Author: George "HoHo" Frank

My name is George Frank, but many call me "HoHo". I'm just a regular guy who loves riding his bike, good beer and sharing experiences about beer with others. It's the reason for this blog. I will be posting at minimum once a week relating to brews, bars, breweries my adventures to find beers on bike or anything relating to beer. If you'd like to get in contact with me or send me questions, requests, feedback, suggestions or just want to talk about beer you can follow me on twitter @hoho23 or email me to the email available on the blog.

MBCP DAY 2016

Later today, January the 9th, I’ll be heading up to Funky Buddha’s Maple Bacon Cofee Porter Day. FBB’s annual, and one of Floridas biggest beer events/release is back! The Hoposervatory will be there picking up our beers and also trying out the massive amounts of beers from all over the country.

The beer list is massive and has beers I’ve been trying to get a hold of but have never been distributed near me. I’ll leave you with the guest draft list below. I’ll be taking pictures and posting them on Twitter as well on here on the blog. Follow me on Twitter or Instagram, @hoho23 for pics of the beer and the event. There are also tickets left if anyone is interested in going.

  Cheers! Here’s to plenty of beers in 2016.

Risen from the Dead: New Belgium/3 Floyds Grätzer review

IMG_1158

Grätzer is an old beer style from Poland using mainly oak-smoked wheat. The Gratzer style is now considered a sour ale. Grätzer is all but dead. Very few breweries around the world let alone Poland are brewing this kind of beer. Here comes New Belgium and 3 FLoyds breweries, respectively,  to bring it back. Should this zombie ale have been brought back from the (almost) dead? Or are New Belgium and 3 Floyds doing us all a favor in bringing this to our taste buds?

Grätzer pours a pitch black body with a thick beautiful dirty, tan head. From a glance it could be confused with a stout, porter or even a quad. However, once you get your nose close enough you’ll start to get a clue of what is in store.

IMG_1152

Sour! Yes, a decent sour scent hits you as you inch your nose closer to the brew. Not a terrible smell by any means at all, more like a very good sour candy would smell. Grätzer is very earthy and oaky as well – which I quite enjoy. Nothing like the smell of mother Earth. An almost burnt wheat flavor – which I would bet is from the oak smoked wheat. A very hidden hoppy scent was buried underneath the other aromas. You definitely had to reach for some to get them.

Once I got a feel for the look and smell of the brew, I wanted to dig in. I had tried this on draft a couple days prior at a YardHouse and was kinda underwhelmed. The smell from the bottle was immensely different so I was very hopeful this would be better batch.

At first taste I could instantly taste that my bottle had more flavors about. It definitely tasted much better (again, I think it was a bad keg). The feel as I took my first swig was very foamy and light. The beer, at appearance looks to be heavy or thick. Grätzer is actually quite drinkable. Like the smell, it has some earthy tones to the taste along with some subtle wheat flavors that blended nicely together. Malty flavors where definitely there, almost like a Malta or “kids beer” (Caribbean malt beverage, non-alcoholic) brewed very similarly to beer. Grätzer had a very subtle nuttiness to it that was near the aftertaste. The brew had a a sour after taste at the end which I felt got a bit more sour as I neared the end of my glass and bottle.

With all that being said, I don’t have much great nor bad things to say about Grätzer. I’m very neutral about it. Would I have one if I find one again? Sure. Would I go out of my way to find it again, probably not. I’m not sure if it’s just my palate not being used to this style if beer or if it’s just okay to me. Either way, I’m happy I got a chance to try this nearly dead beer style with its unique flavor and I do think some people will enjoy this more than I did.

IMG_1156

AVL Beer week pint glass giveaway!

IMG_0393

I wanted to do a give away for my readers. I was given a free pint glass after a beer and cheese tasting and had already bought one right before. I have a 2014 Asheville beer week pint glass ready to ship anywhere in the United States (sorry rest of the world, shipping is expensive). I will be running the contest for a week until July 9th and will post the winner on twitter and on the blog in a short post.

The rules are very simple. I want to try and kick-start more participation in the comments with my posts, so I just need you guys to comment below. One comment per person. Just Post what your favorite beer and or brewery is and why. Two or three sentences is fine, more is welcome if you have wonderful things to say and make me want to drink your favorite beers.

I will be reading all the comments left by everyone who leaves a comment up until the deadline. Winner will be selected at random. Thank you for reading and good luck!

Moments in Asheville 2014

The Wicked Weed.

The Wicked Weed.

Asheville, NC, three weeks later and I’m still thinking about all the fun, cool places and the awesome beer all over the city. In this post, I will write a bit about the bars and breweries we visited and try to do them justice with words and pictures. I just wanted to share some of the spots and events I checked out during my time there.

