More Than a Mouthful: Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales Persimmon Ship

Style: American Wild Ale ♦ ABV: 5.0% ♦ Price: $9.99/750 ml Bottle ♦ Availability: Limited Only Brewed Once: Hard to find outside Michigan ♦ Container: 750 ml Bottle ♦ Rating: 3.88/5.00

The Short: Persimmon Ship douses your taste buds with sour fruity peppery flavor and hits harder than you would expect from a brew that claims to be five percent alcohol by volume. Though the bottle claims both persimmon and dragon fruit juice are part of the mix, the sour persimmons overwhelm all other flavors. A distinctly artful brew, Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales Persimmon Ship is a connoisseur’s beverage, and caters to those yearning for a uniquely flavored brew.

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Buy this beer if: You have a habit of drinking craft beers and want to sample a beverage that stands out, and sour is a flavor profile that you find favorable.

Don’t buy this beer if: You abhor anything fruity and especially if you can’t stomach anything sour; if you are into more traditional brews, may I suggest Left Hand Brewing Company’s Oktoberfest Märzen Lager.

Food Pairings: This is a tough one, sour brews are the most difficult to pair. I want to suggest summer food, but persimmons ripen in autumn so I will instead suggest traditional German food. Anything heavy on cream sauces and meat, especially sausages like knackwurst, weisswurst, and Thüringer. Just thinking about German food causes me to tear up over the loss of the real Berghoff, I encourage everyone to acquire their Family Cookbook and humbly point you to the ramschnitzel.

Continue reading More Than a Mouthful: Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales Persimmon Ship

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Memory Lane looking at a snowy park and thinking how good it is to be inside.

Cloudy Day: O’So Brewing Co.’s Memory Lane Reviewed

Style: German Pilsner ♦ ABV: 5.2% ♦ Price: $8.99/6-pack bottles ♦ Availability: Year-round: Nationwide ♦ Container: Bottle ♦ Rating: 3.05/5.00

The Short: O’So Brewing Company’s Memory Lane sports a sour wheat flavor to match it’s autumn scent. Heavy with yeast, you can see the cloudy particles floating around in your brew. The noble hops come through brightly and clearly define this brew by their taste and spirit. Lightly carbonated, don’t expect much a head from Memory Lane, this lightly colored medium-bodied brew just won’t support it.

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Buy this beer if: You prefer your beer to taste like beer and nothing else, and the sight of “brewed with noble hops” brings a tear to your eye. Also, you have no fear of sediment. If you like, check out my Rogue Dead Guy review.

Don’t buy this beer if: You want your beer to be crystal clear and contain notes beyond hops, yeast, and wheat. If that’s the case please view my New Glarus Brewing Co.’s Cran-bic review.

Food Pairings: German food, hands down Memory Lane was meant to be paired with sausages whose names end in –wurst, meat and onions smothered in gravy, and creamed herring. Oh, wait, that last one is Swedish, isn’t it? I miss The Berghoff… If you turn your nose up at the thought of a dish called creamed herring you obviously don’t know what’s good for you. Eat, and be merry!

Continue reading Cloudy Day: O’So Brewing Co.’s Memory Lane Reviewed

The Boromir meme with the caption "One does not simply: Have a gamerscore of 36000"

Sloth is not an Achievement: Xbox Turn Offs

A fifty dollar drop in price and the release of the white limited edition Sunset Overdrive Xbox One finally convinced me to join the current generation of gamers. I fell in love with Sunset Overdrive and was excited to start racking up points there, but I was dumbfounded by the introduction of achievements for apps like Netflix and Comedy Central.

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For those unfamiliar with Xbox, achievements are in-game (and now in-app) “challenges” that can be completed for a numerical point value that is added to an individual’s Gamerscore. One’s score equates to the amount of time one puts into gaming, and little else. There is an Xbox Live Rewards program that Microsoft has sponsored for the last four years that rewards players for increasing their score, but the rewards are slim compared to the potential costs. Continue reading Sloth is not an Achievement: Xbox Turn Offs

Rogue Dead Guy, an orange-red brew with an understated graphic on the bottle (a skeleton popping out of a barrel)

My Roommates Favorite Brew: Rogue Dead Guy

Style: German Maibock ♦ ABV: 6.5% ♦ Price: $12.99/6-pack bottles ♦ Availability: Year-round: Nationwide ♦ Container: Bottle ♦ Rating: 4.70/5.00

The Short: Delectable is the word for Rogue Dead Guy. It’s my roommate’s favorite brew and now I understand why. Balanced is the word for Rogue Dead Guy. Malts dance on attentive taste buds while hops serenade fresh-baked bread maidens in the corners of your mouth. Beer is the word for Rogue Dead Guy, beer done right.

