Kids! It has apparently been several months since I filed my first post at The Ferm, and I'm still waiting for that check. Ad revenue must be low. No worries kids, I'm filing this one on credit.

I just finished watching perennial powerhouse Duke knock off the Baylor Bears in the 2010 NCAA Basketball Tournament. Deviant mascot aside (last time I checked, more devils than bears reside in Waco, TX), Baylor still made a good run and I congratulate them on their courage throughout the madness that is the month of March. Baylor played with a bunch guys that didn't get much of a sniff from bigger schools during their high school years. But personally, my favorite part of this year's Baylor team is that they made it through the year without a teammate murdering another teammate.

A lot has changed for me since I checked in with you guys last. I recently sold my daughter's Toyota Prius and replaced it with a used LR4. The biggest difference in the old and new rides? Reliability. To offset the larger carbon footprint, we switched to a utility company with renewables in their portfolio and to single-ply toilet paper. It was a totally even trade if you ask me, and we now have slightly less of a chance of her driving the car through a wall and totaling it, thus turning it into a huge piece of trash in a scrap yard. Make no mistake, she still complained of the change, but I advised her to also consider giving up her iPhone and laptop to help save the planet. This suggestion ended the argument, and as an added bonus I was also able to reintroduce two-ply toilet paper without opposition (seriously folks, there are some situations where less is not more). Another score for Crawford!

Speaking of scores (half scores at least), last Friday was my ten year anniversary at my current job. Ten years of explaining what we do to our salesman, managing project managers' mismanagement, and proofing reports from young Engineers before they get to our customers. Is technical writing even taught in school these days? Seriously, I caught a "cause" the other day instead of "because."

Because last Friday was also "Make Your Own Holiday Day," our witty HR department decided to throw a potluck lunch, something of which I am not a fan. Potlucks are always the perfect storm for the most unbalanced meals. They also combine my two worst ideas for lunch: 1. Lunch with a bunch of chatty people and 2. Having to prepare my own food. Among an inglorious spread of spaghetti, deviled eggs, some sort of raison-y fruit salad topped with whipped cream, a loaf of bread, a bucket of fried chicken (must have been a project manager), countless side dishes involving pasta, and three types of lettuce salads, I suffered through conversations of tee ball, Sandra Bullock, health care reform, Dancing with the Stars, what happens to coffee beans when you freeze them (interesting actually), and something called Farmville. No synergies were to be found at this event. Sorry corporate.

My dish received oodles of compliments, however, and was gone by the end of lunch. I told everyone my wife made it, which basically got me double credit for the dish (you see, they think my wife is great and therefore think that I am great because I'm married to her). Genius… I know. The real story behind the dish is that I slipped out of work around 10-ish and picked up a Spinach Salad with Figs and Feta Cheese at Whole Foods. While I was waiting for the deli guy to transfer the spinach salad into a Tupperware-type bowl that I picked off the shelves, I couldn't help to notice how many customers were gravitating toward a refrigerated display of 2-for-1 sushi. Discount sushi? I'll pass, kids. I prefer paying full price for raw fish. If that organic mango-pear juice or soynut trail mix doesn't clean all those hippies out, that cheap sushi should do the trick. Plus, what bargain hunter shops at Whole Foods anyway?

Readers, allow me just one tangent. Recently the local liquor superstore has been running commercials about their products being "cheap." But they do not just casually mention cheap prices, they say "cheap" ten or more times in a single commercial spot. "CHEAP! Cheeeeaaaaap. Cheap. Cheap. Cheap." From one business man to another, I'd like to tell them that "cheap" is a word with a negative connotation. Cheap implies poor quality (e.g. "cheap beer" or "cheap clothes"). The word they are looking for is "inexpensive." "Discount" or "affordable" will work too, but I prefer "inexpensive." Often the former two still imply that the item is not high quality. I even emailed that liquor superstore about their commercial and I received the following response:

Our brand communicates that fine wine can be bought at a reasonable price. Our customer ranges from a novice wine drink to a sommelier. So we are trying to communicate across a broad spectrum of drinkers in that, no matter who u are, u CAN afford to buy something fantastic! After all, life is too short to drink bad wine!
But life is too short to drink cheap wine too… or discount sushi, for that matter… just saying.

After the good people of Whole Foods packed up my spinach salad, I swung down the beer aisle. I was in somewhat of a hurry to make it back to work before people wondered where I had disappeared, so I had no time to create my own mixed six-pack today. I picked up a sixer of Samuel Adams Boston Lager and a 4-pack of Oscar Blues Ten Fidy. I'm a big fan of Oscar Blues' other beers (all canned) and wanted to give this one a try. Ziggy the checkout dude rang me up... $55! How much was that salad?! It turns out that 4-pack of Ten Fidy is (no not $10.50 but) $14.29. Is it possible for a canned beer to good enough to justify that price tag? I broke it out later that night after the rest of the family retreated to their rooms for bed.

Man alive, this beer is great. I typically pour my beers into a glass for a proper tasting. However, this being a canned beer, I wanted to enjoy the beer in its (intended?) canned form. The can itself has a wide mouth, which is good for pouring it quickly into your mouth, which is what I did, which was not the best idea, which I'll get into in a minute. Ten Fidy is incredibly drinkable. The 9.5% ABV is hidden nicely by the choco-malty nose and smooth feeling in the mouth. Clearly by accidentally chugging the first can, I drank the beer much too cold for its style. This was the beer drinking equivalent of putting a few dollars into those claw machines at the grocery store only to have that weak gripped sorry excuse for a claw thing slide right through the targeted bear without even making it budge. It was time to give Ten Fidy a proper taste.

The second can was poured into a beer snifter. The appearance is pitch black and pours thick with a huge head that took quite a while to dissipate to a level where I could drink it without getting a face full of foam. Ten Fidy has a very rich and roasty aroma, but nothing overwhelming like some of its peers in this style. My notes kind of trail off after this point. Apparently the chugging the first can caught up with me somewhere after a few sips of the second can. I can tell you that this beer was more enjoyable from a taste and aroma perspective when it was a little warmer. I highly recommend you pick a 4-pack up from your local beer retailer, but please note: Oscar Blues Ten Fidy is not cheap! Until next time kids, imbibe that!

The Vinturi

Posted by J.R. Ewing | Sunday, March 28, 2010

While we, I mean I really am a beer drinker at heart, who doesn't like the supple flavor of a wine, expertly matched with the proper food, served at the right temperature, on a beautiful day in the garden (i.e. backyard). Well, that was me yesterday. Armed with a 3/4 lb. swordfish steak, some gulf shrimp, and asparagus, I decided to uncork a red to accompany. Conventional wisdom might have called for something of the white variety, but two factors came into play;

1) I was in the mood for a red
2) I wanted to "taste test" a new gadget...the Vinturi Red Wine aerator

I received the Vinturi for Christmas from the parents, who are always wondering what to buy the kids that have everything, and this was better than most (still haven't played Longhorn-opoly). All you ever wanted to know is at their website (, but the idea is that the ~$40 device aerates your wine better than it aerates naturally. Simply pour the wine through the Vinturi and in your glass pours aerated red wine. My cruise-savvy parents said it's all the buzz in the ships' dining rooms on cruises, passengers are whipping it out at the dinner table and usually summon a small group of curious observers when it's used.

