Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Journey Begins

Hey everyone!

Short Video today because I haven't gotten around to the beer share I did in Key West.

As you all know... cause I can't shut up about it... we raised $5K for Reef Relief during our party in Key West this year.

We call it the Conched in Key West Bar Crawl, and you can be a part of it.

This is the time to start thinking about how you will get there, and this is the time to start stashing some cash to make it reality!

Awesome trips like this may seem out of reach, but if you are like me, you skip lunch here and there, tuck that $10 in an envelope, have two beers at the bar instead of 4, and stash that $15... before long, my plane ticket is paid for and I'm ready to expand my palate and try new things!

Here is a short video of the beginning of my trip back to Key West!

(Indulge me and watch the video!)



~Cheers!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A day in the life!

The day before we crawled Duval in Key West Florida, Kahuna’s Chick and I got to take in a little culture as well as add a new friend to the 4 a.m. Club!

Our day began with breakfast at Jack’s in the lobby of the LaConcha hotel. This is significant because my current favorite literary character Buck Riley lived at the LaConcha in the books Red Right Return and Green to Go.  Eggs and sausage fueled us up for a day of exploring Key West.

We walked along the water front, from the end of Duval to Mallory Square, then through the “Truman Annex,” where President Truman spent his time in Key West. We saw real Pirate treasure, locals fishing for their lunch, and a LOT of chickens!

We strolled to the Mile Marker “0” on US 1. Again, somewhat of an iconic symbol of Key West. To me, significant because no journey can begin without a beginning.... And everything starts at 0!

We soon met up with RumShopRyan and his Lady friend Erin, and strolled the jewelry stores of Key West. Pirate Treasure... The REAL DEAL! Was what we were after!

 We found treasures from sunken ships (Including the Atocha which is also part of Green To Go) pirates and overland travels. Pieces of Eight, Gold, Silver, Cannons and pistols! Unfortunately... Nothing that fit my budget for this trip!

We ended the morning at the Boat House to finalize details about the crawl. I should point out that it takes a lot of hard work to have this much fun! Everyone rocked it, but damn... Some of our organizers... Shawn... Mike... Carl.... Lyndsey... Ryan.... (Um.... ) Really put hours on end into making this weekend a success!

Post organizational meeting, Jessica and I strolled to the room, grabbed a bit of cash and headed to the Hemingway House Museum. More on that later, because what happened after a shower and dinner was amazing!

The evening’s journey began (Remember, everything has a beginning!) at Kelly’s Bar and grill! Kelly’s is a truly unique joint not because they brew great beer, but because of the history! The building is the birthplace of Pan Am Airlines, and is now owned by Kelly McGillis... Charlie from Top Gun!

We drank Rum! Lots of it. Thanks to the work put forth by Sponsor Robert Burr and Rob’s Rum Guide. Rob and Republic National Distribution put on a very swank affair with Rum Punch, Bottles of rum for sipping, wonderful Hors d'oeuvres and God only knows what else that I missed! 
FWIW, Cockspur 12 was my favorite of the evening(That I can get and afford) but there was many to chose from!

The evening was a HUGE Success if it stopped at the Rum Tasting! But thankfully it didn’t!
On To The Tuna! Smoking Tuna Bar did a blasted phenomenal job of hosting our “PreParty” for the crawl! Beer, Rum.... Iced Whiskey shots and a GREAT BAND all done up in true Key West Style! I LOVE THIS BAR!

After the pre-party, the Kahuna Party started! Goal... 4 A.M. At the southernmost point in the United States of America!

We call it the 4 A.M. Club and a new member joined on Friday night! Thanks Brandy.... And Welcome!

Check in later for more, and have a great rest of the week!
~Cheers!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Shouting Out!

Short shout to the Conched in Key West Bar Crawl.

I have been working on planning this event, along with Mike from Rum Connection, Shawn from Coastlines and Tan Lines, Carl from Conch Republic Bikinis and Go2TheKeys, RumShopRyan, Lyndsey from Team Cocktail and a whole slew of sponsors, for most of a year.

I would be remiss to not use up a blog post to say congratulations!

To the organizers, I say thank you!
It took an amazing amount of work and effort to make this happen!

To the bars who hosted us, I say WORD! You guys ROCKED IT! Seriously. We had a great time everywhere we went!

