Good pubs, Good Beer, Good People

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Beer in Space? Now THAT's getting high!

My Down Under buddy Ken Hart has come up with a first for any beer drinker who does not suffer from acrophobia. Check out the link below. Sounds like a heavenly experience!


Beer in Space | Space Travel | Thirsty Swagman

Sunday, March 27, 2011

You've GOT to be kidding...

Just read in the Post that the Yankees have raised the price of a beer at the new stadium to NINE DOLLARS AND FIFTY FREAKIN' CENTS! $9.50! For a beer? I'm afraid to ask just what brand of beer commands such a kingly ransom. But unless it's in a "Bomber" bottle (take the hint, Hank) it just ain't worth it--unless it's Allagash Tripel. Heck, for a sawbuck, you could sit at The Brick House Tavern and Tap with Barcaloungers, HDTV's and skimpily clad lasses, enjoy the game and at least two brews in comfort, and have the added plus of no parking fees, traffic hassles or lavatory crowds. Hasn't the Yankee brass heard we're in a recession? As The Post pointed out, that price hike is going to insure that the beer vendor is only going to get a fifty cent tip, too.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

CaskFest Draws Beer Lovers

Uno's CaskFest, now in its third (fourth?) year, keeps packing them in the only Uno's location--out of more than 170 in the world ---with a built-in brewpub. After learning of the CaskFest, one couple, Andre and Laura, booked a hotel room and traveled from Rhode Island to attend. A Brooklyn pair , Jim and Barbara traversed the mighty Verrazzano to get there, and homebrewers Dave and Cathy (from the "high" side of usually submerged Bound Brook) were also first-timers. Dave, in fact, regaled The Venerable Beerscribe Mark Haynie with a homebrew tale involving pumpkins and heavy-toasted oak chips that had been soaked in Wild Turkey for six months. In exchange for an audience with Mark, Dave promised to get the 8-month process going in time for us to sample his brew come next Autumn. Also in attendance was the Summa Cum Laude Film Crew from Montclair State University whose mission it was to capture in action the man they claim is the "Real" Most Interesting Man in the World--yours truly. And what better place than Uno's Cask Fest? Lots of nice folks, plenty of good beer and the special ambience that is Uno's Brewery and Grill with its inimitable cast of characters make for a fun time. Nine beers were lovingly laid out for the peripatetic cerevisaphiles to sample, and even better, portions of the proceeds of beer and food were going to a special scholarship at Immaculata High School called the Joe Davenport scholarship. Davenport was a classmate of Uno's brewer Mike Sella, and the money is destined to assist needy but worthy kids who seek admission to the private school. Featured Casks were two from Uno's, a Pale Bock and a kick-ass Scotch Ale. Flying Fish had Exit 4, a Belgian Tripel, Weyerbacher had its Verboten and Old Heathen Imperial Stout, and Dave Hoffman's Climax IPA was also available. Yards brewing had its E.S.A and its IPA, and Fegley's Brew Works Hop Explosion rounded out the field. The PubScout only stayed for a relatively short time--about four hours--but Sella didn't expect the casks to be kicked until 6 or 7 PM. Photos of the event are here, and select videos are up on my Facebook page (Kurt Epps), though you might have to be my friend to see them. They should also be on YouTube shortly. In all, another rousing success for Sella. And a boon for beer lovers. Cheers! The PubScout

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Uno's to host Cask Ale Fest Saturday

A host of brewers will have some of their finest ales coming from casks this Saturday, 3/26 from noon till whenever at Uno's Brewery and Grill on Rt. 1. Brewer Mike Sella has arranged for offerings from Weyerbacher's, Yards, Fegley's (Bethlehem Brew Works, PA), Climax, Flying Fish (Exit 4) and two of his own fine creations.

Get there early, stay late, come and convivialize with beer lovers and brewers from across the tri-state area. You may get interviewed, you may get to talk hops und malt with Dave Hoffman and you will probably have a mug shot featured somewhere in this space. You may even get to be in a picture with Big Dave Bruneyko!

And you never know what other surprises may be in store! See you there on Saturday!

The PubScout

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Wearin' o' the Red

My beer buddy Don Russell, aka Joe Sixpack makes a lot of sense in his column today about one of the unsung heroes of beer--red ales. So with a tip of my fedora to Don, I plan to savor this baby on St. Patty's Day, where, at my house, the tradition has not faltered for two decades: Green dyed 7-Up for the lads (when they were younger, of course) a fine ale or stout for me, some cookies, snacks and a DVD of the best St. Patty's day movie ever made--Darby O'Gill and The Little People. ( I still can't decide whether the gal lead is blind or not.)
I confess that Guinness was my choice of libation only once in twenty years, preferring Mackeson's XXX, Lancaster Milk Stout, or some other, higher ABV offering.

And don't be surprised if the youthful Sean Connery's delightful Irish aire ( as performed rather puckishly by my now-grown progeny) implants itself in your head, either.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Climb Every Mountain, Drink Every Beer...

What won't package designers think of next? It's only available in Western Canada at the moment. Hat tip to my buddy Ty in AZ for this unique beer story!


Beer can offers innovative design - 2011-03-07 14:48:47 | Packaging Digest

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

As if I needed another excuse...

These are the times that try men's (and women's) elbows! Time for all patriots to hoist a pint!