So I decided to try it for myself. I've used it here and there since the Holidays, thought "hmmm, it is more airy" but not knowing how the wine would taste without it, wondered if a blind taste test would back up what I was thinking. So when I bought the swordfish yesterday, I perused the wine aisle for a red...with two, I wanted a Texas Red (for the sole purpose of advertising Texas wines) and two, it had to be under $10, I like wine under $10 and figured if any wine might need the Vinturi, it would be on the less expensive end.

I went with an $8.99 "Ed's Red" from Twin Springs Winery in Tow, TX. Tow (pronounced like "cow") is about 90 miles NW of Austin on the north shore of Lake Buchanan. It appears Twin Springs (founded in 2000) keeps wines simple for the simple drinker, if their website is to be believed. It is a brand/subsidiary of the Fall Creek Vineyard founded in 1975.

The ground rules were set:
1) Wine was to be eaten with crackers and cheese only (not with the fish)
2) One Keebler multi-grain club cracker and a square of Kraft cheddar cheese before each sip. Nothing fancy.
2) At room temperature (no delta as time increases)
3) Two glasses (with under of coaster marked to distinguish) were used and rotated in circles until I couldn't remember which was which
4) A best of 7 series was conducted...drink the wine, state which I liked better (not the one I thought was more airy).

In Round 1, I sipped both and selected the wine that had not been through the Vinturi as superior. This being the first time my lips ever touched this wine, I thought my judgment might be skewed from the taste buds adjustment to the solid flavor.

The next three rounds, I picked the Vinturi wine. I thought, okay, I really can taste the difference here. If it were the World Series, it would be 3-1 headed to Game 5. Which went to the wine w/o Vinturi. The sixth round went to Vinturi (effectively winning the series,), but a 7th round was played anyway, to the wine w/o Vinturi.

So the final verdict, I chose the Vinturi-aerated wine 4 out of 7. A statistical wash. I picked the 1st wine (i.e. wine on the left tasted first) 3 times, the 2nd wine 4 times so it appears I wasn't biased by first or last flavor. The Vinturi aerated wine was tasted second 5 out of 7 times, just a factor of how many spins I did.

There are three hypotheses to support this outcome:
1) The Vinturi doesn't make a difference for all wines
2) Ed's Smooth Red is not the best wine for the Vinturi
3) The writer of this blog really doesn't know how to taste wine.

I would lean heavily on #3. I'm not a wine guy. I know a few that I prefer...which are mostly white. Stick to stock Merlot and Chianti when tasting reds.

So take it from me... the Vinturi is not a significant advancement in the tasting of Ed's Red wine in my kitchen with crackers and cheese. If that doesn't solve the world's problems, I don't know what does.

We have been thinking. Who are we?

We opened an Independence Brewing Co. Pale Ale for this post. Our significant other has been putting up with this social media obsession for nearly a year now. We don’t exactly review beers, wines, or spirits. We don’t announce local events. We don’t really have a collective finger on the pulse of our neighborhood. We have never received free drinking related swag, but we have eaten a lot of free kolaches. We don’t consider ourselves the press. We certainly aren’t the man. We do rep Houston’s inner and outer loop, the Clear Lake area, The Woodlands, the Dallas Metroplex, and even Hoboken, NJ and New York City.

Sometimes we write slow, sometimes we write quick (and this post should live somewhere near the latter, we think). We don’t see anything wrong with grammatical errors as long as it stays nice and smooth. We just wanted to see if we could say we more than three times in one sentence, and we could. We prefer being active to passive.

We want you to know that pepper beer is a niche style and mostly gross. For that matter, beers made with herbs and flowers (Category 21A beer, as we know them) are adult beverage rejects too. Do we think that there are no decent beers of these types? No we do not. Do we wish they didn’t exist? No we do not. Do we think you can name a bunch of obscure beers, homebrews, or something made by Stone or Dogfish Head that to try to prove we are wrong? We will not be taking any more questions.

We love beer, but sometimes we open up a bottle of wine that reminds us that there are some wines that exceed beer’s ceiling of enjoyment, like that bottle of 2005 Havens Reserve Carneros Merlot we opened last week (OOG!). We can accept this fact. However, we can’t agree on the best way to enjoy whiskey or bourbon, or even which whiskey or bourbon we should keep in the liquor cabinet. We think Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey poured over ice with a healthy splash of unrefrigerated Coca-Cola is the bees knees. On the other hand, we would also counter that Booker's Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey and Ginger Ale is the be-all and the end-all.

We find it incredible. We do not have the voice of a village, but we have our own deluxe apartment/Blogger-powered-website in the sky/Internet. We get visits from unfamiliar friends by the handfuls every day. We are but a squirrel hiding little nuts in this tiny space we are renting. This is how we roll. That is how we do.

I'll be honest, when SirRon wrote his Top 15 Places to Get a Beer in Houston, TX contribution to The Ferm I was pretty jealous. I live in Dallas, TX and there just aren't that many places that I would say are a great place to grab a beer, compared to Houston and Austin. The pretentious stereotype of Dallas holds true in so many ways and cool places to hang out and grab a great beer are very limited. The adult beverage consumption market in Dallas is largely driven by the places to "see and be seen" and the Chris Chris $30,000 millionaire kind of attitude. And while the masses try to enjoy the finest things in life by drinking the nicest wines, the most delicious filet mignons and drive the exotic vehicles, beer to Chris Chris is just yellow fizzy water to abuse at frat parties.

This list was VERY difficult for me to produce because while I am recommending that these places are great to grab a beer, some of them get pretty douchey with the right crowd, and were docked appropriately. I will be using my own subjective rating system probably very similar to SirRon's "amalgamation of many atmosphere x-factors" system. Also, geographically I have limited my area to Dallas proper and Addison, because that's how I roll. So there may be some prejudice as to specific locations because I don’t like driving…….at all.

Gordon Biersch
Address: 8060 Park Lane (Dallas) and 7401 Lone Star Drive, Suite B120 (Plano)
Neighborhood: New Park Lane Development and Shops at Legacy
How it made the list: I know, I know, it's a chain. Well guess what? Dallas has alot of chain places. My favorite thing about this place is nothing on the menu is bad, and the garlic french fries are a special treat. Oh yeah, don't forget the BBQ Chicken pizza, yum. GB's atmosphere is a little on the nicer side and not quite as casual as I like but as it turns out this can be a good thing. Asking Mrs. K-Dub if she would like to go to this brewpub for a somewhat nice dinner actually works. Oh yeah, they actually brew their own beer onsite as well, which is a plus for this beer enthusiast. The bar area is conducive to sports viewing due to an above average TV count. Also, the bar area can be converted to an inside/outside bar with large garage door windows that can be opened on nice days. The wait staff seems knowledgeable of the food and beer, but you can tell it's only because they have to learn it during training.

