Excuse me maam: Virginia Style

November 9, 2010


Yep. It already happened again. This time it took place in the lovely mountains of Virginia. The Three Shillelaghs were up there on our traditional trek. The last time we were up there a brewery was being built. This year it had been up and running for a while.

Everywhere I go I like to try a local beer. So we immediately made plans to head up to The Devil’s Backbone Brewery and Restaurant. After a beautiful and relaxing morning we headed out. We stopped at an awesome place named Graves where I chased down that elusive Choco Taco! Yeah!


We headed up the mountain—Blue Ridge Parkway. This is also a tradition. We do enjoy our traditions, you may have noticed. Anyhoo we get up there and park. There be some optimal picture taking area. The area is beautiful and pics to come—maybe.

Oh come now (That’s what she said!) stop your whining this is another kind of post.

The day was nice. The sky bright blue and had a few puffy white cotton balls floating around in it. It wasn’t too chilly down below (TWSS!) but up on the mountain it was nippy. We enjoyed the view and snapped pictures before heading back down

Devils Backbone had a pretty full parking lot. The restaurant was no different. The sun was slowly creeping down as was the temp. There was an option given to us. Wait for who knows how long to sit inside or have dinner on the patio. It was a nice patio and a nice view too.

It was cold though. The patio did have heat. It consisted of a very lovely fireplace, two hanging heaters and then two moveable heaters. They also offered blankets. The wifey enjoyed the fireplace because she was right next to it. I was to the side/behind of it and Pelvic Joann was across the table of it. The two hanging heaters only helped the tables they were above. Those were the prime seats. The moveable heaters were not on.

In their fairness we didn’t ask about why. Eventually (as we neared the end of dinner) one was turned on and brought over to us. I sat with my hoodie on and up. The ladies took advantage of the blankets.
They were the cause of the post. I mean the blankets not the ladies. Dinner consisted of delicious meatloaf (kat), coffee braised steak (me) and the bone smoker platter (hahaha) for Pelvy. They had bread pudding for dessert.

During the meal some woman sat at the prime table in front of the fireplace AND under a heater. They eventually left and were replaced by some raucous men probably in their 50’s. I made eye contact (my face and beard clearly showing) several times. They were fans of really bad jokes and ribbing one another with even worse jokes.

As we left the ladies left the blankets on their chair. One dude tried to stop them I think. I vaguely remember hearing “hey” as I made it to their table. My front was facing them before turning my back to scoot between their table and the fireplace. My hoodie still up and my hair tucked into it. I get this tug on my arm.

“Miss. I think you ladies left some…oh never mind.”

I turned to face him at this point. Now either he noticed the blankets weren’t ours or that I had a beard and was clearly not a lady. I kept going and he turned back to his table of mid life crisesers.


Jack’s Pumpkin Spice Ale

October 9, 2008

Jack’s Pumpkin Spice Ale

Appearance: 4/5

Taste: 4/5

Aroma: 3/5

Mouthfeel: 2.5/5

Drinkability: 3.5/5

Total: 17/20

A new season——a new fresh taste——or at least with this seasonal selection. I’ve never been all that big on drink this in the fall (dark heavy bodied) and drink this in the summer (light body). I’m more of a drink whatever is tasty whenever I can get my hands on it. All that being said I do get a tingle,a thrill, to see the Pumpkin Ales rolling in*. Why you ask? Because it signals that fall——a beautiful season——is making its way toward us. As I perused the beer selection at Zagaras I was happy to see them. Fall! I’ve tried Ichabod, (very nice) and I’ve had Post Road (pretty subpar). I ventured at the suggestion of our beverage man over to the just in Jacks Pumpkin Spice Ale. Jack’s is surprise surprise, a product of Anheuser-Busch.
As we were having a party that night, my first interaction with Jack’s was a crisp ice cold bottle-and eventually two more. It was tasty and festive enough that I had half of the $6.99 six-pack. That is quite a nice price for a beer that can hold its own with the more expensive selections. So my first impressions were slightly ––vaguely–influenced by the circumstances.

