More Lost Beer Reviews

Once again, I’ve tried some beers and even wrote down some ratings for them but have misplaced my notes for them (or didn’t take notes in the first place).  Here are some ratings for some beers I will have to try again.

Beer Reviews: Sierra Nevada Glissade

Beer: Glissade Golden Bock
Brewer: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Source: 12 oz bottle
Rating: ** (6.7of 10)
Comments: A spring beer from California, Glissade pours out sparkling, golden and foamy.  It gives off a faint earthy, hops aroma.  The taste is well-balanced, hoppy but not overly bitter.  After sitting in the glass a while it’s still bubbly but does not leave behind much head or lacing.  It’s  a good beer and it makes me ready for spring.


2010 Year in Review: Favorite Songs

Seeing that it’s almost the end of February, it’s about time I posted this list of my ten favorite songs from 2010.   Unlike 2009 when I seemed to have a list of ten songs I was really excited about ready-made, I found that there wasn’t as much I was enthused about in 2010.  Nevertheless, there are some great songs from the year past.  Here they are in alphabetical order by artist.  I’ve embedded official videos where available and linked to unofficial videos otherwise.  Really creepy videos seem to be in this year so maybe just turn of the screen and listen to the songs.

  • Adele – “Rolling in the Deep” – Recent years have seen a revival of classic soul styles much of it coming from the united kingdom.  I like the interplay between Adele and her backup singers.  I also like that Adele has a great voice but doesn’t seem to have the attitude and substance abuse problems of Amy Winehouse.
  • The Decemberists – “Down By The Water – Having spent many years channeling the spirit of Edward Gorey into music, The Decemberists now bring back the soul of R.E.M. of 20-years ago in this short, jangly piece.
  • Fitz and the Tantrums – “Money Grabber” –  More soul music, this time from the U.S., reminiscent of Hall & Oates jamming with Merry Clayton and rockin’ out.  I’m just wondering if they’re going to regret naming themselves “The Tantrums.”
  • JJ Gray and Mofro – “The Sweetest Thing” –  This is the first song introduced to me by my son, who was two at the time he adopted it as his favorite song.  It’s a good bluesy, bar-band tune which makes me wonder if he’ll be in a frat when he’s older.
  • David Lynch – “Good Day Today” –  The famed director surprised and delighted me when he released this electro-pop concoction last fall.
  • Mumford & Sons – “The Cave” –  I like banjos and this is the first song I’ve heard that sounds like it has heavy metal banjos.  I also like how it builds from a gentle sing-song to a loud rocker.
  • The National – “Bloodbuzz Ohio” –  The baritone voice and the inscrutable lyrics (“I was carried to Ohio in a swarm of bees”) really do it for me on this song.
  • Sleigh Bells – “Rill Rill” –  I didn’t really get the Sleigh Bells bandwagon, but I warmed up to this song over time.  It’s got the noise and it’s got the percussion of their other tracks — not that these are bad things — but it’s also got a melody that sets it apart.
  • Uffie – “MC’s Can Kiss – Raunchy hip-hop that sounds like it’s from 1985, and I love it.  Who’da thunk?
  • Vampire Weekend – “Horchata – I still like Vampire Weekend and I like this song for its mix of percussion, African-style guitar, and dynamic range.

Honorable mentions:

  • Beach House – “Norway” – Early in the year I thought this was a shoe-in for my end-of-year top ten, but the song grew less interesting over time.  Still I like it’s sound, kind of Concrete Blonde with a cool wobbly turntable effect.
  • The New Pornographers  – “Moves” –  One of the better songs of the New Pornographers great new album and one of the most sharply satirical music videos ever filmed.
  • This American Life – “Bet Against the American Dream” – The fiscal crisis of 2008 explained Mel Brooks style.
  • Cee Lo Green – “Fuck You –  An upbeat soulful pop song with some really foul language.  I should be more mature than this, but I crack up when the backup singers echo “ain’t that some shit!”

