Devils Backbone Danzig Baltic Porter Review

DB Danzig Porter

The Devils Backbone Brewing Company, located in Roseland, Virginia, might be owned by a large company, Anheuser-Busch InBev, but they are geared towards craft brewing. Established in 2008 by Steven Crandall, they have maintained true to developing new and interesting takes on beer. Up today is one of their winter offerings, Danzig Baltic Porter.

Danzig Baltic Porter pours a deep coffee black with a tan head that resembled toffee or caramel. The head quickly dissipated shortly after pouring. This is a dark beer, as one would expect from a porter. The aroma offers notes of malt, toasted malts, a hint of caramel and coffee. Nothing is overpowering and the aromatics are kind of subdued but when noticed are pleasant.

The first sip is heavenly. The malt is up front and is quickly followed by chocolate, coffee, and caramel. There is a tiny hint of hops on the back end. There is a comforting feeling when it hits your tongue, like you wouldn’t mind being curled up on a cold, snowy winter’s day with a few of these in front of a fireplace. The mouthfeel is on the medium side but the finish is smooth and creamy. It finishes with a little hop dryness which makes you want another sip almost immediately.

The carbonation was light, as one would expect from the way the head formed and dissipated. The taste stayed consistent for the most part. There were times where dark chocolate and caramel dominated the sip while at other times you noticed a more bitter coffee taste. It didn’t matter because every sip was inviting and full of flavor.

Overall, this was an excellent beer. If you like dark beers like porters and stouts you should enjoy this. I wish I had more than one from my sampler pack but alas another trip to the beer store will be necessary. There is a reason this won bronze at the 2018 World Beer Cup. I am a fan and will be looking out for this one. It is definitely worth a try if you enjoy porters or stouts.

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Southern Tier Brewing Cherry Crush Review

Southern Tier Cherry Crush

Southern Tier Brewing Company has several nice year-round offerings. They also have some seasonal brews. One of their winter seasonal beers is Cherry Crush, a session sour. On the can it states that is an “ale brewed with tart cherries and milk sugar.”

Cherry Crush pours a bright copper color with a thick head that had a tinge of pink hue to it. The head rose to three fingers at its height. The aroma is very elusive. There are some notes of cherry, which isn’t a very fragrant fruit to begin with. There are some subtle cracker notes as well but they are very faint. There isn’t much on the nose at all but it does look inviting.

The first sip lets you know this is a session sour. It isn’t overly sour but it definitely has the note on the back end. The cherry gives it a touch of sweetness up front that is followed by the tart and sour notes on the backend. It is very refreshing and the sour notes at the end invite you for another sip. The mouthfeel is light and finishes dry and crisp. The carbonation is right at what you would expect but seems to be enhanced on the finish because of the drier finish.

The flavor stayed consistent throughout the session with some nice lacing on the glass that any grandmother would be proud to put on a side table.

Overall, this is a good session sour. The sour notes don’t overpower but rather tease your taste buds at the end of each sip inviting you back for one more sip. The cherry notes are even and not overpowering and don’t have an artificial taste at all which is nice. It is a little surprising this is a winter offering because it feels like a summer or early fall beer. I wouldn’t mind kicking back any time of the year with this though. It might not be something I drink a lot of at one time but here and there it is a very enjoyable brew. If you like sour this is worth a try.

Harpoon Brewery Winter Warmer Review

Harpoon Holiday

When the weather starts to get cold and the holiday spirit starts to dominate you know one thing is certain. No, not a fat man in a red suit jumping down your chimney. It’s the holiday beer selections that add some spice and flavor to the season. They don’t call it the most wonderful time of the year for nothing. Harpoon Brewery has their holiday entry with their Winter Warmer, a holiday ale flavored with cinnamon and nutmeg.

The beers pours a deep copper color. It almost has the color of iced tea. There was a light tan head that rose to a little under one finger at its height. It looks fairly appetizing with very little carbonation seen through the dark color.

The aroma offers notes of cinnamon and nutmeg along with notes of malt and bread. However, the aroma was very feint.

The first sip follows the nose. There are notes of cinnamon and nutmeg with a slight bready finish before a feint cinnamon aftertaste. There are some slight bread notes that poke through as well as a sweetness that is slightly caramel in flavor. The mouthfeel is just a shade on the medium side but it finishes smooth with just the right amount of carbonation. The spices definitely dominate the flavor profile and cinnamon predominates the aftertaste.

