Monday, December 1, 2014

Beer Review: Alaskan Pumpkin Porter

So much beer, so little time. And guns. And all this freedom, that the world is learning and unlearning at the same time. It's pretty much the opposite of writers block for me; to have so many topics and interests that I don't want to exclude any particular one so in the end I exclude them all.

But after I received a package from a dear friend in Alaska, I could no longer put off reviewing at least some of the items I received. There was another beer included that I'll be reviewing soon, but for tonight we'll stay focused on the Alaskan Pumpkin Porter, which may no longer be available as it's a seasonally run beer.

Before I taste I should confess that I'm getting over a seasonal affliction of some sort, so anyone who reads this should be aware that I MAY not be able to fully articulate the flavor profile. But who knows, maybe I will.

Appearance: Black. Even for a porter it's particularly dark, with only a faint orangish hue around the edges of the glass. Head is small thought firm, about 1 finger in height, and a pleasing off-white color. I know for myself it's typical to expect pumpkin flavored things to be orange in color but that's not the case here, nor should it be. Head retention is low, save for a nice foamy ring around the edge of the glass.

Nose: Immediately after pouring the smell of brown sugar and pumpkin spice filled my nostrils, almost like a scented candle. Upon closer inspection there is a distinct presence of hops, though they seem to be the more citrus based ones. The blend of pumpkin and hops is a pleasant one on the nose and even before I taste I can tell this is one of the beers best qualities. Malt presence seems subdued and the lack of roast here is somewhat, though not completely, unusual for a porter. Alcohol is not present here in the nose.

Probably should have taken this BEFORE drinking some.
Taste: Semi-sweet notes with just a hint of nutmeg in the after taste. Despite lacking in the nose the malt flavors are upfront and certainly noticeable in this beer, balancing out the hops nicely. As I drink on the hops come forward more, though not so much as to overpower the other flavors. Unlike some pumpkins beers I've had in the past, the brewers up in Alaska get it right and make the flavor simply an addition to a good beer, rather than trying to overpower ones taste buds with pumpkin spice. Again, alcohol isn't noticeable, and at 7.0% that's slightly surprising

Mouth Feel: A standard porter body, moderate in the mouth but heavy in the stomach. The carbonation is minor but just enough to make the flavors come alive long after the beer itself is swallowed. As I dive deeper into my glass the alcohol does become more noticeable here, though it's not to the point of being intolerable. Absolutely one of the smoothest beers I've tried yet and though my sips are measured, they are all equally enthralling.

Drinkability: Low to medium. For most people (I know of at least one exception) porters in general are not highly drinkable beers. Their rich flavor, heavy bodies, and smoky or roasted nature is often too much for many people to drink a lot of and enjoy. Combined with the rather high 7.0% ABV and this is relegated to at most a 6 pack in one session, and more likely stopping at 3 beers.

Overall a fantastic gift and one that makes me eager to try more Alaskan beer. Additionally my friend sent me some smoked salmon jerky, which pairs very well with this beer for a lovely desert or evening snack. I'd highly recommend this beer not only for those who enjoy pumpkin flavorings but to those who are looking to start drinking darker beers, as this is a great starter and very balanced in every aspect.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Beer Review: Yuengling Porter

I've had this on the docket for almost a year now. But between work and laziness I haven't gotten around to writing...well anything. But it's time to change that (as if I haven't said that more than a few times). For those on the West Coast or outside America entirely, the Yuengling Brewery is a bit different than most of the others that I've talked about before. For starters they're the oldest brewery in operation here in America. For another, they are, by and large, a macro brewer with fairly limited offerings and a large market that spans much of the country. But what they do offer is often a cut above anything offered by other macro breweries, and indicative of the old world quality that I'm so fond of.

Appearance: Very dark though some light does pass through it, leaving a faint oily hue of brown and deep red. Head is off white with nice, small tightly packed bubbles that sadly dissipate quickly, leaving only a few traces of lacing and a nice ring around the glass itself.

