Monday, January 20, 2020

Brewing brews

It was a crazy 2019 family and work wise. It has been hard to prioritize the posts, obviously, by the lack of posts in 2019. Things are still a bit out of wack but dont think for a second we haven't been drinking. Average Joe's always drink something. As you should have seen using Instagram,  Twitter or Facebook. While not as thoughtful have been continuing.  We started home brewing a little bit this last year with K, another Average Joe that has big plans of making beer and making  a crap load of money. You know all those brewery owner millionaires.  But hey why not, where there is a speckle of light there is opportunity.  So lets take this journey.  Step one find some great recipe's and and improve upon them until they become our own. Identify the flavor, the texture and the base.  Let's  see where it takes us and follow a path that maybe hasnt been travelled before. The connecting roads are endless.

Well post some of the antics and journey as we travel it.


Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Christmas has come and gone

In our normal tradition, once again a beer was left for the man in the red suit. We will try to be better at posting here in the near future. Busy at life this year. We are very active on facebook and Instagram, even twitter gets a few posts.


Thursday, January 25, 2018


So we went and gosh darn did it. We got the Utopias by Samuel Adams Brewing. That beautiful bottle sat on the shelf for almost a month maybe more, just sitting there staring at me. It's glossy glass look glimmering orange and pearl as you walk by against a bright white shelf. The little metal door that my young daughter loves to open and close knowing she can't touch the bottle. In conversation it would come up, how can you pay so much for a bottle?

Well it's not a open and done bottle, so it will last. You're only supposed to drink about two ounces at a time so it will last... Then the questions, won't it go BAD? How do you know it will stay GOOD? Well because we've done research on the internet and it's more similar to a port wine when stored than a carbonated beer. Well this flew over most and honesty the internet wasn't 100% sure. So A decided to settle this once and for all. He was going to the source, there would be no doubt any longer. He emailed Sam himself. The old guy that's been dead for generations and couldn't convince of the internet and its awesomeness. When he didn't respond he decided to email the brewery.  Here is their response:

December 27, 2017

Dear A... ,

Thank you for your message and your interest in Utopias.Using processes that we learned in making the not-currently-brewed Triple Bock and Millennium beers, the brewers at Samuel Adams have created a truly unique brew.

Because this beer is un-carbonated and high in ABV, it can be opened and closed to be enjoyed when you want to enjoy it. However, you won't want to store this beer in the fridge- a cool and dark place is ideal. And don't be afraid to hold on to the bottle, the liquid will only get better with age!

Our brewers recommend serving Utopias as an ideal after-dinner drink or toasting a special occasion at room temperature (about 70 °F) in 2oz pours.

I hope this answers your question. Thanks again for contacting us and Enjoy!


There you go, the facts, the DL, the meat of the pie. Ohh and the first 2 ounces, wow. You want to try it. I hear folks are selling it for 20.00 an ounce, I think it's worth about 15... Hit me up I may have some left, just know it's a sipper and you should have a great cigar to go with it.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Smoked beers

So I was just reading an article about smoked beers. Here it is for your reference ( I can't speak for A on this but a smoked beer intrigues me. In all honesty the few I've had I won't want to try again. For the most part I think these are to heavily smoked. I want  a smoked beer like I make smoked meat, a heavy layer but when mixed with the rest it is subtle and soft.

This is why I don't often smoke with mesquite it's just to harsh for the palet. Now if I need a blast of smoke for something that's being cooked quickly I have a bag of mesquite lying around. So there's a time and place for everything. All the smoked beers I've had so far are dark from the smoke and the fact they are often stouts to begin with. I'm wondering what a little apple smoke to the hops would do for an IPA.  Wouldn't need the heat if using pellets but if you have the flower maybe some indirect heat could completely change their profile. With all the oils in the hop I wonder if it would bitter more or sweeten. A light smoking of a sweet wood or even cherry just sticks in my mind as an occasional delight.

