#RunChatHunt With Craft beer!

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So there has been an announcement of a holiday run streak and a run chat has a #runchathunt set up for Thanksgiving through Christmas.  This being said I am going to add a bit of spice on this and drink a can of craft beer on each stop.

At a farm:  Check

In front of an inflatable ornament: Check  (and I already know where to go for this one)!

Port-a-potty: Check and I hope that the one is still up on the Minuteman trial!

Picture with someone I don’t even know?: Fantastic,  Sign me up!

Drinking a can of Budweiser?:

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How do I follow or join in on the fun?  Follow me at @craftbeerrunner on Twitter.  Also feel free to join in on fun and hashtag #runchathuntandhash.

Happy running and drinking all!

Run With Your Brewer!

A few months ago Budweiser came out with a campaign for you to “Track Your Bud” which was tapping into the fact that Budweiser is your local brewery. Their reasoning was because they have ten different facilities that make Budweiser across the United States.  This being said all business decisions are made in either St. Louis, New York, or somewhere in Europe where the main corporate offices of InBev are located.

If you are paying attention they are not as local as the brewery that is located close to you (Most Americans now live ten miles from a local brewery).  This being said do you know that your local brewer from your local brewery could very well be running a race with you?  For example Rich Doyle and Dan Kenary ran the Harpoon 5 Miler in Boston back in 2010.  More recently Sam Calagione from Dogfishhead brewing ran the Dogfish Dash 10k.

This Brings us to Cambridge 5k’s Yulefest being ran on December 1st in Harvard Square:

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Chris Lohring running Vert Sasquatch 2012 trail race.

Three different brewers from three different breweries will all be pouring this years Yulefest including Chris Lohring from Notch Brewing, Caitlin Jewell from Slumbrew, and Nathan Lainer from Tree House Brewing Co. LLC. What might be most impressive is that Team Notch closed out team registration with 100 runners on its team on November 13th.  It wasn’t  Last year the total number of runners on Team Notch was 32.  Slumbrew captain Dani Holmes-Kirk announced that her team had capped at 36 runners on October 16th.  Per Caitlin the reason for capping the team at 36 runners was to give her runners something extra special.  This gift has turned out to be a special set of running jackets.  Not to be outdone members of Team Notch will receive glassware!

Why these brewers run might be a separate story on its on.  Per Chris, “I run three to four miles up to three to four times a week” Chris has also ran all of the Cambridge 5k/ Vert Races Series races since 2012 including “Oktoberfest” in which Notch Brewing is not a sponsor. Team Notch had capped at 80 runners for “Oktoberfest” 2013.   Caitlin states that “her runners that are slumbassadors give her the inspiration to run”.  Not to be outdone but Team Night Shift who combined forces with the  Massachusetts chapter of Girls Pint Out is over 40 runners for Yulefest.  Brewers Robert Burns, Michael O’hare, and Michael Oxton  of Night Shift brewing have run previous Cambridge 5k/Vert Race Series races.

The brewers will all agree that the Cambridge 5k races are great events to connect and reach their following.

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Day 0f registration will be held from 7:30-9 am on Sunday 12/1 at Tasty Burger in Harvard Square.  The man above will pour you a Notch!

Beers Of The Month: Pumpkin Month (October 2013)

October was a fantastic month for beer!  Not only that but there was visits to New Glarus, Milwaukee Brewing Company, Three Floyds, Revolution , Founders, Brewery Vivant, and Half Acre Breweries!  That is six breweries and a lot of beer to catch up on!

New Glarus – “Moon Man (no coast pale ale)”: Since this beer is available “Only in Wisconsin” then I must make more pilgrimages to Wisconsin to enjoy this.  Granted some of the best IPAs are on the west cost or east coast, the best pale ale I’ve had has no coast!  Also as an honorable mention for New Glarus is “Strawberry Rhubarb” A very delicious fruit beer that if someone hadn’t mentioned it was beer, then you would probably believe them!

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Half Acre- “Daisy Cutter”:

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When in Chicago the new go to beer is “Daisy Cutter”! This is as fresh and tasty of a pale ale you can find! Some people prefer a good IPA but you will never fail with a great pale ale.  I can’t wait for Extreme Beer Fest in March to have more of these guys stuff!

Founders- “Barrel Aged Main Guy Mango” :

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Oh wow, this is what you get when you brew an ale with mango and put it in a rum barrel for a set period of time.  You get a refreshingly and deadly delicious ale that might put you on your butt if you drink too much of it.  Enjoy this in a snifter and be responsible!

