beer

Texas Chapter CATS Fest Meet Up

img_0032Heck yeah! If your in Texas or even close to the state you won’t want to miss this one. Texas is having their official annual meet up this year at CATS Fest V in Bulvetde, TX (that’s basically San Antonio). Will be kicking things off Friday May 26th in the evening at the CATS pre-party and of course we’ll really be getting things going on Saturday May 27th at the event.

As usual the La Quinta is home base for everything and where the majority of us will be staying. Information on tickets and booking a hotel are available at the CATS Fest website: Catsfestival.com

For specific information contact your chapter officers and they will give you all the details on when and where we will all be meeting. Hope to see a ton of us out there this year!

The address for the event is:

401 Obst Road Bulverde, Texas 78163

Florida DR Crawfish Boil 2017

Mark your calendars everybody because it’s almost that time of year again. The time for the DR crawfish boil. This year its happening on April 29th at DR HQ S&M Smoke Shop in Fort Pierce. It starts at 5:00 and goes until we feel like stopping. As usual we’ll be supplying the food you bring the booze!

This year we are happy to have Moya Ruiz to be the cigar sponsor for this event and Nelson himself just might be stopping by to party with us. As always there will be great cigar giveaways, raffles and discounts on products. Last year was a great event and we are hoping to make this event even better. Look forward to seeing you all there again.

As always there is a ton of space at Steve and Missy’s and the humidor is always stocked for us!

Here’s the address and phone number for the event:

1001 S US Highway 1
Fort Pierce, FL — 34950
772 801-5104

Goose Island IPA

goose-islandDebuting back in 1988 that sexy goose of a logo made its way to its home town of Chicago bringing more then just an idea. Inspired by the European craft market john hall, C.E.O of Goose Island felt Americans deserved at least a little of what Europe had to offer.

John hall opened a small brewery and began to create magic, allowing his consumers to get a behind the scenes look of every step in the process. The fascination of brewing a craft beer like no other was propelled by the demand of beer loving pallets. 1995 was the year john pretty much out grew his humble facility and decided a larger brewery was the next move. That same year john opened a bottling plant and by 1999 a brewpub was already established.

The Goose Island IPA smells of lemonade and orange peels a bold citrus aroma with color resembling the golden gates of heaven what more could you ask from a proper brewed IPA? It’s one of those “grab a couple with some buds at a BBQ” beer. Carbonation is on the medium, almost light side but then again we’re talking about an IPA so its definitely hop driven with a bitter after taste. For those of you who’ve never given the goose a try I’d recommend requesting it at your local bar because something about this brew on draft takes it to a whole different level.

Style: American IPA

ABV: 5.9%

Website: GooseIsland.com

Rating: 4 out of 5 pints

Review by guest writer Andy Melo.

Leaf by Oscar: Island Jim #2

IMG_2679Until recently, in my area of Florida, it was difficult to find anything from Leaf by Oscar which of course included the Island Jim. Thanks to the cigar bombing list I’ve been lucky enough to try a few and this time when I was sent an Island Jim #2 I knew I needed to write about it for a couple of reasons. First, they are difficult to get around here, next they look amazing, and third I knew exactly which prop I was going to use, (come on you know my love of toys…excuse me deluxe action figures) and so the photos began. After the “photo shoot” with the cigar and its model it was time to smoke it. Luckily Distinguished Ruffian_Juice was free to go grab some drinks at one of our local hang outs, The House of Brews.

The initial look of this stick is delightful. The wrapper is smooth with light veining and none of it heavy. Its shape is that of almost a torpedo with an unfinished foot and an open head. The construction feels solid with no dead or open spots to be found. The smell from the body was not overbearing and gave off notes of leather, wet grass, and a bit of nuttiness. From the foot these odors were more prominent and gained slight spice and coffee notes.

Lighting is easy thanks to the “shaggy” foot that everyone seems to be referring to it as. I chose not to cut the head since it was already open. The draw offered little resistance and it was easy to get a nice, full mouthful of medium weighted smoke that delivered all the flavors this cigar had to offer.

From the first draw I immediately picked up the peppery taste that I noticed from smelling the foot. That flavor was well complemented by the taste of nuts and a distant flavor of hay. As I continued to smoke, the construction of this cigar held up to its looks. There was a consistent even burn with no runs and a tight greyish ash that held for 1.5” to 2” before falling off each time. I made it through the first half with virtually no change in flavor, which was fine by me since it was fantastic.

