Category Archives: Rants

Dropping the Ball

Before I get into anything, Jon Stewart rules it. Hard.

So, imagine this: You’re going into the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day. The Holy Day. You’re thinking about what you need to have in stock. What do you think of? Guinness? Of course. Everyone needs Guinness on St. Patty’s. Hell, I almost need it just to keep my sanity. Think of other Irish beers you’d see as necessities…

…Does Harp come to mind? Yes? Not a tough one to think of, is it? Then how exactly in the hell did our distributor not think to have enough Harp around to get through the goddamn holiday! That’s insane. It’s stupid. It’s dropping the goddamn ball, plain and simple.

That’s the theme of the day, folks. Dropping the ball. I’ve been doing it a lot lately. I’ve let myself become bogged down and have ignored the fun I have writing my little rants on the interwebs. Well, things are gonna change around here.

First: I will no longer be writing exclusively about beer. I am a wine lover as well, and with my job currently focusing on wine I feel like expounding upon it once in a while in ways that would get me stared at or even fired at work. So keep an eye out for posts under the the banner of Corkscrewed, as these will be wine related.

Second: I have way too many hobbies. I watch too much TV, know too much about movies and sports and annoy easily. I used to have a blog that dealt with all of these, but I feel like I should expand the Beermonger experience. Get ready to know me a little better. Protection is recommended.

Third: I really don’t mean to go away for so long. It’s just really easy to let shit get in the way. Bear with me while I sort out some stuff on the site, and then we’ll get to the fun.


Youtube Clip of the Week: Why I Do What I Do

Paul F. Tompkins, we speak your name.

Here he provides the Youtube Clip of the Week, explaining the joy of being a grown-up with regards to beer.


Ok, so apparently I waited a little too long to submit this week’s column and I missed the deadline. Oh well, it is what it is (that’s for my fiance, who has recently taken to constant vocal disdain of that phrase). But Local Kicks‘ loss is your gain, as you all get a (very) revised and uncensored version of this week’s column.
Without further ado…

The Beermonger: Mahalo, M&*%#*f*$&@^!!!

So it’s August and yet again I think about the beach. I think about vacations and relaxing and all those things that other people do. August is my most cynical month of the year: It’s been seven years since my last legitimate vacation. Seven years of hauling ass to try to pass for ‘getting by’ in Dick Cheney’s America. August is when I feel it the most. August is the last chance for escape. But with a full schedule of events and beers, there’s no hope for me yet again this year. From September on I won’t really have time to think too much about being tired or wanting a break as it’s practically a dead sprint through the holidays for those of us in retail. It’ll be one arrival or festival or tasting after another until one day I’ll wake up and it’s January 1st and I have inventory to count while massively hungover. Amid all of this daydreaming and envy comes the recent arrival of beers from Hawaii’s Kona Brewing Company.

Hawaii. Land of Spam and honey. A wild Technicolor-shirted endless summer surf dream where it’s sunny and beautiful everyday. Poi. Polynesian/Asian/American foods smashing into each other creating fascinating new flavors and dishes not to be found anywhere else in nature. Slack Key lap steel laid back wonder. Hawaiian chicks…

Aloha means Im single...

"Aloha" means "I'm single"...

So yeah, I’m stuck in the middle of the swamp that is the Mid-Atlantic wishing against wishes that I could get away and what shows up? Hawaiian beer. Someone up there is pissing on me. I figured I should try the beers, at least. Glad I did.

Kona was founded on the big island in 1994 by the father and son team of Cameron Healy and Spoon Khalsa. Their beers reflect where they’re from. They’re easy yet complex, expressing that aura of beach life that is the rush of everything important and massive in the universe being condensed into the simple chant of tides and the breeze.

Longboard Lager is smooth and refreshing—great for us as we enter the dog days of summer. It has a nice hoppiness that gives it a crispy edge. Longboard is a great beer for hanging outside or for a lawn work break. I could see it on a newspaper-covered table as my family works its way through a bushel of crabs or three. If every lager were as fine and round and clean as this one, what a world this would be. Think of all the clean feel of an Oberon or Hop Sun with the flavor of the freshest Lager you ever pulled from your dad’s cooler when he wasn’t looking.

