at 11:00 AM
I'm calling "BULL SHIT" on Joe Konrath's 30 day beer diet. Don't get me wrong, I would do the same thing if I were in his shoes, but seriously, Bull Shit. It all started on New Years Day, some crazy, self publisher/writer decides he want's to lose some weight "the easy way". In all honesty, he wants to do a 30 day beer diet, see how many followers he can get and then sell his story. Don't believe all the bull shit about wanting to lose weight or prove to his wife that beer isn't bad for him.
Day 1, two blog posts and three videos to get the readers engaged. If this wasn't enough, Days 2-6 also included Part 1 & Part 2 blogs with tons more videos and photos with a little bad humor mixed in. Now that he has you drawn-in and running back for more and more... it all starts to get a little fuzzy.
What Joe is/was attempting to do has already been done by many people. In fact what Joe is/was doing was most recently completed and turned into a book by J. Wilson and his book Diary of A Part-Time Monk. The difference between what Joe did vs. Wilson was the reasons behind the project. Wilson actually followed the 46 day fasting by the old Monk tradition of some 300 years prior. He even went and brewed his own doppelbock beer filled full of carbohydrates, calories and vitamins.
Now why do I call out a big Bull Shit on what Joe is doing? Well if you know of or read one of Joe's books, you also probably know that he has started a revolution (not really started, just is more public than others) of selling his work electronically. He called out the big publishers of the world and called Bull Shit on them and with the help of Amazon, he is self-publishing all of his co-written fictional works. He doesn't sell out to anyone and has the attitude of "sticking it to the man". So what is so different in Joe now? Well maybe it is the fact that he is spouting off about how much money he has made this Holiday season on his other blog and trying to put thoughts into writing to help justify his own actions to make them OK so he can lay his head down at night (just my opinion).
After about day 6, he was down to only one blog post a day and they continued to get shorter and shorter, in most cases leaving the cult-like followers wanting more and more. No more videos or photos for the "People" and finally on day 19, it all came to an end. Waiting...still waiting... No more Joe. Then, out of a miracle of the beer Gods that circle in Joe's head at night, he reappears with some nonsense about his next diet and wants the "People" to leave comments so he can see exactly what kind of market he is getting into. After this appearance, we will not see Joe again for another 6 days when out of nowhere he reapers and tells the "People" that he can't talk anymore and you will just have to wait the 13-18 months it will take him to get his documentary completed. Nice, really Joe, this is what you do, you finally sell out after spouting your mouth off daily about what your all about? Maybe I'm reading into this the wrong way? Maybe he really did get sick and was hospitalized for a good time? The fact is, you started something with just a bunch of crap promises.
The main reason I'm calling Bull Shit is the simple fact that on his very blog, Day 20 to be exact, I started a comment that quickly spread with many follow-ups. That simple message was "RIP Joe". Now did I mean it the way most readers took it? No, I knew you sold out and at that very moment and that you crapped on the thousands of followers. After this comment (which had to be approved by owner of the site, Joe) I tried to comment again on the Day 26 break-up post (basically calling you a sell-out). For some reason that comment never made it into the comment section as it wasn't approved!
Today is day 31 and no one knows what really ever happened to Joe. All we know is that he has shot tons of video and has hired an editor and that he can't give us any further information. Sounds to me like he signed a deal with "The Man" or as Joe himself calls him "The Devil" and cannot give away anything further for free.