As I neared the second third of the cigar the spicy flavor started to take a back seat to new heavily roasted coffee tones and a bready taste becoming more prominent. While the change this late in the cigar was unexpected it was not detrimental to the smoke. It didn’t change my over all opinion of the stick rather it added a new dynamic to it that made me more interested. With this new flavor I smoked this cigar down to the nub until it began to burn my fingers and then used my knife to hold it until I could smoke no more of it.

In total this is a great cigar. Aesthetically it is a great looking cigar, the construction is phenomenal, the lighting is easy, the draw is comfortable, it provides plenty of medium weighted smoke and the flavor is well balanced and more than enjoyable. I would recommend this to anyone who likes a cigar in the medium to not quite heavy range and it is great for either daytime or a nighttime smoke.

 

Wrapper: Nicaragua Jalapa

Binder: Honduran

Filler: Unreleased

Honduras
Size: 6.5 x 52

Taste: Medium body.

Website: Leafbyoscarcigar.com

Price: Around $10.00 a stick depending on location.

Rating: 4.4 out of 5 pints.

Swallowed by the Sea Monster

Ballast photoFolks, put on your sea legs! This week I am reviewing Sea Monster Imperial Stout by Ballast Point Brewing of San Diego.

While fishing around for a dark beer, I was lured in by the bright color of an anglerfish. At that moment, I wasn’t sure if I was hunter or the hunted. So I defaulted in confidence that I was the hunter, reeled in a bottle of this Sea Monster, and hurried home to give it a shot.

Upon opening the beer I got hit with pleasant scents of coffee and light chocolate. When I poured the beer into my glass, I wished I had my eyes shined like Riddick, because this monster poured pitch black. At the top of the glass, caramel brown foam formed, giving it a very attractive dual tone appearance.

When this beer first hit my lips, I was immediately taken aback. The scent definitely matched the flavor. Coffee and chocolate were the first things I recognized followed by a slight bitter finish. I relaxed and enjoyed it to the very last drop. That was until I noticed I was a little too relaxed. I ran back to the bottle and looked for the ABV. That’s when I knew, I was the hunted. At a healthy 10% ABV, this Sea Monster had me right where it wanted me. Yet, I had no regrets.

Overall this is a good beer for all of us dark beer lovers out there. Proceed with caution on this one. It will not be an all-night beer but, it is definitely a good beer to have 1-2 of without over doing it.

Ruffians I recommend you go pull this Sea Monster from the “drink”. Just don’t let it drink you. Cheers

 

Rating: 4 ½ / 5  Pints

ABV: 10%

Brewery: Ballast Point Brewery

Website: http://www.ballastpoint.com

Juices Top 5: Party/Fests … Thus Far …

This week’s Top 5 is something that is truly near and dear to my heart (and I am sure most of yours); Partying. I have been fortunate to travel a bit here and there. So far I can’t really say any of my destinations have been disappointing. Today I am going to talk about 5 parties where a guy can put away his distinguished qualities and cater more towards his ruffian nature.

Biketoberfest5. Biketoberfest – Daytona Beach, FL

This is one of my favorite annual events! Do I really need to explain why? This place is chock full of all the good stuff; people, drinking and tons of custom motorcycles. There is hardly a full block you can walk that doesn’t have something that appeals to your styles and tastes.

I enjoyed my days on the strip shopping for discounted motorcycle apparel and gear. Most shops have crazy deals during this time due to the influx of patrons. More than just moto-gear, there are a few shops along Main Street that make hand rolled Grand Marnier dipped ascots. Personally, those little smokes make the trip.

Each night during Biketoberfest there are events showcasing crazy prizes, free swag, and drink specials. Along with the drink specials, there are usually scantily clad women hustling shots for extra tips. With the main events being held on Main Street, it was hard not to fall into a watering hole or 5 while eye balling some of the coolest rides on the east coast.

4. Fantasy Fest – Key West, FLMardi 1

For more of a risqué approach to your conventional partying, try Fantasy Fest located in Key West Florida. As soon as I arrived I might as well have thrown my watch in my bag because I definitely crossed over into island time. Everything is laid back and altogether exciting.

This event is often called the Mardi Gras of the south. Being that the actual Mardi Gras is in Louisiana, I guess the fine folks in Key West took some liberties with the name given their location.

Just like New Orleans, Key West plays home to thousands of visitors just for this event. Every day and night the festivities have a theme and it seems like everyone comes out to play along. This literally takes the phrase “it takes all kinds” to a whole new level. The themes varied from Togas one night to Pirates to Angels and Devils. There was truly a good mix of it all. What made this trip awesome was the laid back atmosphere that resembled nothing more than a huge costume party with half nude (and sometimes full nude) people. Did I mention all this takes place on the ever famous Duvall Street? With that, let’s do a little math; Duvall Crawling + Costume Party = Nonsense of the upmost.

