Posts tagged “bells

RFD & Bell’s Beer Dinner


Now that the holidays are finishing up it’s time to spend that gift money.



Roundtable Discussion: Favorite Brewery

There are over 1500 breweries in the United States alone. Some of them people love and others unfortunately not so much. What qualities are needed to make someone pick their favorite with so many options available? Is it purely based on flavors? Is it due to experiences had while enjoying the beer? Is it from knowing and befriending employees of the brewery? Not surprisingly this varies from person to person as we see here at J Street Beer. One choice was absolutely shocking…wait no Shintern did indeed pick Shiner.


Beer Madness! WINNER!

Well, the people (READ: you) have spoken!  The winner of this installment of the J Street Beer Beer Madness Super-Brew Tournament For The Ages is Bells Two Hearted!

A delicious, refreshing IPA worthy of the upcoming summer months.  Congratulations Two Hearted!

Thank you to everyone who participated.  I’m going to go out and buy some Two Hearted.

Beer Madness! Finals! (1)Two Hearted v. (10)Dirty Bastard

(1) Bells Two Hearted
(10) Founders Dirty Bastard

The Dirty Bastard cruised past the Troegenator and into the finals, while the Two Hearted managed to upset the surprising favorite Hopslam.  Personally, I believe the battle between the two Bells was the real finals.  I don’t see the Dirty Bastard holding a candle to the Two Hearted.  But, I’ve been incredibly wrong before.

So, here it is, the finals decided by YOU!  Get your votes in.  The polls will be open all weekend, so spread the word for your favorite!

Beer Madness! Final Four-1 (1)Two Hearted v. (5)Hopslam

(1) Bells Two Hearted
(5) Bells Hopslam

The epic showdown for Bells supremacy!  A delicious hoppy collision!  Can the strength and power of the Two Hearted outlast the speed and tenacity of the Hopslam?  Who will reign supreme in the Land of the Bell?

Beer Madness! Final Four!

We’re down to our Final Four!

It’s a Battle of the Bells on one side and a couple angry looking labels on the other.

Three of our finalists are from Michigan… is this a commentary on how good Michigan beers are?  Perhaps.  But I’ll do my best to keep that from happening.

Prepare your voting finger for tomorrow at noon when the polls open!

Bar Review – Justin’s Cafe

I’m really torn here. Part of me wants to behave like Bill Murray in Rushmore who deliberately talks down a woman to his friend so he can go for her himself. I want to write a horrible, scathing review of Justin’s in the hope that no one else ever goes there; I want to keep it all to myself. The other Part of me wants to pull a Jerry McGuire and storm into a room announcing that “you complete me.” I feel like the entire world needs to know how incredible this place is.  Justin’s Cafe opened a year ago down in a very revitalized SE.  And it’s incredible.  I’ve tried over and over again to find one thing even slightly wrong with this bar, and I just can’t.

Justin’s only has 4 beers on draft, but they all meet Pyzocha’s dream of no macro-brews.  Racer 5, Lagunitas, and Bell’s Oberon, and GL Eliot Ness are all available.  The draft list is complemented with a solid bottle/can collection including two choices from Oskar Blues, Two Hearted, North Coast, Duck Rabbit and more.  While it’s not necessarily the most extensive beer list, it’s unbelievably solid and there is something for everyone there.

But hey, there are plenty of bars in DC with a good beer list – what makes Justin’s so good?  Staff and ambiance.  The staff at Justin’s is unbelievable.  Joe, Eric, Liz and the rest of the staff I’ve met have all been unbelievably friendly, helpful and nice.  Despite a somewhat bustling bar, Eric took the time to introduce himself to me on only my second beer.  Liz found a way for me to somehow order 7 drinks in about 50 minutes.  Joe shared a bottle of GL Holy Moses just because he could, and remembers what people are drinking – when they leave the bar and come back 3 hours later.

Justin’s is just that neighborhood bar.  It gets a ton of transient ballpark traffic, but also plenty of locals and other beer aficionados that aren’t just there to drink, but to enjoy people’s company.  Sitting by yourself at the bar isn’t a lonely experience at all – I’ve talked hops, SE, Wrigley Field, and women with people I’ve sat down near at the bar.  Between the staff, the beer, and the atmosphere, Justin has created a place that really feels great to spend time in.

