30 Days til Dogfish Head Night at The Ruck – Oct 19th

— A little preview of what they have in store for the big Dogfish Night on November 16th. Make your own randals are a great idea. Me? I’d do cocoa nibs, vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks and dried chili peppers on World Wide Stout. Sound like a familiar recipe? It should. That’s what they put in Hunahpu.

Bonus points for whoever Randalls the weirdest shit tomorrow night.

Samuel Adams Stein Hoisting Competition at The Ruck

– Jon and I went down to The Ruck to take a few pics of the Stein Hoisting but somehow got roped into competing. It was a lot tougher than it looks, but it was fun and Jon ended up winning and taking home the stein you see above. Not bad, huh? Check out the pics below.

The Sam Adams rep explaining the rules.

The start of the ladies’ competition.

Kristien struggling to keep up her mug. The hard work paid off, she was the women’s champ!

Jon and I about to start the competition.

And the guys starting their bout.

Jon acting like a goofball as he’s about to take the win.

The champs!

And finally a little Sam Adams Oktoberfest hat swag to bring home for all of the participants.

Vote Now! Great American Beer Bar Finals

– Hey there beer geeks. Don’t know who to vote for in the CraftBeer.com’s search for the Great American Beer Bars in the Northeast? Vote Ruck! Help get the City of Troy on the map as a beer destination! You didn’t hear this from me but you can probably get a few extra votes in using your cell phone, tablet, or your browser’s porn mode! Did I say porn mode? I meant “private browsing” mode, haha.

Anyways, enough out of me, take it from from the owner himself, Dave Gardell!

The Ruck Extreme Homebrew Competition

Saturday was The Ruck’s first Homebrew Competition and I was honored to be one of the five judges of the day

In order of appearance above:
The sixth judge was not present so the Gnomegang Gnome took his place:

Let’s just say this was a LOOOOONG day. This was my first time judging beer, and it was a completely different experience than previous beer tasting events I’ve done. It’s not just giving a beer a yay or a nay. It’s analyzing each beer, seeing how it fits with the style of beer, seeing how it fits with the category it was submitted, and seeing if there are any flaws that knocks it down a few points. This is easy to do with a set of ten beers over a course of an hour or so, but when it’s 60+ beers over the course of 8 hours, it’s a totally different story.

Bob explaining to us the schedule for the day.

Me getting my judging on.

This was really a new experience for me. It was tough because, even though I may have liked a beer, I might have to score it lower because it didn’t meet the criteria for the category. Or maybe there was a beer that I didn’t like AT ALL but I scored high because it was true to the style and had some really weird ingredients that were required for the category.

There were 6 categories for the day, with each ranging some 8-13 submissions for each round. Some rounds had some real hits. Stuff I would actually pay money for. Others not so much.

Howie judging the appearance of this brew.

The man: Dave Gardell.

This wasn’t a quick process. We started at 1PM, and by the 4th round it was past 5 o’clock and Howie had to get going. By the end of the 5th, it was almost 7 and Lambic Larry was on his way. By the last round it was just Jay, Russ and I.

Matty pouring our next round.

Honestly, this sucked for the competitors who had submissions for the last couple of categories. Less judges meant greater room for error and less of a general consensus. Plus those of us judges that stuck around were mentally exhausted, our palates were shot and our noses were senseless. I really feel like we did not give the last few categories their proper justice and next year there should definitely be more judges, tasting less beers.

Jay deep in thought. (Ha.)

The results:

Round 1: Platinum

  • Hudson Home Brewer – Platinum for the People

Round 2: Black IPA

  • Gray Kruger – Black Riverview IPA

Round 3: Rye Not

  • Stay Nerdy – Tay Zonday’s Chocolate Rye

Round 4: Antanum

  • Gray Kruger – Riverview Maibock

Round 5: Funky Fermentables

  • Brooklyn Hopsters – Sweet Potato Ale

Round 6: Fruit and Spice

  • Beer Me Up Scotty – Deceptpcan Pie Porter

Best Overall:

  • Triad Homebrew

Best of Show:

  • Stay Nerdy!

I’m sure there were plenty of these piled up at the end of the night.

Two beers really stood out for me during the day. I can’t remember which category it was but a high ABV Russian Imperial Stout that absolutely floored me. I LOVED it and would have definitely paid for that beer. The second was in the Funky Fermentables category, and it was a cream ale that had two pounds of popcorn in it. Not a style I usually enjoy, but it was a great example of the style and two pounds of popcorn was definitely an original idea that fit the category perfectly.

The judges, and some of The Ruck crew who put this all together.

For the The Ruck’s first competition it was done well and gives them some pointers where they need to change things next time around to make both the competitors and the judges a little happier. Overall this was an incredible experience that I was glad I got to take part in. It opened my eyes on critiquing beer not just on what I like and dislike, but how the beer is supposed to be according to the style, whether it’s my favorite style or not. Hopefully I get a chance to participate in something like this again in the future.