Tree House – “Green”

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The little brewery that could, can, and does.  Let’s just say if you have never had Tree House beers then you are missing out.  This one has a hint of Honeydew and is a fantastic IPA.  Get it when they open their new brewery soon!

Southern Tier – “Warlock”:

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This is the evil black twin of Pumking. A pumpkin stout that doesn’t hold back on the pumpkin flavor.  Get it while you can, if you still can!

I’m Not Sad It’s Over, I’m Glad It Happened…..

In the past week Tree House Brewing Company has moved will be moving their location and the Alchemist Brewery is closing its brewery off to the Public as of tomorrow.

Tree House Brewing was is still open at its old location at 63 St. Claire in Brimfield Ma.  I had the opportunity to go here and see its beauty one last time a few weeks ago.  I feel very fortunate and honored to have been able to visit here one more time before they move to Monson, Ma.  Sometimes neighbors are not so neighborly  but with this being said Tree House tried their hardest to appease all in the neighborhood.  This being said I have a feeling that the new brewery will be a sight to see.  If you have seen the photography from their website then you know their eye for style is as keen as it gets!  Also, Dean will still be there to be the friendliest greater at a brewery you have ever met!  Expect great things with 15 barrels of beer being made at one time!

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On the same note The Alchemist Cannery is set to close its doors  after tomorrow.  Also there were issues with neighbors as well which caused this to happen.  A year ago I failed at getting any Heady Topper but this past Monday I was fortunate enough to finally score a case (I’m also in the public frame of mind that one case is enough for one trip per person).   As good as the beer is the bigger treat was walking through the location and seeing it come off the line.  When you go to the cannery it is the place that you would expect to welcome tourists and visitors.  This also being said there will be a new merchandise store coming in the new year.   I don’t blame the Alchemist at all for their decision.  It was a decision to keep the brand going long-term. I know it wasn’t done on intentions but on sustainability!

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This is a sight that the public eye unfortunately will not be able to see.  The fortunate thing is that it will still be made and you might still be able to drink it!

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With more Heady Topper going to retail locations  for the time being this should be a sight less seen as well (maybe)!

I feel fortunate to have beerventures to both of these places and stories to tell (There will be separate blogs with lots of pictures forthcoming).  There is no doubt that both will keep producing fantastic phenomenal beer in the future!

The Beerventure that was not meant to be!

A little over a year ago my mother came into town to visit. For a bit of background about my mother can be explained with this statement: She is extremely Southern Baptist!

So on this trip we first went to Portland Maine and that being said there would be no beer consumption or brewery visits.  On the way back she had mentioned to me that she wanted to get maple candies for members of a rest home that she volunteers at from time to time.  These candies were at Ben and Jerry’s.  What is next door to Ben and Jerry’s?:

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The Alchemist Cannery!!

That being said I was %110 up for going on this trip so I could get a full case. I couldn’t imagine how it would taste over and over again when I brought it to Boston. So three hours in the car to Boston my mission was to find the Heady.  Once arriving to the Cannery we ran into this familiar sight:

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Image available from Brewdrinkrun.com

Let’s just say that my soul was crushed and that I wasted a trip to VT in my mind. The worst was hearing the following words from my mother:

“God didn’t want you to have that beer!”

Let’s just say that I just wanted to crawl in a ball and sulk in a corner.  Also being with mom meant no sampling!

This being said I did what any self-respecting or deprecating Vermont Tourist would do and went next door to Ben and Jerry’s.  Afterwards I realized that I would be hungry and needed food for the ride home so we stopped at the Skinny Pancake in Montpelier.  I offered to buy an unopened can from the server and he immediately refused.  Afterwards I made the last-ditch effort to go to the  Hunger Mountain Coop and what do you know but no luck. Speaking with the cashier he informed me that they have a two four pack limit and got a pallet of it. It arrived on Friday and was gone by Saturday afternoon.  However I did end up with a bottle of Hill Farmstead “Anna” which was really really good!  Not everything was lost, “Anna” was delicious!

