!”

Monday, December 11, 2017

Beer Review: Rogue New Crustacean Barleywineish Imperial IPA Sorta

New Crustacean Barleywineish Imperial IPA Sorta is one heck of a mouthful of words for a beer, but that’s what Rogue Ales & Spirits chose and that’s what I’m drinking and reviewing for this go around. Coming in with an alcohol content of 11.6% ABV and an IBU level of 88, this is not a beer for lightweights. As one could guess from the crab on the bottle, seafood is being touted as the go to for pairing. And played as not quite Barleywine and not quite Imperial IPA, this one should be quite interesting. Check out my video review to see my thoughts on this beer and why it rated as I did. And of course remember, there’s always time to “Get Your Beer On!”


Saturday, December 9, 2017

Beer Review: Unibroue Maudite With Average Joe

Maudite is an offering from Unibroue, a microbrewery out of Canada which is now a part of the Sapporo Breweries so can’t fully call it a craft brewery of one follows the definition assigned by the Brewers Association. Nonetheless, I and my friend Joe have decided to take a look at this Belgian Dubbel and see what this 8% ABV ale has to offer. So check out the video here to see our thoughts and join us by grabbing a cold one so that we all can now, “Get Our Beer On!”

Rating: 84 Out of 100

Unboxing Video: What Do We Have Here...Hello Joe!!!

Average Joe hit me up with some of the flavor of beer around the Buffalo area and beyond, so time to check out what's inside the box and what is to be found.

Beer Flow: The Breaks Episode 12 - Avery Brewing On Tap

Back this week talking beer and other things with Joe, Todd and Eric. This week’s discussed brewery is Avery Brewing out of Colorado, so grab a beer and hit play on the video to join us. And together we all will, "Get Our Beer On!”

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

BeerTuber Spotlight: Talking Beer With Tonya Makowski

Something new and something different, I decided to begin a new segment talking with other beer tubers and then sharing their stories with you so you could get to know them better and hopefully gain interest to check out their channels as well. This is my inaugural segment and features Tonya Makowski, a beer tuber out of the San Francisco Bay area from where she started Beer Tubing back in 2014.

Her channel is the same as her name, Tonya Makowski, and can easily be found right on YouTube or click to the link by clicking here. Tonya is currently a Certified Beer Server which is level one of the Cicerone program, and she is on her way now studying for the next level. This all being said, take a little time and click on the video to learn more about her and see what we are discussing about beer as we “Get Our Beer On.”

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Beer Review: Rhinegeist Lynx India Pale Ale

Rhinegeist Brewery presents Lynx an American India Pale Ale style beer that comes in with an alcohol content of 7.1% ABV, an IBU of 70 and is a limited release. The use of Citrus, Mosaic and Amarillo hops make this beer one to definitely try for any IPA lover. Check out my video here to see my thoughts and together, “Let’s Get Our Beer On!”

Rating: 88 Out of 100

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Beer Run: Deals On Deals Once Again And The Saga Continues

I really didn't want to buy any more this year, but when one is faced with some outstanding deals then decisions are made. So I decided to step up and pick up some more beer. The basement is now even more stocked and one thing for sure is that there will be no beer shortage in my household, not for a long while.

Check out my video here to see what was purchased and some of the deals that I was able to find.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Beer Review Or Not? Troubadour Magma Something is Off Here

Sometimes a beer review just doesn’t go the way as planned, but one has to decide whether to stick with it or bag it. With this one, I decided to stick with it and run through what I could on this beer that seemed to not be fully up to level that I would expect. Troubadour Magma is classified as a Triple IPA from Brouwerij The Musketeers, which is a micro-brewery out of Belgium. A brewery that I have had beer from in the past that provided a nice result, so I was hoping this would follow suit. Quickly, I knew this wasn’t going to be the case.

The beer quickly gave itself away as not being fully up to level with its sour like notes which should not happen with a beer of this style. That being said, I didn’t fully want to discard it so I gave it a shot on its taste and low and behold, that characteristic of the beer was actually not as bad in flavor or on the palate. However, it still didn’t seem fair in doing a full rated review so in that regard I passed on providing a score. However, I did move forward to discuss the beer which you can see about checking out the video here. Unfortunately, these are the rough spots that we occasionally hit when trying beers, especially from overseas. Chalk it up to experience, and all I can do is move forward.