The flavor stayed consistent throughout the session. There was very little lacing on the glass as it drank. The cinnamon and nutmeg flavor profile definitely dominated the brew so if you don’t like these flavors this might not be for you. There was also a sweet taste that reminded me of biting a peach. It was an overpowering sweet but rather subtle and blended well with the beer.

Overall, this beer is pretty good. It is kind of your typical holiday beer with its myriad of spice and flavors. It doesn’t stand out among the other holiday beers but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It was a fun beer that would be good during the holiday season and at 5.9% ABV you won’t end up being the loud, obnoxious relative at your family gatherings. This is worth the try if you like cinnamon and nutmeg.

Cigar City Brewing Maduro Brown Ale

Cigar City Brown Ale

Cigar City Brewing is based in Tampa, Fla. and offers quite a few good beers, some of which have been reviewed on the site previously. Up for review today is their Maduro Brown Ale.

The beer pours a deep brown with a thick, tan head that stood over two fingers tall at its height. If you are a fan of Brown Ales then you will appreciate the appearance. The beer almost looks as dark as coffee and looks delicious. There is no carbonation seen through the dark color.

The aroma is one of malt, toffee, caramel, and a touch of chocolate and coffee. Nothing truly sticks out on the nose and the aroma isn’t very strong but it is nice when you get into it.

The first sip offers notes of caramel, toffee, chocolate, coffee, and malt. There is very little hop flavor here but some notes do come through. The mouthfeel is light and smooth and finishes smooth and dry. It makes you want another sip.

As the beer drank there were notes that reminded me of a cigar and I couldn’t tell if my taste buds were being tricked by the can which features a cigar on it or if there was a slight earthy, tobacco note. Either way it was pleasant and relaxing. The beer was consistent and there was some light lacing on my mug as I drank it. I did keep going back for more sips and even though the taste was consistent the flavors that introduced themselves up front sometimes changed. For example, on one sip you would hit more toffee and caramel notes followed by malt and coffee. On another sip the coffee note was more forward followed by the toffee and caramel and so on. The profile was consistent though.

Overall, I liked this beer. I could imagine myself drinking this while enjoying a cigar or even on its own. I am a fan of Brown Ales and this one was a little adventurous and slightly different from some other Brown Ales. It clocks in at a very manageable 5.5% ABV so this could easily be a session beer. It is certainly worth a try if you enjoy this style brew.

Blue Moon Iced Coffee Blonde Review

Blue Moon Iced Coffee

Blue Moon isn’t exactly an unknown beer by any stretch these days but they have been branching out with different flavors, some of which are quite good. Up for review today is their Iced Coffee Blonde which they advertise as a “golden-colored wheat ale made with Fair Trade decaf coffee beans.”

The beer pours a hazy gold with a thin, white head that doesn’t stick around long. There is some carbonation seen rising through the haze. The color was a little brighter than I expected for something made with coffee beans. The aroma offers a slight note of coffee, again not as much as one would expect for something brewed with coffee beans. There is also a slight note of bread and malt on the nose but that is quickly pushed out by an artificial sugar smell, like coffee creamer.

The first taste is surprisingly sweet for a beer. The sweetness evolves into a malt and bread flavor like you would expect with a wheat ale. The coffee notes are faint, very faint. You almost have to search for them with your taste buds. The flavor isn’t bad. The sweetness isn’t overwhelming and plays nicely with the bread and malt flavors. The coffee should be more forward here in my opinion, however. You notice it more on the aftertaste and not so much on the sip.

The beer was consistent throughout. There was no lacing on the glass as it drank. The mouthfeel is on the lighter side of medium but still in the medium category, very similar to your typical Blue Moon. It finishes smooth and somewhat creamy.

Overall this is an interesting beer. I don’t know how I would have felt about a lot of coffee in the flavor but I think I would want a little more than what I received. The sweetness played with the bread notes well and made it feel as if I was eating a pastry with my coffee. Although I think this beer misses on a few points it isn’t a bad drink at all and I would have it again, especially as a lighter dessert beer. This could be a session beer if you are into sweeter things and it only clocks in at 5.5% ABV which is manageable. I do wish they didn’t use decaf coffee beans though as the caffeine would be a nice touch.

Isaiah Simmons Is the Perfect Fit for New York Giants

Isaiah Simmons

There is no doubt that the New York Giants need help on defense after finishing 25th in the NFL in yards per game. They will surely be spending on defense in free agency but they will also be in great position to address the need in the NFL Draft with the fourth overall pick. It is likely that Chase Young will be gone before the Giants pick but Isaiah Simmons should be there for the taking.