The food is similarly solid.  The brunch, wings, and buffalo burger Pyzocha and I have had there have all been really solid, and I haven’t even had their signature brick oven pizza.

The only possible issue is size and crowd.  The cafe isn’t huge and before/after games can get pretty packed in, impacting the overall ambiance.  Popularity unfortunately has it’s downsides, but I’ll live with them.

I hadn’t gone to Justin’s before our own Beer Hunt, and I’m so glad I got that opportunity.  It’s introduced me to yet another great DC bar that I’m always excited to spend time in.


Beer Madness! 58 (5)Hopslam v. (10)Chicory Stout

(5) Bells Hopslam
(10) Dogfish Head Chicory Stout

This competition seems a bit lop-sided.  Hopslam is looking to make the Chicory Stout just another opponent that’ll be stepped on and left in the dust while on its way to the championship.  But, don’t sleep on the Chicory Stout, it has taken out 3 worthy opponents.  Although, none of those opponents were Hopslam.  Hopslam by a LOT.

Beer Madness! 57 (1)Two Hearted v. (3)Sumpin Sumpin

(1) Bells Two Hearted
(3) Lagunitas Little Sumpin Sumpin

Our first Elite Eight matchup is a good one.  Two hoppy beers vying for your attention.  The Two Hearted has the track record, but experience isn’t necessarily the only thing when we reach this level.  Will the sweet hoppy flavor of the Two Hearted claim the win, or can the crowd will the gentle wheat of the Sumpin Sumpin to a not so gentle takeover.

Beer Madness! 55 (4)60 Minute v. (1)Two Hearted

(4) Dogfish Head 60 Minute
(1) Bells Two Hearted

Possibly the two best drinkable hoppy beers out there.  There are not a lot of issues on which this match-up could pivot.  Then again, Bells has gone litigious on us, so maybe that will keep voters away.  Law suits never solve problems except for divorce, gross negligence, defrauding investors, child custody, small claims from auto accidents, slipping on patches of ice…

Beer Madness! 51 (5)Hopslam v. (1)Siren Noire

(5) Bells Hopslam
(1) Heavy Seas Siren Noire

Sweet golden extreme hopiness?  check.  Delicious chocolate and malts?  check.  Perfect balance? check.  This match-up has everything you could ask for, especially the Hopslam.

Beer Madness! 44 (8)Abita Amber v. (1)Two Hearted

(8) Abita Amber
(1) Bells Two Hearted

Straight out of a classic overtime 8/9 matchup with Whale’s Tale, Abita Amber doesn’t get any favors from the selection committee, drawing Bell’s Two Hearted in the second round.  Bell’s faced little competition from Miller Lite, winning with a rarely seen March Madness shutout.  You have to feel good about Bell’s in this contest as well, but was their first test a little too easy?  Can Abita ride the momentum of a last-second win?

Beer Madness! 41 (4)Breakfast Stout v. (5)Hopslam

(4) Founders Breakfast Stout
(5) Bells Hopslam

It’s a shame these beers had to meet so early in the tournament, because both really had a chance to go all the way and cut down the nets at the end – match-ups like this is what March Madness is all about though.  The rich, heavenly perimeter shooting hoppiness of the Hopslam will really be pushed by the delicious dark coffee and inside game from the Founders.  If the Bell’s can get hot, it’s their game to loose, but the longer the match-up stays close, the better chance for Founders.

Beer Madness! 39 (14)Expedition Stout v. (11)Duck Rabbit Milk Stout

(14) Bells Expedition Stout
(11) Duck Rabbit Milk Stout

These two heavy hitting stouts are coming off surprising upsets and just brimming with self confidence.  And when I say heavy hitting, I mean heavy hitting.  These are both heavy stouts with a ton of roasted grain.  Your real choice is whether you’d prefer the milky smoothness of the Duck Rabbit or the ridiculous maltiness of the Bells.  There’s technically no wrong answer here, but the Duck Rabbit would be the less wrong answer.