Black Friar Pub
Address: 2621 McKinney Avenue
Neighborhood: Uptown
How it made the list: This Uptown pub is actually not too bad when you visit during non-partying hours, say for lunch on Sunday. The beer list is acceptable and the Stilton burger they have is oh so nice. The front porch they have is pretty cool and inviting, however it is not dog friendly due to some stupid health code. What a bunch of crap. The interior is dark and a little danky, just how I like my beer bars. It is quite refreshing though that Dallas has passed the non-smoking rule, otherwise this place would smell like Sex Panther (Watch Ron Burgundy). Be warned, parking sucks and you'll probably have to park far away or valet if they are busy, I hate the valet.

Meridian Room
Address: 3611 Parry Avenue
Neighborhood: Fair Park
How it made the list: While Mrs. K-Dub and I were taking some of our engagement photos the photographer took us to this fine establishment for a break and brew. This little pub is across the street from historic Fair Park that include the Women's Museum and the Fair Park Music Hall, two really cool buildings. We had to sit outside since we had our dog Porter, but the waitress was super friendly and loved our little guy. While we didn't get to grab a bite, the beer menu was admirable and the people inside looked like they were having a great time. If this place wasn't so far away from where I live, I'd definitely hit this place up more often.

Address: 2811 McKinney Avenue
Neighborhood: Uptown
How it made the list: This sports bar is a favorite hangout of my friends who live in the area and they frequent just about every weekend. The beer selection is fair and the food is quite tasty. Since my friends are frequent customers, they have made friends with the lovely lady Ryan, she's a bit of a smart ass which is the perfect compliment to many of my friends. It's also nice to know that tips aren't going to some ditsy little girl, Ryan has a son that she's trying to support. During game time though the place turns into a great atmosphere that's hard to beat. We watched the Superbowl there this year, it was alot of fun, get to Christie's and get yo chill on.

Idle Rich Pub
Address: 2614 McKinney Avenue
Neighborhood: Uptown
How it made the list: How could an Irish pub not make the list? During non peak hours this great bar has a real laid back feel to it that is just hard to beat. During the evening hours however the douche-ery and snooty nose crowd can make their way in, beware. Idle’s excellent selection of beer and whiskey makes this a real fun place to be to watch soccer or just waste away the afternoon with good company. Again points were taken away due to the Uptown location, where you run the risk of extreme crappy parking situations and possible valet necessity during peak times.

Elbow Room
Address: 3010 Gaston Avenue
Neighborhood: Deep Ellum
How it made the list: This place just feels right, I mean how could you not like a bar that has a topless depiction of the Mona Lisa and a website that states, “Serving Dallas since a long time ago”? Voted by the Dallas Observer as “The best place to put money in a jukebox,” this little gem in the Deep Ellum neighborhood is just far enough away from the really busy areas to be able to walk right in, after an ID check of course. The beer selection was enough to interest my palate and the food menu looks like something I need to get all up in.

Vickery Park
Address: 2810 N. Henderson Avenue
Neighborhood: Knox/Henderson
How it made the list: First things first, it’s got a porch that is definitely where you want to be on a nice afternoon for drinks. Inside the environment is inviting and the people there are a lot of fun. The beer selection is way above par with enough selection to keep any beer enthusiast interested. Downsides include a pathetic parking situation and on the weekend it gets pretty crowded with more of the pretentious types.

Old Monk
Address: 2847 North Henderson Avenue
Neighborhood: Knox/Henderson
How it made the list: Down and across the street from Vickery Park this other beer bar is good place for outside day drinking. Their quaint front porch and possible alternatives for liquid consumption keep me coming back in force when I’m in the area. Next time you’re there grab a couple of friends and get a cheese board or two (or your favorite bar food) and enjoy yourself. As with other places in this area, parking is atrocious so either get there early or stuff some cash in your pocket for a valet or lot somewhere.

#7 Milo Butterfingers (No Website, here's the
Yelp Page)
5645 Yale Boulevard
Neighborhood: Upper Greenville
How it made the list: During your first visit you may say to yourself, “This place is a real dump,” and you’d be partially right. However, I like to call Milo’s…..experienced. Sure the building’s old, there’s no door on the pooper in the bathroom and part of the ceiling is falling down, that’s part of the charm and it’s totally awesome. Complete with a big screen, Big Buck Hunter (and other arcade games), plenty of dart boards and pool tables are what makes this place great. Probably because Milo’s reminds me of my favorite bar ever, Dudley’s Draw in College Station, TX circa 2000-2003. And for the Texas/Oklahoma fans out there, the regular display of various sports memorabilia is exchanged with school colors on the weekend of the game.

Lakewood's First and 10
Address: 6465 East Mockingbird Lane
Neighborhood: Lakewood, duh
How it made the list: Hidden within a strip center in this sports bar is a great place for an adult beverage of your choice. Complete with two TV’s on both sides of the bar and I believe four more on the opposite wall of the establishment, First and 10 is here for your sports watching needs. The full bar provides enough variety to satisfy most everyone’s palate challenging needs and the food is impressive for “bar food,” which happens to be my second favorite food group following “liquid bread.” Being in Dallas it offers a smoke free environment which is a plus and they have a bar staple, Big Trophy Hunter, that’s right.

The Londoner
Address: 14930 Midway Road
Neighborhood: Addison Location (There is also a Uptown Location)
How it made the list: Since we’ve got an Irish pub covered, how about an English Pub? The Londoner boasts an OK selection of draft and bottle brews as well as an impressive spread of Whiskeys and Scotches. The food is quite impressive, might I suggest the Tower of London Burger, seriously, get one. The New Delhi Sandwich is another tasty choice and of course, the Fish and Chips are sure to please. What’s even greater than the drinks and food is the atmosphere, you can watch a Football game (Like, European Football yo) with actual Football fans. Those guys get loud, because they’re proud. Be careful, at night the inside can get quite smoky.

Angry Dog
Address: 2726 Commerce Street
Neighborhood: Deep Ellum
How it made the list: Their Food. Plain and simple they’ve got great food, it’s not great for you, but it’s delicious none the less. I suggest either one of their famous burgers or the hot dog if you crave food units. Besides the awesome rockin’ food their beer selection is always a hit. And with the 9 televisions it’s hard not to stop in for dinner, drinks and sports with a group of your friends. It’s a bit cumbersome to get down to the area with the highway and light rail construction in the area but if you have the patience Angry Dog comes most highly suggested.

Address: 2718 Boll Street
Neighborhood: Uptown Location
How it made the list: I know, another chain, but G-man offers one the very best beer selections in town so of course I’m going to score it high. It also helps that their front, back and balcony porches are all super great to hang out in when the weather is acceptable. Another thing about this place that’s so awesome is that I bring my dog to the porch, and he loves hanging out there. At least that’s my assumption because his tail doesn’t stop wagging. It seems like this place always gets the latest releases of brews before anyone else does in town, so bravo to them indeed. At night and during happy hours G-man gets a little crowded and parking is ALWAYS a problem.