That being said, thanks for swinging by to check out another video, Cheers, Grab A Beer, Start The Video and Get Your Beer On.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Beer Review: Piraat Triple Hop | Belgian Strong Golden Ale

Brouwerij Van Steenberge is a Belgian brewery and even though they are considered a macro brewery, they make one of my favorite beers the Gulden Draak 9000 Quadruple which in my opinion is a wonderful; Belgian Quad. In fact it was that beer that really turned me onto many of the other Belgian ales, so seeing another one of their beers during a recent beer run was just about an automatic pickup for me.

Piraat Triple Hop is a Belgian Strong Golden Ale that comes in with alcohol content of 10.5% ABV, and as named features the use of four different hops that are brewed three times in the process. Saaz, tetra and aurora are used twice while the beer is being brewed in the brew house and then cascade is added for dry hopping. The goal is to produce a nice full bodied beer with a nice complex character.

This all being said, I looked forward to fully engaging this beer which did pour a lovely appearance out of the bottle and into the glass. Sadly for me though, that seemed to be the highlight before things took a somewhat expected turn which you can see in my video here.

It wasn’t that the beer was ultimately a bad one, and maybe I came in too high knowing the brewer was the producer of the Gulden Draak 9000. The aroma turned out to be less than expected and the flavor was okay, not bad but not great either. It was just there for me and together with the palate quality; it just stood as a solid beer for me but nothing to write home about in anyway. And because of this, this beer ended up being 73 out of 100 for me on my rating scale which you can see more about this by again, checking out the video where I go into more detail. I was hoping for better but it was what it was, and still a decent enough brew.

That all being said, thanks for checking out my latest post and check out the video for my full breakdown as mentioned. Cheers, and keep drinking…and oh yeah, Go Get Your Beer On!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Beer Review: Uinta Fest Helles | Seasonal German Style Lager

Fest Helles is a seasonal German-style Helles Lager that is offered from August through October by Uinta Brewing based out of Salt Lake City, Utah. It carries an alcohol content of 5.7% ABV and an IBU level of 21, and happens to be the subject of this review. Highlighted by a nice amber color, the beer brings in the breadiness that is expected and has a nice grassy appeal. For me I found this one to be an easily drinkable beer with its nice sweetness and just a touch of hop character. Without giving too much away, this one rated for me as 84 out of 100 and well worth checking out if you like Helles lagers.

See more on this beer by checking out my video here and as always, Cheers and Go Get Your Beer On!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Beer Review: Going Italian With Birra Moretti La Rossa

Feeling that I wanted something different, I decided to take a look at another bee from outside the United States. In doing so, I decided to take a look at one from an Italian brewery. La Rossa is a Doppelbock from Birra Moretti which is a macro brewery based in Udine, Italy and a subsidiary of Heineken. What caught my eye about this one was the fine label and presentation of the beer which had a nice distinguished look to it. Sometimes labels can do that and be the one thing that becomes an initial difference maker when choosing a beer, and in this case it led to my selection.

La Rossa has an alcohol content of 7.2% ABV placing it nicely into what is the initial lower range of what one tends to expect from a Doppelbock. The beer overall did well from its defined amber color appearance through its character of a beer which I did enjoy over the period of time. But as to not give too much away, check out my video here and see why this one for me rated as 82 out of 100 on my scale.

And as always Cheers…and remember to Go Get Your Beer On!

Press Release: Cleveland Winter Warmer Fest to Return in March

Winter Warmer Fest to Return in March

Popular annual event features strong and rare beers from Ohio craft breweries.

CLEVELAND – The Ohio Craft Brewers Association presents the 12th Annual Winter Warmer Fest at Windows on the River on Saturday, March 3rd from 2-5 p.m. Over 50 Ohio craft breweries will showcase their winter seasonal, limited-edition and high-gravity beers. The Winter Warmer Fest is a fundraiser for the Ohio Craft Brewers Association, a non-profit organization founded to promote, preserve and protect Ohio’s craft brewing industry.

