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.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Beer for Christmas!!

Well it is the holiday season folks. Have you noticed all the people running around to buy gifts for everyone? No? Well that's because you don't care. Not in the mean way of not caring, you know, in the way that says you've got this down. Besides your four year old nephew you know what you're getting everyone on your list. Yep that's right, Beer. How thoughtful!

Not just any beer though, that will not do!

I've been compiling a list of the best beers I've had in the last few months and have a suggestion for each person on your list.

Grandma - Yeah that's right Grandma is a beer drinker, shes old school and loves the seasons. You know because she was an up North baby and cant stand not to have fall. So for here I would recommend a nice dark beer Like the Royal Roots by Confluence Brewing Company or an Oats In Hose Oatmeal Stout by
Big Storm Brewing Co.

Grandpa - Grandpa well you can't get him to change, it's just the way he is. Crank and crotchety, but where not going to get a a Pabst or Bud Light were going to sneak in a little Blond like the Strike by Silverking Brewing Company or one of the Venture Series Belgian Golden Ale's by Madhouse Brewing Company.

Mom - mom love you no matter what, I mean shes your mom, so really no matter what beer you bring her over shes going to say "Thanks, I love you honey". That is not going to dissuade you, you're getting you lovely mother a nice Influence De La Floride by Escape Brewing Company or because you're so sweet a Cream Ale like the Clearwater Honey Cream by Pair O' Dice Brewing.

Dad - always there to have your back, well at least to tell you where you messed up. You know deep down he is a softy. So for you sweetheart of a dad, ha I can't keep this up. For you awesome but I told you so dad were going to shock his taste buds with the Cubano-Style Espresso Brown Ale by Cigar City Brewing. Dad's not a coffee, how did he get all that hair on his chest then? Fine for the slightly lighter shock get him some beer with a great name Moose Drool Brown Ale by Big Sky Brewing Company.

Brother - Oh you know him, the cocky one. I can do anything you can do better. God you love him though, just don't let him know. For him we're going to hit the IPA's. You know he'll like them (and if he doesn't that's just more for you to drink my friend). So since you're buying for you him lets start with a Fixie by Cycle Brewing Company then finish your taste bud twist with a Bimini Twist IPA by 3 Daughters Brewing.

Sister -  Don't think we would leave her out. She may not be an avid beer drinker but hey we can through in a few that even sister would love. Lets start with a Gluten Free (yeah I know but it's a thing) Pale Ale by Omission Beer. If shes not one of those yuppie trend setters then well give he an easy Fruit Beer (Grapefruit) by St. Peter’s Brewery Co.

These are just a few of our suggestions and by no means is a full list. But remember Family and friends are awesome! They are what the holidays are all about, if you get them beer great but the most precious gift you can ever give is you time, love and attention.

Merry Christmas and Happy whatever fantastic holiday you celebrate!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

How dare you use a Pint Glass!

How dare you! Got your attention for a few seconds now? I've been reading a bit about glasses beers "should" be served in and the poor common shaker glass, the glass every American knows, is being kicked to the curb. I mean it was bound to happen. In my journey through the beer world, still a young-in to many, I've noticed something when using a shaker glass; it doesn't smell right.

So what, you're not there to smell beer!   Yes I am, I (you) need those odorants to complete the true flavor of the drink. With the introduction to the craft world I noticed first that beers often smell better than they taste. Now that my flavor profile has evolved to enjoy many more beers one of the flavors I enjoy most is the smell. So to get back to the glass issue. Try a little experiment. Take a shaped glass, any glass like a wine glass with the nice curved in rim and a common shaker. fill them both with the exact same beer. 
Look at the beer, chances are your shaker glass looks a little more clouded (thicker glass) where the wine glass will have a crisper look, colors a little brighter. Obviously don't use a super dark beer for this test, it will be harder to tell. Now smell the beer, which one smells better? This is really pronounced when using an IPA as the floral smells come out even more. Now taste the beers, first the shaker, inhale through your nose as you taste, now the wine glass... Which one was better? Your saying their the exact same beer, now give it to your friend, pose it as two different beers. which do they pick?