Beer Madness! 24 (1)Bells Two-Hearted v. (16)Miller Lite

(1) Bells Two-Hearted
(16) Miller Lite

Well, this match up should be a cake-walk. Miller Lite survived the play in game against Bud Light only to go against one of the stronger beers. That said, it all comes down to who shows up at game time: George W* (Beer Drinkers) or John Kerry (Beer Lovers) Fans.

Miller Lite comes from the old-beer-school North, has family connections with foreigners, but has appeal in most places, especially at sporting venues.

Also from the North, Bells Two-Hearted is substance over style and appeals to those who are more versed in the field of beer. People note that while it seems highfalutin, it actually has some very solid points that Miller Lite never seems to address. Unlike Miller Lite, Two-Hearted has worked pretty hard to build a solid reputation in the field and doesn’t rely on gimmicks to win over new fans, just a simple taste. Those that support Bells Two-Hearted are often blinded to the fact that Miller Lite is highly favored in the large Southern States, where Two-Hearted is seen as aloof.  Two-Hearted backers claim that it’d have broader appeal if people would just give it a try.

Out of this, I gotta go with the higher seed, Bells Two-Hearted, and pray that NASCAR dads do not show up to the polls this time.

*Yes, Bush Jr was a reformed alcoholic and doesn’t drink beer. Also, he’s from Connecticut.

Beer Madness! 21 (5)Hopslam v. (12)Gonzo

(5) Bell’s Hopslam
(12) Flying Dog Gonzo Porter

Hopslam a 5 seed?!? Who seeded these beers? Oh yeah, we did.  Everyone knows about the mystique of the Hopslam and if you’ve been lucky enough to experience it in person you’ll know why it is so popular. The Gonzo is a solid tribute to Hunter S. Thompson – a fine alcoholic, but then Holpslam goes ahead and matches up better in alcohol content (10% v. 7.8%).  My stance when tributing an alcoholic with an alcoholic beverage: go big or go home.  In this matchup I believe
Hopslam dominates and the Gonzo goes back home to Maryland.

Beer Madness! 11 (3)Boont Amber v. (14)Expedition Stout

(3) Anderson Valley Boont Amber
(14) Bell’s Expedition Stout

The Expedition Stout’s size (a full-bodied 10.5%) could cause some problems for the Boont Amber which comes in at a slightly under-sized 5.8%.  However, the Boont Amber’s different players work so well together as a team, they should be tough to beat.  If this matchup gets close I see the west coast crowd pushing for the Californian Boont Amber making this Michigan Stout’s expedition out west all for naught.

Beer Madness! (An ode to ale, college basketball, and day drinking)

You are probably an American or living in America.  (If you are not, please click this link.)  Since you are an American or have had America thrust upon you, then I am sure you are aware of the big month-long amateur sporting contest that begins this week.  This contest is a great opportunity to gamble and to slack off at work while doing research* for your impending gambling binge.  The great thing about this implicit endorsement of wagering on the physical performance of 19-year-old boys, is that everyone can participate and anyone can win.

Your college is not represented?  Fill out your bracket predicting the 1st round demise of your hated rival.  You don’t know the difference between a box-in-one and a box of shit?  Fill out your bracket based on which mascot would win in a fight. You know more about college basketball than Dick Vitale and Bill Raftery?  I guarantee your bracket will not win.  Karen from accounting is going to win because she likes Kansas State’s purple uniforms.

In honor of this great gambling orgy, J Street Beer is doing you a favor.  We have combined your two favorite things into one great thing. Alcohol and gambling. Together at last! That’s correct, we are hosting our inaugural J Street Beer Madness Super-Brew Tournament For The Ages (JSBMSBTFTA, for short).  Over the next few weeks we will whittle our 64 brews down to one supreme beer champion.  View the bracket below and then vote on the individual match-ups. The voting will be for a complete 24 hour period and each match-up will coincidentally be voted on during the same day as the corresponding match-up in that other tournament that everybody in your office will predict better than you.  When we get to the excellent eight final beers, J Street Beer will have head-to-head taste tests to determine the winner.

