AboutKarl Kalinkewicz – PorchDrinking.com
Sweden – a country whose northern tip breaches the Arctic Circle, making the summer days long and joyful and outdoor activities bountiful. Unfortunately, I decided to visit the capital of Stockholm in early November, and was greeted with 3pm sunsets and a Seattle-but-colder weather vibe. I didn’t mind, as it gave me ample excuse to visit the city’s numerous beer bars, leading to some enjoyable long, brisk, waterside stumbles. Swedes love their craft beer, and you will not find it hard to indulge yourself while taking in this extremely walk-able city.
Collaboration beer often presents a mixed bag: Excitement races through your beard when you hear that two of your favorite breweries have Voltron-ed, but then the results follow a predictable pattern. Either you get a middling compromise between the two parties, resulting in a solid and forgettable “eh,” or one brewery’s profile dominates the other and the beer is like a Paul Simon album after Garfunkel left town in which the expected quality makes you forget that there’s supposed another element in this equation.
A friend recently Santa Claused me a suitcase full of Jester King and I’ve been doing my best to explore these recent offerings at a responsible pace. Jester King beers always have that incredible lightness and drinkability. A 750ml is never quite enough and a 375ml is just plain disrespectful. Moderne Dansk, included in this bounty, was one of the best beers I’ve had in quite some time. Schopenhauer himself would have impressed at the dour mood that enveloped me, realizing life would be a long struggle with little possibility of another drop. But one that caught my eye in this 20 bottle porch bomb was the collaboration beer with Other Half: Urban Mutation.
It’s a hard-knock life when you have beer-related engagements scheduled in two countries on two consecutive weekends. I recently found myself in Poland for the incredible One More Beer Festival before planning to meet up with friends in Munich for Oktoberfest six days later. Doing the wise thing and taking a full week of vacation, I started to scout out how I could spend the days between periods of copious beer consumption. Lo and behold, the world’s number one beer-drinking country per capita, the Czech Republic, happened to be smack dab in the middle of my two destinations. The gods smile upon me.
Going to the Great American Beer Festival, or GABF, is like going to another giant establishment with four letters: IKEA. If you don’t have a plan, things are going to turn out ugly. You end up with a shopping cart/stomach full of things you didn’t need, and because of your inability to resist the siren’s call you’re going to cover your home with all sorts of terrible colors.
Here at PorchDrinking.com we’re playing the Jedi to your beer Padawan, guiding you through the overwhelming forest of malts to beer nirvana. Our experts have selected a few noteworthy beers from their region that you need to seek out. So make a list, stick to the plan and do not be distracted by the beautiful celebrities. Here are seven great beers to try, all hailing from the beautiful Pacific Northwest.
This post was sponsored and supported by Paulaner USA.
Steins. Pretzels. Dirndls. Lederhosen. Sausages. More Steins. Tents. Singing. Chances are, I just summed up your Oktoberfest experiences. But other than hearing about that time your friend studied abroad in Germany, what do you really know about Oktoberfest and the beers served there?
Märzen, Helles and Festbier aren’t usually what you brandish at your bottle share, but the craft that goes into producing these styles is immense. Munich breweries are very proud of their beer traditions—none more than Paulaner, Oktoberfest’s #1 provider of stein-filled happiness. We asked the masters for a little more background behind the magic that goes into each glass, which in turn fuels all the good times and pretzel consumption.
One More Beer Festival. The rallying cry I often tell my aching liver is actually the name of one of the coolest international beer festivals out there. Starting September 20, beautiful Krakow, Poland, will host two days and three sessions of incredible brews, with more than 180 beers from over 30 to taste.
When I moved to Los Angeles to attend college, one of the first and most common questions I was asked was “Where are your from?” My response would be “New York.” That would typically be followed up by something like, “Oh, I love the city! Which borough are you from?” Which would prompt me to clarify that I was from Upstate NY. This would bring about the question, “Oh, so like Buffalo?” Nope. That’s about six hours away. I would then tell them I was from the Albany area, hoping they learned their state capitals in primary school. Sometimes, I’d even have to use my hand as a makeshift map of the state, pointing out the various cities they’ve heard of to identify the Albany area.
“A kid once said to me “Do you get hangovers?” I said, “To get hangovers you have to stop drinking.” – Lemmy Kilmister, Motorhead (RIP).
Rock and roll and booze have one of those symbiotic relationships where no matter what happens, they can’t seem to quit each other. The deaths of Bonham, Hendrix, Scott, et al. should have scared rock away from boozing. Or maybe Keith Moon driving a car into a hotel pool. But no, rock and roll continues to drink on. The booze is a necessary component, the liquid courage needed to conjure up the whitest of dance moves at a Killers concert, or the quick substitute for years of vocal coaching as you stand up to sing “Don’t Stop Believin'” at your local karaoke joint.
Emilia-Romagna, Italy, named by Lonely Planet in 2018 as the best place to visit in Europe, is known for many of the finer things in life. The birthplace and home of Ferrari and Lamborghini, a foodie paradise with city names you will recognize from your favorite cheeses and cured meats, and home of the world’s oldest university, there are a lot of reasons to book a holiday here. But there is a specific reason you may want to earmark the first weekend of June as your time to visit, and this is because of the fantastic Arrogant Sour Festival held in Reggio Emilia each year.
