Sports & A Beer – Stop the Hot Takes

For someone like me who has established favorite teams and the agony that goes along with rooting for said teams, this is a bit of a golden age.  I can call up highlights with a touch of the finger, dig up arcane facts and get all the hot takes a fan could want.

Lately, I have wearied of the onslaught though.  The Summer of Lillard with YouTube videos of what must be 942 trade scenarios and podcasts claiming Chelsea is a broken team before three games are complete have me desiring the old days when I would have to wait until the next days sports page to get information.

Now, are these tweets and rants wrong?  No.  But they serve no purpose seemingly other than filling in an empty gap in time and space until actual solid information arrives.  Sound and fury, signifying nothing as a famous fan of Stratford-Upon-Avon FC once opined.

Or maybe I just need to take a break from the pundits and just watch the action.

For beer, it is the summer heat remnants and the best way to enjoy a game is with a session beer.  Dribble Belt from Russian River is a particularly good Session IPA for watching the World Basketball Championships or for football Angelenos, find a refreshing pilsner from Los Angeles Ale Works or Common Space before a Rams/Chargers game at SoFi.

Sean Suggests for September 2023

Small town breweries can get lost when you live in the big city of Los Angeles but sometimes you have to drive away and find the out of the way spots. Here are three worthy of trying….

Heater Allen Bobtoberfest – 5.6% – from my college town of McMinnville comes this excellent example of a festbier from brewer Lisa Allen.

Bright Spark Good Natured Saison – 6.6% – giving off flavors of clove, yarrow flower and peach from a family owned brewery just south of downtown Ventura.

RT Rogers The Crystal Gazers Hazy IPA – 6.7% – The Monrovia brewery tucked up in the mountains has joined the haze craze with this new IPA.

A Book & A Beer – Circe

When I was in Portland, my wife was lent this book by my Mom, and I decided to read it too. It is Circe by Madeline Miller.

This tale follows Circe a daughter of Helios, the God of the Sun and a Titans. Circe is a strange and not like the other children of Titans. Nothing like her parents either. She has the power of witchcraft.

It is a book that puts the narrative into Circe’s point of view. You see how she reacts to the day-to-day activities of her fellow Titans and the Gods as well. Most of the book finds her banished to a deserted island where she deals with visitors who mostly interrupt her peace. Most get turned into pigs.

This is one of those books where having a list of characters at the back is very helpful. My college days reading of Greek tragedies only took me so far. I have a predilection for stories told by a not major character elsewhere. It fleshes the world out and you gain new insight on people you think you know but you really only know from their narrative.

For beer, I would look for beers with either botanicals such as juniper, sage and the like to represent the ingredients for many of Circe’s spells or look for a wine barrel-aged sour beer because there is a lot of sour grapes between parent and child, between siblings, between sea creatures and sailors and practically everyone in this book.

A Podcast & A Beer – Family Trips with the Meyers Brothers

I know it is the tail end of the family vacation season and that means it is time to look back at that vacation and then listen to Seth and Josh Meyers as they talk vacation memories with celebrities.

There is a great rapport between the two and you can tell that they enjoy each others company as well as their parents who are frequent targets of jibes. The guest choices are good too. Timothy Olyphant was really funny questioning their questions and, as usual, John Oliver was very funny and sharp tongued.

I also like that the last question is Grand Canyon – Yea or Nay? It just leads to interesting answers.

For beer, check out your local bottle shops or online purveyors for beers from cities or vacation destinations that you want to go. For me Prague is up there so I would be looking for Czech Pilsners. Or, since Maui has been in the news for the wrong reason, you might pick up some of their mainland beers as a nod to one of the great American vacation spot that will hopefully get tourists back sooner rather than later.