Most of the time the wine glass will be picked. The other thing I'm liking more is the shaped glasses, some have a bump at the base of the glass or Samuel Adams etches a line in the base. This causes the carbonation to cluster and rise from there, releasing it quicker than if it was in a standard shaker glass. More air being released the more smell into your nose as you drink. I know I sound crazy but give it a try. I didn't believe it either but it seems science wins out again and when you mix that science with a little bit of glass art beer drinking becomes an experience. 

You probably can't have a glass for each type of beer in your fridge but hey I'm getting myself a good stemless snifter for my all propose glass, and it will easily double as a large wine glass. 

Here are a couple sites that attempt to pair up glasses with types of beer. 
Real Beer (I like theirs the best, it's a picture...) 


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Do you miss Beer?

So as far as I can tell I'm not an alcoholic. With that said I find myself missing beer. I don't mean missing it like I need to have it, I mean when I go out to a restaurant or sit at a bar there's nothing there that I want to drink. Sure there's Budweiser (check my Untappd profile to see how often I drink that) and now one craft beer or so called big name craft beer. But what I really want is the local tap house at my bar. Two or three different locals, real locals from a few miles away.

I've been visiting several places lately and since I travel I have to hit a place with food every now and then (otherwise I'd be revisiting the alcoholic statement). When I see the label local I ask, obviously, from where. They often say some place hundreds of miles away from the location I'm at.
There's 6 places within 10 miles, why won't the owners go and get a barrel? Try it out, support your local area, local jobs. These are the people visiting your restaurants and bars. Give them something to be proud about, right? Pimp your local employers, instead of saying local say from <entry your city name>. I have no doubt your local breweries would sell you the barrel, crap some might give you one to try out. Take a chance, the big breweries know it's a good path, they keep buying them up! #drinklocal #reallocal!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Mediocre Breweries

So I just got back form another road trip and visited a new brewery. A normal thing I enjoy to do. The odd thing about this place is while chit chatting with folks, like I often do, One guy who claimed to be friends with the owner (old school pals). Right none of that is odd, what is, according to this "pal" the owner isn't interested in making a great beer. Whaaat? I know right a brewer not interested in making a great beer? I'm interested in drinking a great beer! Anyway, the owner just wants to make a middle of the road beer that anyone can enjoy.

I guess that is a goal. A beer anyone can enjoy. Someone has to do the grunt work and make a beer for the folks who don't want the great one. I guess the issue I have is the image. The image of a sell out. Whats wrong with a sell out? well nothing at all. I can't blame anyone for working their butt off to build something and then someone come to them with a check, the check, the one they have been waiting for. The millions that in their eyes makes it all worth it. It erases the problems they may have been having, the neglect they may have shown to someone they love. You can't blame someone for selling out to the man! Can you?

Beer is beer but I feel craft beer becomes an art. An art that allows one to express themselves in knowledge. Knowledge that if I use this yeast in this way with these ingredients at this exact temp for this exact time frame I'll end up with a drink worthy of the gods! That's my craft beer experience but I'd still sell out!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Why don't you brew your own beer?

We get asked this all the time, "Why don't you make your own beer? I'm sure it would be great."
Anyone who knows A & I know we enjoy going out to the Tap houses trying new beers. We are the beer snobs of our friend circle. Honestly I think we are both proud to say that these days.

At least once a week we get together and hit up @BigStormBrewing , @SilverKingBrew or one of the great places that carry a ton of the locals like @JohnnysFillin and @TarponTavern (trust me the list of locals for us is much longer but I cant name them all). So weekly we are enjoying a brew or two.
I get the pleasure of traveling part of the time for work, so I get the opportunity to visit those far off tap rooms like @ConfluenceBrew, @515Brewing and @FireTruckerBrew to name only a few of the most recent ones.

I have a passion that's developed for beer. I love the stuff, even the bad ones. To think someone poured their heart and sole into making a batch of deliciousness out of water maybe hops and malt, threw in some oddball stuff and took their valuable time to pick through various forms of yeast to find one that burps just the right amount to make perfection.

Why would I even try to step on the toes of this process by making my own brew? The first dozen batches would be insulting, it would be an assault on ones palette, a disgrace to the craft. Yeah eventually with enough practice maybe we turn out a brew that competes with the artists of the craft brew world. I'm confident if our hearts were in it we would.

