Posts Tagged ‘Review’

Beer Review: Blue Hills Brewery King’s Kolsch

Beer: King’s Kolsch
BrewerBlue Hills Brewery
Source: 22 oz bottle
Rating: ** (6.6 of 10)
Comments: This mysterious beer (can’t find any evidence of it on the ‘net) is golden and bubbly with a thick head.  True to its style, I find it has a musty aroma with a real earthy flavor with hints of chocolate.   The aftertaste is a bit bitter but it’s well-balanced.  Another good brew from some Boston-area beermakers.

For an alternate take here’s a review from the Boston Globe.

Beer Review: Pretty Things/Yeastie Boys Our Turn, Your Turn

Beer:  Our Turn, Your Turn
Brewer:  Pretty Things / Yeastie Boys collaboration
Source: 22 oz bottle
Rating:  *** (7.5 of 10)
Comments:  Our Turn, Your Turn and as the world turns, a collaboration of the Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project of Somerville, MA and the Yeastie Boys of New Zealand.  The beer is a hazy, straw color with lots of fizz.  Aromas and flavors seem to be heavily influenced by the Linden flower, a type of tea that gives the beer strong earthy and floral accents.  The hoppiness packs a wallop, and I generally don’t like the bitterness of hoppy beers, but this one is good enough to make an exception.  All in all, an imaginative and exceptional beer.

Beer Review: Dale’s Pale Ale

Beer: Dale’s Pale Ale
Brewer: Oskar Blues Grill & Brewery
Source:
Draft
Rating:
** (6.7 of 10)

Comments: Here’s a beer I’ve been avoiding because it comes in can yet is really expensive.   I found a place serving it on-tap and gave it  a try.  The beer has a nice malt/hops balance and leaves good lacing on the glass.  I’m not sure if I’ll get it in a can, but it’s nice to know that a decent beer can come in aluminum.

Beer Review: Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale

Beer: Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale
Brewer: Smuttynose Brewing Co.
Source: 12 oz. bottle
Rating: *** (7.1 of 10)

Comments: This beer has a thick, respectable head and a cloudy, pumpkin orange color.  The spices are apparent in the aroma but there’s also an acidic scent there too.  The pumpkin flavor is there but also more of a bitter, hoppy taste as well.  It seemed to get a bit more weak and watery as I swirled it across my tongue.  All-in-all a good pumpkin ale and a great way to start October.

Related posts: Smuttynose Shoals Pale Ale


Beer Review: Cisco Brewers Bailey’s Blonde Ale

Beer: Bailey’s Blonde Ale
Brewer: Cisco Brewers
Source: 12 fl. oz. bottle
Rating: ** (6.3 of 10)

Comments:

Look – Cloudy, golden, carbonated, thin head

Aroma – Musty, earthy, floral

Taste -  good balance of malts and hops, bitter aftertaste

2nd look – no head, no lace,  still bubbly

Overall – a tasty, complex ale that leaves me with a good buzz.


Movie Review: Once in a Lifetime

**** Once in a Lifetime (2006)

They say Americans don’t like soccer and that it will never be as popular here as it is in the rest of the world.  Yet I remember growing up in a time and place where not only did I play youth soccer but cheered for a successful American soccer team that played before sell-out crowds in an American Football stadium.  This documentary proves that I wasn’t imagining things in my childhood.  The New York Cosmos were real, they were good, and they were big.

All the figures involved in making the Cosmos – the players and the executives – are all there with the exception of the late Steve Ross and Pele (who wanted too much money to be interviewed).  Still it’s a rollicking film with conflicting opinions showing that tempestuous feelings among the Cosmos haven’t faded with time.  It’s an amazing story of how a team basically made of semi-pros playing at a small college football stadium grew into one of the first international all-star teams playing to a full house in the Meadowlands. And more amazing that some of those semi-pros stuck around long enough for the surreal experience of playing with Pele.

Ross invested a lot of his Warner Communications money into bringing stars like  Pele and Giorgio Chinalgia to the USA as well as making the Cosmos an attraction with cheerleaders, an exploding scoreboard, and Bugs Bunny as a mascot.  The free-spending ways also contributed to the demise of the NASL as other teams could not keep up, not to mention that the NASL expanded to way too many franchises.

The documentary uses graphics, music, and editing techniques that give it a 70′s vibe.  I really enjoyed it and it made me very nostalgic for the golden age of the NASL and the 70′s in New York.  Highly recommended for soccer fans or anyone interested in an unlikely American success story.