If anyone's done this and there's a reason why I don't see them everywhere (I'm certain this isn't an original thought) please tell me. Does the hop not roast well? Do we end up with hopcorn instead of a delicious bittering and preserving bloom? I need to know.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Visit Dog Rose Brewing

In September the wife and I (J) visited the Ancient City of Saint Augustine Florida. We stayed at the Saint Francis Inn and did the whole walk around town thing. Pretty much hop from bar to bar to distillery. You know had a good time. The we were walking down Bridge Street, there it stood a big redish building with the word Brewing inscribed . I was excited, mouth salivating with anticipation of new never before had brews.  I walk briskly up the steps grab the handle of the door and look through the glass as the door doesn't open. Dust, unfinished bar top, paint in progress. It isn't open. Disappointment rushes over me like a kid opening an empty box on Christmas. I walk on and enjoy the rest of the trip with an emptiness inside that I must shelve for next time.

Since we come often I knew it wouldn't be more than a few months before I could walk up those steps again. So yesterday while coming for the city in lights show I decided we had to try again. After a nice dinner downtown we started the walk to Bridge Street. The anticipation mounting with the slight memories of failure from the last trip melding in the back of my mind. We walk closer this time child in tow. She's jumping on an do the crooked sidewalks laughing and singing. I think she's displaying the excitement I wish I could let out. There it is, the redish building, lights on, it looks occupied from down the road. Joy sets in new beer is on the horizon. We'll it disappoint, well it be amazing, only one way to tell.

Walking in is a nice open Floorplan. Real darts in the corner, shuffle board next to that, a large wrap around bar and several table of varying sizes. In the back the shine of fermentation tanks bring joy to my eyes and maybe a tear. On the left a board with seven colored names. Speedball Stout, Ramble on Red and Roadside IPA catch my eyes. We take a seat and I walk to the bar. How many are in your flight? "As many as you want." Oh these are my favorite words... One of each please. "I'll bring the right over." Wowzers full service, nice...

I try all seven, even the wife has a sip to see if her pallet has matured to beer. The six year old sticks to water for this trip and is enjoying the electronic device in her hands. The beers overall were good. I wasn't disappointed at all by them. It seems they are Brewing for both the first timer (bud light drinker) and the craft beer lovers. So there is certainly something for everyone. Two I would consider the New guy first step beer, either their Lincolnville Lager which is really lightly hoped or the Palace Pale Ale which is more the citrus route. My favorite here was the Roadside IPA which smells as good as it tastes. The Set Break oatmeal stout and the Speedball stout also very good.

Saying I'm not a huge fan of pumpkin in advance (mostly because it's almost always pumpkin spice) I wasn't a fan of the Jolly Jack's Pumpkin Ale. It gave me more of an Old Bay taste than a strong pumpkin spice.

All in all it is a nice brewery to visit. I'll look forward to coming out again and will certainly visit each time. It's nice to have two good Taprooms downtownish and worth the short walk to each.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

GABF Thursday

Thursday the morning starts not knowing what to expect. Breakfast is had at the hotel, the dining room is filled with shirts of beer from all over. Brewery after brewery, GABF shirts and soany more. We picked the hotel everyone is staying at, we find out later there has to be easy more than one.

We decided to walk the downtown area and do the beer tourism thing. Being from the east coast we started a little early for the area. But wait what's that in the distance, they might be open.. @Great Divide Brewing is open and already serving. There's a small crowd of fellow early morning folks busy for this time of day but the two girls at the counter had it covered no problem. We ordered our flights and found our spot to begin. All of a sudden minutes later we were moving, we picked the crowded area but there was no more room to move too. The place was packed, the two girls behind the counter were joined by another guy and still the line formed, us with three beers left to try.

After the first brewery we went walking again, the only plan, find another place of beer. We posed at Coors field because, well, when in Denver... Then we walked on. Finally a little brewery with open doors was shining light on our path.
@JaggedMountain brewery had their doors open and welcomed us in with morning smiles. Beer the only thing that brings morning smiles. A fantastic Grafruit beer was had, Cattywampus, with not a drop of rhine flavor hitting the batch. Great conversation with a home brewer and his son meeting back up from opposite ends of the country to enjoy the pastime of drinking beer. Then lunch suggestions are heeded and are of again.