And one more:

  • Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes  – “Home” – This song received a lot of exposure in the spring and fall of 2010, but alas was released in 2009 so I retroactively place it on that year’s list.  It sounds to me as if Johnny Cash and June Carter returned from the grave to create this buoyant celebration of love.  It’s also another one of my son’s favorite songs.  And don’t miss this cute father & daughter duo cover of this song.

So now that I’ve finished that list, I’m reminded that I was making a top ten list for every year of my life.  I made it to 1986, but alas I’m a dozen years older than that so look for some more retrospective top ten lists coming soon.

Other  best-of 2010 music lists:

Movie Review: Piglet’s BIG Movie

Title: Piglet’s BIG Movie
Release Date: 2003
Director: Francis Glebas
Production Co: Disney
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre: Animation | Family
Rating: **1/2

Summary/Review:  This is the second in a series of contemporary adaptations of the Pooh franchise that Disney has released in the past decade or so.  Unlike The Tigger Movie which I found surprisingly good, this is more of what I expect from Disney in milking the classics with some cheesy contemporary references thrown in.  A soundtrack by Carly Simon features heavily in this movie almost as if the whole film was a vehicle for promoting her songs.  Simon even appears during the credits.  The story focuses on Piglet feeling unappreciated because he is small and wandering off and then his friends go looking for him.  This is all a framing device for three flashback stories that show Piglet’s heroism.  The flashbacks are the best part as they are based on A.A. Milne stories and are true to the originals.  It’s a fun, sweet film – you really can’t go wrong with Pooh and Piglet – but they’ve done better.

Movie Review: The Sound of Music

Title: The Sound of Music
Release Date: 1965
Director: Robert Wise
Production Co: 20th Century Fox
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre: Musical / Classic
Rating: ****1/2

Summary/Review: It’s hokey, a bit saccharine, and historically inaccurate, but The Sound of Music is a fine movie worthy of its classic status.  The music, the cast, the scenery, the cinematography — all wonderful.  I watched this with my three-year old son, his first “grown-up” film, over a period of three days (hopefully making up for the fact that I didn’t watch it for the first time until I was 20).  He enjoyed it as well, except for the boring parts when the Captain and the Baroness were just talking (“Where are Maria and the kids?”).  He  liked the music and we’ve been singing “Do-Re-Mi” and “The Lonely Goatheard.”  Granted, there are some challenging aspects of trying to explain the Nazis to a toddler mostly because I don’t think he has a frame of reference to understand Nazis yet.  Overall it’s a great movie and a great family experience and I’m sure we’ll watch it again.


Book Reviews: The Walking Dead, Book 1 by Robert Kirkman

Author: Robert Kirkman with Tony Moore, Charlie Adlard, & Cliff Rathburn
Title: The Walking Dead, Book 1
Publication Info: Image Comics (2010), Hardcover
ISBN: 9781582406190

Before I start this review, I should state that I do not like zombie or zombie stories and have not at all been interested in the recent fad of zombiemania.  Nevertheless, there are exceptions to every rule and when I learned about The Walking Dead (after the tv series adaptation came out last fall) I wanted to read the book.  What makes this work is that it is not so much about the zombies as it is about the survivors and their relationships with one another under dire circumstances.  In that sense it’s like Jaws (which wasn’t just about the shark) and Battlestar Galactica (which wasn’t just about the Cylons).  On the downside I found the dialogue a bit stiff and cliched which is a bit disappointing since comic art relies on good dialogue.  I also found to keep track of the characters (and keep them apart) but they were more fleshed-out as the story went along.  The Walking Dead overall was very compelling and I’m eager to read more.

Rating: ***1/2

Soccer Spectating Report 15-20 Febuary

A slow week for me.  Lots of things to do and choppy streams that cut out mid-game.

Arsenal 2:1 Barcelona (16 February)

The Champions League match started off looking like it was just going to be Barcelona being awesome again with Lionel Messi feeding David Villa for a goal in the first half.  But then Arsenal made a very impressive comeback late in the game with a narrow-angle shot by Robin Van Persie and then the winner by Andrei Arshavin.  A great win for Arsenal – their first ever versus Barcelona – but I think Barcelona will win by a comfortable margin in their home leg.