Fire Rock Pale Ale is a “Hawaiian-style” Pale Ale that has a slightly copper color as a result of its malt addition. On top of that it has a forward but balanced hop character that satisfies the hophead without being too much for the average drinker. I’d rate the hoppiness somewhere between Sierra Nevada Pale and the new recipe Lagunitas Dogtown. In the same way that Clipper City’s Loose Cannon is a perfectly balanced IPA (even though it’s not called an IPA), Fire Rock is a perfectly balanced Pale Ale.

The beer I’ve found most interesting so far is Wailua Wheat Ale. Named for a waterfall on Maui, Wailua is a bright wheat beer that is brewed with passion fruit, giving it a slightly bitter but sweet flavor that is absolutely perfect for the summer. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Wailua Wheat; I’m pretty familiar with passion fruit and know that it’s an intense flavor that can easily be overwhelming. But the wheat seems to round out the passion fruit without the brewers having to add a cloying amount of sugar to make it work. This is the more obvious comparison to beers like Oberon, but the fruit takes it someplace else. It’s very clever and very well done.

Redhook Brewery representative Stacey Huffman will be joining me at Rick’s Wine & Gourmet this Saturday, August 9th from 12-5PM to help me introduce the Kona beers and show off Redhook’s Sunrye summer seasonal (which I haven’t tried yet but I’m a sucker for rye beers, so…). Then again, maybe you’re out of town, enjoying the summer, pool or beachside sucking down some kind of iced cocktail without a care in the world. In which case, go fuck yourself. I kid, I kid—enjoy. really.

If you’re in town, however, swing by and try some of these great Hawaiian brews with me. We’ll bitch and gripe and moan about how we all deserve a month-long vacation every year and rail against the upper class for the sport of it. Then again, I work about 10 minutes from Old Town, so maybe I’ll put a cork in the workers’ revolution. Either way, come by and check these beers out—it won’t be white sands and blue waters, but it’ll be fun anyway. Until next time.


p.s. This is very much the ‘Director’s Cut’ version of the column I’d originally written. This would never get published on Local Kicks. I have to admit, I had a lot more fun with this.

I know, I know…

It’s been a while. I’ve been a little busy and since it’s Monday (my day off) I’m not gonna do much about that. Sorry. Coming soon:

-Thought on the Savor experience

-New beer reviews

-Getting arrested for flicking a cigarette butt

-Memorial Day madness

In the meantime, much love and get well soon to Dick Dale. Dick is one of my all-time favorite guitar players and from every report I’ve heard an all-around amazing guy. The one-and-only King of the Surf Guitar, Dick Dale is also a licensed exotic animal handler and pyrotechnic whiz. Beat that. Recently he announced that he was battling a remission of rectal cancer, the cancer that doctors told him 40 years ago he wouldn’t be able to beat. Dale inspired Hendrix to write Third Stone From the Sun. He’s done more than 100 men’s job as far as keeping rock n’ roll alive. He sounds like no one else. Here’s to the man.

Also, we lost one of the giants, Bo Diddley. Bo passed on this morning at the age of 79. One of the first, the pioneers. A true icon, not like some who get that word thrown at them today. Bo earned his legend with is signature rhythm. I mean, do you know how badass you are when a friggin beat is named for you? The thing about Bo that always got to me was his tone. This clip says it all really: what appears to be 4 Bassman half-stacks cranked with Bo using two and “The Duchess” Norma-Jean Wofford on the other. Raw, clean but hairy. Bo’s sound had it all. Not to mention being the king of the third-person. The two songs in the vid here are “Hey, Bo Diddley” and “Bo Diddley”. He was Doug Williams before Doug Williams was Doug Williams.

Ok, that’s enough for today. Promise I’ll keep a better schedule this week.