The Amsterdam Bar
Address: 831 Exposition Avenue
Neighborhood: Fair Park
How it made the list: A good friend of mine named Raj introduced me to this place and it has always been someplace that I enjoy visiting. Amsterdam bar has an atmosphere that’s hard to beat, it’s not pretentious, it’s not trying to be something it’s not, it’s a just a great place to chill with friends and enjoy some tasty drinks. Their beer menu is always a big hit with me and I’m always jealous that some the beer they have I can’t seem to find at a store for my house. This place is just downright cool and that’s all I have to say about that.

Flying Saucer
Address: 14999 Montfort Drive
Neighborhood: Addison
How it made the list: I’m part of the club and I have 199 different beers logged in their system, go ahead and look it up on the website, I’m up there, BOOYA! If I’m that committed to drink a lot of beer at one location how could I not put this as my number one spot for a beer? Flying Saucer is pretty dang cool, from the lacquered pennies on the tap wall to the brass bar top to the front atrium area to the Pub of Love in the back, this place just oozes beer awesomeness. The wait staff is always nice and there are plenty of tables of varying size for groups of folks. There’s enough TV’s to keep you up to date on the game and at times the large projection screen makes an appearance for a special sporting event.

While these didn't make my top 15 I too offer a list of Honorable Mentions:
The Dubliner - Cool Irish pub off of Lower Greenville.

Trinity Hall - Fun Irish pub at Mockingbird Station, great Whiskey tasting experience.

Cosmos - Fun "Retro" bar with old furniture and a great jukebox.

Billiard Bar - As the name implies, pool tables and fun in Lower Greenville.

Double Wide - This trailer themed bar boasts a wide array of canned beer and velvet posters. Comes complete with tornado.

Barley House - A fun place to hang and listen to live music such as Pepper Theft and Lizard Larceny.

Wizards - Richardson joint with lots of pool, shuffle board, darts and a great place to watch a game.

Addison Point - Stop by for the Reuban, this place reminds me of Cheers with more smoke.

I must confess that I have been leading a secret life for the last year and it is time to come clean. I have been obsessively studying your every move. I know what you search, what you read, and how long you spend doing it. I think I understand why Google calls it Analytics.

The line between obsessive-compulsive and genius is thin. But while this post won’t be in that team picture, I believe I have studied just enough to be helpful to the general Google public. Each day, several hundred million queries are made through Google. Approximately 0.000005% (plus or minus 0.000001%) of these Googlers find their way to our little space on the Interwebs (which is, in case you are accidentally found yourself here while searching for information on Google Analytics).

Mmmmm... Analytics

For example, if you were to enter a phase containing “best”, “beer”, “Houston”, and “bars” in Google, you will most likely see a link to our Top 15 Places to Get a Beer in Houston, TX post. Unless you really are into West Alabama Ice House, you will most likely find the post informative, start following TheFerm on Twitter, sign up for our RSS feed, and/or comment about my glaring omission of Anvil Bar & Refuge from the list.

But what of the rest of the directionless Googlers? Knowing how our readers find us has a huge bearing on our sales and marketing inner blogger’s ego. Google Analytics provides us with a peek inside the minds of our readers by recording what keywords people use to find us. Analytics also records the average time on site and pages per visit, giving us a pretty good indicator of customer satisfaction (e.g. a visit less than 10 seconds means you are most likely not happy with the results of your Google search... or you are a killer speed-reader).

This post represents our dedication to customer satisfaction at The Ferm. The objective: To help those who came to the site looking for a particular piece of information and left without an answer. You may have shown up here by accident, but make yourself comfortable, perhaps sit on our couch, we are here to help.

We get A LOT of kolache traffic. I wouldn’t be surprised if we got more kolache traffic than any other drinking blog on the entire Internet. With this honor, comes a great responsibility to provide relevant content for the kolache craving masses. Here are a few searches, paired with (hopefully) a satisfactory response:
  • Are real kolaches made with potatoes?
    No, a “kolache” is actually a pastry of Czech origins made with specific bread dough that has fruits and/or cheeses in the center. A klobasnek is the savory cousin to the kolache that is typically filled with meat, cheese, etc. I’m not kolache expert, though I am a kolache eating professional, at least I'm in the top 7 of professionals, even though the contest actually involved klobasneks, so maybe I’m a klobasnek expert, and I think a potato-filled “kolache” would most likely fit in the klobasnek category.
  • Does fruit kolaches have cream cheese in them
    Yes they does, or they could, as long as there is also fruit in them, because otherwise they wouldn’t be fruit kolaches.

  • Kolache Factory dough recipe + video
    I have to draw the line somewhere. You not only want the recipe but ALSO a video of how to make the dough!? Look Sheldon J. Plankton, I’ve been told to keep the recipe completely secret. However, I’d hate for you to leave unsatisfied, so direct your future questions toward Andrew Eller. I’m sure he’ll be more than happy to sign away their secrets via Internet request.

  • Ugly Kolache
    It’s hard to tell exactly what you wanted here, but it’s not very nice to call any kolache ugly. I have documented some kolaches “acting” ugly in the wild. Hopefully the photo to the right will help satisfy your fetish.

  • What kind of cheese goes in a kolache
    I’m going to suggest cottage cheese or cream cheese.

I rapped about condensation once, but apparently my post wasn’t informative enough for these folks:

  • Fun condensation lesson
    I think it is a fair assumption that this Googler was a grade school science teacher. Here is a suggestion. Just take my rap and make the following simple changes to make it more “classroom friendly”:

    - Replace “the sports bar” to “the Barnes and Noble.”
    - Replace the whole line “His beloved dirt burglars just got shocked by BYU” to the much more kid friendly “His friends are all at a table reading about the zoo.” Just a side note, you probably don’t want to use “dirt burglar” in your classroom, because not all your kids will be able to get in The University of Texas or Texas A&M, and then the University of Oklahoma is an acceptable alternative (plus, they can major in fried bologna). Also, if your kids look up "dirt burglar" in, they won't find the definition to be a funny name to call a "sooner," but something much more derogatory (seriously, what is wrong with people).
    - The next line, “But they drown it out with another round of brews” no longer makes sense in a educational setting, so go with “All that learning makes them thirsty, time for more juice!”
    - And since this edited version is set in a B&N and not a bar, “Rack 'em up, time to break, and grab a pool cue/ While they all start jamming to blink 182” won’t work. Instead go with “Spider monkeys and alpacas, lions and a moose/koalas, elephants, snakes and birds, haha mother goose.” Don’t forget to replace the remaining five “beer” and “brew” references to “juice.”

    See... easy, and your kids will learn something too. Disguising a condensation lesson in a really white rap is like putting cheese on broccoli: they’ll enjoy eating their vegetables. Grades up, drugs down. If you swim after lunch, you are bound to drizzown. School is cool, yo.
  • Dude hold my beer graph
    Only if I can post it, sir.