To the Sponsors.... Thanks from the bottom of my Reef! As a Colorado Boy who learned to SCUBA at 8, got PADI certified as a Jr. Open Water Diver at 12, Advanced Open Water at 14 and Search and Rescue certified by 16.... I have got to tell you that I certainly appreciate your donations and efforts to Reef Relief!

To our Platinum Sponsor Rob’s Rum Guide.... I have no words. I just shoot you a solid smile and say...  “Arrrrrrrr!”
Thanks Rob!

Yes, A full recap will come, pictures and such. But really.... I’m just unwinding from this. It could take a while. It could take DAYS!

I just wanted to take time to immediately thank everyone who gave me the inspiration and reason to go to Key West, Stay at the La Concha (Like Buck Riley) and have a great time!

~Cheers

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Beer Share

Well, I had so much fun sharing beer with you on Tuesday that I decided we needed another! And since this here beer has been taking up room in my beer fridge for a while, I decided that today was the day!

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, Children of all ages (Over 21) and Pū'ali koa everywhere... feast your eyes on the beer glass in the center ring, I give you.... Tart Lychee from New Belgium Brewing in Ft. Collins Colorado.

Pouring a dark straw color, it forms a nice thick foamy head that recedes to a steady white blanket to protect the surface and brings you an alluring fruit filled sour nose with not a hint of hops and a mild lemon whang.

The first sip is rather surprisingly full bodied from what I’ve read about this beer. There are hints of strawberry, wheat, melon and that distinctive, yet light sour character that New Belgium is becoming so well known for.

The more I sip, the more I think I’m detecting somewhat of a citrus character just as I swallow. There is also a nice wood-aged character that is really not in the forefront, but is easily detectable.

This little sour beer is seriously refreshing. I wish I had tried this earlier this summer when I was mowing and grilling!

I have not the faintest clue what the hell a Lychee is, but they say it’s sweet as candy and cloying in everything it touches.  But in this beer, it’s subtle, brings a nice sugar balance to the New Belgium
Sour flavor and plays nicely with what I can easily say is a very fruity whit beer base.

The finish is long, fruity, mildly sour and quite satisfying.

As the beer warms up, and you know I always let a beer warm up a bit, there becomes a subtle cinnamon wave that blends with the tropical fruitiness and kicks in right at the front as the beer hits your palate.

Having checked New Belgium’s web page, they did use cinnamon sticks in this brew... But I don’t think it was very many.

This is a solid sour beer that is easy to like and hard to critique. There really isn’t anything wrong with it, and I don’t know if I’d change anything about it even if I had a magic wand. It’s just really likable.

Is it the best sour ever? No. Is it the best sour I’ve had today... YEAH! It Is!

IF you see it, try it! On the Kahuna scale of 1-10, I would give this thing a SOLID Hell Yeah I want another!

Have a great weekend.

~Cheers!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Red Poppy

Today is a day to share a beer... don’t you agree?

I am sharing with you a Lost Abbey Red Poppy Ale.

If you’re not familiar with Lost Abbey, YOU SHOULD BE!

I first became acquainted with the brewery when the head brewer @TheTomme Aka Tomme Arthur started following me on the Twitter. Another success of social media and a company honcho that is willing to interact with the fans! I may have been YEARS before developing interest in Lost Abbey had it not been for Tomme interacting with me on Twitter.

I was excited to try their brews at GABF a few years ago, and have never had one that I didn’t think surpassed expectations.

Because of my personal experience with them, I had no hesitation picking up a bottle of Red Poppy Ale. I saw it on the shelf, it had a pretty red flour on the label and it said “LOST ABBEY” What else do you need?

Pouring a dark, rich red-amber color, the beer formed a funny caramel colored, rocky head that was actually a surprise in itself, but depleted to nothing but a ring around the edge within moments.

The low carbonation level was first illustrated to me when I broke the cork trying to coax it from the bottle. This has never happened to me before. I ended up using a cork screw to get the rest of it out, and there was not but the slightest hiss of carbonation when I finally forced the cork out. I was afraid that the bottle was bad.

The nose is wonderfully sour and funky with slightly vanilla-oak note. I must admit that I did not detect the cherry in the nose. I didn’t even know it had cherries IN IT until I looked it up online after I drank it. One of the dangers of going into a beer that you know nothing about and trying to share it in a blog post.

First sip is thin. Really thin! With an acidic tartness that I was hoping for from the smell.

