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The Beer Friends write, review, and discuss Craft Beer as fans instead of experts.  They share their unique voice and affinity for craft beer through multiple platforms and offer a range of media to join their craft beer conversation.


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LIVE BLOG! Idle Hands $10 Tasting East Coast vs West Coast Punk Rock Tour Preview

Beerfriend Paul

The East Coast vs. West Coast Punk Rock Brew Tour is back! 20130306-213805.jpg

For the past couple years breweries from east coast and west coast have come together to enjoy beer and music. From March 12th until April 18th the 8 breweries involved this year will hit 18 venues from Washington to Boston for a tour that’s unlike any other.

Tonight we get a sneak peak of what the breweries will have to offer on this tour at the $10 Tasting at Idle hands. This Friday March 8th Idle Hands will host the Pre-party, where they will do $10 flights of these beers; and the official Kick off is March 12th at Alewife Queens. A Complete list of dates and venues can be found here. Let's go!

East Coast

Smuttynose Shoal’s Pale Ale

Paul: I do not drink this brew from the good people at Smuttynose enough. I have to be honest and say if I am buying a Smuttynose beer it's going to be the IPA or the Old Brown Dog. This bear falls victim to my appreciation for other beers this brewery makes and it has never been able to overcome it's "older brohers" shadows in my eyes. It's a nice dark a malty pale ale that is really a good beer and I have grown to appreciate what it is more recently. Smuttynose is a great brewery with a selection that is very distinct and this beer holds up all of their lofty standards.

Graham: A Pale Ale in New England is more common than clean water and Red Sox fans. Therefore you would surmise that the Shoal's by Smuttynose would hit the nail on the head. And you're mostly right. It is refreshing with that great malt backbone that New England pale ales are famous for. I wish there was a bit more hop action, but then again I am a self-proclaimed addict wishing for an overdose of them in a style that doesn't necessarily call for those bitter nuggets. Still, it could be more bitter...

Phil: this we one actually had second in the running, and i think that was a good place or it. well rounded taste with not a lot standing out, thinker mouthfeel than you would expect, but not a sticky one so it's alright. a good amount of hops to start you off makes this a good one to pick up.

Bronx Brewery Black Pale Ale

Paul: For a minute I'm going to forget the Bourbon Aged Pale Ale ever came out and I'm going to say this is my favorite beer that the fellas at The Bronx Brewery have made. They've done a few variations of this beer and all have been excellent, but there is something about this beer that is special. Find it this beer and drink this beer.

Graham: Bronx Black Pale Ale is my favorite black ale out at this current time. Hands down. It does what any black IPA or black lager has not been able to do. Burnt, slight roasted coffee and just plain delicious. I'd say more but really the only thing you should do right is type it into beer search menu and find where it's pouring in your local area and drink a whole bunch.

Phil: graham and i were just saying these guys seem to have a knack for creating a fantastic amount of really good beer from one basic beverage. so far everything we've had has been based on their pale ale, which is decent but not completely outstanding, but all that changes when you have ANY OTHER of their beers. this one is no exception, a good and burnt malty taste, a teeny bit of hops at the beginning that you totally forget about once the rest of the taste comes through. i've had this before and i will have it again.

Victory Swing Session Saison

Paul: This is what I have come to expect from Victory. This is a good light flavorful Saison from Victory and I kind of love it. This is their spring selection but I could drink this all summer and into the fall. It's a crisp smooth beer with good flavor. Nothing surprising here, Victory made a delicious beer.

Graham: I have really been enjoying the swings on saisons recently. Ha. I make funny. But really, this saison is lighter than usual, a bit brighter while maintaining a strong herbal flavor. Solid enough to drink a sixer on a hot summer day or luke warm winter one.

Phil: I will, of course, recuse myself from this part. you'll it if you like frenchy beers. which i do not.

Sixpoint Crisp

Paul: This is a beer that falls into the same trap as Smuttynose Shoal's Pale Ale. This is a good beer that I don't buy often enough. It's flavorful pilsner that is crisp (hence the name) and smooth. this is a beer that appears in my life a lot more in the summer months.

Graham: We've all had a bunch of Crisp in our lives, being from the best borough of New York: Brooklyn. It's crisp, slightly hoppy and nicely bitter. Sixpoint has industrialized this one in to mass production excellence. Every time you open a Crisp it will be, well, crisp.

Phil: As one of the year round offerings, hands up for the cans, from Sixpoint this one is a good way to go at any point in the evening. a good sweet beginning, not alot of hops of course being a pilsner (even though they don't call it that anymore), and it finishes clean. a little heavier mouthfeel at the front, which is unusual but in a good way. grab it in cans this summer and you'll be happy with it.