Have a Beer! It's Good for the Economy

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tash Talks…How to Love Ludwig and Therese

My "Down Under" gal friend and sometime contributor, Tash Marti, has penned an inviting tale for beer lovers. But not just casual beer lovers. This is a once-in-a-lifetime, never-forget sojourn to Die Faderland for some SERIOUS Oktoberfest beer time. Then continue your beer journey to other European hotbeds of hops—like Praha (that's Prague for those of you in Keansburg). My only regret in posting Tash's well-done piece is that I cannot avail myself of the opportunity this year—though it has always been a dream of mine. Still, if you consider yourself among the Big Dogs, contact the good folks at and let them know you want to run with them. Tell Tash The PubScout sent you. And that she's a hottie!

PS: Clicking on that Big Dog link above will take you to a very freaky YouTube video that unnerves me so much, I think I'll get a beer right now.

Tash Marti's column:

Take a moment to think about your life as it is…Are you sick of waking up to the sound of your alarm clock buzzing in your ear? Tired of waiting in morning traffic, or sitting on cramped public transport? With such merciless and routine schedules, it's hard not to gradually double, or even triple our daily caffeine intake (and alcohol intake on weekends for that matter).

Now imagine… waking up after a night of drinking schnapps and beer with 24 mates, at a pub so cozy you could have happily slept in it. Stepping out onto the wooden balcony of your traditional Austrian lodge, you stare into the scenic beauty that is the vast Austrian Alps, and take in a gulp of air that is more crisp than the nachos you ate in front of the TV last night. Today is going to be one heck of a day – and that's just the start of one day, on your wild 12 night pub crawl itinerary!

Introducing…Thirsty Swagman! The world's first tour operating company to offer international pub crawls that will have you toasting, guzzling, dancing and just all-out partying til you drop. The Euro Hard'n'Fast tour comprises of 12 nights, 3 countries, 5 record party destinations, your thirsty crew of 24, and a 100% hardness guarantee!

If you're ever lucky enough to join the thirsty crew on this legendary pub crawl, you'll start your epic journey in the blissful chaos of the Oktoberfest beer tents…

Destination one: Oktoberfest, Munich. Stepping into the beer tents is like stepping straight onto cloud nine. Each brewery sets up their tent with a different theme, giving each tent a unique spread of elaborate colours and decorations to drink under. It's almost romantic…that is, until you look across the tent to see a crowd of around 10,000 merrily but truly bombed drinkers. Among the waves of people, you'll see almost all them raise their steins in synchrony when the traditional German Brass band plays "Ein Prosit", a simple melody that literally translates to "a toast".

It's a completely unforgettable site, watching travellers and locals alike, rock out in traditional German attire, all spilling their steins to toasts of "Ein Prosit" and slightly tone-deaf sing-a-longs to traditional Bavarian music (which I'm almost positive no-one actually knows the words to).

After two days of beer, bratwursts and Bavarian music, the tour arrives at an unlikely second destination. Maria Alm; a tiny town, holding a population of just 2000, a seemingly colossal change after drinking in tents that held 5 times that – each.

Nestled at the foot of the Austrian Alps, the entire spectacle is just eye-boggling. The town is so culture-rich that it's normal to still wear those funny outfits we wore at Oktoberfest for a laugh. The landscape is speckled with rustic village dwellings, including a centuries-old, pilgrimage church right next to our hotel lodge, which thankfully, has the highest church tower (249 feet) in the entire Salzburg province, a convenient land-mark for finding your way home after a big night.

Don't be surprised if your days in this mind-blowing town are spent at a privately owned chalet nested 4,000 feet up the mountain side, worth about $8 million. Here, the thirsty crew bonds over food, beer and breathtaking panoramic views of the whole town and its domineering surrounding Alps. It all seems dreamy, but be prepared when nightfall hits – this town will have you in for a wild ride of Schnapps, AC/DC, and drink servings of Redbull Vodka's by the metre (wooden racks of 10 drinks at a time - which I'm not too sure should be legal).

Then comes Prague… The infamous and very impressive city, world-renowned as the Czech Republic's party capital. With upmarket clubs, rock bars, mazes of underground Czech bars and discos 3, 4, and even 5 storeys tall, you'll be hard pressed to find something you don't like in this city. One bar, called the Beer Factory, even lets you be your own bartender, with four beer taps and a liter-counter on every table. Europeans sure can drink, and the large plasma TVs on the walls of this pub proves it. The TVs rank each table from hardest to softest using a bar graph - so you may want to make sure your stamina is up to scratch if you're going to drink your country proud.

The international pub crawl sensation then takes you to beer heaven; Bamberg - home to nine large breweries, along with 300 other breweries in the region, officially giving this old town the largest amount of beer-consumption per capita in the world. You haven't lived until you've tried Bamberg's famous Schlenkerla Rauchbier, a dark ale that strangely resembles the taste of smoked pork. It's a tad rough around the edges, but people flock from around the globe to get a taste.

When you reach the last destination you'll think you've seen it all…but this is one of those true stories where they've saved the best for last. Located on the flowing banks of the River Rhine, lies Dusseldorf, home to the Altstadt district, an old town square consisting of a cluster of more than 360 bars and clubs. Now brace yourself people, and take the time to comprehend the mere concept of such a place. That's a pub for (almost) every single day of the year.

After 3 years in operation, the tour company has managed to tailor each crawl to offer a unique and authentic beer-culture experience for all thirsty travellers, without the hustle and bustle of early wake-ups or any of that boring sight-seeing.

Too good to be true? Check it out for yourself:

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Thy Cup Runneth Over...

..our special glass. Sam Adams is not happy with two Zonies named Pete and Anthony. Click below.


Patent dispute foaming up over beer glass in Chandler