  • Heineken is too alcoholly
    Heineken is 5% ABV. For comparison, Bud Light is 4.2% ABV. I find Heineken approachable for the average beer drinker, but if you are looking for something even more approachable-er, try Real Ale Brewing Company’s Fireman’s #4. It is 5.1% ABV, but it doesn't taste as "alcoholly," which is actually probably that intentional skunky flavor Heineken has and not alcohol you are tasting.

  • Hoffy burger song
    The lyrics may not be online, but you can transcribe them from this YouTube video.

All the other burgers are made with mutilated monkey meat and little dirty birdie feet.

  • How to get hired by houston chronicle?
    It’s not as hard as you think. Basically you have to know someone or have a family member that is an employee.

  • You can't just call shenanigans on innocent people, that's how wars are started
    I totally agree, Officer Barbrady, no monkeyshines. Nothing to see here, move along.

  • Divine reserve 9 gross
    Divine Reserve 9 is in fact, *not* gross. (This *fact* may be why this user couldn’t find much help through Google.) Brock, you have to believe me. I have never said that DR9 was gross. DR9 is intoxicatingly delicious… It's. Not. Gross. I cannot help this person.

  • Beer hold my pee
    Seriously? Ummm... next!

  • Measurement pitcher of beer
    Too small... I’m looking at you, Hooters. (no I’m not looking at your hooters, and they aren’t small, they are like – the right size or... whatever)

  • 1560 beer
    I tried! I agree, it was a great idea.

Last one.

  • Is pig cloning still going on
    That is why we keep an Aggie on staff. From what I understand, the answer is yes. However, it turns out if you put the girl and the boy ones in the same room, they make new pigs much more reliably though.

Thank you for stopping by Googlers… until next time!

Don't forget to check out my entry for this month's Session :)

Greetings fellow beer bloggers -- It was a pleasure hosting this month’s installment of The Session. By “pleasure” I mean it is rather stressful volunteering for something that is the brainchild of two great beer writers on the month of The Session’s third anniversary. This month marks the thirty-seventh iteration of the gathering of bloggers over a single topic. The Ferm’s chosen topic du mois (I don’t know French, but I do know online translators) was “The Display Shelf: When to Drink the Good Stuff.”

First of all, we would like to thank all of you for participating in our little “question with no answer” (as one of you pointed out). While it may have been to some extent pointless or completely philosophical, it was certainly not rhetorical. I have often kicked myself (figuratively speaking, of course) for letting a drinking occasion pass without opening a particular bottle. The point of the topic was to reflect on your collection or even to encourage you to open something up and share the experience with us.

I enjoyed reading your tales of bottles saved, bottles drank, or bottles sadly passed over. Some of you made me particularly jealous of your cellared collection. Hopefully through this event, we have become friends... and you’ll have me over if I’m find my way to your town... and you’ll open up something good for me. On twitter, people call their friends tweeps. I’m surprised, since blogging has been around much longer, that there is not a complimentary term for a consortium of blogging buddies. Below is a round-up the contributions from The Ferm’s new found bleeps.

