Beer Troubleshooting Guide

Not sure who to give credit to for this as it was forwarded to me via email….EMAIL, people?!


In any case, I was amused so here you go…





Feet cold and wet Glass Being held at incorrect angle. Rotate glass so that open end points toward ceiling
Feet warm and wet Improper Bladder Control Stand next to nearest dog, complain about lack of house training
Beer unusually pale and tasteless

a. Glass empty.

b. You’re holding a Coors Lite

Get someone to buy you another beer
Opposite wall covered with fluorescent lights You have fallen over backward. Have yourself leashed to bar
Mouth contains cigarette butts, back of head covered with ashes You have fallen forward See above
Beer tasteless, front of your shirt is wet

a. Mouth not open

b. Glass applied to wrong part of face

Retire to restroom, practice in mirror
Floor Blurred You are looking through bottom of empty glass Get someone to buy you another beer
Floor moving You are being carried out Find out if you are being taken to another bar
Room seems unusually dark Bar has closed Confirm home address with bartender.  If staff is gone, grab a six-pack to go and hit the nearest fire escape door.  Run
Taxi suddenly takes on colorful aspect and textures Beer consumption has exceeded personal limitations Cover mouth, open window, stick head outside
Everyone looks up to you and smiles You are dancing on the table Fall on someone cushy-looking
Beer is crystal-clear It’s water! Somebody is trying to sober you up Punch him
People are standing around urinals, talking or putting on makeup You’re in the ladies’ room Do not use urinal!  Excuse yourself, exit and try the next door down the hall. Try to get phone numbers (optional)
Hands hurt, nose hurts, mind unusually clear You have been in a fight Apologize to everyone you see, just in case it was them
Don’t recognize anyone, don’t recognize the room you’re in You’ve wandered into the wrong party See if they have free beer
Your bedroom is painted gray, has a concrete floor and an interesting steel door.  Toilet may be conveniently located next to your bunk

a. You’re in jail

b. You’re in the navy

Sleep it off, you can always get out tomorrow.  Don’t talk to your new roommate, and under no circumstances sleep on your stomach
You are dancing to a Village People song, and your partner is wearing leather chaps You’re in a gay bar Keeping your back to the wall, edge toward nearest exit.  Do not accept offers for backrubs
Your singing sounds distorted The beer is too weak Have more beer until your voice improves
Don’t remember the words to the song Beer is just right Play air guitar

SF Beer Week: Lost Abbey/Port Brewing at City Beer Store

It’s still SF Beer Week! Woo hoo. Last night we decided to check out City Beer Store for Meet The Brewer: Lost Abbey and Port Brewing. Seeing as I’m a huge fan of the beers they make (their Angel’s Share is one of the beers that made me truly fall in love with beer) and I knew it would be a great setting to drink some of their beers and meet the legend that is Tomme Arthur.

I arrived early in hopes of getting a seat (score!) as well as getting a chance to catch up with my friends, Neha and Nishant (pictured below with Andrei). They couldn’t stay for the event but we shared a bottle of Lost Abbey’s Gift of the Magi, in honor of the event.

By the time six o’clock rolled around, the place was getting busy. All the taps had been switched to Lost Abbey or Port Brewing beers (listed above in the picture up top) and we were making our way through them. All of them were delicious, and it was a treat to have some of the ones I’d had in the bottle, on tap. I’d say the favorite for me was still Angel’s Share, although the Cuvee de Tomme was a wonderful treat as well (for you sour lovers, this beer is for you!) After a couple beers, I plucked up the courage to go talk to Tomme and Matt from the brewery. They were very gracious and I had really great conversations with both of them (hopefully without coming across as too much of a fan girl, LoL).

Matt, PintMuse, Tomme

By about 7:30 the event was buzzing and City Beer was at capacity for a bit (see below).

The crowd

I went to check the line outside for a friend and I think I got this poor guy’s hopes up….I had to break it to him that I wasn’t leaving, but he understood (and arrived inside shortly thereafter!)

