Joe's Rants and Raves

  • Feb 27 - 03:54 PM: Help give a bobcat a Lovin' home. : Joe McBane

    For those of you who have not heard, we have an event coming up to launch our new beer. Check out the events page of this site for full details.

    I am truly excited to try the beer and get the race on. I am just as excited for the forfeit prize. After much bidding I have been able to secure the purchase of a real life full size taxidermied bobcat. The losing team will have to display the bobcat at their bar. Now this isn't just your run of the mill regular feline bobcat mind you. This thing is horrendous. I bought it from some dude in South Dakota. I wasn't aware that people actually lived there. Imagine for a second what a bobcat would look like if it was in the acute stages of rabies, had just been hit by an 18 wheeler and was coming off a week long bender of hard alcohol and illegal street drugs. OK, you're starting to get the picture. Not good, but oh so charming in a hideous sort of way.

    Why I hear you ask. Well we needed something to play for in this Keg Race of ours, and this fits the bill perfectly. If Tap and Mallet fails in kicking the McBane's SlyPA keg first, them myself, the employees and you the ever faithful T&M patrons will have to look at this thing for the next year. Now we don't want that do we people? Wouldn't it be much nicer to head on over to Lovin' Cup once in a while, have a chuckle and toast the bobcat with one of their fine beers? That's what I thought.

    So now you understand the stakes I ask you to be here on March 24th at 8pm to drink the McBane's SlyPA and send the bobcat to a Lovin' home. Cheers.

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  • Feb 12 - 02:39 PM: McBane's - SlyPA : Joe McBane

    The day finally arrived when a bunch of us went down to Sly Fox to brew our version of an IPA. We planned on brewing the beer and checking out the Philly beer scene a bit more.

    We spent the first night in South Philly with our gracious host Corey Reid from Sly Fox. Our first stop was at the South Philly Tap Room. An amazing array of beers and a well thought out menu. The only down side was that they had sold out of the pigs feet special. We're the kind of crowd that gravitates to any off the radar pork product. The next stop was a little neighborhood bar called Bridget's. A tiny little place with a strange horseshoe shaped bar that was so small that you could pass samples to your friends on the other side without either of you leaving your seats. They also had a gravity fed cask tube contraption that came out of the ceiling. We all relaxed there for a while and then decided it was time for bed as we were brewing early the next morning. One other thing I should mention about our excursion into Philly was the snow. It was like being in a disaster zone. Coming from Rochester a foot of snow is no big deal, however these people were completely beaten. Cars had been abandoned for days all over the place. It seemed obvious to me that 10 minutes with a shovel would take care business. Bottom line these people's spirit had been crushed and they had given up all hope in my opinion. Kind of funny in a 'they're not laughing kind of way'.

    Up early and after some minor car issues off to the brewery. I was touched that brewmaster Brian O'Reilly was going to personally brew our beer. He doesn't do as much hands on these days as he is in charge of a team of brewers. The day was off to a good start. Once we got going with the mash in, it was clear Brian is an old pro. Watching him stir the mash was like poetry in motion. My appreciation was even greater after I had a go. Imagine trying to stir grain that weighed 750lbs when it was dry and now it is soaking wet. You get the idea. As the brew progressed we added our hops at various stages. We were all excited to smell the lemony scent of the Sorachi Ace as they went in. As Brian so nicely pointed out I added the bitterness and my wife, Bethany added the aroma. Sounds about right to me. I should point out at that Sly Fox were kind enough to sign a 3 year hop contract for Sorachi hops so this beer could be made. Pretty awesome I thought. I predict more beers with this hop from them for about 3 years at least!

    When the brew was done it was time for pints and plans. Plans were quickly made and pints took a while. We headed off for an evening of beer, food and touring at Victory Brewing. I have been drinking Victory beer since I have been in the US and have always enjoyed it. I never really thought of them as being massive, yet they sure are. You are greeted by the sight of four, four hundred barrel fermenters coming out of the roof of the building. Just to put some perspective on what that is, let me break it down into pints. Each one holds in the region of 100,000 pints of beer. Wow! Big brewing isn't always a good thing for the end product but Victory manages to pull it off on this scale and do it right. We got a 2 hour tour of the brewery by the quality control manager, Whitney, who used to be a brewer there. She was full of insight. Some of the note worthy things we learned about Victory were that they continue to use whole leaf hops in all of their beers, keep 80 unique strains of yeast in house and have a brew house that is so huge and polished that it feels like you are on the set of a si-fi movie. Oh, and they make really tasty beer - but you already knew that. On a side note, while we were touring through we bumped into Jordan Sunseri. Jordan is a brewer there now, but was the guy I worked with at Custom Brewcrafters when I made the last McBane's beer. Small world really, and funny that I would bump into him while working on the next stage of the McBane's project.

    The next morning brought more snow. Did I mention that they don't know what they are doing down there with snow already? We considered not leaving and staying a few more nights but decided to brave it anyway. Hats off to my wife who bravely took the wheel. The first three hours of the drive were horrific, but we eventually pulled through and made it back alive. All that is left to do now is wait to taste the McBane's SlyPA. It should be here in about four weeks or so. Watch out for more information on this site.

    Cheers, Joe.

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  • Feb 06 - 02:51 PM: Fix it week. : Joe McBane

    This week was supposed to be a fairly smooth easy going week. It's been a busy stretch with the holidays, the new POS system, tastings etc. I really didn't have any big commitments and was looking forward to a mellow week. Wrong! This was the week that everything broke. First it was the main bottle beer display cooler, then one of the furnaces, next the ATM, followed by the ice machine and topped off with the dishwasher. Freakin' lovely.

    Well with out boring with the technical details most things are fixed or at least about to be. While periods like this are inevitable from time to time I hope it is a while before I have another. You feel like you are bailing water in a sinking ship. Oh, that reminds me I just got done fixing a sink that leaked resulting in water coming through the ceiling in the bar.

    Oh jeez, got to run I think I hear the roof caving in!

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