Stomachs grumble and the thurst of more beer drives us forward. Taking the suggestion of Jagged Mountains bar tender we headed towards @TapXIV a place just across from another filled tap house but upstairs past the empty bar below it. Taps down the entire length of a nice size bar call us in. Local, distant they are from everywhere. We ordered new beers, ahh life is good. Enjoying the view from the rooftop bar we notice some local brewery friends have gotten the same advice for lunch. The guys from @EscapeBrewing joined us at the bar for beer and a delishious lunch. Conversation, beer and food who could ask for more, this was only part of the reason everyone was here. There's still more to come.

It's almost time to go. A short walk down the street to the convention center leads us to a line, an amazing line. Just prior we finished some great Mexican food from down the street, were full bellies a mistake? The line lead us to the now customary security checks we all must endure these days. Once cleared to drink we arrive at line two, holy crap how many people are already here. Many of the brewers guild already roaming the floor. We are hearded into the corrals and asked to move forward and fill all the available space. We comply, there is beer to be had, soon. The bagpipes signal we are getting close and the corrals one at a time in order of their fill are left loose. 

The game is on, where to start, how to record, what do we do? Overwhelmed feelings hit almost immediately, how can we try 3800+ beers in our available two days. The fact that loss is inevitable is soon washed away by the sheer number of delishious new beers. Recording them all is impossible. Games are afoot on the floor, visit brewery XYZ fill out this card get a shirt, done. Drink until they tell you no more. See the device's of beer making, take it into your home. We made a dent. Just a dent. But wait Saturday there's more to come...
(proof reading will take place soon) 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

The landing in Denver

Wow budget plane's! Hey it got us here to Denver in luxury and style. The 1230 am landing as uneventful as you can hope one to be. Let's check for an Uber, hey Uber pool is about an hour wait, we are at the cabbie spot let's ask them, wow twenty bucks more let's check Lyft. @Lyft you win in Denver tonight only minutes away, cheaper than the cabbies and faster than @Uber. Our drive begins to the @Marriott downtown. It's dark so there isn't much to see a bit of construction ohh what's that in the distance? A shinny city on the hill? Breweries! Seeing them from the road even at 1am makes you want to stop. It's almost time. We will see you soon my friends. 

So we get to the lovely Residence Inn @Marriott check into our room. We go up and snag a single queen bed. I love A like a brother but am not a fan of sleeping in a tiny bed with him. Well we call down the the front desk, all rooms sold out but hey our room has a sofa-bed. So we don't have to cuddle. Hopefully the only not so great hiccup in this trip. 

So we're on our way out the door, where too? Well a brewery. We have a few shirts with us a couple guys medium and a ladies large and XL. If you're the first to tell us you want it, you can have it. Our gift to you. See you with a beer in hand! 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The road to @GABF

The Great American Beer Festival is approaching. A and J are sitting at the Rum Fish in the C terminal of Tampa International Airport. Enjoying a Reef Donkey from Tampa Bay Brewing Co to start the prep of our livers for two days of trying to try 3800+ Craft beers from around the country. Can we prep for this? I'd like to think the years and years of beer has been prep. How many can we try? Well the dream goal is is all of them, reality will break our spirts at some point  but the alcohol content will keep them alive.

We board our flight shortly hoping to meet new brewer's and most importantly new masterpiece craft beers.


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Beer for Breakfast

Now I've seen a lot about this recently. It is like a craze and people are going nuts over it, I mean not anyone I know. We are all for it! For some reason, my guess is the same reason we still can't buy liquor in some places before 11 am on Sundays, having a drink before noon is still Taboo. This is ludicrous folks, there is absolutely no reason that "In the land of the free" (I know some may not be here) we are not "free" enough to have a beer with or even for breakfast.

Was it that it was a British thing to do and when we crossed the pond we threw it out? Come on you know George sat in his favorite chair in Mount Vernon with a nice stout in hand. Imagine that; Martha walking by seeing George's cup empty thinking , You're already on your second one George?, heck no the man was a general! She called to the kitchen and shouted, friends he's out again!
Here's a fun article about good old George and his Beer.