  • Mario double fisted during this session with a post on his blog Brewed for Thought and one on the Santa Rosa Craft Beer Examiner. In the former he uses the analogy of a baseball card collection and how we take pride in showing off our cellared beer. I want to thank him particularly for the mental picture of eating a signed Nolan Ryan baseball card. His solution to drinking his cellared collection is to separate them into four categories. Make sure to check out his description of “Tuesday beers,” a designation I use myself for both beers and wines. In his Examiner post, Mario discusses aging barley wines and describes his experience drinking a 2008 Lagunitas Gnarly Wine.
  • Our "brilliant topic" (his words, not mine) inspired The Beer Nut to open his treasured bottle of Fraoch 20th Anniversary Ale. For his post he “decided this [Session was] the perfect opportunity to throw hoarding to the wind and just drink the fecker.” You can read his intoxicating description in his post, "Geddit down yeh!” In the post, The Beer Nut also had a brilliant idea of his own by proposing the blogosphere designate “one day a year as Stash day: an occasion which acts as its own excuse to pour something special from your collection and tell everyone about it.”
  • Peter from BetterBeerBlog describes a moment of display shelf envy in his offering. Showing off your collection is no doubt an underlying motive for us excessive hoarders. Despite being a self described “babe in the craft beer world” with only three years of experience, he boasts of his collection spanning an overfilled converted chest freezer, a kegerator, a dedicated shelf in his primary refrigerator, and several boxes stashed in his office, closet, and garage. He may need my twelve step program... or me to come over and help. For you old school Jim Henson fans, Peter also had a Dark Crystal reference in his post... nice! (just thought that was worth mentioning)
  • The brothers of the blog Lug Wrench Brewing Company point out excessive cellarers may be more afraid to lose their prize then to actually enjoy it. Their advice: “Celebrate the event, not the bottle.” The brothers Wallace make a terrific analogy to Paul Giamatti’s character in the movie Sideways. A bottle of 1961 Chateau Cheval Blanc valued over a grand played a significant part in the movie and Paul’s character eventually opened it in the end. But since there is a significant difference between Hollywood and real life, I’d like to someone open up his most cherished bottle, pour it in a disposable cup, and drink it over some Taco Bell. Just saying.
  • Ray of The Barley Blog is using this month’s topic as motivation to reorganize his cellared beers for easier management. If anyone has suggestions, head over to his Session #37 blog post and leave a comment. My advice is to isolate your very best bottles, 1.) so that they are separate from the ones you may drink on an average occasion and 2.) so you know exactly where to grab one from when the right occasion to share a great beer comes around.
  • Nemisis from suggests a very important reason to make sure you are stashing some beer away. After an accident that left him laid up for nearly six weeks, he slowly started drinking his stash. “My advice is to always keep your stash somewhere you can get to in an emergency. Think I might move mine to under my bed or my favourite chair or someplace like that.” Amusing perspective.
  • Fabulous seems to have keen awareness of his ego, and he acknowledges the “epic battle” in his post on Make Mine Potato. His post gives us a mouth watering look at some of the beers he has opened and photographed for blogging purposes. All I can say is that Fabulous has been drinking well.
  • Reasons for storing beers to drink at a later date may be similar among our group, but Steve points out that many of the beers we save do not age well in his post on All Good Beer. He admits to setting a goal to start “savouring instead of saving,” but given that he has over 300 bottles (not counting homebrews or bottles purchased for immediate consumption), he admits that some goals are easier said than done. My only suggestion is that you *do* pop open that rare bottle while watching Big Bang Theory and discuss with your dog how the characteristics of a beer have changed and mellowed over time... then blog about it! :)
  • Anda writes that every day as a day worthy of enjoying the your best beers. Of course, I noticed Anda is a lawyer, and if there is one thing I know about lawyers, it is that they are never lacking in opportunities for drinking occasions. The Ferm’s own Mr. Smokeypants is Exhibit A in this case. In her Legal Libations post, Anda exclaims “right now” is the best time to open the good stuff. “I never regret it.” Cheers to that!
  • Apparently this month's Session topic awoke the inner blogger in Dan from Beerovision. He openly admits that he has a bad case of "New Dad Syndrome." I feel you partner. My little ones have unapologetically “interrupted” me about 87 times during this post (and counting). However, Dan shows he’s well on the way to being a great dad by advocating sharing as the best way to drink your best bottles. “22oz of a great beer consumed by yourself is not the same as 5oz shared among four friends.” This is very similar to my theory that 22 diapers changed by yourself is not the same as 11 shared between parents.
  • Derrick doesn’t have much of a cellar collection, but his Bay Area Beer Runner blog post describes an occasion where he broke out a bottle of Malheur Dark Brut, a beer brewed using the methode de champenoise, when friends were over for dinner. My cousin and resident The Ferm blogger K-Dub homebrewed a champagne beer a few years back using the techniques described by the Maltose Falcons homebrew club. The beer was served at K-Dub’s wedding in lieu of the crappy champagne usually poured at weddings. Based on Derrick’s announcement on his blog in his Session post, maybe he’ll find this link useful: Congrats!
  • Al of Hop Talk is another craft beer enthusiast that doesn't dabble much in cellaring. In his somewhat self-therapeutic post he reminds himself to be organized (but not to the point of "those annoying oenophiliacs") and to get together with friends more often. I also couldn’t help but notice that my blogging handle got "quotes" treatment. SirRon is in fact my name, as long as anagrammatic pseudonyms still count as your name. But enough about me :) , make sure to check out Al's Beer-a-Day project in from 2009.
  • While some on us focused on tasting sessions passed or past, Sean has well laid plans of his tasting future. He is a West Coaster and is proposing an Anchor Steam Our Special Ale vertical as well as a session planned for a selection of IPAs. Head over to Beer Search Party to apply for his crew of tasters. If you are looking for drinking inspiration, check out the right column of his page where you can see what is in his fridge, big brother style.
Since I’m posting this round-up in stages, I’d like to slip in a reason to drink some good stuff. Yesterday I found out someone stole my debit card number, passed it to someone in Kentucky, who took it to Walmart and bought enough gift cards to clean out my bank account (Nice one Walmart. No ID? No Card? Nooooooooo problem!). Frustrated and depressed, I worked late enough last night to where I was the last one in the parking lot at the office. I got to the car to find I had what looked like a mini railroad spike in my tire. Do to some ridiculous wind and some user error I dropped the car off the jack before finally getting the spare on. When I made it to my parent’s house, who had graciously picked up and taken care of my kids that night, my mom had dinner ready and my dad had some great wines open. If it weren’t for moments like this, life would be unbearably boring... or something like that. Needless to say, last night was a good day to bring out something good from the fridge.
  • You would think that someone with a website named “A Beer in Hand is Worth Two in the Fridge” would not have problems pulling out his best beers for consumption... and you would be correct in that assumption. Jay writes: “Saving beer... is not something that I am able to do easily.” He goes on to describe some occasions where he has or plans to open up special beers. He and his brother opened a bottle of 2005 Sam Adams Utopias when to celebrate the birth of his brother’s first child. He also plans on opening a Westvleteren 12 on his wedding day. Jay’s sees the beers as timeless reminders of the specific events in which they were opened.
  • Jim’s philosophy for cellaring and simple and straightforward: “I think that there is a reason that you age quality beer in a cool dark place. It's the out of sight, out of mind principal. The temptation is not so strong.” In his post on Two Parts Rye, he advocates sharing with friends, as long as they aren’t Milwaukee’s Best drinkers (D- on, in case you were wondering). “You don’t feed your dog filet mignon.”
  • Gail from Beers by BART, which for those who may be interested is a San Francisco area beer travel logistics site, used her The Session #37 post as an excuse to open a 2007 Dogfish Head Raison D’Extra... for no good reason but to break free and celebrate everyday life. Note that she and her blogging partner passed up her sour beers (“too special... sheesh”) or any high gravity beers (“gotta work tomorrow”), but what follows is an intoxicating dialogue of two people sharing an 11oz bottle of the 18% ABV Belgian dark ale.
  • Josh decides to take us on a tour of his stash in his Session #37 post on his blog Hump’s. His tour, complete with pictures, is a fun read that includes location, temperatures, and types (including his homebrews). Josh admits to being “an acquisitive sort,” which results in “the display shelf [getting] more and more trophies.” But that is what friends are for...
  • Brian of Red, White, and Brew takes issue with my (and I suppose others’) terminology. “I'm still not entirely comfortable with how the beer community has joined winos in turning cellar into a verb.” He prefers to kick it old school and use the word “lager,” which in German doesn’t imply bottom-fermentation but cold storage. As for his lagering problem, he suggests it proves he doesn’t “have a drinking problem (just a collecting problem).” Brian boasts of ~300 bottles in his collection, which he refers to as Beeradise or the Malt Vault. Whatever you call it Brian, your pictures made me thirsty.
  • Yours for Good Fermentables hosted last month’s Session #36 about cask conditioned ale. Real ales are best fresh, so Tom found it an amusing coincidence that this month’s topic was beers stored to be drank later (something Alanis Morissette may find “ironic”). Although he describes his collection as “minuscule... by some standards,” Tom briefly discusses his memories drinking a 1999 Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine and a 1991 Eldridge Pope Thomas Hardy Ale in his Session #37 post. I’m impressed at the patience it must have required to keep those beers that long.
  • Michael got his proverbial feet wet with The Session during this month’s topic. On his blog, A Perfect Pint, he claims he never has a problem identifying the “beers you don’t drink” and saving them for the proper occasion. Michael’s notes his problem is his “sizable collection of beers in [his] cellar that [he] never really meant to save,” like his 2007 Left Hand Goosinator Smoked Doppelbock “with the quarter inch of sediment on the bottom.” He admits beer buying moratoriums don’t help, so like me, he imports more than he exports. Just remember, as Michael points out, “a beer not consumed is a beer wasted.”
  • One way Alan keeps his stash in check is by “preemptively … living in Canada where no one really can get the good beer into the stash either by sales or samples.” In his post on A Good Beer Blog, Alan presumably takes us in the cellar to drink a few bottles from his stash. For the post, he shares his thoughts on a 2006 Hair of the Dog Brewing Company Doggie Claws and a five year old George Gale & Company Conquest Ale. Even though his stash has grown from 40 to 200 bottles over the past half decade, Alan has a good attitude about opening some of his good stuff up and sharing it (even if it is just a virtual sharing).
  • If you have suffered through twenty-something of my recaps and are still with me, you are in for a treat. Jon from The Brew Site has the answer to when to the question of when to drink the good stuff. You’ll find the answer two-thirds of the way through his post, but I’m going to spoil it for you here: “It’s entirely up to you. What? Too anticlimactic?” Nah, because you opened a bottle of 2007 Deschutes Brewery The Abyss to celebrate the 3rd anniversary of The Session (the first topic was Stouts) and this month’s topic of opening up something good. Apparently “now” was a good time to drink the good stuff (although more power to you, because “while writing” isn’t one of my preferred times to enjoy something good... or it just means that you may not enjoy the resulting post).
  • Daniel took our topic to heart. He opened a would-be cellared beer that he purchased earlier in the day...... for no special reason at all. His description of the occasion: “It's far from a perfect drinking environment; my girlfriend is watching a DVR-ed episode of The Mentalist on the TV while I listen to music on headphones. I've just had dinner, which could impact my palate, although I had some water to clean the tongue, and I'm basically just sitting in the corner of my basement by myself. But my guess is that opening a great bottle will be worth it, even if this is likely my only chance to try the beer.” I’m impressed. What follows are his tasting notes on a 2009 Founders Nemesis. Check it out on his blog, Endosymbiosis. “A day you open something great is a special occasion in itself.”
  • The aforementioned The Ferm blogger K-Dub is a guy that has as many refrigerators dedicated to deer meat as he does craft beers, but that isn’t to say he doesn’t have a great selection of craft beers (some of which go great with venison cheese salami). K-Dub didn’t post on this month’s topic, but he did leave a comment. “This is something that I've been struggling with myself. I have three refrigerators FULL of brews that I've been saving. Vertical years of Dogfish 120, Real Ale Sisyphus, North Coast Old Ale, Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, homebrews and even some Belgian ales that I've collected since 2004. I should take the stance that every day is a celebration and start to breakdown my ridiculous collection of awesome rockin' brewskis.” Rock on cuz!
  • Last but certainly not least, the co-moderator and the blog that hosts the links to all Session topics past and future, Jay Brooks at Brookston Beer Bulletin discusses his philosophy of storing beers. He employs a “network of four refrigerators,” one of which is used for everyday beers (“ones my wife is allowed to drink”). For the rest of the stash, Jay mentions he has flirted with the idea of an intimate tasting club, but that he’s never got it going. To end his post, Jay tells a great story of two bottles he was given by a distributor from Whitbread Brewery. I don’t want to spoil the story, but the beers were allegedly part of a batch made with 50+ year old yeast harvested from bottles recovered from a WWII shipwreck. I have no suggestion as to when the right time to open those bottles.