My first stop during my trip was the Thirsty Monk (Awesome name for a brew pub, if I do say so myself). We stopped by their newest location — they now have four in total — in Reynolds Village. They had a special Belgian beer event with over 20 Belgian style beers. The samplers were $15, if I remember correctly, for three waves of four 4 oz beer samples. Local beers from NC and the nearby regions were what were offered such as Oskar Blues, Lexingston Ave Brewing, Wicked Weed and Highland Breweries to name a few of the many on tap. The event was packed, but we managed to find a table outside. The weather was perfect. It was nice and cool with the fresh mountain air breezing nicely, it was a very nice change to the hot and humid South Florida weather and perfect for some Belgian style beers. A couple of my favorites were Big Boss Brewing’s Zombie and Oskar Blues Tickled Pink.

Altamont Brewing co. which we stumbled across after a little league baseball practice, is just a cool, chill spot. In order to get in, one of us was required to become a member of the brewery which was just $1 and is required to by law by NC to any brewery that doesn’t serve food. The brewery is dog friendly, has a ping-pong table, indoor and outdoor seating and live music. The event we went to had a rotating tap every couple hours with new brews being untapped. We played some ping pong while we sipped on our brews and then moved outside and had a Strong ale, that sadly I can’t remember the name of because it was pretty damn good.

One of the coolest, unique places we got to visit was Beer City Bikes in downtown Asheville. BCB is a bike shop with a beer bar in the middle of the shop. This is right at home for me and my girlfriend who were riding around the city on our bikes exploring before a beer and cheese pairing a few blocks away — more on that later. The bar was set in the middle of the shop surrounded by bikes, gear and stationary cadence machines. This would probably one of the spots I would be at at least once a week if I lived near by it was such a cool, chill spot for cyclists and beer lovers to hang out and grab good local beer. One of my favorite spots I got to check out in Asheville easily.

The Wicked Weed Brewing in Downtown Asheville serves as the brewery and restaurant. The upstairs had a bar and seating both indoor and outside while the brew room and tap room were downstairs that also had a outside area with benches and a stage for performances. The downstairs bar had over 30 beers on tap and if it wasn’t for the special Menage-A-Freak Triple IPA being released that night I would’ve had a hard time picking out what to drink. I’m glad I managed to get a taste of the Menage-A-Freak, since its a very limited one week release for Asheville beer week once a year due to its brewing process. Menage is a Triple IPA with an 11.4% ABV, but felt very smooth. Only wish I could’ve had another opportunity to try it again and write about it a bit more in depth. Wicked Weed was one of the larger breweries I managed to visit while I was there and a local favorite for good reason, usually very crowded with beer lovers at all times of the day. When I make it back again, I will definitely make my way to the “Weed.”

The Wienhaus was one of the last stops we made while in Asheville. We purchased two tickets for a cheese and beer pairing and explored the inside of the shop. They had wines, local and imported cheeses and of course beer. There was also a bar that served beers from the bottle and tap as well as wine by the glass. They had very nice selection of beers from all over NC, the US and imported brews too! They even had the giant Magnum style beer bottles that you can see below for sale. The event was for four beers with four different cheeses paired specifically for the brews picked. The beers were first picked by the shops son who runs the bar in the Wienhaus and the cheeses were the then picked by the affineur or cheese expert based on the taste, feel and ABV of the beers. To be honest, I think they did and amazing job selecting the cheeses for each respective beer and they paired nearly flawlessly. It was a fantastic experience and tons of fun. My favorite beer was the Green Man Brewing ESB and a couple of the cheeses that stood out were the beer cheese and the comte which is a french style gruyere — I thought was exquisite! Each table got a platter of cheese which we shared with another beer lover. It was awesome to taste and compare thoughts on the brews and cheese pairings with the others there. At the end of the event we were given a Asheville 2014 pint glass, which i will be giving away in my next post. Details on that soon.

Our final stop before we hit the road back home didn’t have anything to do with beer, but I thought was very cool and should be shared with you. Dough, a very sweet bakery (pardon the pun) in Asheville that bakes and creates very delicious baked goods! They even hold classes weekly for children and parents to learn to create crazy baked goods. This was probably the one non-beer related spot I really did not want to miss. A really good donut is something I really enjoy. I’ll let the picture spread for itself. Note: not pictured a half dozen donuts for me to take home. They were just as good!

As mentioned earlier stay tuned for my next post which should hit very shortly on how to win the Asheville beer week 2014 pint Glass. Until then Cheers!