A bunch more pictures can be found here.

All pictures are courtesy of Elise aka SWMBO.

Troy, NY: Oskar Blues Night at The Ruck

My response to the event invite on FB pretty much sums up how I feel about OB:

Oskar Blues was one of the first breweries I became a huge fan boy over. I loved the way they basically gave a big “eff you” to all of the craft beer snobs out there that said good beer doesn’t come in cans. Now look at all of the breweries doing craft cans. Here’s a few:

  • 21st Amendment
  • The Alchemist
  • Avery
  • Brooklyn
  • Cigar City
  • DC Brau
  • Goose Island
  • Magic Hat
  • New Belgium
  • New England Brewing
  • Sierra Nevada
  • Sixpoint
  • Surly

And these are just the biggies (sorry if I left any one out). Plus Oskar Blues was one of the first ones out with pint craft cans with Deviant Dale’s and the one of the only ones out there now with an Alumi-Tek resealable screw-top pint with their Sun King collab: Chaka (still trying to get my hands on one. Also trying to get some of their root beer which comes in the same style can). These guys are craft can pioneers.

So obviously when I get the opportunity to have all of one of my favorite brewery’s available beers (in our area) in one spot, I’m going to jump on the opportunity.

I got there and immediately lined em up. Some were on tap, some were in the can, some we brought a long. Here’s what we drank:

  • Dale’s Pale Ale
  • Deviant Dale’s
  • Gubna
  • G’Knight (sadly not on nitro)
  • Mama’s Little Yella Pils
  • Old Chub
  • Ten Fidy

Overall it was a pretty awesome night: I was able to drink some of my favorite beers side by side, get some new swag (the OB necklaces make fuh-CAN-awesome Christmas tree decorations), meet some new people, and even cracked open one of those Lawson’s bombers with friends at the end of the night. No complaints here.

Wheat Is The New Hops Tasting Notes – Grassroots/Mikkeller

Got yapping the other day at The Ruck with Dave. We were talking about his visit to Hill Farmstead and how I’m hoping to stop there during my week in VT next month, which prompted him to go grab a couple of Mikkeller bottles he picked up from HFS’s retail shop. This was the first of two.

The nose is misleading. You’d think that a beer that was touting wheat over hops would have a huge wheat presence but the nose was extremely hop forward, very similar to a standard hopped up IPA with some citrus mixed in. I don’t get much Brett in the aroma, either.

It also looks like your standard IPA, nothing special here. Clear yellow, no yeast or hops hanging around. White, foamy, creamy head with fine bubbles.

The taste is very different than the nose. There’s a very slight acidity and funk flavor from the Brett, beyond that the wheat completely takes over. It tastes like an IPA that’s been randalled through straw, really. Any kind of citrus trying to sneak it’s way out is Hulk-smashed by wheat. Mouthfeel was unmemorable.

Overall this is a different and interesting beer but that’s about it. Not unlike some of the weird DFH beers that are different just for the sake of being different. I walked away from this beer glad that I’ve tried it once, but not something I’d go out of my way to try it again. The next Mikkeller we opened I was much more pleased about…

Troy, NY: Preview of The Return of Dogfish Head Night at The Ruck [#DFHNight]

Quick little preview of what’s in store for The Return of Dogfish Head Night for those who haven’t made it in yet. I stopped by this morning around 11 and grabbed some of the rares and will be back to party later on. Don’t forget DJ Jared Kingsley starts at in a few short hours!

After checking out my Dogfish Head Night Beer Stats spreadsheet I put together this morrning, I settled on these for my morning/afternoon libations (all 5-10 oz tastings):

  • Poppaskull – huge fan of Three Floyds so I had to check this out.
  • Saison Du Buff randalled through pineapple and habanero – I’m a HUGE hot spice fanatic and this beer absolutely made my day. I LOVED it.
  • Mile’s Davis Bitches Brew – I’ve had it before but it’s phenom and not that easy to come by.
  • Fort – Nuzzy’s recommendation. Interesting fruit beer, I’ve had it before (on his birthday and probably past DFH Nights) and it’s good, but a little fruity for my tastes. Hides the alcohol extremely well.
  • 75 Minute IPA – 90 minute and 60 minute are probably DFH’s best mainstay all year round brews. Mix to the two together and cask condition it with maple syrup and it’s a no-brainer: beervana. I have no idea why they bother trying to bottle this when it’s so fucking kickass on cask.

That’s all for now. I’m taking a little breather until the rest of my crew shows up later on tonight. Met a lot of new folks from my various beer forums and social networking websites today, hopefully I’ll meet a few more tonight. See ya then!