Winter Warmer Fest will once again feature a cask area with several breweries offering special infusions available only at the event. Many of the brewers will be on hand throughout the day to meet and talk with Ohio craft beer enthusiasts. Ohio On Tap app users attending the event will receive five bonus passport stamps to redeem toward prizes.

The Black Sheep Pipes & Drums will welcome guests to the venue, while Cleveland musicians Austin Walkin’ Cane and Chris Allen will entertain guests during the event. Food trucks on site include Fired Up Taco TruckScott’s Fire and IceThe Manna Truck and Slyman’s Tavern.

Early bird discount tickets are available for $10 off list price if purchased by 12/31/2017.

General admission tickets are available in advance for $45 ($35 with early bird discount), which includes a souvenir glass and tasting tickets for 20 four-ounce samples. Early admission tickets are also available for $55 ($45 with early bird discount), granting admission at 1 p.m. Designated driver admission is available for $15 and includes a food voucher. Tickets can be purchased online at

Winter Warmer Fest is supported by Boelter BeverageBrewers Professional Alliance and Frantz Ward.

Founded in 2007, the Ohio Craft Brewers Association is a nonprofit guild that exists to promote and preserve Ohio’s unified craft brewing industry. We aspire to be recognized as the industry leader at both state and national levels for preserving the art of making high-quality, unique craft beer; to serve as the unified voice for craft brewers across the state; to advocate on behalf of the Ohio Craft beer industry; to contribute to systemic, local community development by driving economic and job growth, while creating experiences that bring people together; and to serve as a beacon for local production and manufacturing through craft beer, resulting in diverse choices for consumers.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Beer Jelly Review: House Of Webster Snake Bite American Pale Ale

This is a look at the second of the six beer jellies that I received from the House of Webster which is located in Rogers, Arkansas. Snake Bite is a craft beer jelly created using an American Pale Ale and is described as carrying a fresh hop flower savor. This should be another interesting one to try, so check out my video here and see what my thoughts are on this one.

Thanks again to the House of Webster for providing the jellies and check out their website here to see these and some of their other offerings:!


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Beer Jelly Review: House Of Webster Fox Head Belgian Wheat

Here is something a little different, a look at a jelly created with the use of craft beer. The Fox Head Belgian Wheat is one of the six beer jellies that I received recently from the House of Webster for me to look at and review. They are located in Rogers, Arkansas, and recently contacted me about checking out the jellies, which I appreciate and was happy to do.

Check out my video here to see my thoughts on this jelly and also check out the House of Webster. You can find their site here:!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Press Release: MadTree Launching New Can: Luna Lux - Dark Winter Beer Alternative

MadTree Launching New Can: Luna Lux - Dark Winter Beer Alternative

Luna Lux white IPA launch party features portable planetarium to raise money for space education

CINCINNATI (November 21, 2017)

MadTree Brewing is launching a new seasonal canned beer, Luna Lux white IPA, next week to complement Thundersnow and other traditional dark winter beers. While the brewery loves their spiced winter ales, they wanted to make something that could stand up to the cold weather but was still crisp and easy to drink. A white IPA brewed with coriander and lemon peel, Luna Lux’s name translates to ‘moon light’ as a nod to the beer’s style and color. Craft beer drinkers can expect light fruit flavors from the coriander, lemon peel, and hops, along with a crisp clove finish from the Belgian yeast.

To celebrate the new seasonal offering, MadTree is partnering with local not-for-profit, Drake Planetarium & Science Center, to bring a portable planetarium to the taproom launch party. The portable planetarium will take thirty people at a time on a 15-minute journey to space and the moon. A portion of all Luna Lux cans and merchandise sold in the MadTree Taproom on Tuesday, November 28 will be donated to the Drake Planetarium.

“We wanted to make a cold weather beer for those times when you’re not in the mood from something dark and heavy,” said Brady Duncan, MadTree co-founder. “The hops and coriander really shine in Luna Lux while the Belgian yeast character make it robust enough to carry you through the winter chill.”