I was reminded about this because the news of today was that the cannery will not be open in a couple of weeks for the public.  From my understanding though and I have never been there but people were buying 5 cases of beer at a time which was a strain to them I am sure.  Also how can they ever get their beer out to the companies they have contracted to give their supply to if they can’t keep from getting the beer out the door.  We should look at this as an opportunity to support other businesses when we visit and other beers as well.  In case if you don’t or haven’t thought of the other spots to where you can get Heady Topper then here you go:

Mad River Valley:

Ake’s Den
Big Picture Theatre
Bridge Street Butchery
Castlerock Pub
East Warren Community Market
The Hyde Away
Hostel Tevere
Irasville Country Store
Mad Taco Waitsfield
Mehuron’s Market
Mint Restaurant & Tea Lounge
Mutha Stuffers
Nutty Steph’s VT Granola & Chocolate
Pine Tree Pub
Red Hen Bakery
The Inn at the Round Barn
Village Grocery
Waitsfield Wine Shop
Warren Store

Richmond-Jericho:

Jericho Country Store
Richmond Beverage
Rochmond Mobil Mart

Williston:

McGilliccuddy’s
Mexicali Grill and Cantina
Monty’s Tavern
Natural Provisions Market
Shelbourne Meat Market
Vermont Meat and Seafood Market

Burlington:

1/2 Lounge
60 Battery Street
A Single Pebble
Ake’s Place
Bessery’s Quality Market
Bluebird Barbecue
Bluebird Tavern
Bueno Y Sano
Buon Apetito
Burlington Bar Market and Cafe
Charlie’s Rotisserie & Grill
Cheese Traders
City Market
Daily Planet
Das Bierhaus
El Cortijo
Finnigan’s Pub
El Gato
Gracie’s Liquor
Guild & CO.
Logan’s of Vermont
Halvorson’s Upstreet Cafe
Healthy Living
Henry Street Deli
Higher Ground
Ice House
Juniper Bar
Ken’s Pizza
Manhattan Pizza
Marriot Courtyard
Merolla’s Market
Mr. Mike’s Pizza
Nectar’s
NIKA
Pearl Street Beverage
Penny Cluse Café
Pine Street Deli
Pistou
Pizzeria Verita
Radio Bean
RiRa’s Irish Pub
Route 7 Liquor
Ruben James
Skinny Pancake
Skinny Pancake – BTV Airport
Sweetwaters
The Farmhouse Tap and Grill
The Scuffer
Tratorria Delia
U-SAVE Beverage Center
Windjammer
Winooski Beverage

Waterbury:

Arvad’s Grill and Pub
Blue Stone Pizza
Cold Hollow Cider Mill
Cork Wine Bar & Market
Crossroad Beverage
Hen of the Wood
Michael’s on the Hill
Sunflower Natural Foods
Tanglewoods Restaurant
The Prohibition Pig
The Reservoir
The Village Market

Barre:

Beverage Baron
Corner Stone Pub & Kitchen
M&M Beverage
Mulligan’s Irish Pub

Montpelier:

Berlin Street Mobil
Hunger Mountain Coop
Kismet
Mad Taco Montpelier
Montpelier Village Pizza
Positive Pie
Skinny Pancake
Three Penny Taproom
Uncommon Market

Stowe/Morrisville:

10 Acres Lodge
AlpineMart
Bee’s Knees
Blue Donkey
Burt’s Pub
Cactus Café
Charlie B’s Restaurant
Crop Bistro & Brewery
Edelweiss Mountain Deli
Frida’s Taqueria & Grill
Gracie’s
Green Mountain Inn
Moog’s Place
Mountain Cheese &Wine
O’Grady’s Grill
Pickwick’s
Piecasso Pizzeria & Lounge
RimRock’s Mountain Tavern
Stowe Beverage
The Pizza Joint
Tomlinson’s
Top Notch Resort
Stowe Cinema
Vermont Ale House

Essex:

Essex Discount Beverage
The Essex Resortt and Spa
Fairgrounds Beverage
Sweet Clover Market

Winooski:

Misery Loves Company
Monkey House
Mule Bar
Sammy’s Quick Stop

Is Heady Topper that good?!  Yes!  If we were to do a blind taste test with say Night Shift’s “Citranation” orSlumbrew’s “Snow Angel” or Backlash’s “Salute” and have “Heady Topper” as the fourth beer would you have a hard time picking a winner?  You probably would.

It’s true that God didn’t want me to have Heady Topper that day but I did have it and it was good! That being said we can’t treat it like it is the only beer out there.  I did get the bottle of “Anna”.  As a drinker of craft beer and a homebrewer I can say that doing the same thing over and over is boring and unimaginative. If Heady Topper is the only beer that you will drink then you are as closed-minded as the repetitive Bud Light drinker.

The Alchemist is doing the right thing and they are allowing the businesses around them sell their beer which will make everyone more profitable in the long run!

