I get pretty wordy when I talk about camera equipment so I figured it’d be easier to post this here. I haven’t added an equipment page since moving my blog to WordPress from Tumblr, but since I’ve cut down my equipment drastically it’s probably not as necessary.

When I first started this blog, I shot with a prosumer point and shoot, the Panasonic DMC-LX3, then I switched to a big ass Nikon D80, and now I’m back to a prosumer P&S, the Sony RX100. The Panasonic was nice and let me dip my toes into photography but honestly 99% of the time it was in Program mode, set to F/2.0 to get that shallow depth of field we all love and that’s about it; I didn’t really learn much about photography itself other maybe some composure techniques.

When I switched to the Nikon, it was a big step up. I had several lenses, a couple of different flashes, a battery grip and tons of other accessories. It was nice, made me think about shots a little more. I used a prime lens for just about everything, which meant actually moving my ass to get the right shot. It produced some nice pictures, but even with the 50mm F/1.8 lens it struggled in the locations where I took pictures the most: crappily lit restaurants and bars. I knew that had more to do with how old the camera body was than anything, so it was time to upgrade to something from this decade.

While I loved having the massive DSLR setup, which actually helped me get into press areas in beer events that I wouldn’t normally get into, it really made no sense to drag that big ass thing around when I was out getting drunk in a bar or something. I wanted to go smaller, and I looked at smaller interchangable lens cameras like the Panasonic GX1, Sony NEX-series, even the sexy, but massive Olympus OMD. I liked these cameras a lot, but even with the smaller prime lenses they weren’t really that much smaller than the D80 setup. Much lighter for sure but swinging around any kind of lens sticking out was still going to be an issue.

I started looking at prosumer cameras again, like the Panasonic LX7, the Canon S110, and finally the Sony Rx100. The first two were nice, but they really didn’t wow me the way the Sony did. It seemed to just generate light even in the worst situations. I was fucking amazed when I started shooting with it. It was pocketable if it needed to be, although I keep it hanging from my neckstrap most of the time. I have a cheap Manfrotto tripod for when I absolutely need it to be stable but I hand hold it 99% of the time, it’s just that good.

There are still some times when it struggles, like shooting moving people in low light like this homebrew competition at The Ruck. I just really, really hate shooting with a flash and it’s something I’m just going to have to get over in those types of situations, maybe even pick up an off camera slave flash to shoot at the ceiling or something. For stills, supported on a table, chair or tripod, I can shoot in just about complete darkness and it will still take a decent shot. The only real downside to the RX100 is that it is definitely not cheap. It’s one of the most expensive point and shoots on the market, honestly, but I can’t recommend it enough.

Hope that answers your question, Bryan!

binghamtonbeer replied to your photoHm, only missing Westy 12. Thursday! (Hopefully)

Wow, what is all the glassware in the background?
Not my best work, the lighting in my kitchen is pretty awful but you get the idea. Phase 1 was here.

Which beer did you have at Maine Beer Company? What are your thoughts on the Lunch IPA?

I had both the Peeper and the Mean Old Tom (on nitro) while at MBC this weekend. Both are solid and I’m particularly a fan of stouts on nitro.

As for Lunch, it’s great and probably my favorite of their beers. During the tour they explained that the beer was basically a one off test batch when they first brewed it and received some blow back when they couldn’t produce it regularly, with people accusing them of artificially creating demand for it. What it boils down to is the lack of hops needed to brew it, and while they could use X amount to brew Lunch, they could do two or three batches of their less hoppier beer, so it only makes sense to brew Lunch less often. Lunch was recently kegged however, and you should see it on draft soon, but they have not set a date for when the next time it is being bottled.

If you ever make it to Chicago, head to the Hopleaf on Clark and Foster. We have had this on tap for quite awhile. It’s so popular, I doubt it’s going anywhere anytime soon.

I’d love to check it out. Elise and I have done a LOT of the Northeast in 2012, and this isn’t to say we’ve covered it all, but I would really like to start making our way West. I think Cleveland will be the first stop, followed by Chicago the next trip. The biggest problem is the fact that just to get out of the western border of NY requires a 5 hour drive along I90, whereas it’s 30 minutes East.