I don't blame Joe at all for his actions and would probably do the same thing since life revolves around the dollar. Hell, I'll probably be the first one on Amazon to pre order the finished product. I'm just having a hard time comprehending the different personalities between his two blogs and the fact that Joe doesn't fully gets what he has done. Can he decipher the differences between Fact and Fiction or is he so caught-up in his own fantasy land with Jack Daniels and Uncle Jim Beam?
at 4:00 PM
OH BREWING DAY, oh brewing day... I find the most odd things to be therapeutic. For example, making Gumbo, the hour it takes to make the perfect Roux while you are constantly stirring and stirring while getting arm cramps. Yes, this to me is like making beer. The one hour boil, no kids, no wife and not a worry in the world except when I have to get off my ass to get another beer. From start to finish, 2.75 hours and a six pack of peace and relaxation without a single distraction, exactly the same as making a good Gumbo. So what do making Gumbo and home-made-beer have in common? Absolutely nothing except these are my two things that I do when my kids and wife know to stay away (unless one of my little princess want to play Princess and the Frog and add hot sauce to the gumbo) as daddy is having his "time" and I can drink as much beer as I want without feeling the pressure of having to answer to the wife when I decide I am done.
I had to jump in on the Christmas specials at Midwest Supplies as I needed some basic essentials that are just a ton cheaper to purchase from Midwest than anywhere else like Star San, a big old 8# bottle of PBW and a World Vineyard California Pinot Noir wine kit. I was only $5 away from getting my free bottle opener so of course I had to add a beer kit. I decided to stay with the whole brewing with local honey and chose the Honey Nut Brown Ale.
Midwest's selection of malt gives this smooth brown ale a hint of nutty flavor, while the honey delivers a sweet finish. The ingredients for this recipe include:
6 lbs. Amber liquid malt extract
2 lbs. Minnesota Clover Honey - REPLACE WITH MY OWN HONEY ON BREW DAY
8 oz. Crystal 10L Malt
4 oz. Chocolate Malt specialty grains
1.5 oz. German Northern Brewer bittering hops
0.5 oz. Willamette aroma hops
1 tsp. Gypsum
1 tsp. Irish Moss, yeast
priming sugar and a grain bag
I decided to purchase the yeast just a day prior to the actual brew day at the local shop, Grapes and Grains so I could ensure it was as fresh as possible and didn't hang out in the back of a UPS truck for four days.
One thing I did was swapped out the MN Honey it came with for 2 pounds of local honey I had in the pantry from the mountains of Western North Carolina. I also added it with just 2 minutes remaining on the boil rather than the recommended 30 minutes.
I am getting ready to bottle this beer this weekend as it has already spent two weeks in the primary and has been in the secondary now for about 3 weeks. When I sampled a few ounces on racking day, it was actually drinkable and I was tempted to poured myself a pint, but I didn't cave as I was already enjoying a home-brew at the time that was actually carbonated.
My starting gravity was a little higher than what it should have been registering in at 1.063 (more than likely due to the late addition of the honey) and it was already down to 1.010 at racking.
I cannot wait to try this beer in about two-three weeks as I still have yet to have a kit turn out spectacular from Midwest. Not sure what it is, but 100% and I mean 15 out of 15 kits from Northern Brewer have turned out fantastic and so far from Midwest, 1 had to go down the drain, two were just about headed for the drain and the last one was just OK with a bad after-taste. I'm sure it is brewer error, but I still find it odd.
Now for my New Years resolution, no more kits in 2012 and only original recipes utilizing at least one or two fresh local products in each batch.
Cheers to Micro Beers...
Labels: Lowball Brewing
at 6:00 PM
Talk about the perfect day. First, a visit to Dark Corner Distillery to sample some local moonshine and purchase a bottle or two, then we head over to the Greenville Beer Exchange to fill up a growler of Westbrook Brewing Dark Helmet beer and pick up a bunch of other items for the wife and myself to take home for when the kids go to bed (a bunch of German beers and beer fermented from the juice of sour apples). Then finally, finish off the perfect afternoon at Barley's Taproom. The wife, she was interested in the Pizza, me, I was interested in the beer.
Although you can't really read the beer menu posted above, let me tell you that it is one of the best thought-out and complete beer menus I have come across in many years. With the exception to some really good Chicago Brewpubs, Barley's beer selection is simply amazing with just one minor flaw that I'm sure changes over time as does the beer line-up. I was finding that beer from out in California and Oregon out numbered the local selection by almost three times.