Sad bunneh

I have to say, Craig and Beth did an amazing job of getting people their beers in a timely and courteous fashion. You’d think they’d be flustered, just being the two of them, but they always looked calm and happy to serve. I took this picture of them below and it’s a bit blurry (I think all the double digit ABVs were getting to me at this point)

Craig and Beth: The amazing duo behind City Beer Store

Throughout the evening I had a chance to speak to many people, including Nate from Healthy Spirits (pictured below on the left).  If you haven’t been to their store in San Francisco, go now! They’ve got an amazing selection of beers and I love them specifically because they are within walking distance of where I live.

Patrons of the event, including Nate (on left) from Healthy Spirits

Overall the evening was probably my favorite of the week so far. It was well organized, with great beer and people. Congrats to City Beer for putting it together and pulling off such a great event!

SF Beer Week Day 2 – Beer Revolution & The Jug Shop

The Bruery's beer selection at Beer Revolution

And beer week continues. Saturday we headed to Beer Revolution, a relatively new beer establishment (they just had their one year anniversary!) near Jack London Square in Oakland. They were hosting The Bruery’s “Meet the Brewer” event all day so we made sure to stop by there for a few hours prior to our next event.

The Bruery's Oude Tart with Cherries & 7 Grain Saison

Andrei started out with the Oude Tart with Cherries while I opted for the 7 Grain Saison. Both of them we felt were at the lower end of the ABV spectrum (at 7.5% and 5.5% respectively) of the choices we were interested in, as well as not normally being available outside of the brewery. The Oude Tart (Flanders Red) was pretty damn impressive and a big hit showing in the fact that the keg was kicked about an hour after us arriving.  The 7 Grain Saison was refreshing as a saison should be, but with a bit more hop flavor to the finish. Both were very enjoyable.

Special Release - Too Limited To Have Its Own Sticker

We were lucky enough to snag seats at the bar which made getting service quite easy. Both outside and inside were packed with patrons, and Fraggle and Rebecca were working very hard but with so much patience. It was quite impressive. Luckily they had some help in getting everyone their beverages in a timely manner. We also had time to chat with Jonas from The Bruery. We chatted about Orange County being a bit of a lonely place for beer (I went to University down there) and he agreed with our next choices of beer, The Old Richland Barleywine and The Dark Agave Quad. I must admit we didn’t care for these two as much as the first two but they were both still drinkable. After that we moved on to a couple beers from Moylan’s: 2011 Apple Brandy Barrel-Aged Kiltlifter and their Heaven Hill Barleywine. Both of these were super impressive and even though they were not from The Bruery, needed a mention.

Later that evening we headed over to The Jug Shop for their, “It Came From the Wood” Barrel-Aged beer event. We had come here back in August for a Sour Beer tasting and really enjoyed the selection of beers. This night was no different with some stellar choices from Eric Cripe, the local Cicerone.

The 12 Barrel-Aged Beers lined up, ready to be tasted!

We arrived shortly before the event started, and a good thing too! I was shocked with how many people showed up for this event. I think by the end of the evening, there were at least 60 people, which is a lot for this shop to handle. But Eric did a fine job, somehow remembering where people had left off. The highlights of the event for me were North Coast’s Old Stock Reserve, Firestone Walker 14 and Port Brewing’s Barrel-Aged Santa’s Little Helper. We tried three different versions of Fifty Fifty’s Eclipse Imperial Stout, two from 2010 (Evan Williams and Four Roses) and one from 2009 (Heaven Hill). For as expensive as these guys are, I wasn’t too impressed. The Heaven Hill was the only one that I felt really had a good flavor to it and warranted the cost.

Post Mortem....a lot of beer was tasted.

This was a fun way to end our second day of SF Beer Week. Both events we went to today were well planned and had great brews.  For you locals, The Jug Shop and Beer Revolution do tastings/events pretty regularly, so check out their calendars for upcoming events.

SF Beer Week – Opening Gala

San Francisco Beer Week is finally upon us! I remember going last year to a few events and being in awe of how many beer lovers there were in the bay area. This year it expanded even more and I was there to witness it firsthand at the Opening Night Gala.