Simmons can line up almost anywhere on the defensive side of the ball. He can play outside or inside linebacker. He can play safety and might even be useful in certain matchups in the slot. He is a Swiss Army knife on defense and could bolster the Giants’ pass defense almost instantly. He would certainly give the Giants someone to match up with almost any tight end in the league and as any Giants fan knows that has been an Achilles heel for years now.

Listed at 6-4, 230, Simmons has the size and speed to match up with almost every tight end and even some wide receivers. He is versatile enough to rush the quarterback from an outside linebacker position and has a great feel for the game to make him valuable in the middle as well. Across 15 games this season, Simmons tallied 102 tackles, 16 for loss, 8.0 sacks, 8 pass breakups, 3 interceptions, and forced a fumble. He was the heart and soul of the Clemson defense.

The Giants have not had a defensive player that teams have game-planned for in over a decade, since Michael Strahan was in his prime. Simmons has the ability to give offensive coordinators nightmares and the versatility to line up anywhere thereby negating opponents’ game plans.

If you have seen him play you will see a player with fluid hips who can change direction well and uses his long arms to disrupt opposing receivers. At just 230 pounds he won’t win a lot of battles in the trenches with offensive linemen but he has the speed to blow past them at times and get to the quarterback or ball carrier before they get to the line. He also has the potential to add some bulk to his frame without sacrificing speed or fluidity.

It is hard to compare Simmons to any player and that is just fine. Simmons is a unique football player and no matter where the Giants decide to use him he will most likely flourish into a star. He is exactly the type of player Joe Judge will need on his defense.

Magic Hat Barroom Hero Review

Magic Hat Barroom Hero

Magic Hat Brewing Company teamed up with the band Dropkick Murphys to create Barrom Hero, an English Brown Ale. Their website states that proceeds from this traditional pub ale benefit the charitable foundation of Dropkick Murphys, the Claddagh Fund. Drinking beer and supporting a charity is a win-win.

Barroom Hero pours a dark brown, almost as dark as a cup of coffee but not quite. This is definitely darker than your typical brown ale. There is an appetizing tan head that forms and rose to just over a finger. The aroma is one of bread, toasted caramel, some brown sugar or molasses, and just a hint of hops and malt.

The first sip somewhat follows the nose with forward notes of toasted caramel, malt, and bread with a little hops and citrus on the back end without being overpowering. There is also a tinge of chocolate towards the end. The finish is warm and toasty, a comforting embrace that makes you want another sip. The carbonation is light and almost smooth, perhaps creamy is a better word.

I don’t know if I would classify this as a traditional English brown ale. It certainly has some characteristics of one but this seems slightly more adventurous. The flavor stayed consistent throughout the session which was an overall enjoyable one. There was some lacing on the glass as it drank.

Overall, this is a fairly good, slightly different take on an English brown ale. It is inviting and flavorful. Don’t come at this with preconceived notions about brown ales. This could be a good session beer as it clocks in at only 4.2% ABV. This is a good beer and some of your money will go towards charity so it makes you feel good in several ways.

5 Reasons Sasha Banks should win the Royal Rumble.

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The WWE is about to kick into high gear and kick off their WrestleMania season starting with January’s Royal Rumble pay per view. While you can make a case that a couple other women are options to win the women’s Royal Rumble, these are five reasons why Sasha Banks is the best and most logical choice to win the annual event.

  1.  She is one of the biggest stars in the company men or women based on popularity, merchandise sales, ratings, and other metrics. She is known as one of the members of the esteemed 4 horsewomen of WWE that includes Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch and Bayley. However if you follow her booking, she hasn’t exactly been pushed on the level of those other 3 women. There are four major pay per views and she has a combined W/L record of 4-10 at those annual events including 0-4 at WrestleMania. That is simply unacceptable for a star of her status. Yes, you can say wrestling is scripted so wins and losses dont matter, but I’ll argue they matter more because of it being scripted it feels like every time she gets hot the WWE does something that undermines her and tries to kill her momentum.