Buy this beer if: You’re a fan of beer with no frills, just straight up malts, wheat, hops, and yeast playing together in a string quartet. And check out my review of Yoho Brewing Company’s Yona Yona Ale.

Don’t buy this beer if: You need your brew to be on the dark end of the sweet spectrum, or you’re only a fan of blonde ales.

Food Pairings: Honestly Rogue Dead Guy would go well with most any dish, I would like to dub it a pinot grigio of beer. I would suggest a thick and meaty New York strip with garlic mashed potatoes and parmesan-crusted asparagus, or prime-rib with horseradish mashed potatoes, or blue cheese-crusted filet minion with mashed cauliflower. I must be craving red meat…

Continue reading My Roommates Favorite Brew: Rogue Dead Guy

The author and a wine sized bottle of New Glarus Wisconsin Red, don't worry it's only 4% alcohol by volume!

Cherry Red: New Glarus Brewing Co.’s Wisconsin Belgian Red

Style: Fruit Beer ♦ ABV: 4.0% ♦ Price: $9.49/750 ml Bottle ♦ Availability: Year-round: Hard to find outside Wisconsin ♦ Container: Wine Bottle ♦ Rating: 3.55/5.00

The Short: New Glarus has brewed another fine fruit beer popping with cherry and lingonberry flavors, syrupy-sweet with a subtle tartness this medium-bodied brew tastes like an alcoholic Italian soda from an old-timey ice cream parlor. Wisconsin Belgian Red is best drank in large quantities in good company as the low ABV isn’t likely to subdue your senses.

Buy this beer if: you have a low tolerance to alcohol and desire a brew that you can drink in bulk without feeling heavy.

Don’t buy this beer if: you despise sweet or fruity beers – as this brew has both in abundance – or you believe beer isn’t beer without the flavor of hops.

Food Pairings: New Glarus Brewing Co.’s Wisconsin Belgian Red needs to be paired with either spicy dishes or savory desserts. I’m thinking spicy pork tacos, Kimchi (assorted Korean pickled vegetables), baked custard, and crepes stuffed with savory filling. Anything that goes well with sweet red wine would suit Wisconsin Belgian Red.

Continue reading Cherry Red: New Glarus Brewing Co.’s Wisconsin Belgian Red

A uniformed soldier posting a "Don't Drink and Drive" poster on the front of a mangled sports car.

Driving Blind: Tools for Fighting the Uncivilized Drunk Driver

I could give you the run-down of all the statistics that explain why drinking and/then driving is a terrible choice to make (instead I’ll link them later), but I doubt that will make much of a difference. Those who view drunk-driving as a thrilling pastime or a necessary detail in one’s evening don’t care about those numbers anyway.

Hit ‘Em Where it Hurts: DUI Fines and Penalties

The most compelling stats you should know are the monetary costs of drunk driving. Across the U.S. the average cost of an uncontested DUI conviction is $10,000. The state of Illinois offers a wonderful PDF – The DUI Fact Book – (that I wish they would turn into a visual aid) detailing all the legal costs associated with an uncontested DUI case. Continue reading Driving Blind: Tools for Fighting the Uncivilized Drunk Driver

A sedan that has crashed into a tree.

It’s Time to Live Up to My Tagline

Beer Reviews, Social Taboos, and Uncivilized Behavoir; that’s how the tagline for this site reads, but as of now I have yet to live up to it. Uncouth rabble and cultural deviants abound, but I’ve yet to report on any of them or tape any interviews.

That changes today! I’ve contacted the Dekalb Police Department requesting an interview on the subject of drunk driving. I had to leave a message, because the individual I was referred to was out of the office. It’s still a start.

I’ve also contacted the MADD Illinois (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) requesting an interview for the same subject. I believe I will also try to give them a call tomorrow morning. I’ll publish the email below for you to peruse, feel free to poke fun at my grammar, I’m sure there’s some real nuggets in there for grammar nazis.

Now I must take off to brainstorm other subjects for interviews and persons willing to be interviewed about their knowledge of or involvement in social taboos and/or uncivilized behavior.

Please leave any suggestions in the comments section, your interests are my interests!

Continue reading It’s Time to Live Up to My Tagline

A wolf howling at the moon over the Scottish moors, while the pines and the pints listen to the music all in aboriginal colors and patterns.

50 Hours in Labor: Beyond the Pale Ale’s New Header

A New Image for Beyond the Pale Ale

It only took me about 50 hours to design, illustrate, and manipulate Beyond the Pale Ale’s new header image before it was ready to be published. To be honest, I’m not 100% thrilled with it, but this site needed something better than WordPress could provide. And 95% thrilled is still better than 100% disappointed with that bubble image that I had beforehand!
I encourage you to leave comments, or use my contact page to send me your opinions if you’re shy.
I believe “Holwing at the Pale” (as I’ve taken to calling it) aptly conveys the atmosphere I’m creating here at Beyond the Pale Ale. Playful and serious in equal measure, dark and moody with bold colorful thoughts and statements. Just on the edge of civilized discourse, encouraging a reevaluation of modern dialog and discourse.