Not much malt, just really sour and funky. Not really fruity... but there is a nice sour cherry background and a perceived sweetness at the back of the palate. I say perceived because this beer is DRY and NOTHING is “Sweet” about it.

As this brew warms slightly, the malt begins to come through and it is a wonderfully balanced beam of greatness that makes me glad that I made it through Monday!

As it warms even more, I begin to detect a faint “Breaddy” note. This flavor profile reminds me of a crusty piece of sourdough bread dipped in a balsamic vinaigrette dressing at the end of a fabulous salad. I can almost see the candle light flickering and the crisp white linen table cloth. This isn’t the kind of flavor you find at home during Monday Night Football! This is top quality, mid-winter, special night out on the town with your wife kind of flavor.

As I continue to sip this 5.5% brew, I must say that the more I sip, the more I want about a dozen of these in the cellar to age out over the next few years. Not that it isn’t wonderful the way it is, but just to see how it changes and morphs.

The finish is short, tart and without drama. This beer is pretty much everything I look for in a sour!

Without getting overly excited about a beer that is giving me heartburn faster than a politician looking for a paycheck, I have to tell you that this beer is really setting LaFolie back a notch.

I have said for years that LaFolie is my favorite sour beer, and perhaps my favorite beer of all time. But this bottle of Lost Abby is definitely making me re-think that statement.

If you like sour beer, I would suggest that you NEVER walk by a  bottle of Red Poppy! There simply is not enough words in my limited vocabulary to explain it’s deep, rich, complex and tart character.

If you don’t like sour beer... Well, I’m just sad for you.... And I hope you’ll change your mind some day.

Perhaps if ultra premium sour and barrel aged craft isn’t your glass of beer, you’ll likely find something you like that is WAY more mainstream in their sister company, Port Brewing.

Look them up, give them a try! On the Kahuna Scale of 1-10 I give Red Poppy Ale a solid “Drink it or die trying!”

~Cheers

Thursday, September 13, 2012


PARTY WITH A PURPOSE!


We’re just a few days away from the best bar crawl on the planet!
In-fact, one week from today, I am leaving on a jet plane! (Sorry... Couldn't resist)

The Conched in Key West Bar Crawl! On behalf of all of the sponsors and Reef Relief we thank everyone who has registered for this year’s event. 

It’s time to party with a purpose as we crawl our way down Duval and raise money for a great local charity, Reef Relief. 

Below is the schedule of events for the weekend. That’s right we’re not just crawling on Saturday, we have a full weekend of events planned and would love for you to join us! 

Also, below you’ll find some additional information about the weekends activities. We hope you’ll join us for them all, but if not, no worries! We’ll see you on Saturday, or next year!

If you have any questions please feel free to contact Lyndsey at Lyndsey@teamcocktail.com or Shawn at smdmartin@gmail.com.

NOTES:
CRUZAN RUM CUP - Thanks to Cruzan everyone who is registered for the crawl will receive a Cruzan rum cup which is good for Cruzan Rum based cocktails at a special price. You will receive your cup either at the pre-party on Friday night (see schedule) or Saturday at the crawl. Cruzan Rum drink specials are available at the following bars Friday - Sunday: 

Margaritaville 
 Rick’s Cafe
Dirty Harry’s 
 Rum Berrel
Sunset Pier  
Jack’s
The Top at La Concha  
Cowboy Bills
The Lazy Gecko
Tattoo’s & Scars
Conch Republic Seafood  
JDL’s Big Ten

WRISTBANDS - Make sure you check in and receive a blue wristband from Lyndsey at the first bar. If you’re meeting up with us later in the crawl that’s no problem. Just make sure you check in. The wristband will ensure that you receive drink specials at all of the participating bars.

CRAWL T-SHIRTS - We encourage everyone to wear their Conched in Key West Bar Crawl t-shirts that are included in your registration. Great for pictures and fun to see a sea of Green as we crawl our way down Duval. Plus it makes it much easier for us to track everyone that is a part of the event. If for some reason you can’t or don’t want to wear your shirt be sure to have on your wristband.

RAFFLE FOR REEF RELIEF - At each of the bars sponsors will be raffling off t-shirts, hats, koozies, party packages, rum and more. 100% of all raffle ticket sales will benefit Reef Relief. You may want to bring a little extra cash for raffle and donations!

THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS! 