So beer was originally for breakfast because well water was horrible, carried these killer bacteria and people knew it was bad. So the solution Brewing and fermentation. I mean you could just pour yourself a glass of Airag which is a delicious glass of fermented milk, I'm guessing it tastes like the way I'm saying the word in my head (Eh - Rag). Personally I'd rather pour a glass of Chicha de jora which is drank in the Andes, you can already guess from my enthusiasm its almost a beer. As great science fiction movies would say "Would you like to know more".


I could keep going and who knows maybe I will do the history of beer as breakfast in the future but for today's point, get over it! Grab your favorite stout be it coffee or otherwise, sit back with the paper on whatever day your weekend may be and cherish in the fact that you're celebrating history and not breaking a single rule for life.

Enjoy your beer, enjoy your life!

Monday, June 26, 2017


What did we do? Well we have a cool shirt for you to be a honorary brew reviewer. We think you'll like them. Both men's and woman's styles. We will ship anywhere in the continental US included in your price. We know you like beer as much as we do and this shirt will let you be just as cool!

How much to be awesome? Only $15.00

All orders will ship no later than August 1st.

All Sizes 15.00
includes shipping in continental US

We know this shirt is cool but we want to hear your ideas for slogans. We've seen some really cool ones and wonder if our fellow beer drinkers can come up with even more awesome ones. Like usual you'll get no credit and nothing from it but hey you can tell a tale to anyone you'd like.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Mistakes - Great and Not so

I'm sitting here at Escape brewing thinking, it's amazing how many mistakes make really good things. A and I have been to so many breweries over the last few years and a common theme is an oops beer on tap. They never mean to and doubt you'll ever see it again but they all have them.

It's like a great chef, they say in pairing food you taste each bite, you consider the emotion that it brings forward. The memory from the smell and the visions of childhood wonders. Like the smell of fresh baked bread making you recall the bakery down the street you had to pass on the way to school. You didn't have that memory? Neither did I but that's why we aren't great chefs.

Anyways back to beer. Always be willing to try that beer in the bottom right corner of the sign. Great breweries admit their mistakes, they wear them with pride and gosh dang a few of them that will never be duplicated again, you'll wish for, you'll desire, you'll crave one last sip and damn it they won't let you fill the growler. 

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Santa needs a Dunkel!

It's that time of year again folks.  The big day, the day you decide to make the right life choice.  The day you teach your children right.  Bake those cookies, frost them nice and even add some extra sprinkles right there on top.  Use that colored sugar goo to frost a hat on frosty that's as black as coal and a little orange for the carrot nose.  Whatever you do, don't blow it this year with the fat man.  Leave him a beer.  Don't be cheap and leave him a PBR, save those for the family you have to put up with tomorrow.  Leave Santa something special,  your favorite IPA, a seasonal choice from those local harry guys down the street or my pick for the year a nice growler full of some flavorful dunkel.  Santa will appreciate it,  the reindeer do the driving anyways.  Maybe Mrs. clause will leave you something special, in a stocking, for reducing some of Santa's stress before he gets home.  Who knows the benifits of your choice, maybe Santa will take you off the naughty list for next year, maybe Mrs. Clause will put you on it... No matter what Santa will have a better night and you'll end it with a smile.

Merry Christmas,

AJ Brew

Monday, October 17, 2016

It's October --Pumpkin!!!

Well welcome to October, yeah yeah half way into October but you've been here with me the whole time so you know what time of year it is. Pumpkin time. Pumpkin spice in everything, coffee, tea, water and even beer. Do you love it, do you hate it? It doesn't really matter which way you feel about it you're bound to have at least one pumpkin beer this month.

A& J have tried a bunch recently to help save you from the horrors of trying them yourself.

Gourds Gone Wild
Tampa Bay Brewing Company

J: 2.75   A: 2.75
Baked Pumpkin Ale
Lancaster Brewing Company

J: 3.0
Seasonal Sneak
Cigar City Brewing

J: 3.0
Fox Brewing Company

J: 3.0
Jack-O Traveler Pumpkin Shandy
Traveler Beer Co.