And that's a wrap! Just one last comment... I'm surprised at how many of you moderate the comments on your blog. That may suppress conversation about beer or the topic you are presenting, but to each his own I suppose.

Sincerely speaking, it has been a pleasure to host The Session this month. For everyone here at The Ferm, we would like to thank your contributions. Cheers!

From here we pass the torch to Sean Inman at Beer Search Party. The topic is “Cult Beers,” which I assume won’t be about Kool-Aid or beers brewed by monks.

Image via NYT article "Beer Lovers Make Room for Brews Worth a Wait"
Photo by Jamie Schwaberow

As some of you are aware, I have been a bit under the weather. The multitudes of infectious agents that have invaded my body have kept me from being able to enjoy my most treasured bottles of beer and to share those experiences with my terrific readers.

OK OK, I’m sorry. I… uh, kind of only had a cold. I feel horrible for blaming the germs. To be honest, I just never know when the best time is to break out all the bottles that I have earmarked for storage. *sigh* *deep breath*

I deserve good things. I am entitled to my share of happiness. I refuse to beat myself up. I am attractive person. I am fun to be with. I'm going to do a terrific blog post today! And I'm gonna help people! Because I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and, doggonit, people like me!

Welcome readers old and new. I have been watching you recently. Not like “stalker” watching, but observing. I use Google Analytics. I see the way you enter. I sometimes wonder how you can read a whole blog post in less than thirty seconds, but that is O-K. Maybe you all just read faster than me.

Today I want to talk to a subsection of my fellow beer connoisseurs. Not so much those of you that enjoy a fine malted beverage every now and again. Not so much those of you that actively seek craft beers previously untried. I am speaking to those of you, just like me, who have more than one refrigerator dedicated to beverages.

You are not alone, but is time to break free. We have a common problem, and today we will work through this hoarding malady together. Friends, quite simply we import more than we export. When on a vacation, visiting a brewery, or lining up outside of a store pending the release of some exclusive beer, we take home these treasured bottles with the best of intentions.

“On such-and-such occasion when so-and-so is over, I am totally opening this bottle. We will be talking about that day for years!”Or
“When I have the perfect food to pair with this bottle, I will open it and we’ll do a tasting session.”Or
“I am going to open that bottle of such-and-such this weekend when I have time to take notes for my new blog post”But as you sit there contemplating the feasibility of adding a third beer refrigerator somewhere in your house, realize you are pulling the wool over your own eyes!

Stop and repeat after me: Trace it, face it, and erase it!

Our problem is potiomania*: the collecting or hoarding of drinks. To triumph over our dysfunction, we must break our behavior down in steps and conquer the problem. The only amount of steps I have ever found useful are twelve. Friends, follow these steps together with me and we shall prosper!

* I Googled potiomania and it looks like I made up that word… it’s mine now!

Step 1: Admit that you are powerless over your cellaring habit and that your beer storage has become unmanageable.

It is perfectly understandable to have a refrigerator dedicated to beverages. To be honest, you are probably only “at risk” for a cellaring addiction if you have two refrigerators. However, if you find yourself living around your collections or apologizing to friends and family about why there is no longer a bed in the guest bedroom, it probably time to admit that you are trying to solve problems with solutions that are not working. That frightened feeling you just got inside when I suggested you may be a potiomaniac means you are ready for Step 1. This step is just a change in attitude, but this very self acknowledgment will lead you to Step 2.

Step 2: Believe that a power greater than your refrigerators can restore you to sanity.

Friends, I know what you are thinking: “The answer is just more refrigerators” -- “this post is too verbose, I mean seriously are there really 10 more steps?” -- “how did they let you host this session?” I understand your frustration. It happens to a lot of Step 2’ers.

More storage is the safe solution, but the purpose of this step is for you to seek new solutions. The power is not in the storage. The power is in the bottles. Open a special bottle and take another step with me.

Step 3: Make a decision to turn your will and your cellared collection over to the care of your five senses.

The more bottles you store, the less it feels wrong to buy and store more. But when the beer is inside the bottle, you cannot admire its color, hear the bubbles as the scurry to surface, sniff the enchanting aroma, enjoy the sensation of the beer in your mouth as the carbonation makes it jump on your tongue, or taste the brewer’s arrangement of malty base and hoppy balance (or imbalance).

Taste is the definitely the front-runner in Step 3 of the program, because it is the most intimate of all your senses. Feeling the beer dance in your mouth is great and all, but the beer must become part of you for it to be tasted. Taste is what stimulates your appetite and cravings, thus they are essential to your passion for beer AND your health!