Fair warning, if you happen to be homophobic, this is not the place for you. This area has a strong gay community and they show their pride all year long. If you aren’t homophobic, then you will have a blast.

3. Rugby World Cup – Locations Vary

I was fortunate enough to be able to venture off to the Rugby World Cup hosted by New Zealand in 2011. This was hands down, one of the most fun places I had ever been. Each game is held in a different location throughout the country. I was able to indulge in a series of “day drinking’ activities in each one of the host locations. Some of them included, virtual goal kicking, live concerts, and open venue projection Tv screenings of the games located in other cities.

I couldn’t help myself but drink all day long in preparation for the big show. During the games, I was going insane along with a ton of international fans. I learned quickly that overseas drinking is definitely quite the adventure. I also realize that people come from all walks of life to be at these events and when they get there, all they want to do is party. For me, a 24 hour flight deserved good sport and good drinks. Add on great international company and that’s a cocktail for success.

Mardi 22. Mardi Gras – New Orleans, LA

This one is no surprise, or at least shouldn’t be. Mardi Gras is 5 days of booze, beads, and boobs. To top off the “3 B’s’ of Mardi Gras I was surrounded by Cajun culture and delicious food. I could continually go on about the things you see on Girls Gone Wild or Cops, but that would just be me ranting.

My friends and I would kick our day off drinking while watching all the floats pass by our balcony hurling beads. After the floats leave and we had collected enough beads to venture in to the night we would grab some more drinks and walk the block and some change to Bourbon Street. Fast forward through the night, beads gone, and stumble back to our hotel. We grab a couple hours of sleep and repeat it for the duration.

1. Oktoberfest – Munich GermanyOktoberfest 1

This is another amazing festival that has everything you could possibly ask for. Great food, great culture, great rides, and great beer are all included when you are at the Theresienwiese (fairgrounds for Oktoberfest).

Some of Germanys top breweries have tents at this event showcasing their style of brew. Some of these companies include Paulaner, Spaten, Lowenbrau, and my favorite Augustiner. I was getting after those sweet unfiltered German brews a liter at a time but that proved to be quite the feat. Before 1 in the afternoon my friends and I were wasted on the train back to our condo.

This was my favorite event thus far because I love good beer and no drama. With all the drunken people I saw during my trip, I assumed brawls would ensue regularly. Truthfully, I had a hard time finding many drunken people that weren’t down right jovial. People sometimes were friendlier then I’d like but none the less harmless. I guess when you have to share a park bench in order to be served; you will get along and make friends with just about anyone.

Hope you guys enjoyed the read. Party on Ruffians.

The Palomino Santa Ana Maduro

image-4If you haven’t heard of Palomino Cigars then you are missing out. The Palomino family has been making cigars in the Cibao Valley of the Santiago De Los Caballeros Province of the Dominican Republic since 1965. What makes them different from the rest of the companies is not only that they make a wide selection of quality sticks but they only sell factory direct. What this means for you is that not only do you get a great cigar but, instead of paying the $9 – $13 a piece you can pick theirs up for around $2 – $3.

Now I know what your thinking already, “how can a $3 stick be good?” The answer…most of what you smoke could probably be sold for around $3 a stick if they sold factory direct as well. For the other brands you are paying for their advertising cost, their sells reps pay, retail mark ups, and so on. So that being said on to the cigars.

Since I like a fuller flavored cigar I decided I would try the Santa Ana Maduro. Inspection shows a well-constructed stick covered in a nice oily wrapper with minimal veins and is in the dark chocolate color realm. It is firm to the touch but just pliable enough that it will not crack if you like to bite the end of yours like I do when you smoke. The odor from the body is of chocolate and old leather with a hint of cedar and fruit. The odor from the foot is the same just more intense.

It lit easily and the draw was even and smooth. The flavor was earthy with a bit of spice with coffee on the back end. The flavor held consistent throughout the cigar. The burn was even all the way through and did not have to be restarted at any point. The ash held well and was near white. The cigar created ample, thick smoke that looked heavy but felt light on the tongue.

When you first get these cigars you might be skeptical but after this smoke I bet you will have no qualms recommending these to anybody. In my opinion for the cost of these cigars they are a great value and could easily fetch between $9-$13 a stick at a brick and mortar store.

Brand: Silvo Palomino 

Web Address: www.palomino-cigars.com

Rating: 4.6 out of 5