In the Tap Lines for September 2023

California has been in weird times lately. Hollywood strikes, a tropical storm for the first time in 84 years and robotaxis wild in San Francisco. Let’s get back on sturdier ground in beer…

~ e-visits to (3) breweries from the new trendy beer city, Pittsburgh

~ special featured reviews of Oktoberfest beers

~Heads-Up on Los Angeles Beer Events

~ Three suggested beers to buy this month. One light, one medium and one dark

~ A Book & A Beer reads Circe by Madeline Miller

~ A Podcast & A Beer listens to Family Trips with the Meyers Brothers

~ Sports & A Beer returns with too many hot takes

~ New Beer Releases and Best Beers of the Month

~ I will tap the Firkin and give my no holds barred opinion on the craft beer world.

The Firkin for August 2023

Of the many broken and outdated practices in America is tipping. And it drops into the news whenever the economy stalls or the Republican Party tries to screw over the little people.

I run into it when I run in and out to get a 4-pack and am pressed into tipping since most transactions are now by chipcard or phone. Smartly, the POS system makes it harder or very noticeable when no tip is picked. And it is increasingly harder to find 15% as even an option.

But there will be a major breaking point, at some point, much like the hidden fees with Airline tickets. Enough of a groundswell will make a hard reset necessary.

There are proponents for eliminating tips altogether. I lean towards that camp. I can hear howls of protest as I type this about how people will buy less while employers will have to pay more. I think that is overblown, unless there are some facts to disprove me, because most people, including myself now factor in tips and are already buying less accordingly.

I am a single can buyer and there have been countless times where I have put a can back because of the tip. But if each beer was 50 cents more, I probably would buy that can.

Add in that I don’t know if that money is going to just the person who helped me or put into a pool and I am less inclined to pick a higher tip.

Maybe, beer stores and breweries should see me coming and just tally up a higher price and get rid of the fees.

Best Beers of August 2023

OK, bit of a change-up for this month as I am picking the beer that was the most memorable upon first sip instead of my usual, rubric of best from first sip to the last.

Before we go there, here are my excellent runners up:

El Segundo / Enegren Gemeinschaft lager – great reddish tinted color and a malty easy drinker.

Chapman 7thAnniversary Dry Hopped Pilsner – I applaud any non-IPA anniversary beer

Bottle Logic A Quad IPA in this Economy? – big but not just in ABV. big on haze and fruit as well

Winner – Fremont Gose with cucumber and sea salt. You take a sip and that cucumber just hits you. Then you get a gentle touch of salt and a little tang of acidity. A wonderful spa Gose as it were. You will not forget the first sip.

A Podcast & A Beer – Who Shat on the Floor At My Wedding

Yes, the title is long but it is apt. This is the hilarious investigation into a poo found on the floor of a wedding venue. Who Shat stars brides Karen Whitehouse and Helen McLaughlin and their ‘under-qualified ‘Detective’ Lauren Kilby as they puzzle out the mystery.

Now, I say hilarious for a few episodes before it becomes quite repetitive. And it grated upon me to the point that when I saw that the last two episodes were over an hour each, I tapped out. It seemed clear that the culprit was not going to be found or at least funnily left hanging.

But the waning interest fits in with the beer suggestion. Actually, less a suggestion and more a memory exercise. What beers have you had that started off really good but after a few sips lost that initial wow factor. I will start with an anonymous brewery where the aroma of the IPA was bright and soul stirring. A veritable melange of fruit notes, but the base of the beer was flimsy and watery and by the end was not finished to empty glass status.

USA Brewery Tour # 2 – Miel

We go from Hill Country to cocktail country to visit (via the interwebs) Miel in Louisiana.

We Have the Czechnology – “Czech-style 12° Polotmavý. A smooth amber lager poured in the Czech way.”

Meow Meow – “New Orleans Common brewed with Zuper Saazer hops. An easy drinking amber ale with a malt-forward flavor!”

I Spy Cara Cara – “Fruited Sour aged on fresh oak chips and blended with cara cara orange. Slightly sweet with notes of orange, vanilla, and tannic oak.”

Smoked Braggot – “Braggot style ale fermented on Paradigm Garden honey and blended with Lapsang Souchong smoked tea. Fermented on equal parts honey and malt, this beer is rich with a sweet and smoky finish.”