Awww man, I was really excited for this. I love Duvel. :-/

Please don’t mistake my bitching for calling this a bad beer. It’s a good beer, maybe even a great beer in the hands of someone who, like you, hasn’t been inundated with Ommegang the majority of his craft beer drinking life. If you love Duvel, and you love Ommegang, then you’ll love this beer.

But for someone like me, someone who used to be the biggest Ommegang fanboy, who has had just about every single one of their beers, and has had their core beers countless time, you really want to see them do something different like another Biere de Mars, or a lambic, gueuze, or Flemish Red. Hell, it doesn’t have to be a sour, I’ll settle for anything that doesn’t have the same set of spices and “proprietary house-yeast” they use in all of their beer. It doesn’t even have to be a huge, nationwide release. Do a pilot-batch system, let the brewers experiment and play a little bit. If it’s a dud, so what? You guys can clearly afford to throw out a few barrels of beer.

Brewing something like Duvel Rustica is Ommegang resting on their laurels. These guys need to take a risk.

Aging 4Loko in the cellar? ;)

What, doesn’t everyone age pre-ban Four Loko in their beer cellars? Haha. I bought a couple of cases before they went caffeine-free and we break them out for special (douchey) occasions like AM-BO or NerdFest (where we spend Thanksgiving Eve getting drunk, eating Whole Loaf, and playing the latest Call of Duty game until 4AM). Totally normal.

Hey man. I just looked up the Funky Buddha on BA. I lovvvvve the bottle! Good ratings too. However I didn’t see much info on how/where to acquire it. Was this only brewed once, or is this a once a year thing?

I believe it was brewed twice. First time 10 gallons, second time 25 gallons. Second batch was significantly higher ABV. Beyond that I don’t know that much about it or where you can still get it (if you even can). The only reason I even had the chance to try it was mostly by accident, when they tapped it at Hunahpu Day and I grabbed a couple of pints for my brother and I while we were waiting in line for the second chance bottle release.

Like I said, it’s worth the jail time to murder someone if you have to.

Hey there just started following and I really enjoy your blog. I had a question for you though. I’m moving to Boston from San Diego in a few days and I was wondering what to expect from east coast beers, and if there were any specific breweries that I should know about? Any info is appreciated and have an awesome day.

Tough question. First, I’ve only been to Boston a few times for beer related things and secondly, on the East Coast (especially in the Albany area) we only get the most widely distributed West Coast beers you guys have to offer so I’m not sure I’m going to be able to help you as much as I’d like with the comparison to West Coast and and East Coast beer, but I’ll try the best I can.

If you’ve done any reading around here you know I’m a big fan of northern Vermont and its beers, and luckily you’re in one of the three cities that get irregular distribution from The Alchemist, Hill Farmstead, and Lawson’s Finest Liquids, although Lawson’s usually only shows up for Boston Beer Week. It’s tough to say when they’ll drop in your city but keep a lookout on BeerAdvocate’s New England forum and you should be able to get a heads up. Boston is about the same distance away from Northern Vermont as I am, so if you ever feel like taking the trip up there, check out a few pointers I had for a previous “Ask” here.

Speaking of BeerAdvocate, since they’re based out of Boston they do several festivals in your new city throughout the year. For example, The Night of the Funk (this year will be my first time) and Belgian Beer Festival is coming up on the 7-8th, and they have an even larger festival (American Craft Beer Festival) during the beginning of the summer, plus random special events at local bars throughout the year. Definitely check that out.

You’ve got a couple of new breweries that are making a splash in Boston right now: Idle Hands and Nightshift Brewing. They’re both just outside the city, and while I haven’t had much from either I’m hearing good things. Make sure to give Cambridge Brewing Company a shot, too. My buddy Merc had a bad experience there recently, but all other accounts I’ve heard have been good. You’re also going to get some great beer from High and Mighty, Jack’s Abbey, and Pretty Things out your way. Keep an eye out, you can’t go wrong with most of their stuff. You’re also going to get some decent distribution of some nearby breweries like Maine Beer Company, and Portsmouth Brewery is definitely worth a day trip. For a more detailed breakdown on what you’re new distribution is going to look like, check out SeekABrew and compare MA to CA.