Wanting to keep with the same theme of the day and stay local, I decided to have a Westbrook Vanilla Tree Dubbel. Vanilla Tree is a Belgian-style dubbel brewed with a variety of dark crystal malts and dark Belgian candy syrup. After fermentation, the beer is aged on whole vanilla beans and toasted oak chips. The result is a wonderfully smooth, malty ale with notes of dark fruit, spice, and vanilla (natural vanilla, not an extract with that fake syrup taste) and oak! Although just a sipping beer, it was one of the best Belgian style specialty beers I have ever tasted. Next up was a Highland Gaelic Ale. As the flagship beer to Highland Brewery, this was not only the first beer they offered, but to this day it accounts for about half of all the beer they produce. A deep amber colored American ale, featuring a rich malty body. Cascade and Willamette hops add a complex hop flavor and aroma. This ale is exceptionally balanced between malty sweetness and delicate hop bitterness.
Now onto the pizza. We ordered a Thai Chicken pizza that I would classify as a good pie. It wasn't anything outstanding or would I classify it as out-of-this-world good, but definitely a good quality scratch-made pizza. The simple addition of fresh chopped cucumber at the end was definitely the highlight to this pie for me. The sauce needed a little more kick to it as I felt like I was eating a peanut butter pizza. That gives me a good idea, PB&J Pizza... (I'm sure its already been done).
The service was fantastic as I know this place gets a lot of gruff for lack-luster performances at times. However, on this visit, we experienced probably some of the best service we have ever received in a downtown restaurant. The staff were very knowledgeable about the menu and the very impressive beer selection and even offered recommendations to the wife based on a few simple questions along with what kind of pie we were going to order. Not only was this appreciated, but all this took place right in the middle of the very busy and at times chaotic lunch rush on a Friday afternoon (I told you this day was perfect, beer for lunch on a Friday afternoon).
Bottom-line, if you enjoy craft beer at a fair price (some of the beers were on the steep side, but overall most of them were very fair for the quality) and want to try something that you probably never have before, Barley's is the perfect place to hang out at. As for the pizza, no more specialty pizzas for me, no matter how much the wife nags, I'm sticking to sausage and pepperoni pizzas with red sauce, you know, the kind we all used to eat as a kid. The next time she wants some crazy pizza with foie gras, cranberry jelly and oriental chutney, I will make it for her at home.
Have you ever been to Barley's Taproom in Greenville or to one of the other three locations? What did you think of the beer selection? Who else in the Upstate has a beer menu that can rival?
at 8:00 PM
If you like damn good pizza at an affordable price in a clean, fun environment, Tony's Pizza on West Georgia is the place to be at. If you don't like going out for pizza like my family does, hell, they will deliver it right to your door. Not only do they have great pizza, they have the BEST and I mean the BEST Stromboli I have ever had in my life.
And if you are feeling like a "Big Boy", grab your closest friend to try to finish the "Big Boy" challenge; 1 28" "Big Boy" Pizza, 2 toppings and a lot of Pepto. If you are not up for a challenge, they even have a box that fits this "Big Boy" for you to take home (you may need a flat-bed pick up truck to get it home).
I am going to give Tony's the advantage over Milano's Pizza just based on the friendliness of the staff and the Strombolis. Milano's may have a slight edge on the quality of pizza, but the service, atmosphere and stromboli just isn't up to par with Tony's.
Check them out at http://www.tonyspizzaandsubssc.com/. They have 9 locations (I can only speak for the West Georgia location) and are locally owned.
Who else has better pizza in Simpsonville or Greenville than Tony's or Milano's? I'm a Chicago Pizza guy and my wife is a NY Pizza loser, but I must say Chicago Pizza is only good while in Chicago. Mr. Tony, you might have me convinced that NY Pizza is better, but don't let the wife know I said that.
at 2:59 PM
So awhile back I attempted to try Jadens' Pints and Wings on a Friday afternoon for some wings (another self proclaimed "BEST" in the Upstate) and a cold Guinness. Upon parking my car, walking to the door, it was locked. No hours posted (or none that I could see, but I didn't look terribly hard) and not a person to be seen through the window I decided to try my luck at a different establishment for my quick fix. Seriously, 3:30 on a Friday afternoon you are closed?