Courtesy of
Nose: For a porter the hops are rather prevalent in the nose, along with the typical smells of roasted malt and toffee. Not noticeable alcohol here, as is typical for porters.

Taste: Some mild citrus hoppiness that is accompanied by a light sweetness from the roasted malt. A hint of toffee, as indicated by the nose and just a touch of brewers chocolate. The flavors all balance each other well and while the malt sweetness is dominate, it's not overpowering leaving a subtle blend on the tongue and roof of the mouth. Alcohol isn't found here either.

Mouth Feel: Moderate body with low carbonation. The bitterness of the hops is mild and washes away quickly, though the malt flavor tends to linger along with a smooth, almost milky, feeling along the roof of the mouth. It's almost as if someone made chocolate milk with heavy whipping cream. No noticeable alcohol here either.

Drinkablity: For a porter it's pretty high. I could easily see myself going through a 12 pack or more in a long evening, though the beer is just as suitable for a glass or two if one isn't into heavy drinking. The low alcohol, mild subtleness of flavor, and smooth mouth feel all make for a wonderful drinking experience.

Overall a fine beer for nearly any occasion and one I would highly recommend as a starter for those who want to try dark beer. If only I didn't have to drive to another state to get it.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Beer Review: Dogfish Head Noble Rot

Bought this a couple months ago and just now getting around to trying it out. Yet another of the Dogfish Head 750ml bottles, I'm not going to lie I bought this just to fill out my collection of bottles. But DFH has some outstanding beers and so I'm hoping this continues in that tradition. Supposedly this is brewed similarly to a Saison type Belgian ale with grapes and grape must added into the brewing process. So let's get started.

Appearance: Bright golden yellow and very transparent. Head is about 1/2 inch high with nice densely packed white foam. Carbonation is very high and head retention is high. Appears almost like a golden champagne or soda instead of a beer and is very pleasing to the eye.

Nose: Grape is noticeable, along with citric hops. No alcohol to note in the nose, which at 9% is somewhat impressive. No noticeable malts or other aromas though.

Taste: Similar to a white wine, the grapes are at the forefront of the taste, though they're not overpowering. No malt flavor but the hops are very mild and not overtly bitter so the malt profile does balance it out very well. Slight taste of alcohol at the front but quickly dissipates.

Mouth Feel: Rather light bodied. Somewhat drier than other beers I've had recently but certainly not terrible. The carbonation doesn't stand out here however, and the beer leave a small but lasting impression after each sip, coating the tongue and and throat as it goes down. Again, feels more like a white wine than a beer.

Drinkability: Low. The 750 bottle would be best split between myself and someone else, or corked and saved again for later. The 14oz I poured is about all I can handle in a single sitting. The combination of the alcohol and wine like taste is too much for high volume drinking. But if you like white wines (I do not), you may be able to polish off the bottle yourself.

Overall this isn't a bad beer, but I'm not personally a fan. DFH is always trying to create new brews and experiences, so I won't fault them if I don't enjoy as much as some of their other offerings. This beer would pair well with any Italian or seafood dish, or maybe as a night cap to a mild fall evening. Just be sure to keep an eye on your drinking, as the fact that the beer is 9% ABV isn't readily discernible from the taste.

If you have any suggestions for my next tasting, be sure to email me at and let me know.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Beer Review: Shorts Soft Parade

Ah, it's good to be back. I honestly miss tasting beers. But with my current schedule, I've had precious little time to do so.

Anyways, Soft Parade has been on my docket for quite some time now. I first got a taste of this unique brew back in 2012 at a beer tasting (that I never wrote about). I fell in love with it at the time and couldn't wait to do a more in depth and detailed review. Today I can finally cross it off the list.