The dark brown bottle doesn’t give much of a hint of the deep copper color of the beer it contains. I’m only enjoying the beer in a glass, now as I write this, the next day. The interesting (and my favorite aspect) of the taste were the spices. The spices (which include Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, and Clove) really linger. You can taste the Pumpkin with almost every sip. As almost an afterthought, there was a distinct malty finish that hits your taste buds. Overall there is a nice sweetness through and through, though not overwhelming.

The head did leave a bit to be desired. It has a thick, creamy caramel color——an almost orange glow——but it dissipated almost before I sat back down. Overall the head packed a frothy, foamy punch but not much retention at all.Aroma: There are a pleasing array of spices evident in the aroma. It is reminiscent of a baking pumpkin pie or at least of sniffing a bottle of pumpkin pie spice.
Mouthfeel: A watery, light bodied feel. It has a tinge of creaminess to it. One problem is the lightness of it in your mouth seems to let down the big aromas and flavors. It may be considered well balanced because the sweetness isn’t overwhelming.
Drinkability: This is a very refreshing and drinkable “seasonal”. From the standpoint of being an AB offering it is surprisingly good. It would be a great addition to any crisp fall afternoon.

* I know this comes a little late in the season but my computer was dead—this has been sitting in my moleskin for about a month or so.






Jefferson’s Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout

July 13, 2008
jefferson's reserve bourbon barrel stout


Jefferson’s reserve bourbon barrel stout

Malts used – Special Pale, Wheat, Chocolate, and English Roast Barley
Hops used – Northern Brewer & English East Kent Goldings
ABV 8%

The name itself is a mouthful, and for me a personal record; for longest beer name that I’ve tasted. There isn’t much in the way of first impression. The bottle doesn’t really give much of a hint of what you’re getting. There’s no description of the beer on the label other than ‘stout aged in bourbon oak barrels.’

From the Bluegrass Brewing Co website: Delicately aged in “2005 Bourbon of the Year” Jefferson’s Reserve small batch barrels for approximately 60 days. The malt sweetness is perfectly balanced by the roast barley and a nice hint of bourbon flavor and aroma. The bourbon barrel stout was first brewed December 22, 2005.The McLain & Kyne Distillery has been a family owned since 1977. With their focus being on producing high quality Bourbon, the family hand selects new white oak barrels that are deep-charred for proper aging.

Jefferson’s Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout ( which from now on I will call Jeff’s Reserve or maybe Jeff’s BBS) pours dark and opaque. It appears to be a thick dark beer like many Imperial Stouts. It’s a little lighter than a majority of them though and it did pass the wife test. There was only a hint of the wrinkled forehead look when she sipped it. The head is a frothy tan color that drops almost at once, leaving a vague memory of it’s presence behind. The body has a creamy consistency you feel in your mouth and had dark malty color. Out of the snifter rose a pleasing distinct aroma of bourbon, oak and the hint of a light pipe tobacco. There was also a perfect hint of vanilla in the nose. The flavor (actually flavors) is the strong point of the stout. The combination are complex yet subdued. On first sipping your taste buds are met with a roasted, chocolaty tinge. A bold bourbon sweetness mingles with a dark chocolate and, both are a nice contrast to the subtle tartness. The feel inside the mouth is creamy and delicate (very thin) leaving behind a smoky aftertaste.

Critiques: For a stout it is little thin and the head is a bit too understated. Jeff’s Reserve’s palate was more like a porter than a stout. It has too slight of a mouth feel and a body more light to medium than thick. Unlike in Hollywood with our stout thin ain’t in.

Overall, I’d have to rate it an 8 out of 10. Jeff’s BBS is a complexly favored beer that is very easy to drink. It goes down smoothly and the aroma is rather pleasing. This offering from Bluegrass Brewing Company is a tasty choice anytime of the year. I really don’t go in for the whole wheat in summer stout in winter spiel. At 8% ABV it’s on the higher end when it comes to American Imperial stouts. It can be a bit pricey at $9.99 for a four pack, but really what isn’t pricey these days?

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