The not-for-profit Drake Planetarium & Science Center’s mission is to provide a wide range of supplemental, active learning science programs that stress the learned use of higher order thinking skills necessary to function in today’s society. They are committed to offering age-appropriate, hands-on, fun oriented student participation in lab experiences that stress higher order thinking skills. Drake Science Center houses the Engineering and Lego® Labs, Summer Camps, Saturday Lego® Programs, and Lego® Birthday Parties. 

The launch party and portable planetarium shows will be held from 4PM to 8PM on Tuesday, November 28 in the MadTree taproom at 3301 Madison Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45209. The taproom launch party is the first opportunity to purchase six-packs priced at $10.50 each (tax included). Six-packs and draft Luna Lux will be available throughout Ohio and Kentucky beginning the week of December 4th.

About MadTree Brewing Company

Cincinnati’s MadTree Brewing made history when they opened in 2013 by becoming the first modern craft brewery to can its beer in Ohio. In February 2017 they opened a new $18M brewery, taproom, beer garden, and private event spaces in Cincinnati’s Oakley neighborhood. MadTree is known for focusing more on great tasting beers rather than following traditional brewing style guidelines. Their award-winning beers are distributed throughout Ohio by Cavalier Distributing and throughout Kentucky by Beer House Distributing. For more information about the beers, brewery, and taproom, visit or connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.

About Drake Planetarium & Science Center

Drake Planetarium & Science Center is operated by Tri-State Education & Technology Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit educational organization with the mission to provide exceptional STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) learning experiences for the youth of Greater Cincinnati. This is accomplished through Drake Planetarium, Drake Science Center, Environmental Education at Lindner Park, and outreach programs for area schools.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Beer Run: Trader Joe's Will It Be My Last One This Year?

The week to give thanks is upon us and today I decided to give thanks to a few breweries in the picking up of a good amount of their beers with a nice beer run to Trader Joe’s. It’s been a while since I have been to our Trader Joe’s here in Cincinnati, more so because of their location and proximity to me. But due to an errand, they were back on my radar again and I’m glad they were. I was able to find some great deals and check out my video to see some of them. The beer basement is looking real nice currently with some great finds, and an abundance of beers that may not have me looking again until 2018. Time will tell…

Cheers and remember to always take time and “Get Your Beer On!”

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Beer Review: MadTree Pilgrim

Once again I decided to take a look at one of our local beers and once again, it just happens to be a beer from MadTree Brewing. This time I am taking a look at one of their initial releases for 2017 which is Pilgrim. Highlighted as a fall ale, this beer is described as a lightly hopped pale ale with mix of flavors that are part of the holiday season. This includes cranberry along with vanilla with the goal of striking a nice balance against the Pilgrim hops that are used and of course the malts too. The alcohol content of this one is 5% ABV and the IBU level is 14. So what are my quick thoughts on this beer without really hitting on to the finer details which you can see in the video.

The beer itself for me didn’t really play as lightly hopped pale ale and was more reminiscent of other fall beers mainly lagers more than ales. With the low level of IBU, it was expected to not have too much bite which it didn’t and the malts did add a nice tone. The color of the beer was decent enough although the head was lacking for what to be expected. The taste was definitely decent enough, and it sits well with a nice body on it. However, the cranberries presence was a little more muted than expected, but the vanilla did come through nicely and there was a decent amount of duration on the flavor. Overall the beer provided a decent experience but expectations may want to be tempered in my opinion. Check out the video for more on this beer and see the other reasons why this one rated as 76 out of 100 for me.

And as always, Cheers…and Go Get Your Beer On!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Beer Review: MadTree Blood Orange Psychopathy

Hello and thanks for swinging by to check out my looking at another beer. With this review I decided to stay local, and check out the 6.2% ABV Blood Orange Psychopathy from MadTree Brewing. This is a variant of their India Pale Ale as it uses Blood Oranges in the fermentation process. The beer itself does pour a nice pretty golden color, although with my pour the head was a little lacking for what I was expecting. But you definitely get punched with the bitterness and there is the taste of tropical notes as well. The body was a nice medium level and the carbonation was there, but it wasn’t over carbonated by any means. Check out my video though to see more of the intricacies that I discuss about this one and why I rate this 82 out 100 on my scale.

