The Beer Corner: Flying Fish Brewing Co. Grand Cru Winter Reserve

We begin the holiday 6 pack with a Belgian Style Ale by the Flying Fish Brewing Company with their seasonal Grand Cru Winter Reserve!

The label and name of the brewing company got my attention as I scoured the seasonal section of beer. Poured into the official Beer Corner beer sampling mug at fridge temperature!

Pouring: Smooth pour, and you could smell the wheatiness of the beer immediately. A half a fingertip head forms and remains for the most part of the experience.

Smell: It is of wheat, and hops, slight fruity tinge. No noticeable alcohol smell.

Sounds: Nothing out of the ordinary here, but a small head does form and you can hear the carbonation, but it is not as evident as in other beers.

Sights: Begins as amber and perhaps darkens ever so slightly. Not much visible carbonation, but we do see it get to the top of the glass in the head. Liquid is cloudy, like most Belgian wheats, with visible particulate.

Taste: At first, you are met with a slight citrusy taste, but then becomes wheaty. A little on the “sticky” side when it comes to texture. Leaves a slight aftertaste.

Overall: This was an excellent first foray into the Winter seasonal selection. My first thought about this beer was how drinkable it was. It was enjoyable to drink, and I could see myself knocking a few bottles back. If I had to describe it, I would say it was like a hybrid of Blue Moon and Hoegaarden. It is tasty, but not the most unique of beers. I would definitely recommend it if you fnd it on tap or a six pack if you want to try something new that you and some friends could experience.

7.5 / 10 Bags

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Tonight’s Forecast

Is for it to be frickin’ COLD! Here is the 2 hour window that I usually am working outside, 8-10 PM. Well, tonight calls for a constant wind of 15 mph, with an air temperature of about 39 F. Greaaaaat. And then factor in that wind, and we’re looking at 30 F for the entire time.

Oh my goodness.

I was just outside trying to finish up putting on the Christmas lights on the house, and I had to come inside, it’s getting that bad. So as you can see, definitely not looking forward to my time outdoors tonight. I guess we get what we wish for sometimes. Tenfold.

But of course, perhaps I shouldn’t complain too much. I could be up in Chicago or New England like some of my friends. Or maybe in CALIFORNIA where it’s 80 degrees!

Stay warm my friends! Back to attempting to put up the lights!

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser

Motor Trend International Auto Show: Part 1 – Exotics

Last weekend, as you may have seen on the twitter feed, I was able to go to the big auto show that was in town at the Tampa Convention Center! As an car lover, I felt this wold be an excellent opportunity to see what the recovering industry had up their sleeves. It was a great time!

Most known automakers were represented and had differing displays from the rather disappointing showing from Volkswagen to the gigantic 60,000 square feet of GM’s show. What I liked best about the show is that it’s basically like going to your local dealer- minus the test drive of course, but also minus the pressuring salesman! I could get in a car, look at the engine, look in the trunk, and ask questions if I wanted to without being bothered. If you’re in the market for a new car and have an auto show coming to town, I highly recommend this way of researching.

I’ll have to divide my coverage of the event into 3 posts, since it will be too big to make it into one. Being able to see exotics and other show cars is always an exciting factor. Sadly (and smartly), you aren’t allowed to sit and much less touch these cars. Upon entering the first floor, you were able to venture into a special section of the show, which had custom dragsters and collectibles.

There were a handful of custom hot rods, made using old school chassis. Look at the engine on this one. the belts were wider than my hand. I cant imagine the amount of HP this baby makes. I should have taken a picture of the tires. Over 12 inches wide, at the least. This one was by far the most impressive.

Up next was an old school Corvette convertible. I’m not exactly sure what year this one was, but I’ll guess and say its a body style from the 60’s. Clean car, and it seemed 100 percent OEM. Has to be worth 100K+.

Speaking of Corvettes, someone had a very sharp C5 and had decided t to give it a Blue Angels theme after the notorious air show planes! The custom lighting was most impressive, not to mention the intricate details that the owner had given the seats and mats.

DuPont Registry had a nice little kiosk set up as well. The yad about 5 different Lamborghinis. This one caught my eye. It’s either a Gallardo or Murcielago spyder. Love the color. If I were to get one of these, you bet it would have a loud color!

Now this one was definitely interesting! Talking with that guy in the picture, we found out that that was basically a Mecedes Benz SUV with the roof chopped off! It’s not a production car, but they do take orders for it, apparently. It was very sharp, but would be tough here in Florida due to it not having a roof! Yes, you read that correctly. It is NOT a convertible! It literally does not have a roof!

And of course, what is a luxury show without a showing from Bentley with its GT coupe,

And Rolls-Royce with it’s new Ghost.

We can dream, right?

We’ll do Part 2 later this week, which will be a look at the imports that were at the show!

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser

The Beer Corner: Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout

The newest review for The Heap’s Beer Corner is Brooklyn Brewery’s Black Chocolate Stout! A seasonal concoction made only in the winter.

I saw this beer while scouring the shelves at Total Wine and thought it would be neat to try. I’ve had a few chocolate flavored beers, and they were nothing to write home about, so I wanted to give this one a change. Poured into the official Beer Corner beer sampling mug at fridge temperature!

Pouring: A heavier than normal pour, and you can notice the chocolate and alcohol aromas. A light brown creamy head forms, about half an inch thick.

Smell: Chocolate smell very noticeable and pleasant, but you can also smell the alcohol, which is not too distracting. It smells pretty good for a beer with a 10% ABV!