When life gives you a handful of Boeing Max 8-shaped lemons, you make lemonade. Or when your flight for a quick weekend getaway is canceled, you jump on Skyscanner, put “everywhere” into the destination, and see what comes up for cheap. For me, this destination ended up being the Romanian capital of Bucharest, a city with a population of roughly three million that had its heyday in the ’20s and ’30s when it was hailed as the “Little Paris of the East.”
We’ve all woken up a little groggy on the first of the new year with grand plans for how we’re going to make our lives better during this next lap around the sun. You commit to exercising, finishing your mediocre …
It’s a marshmallow world in the winter and what better way to commemorate this season than a stout brewed with… marshmallows? As an avid maker/consumer of Rice Krispie treats, if you tell me something has marshmallow in it, I’m immediately excited, like “when it was your birthday in school and you got to bring in treats for the class”-excited. Luckily the Swedish, who know a thing or two about endless freezing nights, have crafted a liquidized Stay Puft in the form of Hypnopompa to warm our innards on a chilly winter’s eve.
Temperatures are dropping, costumes have been Instagrammed, worn, mangled and stashed away in the closet — out of sight, out of mind — once again. Having moved out of the U.S. seven months ago, it came as quite a shock to me this past week to learn that MOST COUNTRIES DON’T CELEBRATE HALLOWEEN. So forgive me if I want to hold on to it for just a little longer.
But the changing colors and declining thermometers also indicate another seasonal change is upon us: Stout Season. We have a glorious few months where high ABVs and barrel-aging take the spotlight as they encourage long talks by the fireplace and cap off fall festivities. In this humble writer’s opinion, Bottle Logic Brewing provides some of the finest dark brews around, and what beer is more appropriate to fully transition us into the season than the very appropriately named Darkstar November.
I’ve had a life-long obsession with skyscrapers. I don’t really know where it came from, maybe growing up just outside New York City played a roll, or maybe too many Tower of Babel lessons in church as a youngster had the opposite effect of what was intended. Now, I tend to judge cities on two major categories: Their skyline and their craft beer scene, two lovers who often quarrel rather than get along. Where the towers rise, the beer quality tends to fall – world class postcard skylines like Dubai and Shanghai have not inspired great beer to follow suit, and while both cities have recently been doing better in this regard, in New York and LA you have to get outside the high-rises to find the best stuff. However, the Hong Kong Beer Scene proved to be different.
Whether you have a long layover, or you’re able to take a few days to explore, here’s a few of my favorite places I went to while enjoying the shade of some of the most marvelous structures made by man.
I just moved to the UAE this past month for work. It’s an exciting and extravagant place to be — with the current and future tallest buildings in the world, white sand beaches, indoor ski resorts and camel’s milk ice cream dipped in gold. I thoroughly realized that I would be moving to the desert when I decamped from Los Angeles, and I don’t mean Jakku. I mean a craft beer desert almost as expansive as the Empty Quarter itself.
I’m a strict “No Christmas Until After Thanksgiving” kind of guy. I threaten to fire employees, yell loudly when I hear the faint jingling of bells, and I materialize as the physical embodiment of “Bah Humbug” until Santa’s sleigh arrives with the Macy’s Day Parade. While some of my fervor may be out of respect for Thanksgiving (a very underrated bacchanalian holiday where the goal is to hang out with those close to you and consume things like you were an H2 on a road trip), I also get really sick of Christmas music. Living in LA it feels wrong walking outside singing “Let It Snow” when it is 90 degrees out on Thanksgiving. In case you are wondering, that was not hyperbole—it was 90 degrees on Thanksgiving this year.
As we recover from celebrating the 241st anniversary of the original Brexit, I think it’s appropriate we honor those who fought for musical independence. These brave soldiers fought against egos, narcotics, less-talented band mates and guaranteed paychecks so they could feed their own ego, recruit their own band and cash larger paychecks. Like America before them, these music makers could not be shackled by their oppressors and, like our whale-friend Willy, broke free triumphantly to the sounds of sweet music.
I’ve been feeling strangely nostalgic lately. The combination of summer’s impending zenith and a recent trip to visit my adolescent stomping grounds stirs up all sorts of memories, and for me those memories are always tied to a soundtrack. And while it takes a lot to admit this publicly, the current flashback montage in my brain happens to be set to a thumping bass rhythm, some heavy synth, and heads violently nodding sideways, 90’s club style.
Featured image courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
It’s funny how Hollywood has decided that the best time to release their biggest, CGI-fueled blockbusters is during the season when the weather is finally nice enough that you actually want to go outside. I blame Los Angeles’ eternal summer for Hollywood’s ignorance of seasons. But, here we are in early May, and as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 gets our Baby Groots dancing, let’s take a moment to pay tribute to one of the great American pastimes: the hit soundtrack song.
As with all great vices, we tell ourselves that as long as we are contributing something positive to the world, then we can indulge our heart’s desires. At least that is what I have convinced myself with Vinyl and Beers, that I can drink as much beer and buy as many records as I deem necessary for the sake of beauty. Being fully committed to my art, I pair a record from my collection with every beer I drink at home, and these are their stories. DUN DUN.