Cheers…and Go Get Your Beer On!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Give Me Five With Black Line Star Brewing

Recently I was contacted by one of my craft beer friends in California about a brewery that I should check out based in North Carolina. The beer world has no sense of operation, lol, as I am in Kentucky and my friend on the West Coast had to clue me in on a brewery that’s pretty much next door to me. Well, no one ever said the grapevine made sense. This being said, the name of the brewery is Black Star Line Brewing and they are based out of Hendersonville, North Carolina. And I have to tell you, I am highly intrigued by many reasons but I don’t want to give you too much too soon. But I love their thinking behind the brewery and the thought processes behind the beers that are being brewed. The craft beer world is always recreating itself to try to stay different, but what has not changed as much has been that of the diversity of it. And I admire and love Black Star Line for challenging this.

But before I get into the “Give Me Five” questions let me give you a little back drop to why I am intrigued and hopefully you will be as well. As a Black person that often drinks craft beer, I often come across pieces asking about where are the Black people of craft beer. It really is an annoying question in my opinion, but it is one that we as Black craft beer drinkers I think get used to over time. Fact is though, there are many that do drink craft beer but those that are asking just aren’t aware in my opinion. However, not having many faces in the front of the breweries and as visible is something that I believe leads to this misunderstanding or lack of knowledge. Hopefully over time this well change and with the likes of breweries like Black Star Line Brewing, I am optimistic about it being so. This all being said, let’s get into the “Give Me Five” and learn more about Black Star Line Brewing.

1) When did the brewery become established?

Black Star Line Brewing Company began in the mind of founder at the age of 15. L.A. McCrae is a visionary who is often inspired by their dreams. They (their preferred gender pronouns) had a dream about creating a 24/7 community center that would incorporate aspects of entrepreneurship, collective work, religion/spirituality, liberation, healing, organizing, performing arts, and more. Over the years, L.A. has been working on manifesting this idea of “Home” wherever they are. While an undergraduate student, L.A. worked to create the community they had been dreaming about for years. Later, they co-created a spiritual community, the Village Project S, in Southeast Baltimore County. While living in Western Massachussetts, L.A. and their community created TRY/IBE, which moved even closer to manifesting the full vision of home. It was while L.A. was collaborating with a group of entrepreneurs in Knoxville (2014), that the vision became refined.

While in Knoxville, L.A. was engaged in several networking groups including the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce, BNI, and the Total Networking Team (TNT). They also founded the Knoxville LGBT Chamber of Commerce. Quickly, L.A. realized that many of these meetings were happening and bars and breweries where there was almost comical homogeneity behind the bars and making the beers. At this point, L.A. noticed that the culture followed that of the mainstream culture and that those who did not share this particularly demographic were often invisible and absent. L.A.’s background in pastoral ministry, community organizing, and collective economics led them to understand their dream of creating “Home” in a new lens. The idea of having this place called “Home” was to gather together those who were often pushed to the margins of society. To create safe space, to hold sacred space, and to be Sanctuary.

At this time, L.A. was working Downtown Knoxville (TN). Many entrepreneurs, community members, and friends would gather in L.A.’s office on Friday afternoons to unwind, share space, build in community, and “just be.” Folks would remark that it often the only place they could be themselves and connect with people from different walks of life. Essentially, L.A. and their entrepreneurial colleagues had effectively laid the groundwork for “Home.” One Friday afternoon, L.A. and Jon Coffee were talking about, what is now called our “liberation libations” and having a vision of a bar named “Spiritz.” This would be a “whosoever” bar that would exist at these various intersections. That conversation happened in the Fall of 2014.

L.A. fell in love and crossed the mountains from Knoxville into Asheville, NC. While in Asheville, the dream and the vision began to come into alignment and manifest into the seeds of the whosoever brewery, now known as Black Star Line Brewing Co.

Over the course of the next year, L.A. had the opportunity to share their vision of Home with those who would listen. One person in particular, Steve Cooperman, was inspired and helped L.A. refine the vision and make it actionable. By March 2016, Black Star Line Brewing Co. had been named and began to manifest! Over the course of the next year and a half, L.A. and Steve would spend countless hours designing the future, looking for funding for the vision, and incubating the idea of a community center brewery.