2.     She has earned it for everything she has done for the women’s division over 4 years. Her NXT run in 2015 would put fellow 4 horsewomen Becky Lynch on the map, as well as make other 4 horsewomen member Bayley the star of the entire brand after their matches at NXT Takeover Brooklyn and Takeover Respect. For the last 2 years, she has been in pointless rivalries and feuds with no direction that were started and dropped. while putting over almost every other woman on the roster.  Then just recently making a red hot return and being the talk of the company after a 4 month hiatus and giving Raw women’s champion Becky Lynch the match she needed to heat up her record breaking title run that before that rivalry most will admit had fallen flat.

3.     She would have the best story of any other woman on the roster.  Does she jump back over to Raw and look for revenge on Raw women’s champion Becky Lynch for the defeat at Hell in a Cell? Does she do the unthinkable and decide to go back to NXT which is now considered a third brand and look for revenge on NXT womens champion Rhea Ripley due to what happened at Survivor Series? Finally, does she decide to stay on SD and challenge best friend and Smackdown womens champion Bayley because winning that title would make her the second grand slam champion in history? Yes, some have argued there is the Elimination Chamber, but based on storyline wise where Sasha doesn’t want the title as long as she’s facing Bayley, why would she want to enter either a #1 contender match or a match that is for the Smackdown womens championship as long as Bayley is the champion?  However, the possibilities of her turning on Bayley, or Bayley turning on her which is something we’ve never seen on either side are endless and could make for compelling television if she were to win the Royal Rumble. Not only that, fans for years have been craving for Sasha Banks and Bayley to get a chance to re create the magic they did 4 years ago at Takeover Brooklyn and Respect. It’s time to give the fans what they have been asking for.

4.    If not now, when? The truth is, this should have already happened 3 years ago. In 2016, Sasha Banks was one of the hottest things on the entire roster, so much so that the WWE would pair her a few times with Roman Reigns in order to try to get him over as the face of the company that they have been trying to do for years now. Instead, the WWE failed to capitalize on her popularity, and instead chose someone else. Fast forward to today, they once again have a chance to make her the top star on the Smackdown brand alongside Roman Reigns. Do they finally pull the trigger or do they again pass over her for someone who doesn’t do as much for the company as she does? Yes she is 27 years old so you can claim they have time, but this summer she almost walked away from it all because she was suffering from depression and anxiety. The truth is no one knows what tomorrow will bring, you can’t keep pushing it off thinking you have time due to her age.

5.   The company claims they value her. While she got a rumored substantial bigger contract signing with the company, money only goes so far. The WWE has no problem using her on billboards and posters and magazine covers among other promotional material to help draw fans into the buildings, but yet dont treat her on TV like the star they promote off screen. The last two years she has been constantly involved in tag team matches, 6 women tag matches, she’s had rivalries started and dropped, she’s had a title reign promised to her and then taken away from her 8 days and 48 days later (this was due to extenuating circumstances however) among other things. She along with Roman Reigns are the top 2 stars on the highest rated WWE show Smackdown.  She supposedly has a really good relationship with WWE owner Vince McMahon now and is one of the easier people to work with again in the locker room by accounts.

It’s put up or shut up time for the WWE in 2020, do they finally decide to go all in and let her get the chance to carry the ball starting with a Royal Rumble win, or do they just continue to treat her like they always have, a star who makes stars but never gets a real chance to be THE star? If the company is going to go all in with her, it should start January 26th with a Royal Rumble win, if not fans will once again realize that no matter how much they try to talk about how much they claim to value her, she will still be seen as someone who is not quite that level to the company.

 

Should we bank on WWE pushing Sasha Banks in 2020?

Sasha Banks was one of the hottest acts in NXT in 2015, so much so that when she debuted on the main roster alongside Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair on Monday Night Raw, fans thought that she was going to be the next big thing in the womens division and one of the women to carry Monday Night Raw or Tuesday Night Smackdown, It hasn’t exactly worked out that way so will it change this time? If you listen to many fans on social media, they believe nothing will really change.

Going back to late 2015, the WWE universe would chant “we want Sasha” in matches she was apart of, matches she wasn’t even in with other women, or heck even arenas she wasn’t in, this continued until 2016 where she made her big “return” at the January pay per view Royal Rumble. She went into a feud with Charlotte all of 2016 and despite being the 2nd overall merchandise seller (this included a roster that had Roman Reigns, John Cena, AJ Styles, Seth Rollins, and even a red hot Dean Ambrose), someone who brought in big ratings (Her vs Charlotte did 3M in a 3rd hour of Monday Night Raw), someone who helped sell out arenas in a time where wrestling was bigger than it is now, the WWE never capitalized on that momentum and never gave her a chance to run with the ball. They essentially in the end chose Charlotte over her and went with the other 4 horsewomen member Bayley in 2017 before going to Alexa Bliss.