So now several months later we find ourselves out and about on Saturday with nothing to do and three starving children. I decide to give Jadens a second chance as wings and a beer sounded good (but when doesn't that sound good?). We walked in around noon to a completely empty bar with the exception of what I am assuming to be the owner, owners wife/hubby (not sure which one is officially the owner) and the owners teenage child. Cool, family run place with actual family running it. The space itself is tucked into the end of a strip mall was smaller than I could have even imagined. Picture a small Subway restaurant with the tiny tables lined up and down a long hallway to the restrooms, this is Jadens. Now how on earth they have live bands on the weekends, that is another mystery all in itself.
I already knew they had a kids menu so we weren't going to have a repeat of that horrible "GERMAN" restaurant just a few minutes up the road plus they even had a fried shrimp platter for my middle child. Perfect, lets order some food and get these kids fed. While waiting for our food, it got a little uncomfortable. Teenage daughter and dad fighting over cell phones and facebook applications etc while wife did all the work besides actually cook our food. Lots of fun while trying to explain to my children what was happening etc...
So now onto finding the "BEST" wings in the Upstate. Nope, not even close. Not even a close second place. I ordered up 20 wings, Hot and some kind of sweet/spice sauce. When I asked about the spice level of each of the sauces they were described as Hot = Texas Pete, Hotter = Franks. Hmmm, that doesn't sound hot to me, but then again I tend to eat jars of Ghost Pepper Salsa in a single sitting.
The wings were very large and meaty and a lot of people like them that way, me however, the larger the wing is, the more difficult it is to cook it properly. With larger wings you cannot get the right amount of crispness and 99 out of 100 times get soggy when sauce is applied. I chose the Hot sauce since I was trying to stick to this theme at every wing joint. This so called Texas Pete sauce was a little different than the Texas Pete wings I make at home. When I make mine, I usually add 1/4 cup or so of Texas Pete per two - three Tablespoons butter for about 20 wings. This sauce was really watered down or something. I don't know what it was, but it just wasn't right. Maybe they used margarine instead of real butter? Overall they were still eatable, but would consider going with one of the other 14 sauces they offer. The sweet/spicy/tangy wings (or whatever they called them) was nothing more than just bottled teriyaki sauce with no presence of spice whatsoever. Very sticky and way too much sauce just sitting at the bottom of the basket. The wings never stood a chance, they were drowning in sauce.
Overall Jadens' Pints and Wings was a fun environment to enjoy some average at best wings and some cold pints of beer during a football game. Not a place I would ever bring my young children too again, but that is just me. A little spendy (two kids meals, 20 wings and a sandwich plus two beers - $48 before tip) and more than I care to ever spend again on lunch for the family. I get the idea that this place isn't known for great food, but rather great drinks and some live music. Maybe some day the wife and I will get to enjoy that life again, but with three kids, it is all about good food in a kid-friendly atmosphere. The disappointing part wasn't the lack of finding the "BEST" wings but rather the final impression I got when leaving. The restaurant has a partially open kitchen through the back of the bar and you can basically see everything in that kitchen. As we were walking out, past the open kitchen, their it was, a huge metal bowl filled full of some raw chicken wings on a metal push cart right next to the fryer. Now the cook/owner/bartender had not been in the kitchen since our food was delivered some 30 plus minutes prior and not another soul was in the restaurant at the time from when we walked in to the time we left. Now I feel sick.
Have you tried Jadens' Pints and Wings out before? Where and the hell do they set-up a band and still get more than 10 people through the door? Who has better wings than Wild Wings in the Upstate?
Labels: Greenville Restaurant