Black Star Line Brewing Company has an “official” birthday of May 17, 2017. May 17 was chosen symbolically as this is the date of the Brown v Topeka Board of Education decision that declared “separate but equal” as unconstitutional. Similarly, Black Star Line Brewing Co. radically proclaims that “separate but equal” is not acceptable in the brewing industry either. The name “Black Star Line” comes from the historical legacy of the company started by Marcus Garvey of the Universal Negro Improvement Association. The brewery “dropped its anchor” in Hendersonville, NC on October 12, 2017.

2) How did you come about starting the brewery?

L.A. started the brewery by answering the calling to ministry at a very young age. For the founder, this is not just about making great beers this is about connecting with people at the core of their souls so we can practice collective healing and liberation. This is a whosoever bar and brewery where all are welcome. L.A. is self-taught and listened to the guidance of their family and ancestors as they designed recipes and followed their intuition. They refined their skills and continued to seek advice and wise counsel from new found friends in the brewing industry. Without a doubt, the brewery could not have been started without the mentorship of Steve Cooperman and the tutelage and friendship of Joe Dinan and Lisa McDonald of Sanctuary Brewing Co..

3) What makes the brewery unique?

There are many ways that Black Star Line Brewing Co. is unique!

  • We are the founders of the #sweetbeermovement that intentionally offer sweet and less hop forward beers to appeal to those who are not usually craft beer drinkers and to offer beers that are in alignment with the palettes of those from the African diaspora
  • This beer is inspiring and motivating a movement of folks who had never supported craft breweries, who were not fans of craft breweries, and who felt as if craft breweries did not represent them and their communities.
  • Our commitment to supporting the transformational healing and liberation for our people and communities is demonstrated by our community engagement work, our monthly offerings, and our dynamic collaborations through 314 West.
  • We are inviting socially conscious economic development with an empowerment focus.
  • People really enjoy and appreciate the intentionality with each brew process, the naming, and the ritual of giving birth to new brew babies.
  • We have grown out of the roots of a rich historical legacy.
  • Our products uniquely stand apart from others in the industry while maintaining a high quality
  • It is the first out, Black, queer woman owned and operated brewery. 
  • People are excited about the Black Star Line brand as a grassroots movement that is birthing an unapologetically Black and queer brewing operation that has the potential to be the largest employer for Black LGBTQ folks in the region and thus providing pathways out of poverty for those involved.
  • We’re both a “least of these” brewery and a “whomsoever” brewery

The value our products/services give the customer groups

  • 1: A sense of individual and collective community tastes reflected in each of the brew cycles
  • 2: An opportunity for clients and businesses to participate in a movement of collective economics and liberation for marginalized and disenfranchised individuals and communities
  • 3: A sense of belonging, value, and life-affirming products and spaces in a broader movement to create healing and empowerment zones

Products are different from competitors this way:

  • 1: Sourced from people of color communities first, no-harm, reduced-to-no waste processes and products
  • 2: Business, as well as its leadership, partners, investors, and collaborators, are radically committed to social justice, healing, and collective liberation as evidenced by corporate and individual work and donations
  • 3: Opportunities for education and intellectual emancipation with each product – sharing historical facts and opportunities for direct engagement – create #blackbrewculture area with market, such as tap handles

What Makes Us Unique

1. Social and Economic Justice Focus

The social mission of Black Star Line Brewing Co. is core to what makes us unique.
We believe in “Ujamaa”, which is the ability to “build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other business and profit from them together.” Ujamaa is the fourth principal of Kwanzaa and a reminder about collective living and interdependence. Cultivating collective opportunities and prosperity (financially, spiritually, and otherwise) are the goals of Black Star Line Brewing Co. It is our intention to partner with local businesses and organizations to assist job-ready candidates in creating financial stability and economic freedom.

All employees, particularly those who have been left behind due to politics of pigment, would be paid a true living wage - no less than $15/hour and then adjusted for inflation. We also hope to provide a robust benefits package with certification and degree assistance programs. In addition, the brewery staff would not discriminate based on criminal records which are often barriers to employment and economic liberation in people of color communities. In addition to filling a need in the community, we will be strengthening our brand.

