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Tap Into It is the official video of Vancouver Craft Beer Week (May 6-14, 2011). It is marvelous. Though I already posted it on Facebook, it’s one of those little tidbits that brightens my day and here’s why I think that is:

1. It supports craft beer.

2. That song sure is catchy.

3. I think Brandon J. Mason performs with the perfect balance of grace and humor.

4. The outfit. (including the thong… or… especially the thong, who knows)

5. I am pretty sure that’s beer they’re using in the Flashdance homage and that’s like icing on the cake (they could’ve used water and we’d be none the wiser).

6. It uses no words, but… at the end I wanna say, I know exactly what you mean

Here are a few of my favorite stills, which will never cease to make me chuckle:

Clockwise from top left: 1. Best face I have ever seen, I would like to use it as a pick-up line sometime, 2. pure exuberance, 3. neon man thong, 4. beer a la Flashdance

And of course, the video. Good Job Vancouver Craft Beer Week.

Video for Vancouver Craft Beer Week 2011.

PRODUCED BY: Dead Famous
PRODUCTION: Shaun Lawless & Scot Proudfoot
ACTOR: Brandon J. Mason
LOCATION: Sugar Studios & The Black Frog
WARDROBE: Boolala Costumes
MAKE-UP/STYLING: Paula Lanzador
AUDIO & POST-PRODUCTION: Bear Studios
MUSIC: Stuart Brander C/O Liberty Music Trax

I officially wish I was there, people who can come up with a video like that have to be awesome to hang out with.
If anyone is out that way for the festival, please tell me how it is…

(Just a side note, right after I came up with this ’90s-tribute headline I heard that Nickelodeon is bringing back a handful of nostalgia with The ’90s Are All That, which doesn’t have Are You Afraid of the Dark? in its lineup just yet, but is on the right track)

Anyway, in present-day news, the beer club has been going strong… encountering hefty beers (and opinions to match) along the way.

For me, much like the Belgian tasting we had in January, this month’s tasting of stouts made it tough to pick a favorite. But unlike the Belgian category this was cause I knew I loved stouts and so I had to go into decimal points in my numerical ratings… and I am not a numbers girl. (For the record, I had to go into decimals at the Belgian tasting, too, which introduced me to quite a few Belgian styles that I loved, despite my previous distaste for the overall category).

My good friend, and fellow blogger Sandy and her husband hosted us for the Stout tasting.  There was plenty of chocolate and cheese to go with the dark beers (and some fabulous homemade pizza and chili to boot!)

I ditched my salty tooth that day and whipped up some chocolatey treats to go with the whole Valentines Day + Stouts… thing. Also I had been holding on to this recipe from Ladies Of Craft Beer for quite some time waiting for some sort of sweet tooth to emerge in me. And it did!

I made the LadiesOCB’s Double Double Chocolate Stout Brownies substituting High & Mighty’s Two-Headed Beast for the Young’s Double Chocolate Stout. Despite not being very popular as a sample at the tasting, the Two Headed Beast did go well with the rich brownies, which somehow mellowed the beastly beer’s… “umph. ” (The brownies were great warm, topped with ice cream later, too).

We tasted several varieties of stouts including milk/cream stouts, coffee stouts, imperial stouts, and, of course, chocolate stouts… here’s how things tallied up:

Overall favorite was organic Vermont brewer Wolaver’s Oatmeal Stout, which had a nice earthy, slightly dry flavor. Mikkeller’s Beer Geek Breakfast and Dogfish Head’s Chickory Stout tied as second favorite.

Least favorite was a little more dispersed, but it turns out our crew is not a fan of Paper City’s Riley’s Mother’s Milk (though I think the milk/cream stouts were in general less popular with the crew, cause Paper City’s other contestant, the Fogbuster Coffee Stout ranked well).

Here’s the full roster (in tasting order)… what’d we miss and what’s your take?

Samuel Adams Cream Stout
Paper City Riley’s Mother’s Milk Stout
Wachusett Milk Stout
Wolaver’s Oatmeal Stout
People’s Pint Oatmeal Stout
Bear Republic Big Bear Black Stout (my first favorite—I had a tie)
Paper City Fogbuster Coffeehouse Ale
Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast (my other favorite)
Dogfish Head Chickory Stout
High & Mighty Two-Headed Beast
Young’s Double Chocolate Stout
Southern Tier Choklat
Avery Czar Imperial Stout
Hoppin’ Frog Double Imperial Stout
McNeill’s Dark Angel
Victory Storm King
North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout

Tonight we take a milder taste with Brown Ales (both English and American styles) so stay tuned for more recaps… plus a selection of my favorite quotes and reviews!

Cheers!

75 MInute IPA on cask for Dogfish Head pint night at Moe's

Nothing beats a night out… except maybe one with special beers, the inside scoop, and giveaways. Yeah, just when you think your favorite bar can’t get any better. Does your local beer bar do specialty beer nights? Sure, they’ve got great microbrews on tap all the time, but when a bar goes the extra step to reach out to a brewer (or their local rep) magical things can happen.

Josh Cohen at Moe’s Tavern in Lee, Massachusetts, is especially good at this, but I’m biased—that’s my bar. Check with your local craft beer bar to see if they are planning to link up with a specific brewer for a night. It’s a win-win: the bar get’s a surge of traffic and you get to try high quality or rare offerings from the brewer (like the above pictured 75 Minute IPA on cask from Dogfish Head), free swag including pint glasses, shirts, stickers, openers, and more… and often you get the opportunity to have one-on-ones with either the brewers themselves or a rep (who usually has relatively good insight into the goings on of the brewery).

Best way to find out about events is by “Liking” your local bar or brewery on Facebook or following on Twitter so you get it in your newsfeeds… or check in with sites like BeerAdvocate and Brewing News, who keep running calendars of beer-centric events all over the place.

Talking Pints

“What care I how time advances?
I am drinking ale today.”

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Samples with a sunny disposition at Northampton Brewery

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