The craziness of the photo above gives just a hint at how many people were at this event. Once again it took place at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, but it seemed as if there were twice as many people as last year. This event was sadly oversold and in my opinion, poorly planned by the SF Beer Week folks. They had a VIP entrance time of 3:30-5:00 pm and at 5:00 pm, opened up to the plebeian folk, such as myself. I arrived at 5:20 pm and saw the queue wrap around the building. As I was walking by the entrance to the end of the queue, I heard them say that they were at capacity and would have to hold the line. At capacity?! 20 minutes after you’ve “officially” opened?! Absolutely ridiculous. I met a friend who was about 50 people back from the front and was able to stand with him, but we still waited about 35 minutes to actually get into the event. One thing the organizers did decide to do was to allow refunds to people who did not want to wait. While I thought this generous of them, it seemed like if they hadn’t oversold the event, they would’ve been okay. I later found out that they had upped the amount of tickets 3 times to a total of 1600 tickets. C’mon guys, if you’re going to sell that many, get a bigger venue. My suggestion for next year is to do it somewhere like Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. Then you can open it up to even more folks! *hops off soapbox*

Once inside, the event was enjoyable. There was a great show of breweries, some local and some from other areas of California; all the SF Breweries such as 21st Amendment, Social Kitchen and Brewery,  Speakeasy, Magnolia, Thirsty Bear as well as other “local breweries” such as Linden Street, Iron Springs, Moylan’s, Marin, Russian River, Lost Coast, Eel River, Lost Coast, etc….the list goes on and you can check out their website to see who was there.

Eel River's Set up

One of SF's newest breweries, Social Kitchen

As is the case with most beer galas/festivals, the actual selection of beer ranged from great to horrible with a median of “just okay”. The highlight for me was probably Bunny’s Toe from Triple Rock Brewery over in Berkeley. It’s an American Style Barleywine that had a really lovely toffee smell/flavor and a well balanced hops characteristic to the malt. I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve actually never been over to Triple Rock Brewery, although that will change later today when I go over for their Sour Beer Event.

Highlights of the event for me? Mostly just hanging out with awesome people, which included meeting Sean Paxton (pictured below with Andrei) as well as the guys from Mission Gastroclub (who strangely seem to be following us from event to event…hehe). I also got to meet a few folks from my Bay Area Beer Bloggers group – so nice to put faces to names (also pictured below).

Sean Paxton and Andrei

Joey, Jen, and John

Overall, the gala was a lot of fun and I look forward to the event next year….hopefully in a bigger venue!

Holiday Ale Tasting

A thought occurred to me a few weeks ago about how there are so many good holiday/winter beers out there and how I’d never tasted more than one of them at a time. Wouldn’t it be fun to incorporate a tasting into a holiday party for my friends? And so I did.

I wasn’t too particular on which kind of beer we would have because I knew most of my friends wouldn’t be serious about the tasting part, more about the drinking and celebrating part. but I wanted to get a few I knew and a few I didn’t.

Of course I had to provide some eats for my thirsty compatriots! Beer actually does pair well with several things (not just pizza!) and so I offered an array of meats, cheeses and chocolates (well, in this case, peppermint bark!) 😛

Others brought some goodies to share as well (thanks to those who did) and we ended up having quite a large amount of food!

We started off with a local beer, 21st Amendment’s Fireside Chat (Winter Warmer/7.9% ABV). I had this a few weeks back at a FoodBuzz event and I remember really liking it.

After trying it again, I think maybe I wasn’t quite as impressed as I was when I first drank it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a decent beer. Lots of spice but it’s a bit one dimensional and lacked some depth.

Our second beer was another local brew – Marin Brewing Comany’s Hoppy Holidaze (Winter Warmer/7% ABV). I was actually expecting this to be quite hoppy, what with a name like that. But it wasn’t overly hoppy. It had a very good balance and I really enjoyed it. I also felt like this was probably the most enjoyable beer of the night for the group as a whole. See below how Mr. Van Loan feels about it.

Our third beer ( Nøgne Ø’s Peculiar Yule/Spiced Beer, 6.5% ABV) was a bit of a wild card as I hadn’t tasted it prior to the event but it had decent ratings from what I could tell. I was intrigued because it said that it drew some inspiration from Norwegian drink “gløgg” which I had tried for the first time last Christmas. I think this was the most surprising beer for everyone, especially those who hadn’t had a spiced beer before. For most, the flavor and smell was overwhelmingly spicy. I didn’t get the gløgg taste I was expecting, but then again, it’s a beer and not gløgg! But it was definitely interesting and you should check it out if you are into trying different types of beers.