Beerventure: Indiana and Michigan (Three Brewery Stops In One Day With A Surprising Twist)

So the day after the Chicago Marathon I felt it was a good idea to escape the city of Chicago for a day and head east to “Beer City 2013” Grand Rapids, MI. So a friend whom I had caught up with went with me on the trip.  Our first stop was Three Floyds Brewery and Brewpub in Munster:

Three Floyd’s is a very interesting place to say the least.  My assumption was that they opened up at 11 am but it didn’t open until 11:30.  There was already a couple of people waiting to get inside even though it wasn’t opening for 30 minutes.

Once inside it was what you would expect, There was a long line to the beer store side of things and the place started to fill up!

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Three Floyd’s was very interesting to say the least.  It was in an industrial park which to be honest going to different breweries you will find a lot of breweries that are in industrial parks though.  That Bison Burger you see in the picture above with truffle fries was by far the best food I had on the full trip to Chicago including Giordano’s pizza!   The only think I was upset about is that there wasn’t more flight options available.  The only options available were the four house beers and there were more than 20 on their list.  My friend felt a little geeked out because this has to be the official brewery and brewpub of the movie “Heavy Metal”.  I mean the bartender was tattooed from head to toe with tattoos (emphasis on the face). After this we decided it was time to Grand Rapids.

Grand Rapids is an interesting town because it is just like any other town you have within a 30 mile radius if you are not in a Mountain time state. This being said it was interesting to go back to Eastern Standard time.  We arrived in at Founders and I must say that it almost looks like a nice bar or function hall and not so much a brewery if you look at it at the right angle.  In my opinion Founders is definitely a top 10 brewery with the beers they produce and their taste.  At the brewery they had the staples such as All Day IPA and Centennial Pale Ale but they also had some of their rare stuff like Barrel Aged Mango Main Guy!  Oh and just to say it Barrel Aged Mango Main Guy was just that good!

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We next went to Brewery Vivant.  It was very interesting to say the least.  Built inside of a former church or funeral home you have to say there is some terrific ambiance here!  You could create your own flight here as well which was really cool.  Also I got to talk to some of the local residents about beer trading and the gentleman I spoke with brought up Night Shift in Massachusetts (I ran by foot there and back home the other night).  It was interesting to have a beer called “Love Shadow” which was really good as well! After this it was time to head back to Chicago…..

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This is where the trouble began.  I was pulled over and I took a couple of minutes to do it.  The police officer was less than pleased and I couldn’t figure the car out to roll down the window (it was a rental car). That being said I was asked to step out of the car and take the test a police officer asks you to take when you have had a couple of beers to drink.  I had to describe what a flight was to the officer but I think he might have not understood.  Afterwards he ordered the breathalyzer.  It was a scary incident.  I didn’t feel close to drunk but scared.  I was pulled over because I left my headlights off! The breathalyzer was in another police car so I sat in the back of a police car with a plastic seat.  When the other officer got there they set it to zero! I blew into it….time elapsed… also think about my friend who is in the car waiting and not for sure what to do…it was a 0.50 which is .3 under the limit.  I was free to go but it was scary.  It made me realize and let others know that you have to be careful when you have had some beer to drink and you are driving!  Also I was suggested to go to TGIfridays up the street. I tried to find something more local but no luck.  I drove back to Chicago, ate a Chicago Style Hot Dog, Did my #deckaday, and then went to bed.

P.S. The video below is a prime example of what can happen to you if you do drink too much!

Boston Still Remains Strong!

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It is amazing how life can turn around. Looking at the Red Sox over a year ago were a team in disarray. They had traded half of the superstars on their team and they were one of the worst teams in MLB.  One year later the Duck Boats, confetti, and team paraded through Boston. It was a wonderful and wild day here.  This city has begged for this since the tragedy of what happened in April!

Today I watched the parade from in front of the Kinsale because I knew it wouldn’t be over-packed as much as Copley Square (where the Boston Marathon finish line is) or at Fenway Park where the crowds were packed.  From there I walked over to the Esplanade where the Duck Boats were paraded in the water.  After seeing the aftermath of a drunk guy in a Tuxedo jump in to the Charles River it was time to head over to the other side of the Charles (Cambridge to the non-locals)!

On my way over the Mass Ave bridge one runner after another passed me.  Some runners were in pain, some made it look easy, and some had to stop temporarily because of too much foot traffic on the Mass Ave Bridge.  It’s inspiring because there were friends who went for runs and races instead of the parade.  There are friends who are running in New York tomorrow.

We’ve picked ourselves up and started running again. It is inspiring to see everyone stay strong and the reward that has come with it!