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 21
Republic National Distributing Company Rum Tasting
8pm - 10pm
Kelly’s Caribbean Bar, Grill & Brewery 

301 Whitehead Street, Key West 

Join us for a special rum tasting event at Kelly’s Caribbean Barl! RNDC will be providing light appetizers and lots of great rum for tasting & cocktails. They will also have one of their professional mixologists behind the bar creating some great libations!

KWCrawl Pre-Party
9pm - Close Smokin’ Tuna Saloon
4 Charles Street, Key West 


Join us at Smokin’ Tuna Saloon for the official Pre-Party of the Conched in Key West Bar Crawl. You’ll be able to enjoy Cruzan Rum drink specials (with Cruzan cup - which we’ll have on hand) and meet your fellow bar crawl buddies. 



SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 22
Conched in Key West Bar Crawl
2pm - ? (How long can you make it?) 
Start location: Cork & Stogie 1218 Duval Street, Key West
Bar Schedule:
2pm: Cork & Stogie - Sponsored by Rum Connection  
3pm: Pearl’s Patio - Sponsored by Team Cocktail
4pm: Rum Bar - Sponsored by Rob’s Rum Guide
5pm: Bottle Cap - Sponsored by Coastlines & TanLines 
 6pm: McConnell’s - Sponsored by Team Cocktail
7pm: Cowboy Bills - Sponsored by Big Kahuna Brew
8pm: Willie T’s - Sponsored by Rum Shop Ryan
9pm: Kelly’s - Sponsored by Starfish Travel
10pm: Smokin’ Tuna Saloon - Sponsored by Coastlines & TanLines

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 23
Reef Relief Check Presentation
1pm
Conch Republic Seafood 
631 Greene Street, Key West
Join us for half price bloody mary’s as we present Reef Relief with their big check!

Rum & Cigar Social
5pm
Smokin’ Tuna Saloon
4 Charles Street, Key West

Haven’t had enough? Join us at Smokin’ Tuna for a Rum & Cigar Social! We’ll have a few nice bottles of rum to share & Smokin’ Tuna will be bringing in some top cigar vendors in the area. 

If this isn't enough to get your blood pumping... Read it again! 
I am as excited about this event as I've been about anything in a long time! I hope some of you are headed down to party with us, and I hope you gimme a shout when we are there!

~Cheers!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A most powerful image to remember.

A most powerful image to remember.

Most of us can remember the images from September 11, 2001. The smoke, the building burning and falling, airliners caught on video flying right into the Twin Towers.

In the days following, we were treated to the works of some very talented artists producing images such as the photo of the towers overlaid with the image of a bald eagle shedding a tear.


These attacks were a truly tragic series of events in our country’s history. It is a shame that so many people will forget that it happened. It is a shame that some people are disputing that it was a terrorist attack. And it is a shame that those people are often heralded for their fame and fortune.

The Twin Tower disaster included 2,753 victims. Those who died in the attacks on the World Trade Center were 343 firefighters and 60 police officers from New York City and the Port Authority as well as eight private emergency medical technicians and paramedics. There were no survivors from any of the flights, and the overwhelming majority of casualties were civilians, including nationals of over 70 countries.

Seventy countries share our pain and loss from those attacks but America was the intended target.
As Americans, I sincerely hope that all of you remember the tragic events of that Tuesday morning back in 2001, and I hope that you feel the patriotism and love of our country that you felt the day after. And yes, I do hope that some of the pain still lingers in your heart as a reminder of our history.

Today, I hoist high a beer in honor of those who gave their lives to help others. And in-fact, I hoist my brew to those who serve every day, fighting for the freedoms that I enjoy every day.

The First Amendment is how I make my living. It guarantees that I am allowed to come here and run my mouth without fear of being punished, and it guarantees that you are allowed to come here and read about it.

Today, I drink to those who have served to make us all safe and free. To Carl Grooms, who served our country behind the controls of one of our finest fighting aircraft. To Shawn Martin, who served our country behind the controls of our finest sniper rifles. To my new nephew, Eric Householder, who has served in the Middle East and who currently serves, training our next generation of soldiers in the US ARMY (And is taking my niece 3,000 miles away). To those who drive the streets in an ambulance or volunteer for the local fire department. ~Cheers! And more than Cheers... THANK YOU!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Be a sourpuss!

Happy sour Beer day peeps!

I hope to celebrate with a LaFolie from New Belgium myself. I chose this beer because but as the GABF looms ever closer, marking the 5 year anniversary of my introduction to sour beer, I am reminded that it was my first!