Anderlecht 0:3 Ajax (17 February)

The Europa League is not as exciting as the Champions League but it did set up this match between historic clubs from the capitals of the lowland nations.  When last I saw Anderlecht they were failing to qualify for the Champions League in embarrassing fashion. Ajax qualified for the Champions League but their third place finish in group play demoted them to the Europa League.  The game was a bit of a laugher with everything going Ajax’s way.  Belgian Toby Alderweireld put Ajax up 0-1 with a header in the first half and then set up the second goal with a pass to Christian Eriksen in the second half.  After Anderlecht missed a penalty kick (something they’re apparently not too good at) Mounir El Hamdaoui finished things of with a third goal for Ajax.

Chelsea 1:1 Everton (a.e.t, 3:4 pk) (19 February)

The FA Cup replay at Stamford Bridge looked very grim when Frank Lampard put Chelsea up 1-0 in the 103rd minute.  But then Leighton Baines miraculously tied it up in the 118th minute and it would be decided by penalty kicks.  Baines had his kick blocked by Petr Cech (déjà vu?) and then Tim Howard made a great save on the shot by Nicholas Anelka, but the game would be decided by Ashley Cole skying his kick over the goal.  I’m not a big fan of games decided by penalty kicks, but dang if this wasn’t exciting.  And more important, Everton advances to the next round of the FA Cup.

FC Barcelona 2:1 Athletic Club Bilbao (20 February)

Barcelona recovered from their Champions League loss with yet another win in La Liga.  Not their best match of the season but their was some Messi magic with fancy footwork and the winning goal.

Previous posts:

Beer Review: Young’s Chocolate Stout

Beer: Young’s Chocolate Stout
Brewer: Wells and Young Ltd.
Source: Draft
Rating: (8.0 of 10) ****
Comments: Two of my favorite things – chocolate and stout – and they work so well together.  It’s a dark beer with a thick head and the scent of chocolate is immediately apparent.  The taste gets both the chocolate and the stout right with a silky cream mouthfeel.  I could probably drink these all day although they are a bit filling.

Beer Review: Little Kings Cream Ale

Beer: Little Kings Cream Ale
Brewer: Hudepohl-Schoenling Brewing Co.
Source: 7 oz. bottle
Rating:  ** (6.0 of 10)
Comments: This beer comes in a unique and cute little bottle.  It’s basically a cheap regional brew, but surprisingly tasty.  It’s sweet and malty with a creamy mouthfeel and a nice refreshing finish.  It kind of feels old-fashioned, like something factory-workers would kick back at the corner tavern after work.

Movie Review: Don’t You Forget About Me

Title: Don’t You Forget About Me
Release Date:  13 July 2010
Director:  Matt Austin
Production Co:
Country: Canada
Language: English
Genre: Documentary
Rating: **

Summary/Review: This documentary is a tribute to the filmmaker John Hughes who wrote and directed many popular and influential teen films of the 1980’s including Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.  Filmed before Hughes’ passed away in 2009, it features four young filmmakers journeying from Canada to Illinois to find the reclusive filmmaker who has retired from making Hollywood pictures.  The premise is a bit presumptuous, a lot boring, and I don’t think it’s too huge a spoiler to say that they never actually meet John Hughes.  Luckily, the film also includes clips from Hughes’ films, interviews with people who worked with him, and interviews with people influenced by him.  The point they keep returning to is that Hughes’ movies were more true to teenage life than other Hollywood films and even a generation later are very popular among teenage viewers.  This may be true but I do feel that they belabor the point of how bad today’s films are especially since they interview Kevin Smith and the makers of “Napoleon Dynamite” whose movies have a level of cult popularity among teens in their own right.  This documentary has some nice memories about a great moviemaker but it’s mediocre overall.  Just watch John Hughes’ movies instead.