Shorts is a Michigan brewing company of whom I have little knowledge or experience with, but they have a good number of offerings that I've been meaning to try, and if Short Parade is any indication they may be one of the best brewers in the nation.  Poured into my 16oz Goose Island Pilsner glass.

Appearance: Brownish red with a slight cloudiness. Head is non-existent, save for some very light lacing around the edges. No hints of yeast or unfiltered particles either. Gives the appearance more of a sparkling wine than a beer.

Nose: Immediately hit by the aroma of cherries and raspberries, along with other light fruity touches. Hop character is minimal and citrus in nature, so as to balance out the fruits and malt. No noticeable alcohol here.

Taste: Mild tartness of blue berries mixed with mild citrus like hops and strawberry notes. Malt isn't overpowering, but does lightly dull the fruity nature of the beer. Only a light hint of sweetness remains for a moment after swallowing. Despite the brewery noting the use of rye, I've been unable to detect any. No noticeable alcohol here either.

Mouth Feel: Light bodied and somewhat bubbly. Again, somewhat akin to a wine, though nowhere near as dry. The carbonation is just enough to open the taste buds to the unique flavors of brew. Goes down smoothly without any hint of an alcoholic burn and finishes nicely.

Drinkability: High. Disturbingly high in fact, considering it's 7.5% ABV, yet the alcohol is completely undetectable. Combine with the very low IBUs (15) and the unique and very appealing taste, and I could see getting drunk off this in short order. A perfect drink with brunch or on a nice summers day, and should pair well with most foods, though I might avoid dark meats with it, or heavier dessert items.

Overall this is a fantastic offering from a great Michigan brewer, and I would highly recommend it to anyone, but especially people new to beer or the craft beer scene as its high drinkability and amazing flavors are conducive to a enjoyable time for all. It is certainly a must try for any beer drinker though.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


So in case anyone has been wondering just where I've gone, I feel I should give a status update to assure everyone that I haven't been taken off or died or given up interest. Because I haven't. GunsBeerFreedom isn't dead yet.

There are some changes in the works however. The biggest change on the horizon is GunsBeerFreedom; The Podcast. That's right, shortly after this you loyal readers will become (if you so choose) loyal listeners, as my honeyed words shine forth across the internet like a shining beacon of truth and enlightenment. I don't have much (read; ANY) experience with broadcast media or podcasting, so this will certainly be a learning experience, but I'm confident it'll be a fun one. For those wondering just what the hell I'm going to be talking about, the current plan is for the show to be like an internet bar of sorts. Lighthearted conversations over the course of several beers between myself and guests. Beyond that...well the show will be organic so the production and goals might as well be organic as well.

But the podcast isn't the only thing coming up. There are several beer reviews on the docket, as well as brewery reviews (did a few tours during my absence from the site). And of COURSE I've got plenty to say about guns and our freedom as Americans (for the non-Americans who read this site, you may gain a window into our madness. Or you might not care. Whichever). Rest assured though good people, that GBF is not done. Not by a long shot.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Confusing Stability and Security

Welcome back. Been quite a while hasn't it? No need to worry, the NSA hasn't taken me down yet loyal readers.

Speaking of the NSA, that's something I wanted to talk about. It should come as no surprise to you all that I'm rather supportive of Edward Snowden and his efforts for a more transparent (and therefore hopefully much less powerful) government. After all, this is guns,beer, and FREEDOM. But instead of looking at the NSA or the government surveillance programs themselves, I think it's more important to look deeper. To look at our nature as human beings. I think this would give a far greater insight into why, especially as of late, we are having all these conflicts of interests between freedom and so called 'security'.

Now I say so called 'security' instead of regular security (thought there is a great overlap here) because in these instances the primary goal isn't actually being safe, but FEELING safe. That's one reason why the TSA spends so much time dealing with airports, but sea ports receive almost no attention. Not many people deal with commerce shipping, so they don't notice the gaping holes in our security there. But people fly thousands of miles every day, and so very overt changes are made.