I will never forget it! We were chilling at the Folling Rock tap house in Denver with Rob from beerPHXation and a few other guys from Homebrewtalk.com
I remember Rob ordering one and immediately making me taste it!

The smell was amazing, the flavor was a kick in the teeth, and the sour pucker factor was through the roof to my uninitiated palate. It was awesome!

That night only got better when they tapped a keg of Eric's ale shortly thereafter! It was an awesome time!

A few years later, I made my goal at GABF to try every sour in the joint! They are easy to find at GABF... Just look for the longest line!

That's when I found one I potentially liked as much as the first, and that was Cascade Sang Noir!  Actually, everything cascade does is excellent! 
I don't think they have a beer that I don't like!

As for the rest, I am a bit of a sour head, and seek out Brett and Lactic soured beers whenever I can. I don't think I've ever seen LaFolie on tap and passed it up! 

Love them or hate them, and believe me, some people do hate them, sour beers are worth trying! Se are good, some are awesome, but they all have something interesting to offer! 

What was your first sour?
If you've never had a sour beer, now is the time! Get one TODAY

Happy sour beer day people! 

~cheers!

P.s. sorry the blog looks goofy! I hope to have a computer again soon! 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Peach mead update

We have mead! Green as it may be, it's tangy, dry, and nicely peachy!

Tonight I racked the mead from its primary fermentation. That is to say that I siphoned the fermented liquid out from under the peach goo that was floating on top.

It is now finished fermenting and needs to clear and age a bit before bottling.

I always get a kick out of seeing a hydrometer sink to below 1.000. This mead is DRY! Gravity reads 0.996 or so. That means that we have an alcohol content around ... Actually, if you remember, I didn't take a beginning gravity reading, so it is impossible to calculate. But if we assume that it was around 1.12, the math looks like this: 1.112 - 0.998= .114 and then we multiply by 130 to convert to % ABV. So .114 x 130 = 14.82%

I ended up filling a 3 gallon Carboy right to the top and left 2 gallons of peach sludge behind! I love it when a plan comes together!

This will take a while to age to be sure, which may be a good thing! Since I'm blogging from my phone again, it may be a while before I get pictures added to this post! But rest assured, I will add them!

Anyway, I hope you rock the rest of the week!

~Cheers

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Shirts are done!

This week, rather than rambling in my own words, I've decided that perhaps you should hear the excitement from someone else.

RumShopRyan is another one of the presenters of the Conched in Key West Bar Crawl this year, and he did a great job of reporting the news about this year's shirts.


September is almost here and that means it’s almost time to head down to Key West to help support the Reef Relief charity. How are we going to help? By bar hopping of course. Gotta stick to what we do best.

Above are the shirt designs for this years bar crawl. The logo has a retro look to it and the green is definitely going to make our group stand out. Below is a look at the back of the shirt with a list of this year’s sponsors and the bar list. The shirt lists 9 bars, but something tells me that our rowdy bunch of Castaways will be hitting up a few more.

Click Here!

And don't forget to keep checking RumShopRyan.com for more of his great boat drinks and beautiful scenery!
~Cheers

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Pipeline

Well, none of you tune in to hear about how dry it in Eastern Colorado, so I’m going to tell you a few things that are in the pipeline helping to keep things wet around here.

New Belgium has taken over my beer fridge again. With the likes of 2012 LaFolie Tart Lychee and Red Hoptober waiting for a tasting, I look forward to sharing a few of these beers with you!

I have a fun little experiment building in the beer box with Octoberfest. I have Spaten Octoberfest brews from 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and as soon as I get the chance to pick up a 2012 and find some help, were going to crack them open and have a little vertical tasting.

I am 21 days away from heading to Key West for the Second Annual Conched in Key West Bar Crawl. That will certainly provide some fodder for a post or two.  Hanging out with that crowd is always a good time and I’m looking forward to having a conversation with Rob from Rob’s Rum Guide. He is the premiere sponsor of the event this year and has really committed to helping our charity!

I was given a bottle of Colada flavored Svedka Vodka to try. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it, but perhaps a video is in order.

So, I hope that your weekend is rocking and rolling, and I hope you’re partying it up in a safe and responsible way!  If you’re partying with your Big Kahuna Koozies and flasks, don’t forget to send pictures of the gear in action! If you don’t have a Kahuna Koozie or flask, there is no time like the present to order one!

Stay Safe people!

~Cheers!

Buck!