J: 2.5
UFO Pumpkin (2016)
Harpoon Brewery

A: 4.0
Southern Tier Brewing Company

A: 4.5
Oak Aged Oktoberfest
Big Storm Brewing Co.

J: 4.0   A: 4.0
Harvest Patch Shandy
Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company

A: 2.75
Samuel Adams OctoberFest
Boston Beer Company

A: 4.0
Sweet Potato Casserole
Funky Buddha Brewery

J: 4.25

I hope this short list saves your palette just slightly. Enjoy the season.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Six Ten Brewing First Impressions

Well A and J are off tasting as many beers as our livers will allow, or our wives which ever tell us to stop first. While we were out and about this last weekend preparing for the big event of the 4th of July we went to a nice little spot in Tampa called Six Ten Brewing.

The location was nice, a small number of tables and nice size bar. They appears to have a nice crowd there most of the time at least during the Saturday night rush in which we went to visit for.

Here are our reviews for the different Beers we tried, I truly think we would both suggest this place as a nice little joint to stop.

I'm declaring the Vanilla Porter the winner of the trip. Nice smooth and still remember the lovely vanilla smell so many days later..

Six Ten Brewing
IPA - American
A'S RATING (4.25)

6.8% ABV

Six Ten Brewing
IPA - Imperial / Double


Vanilla Porter
Six Ten Brewing
Porter - American
A'S RATING (4.75)

5.9% ABV 38 IBU

Poco Loco
Six Ten Brewing
Pale Ale - Belgian
J'S RATING (3.25)


Six Ten Brewing
Blonde Ale
J'S RATING (3.25)
A'S RATING (4.0)


Monk's Milk
Six Ten Brewing
Blonde Ale - Belgian Blonde / Golden
J'S RATING (3.5)

5.2% ABV No IBU

Six Ten Brewing
Berliner Weisse
J'S RATING (3.25)
A'S RATING (3.5)

3.5% ABV No IBU

Six Ten Brewing
Pale Ale - American
A'S RATING (4.25)

5.5% ABV No IBU 

Friday, March 11, 2016

YouTube videos are go

So like we started below in singe other post we've started paying YouTube videos. Well we may pretty much suck at it today but in a year we might just get dang good. Don't you want to be one if the first to subscribe? Rhetorical question, we know you do. So enjoy the pre perfection entertainment now, one day well be charging for this stuff...

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Days without beer

The days between beers, oh what long days those can be. Been super busy running around with family and having a generally good time. I noticed something missing, the new beer experience. Found myself looking for something new to try and nothing could be found. Well nothing without driving away from the family fun and since I'm the only one who drinks the beer it wouldn't really be a good time had by all. This needs to be remedied folks, why even today local restaurant's don't have local brews or even why chain names don't bring in the community brews blows my mind. Yeah sure Bud sells the most but one barrel of a local alternative a month might slow that down a bit.

Have one person from your location who likes beer go out to a local tap house and find the closest thing to Bud Light they can. Bring it in and give it one tap, that's all I'm asking. If it goes well then fantastic, if it sits there and spoils no one was told you have a local on tap. That's really what it is, I hate going to a place and saying what beers do you have on draft. I know you have Bud, Bud Light maybe Miller, I want to know the oddballs. I want to hear "Well we have a local lager by XYZ down the street and Bud, Bud Light...."

Damn how that would change the world. Get out of this same old garbage routine, people want to try new things if they don't then they're missing the spice of life.

Enjoy the spice of life drink local brews...


Sunday, January 10, 2016

The video barrier

AJBrew has just broken into the video world. Honestly this is how we planned on starting this thing but we got distracted by delicious beer. Now that we've had so much delicious beer we figure it is time to show our faces, those handsome (ha) faces.So anyway our New Years resolution (one we hope not to fail at) is post at least one video a week, may be short may be long but we will be using Periscope and\or Snachat so follow us at both those places. As usual AJBrewReview will be the way to find us. Here are the links for your enjoyment. Let us know what you think, good, bad or otherwise. On everything but the Snaps we will make sure to do them in landscape because that horizontal video thing we hate it too.