A percentage of proceeds will be donated to local community initiatives and/or organizers that have a social and economic justice focus. Ideally, these monies will flow to support other micro-enterprises through the 314 West collaboration.

The brewing operation will help establish us as a hub for social justice activity in WNC. Our tasting room, Larry’s Lounge, will be a unique, multicultural, progressive gathering spot for activists, artists, educators, community organizers, and others that uses the model of the successful, ever-expanding DC-based Busboys and Poets: a social justice concept restaurant and bar. We will host regular social and cultural events such as performances, live music, speaking engagements, meetings, drum circles, fundraisers, more. Our goal is to promote cultural diversity in Hendersonville & Burke County, to create a more unified community. We intend to be a safe space, a sanctuary, for all movements, organizations, and activists. We will welcome people “home.”

We will also partner with other minority owned businesses and organizations to create a professional network. We will create a robust professional organization, in collaboration with our community partners, to serve as a clearinghouse, mentoring, networking, and referral organization. Western North Carolina does not have a Black or LGBT chamber of commerce. We aim to take the lead in cultivating community and professional excellence through this grassroots movement of collective economics, liberation, and community building. At our core, we take community development seriously and encourage other local businesses and business owners to do the same. We are invested in community, in the building up of people who have historically been torn down, and in the liberation of souls. To that end, we are founding the “Black Brewers’ Guild” and hosting the first gathering in the Fall of 2017.

2. Historical Legacy

A strength of the business is the historical legacy that the brewery builds upon.

First, we will be the first Black queer woman brewing operation. The brewery name comes from the Black Star Line (1919−1922), which was a shipping line incorporated by Marcus Garvey, the organizer of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), and other members of the UNIA. The shipping line was created to facilitate the transportation of goods and eventually African Americans throughout the African global economy. The Universal Negro Improvement Association gave birth to movements and organizations around the country such as the Montgomery Improvement Association. Black Star Line Brewing Co., models itself after the ideas of the early UNIA and the modern-day movement for the liberation of Black lives, the Black Lives Matter movement.

3. Quality & Uniqueness of Products

Several factors contribute to the quality and uniqueness of BSLB products.

We will focus on unique flavors, styles and aromas that are not available anywhere else in the area. Natural herbs and fruit flavorings will be used to give a twist to basic beverage flavors. When possible, local herbs will be used. We will also make efforts to source materials, equipment, and ingredients from other marginalized folks across the United States. We will be the first brewery in the area that is producing and serving indigenous African-style beer and our version of pulque, and one of the first producing ginger beer. Pulque is an alcoholic beverage made from the fermented sap of the agave plant. This sacred Aztec drink is traditional to central Mexico, where it has been produced for millennia.

We will also focus on developing beers in the style of indigenous cultures from around the world as we use the beers as an opportunity for cultural education. One of the major aspects of the craft beer world is community. People enjoy their favorite beer with friends and family. We are seeking to continue in that tradition and make the circle even wider by inviting the community to be a part of the brewing process.

With the “open” brewery and tasting room, community members will be able to see each stage of the brewing process as we cultivate Umoja (unity) and Ujima (collective work and responsibility). Additionally, the members of our brewery incubator will have the honor and privilege of being a “guest brewer” and seeing their beers on draft each month.

Our production process will also be unique. The process will combine time-honored art of classical craft brewing with carefully applied state-of-the-art modern methods. Our beers will be handmade from an all malt mash in our uniquely built brew house.

In addition, we will be the only pico-to-nano sized brewery in town and one of very few pico breweries in existence.

A nano-brewery usually uses a 7.5 barrel system, 1/3 to 1/10th the size of a microbrewery, and produces beer at the rate of a few batches a week, which puts the total output of a nano-brewery at 1,000 barrels per year. A pico-brewery is even smaller. The common definition for pico-brewery is a brewery that uses a 1-3 barrel system to produce 200 to 1000 barrels a year. This means a brew pub and nano-brewery produce about the same volume of beer each year. We intend to grow to the size of a microbrewery within 3 years.

As we have realized, there is a gaping need in the craft beer community for small start-up breweries and craft breweries with a 7.5 barrel system or less. We intend to take Ujima seriously! We will assist other small (specifically pico and nano sized) breweries as they are in the dreaming, designing, and launching process of their business through our Business Incubator program.