As an added bonus, drinking your beer will enable you to let go of your domestic or work related problems. That neighbor who came into your back yard uninvited because she thought your faucet was leaking? Who cares! As you finish entertaining your senses, you will probably feel more satisfied with your life and will be much more likely to commit to other changes that people ask of you. Little by little, you will become more proud of the person you are and where you are in your life.

**Please note: Staying too long in Step 3 will end up having a negative effect on your life, similar to (but not exactly like) what happened to Smeagol in Lord of the Rings.

Step 4: Take an honest look at the effects of your cellaring habits on others and on yourself.

Against my counsel, if you have spent too much time in Step 3, or if you are bitter about moving to Step 4, now is not the time to jump back on the wagon and get defensive of your lifestyle. Take a leap of faith… plus, there are still eight more steps.

This step asks you to consider what you are doing to your friends by excessively cellaring beers. Drinking should be a social activity for you; otherwise you are in the wrong twelve step class. We beer enthusiasts are passionate about beer, and by sharing you will have the opportunity to introduce your friends or family to unique new beer styles and flavors. Converting them into beer enthusiasts will also open up opportunities for your friends to share their rare beer collection with you. The whole process is as feel good as the movie Pay It Forward, but only if that movie had been titled Pay It Back. I think you know what I'm getting at here.

Step 5: Admit to yourself (and the Internet if you have a blog) the exact nature of your wrongs.

You made an important step when you admitted that you have a problem, but now it is also time for the big R: “Responsibility.” If you are like me, you find it difficult to admit your problems. I suggest going to your beer fridge and opening up something really good. If doing this is still hard for you, have a friend or significant other go grab “whatever they want.” No more excuses! Just do it.

In Step 3, you introduced your senses to a beer that you have been keeping. In Step 5, you are once again unleashing the power inside the bottle. As it becomes one with you again, focus on ways to get everything you always wanted in life. It is time for a better you. Make sure to jot these things down, because you may not remember them after this session.

Blog, tweet, and/or update your Facebook status to publicize the new you. The nice thing about the Internet age is you can do everything in life with minimal face-to-face human interaction. Acknowledging your problems this way is not cheating however, because you drank something from your cellar as part of this step. Well done!

Step 6: Be ready to have the blog commenters point out all your defects, including ones you are pretty sure that you do not have.

In life, people complain more than they compliment. On the Internet, things aren’t that different. Once you’ve laid your road to a better you out there for people to see in Step 5, don’t let your natural knee-jerk reaction to a hateful comment be to scrap this program that you have only half finished (or half started, if you are the pessimistic type).

Most importantly, don’t let haters be your excuse for spiraling back into your potiomania. The importance of Step 6 is for you to realize you don’t need to be ashamed or defensive of your beer cellaring habits. The comments you receive, even the clever ones that appear to be innocuous, will make you realize how important your problem is and why it is so important to break free. You need pitch black to understand the light, you need chocolate to understand vanilla, and you need Three Floyds Oak Aged Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout to understand Russian River Pliny the Elder. Just saying.

Step 7: Humbly ask St. Augustine of Hippo, patron saint of brewers, to lower your inhibitions.

Despite your best intentions, you may still be finding it difficult to open up your good stuff. The motivation to cellar is conflicting. On the one hand you are collecting great beers to drink. On the other, you are never actually drinking that beer. Sheer will may not help, and the devices you used in previous steps (e.g. let the wife pick whatever she wants) have not yet produced permanent change.

St. Augustine once dealt with an addiction of his own. His particular vice was that of “loose living,” but he turned it around and became a Saint y'all! The changes he made to his lifestyle and a quick little post-mortem miracle earned him the “patron saint of brewers” title.

The Beer Gods help those who help themselves. Open something up to honor St. Augustine of Hippo.

Step 8: Make a list of all the beers you are saving and record the day they were cellared.

It is time to shift focus slightly. The less you know about the contents of your cellar, the easier it is for you to hide behind ignorance when it comes to drinking some of your best bottles. This step will help you begin the road to breaking free.

Start with an inventory list. Make sure to estimate a maturity date as well as comment on your expectations for the beer once it hits maturity.

Seeing a list of your beer treasures will help remind you of why you tucked the beer away in the first place.

Step 9: Make specific estimates of when your cellared beer is to be consumed (carefully noting which beers would offend friends if you drank the beer without them).

The difference between Step 8 and Step 9 is the latter specifies when you will actually drink the beer. The drinking experience is best done socially, but you must be careful not to offend your drinking buddies by not sharing your cellared beer with them. Work hard to limit the amount of beers that have several stipulations before they can be opened. These stipulations are the root of the habit you are working to break. However, as you share more and more of your best bottles, you will in fact feel closer to your cellared collection and be well on your way to conversion.

Step 10: Continue to update your inventory of cellared beer and when the refrigerators become over filled again, promptly admit it and open up a good bottle (or two).

The key to thriving as a recovering potiomaniac is staying conscious of your cellaring. Step 10 is not about preventing you from your mistakes, but about noticing when you go off course and getting you back on the right track. If you find yourself teetering on the edge of needing three beer fridges again, go back and read Steps 1-9. Nothing in life comes easy… except failure. And let’s be honest about the definition of failure here. When you are at your absolute worst and have hit rock bottom, you just have a whole lot of great beer.

Step 11: Stay in tune with the teachings of Saint Arnold of Metz, having them lead you to what you really want.

Saint Arnold of Metz, concerned about the dangers of drinking impure water, preached "don't drink the water, drink beer.” According to legend, Saint Arnold blessed a brew kettle by dipping in his crucifix and ended a plague by encouraging people to drink from that kettle. (Miracle: check.)

Step 11 is asking you to disregard logic and do what feels right. Beer is made from the fermentation of grains, hops, and a lot of water. It’s like eating bread and vegetables while washing them down with a big glass of water. Don’t question this. Just drink up. (Beer: It’s what’s for dinner.)

Saint Arnold of Metz was reported to have said: “From man's sweat and God's love, beer came into the world.”


Step 12: After getting your cellaring habits under control, you will try to carry this message to other beer cellaring addicts, and to practice these principles in all your personal and online affairs.

It is time to help others break free of potiomania. You are not powerless anymore.

The purpose of the twelve steps is a motivate you to stay on course. Remember that if you stop drinking your stash, you will begin to feel powerless again. You need not keep a fixed amount of beers in your cellar, just remember the power is in the bottles.

Hopefully this post has helped you acquire better cellaring habits. It is important to stay altruistic, not only with your best beers but with your advice to others that have fallen victim to potiomania.

Friends, you know what? I think this may be the BEST blog post I've ever done! And you know what else? I deserve it! I’m going to go pull something good out of the beer fridge. Cheers!

Information on "The Session" from Brookston Beer Bulletin: The Session, a.k.a. Beer Blogging Friday, is an opportunity once a month for beer bloggers from around the world to get together and write from their own unique perspective on a single topic. Each month, a different beer blogger hosts the Session, chooses a topic and creates a round-up listing all of the participants, along with a short pithy critique of each entry.