AJBrew You Tube Channel


Side Trip New Belgium - Quick Review

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 Top rated beers by AJBrew

It's still 2015 and while A and J will continue drinking beers until that last day, we've composed the (it could change slightly) best of 2015 list. We've compiled the list and below are our top rated beers for 2015. Listing only our 5 cap and 4.75 cap beers for this year. A will go first because well he's A..

A's 5 star beers for 2015

Are Wheat There Yet? By: Brew Bus Brewing

I know, that's it? What the hell, hard ass.....

A's 4.75 beers. You all earned 5 stars for even making this high in J's opinion.....

Florida Cracker By: Cigar City Brewing
Fat Tire By: New Belgium Brewing Company
The Kalm  By: Big Storm Brewing Co.
Wavemaker By: Big Storm Brewing Co.
Thomas Beck By: Confluence Brewing Company
Skinny Dip By: New Belgium Brewing Company
EdDie Pale Ale By: 7venth Sun
Oats In Hose By: Big Storm Brewing Co.
Sculpin IPA By: Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits

Now it's J's turn:

J's 5 star beers for 2015 in no particular order

Bitteschlappe Brown Ale By: Excelsior Brewing Company
Strike By: Silverking Brewing Company
Pointer Brown Ale By: Court Avenue Brewing Company
Bimini Twist IPA By: 3 Daughters Brewing
Thomas Beck Black IPA By: Confluence Brewing Company

J's 4.75 come on he's a bit of a hard ass when giving out the 5's ha ha ha A only gave out 1...

Graffiti Orange Wheat By: 7venth Sun
Mothra Versus Citra By: Bloom Brew
Ozona Rush By: Stilt House Brewery
Ruthie By: Exile Brewing Company
Influence De La Floride By: Escape Brewing Company
Graffiti Orange Wheat By: 7venth Sun

So in our opinion 2015 was a great year for beer. I can only hope 2016 will be as good and maybe we can add a couple more 5's to A's list. Good luck brewers!!!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Leave Santa a Beer!

Dear Kido's,

I know Christmas is right here, I mean it is only a few days away. Your house is decorated in the finest LED lights your old man could find. Your mother has made plans for the family to come over. Hopefully the two of them have snuck out and had a nice evening without you little brats, I mean adorable children. Point is the entire family has been busting their butts to get everything ready for you. You are the stars of the show. The whole holiday is focused on kids.
You're forgetting about one thing. The fat man, the man in the red suit, the guy who's been busting his butt with hundreds of little elves and Mrs. Claus breathing down his neck to get that gift to you on time. He's been working the last 364 days, slave driving the elves into a workshop groove that rival's the workshops in China.
What do you do for him? You only think about the guy in November when that elf shows his/her face around Thanksgiving. Yeah mom or dad may have threatened you in July but you were all like, I have 5 months to make up for that.
Bottom line is your going to give Santa a sugared up cookie, some milk, and those reindeer a piece of celery or a carrot. Have you ever busted your butt and then drank milk? The answer is no! If you had you wouldn't think of leaving that curdling cup of stomach ach. Sugar cookies? Come on that's a temporary high followed by a crash and bed rest for two days with the number he needs to eat in one night. No wonder he takes a bite and leave the crumbs, really he's throwing it out the window of the sled hoping some squirrel eats it before you see it.
What the man wants is what your daddy wants. It's that simple, an ice cold beer (maybe Mrs Claus in a nice teddy too, skip that part kids). If you really want to get on the fat man's good side leave him a growler full of that local nectar. It will allow him to relax, you'll certainly end up on the nice list. If it's a good red or brown you might even end up with a free pass for the next year! Reindeer if they're anything like horses they'll love it too.
No worries Santa isn't drinking enough to get drunk. He would never drink and sleigh. You'll be the only kid in the block doing it anyways. He might even steal the growler and bring some up to convince Mrs Claus to wear that other thing we talked about. You'll be THE kid, the one he remembers, so don't chump out next year, he'll be looking forward to your house!!!

Merry Christmas from AJ Brew.