On to the match ups…


Mmmmm… Hopslam Cask

I have some exciting news!  Word on the street is that RFD will be tapping a cask of Hopslam on Thursday.  And as, Tammy from the Lagerheads says:

This limited release beer is great anyway you have it, but many prefer it on draft to in the bottle, and on cask to draft.

So there’s that.

Get to RFD early on Thursday for this surely-to-be-gone-in-an-hour beer.  (but not before me, cause I’d like to get a couple in)


J Street Beer Momentous Occasion

Tonight is a special night! 

Our very own Pyzocha is celebrating a birthday! (I won’t tell you his age… we’re embarrassed)

To celebrate this occasion, we’ll be having A BIG BOTTLE BEER BLOG BLOWOUT!!!  Tonight, at about 8pm, we’ll be ripping through a laundry list of big bottles, tasting, drinking, pounding, and hopefully coherently live-blogging the whole thing!

Join us here for this momentous occasion tonight at 8!



Brew Review-Bell’s Winter White

I bought a six pack of the Bell’s Winter White a few weeks ago with the intention of writing a review of it ASAP.  This obviously did not happen.  I’m not sure how I could let beer sit in my refrigerator that long, but I knew I would get around to it eventually.  That time came this past Saturday.

This was a less than ideal time for drinking a beer for a review as Tonzi, a friend of ours, my girlfriend and I were playing a drinking game.  So you will have to excuse me for my vagueness.

First, as a disclaimer I must state that I am not a fan of spicy winter beers.  This is why I chose the Winter White because I assumed that it would be a bit different because winter beers tend to be dark.

Well I was wrong, this beer was still quite spicy, but not as bad as it could have been.  It poured like a normal wheat beer – yellow and cloudy and had a light body, but that is where the typical wheaty white style ended.  The aroma was spice with a little fruitiness and the overall flavor was spice.  Based on my drunken state I could not tell you what spice was in the aroma and the taste, but if I had to venture a guess it would be cloves.

Overall this beer worked well for the situation – heavy drinking – with its nice light body without a high ABV (5%) and it’s a nice change from the dark winter warmers.


Brew Review-Bell’s Oarsman Ale

After drinking the Bell’s Oarsman Ale, I feel like I’m late to the party.  Like, if only I had been paying attention, my summer could’ve been filled with another great beer in the stable.

Sadly, summer’s pretty much over and I got to this one too late.  The Oarsman Ale would’ve been a fantastic beer on a hot summer day.

The Bell’s Oarsman pours a pale yellow color and is crystal clear.  It has a slightly sour aroma (due to the sour mash).  The taste is wonderful.  It’s very light with a mild sourness.  It finishes very crisp with a high amount of carbonation. 

It would’ve been the perfect beer for summer.  Sadly it’s nearly winter now.  So, in order to finish off the last few, I’ll be cranking up my heat and sitting under a lamp.  Ah, summer.



Brew Review-Bells Hell Hath No Fury

Before I got a full beer of this “Belgian black ale”, I had a sample.  When I ordered the full beer I told the bartender “I’m not sure yet if its good, but its definitely interesting.” After finishing the entire glass, that’s honestly still how I feel.


Quick Hit – Bell’s Oracle

I love big beers.  Not big in physical size (though I do enjoy drinking a 22oz or 750ml bottle), but big like it’s a couple beers squeezed into one.

The Bell’s Oracle is a big beer.  It’s a double IPA, which hints at a strong, hoppy, malty overload that promises to crush your tastebuds and your alcohol tolerance in one quick shot.

The Oracle is a great looking beer.  A nice golden color with a little white head that fades away quickly.  The aroma is huge!  An almost apple scent surrounds a mild sweet citrus aroma.

And the taste… so nice.  Since it’s a double IPA, there’s a lot in there.  A mild bitter start, followed closely by a slightly syrupy maltiness. There’s an apple like tartness with an almost pineapple citrusy acidity.  It finishes slightly bitter with a mild floral hoppiness.

The Bell’s Oracle is wonderful.  Plain and simple.  Keep an eye out for it.  (It’s at RFD right now!)