IMG_0393

Asheville Beer week wrap up!

20140605-202103-73263594.jpg

Last week was my birthday and I really didn’t want to do anything for it. Ok, maybe thats not true, but the one thing I did want was to just be with my girlfriend hang out and have some really awesome beer. I didn’t even suggest anything because she’s been having a rough time of late and all I really wanted was to spend the day with her. She actuality suggested going to Asheville. She knows how much I really enjoy a good brew and interacting and talking about beers with others. So she decided to do something really amazing and drove us to Asheville. Asheville is Beer City, USA. I’m not lying, look it up! It just so happened that the day of my birthday was the start of Beer City’s Beer Week! How fortunate, eh?

This was the third annual beer week in Asheville. The week started on May 23rd and went on until May 31st. Thats a full seven days of beer events all around the city with brew-pubs, taverns, restaurants and breweries doing something different and unique to celebrate the week. Beer and cheese pairings, brew-it-yourself amateur lessons from brewers, special release beers, rotating taps, special beer dinners etc… the list can keep going on and on. Every where you went there was something going on. It was literally beer paradise!

There was no possible way to do everything that was going on in the day. I would check the beer events hourly on my phone to see what would be the most appealing or seemed to be the most fun. No easy feat, let me tell you. Events were going on from from the morning on up until 2am daily. I went and got to do a good amount of them and pretty much did all the events that I wanted to do. I was like a kid in a candy store. I will say that doing an event like this, I would Recommend pacing yourself, especially since you’re going to be doing this for a few days or and always have some water either with you or in between brews!

For now I’ll leave you with some pictures of the wonderful beer city in the mountains. I’ll have another post talking about more events in a bit more details and some of the locations that held said events.

P.s I’ll also have a give a way on the blog soon. Stay tuned to see how you can win a Asheville 2014 pint glass!

 

 

 

Asheville Beer Week 2014!

20140521-145311-53591477.jpg

As you read this I’ll be heading on the road to Asheville, NC, for beer week. That’s right, I’m heading to Beer City, USA — for my birthday and you get to go along for the ride. Kind of.

I’m super excited to be going and hope to get to try new beers, meet some awesome people and hopefully get to speak to some brewers or people in the craft beer industry (can you tell I’m geeking out?!) I’m not entirely sure how many places I’ll be able to visit, but I’ll be taking photos and writing about what I come across.

Stay tuned. I hope to have some awesome things to share in the next week! Follow me on Twitter for some updates and pictures between posts!

Overlooking ABV

5 vs 9

5 vs 9

Recently, when shopping or out drinking at a bar, I’ve noticed at the method of how I select my beers. A few things go into play: first, depending on my mood I’ll select the style; second, I’ll look up the breweries and skim to see if there is anything new or something I’ve never had that catches my eye; and finally and most importantly or rather, the thing that I use to pick my beers has been the ABV.

Like I said, I’ve discovered this recently about myself when ordering. I’ll decide on style, the brewer, but only if the ABV high enough. I don’t know why I’ve subconsciously labeled lower alcoholic beers as less worthy or not as good as some with a higher ABV. I don’t even drink to get wasted and I have a pretty good internal meter letting me know when enough is enough.

There’s still has to be something more to the higher ABV beers that I find appealing. Maybe its an issue with ego? “I can drink this beer and be fine. 9.5% ABV, pft, thats my average!” Thats not a direct quote, but I have said something along the lines about a stronger brew. I could simply be infatuated with a stronger beer, because I won’t have to drink as many to start feeling a buzz like I would a lower ABV beer. Again, these are just thoughts I’m kind of spitballing. I  don’t really know why I do it myself.

The reason why I’ve brought this topic up is because I’ve been overlooking brews by looking at numbers and I don’t think thats a fair way to approach having a quality beer. I do think there is a time for certain beers as well. i.e. on a hot day a beer with lower ABV would be great and much better option than a stronger, heavier beer that would probably be better in the evening or a colder day. It could be that I grew conscious due to the weather starting to get so hot and the sun and alcohol do a number on you (I’m not drinking a bud light).

 

 

I was wondering if anyone else did anything similar or the same as I do when choosing their next brew? Or even had a weird method or something totally off the wall. The one thing I’m coming away with is, I’m not perfect and still have some shortcomings that I’d like to address, like I did previously with Stouts, which I’ve started to go out and look for and have enjoyed quite a few. Please feel free to chime in the comments below and let me know how you choose your beers. I’ll have something coming up soon from a local brewer in Miami thats perfect for the summer and isn’t a heavy brew. Stay tuned!

Cheers!