Additionally, it is our intention to be able to produce raw materials on urban farms as well as the equipment small brewers need. In later years, we will partner with business schools, technology institutes, and organizations like the National Society of Black Engineers, Society of Women Engineers, and the National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals, Inc. It is our goal to make craft brewing more accessible for those who have a passion and Nia (purpose) to create opportunities for marginalized and disenfranchised persons to enter the industry. Therefore, costs must be reduced. By producing items like hops, berries, and grains, not only will we be able to offer more jobs with pride and educational opportunities, but also affordable ways to brew. Moreover, collaborating with engineers and holding contests to design more affordable small batch systems that are employing green technologies, is not only a “win” for the start-up but a “win” for our environment.

It is our goal to continually reduce our carbon-footprint, while building community: doing something that we love. We encourage and invite our local brewers and businesses to think about ways that we create “low waste” and “no harm” brewing systems.

It should also be noted that apprentices will have an opportunity for a robust on-the-job training program, access to experienced industry leaders, and use of the Sanctuary at the Lake in Lake Lure for resting, centering self-care as a testament to our company’s commitment to emotional justice and radical self-care.

4) Where do you envision the brewery heading in the future?

It would be our expectation that the operation will meet production demands for the first 18 to 24 months. After that, additional production, sanitizing (low waste), canning, and bottling, facilities would be secured. We are hoping to secure a flagship location in Charlotte, North Carolina. This facility would be large enough for us to scale up our production, as well as provide space for our wine and whiskey (in future years).

By year three, we would hope to be in a position to not only be growing our own hops, but to also be selling them to other local and national breweries. By the end of our 4th year, we hope to begin planting for a Black Star Line wine small batch line. By the end of year 5, it is our hope that we can begin making small batches of whiskey and other liqueurs.

We believe that the model can be replicable in other cities. For instance, in Baltimore City, the model lends itself to a partnership with the Baltimore Blacks in Wax Museum, beers would focus on Baltimore and Maryland natives such as Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, and so forth.
It would be our hope that this model would be developed first in cities where there are large people of color populations. Similar to the Busboys and Poets model in Washington, D.C., this brewery, coffee house, bookstore, bar concept partnered with social justice activism and a living history project, is absolutely essential to creating Black enterprise in economic depressed areas. Through the various partnerships BSLB would forge, these economic depressed areas would be turned into economic empowerment zones and stations of liberation and hope.

The first cities targeted for expansion would include Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville, Baltimore, Charlotte, Philadelphia, Oakland, Atlanta, and DC.

One of the judges at Brewbound mentioned that our plan was aggressive. Indeed it is! We are aggressively pursuing our liberation and manifesting vibrant communities with hope!

5) How many offerings does the brewery provide?

We’re pretty ambitious brewers! To that end, we have over 25 recipes on rotation! Our tap room can, hold 14 beers at a time. For our Grand Opening, we’ll have the following beers as our lineup:

  1. Honey Cream Ale
  2. The Lorde Honey Pilsner
  3. Creamsickle Ale (Vanilla, Orange, Honey Ale)
  4. Dat Dere Ginger Beer (Flagship)
  5. Stokely Stout (Flagship)
  6. Amber’s Ale
  7. Pullman Porter
  8. Lil Sneak Hot Honey Saison
  9. Prusia IPA
  10. Karma Citra IPA
  11. Smokey’s Table Porter
  12. True Tale Pale Ale
  13. Momma D’s Brown Ale
  14. Black Belgian Triple

6) Conclusion

Black Star Line Brewing has a lot going on for sure and I say if you find yourself down in this part of North Carolina and Appalachian country then jump on board and cruise on through and not only may you find some pretty good beer, but you may gain some other knowledge on things which you may not be aware. Thanks for checking out another "Give Me Five" and here is one more link to their site for you to check out:! Cheers, and Keep Getting Your Beer On!

L.A. McCrae - Black Star Line Founder
Footnote: See more on Black Star Line Brewing from this piece done by Vice which provides another nice rundown of the brewery and served as the piece that got my interested initially:

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