But why? Right now I can sit back after a day of working drive within 5 miles from my house, meet up with good friends and enjoy a pint (or more) of perfection. No more work than that. No sweat, no tears and no mistakes. Yeah we don't get the recognition of having our names on a can. Who cares? I get my recognition by knowing my few bucks are going to support something someone absolutely loves to do. Something someone cares enough about to fuss over which yeast has the right burp, which malt to use and from what region of the world or country, which hop and when or how many times to throw it in.

It's amazing and at least for now we're going to enjoy sitting on the customer side of the bar.


Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Reviewers Position

So I was reading an interesting story the other day. It was from a magazine I read all the time and was about how a reviewer can ruin a beer with a single bad review. How they don't take into consideration the hard work involved. I haven't been doing this long (drinking beer yes posting my opinion about them no), and part of AJ Brew Reviews goal was to offer two peoples tastes as a guide for others. 

Everyone has a different pallet of taste. Same as with movies everyone has a different style of movie they like.  Beer should be treated no differently. If two popular movie critics  said some movie was bad, that may stop me from seeing it in a theater but it wouldn't stop me from seeing it all together. Beer should be the same way.

If we say a beer is horrible (we don't really use that wording) that shouldn't mean don't try it. What it means is that A or J said hey our palette is not enjoying this beer maybe you should try a smaller sample than commit to a full glass as you sit. The great thing about the Craft industry is they are pretty much setup this way. I have never been to a Tap House that wouldn't give you an ounce or so taste of every beer on tap.

It's almost like they want you to find the beer you like, the one your going to enjoy, the one that makes your taste buds sing.

That is truly our goal and that is why both of us post our own opinion about the beer. Some people are going to align more with A's pallet and other more with J's. Honestly there are few beers we agree fully on but many we both like.

To me the article was almost saying that we are hurting the breweries feelings and I just don't believe it. I was sitting at a Tap House the other day and the brewer said we put some pretty crappy beers out just to get rid of them some times, everyone in the back hated it, then we find ourselves making more because  we ran out so quickly. We had one brewer tell us he had a request to make a beer again and he had to tell the guy there was no way he could duplicate all the mistakes that happened to make that beer again.

The bottom line is we are not out to tear down a brewer or brewery we would like to think we are helping them just a little bit. I know for a fact we've converted a couple people from always drinking Bud Light or Coors to have an occasion a craft beer.  I've even describe beers as a great starter or Bud Light converter.

A&J's goal is to enjoy a good beer and let you know what we think. We just want a reason to go out more and drink even more beer.


Sunday, August 23, 2015

97x craft beer experience

J: A and I attended the 97x craft beer experience and enjoyed it immensely. There were many great local and some from afar breweries there representing a large number of the craft beers that most people may not have had. We met a number of people and personally I had a chance to try over 23 different beer. Some were added to the list of places to visit for a legit review, while (thankfully few) some were moved further down our list. Check in later for more to come and new reviews of venues and brews.

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Facebook Like issue

J: You know it is a very interesting thing. Post the same content in multiple places but one if extremely hard to get noticed. It's almost like the follow a different model forcing you to want to pay for the same likes and information you can get elsewhere. Well I refuse to pay for something like a like. To me it's the equivalent of walking down the street and giving someone a quarter because they might like what your offering. Isn't traffic the ultimate goal? That seems to be the model the most successful companies use, share all the content in the world your content being exposed to the masses through simple means allows us to generate income from companies who have real money.  Rant over but hey if your on the FB and want to like our page please do. I will prove them wrong one way or another.

Someone is ready for the weekend

This raccoon is ready for the weekend. Seems like he had a good night.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Beer Beer Beer

AJBrew we are here to provide you with an Average Joe's beer tasting menu. Our taste evolved over time without doubt but our primary goal is always to rate honestly and to #drinklocal. Will you like every beer we post about? Absolutely not, but we don't like every beer we try. Recently I can remember a palm tree that didn't like every beer we poured out on it. I digress, the point is this place is about beer, we want to hear from you and we want to drink them all at least once!!!!