Thursday, April 12, 2018

My 1st Non-Cardboard Trade Package

When I think of beer and our little corner of the blogging universe the first cardboard bloggers who come to mind are Matt and Oscar, the authors of Bob Walk the Plank and All Trade Bait, All The Time, respectively. I was always a little envious of their beer trading posts and decided to knock on Matt's door when I needed some coaching on how to package a Wisconsin beer to send to a friend in Texas.
The package!
Afterwards I mentioned how it might be cool to swap beer between ourselves. Matt seemed more than willing and a beer trade was born. I sent Matt a six pack and some cards earlier this year and today we'll take a spin through the delicious portion of the return. 
Brilliant packaging!
For the record, I thought it better to blog about the beers now, because I am a sloooow drinker. I've been known to buy a twelve-bottle case and have it last the better part of two months. When I do open up a bottle after dinner I do more sipping than drinking and it often takes me more than an hour to finish a twelve ounces adult beverage.  
Making the cats happy.
Yeah, my drinking habits are perhaps a little irregular, but I've also completed five full beer tours at Old Chicago. During that time I have experienced a nice variety of adult beverages over the years and I know what I like and what I won't. I've also really slowed down since I married and I guess I would have to classify myself as a lightweight when it comes to alcohol. 
The big reveal!

In short, here's what I can tell you: I will like everything Matt sent.

Beer #1
Name: Even More Coco Jesus
Brewery: Evil Twin Brewing
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Size: 16 ounce can
Style: Imperial Stout, with maple syrup and coconut added
ABV%: 12%
Description from the packaging: "A few times in the history of craft beer a highly praised beer rises beyond mortal stardom into a higher godly league. Usually the recipe to make such heavenly drops is thick fudge-like body, pitch black color, amazingly overwhelming aromas of chocolate, coffee, dark fruits, muscovado sugar, maple syrup, coconut and obviously only made in limited amounts. People - this is the taste of rare!"

Comments: Wow. 12% alcohol by volume? One of these and I'll be done for the night. I'm digging the description and can't wait to crack into this one.

 Beer #2
Name: The Toll
Brewery: Raleigh Brewing
Location: Raleigh, NC
Size: 12 ounce can
Style: Imperial Oatmeal Stout
ABV%: 10.5%
Description: "In the days when millers produced all of the flour for a town's populace they would charge a fee for milling grain into flour. The Toll is a nod to the last and longest standing operational mill in Raleigh, the Yates Mill.  By far our most luscious and robust offering. Roasted coffee and chocolate completely permeate your palate with enormous body and highlights of rich caramel. Massive in its flavors, this stout will certainly challenge your taste buds."

Comments:  Oatmeal stouts are my favorite variety of stouts. 10.5% is still pretty high, which makes this another offering which I'll have to consume during or after a meal. Also, I enjoy it when a beer can teach me something. I had no idea what a miller did until now.

Beer #3
Name: NightTime Ale (limited release)
Brewery: The Lagunitas Brewing Company
Location: Chicago, IL and Petaluma, CA
Size: 22 ounce bottle
Style: Ale
ABV%: 8%
Description: "There are two kinds. There is the DayTime kind, which is bright and welcoming, and there is the NightTime kind, which should never be confused with the DayTime. NighTime is dark, deep and may take you to unexpected places, places that the DayTime can not. But then the NightTime is not suited for ordinary life and ordinary tasks, in fact the NightTime may be the answer for that sort of thing, meaning that those sorts of things may never get done. Things take time in the NightTime, things slow down and you pause (you have to, actually) and investigate carefully to find that level of objective detachment that is only possible under the spell of the NightTime. Seek the Day, but fear not the NightTime."

Comments: I enjoy reading beer labels and this one certainly captured my interest, but it didn't tell me much about what I'll be drinking. I can definitely get behind a good ale. The IBU (International Bitter Units) is higher on this one at 74, but it's good for me to get out of my box. This beer is the only one of the six Matt sent in which I might be able to buy locally. I see Lagunitas' product on the shelf pretty regularly in my area.

Beer #4
Name: Holly Jolly
Brewery: Fat Head's Brewery
Location: Middleburg Heights, OH
Size: 12 ounce bottle
Style: Christmas Ale (malt beverage brewed with spices and honey)
ABV%: 7.4%
Description: "Once upon a frozen evening way up north, a sweet local honey named Holly inspired our Jolly Fat Man (as only Holly can) to create this festive spiced holiday ale. We think you will enjoy his holiday creation with its aromas and flavors of Christmas day. Sweet malt, ginger, honey and cinnamon spice. sip this by the fire with your significant other. Who knows, maybe it will lead to a little inspiration of your own."

Comments: I am a seasonal beer guy.  I drink the light shandys and fruit beers in the summer, pumpkin in the fall, stouts and porters during the cold months, and Mexican beers starting in May. I will love this beer. The only question is if I should put it in the refrigerator now or wait until December?

Beer #5
Brewery: Big Timber Brewing Company
Location: Elkins, West Virginia
Size: 16 ounce can
Style: Porter
ABV%: 6.5%
Description: "Chocolate Coffee Balanced"

Comments: It's a good size can, but Big Timber Brewing Company doesn't have much to say. Most of the time, I feel that's a good thing. A company is willing to let its product do the talking for them. If I had to pick one beer of the six which most fits into my comfort zone, then this would be the selection. I'm really looking forward to this one. 

Beer #6
Name: The Burly Hickory Stick Stout
Brewery: Olde Hickory Brewery
Location: Hickory, NC
Size: 12 ounce bottle
Style: Stout
ABV%: 5%
Description: "Hickory Stick Stout is a complex beauty. Rich, flavorful, and aromatic but not overly heavy. Roasted black and chocolate malts give this beer its dark color and robust flavors of coffee and dark chocolate. Pale and crystal malts impart a mild sweetness and caramel flavor to balance the intense roasted malts."

Comments: Malts, malts, and more malts. This one should be an education in malts if the description has anything to say about it! This beer also has the lowest alcohol percentage at 5%, which means I may save it for a night when I'm socializing with others. I can drink two beers at that ABV and still function! LOL

Matt, thanks for the beer swap!  It'll take me some time to make it through these offerings, but I'm really stoked about trying some new brews from outside the midwest!


  1. As a guy who doesn't drink (liver problems), my main takeaway from this is that instead of buying pet cats those fancy stands made for them to scratch and play in, just get them a big box.

  2. I can't drink either due to a fatty liver problem I was born with, but it's fun to see the variety of trades that goes on involving beer.

    I hope to see some toys involved in a trade at some point

  3. Glad they arrived safe and sound. I know you are a lighter abv guy, so some of these might be a bit too strong.