Sounds: It’s a heavier pour, and the beer is rather silent because of it. The head appears after the beer settles a bit, sounds are minor, if any.

Sights: The name is not lying! The beer pours noticeably black and stays that way. Cannot see through it, it is very solid, and you can only see evidence of carbonation at the surface. Light brown head appears with a slight creamy texture, though not as extreme as other stouts I’ve tried

Taste: Chocolate was pleasantly noticeable in comparison to other chocolate stouts I have tried. The sweet and slight bitterness of the beer was very enjoyable. I was expecting a slight chocolate taste and was surprised that I could actually make the taste out instead of t being lost in a heavy head.

Overall: Turned out to be a great find! I almost bought another one when I went shopping for another custom six pack yesterday. It’s a shame it’s a seasonal beer. Be careful with its 10% ABV! It tastes decently light, but I’d imaging that knocking back a few could cause trouble! From start to finish, a great holiday beer, and a nice conversation starter!

9 / 10 Bags

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser

*This entry was edited on 12/19/10, the Rating was increased to 9 Bags after additional consideration*

Mourning the Rays

Carl Crawford

We’ve been duped.

No, that picture of Carl Crawford in Red Sox gear is not a work of photoshop mastery. You are seeing what you are seeing- a workhorse taking the payday created by the current Major League Baseball system.

Tampa Bay Rays fans everywhere have been straight up fooled. For the last half of a decade, we actually thought we were no longer the glorified farm system of the major leagues.

I’ve lived through the Naimoli days (who I didn’t know was a Notre Dame alum), where we tried to mesh the young and cheap with the old, glorified, but past their prime. I’ve seen the Rays try to copy the Yankee formula to an embarrassingly cheapened and quite unsuccessful degree- I’m looking at you HIT SHOW years. And I’ve seen the Rays have a team full of minor leaguers who would probably have to scrounge around for playing time in other teams’ farm systems.

And then it happened. New ownership. Stu Sternberg- a man with a plan. No more “Gruden-esque “deals like giving  up prospects for has beens. The talent was brewing in our own system, we just needed time, and a few key trades that, while a gamble, brought in youth, and ultimately loads of potential.

The rest is history. After winning 2 AL East titles and having three winning seasons in a row, it seemed like the Rays were ready to be perennial threats to the former status quo of the AL East instead of the perennial doormat. A young nucleus was in place. A starting pitching staff that could easily dominate the scene for years to come had been assembled.

There are two issues. How can any GM work contracts so that almost half a roster becomes free agents at once, and also, how can you not even try to keep the face of your franchise? Offering arbitration must have been an insult to CC. But he knows the system, and he now is a rich man thanks to it.

The Rays have thrived on scouting out unproven talent  and signing on the cheap. I know how we operate. But you can’t help but wonder if this call for payroll reduction, and blaming poor attendance, a horrendous stadium, and whatever other factors Sternberg wants to claim are hindering the Rays franchise from competing fiscally with the big boys is nothing but a sham.

We are being duped.

It’s just a cover up. Management knew this day would come. While we made some GREAT moves, again, how can you allow for all of these contracts to expire at the same time? It’s a cover up. Slashing payroll to cover up managerial mistakes. Gotta love it.

Baseball is a special game. No one really gets it like we do here in the United States. Yes, the game is played in Asia and in Latin America, but the game of baseball is by far the greatest expression of Americanism at it’s finest. Hard work yields reward. Loyalty is an afterthought. We follow the almighty dollar. But who can blame CC, Carlos Pena, Joaquin Benoit, or anyone else who is soon to find a new home with a fatter paycheck?

I’ll have to accept the fact for now that Tampa is just a MLB training ground- and if we are lucky, we may get to see something special every couple of seasons.

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser

USF Car Meet

image

Just a quick post from the car meet! Pic is of me and some older dude’s gto! He has it hooked up, from what we heard, catless, aftermarket exhaust, cam work… it sounded awesome. Exactly what I want mine to sound like in the future.

Its pretty cold outside. Lots of awesome cars. Audi R8 in particular. Lots of trans ams.

Definitely a successful meet, over 100 cars!

Mobile post from HeapDroid.

The Beer Corner: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

We’re getting close to completing our first six pack! Up today is Sierra Nevada Brewing Company’s Pale Ale.

This beer was chosen because I had always seen these at the supermarket or at parties or tailgates, but had never gotten around to trying it. As usual, poured at fridge temperature into my official beer tasting mug!

Pouring: A smooth pour, a moderate hoppy smell emerges, small foam head forms once contents are completely poured.

Smell: You can definitely smell the hops in this one. As noted, a moderate smell of it, not overpowering, but makes its presence known. Can smell the alcohol as well.

Sounds: A foamy head forms, and you can hear it if you put your ear to it. Beer sounded normally active for a beer that forms a head.

Sights: A white foamy head of 2cm forms, and stays for duration of drink. Color is a light amber, and beer is translucent. Also appears active, as you can see a lot of bubbles emerging to the top!

Taste: Was noticeably bitter at first taste, but not a distracting bitterness like the Hoptical Illusion. Was smooth, and like the smell, the barley and hops are able to be tasted. Did leave an undesirable aftertaste.

Overall: I was disappointed by this beer. I had heard good things about Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, but I did not enjoy it. Perhaps I am losing my tastes for pale ales? It was better than Hoptical Illusion, but something I am not going to run out and get. I am now on a quest to find a good pale ale, or at least competitor to Dogfish Head!

6 / 10 Bags

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser