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Good pubs, Good Beer, Good People

Friday, April 29, 2016

Hello, Goodbye, Hello!

After seven very successful years using blogger, I have made a new website here. And clicking on that link will take you to the very first post I've created. It will also tell you why I made the move if you care to know. But I raise a glass to this wonderful site and what it has enabled me to do.

There's a link on the New Page called "The Old Site" that will bring you back here if you need to go through the archives on the right side of this page. After seven years there were far too many to transfer, and I felt it would be easier to just come back here, where they are organized by date.

In addition to a page where you can read my blogs as they are posted, the new site features a Gallery of My Beer Buddies, past and present, and yours may be in there. It also has a page where you can recommend new pubs, beer bars, brewpubs or microbreweries to visit. 

Additionally, there's an Instagram feed where you can check out my quick reviews of whatever beer I'm drinking "at the moment," and an Events page where you can quickly reference where Beer Dinners and Festivals will be taking place. If you are not on my blast email list and want to be notified of new posts, there's a section that will allow you to contact me to be included.

I hope you visit often and enjoy The PubScout as you have always done. See you at my new place!

Cheers!
The PubScout

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Good News, Bad News By George!

General George Washington (out of costume)
It's that time of year again, when the Friends of Washington's Crossing Park hold one of the best BrewFests in the area--The Washington's Crossing Brewfest.

In the past, this baby has had 65 quality brewers in attendance, as well as some of the finest food vendors anywhere. It's always heavily attended, and, unsurprisingly, it is sold out.

It's also an event that is Rain or Shine. The organizers provide excellent cover in the event of the first condition, and a beautiful locale in the event of the second.

I know what you're asking. "PubScout, if it's already sold out, why are you telling us?"

Two reasons. 

Number 1 is that sometimes people with tickets don't show, and they might let you in.

Number 2 is that you pay attention for next year. Because this is one fest you really don't want to miss.

But fear not. I shall sacrifice myself and report on the event, in case you can't get there or can't get in if you do.
I may even bring you out a sample as you peer through the gates with the look of a waif.

That's just the kind of guy I am.

Cheers!
The PubScout

Trap Rock Celebrates Cinco de Mayo

Trap Rock Brewer Charlie Schroeder's Cake


Reservations Now Open!
Cinco De Mayo Beer Dinner on May 3

Join us for our next Beer Dinner on Tuesday, May 3.

Guests will enjoy a five-course Cinco de Mayo inspired dinner paired with hand-crafted beers from guest brewer Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company from Croydon, PA.

Seats are $85 per guest including tax and gratuity. Seating will be set for a family style, communal experience.

Reservations are now open and seating is limited. To make your reservation, please call and speak to our host at (908) 665-1755.
The PubScout will see you there!
Cheers!
The PubScout

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Raising a Few to The Bard

Uno's Brewmaster Mike Sella
There were some outstanding beers flowing from the casks yesterday at Uno's on Rt. 1 in Metuchen. Of course, if you'd been reading this space in the past week, you'd have been duly alerted.

But in case you weren't, or worse, missed the event, here's just a sample of what you missed.

Dave Hoffman's Maibock...malty, balanced and dead-on style, and at 6.7% close enough for me to have been a session beer. This German kid knows how to make German beers.

Mike Sella's IPA with Azacca Hops from the hand pump. A mouth and cheek puckerer's delight, infused with that special intense citrus profile only the Azacca hop provides. The Haitian God of Agriculture would have approved. Dark City had an offering, somewhat lighter in color and mouthfeel, that was dry-hopped with Azacca as well.

Kane's Evening Bell
Kane's Evening Bell, a really top-flight American porter, at least in this reviewer's opinion, laced with notes of toffee, chocolate, vanilla and coffee. You can enjoy it any time of day, not just in the evening.

Demented's Greed, a smooth and tasty Oatmeal Stout using cinnamon (noticeable, yet not overpowering) and raisins. You'll get more pleasure from this beer by using olfaction/retro-olfaction techniques for sure, but even if you don't, it's a solid brew.

The Pubscout didn't get to enjoy Kane's Head High hopped with Galaxy, or Cypress's 17 Mile IPA with Mango and Habanero, but others in my bar vicinity expressed very positive opinions about them.
Wm. Shakespeare

It appears that this semi-annual event (begun by Mike Sella sometime in 1564 after Shakespeare's birthday) is a crowd favorite, as beer drinkers and brewers from around the area were on hand to sample beers from other breweries as well as their own.

I will be sure to apprise you of the next one. 

To be [there] or not to be [there]...that is the question. 
Guess which answer I choose...

Cheers!
The PubScout

Friday, April 22, 2016

This Just In! Beers for Uno's Cask Fest Announced

Emily
As reported here days ago, Mike Sella's hosting a Cask Ale Fest at Uno's tomorrow. I'd like to think it's in honor of Shakespeare's birthday, but, alas, poor Yorick, I'm a realist.

Anyway, here are the brews that will be available:




Uno's Ikes IPA dry hopped with Azacca
Kane Evening Bell
Kane Head High dry hopped with Galaxy
Little Dog Macaroon.....porter with chocolate and coconuts
Climax Maibock
Demented Greed  Oatmeal stout with cinnamon and raisins
Cypress 17 Mile IPA with mango and habanero
Dark City One Way Street  Session IPA dry hopped with Azacca


I don't know about you, but those Azacca hops ring my bell. And Dave Hoffman's Maibock, along with Gretchen Schmidhausler's Macaroon? Are you serious?

And Kane? And Cypress? And Demented? And Dark City? Get outta town!

Especially if your town isn't on Rt. 1 in Metuchen from noon till whenever tomorrow.


I'll be waiting for you.
We'll hoist a pint to Shakespeare.

Cheers!
The PubScout

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Beer Info Session Intrigues Craft Beer Newbies

I had a wonderful opportunity last evening to mix and mingle with some equally wonderful folks at JJ Bittings Brewpub in Woodbridge. The occasion was the first annual "Suds and Scholarships" Fund raiser whereby the Perth Amboy Kiwanis Club attempted to raise some money to help local kids with the high costs of going to college.

Bob D'Urso, the affable and jocular host of the evening, and his partners at the PA Kiwanis Club had arranged an excellent event which, for a nominal donation, saw attendees presented with a wide array of foods (the pasta dish was out of this world and worth going back for) and five different samples of beer from JJ Bittings' repertoire. 

Gary and his teenaged wife, Fran
Bob and his sidekick Gary Perillo (who was celebrating his thirty-first anniversary with his teenaged-looking wife Fran) had asked me to come down and do a brief presentation about beer and how to taste it. Free beer and free food? What's not to like? I'm there.

And I'm glad I was. I got to meet some very nice folks, like Nancy and Hugh, Karen and Sharon, Chris, Lisett and Junel and others. And all were very interested in not only the intricacies of tasting various beers, but in the historical aspect of this ancient beverage. If their post-presentation comments were any indication, the world of craft beer has gained a batch of new adherents.

With an abbreviated lesson in how to taste using all five senses, the assembly digested the first rule of beer-drinking: Drink what you like. Some liked the Victoria's Golden Ale, Bittings' transitional beer, some preferred Aldahat Amber. Some even sang the praises of the IPA, especially after learning the history of the style. But the consensus favorite seemed to surround the joys of Chocolate Cherry Stout, which many had never tried. And, lo, the myth of "those dark beers" being too strong was dispelled.

We played some trivia, too, the grand prize being a crisp one-dollar bill, won by Rosemary Oarsley, who claimed she guessed at all the answers. Yeah, right. She's a beer nut in disguise, I think.

Bob and company seemed to enjoy the session and promised to do it again, and Karen Barnes, President of the Woodbridge Chamber of Commerce, is interested in doing something similar with her group.

The more people get exposed to good beer, the better, and I'm happy to help.
Especially if there's free food and beer.

Cheers!
The PubScout

Monday, April 18, 2016

Toasting the Bard with a Brew


 Ale was a critical part of Elizabethan society, probably because it was safer to drink than the water. Indeed many of Shakespeare's plays reference the liquid, both in its healthful and less-than-salubrious uses and effects. The Bard's own father was the official Ale-Taster of Stratford-upon-Avon, and so revered was Will's writing about the liquid that the very first brewpub in New Zealand was named "The Shakespeare."
Who would disagree, for example, with "For a quart of ale is a dish for a king" (A Winter's Tale)? And who among us hasn't ever thought "I would give all my fame for a pot of ale and safety" (King Henry V)?
Well, you can feel like a king without having to sacrifice whatever fame you have this coming Saturday at Uno's on Rt. 1 in Metuchen, where Mike Sella has been churning out good beer like Shakespeare cranked out good sonnets.


Mike "Shakespeare" Sella

That's because Sella is hosting a Cask Beer Fest on The Bard's birthday starting at noon and running until the kegs kick. And some darned good brewers will be sending beers for your enjoyment.

On hand will be offerings from Demented, Cypress, Climax, Little Dog and Kane. The Bard of the Brewhouse does not yet know which of the beers those breweries will be sending, but should know by Thursday of this week, and The PubScout will update you as soon as he knows. Of course, Mike's usual offerings will also be available; his Scotch Ale is more "killer" than Macbeth and the witches may have used brewing magic to make his IPA.

Emily

Speaking of beauty, while you're there, look for the smiling face of Emily, involved in theater herself for much of her young life, including playwriting. If you tell her The PubScout sent you, she may rattle off a line from Shakespeare. Hopefully, it won't be "Out, out, damned spot!"
It might be more in line with what we'd say to Mike and the participating brewers, and what appears on the bottle of Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome.



See you Saturday!
Cheers!
The PubScout