So we can gather that REAL security isn't the issue. So what is then? The concept of STABILITY. The FEELING of being more secure makes you more likely to go about your daily business. And we know this is true. Humans are creatures of habit aren't we? We love to fall into patterns of predictability and normalcy. We want, generally speaking, to tend towards order. But the problem is is that freedom isn't orderly. It is inherently chaotic and destabilizing.

While I was between writing this, I saw a George Carlin about this very subject. And in it he points out exactly what I'm stating now; that most of these 'security measures' are designed to make people FEEL safe. And I can understand why. People are creatures of habit, and we form these habits because we feel secure in doing so. I mean, if we actively thought that there was a chance we'd die in some way going to get milk and cheese, we'd be a lot more reluctant to do so. It's self preservation. But it's all an illusion. We face death no matter where we are, or what we do. We can NEVER eliminate the risk.

Now if we really think about it, we know this. So we try to mitigate risk. But at a societal level this is much much harder, because it involves an incalculable number of variables because it deals with people. And people are, sadly, often irrational and unpredictable. So ultimately risk mitigation becomes a very personal factor. It's not something that can be done well at a national level.

So where am I going with this? Well the point I'm trying to get to is that because we cannot eliminate risk and because it's so difficult to mitigate at a national/societal level, we should therefore push on the side of freedom. Yes, it comes with more risk and potential for instability, but it allows people to better face their own personal risks in a way that suits them best. It allows them to succeed (or fail) as individuals, rather than as mass segments. ESPECIALLY when we see that the 'threats' we're all told to be so afraid of are unlikely at best. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Gun Review: SAR B6P

Man, despite the fact that I've written very few gun reviews, they're the biggest draws to my sight. So since I've been writing for a year now, I figured it'd be fair to do another.

The Cz-75 is a very popular pistol, both in its original form and in its many copies. While I'd like to review an actual Cz at some point, I don't have one. I do however, have a new copy from Turkey, Imported by EAA but made by Sarsilmaz, these are very nice, low cost, pistols. Initially I wasn't too interested in a 9mm when I went shopping, but for $280 I couldn't turn it down. So let's start the review.

Great tastes go together
The first thing I noticed when picking up the pistol is the weight distribution. It's a polymer frame, so the weight is heavy. The slide doesn't have much in the way of weight saving, which helps with recoil. On the flip side, the slide is a low profile one, and that can make it a bit hard for my hands to get a grip. Not a major issue, but it does deduct a few points in my mind.

The sights are nice and clear, with white dots to aid low light shooting. The sights aren't particularly high or sharp so I wouldn't worry about them snagging on clothes in a CC situation (though the size kinda precludes it from this).

It's a pretty standard, non-ambi control layout. The magazine release is easily reached without having to adjust my hand, as well as the safety. Also a nice beaver tail to prevent hammer bite, though this was never a problem for me to begin with.

As far as function goes, the pistol preforms flawlessly. I've put about 300 rounds through it since purchase without any malfunctions. Accuracy is also acceptable, though not stellar. I can manage a 10rnd group of about 2.5in at 25 yards, though this is with cheap Wolf and Tula ammo. It might improve drastically if I used decent ammo, but in this market I shoot what I can buy.

Recoil is manageable and it should be. It's a full sized pistol in 9mm chambering, it shouldn't be that bad. That said it still points well and comes back on target quickly.

Other than the low profile slide, the only other 'complaint' I have is that I don't know if regular Cz-75 mags will work. I mean, they SHOULD, but I'm not spending that kind of money on mags (again, fuck you panic buyers for ruining the market) that might not work. Oh and the case that the pistol came in is fucking atrocious. The plastic injection feels weird and in mine was broke in several places. Still, that's a minor issue at best.

One last point I feel should mention is the fit and finish on this gun is FAR better than I'd expect for the price. Honestly I would expect this to be a $500-600 gun anywhere else. It's a very lovely gun honestly.