West Coast

Lagunitas Little Sumpin Sumpin Ale

Paul: I am no stranger to this brew, it often finds a home in my fridge. This is probably my favorite beer from Lagunitas. It is definitely the beer I buy from them the most. This beer is deceptive because it's light in color, but it has a lot of flavor and packs in the ABV.

Graham: This brew has got a little sumpin sumpin in it. An IPA of sorts, definitely on the lighter side when it comes to intensity but the flavors it does manage to pack are well rounded and delicious. We're talking citrus, a slight pine and if you're really looking for it, a little bit of herbal in the back end. Overall very refreshing while letting you know that you're still drinking a West Coast IPA.

Phil: This is always a good favorite of this delicious one from the boys in california. Paul is correct with the trickiness of this one, light in color but big on taste. tons of great hoppy flavor with a good, but not too sweet, back end. always a good bet.

Ballast Point India Pale Lager

Paul: This is interesting. There is a new groundswell of breweries making different kinds of lagers, and this has become a new popular style. It tastes like a cold sweet IPA. The way the hops react in this lager are much more subdued. The flavor is not like what we are used to with hoppy ales. It's a much subtler brew than hop heads are used to, but it's a nice crisp brew from Ballast Point.

Graham: I like the idea of India Pale Lagers. I'm not so sure I'm sold on the recipe yet though. Only a (less than a) handful of breweries have widely marketed this new invention but it all seems to land in the same spot: light, refreshing, no malt flavor and a very specific bitter/pine hop flavor that doesn't vary. Thought I would my change my opinion from Sam Adams to Ballast Point (one of my favorite breweries on the SoCal brewery tour) but I haven't come around. I don't hate it, but I don't love it.

Phil: Rev pointed out that this is an India Pale Lager, an exciting recent style that has a good chance of becomming 2013's beer style like Black IPA did for 2012. VERY light taste and mouthfeel with a Pilsner sweetness that hedges right up ont he beginning hope taste, almost like it's trying to cut in line to your toungue. Not alot of the hops present, but that's not a bad thing for the style.

Oscar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils

Paul: Pilsners have to work a lot to get me to like them. I blame my 5 years in college ( no I do not have any extra degrees) for my displeasure with the thought of a pilsner. However, recently more breweries have been putting out good craft Pilsners and bucking the trend of American Pilsners. This is one of those beers leading that trend and I do kind of enjoy it. It's much lighter than beers I'm used to drinking but it's a style that is growing on me.

Graham: A little yellow pilsner is a little yellow pilsner. I seem to be having some style wars this evening. I'm not saying this isn't the top of the line yellow pilsner but it remind me too much of a german pilsner mixed with Rocky Mountain fresh water. I promise I'm not a hater and I'm not above being a Phil. I'll have to practice more with this one in order to appreciate the craft greatness that Oskar Blues is renowned for.

Phil: Pilsner, pilsner pilsner. i always thought this was a good example of what an american Pilsner should be, especially when we had it out at the factory, and that idea has held true so far. light and not too oppressive with the taste, a little flowery but it keeps the malt and hoppy notes in balance. a good in between choice.

Sierra Nevada Kellerweiss

Paul:This is a beer that is very different from what we are used to from Sierra Nevada, it is also one of my favorite brews from them for that reason. It's a light beer that has a ton of flavor. this is one of my favorite beers during the summer and I look forward to drinking more of it. It's already started showing up in my local bodega which means that summer is not far away.

Graham: Kellerweis, as we've been educated, opens up the fermenting tank to allow the yeast to breathe freely and crap out all tons of flavor. This beer represents that to the core. A refreshing weiss beer that will make any sun drenched summer day easier to handle while still pushing forward a robust wheaty flavor. I am very into this kellerweise and pick it up in six packs all summer long.

Phil: also recused because I hate things that are delicious (written for Phil by Paul)

Whiskey Mellow Corn

Paul: This was boozy. It made me think about what whiskey tasted like back in the old west. It's doesn't taste bad, but it definitely burns.

Graham: This corn whiskey was good, but not as good as the music tonight. The East Coast Punk Rock was way better than the West Coast Punk Rock.

Phil: interesting with the IPA, as we were instructed to have a quick taste of this and then a sip of the beer. but i wouldn't have it again. it's harsh.

As expected it was a great Wednesday night at Idle Hands. Make sure you catch the East Coast vs West Coast Punk Rock Brew Tour when they kick of this Friday March 8th here at Idle Hands. We'll see you for our live blog. Until next time, share the love share the beer.

The Beer Friends