A couple of obvious suggestions for pubs are Lord Hobo, Publick House and one my personal faves, Sunset Grill. (They has some 100+ taps and 300 bottles on their beer list, and while some brewpubs with huge menus like that do so because they don’t have a decent “beer sommelier” I’ve never had a bad experience at Sunset and have always found something decent to drink.) Don’t forget Deep Ellum right by Sunset, too. Also, just a heads up, I’m not sure how it is in California but in NY I’m used to a 4AM closing time for bars. In Boston it’s 2AM. Be aware of that and prepare yourself if you’re used to late night drinking. I was caught off guard one of my first nights in Boston. It’s worth mentioning that Armsby Abbey in Worcester is only about an hour away and 100% worth the trip, especially on an event day. I’ve been to StoutFest before, and will be heading to their Hill Farmstead Dinner at the end of the month.

Bottle shops are where I’m going to be a little stumped. I haven’t done much other than festivals and barhopping in Boston but I’ll try my best here. Granite Liquors is about 20 minutes outside the city and is rated something ridiculous like 100/100 and is touted by many as the best bottle shop in the state. A little closer is Craft Beer Cellar. I’ve been following them on Facebook for a while and looks like a great shop. This is another area where SeekABrew will help.

OK, that’s all I’ve got until I make my trip to Boston in a couple of weeks. Maybe I’ll have some more help for you after that. If any of you other guys have some more advice for moderndayclassic please fill him in. Thanks!

Hey FUJ. Curious where you’re located – Buffalo? I’m taking a trip to VT in September to visit Alchemist, Lawson’s and Hill Farmstead. I’m extremely excited – any tips? Right now, the plan is to stay Fri-Sat-Sun at a cabin near Stowe. Breweries on Saturday, Burlington Sunday. I know Heady is restocked on Monday mornings, so we’re going to stop on the way out and get a case. I emailed and they said that’s kosher. Anything else I should know or not miss? Thanks!

I’m in Albany, but most of the stuff you’ve been seeing here lately is when I joined up with the BA Buffalo tasting group for the Gang Bang BIF Round 2. (I don’t mind traveling for great beer.)

I’ve done a northern VT trip about three times now, and while I’m no expert I can give you a few pointers of where I’ve been. First off, what weekend are you going? If you can swing if, there’s a Harvest Festival happening at Hill Farmstead that you can’t miss if you’re going to be in the area. Tickets are still on sale here.

As for the breweries, you can visit both HF and The Alchemist, but Lawson’s doesn’t currently have a public brewery. You can see Sean  Lawson show up and sell beers some weekends when he’s at the Waitesfield Farmer’s Market (in the month of September he’s there on the 15th). Around Waterbury there’s a couple of brewpubs that are worth checking out. I’ve been to the Prohibition Pig (which is where The Alchemist Pub & Brewery used to be) and the Blackback Pub is the next on my list, as they often times have more Hill Farmstead on tap than the brewery does! From their Facebook page on Friday:

Okay new this week is Hill Farmsteads Life w/o Principle citrus blonde and James black IPA. Double Sunshine is back from Lawson and Jolly pumpkin brett pale Luciernaga is on as well. Still pouring 8 Hill Farmstead. Two Zero Gravity and three Lawson’s and also Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast Stout and Meantime Old Naval College Porter and Petrus barrel aged sour

That’s a really solid line up. As I’ve never been there I can’t tell you much about whether it’s a dive or not, but the Hen of the Wood can’t be beat overall (it has a 28 Zagat score, that’s insane). 

As for Burlington, I’ve been to American Flatbread, Vermont Pub and Brewery, and The Farmhouse Tap & Grill. Flatbread is where Zero Gravity beers are brewed, and VT Pub is a brewpub as well. If you can only stop at one place I’d hit up Farmhouse as there’s going to be a bigger and (personally) better selection and the food is absolutely outstanding.

Lastly, if you’re looking for a bottle shop to stock up at and take a few more beers home (as if the Heady and HF growlers weren’t enough) there’s a bottle shop near Burlington in Winooski called Beverage Warehouse. I’ve picked up some pretty good imports there, plus some Lawson’s Three Penny Especiale and Big Hapi, and badass Lawson tulips. I think their delivery for that happens on Fridays but it goes quickly.

I think that’s all I’ve got for now. If there’s anything else I can help you with, let me know. Good luck on your trip!