How “Howling at the Pale” Header was Created

I began by sketching all the elements with a mechanical pencil loaded with 5mm 2H lead. I then went back over the sketch with the same pencil, creating one fine deep outline of each element. After that I erased everything and inked in the outlines with a black Staedtler Triplus Fineliner .33mm marker pen.
Next came the 40 hours of playing around with colors, making multiple copies of the elements in my sketchbook and utilizing color theory and personal preference to feel out what would look best and convey my intentions.
I inked in the final work on a 11″ x 14″ piece of bristol board with ten different colors of Staedtler Triplus Fineliner .33mm marker pens. Most areas I had to go over twice to get the desired color, and this was the most tedious and time consuming in the black spots.
Then it was on to the unpleasant part, fiddling with my new scanner in order to upload the image (in pieces because of it’s length) to my computer. Then I utilized Pixlr Editor online to the best of my abilities (I’m more of an Adobe Illustrator girl) to combine the three pieces and add in the text.
I’m most excited that I got my Rockwell Extra Bold font back. Take that WordPress! You can no longer deny me my font based on my template!

My Inspiration for “Howling at the Pale”

The illustration combines elements of Australian Aboriginal art with a Scottish landscape (beyond the pale), a North American timber wolf howling at an Indian moon, and various European beer glasses filled with colorful brews against a copse of pines. I’ve been flirting with combining elements from different cultures for almost a decade now, and the Aboriginal flair is something I’ve recently become obsessed with illustrating.

Lake Louie Brewing Company's fishing tackle signage.

A Name Too Long: Lake Louie Brewing’s Warped Speed Scotch Ale

Style: Scotch Ale ♦ ABV: 7.2% ♦ Price: $5.00/pint ♦ Availability: Year-round: Hard to find outside Wisconsin ♦ Container: Draft; Bottle ♦ Rating: 3.65/5.00

The Short: A delectably funky, hoppy, aged scotch ale with hints of almond and maple Lake Louie Brewery’s Warped Speed Scotch ale is a trip to a backwoods lake front. At a whopping 7.2% ABV this ale should not be taken lightly and would do well in a red-and-tan mixed with a lighter golden lager. This brew was meant for savoring with friends and family on game night.

Buy this beer if: you like a full-bodied, dry, heavy-hitter with hints of maple, almond, hops, and something funky around the edges.

Don’t buy this beer if: you prefer lighter brews that can be chugged without consequence or you need at least a little sweet in your beer.

Food Pairings: Warped Speed needs to be saddled up with alcohol soaking eats like creamy leek soup with sourdough bread, curry eggs with brown rice, brown rice and mushroom soup, ginger pork medallions (my number one recommendation for this ale), or tomato soup and grilled cheese made with guyere cheese and pumpernickel bread. Continue reading A Name Too Long: Lake Louie Brewing’s Warped Speed Scotch Ale

Redhook's ESB set against one of my old oil paintings of the moon seen through the winter trees at night.

Fancy Name Game: Redhook Ale Brewery’s ESB Reviewed

Style: ESB ♦ ABV: 5.8% ♦ Price: $9.99/6-pack bottles ♦ Availability: Year-round: Nationwide ♦ Container: Bottle ♦ Rating: 2.95/5.00

The Short: A basic sort of brew that outshines typical American lagers like Coors, Budwiser, and Miller, but fails to make any waves in the craft beer market. Redhook Ale Brewery’s ESB (Extra Special Bitter) tastes like a mild IPA, with faint hints of honey, herbs, and orange. A medium bodied beer that goes down easy with a sour finish, but nothing to truly make it stand out in a crowd.

Buy this beer if: you prefer your brews dry and balanced, lacking either sweetness or fruit notes, or if you’re fond of Pale Ale’s but shy away from IPAs.

Don’t buy this beer if:you love your beers with as much bitter flavor and hops as can be worked in, like Yoho Brewing Company’s Aooni.

Food Pairings:Redhook Ale Brewery’s ESB would go well with most any main course, it’s so middle of the road that you could pair it with a thick-cut steak as well as a white-fleshed fish. If I was hard pressed to make a specific suggestion it would be homemade French fries, deep-fried onion blooms slathered in honey-mustard, or tandoori chicken with garlic naan.

Continue reading Fancy Name Game: Redhook Ale Brewery’s ESB Reviewed