Book Review: The Art of Travel by Alain De Botton

Author: Alain De Botton
Title: The Art of Travel
Publication Info: Recorded Books, LLC (2002), Audio CD
ISBN: 1402545096

Previously Read by Same Author: The Architecture of Happiness

Summary/Review:

This book reflects on travel focusing on the little things such as the novelty of the commonplace in a new place, disorientation, the boredom of travel, and even ponders whether travel for pleasure is even a necessity.  Along the way he shows travel through the eyes of various artists: Van Gogh, Wordsworth, Flauber, Von Humboldt and others.  He even details how artists create the vision we have of the destinations we wish to visit.  This is all written in the intellectual vein of someone who attends a literary salon, so  if that’s not your thing, you won’t like this book.  I found it brain-teasingly good, but I think that de Botton is meant to be read more than heard so I don’t recommend the audiobook.

Rating: ***

Book Review: The Trial of Robert Mugabe by Chielo Zona Eze

Author: Chielo Zona Eze
Title: The Trial of Robert Mugabe
Publication Info: Okri Books Inc (2009)
ISBN: 0615278116

Summary/Review:

Nigerian author Chielo Zona Eze pulls no punches in this fictional account of the brutal Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe.  Set in heaven, Mugabe is put before a jury of pan-African luminaries and victims of his oppression and terror come forth to tell his tales.  There stories vary from Zimbabweans forced to find work in South Africa where they are killed for being outsiders, women raped, tortured and killed in prison camps, and even a soldier who dies of AIDS from participating in these rapes and torture.  The testimonies are graphic and yet there are also acknowledgments of gratitude for Mugabe himself suffering imprisonment under the British and eventually liberating Zimbabwe from colonial rule.  The horror is all the greater that Mugabe recreates the terror he lived through on his subjects.

This book is a definite tribute to human rights and those who persevere in protecting them.  Authors Yvonne Vera and Dambudzo Marechera are specifically singled out but there are also more subtle allusions to Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga and Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.  This novel is not going to cheer you up but it offers important insight into the state of the world.

Favorite Passages:

Guku is born of the spirit of ressentiment, in which case a person develops a gukunized personality.  The logic of a gukunized personality runs thus:  I am a victim, therefore I can’t be blamed for any wrong, therefore I am right.  A gukunized mindset finds nothing wrong in killing or harming other people because he already justifies this on the grounds of his having been harmed earlier. – p. 33.

Should I tell you that retribution, sir, is antithetical to civilization; that it has no place in civil society?  Should I tell you, sir, that the greatness of a leader is no measure on the degree of his anger toward other people, it is not based on what he hated and destroyed, but on what he has built?  It is based on how fare he has enhanced the lives of his people. – p. 150

Recommended books: Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga,  Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, Snakepit by Moses Isegawa, The Stone Virgins by Yvonne Vera, and House of Hunger by Dambudzo Marechera.
Rating:

Beer Review: Buzzards Bay Black Lager

Beer: Buzzards Bay Black Lager
Brewer: Buzzards Bay Brewing
Source: 12 oz Bottle
Rating: *** (7.1 of 10)

Comments: This dark beer looks like a stout but as the name should imply it doesn’t taste like one.  The aroma and flavor is malty and smoky with some hints of chocolate.  There’s also a nice tingle of carbonation on the tongue.  This is a good beer in a unique style and I’d like to try it again on tap.

Concert Review: Butterflyfish

On Saturday, June 27th we saw the new band Butterflyfish at the Wellesley Village Church.  We were enticed by a listserv description of the band that plays a mix of folks, gospel, bluegrass, and country (and reggae, not mentioned in the invite) targeted to children and families:

There is an underlying theme of spirituality – as parents we were looking for music that underscored the idea that we are all rooted in spirituality without being heavy handed or laced with synthesizers! Couldn’t find any so we wrote our own!

As an added bonus, a musician we like a lot, Marc Erelli – a fine singer/songwriter, folk, country, troubadour – would be playing with the band.  Erelli must be one of the most generous musicians around and really like performing, because he plays with everyone!

We were late for the show but glad we made it.  The band performed standards like “Amazing Grace” and “This Little Light of Mine” along with some lovely originals.  I’m fond of the song “Music” which has the chorus:

We are going to a place where music falls and fills up everything. Though it might be a long time, but it’s going to be all right because we’ve already started to sing.

The band members Matthew Myer Boulton, Zoë Krohne, and Elizabeth Myer Boulton sing some lovely harmonies and keep things upbeat and entertaining.  Even my son who is a non-stop bundle of energy sat still on my lap for several songs.  Peter got up to dance and run around the sanctuary during the encore but even then was really enjoying the music.  The instrumentalists were great too, with Mark Erelli on guitar, Zack Hickman on bass and Charlie Rose on banjo.  Erelli also sang lead on “I’ll Be There” in tribute to Michael Jackson, which was far better than the Mariah Carey version.

After the show there was a reception with church punch and cookies.  We also picked up a copy of the Butterflyfish band album “Ladybug“.  I suggest you do to if you like folk music, gospel and children’s music, or any of the above.

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