We ended the tasting with He’brew’s Jewbelation Fourteen (American Strong Ale, 14% ABV). I had tried this a few other times and really enjoyed it and was hopeful my guests were as well. This one packs a punch at 14% ABV which is why we waited for it. It’s a big beer but doesn’t have a strong taste of alcohol. Rich, malty and sweet, you get a lot of chocolate and mild spice notes. My favorite of the night although I think many people were beered out by this time. Suki shows us that she can only take a little of this monster of a beer!

All in all, a fun night was had with wonderful friends and lots of other tasty beers. Highlights were definitely Andrei’s Winter Saison and Scottish Ale that he brewed himself!

Thanks to all of my friends who made it out for this little event. I had a wonderful time and I hope you did as well.

PintMuse after a few...;-)

All photos from the party are here but the credit goes to all the party attendees as Andrei’s camera was being passed around. 🙂

How To: Rate A Beer…

Of all the beer drinkers in the world, there are very few who probably care to really sit down and review/rate a beer. They either like it or they don’t. But for those of us that are really interested in delving deeper into beer itself, there is an official way most beer reviewers rate beer.


What’s that, you may ask? That acronym stands for the following:


While I generally don’t write my reviews out this way, they are definitely things I consider when rating a beer and so I wanted to educate you, dear reader, on what all of this means. Maybe it’ll have you thinking a bit more about the beer you’re drinking next time you’re in your local tavern.

So let’s start with appearance.

Appearance should be straight forward. What does it look like? Light? Dark? Is it cloudy? Carbonated? Everything that has to do with the look of the beer should be noted.


I notice quite a few wine drinkers taking time to smell the wine, but rarely do I see beer drinkers take the time to smell before drinking. So make sure you pause to smell:  do you smell the hops? Or the yeast? What about underlying smells such as caramel or cocoa? Does it have a floral aroma? There are so many things that can be noted just by taking time to smell the beer.


Now we come to it – actually drinking the beer! What flavors do you taste? They may be similar to what you smell but make sure you take the time to roll it over your tongue as different areas of your tongue pick up different flavors (sweet, sour, salty, bitter). Is the beer balanced? Does it match the style it is categorized as (ie If “Smoked”is in the name of the beer, do you actually get a smoky flavor?)


This was probably the hardest for me to recognize at first as texture (or mouthfeel) isn’t something I usually associate with liquid. But for me it is recognizing how it feels on the palate. Light or heavy? Smooth or rough? Flat or carbonated? Take the time to really feel the beer before you swallow.


This is probably the most subjective aspect of rating beers. In a few words, would you drink this beer again? Is it something that you could consume pint after pint of, or should it be consumed in small quantities? Or not at all?

I think the most important part of rating or reviewing a beer is to not be influenced by other opinions. If you’re at a table where everyone seems to love a beer that you don’t, don’t assume you should love the beer. Everyone’s experience and palate is different. So stay true to your thoughts and don’t assume that your opinion is invalid if it’s unpopular.

I hope this has been helpful for my fellow novices out there…next time you drink a beer, think about these things I’ve talked about and see if you’re able to pick up on it. If anything, it’ll be a slightly different beer experience for you.


Mikkeller Barrel-Aged Black Hole

At some point I will review beers that I find less than fabulous…but this is not one of them.

Last week I made it back over to The Trappist in Oakland after a hiatus of several months (shame on me!).  As always, there was an amazing selection of beers not only on tap, but also bottled. The Trappist is definitely one of the best beer bars in the bay area. But I digress as I’m here to speak specifically about a beer I had that evening, Mikkeller’s Barrel-Aged Black Hole.

I had tried Mikkeller’s Black Hole a few months back and found it to be a delicious example of an imperial stout. Add that to bourbon barrels and age it…it takes it up a notch!  The beer itself appeared very dark in color with a slight caramel colored head. The bottle states quite clearly, “brewed with coffee, honey and vanilla”.  I could definitely smell and taste the coffee and vanilla (oak barrels tend to give off a vanilla flavor and smell) but not so much of the honey.  The finish is creamy and smooth which makes it very drinkable, although I would say it isn’t quite as smooth as some other barrel-aged beers I’ve had…but that may be due to the age (better to age).

If you happen upon this beer, definitely worth trying. If you happen to see it in a store, buy it and age it for a while as it will only get better.

Four out of five pints!