For 2017 and 2018, both Banks and Bayley would be reduced to constant tag team matches with no direction, whether it be with the Riot Squad or with Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose known as fire and desire. Basically, Sasha Banks and her partner Bayley were on TV just to be on TV.. This continued until the womens tag team titles came early 2019 where they won the tag titles as the inaugural champions.

In 2019, Sasha and Bayley defended the tag team titles on PPV (or even tv) one time before they lost them to the Iiconics at WrestleMania. Now there were extenuating circumstances as Sasha Banks said in her chronicle that she was suffering from burn out and depression and just didn’t have the urge to do it anymore at the time. For months and months fans were wondering if she would even come back, they asked time and time again for her to come back into a feud with Becky Lynch, which ultimately she did after a red hot heel turn. However, much like her whole main roster run, even as a heel with a new attitude, new look, and the talk of the business again, she wasn’t chosen to be given the ball. She eventually lost her very first big feud back to Becky Lynch and then was drafted to Smackdown where she also at Survivor Series ended up losing being eliminated by Rhea Ripley but was protected in the loss.

Fast forward to today, Sasha is presented as a big deal on Smackdown, she is constantly involved with Bayley who is the SD womens champion. She is treated as a special attraction as she doesn’t really wrestle much, the roster has been basically cleared for her without Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, or heck even Asuka. She is on constant posters, gets constant promotion from Fox, and SEEMS to be heading into a WrestleMania program with Bayley, has been protected pretty much the entire time, yet fans on social media are constantly believing that the WWE will yet again ultimately choose someone else be it someone like Lacey Evans or Alexa Bliss.

The truth is, can we really blame those fans? Every single time Sasha has gotten red hot the WWE has done something to stop her momentum (purposely or not is up to what you believe), they technically just did it again this October unless there is a bigger picture really here. How do you not only book her as a face to lose big matches, but even with a change that made her successful from NXT she also loses 2 big matches as a heel? Most people have no belief at all she will win the Royal Rumble to kick start some momentum in 2020.

Even the biggest, most optimistic fan has belief that once again the company will choose someone else to give the ball to. Will this new found relationship with Vince pay off? Will sticking up for herself and betting on herself pay off? or will she be used as what she’s been used time and time again on the main roster to make the next star?.. Will she finally be treated as a star herself, or simply the star maker? I guess we will find out in 2020 starting with the Royal Rumble.

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Eli Manning Really Has Been the Man All Along

Eli Manning

Eli Manning has made news quite a bit this season. He was benched after a Week 2 loss to the Buffalo Bills. There were a ton of news stories about whether the Giants would trade the former two-time Super Bowl MVP. Then, rookie Daniel Jones suffered an ankle sprain and Manning was thrust back into the starting role for Week 14 and 15. Then, Eli made news again after the Giants’ Week 16 win against the Washington Redskins after Eli and Jones were seen partying with other teammates at a Hoboken, N.J. bar.

Following the appearance of Manning and Jones having fun, former Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes told ESPN that Manning had a “beer guy” in every NFL stadium. The “beer guy” would be responsible for getting a six pack or twelve pack for Manning to share with veteran teammates on the bus to the airport.

“It was unbelievable,” Tynes told Ian O’Connor. “He had a guy in every fucking stadium in the league to get him that beer.”

Manning has always been a kind of loveable guy, never really making news with one exception regarding game-used memorabilia. This news, however, endears us to Manning. He has always been a private individual and this recent footage of him partying with teammates is the first real footage of Manning doing something outside of a football environment. It was also awesome. To see Manning and Jones partying like brothers among other teammates with pitchers of beer around after a good win was a sight any Giants fan should love. This news that Manning had a beer guy in every stadium only makes us love him more.

Eli Manning has made news twice this week for beer and partying and neither have been negative. That is how you drink beer, you do it responsibly. We tip our caps to you Eli and raise a glass for never making a negative headline when beer is involved.

Here is to Eli, whose lasting memory with the Giants will be two Super Bowls, a fun party video, and a fun win against the Miami Dolphins during a bleak season. Wherever Manning goes next season we will be rooting for him. So raise a beer to the best quarterback the New York Football Giants have ever had and celebrate a great career. Thank you Eli!