Good pubs, Good Beer, Good People

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Making one’s civic duty palatable….

By Kurt Epps—The PubScout

Whenever I got my summons for jury duty in the past, I'd just tell them I was a teacher, and they let me go. Somehow or other, that free pass got revoked (probably late one night) by the same state government that is currently doing its level best to empty NJ of its productive citizens, who are escaping the state in record numbers for more tax-friendly states.

I still was able to skip the jury duty thing, though, because they give you a special number to call the night before to see if you were still needed. I'd call only to receive a recorded message that "jurors from pool so-and-so with numbers higher than so-and so were excused."

Fine with me. Don't get me wrong: our justice system works because of the service of the average citizen whose duty it is to serve every so often. But it's a PITA…a necessary and compulsory PITA, but a PITA nonetheless.

But my luck ran out this month, and I hied myself to New Brunswick to do my duty. I was less than ecstatic, despite the government's willingness to pick up my parking tab and offer me the princely sum of $5.00 a day for serving. The five-spot would cover the gallon of gas I put in my car to get there, but I won't get that bank-breaker check for two weeks, when gas will probably be twice that.

But I digress. At the County Courthouse, my fellow lemmings and I shuffled in as dutifully as the old people in Soylent Green
(It's people! Soylent Green is people!). We donned our JUROR badges, watched a movie about jury duty, and sat (dutifully) until called by a judge for jury selection. That's where the judge explains the process again, reminds you of its seriousness and of the absolute need for impartiality and fairness. Then he seats eight (ours was a civil case) and asks questions of each prospective juror until the attorneys find the jury members acceptable. They can dismiss any juror they want without reason, and it's probably one of the few times arbitrary rejection feels good. Then the judge has to replace the dismissed jurors with new Soylent Green, asking them the same questions as the ones who got kicked out.

Eventually, they let you out for lunch (on your dime, of course). And once sprung, I immediately headed down to one of my favorite watering oases, the Harvest Moon Brewpub on George St. I hooked up with Brewer Matt McCord, shot the breeze and ordered one of his outstanding brews, a Hops2 Double IPA, to go with my Peppercorn TurkeyBurger Platter. The burger was delicious, though the $9 price tag was sobering enough to partially counteract the 8.5% abv of the brew. But, hey, it's Jersey and a Double Whopper with Cheese at Burger King easily breaks the $7 barrier now. Talk about some expensive gas….

The Moon's beers are really quite good, and this IPA was no exception. A bit cloudier than most, it was hoppy, crisp and refreshing, owing much to the English First Gold hops with which it was dry-hopped. If I hadn't needed to go back and seem reasonably coherent in the jury room, I would have definitely had another; but I opted instead for a sampler of Matt's Amberweisse. A full-bodied, darker wheat beer with a magnificent nose, this beer deserves more of my—and your--attention. Of course, Jimmy D's Firehouse Red was on the beer menu, but I consumed more than my fair share of that at the January Jimmy D Hoedown, where the proceeds go to a Burn Camp for kids. Elmes' Mild Manor is also an absolutely outstanding session beer that goes with just about any food. Matt also had a Raspberry Witbier, a Helles Bock Lager, a Moonlight Kolschbier and his best seller, Full Moon Pale Ale, on the menu.

The sad part of my visit to The Moon was that I had only about 45 minutes to spend before I had to get back to my rather less-than-exciting duty. I strolled back smiling, thinking that if I had to serve on a jury, at least I could come here for sustenance. At 3:45, though, I was informed that the juries for the upcoming trials had all been selected, and I didn't make the cut. I felt so bad.


They also informed me that I would be haled before the court again three years from today to start the process all over. That's three years before I have to do my civic duty again.

But I assure you I will not be waiting anywhere near that long to hit The Moon again. In fact, The Moon is proof that doing one's civic duty has its benefits.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Beer, Food and ANOTHER great cause!

Basil T's in Toms River, NJ is a beer and food lover's delight. If you haven't tasted the food of Chef Extraordinaire Steve Farley, or the beers of Brewmeister Dave Hoffman, you can do both at this most worthwhile event.

Just check out the flyer below! Increase the font size if it's too small for your beady eyes. Or you can click on the words "Flyer for Posting" underneath the flyer itself.

Read this doc on Scribd: Flyer for Posting

Tell them The PubScout sent you! Cheers and Bon Appetit!

Thursday, May 22, 2008 » Pee & Play: Belgian Beer Fans Invent Interactive Video Game Toilet

In keeping with my commitment to bring you only the best in news about beer and its residual the link below.

The "joystick" comment cracked me up. Click below. » Pee & Play: Belgian Beer Fans Invent Interactive Video Game Toilet

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Brewer's Apprentice - New Jersey's Premiere Homebrew Supply Shop & Brew On Premise!

Looking for a unique Father's Day gift for your beer-loving dada? Look no further than this place--the only one of its kind in NJ, to my knowledge. And a visit here also makes a great Christmas, Birthday, anniversary, bar mitzvah, confirmation, christening, graduation, divorce, engagement, shower, going-away, coming-home and anything-else-you-want-to-celebrate gift.

Of course, parents must accompany any kiddies, but I took mine there when they were tykes, and they helped me make a superb IPA. They mashed grain, added malt and yeast and--about two weeks later--they helped me bottle and label my brew.



The Brewer's Apprentice - New Jersey's Premiere Homebrew Supply Shop & Brew On Premise!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The James D'heron Memorial Foundation

I used to golf often. Wasn't bad, either. Shot in the 70's. If it got any hotter, I didn't play. But if you still enjoy the game--and want to help a most worthy cause, click on the link below.



The James D'heron Memorial Foundation

Saturday, May 10, 2008

What's with the Ugly Mug?

You may have been startled to see that horrifically ugly image on the bottle of Stickenjab as this page opened above. Some (most notably those on the left of the political spectrum) have postulated that it's none other than GWB. But it isn't.

Here's the story. A few years back, when Tom Baker had Heavyweight Brewing running on all 12 cylinders, he collaborated with the NJ Ass'n of Beerwriters--NJAB, for short--on a special beer. It was an alt and a stickebier (secret, usually shared by brewers only within the fraternity), and combining its name and the name of the organization that helped him brew it resulted in Stickenjab. The beer, while brewed, received many highly favorable reviews from the many malt mavens who tasted it.

Tom was seeking ideas for an appropriate label for this master brew, and I offered to don some pugilistic attire and pose for a picture. Bill Coleman, cartoon-meister par excellence from ASN drew the caricature that graces the label from the photograph. There are those wiseguys who say it's not a caricature at all, and it more accurately reflects my actual looks than the original photo. But they're either drunks or good-looking women in their 20's and 30's.

Heavyweight Brewing filled a very special niche in the beer world, developing an excellent reputation for big, creative beers (and a devoted, if not rabid, clientele), but has since passed into history, though Tom and his delightful wife Peggy are back in business in Philadelphia,

Anyway, that's the story of the pic on the bottle. I'm told that unopened bottles of Stickenjab are fetching amazing prices on E-bay (the most recent bid being upwards of, um, $6,000,000), so if you're lucky enough to come across one, snap it up. In a few months , you'll be able to use the proceeds from it to buy a tank of gas for your Hybrid. Empty bottles in superb condition fetch slightly less--about $1.89.

Happy Mothers' Day to all those moms who keep the world running on a somewhat even keel. That reminds me; I have to go out and get my missus a gift.

Weedwhackers are on sale at Home Depot.


PS: She loved the gift and is using it as you read this.