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Ryan Van Brunt

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While thinking of your beer-bonging past may make your inner frat boy/sorority girl shiver now, there was a time when many of us found ourselves on the receiving end of one of these homemade delivery systems. I myself built a 5 foot long one for me and my friend’s “post high-school party pad” which funneled more Olde English 800 through it than a Snoop Dogg party circa 1993! But, I digress. Just the other day,…

It is difficult to explain the feeling I get when I visit a new brewery. Overall, I feel as though the experience is ineffable; words just can’t provide enough imagery to truly capture the experience, thus failing miserably in accurately conveying to the readers the scope of awesomeness that has taken place. But, if I must analogize for the readers out there, it would be similar to being a child trick-or-treating on a street where…

‘Merica! Before we were branded as a McDonalds eating, NASCAR watching, Budweiser guzzling nation of indulgent obese loudmouths, we were branded as traitors, traitors rebelling against the oppressive rule of a monarchy. But, neither the crown nor the scepter could hold our brave nation down; and in our act of rebellion, we cemented ourselves as a sovereign nation, a nation of individuals dedicated to the cause of freedom. It is this same spirit of rebelliousness…

As the reaping of the harvest comes to an end and Jack Frost prepares to drag his cold finger over the land leaving an icy layer of frost on all that we see, we still have to get through the day designated for taking pause and giving thanks for all the blessings that adorn our lives. Of the many things that bejewel your list of things that you are thankful for, I am sure that…

Whether it is Count Dracula talking about the “children of the night” and the music they make, or Ozzy Osbourne discussing the pros and cons of barking at the moon, the legends of werewolves have us all both intrigued and locking up our chicken coops at the same time. The duality of the persona of the werewolf is an exciting concept. The full moon exposing the savage nature of the beast within is an exciting…

As the emerald hue of our favorite gourds start to change into brilliant colors of vivid orange, we are faced with real challenges. We must arm ourselves with the tools necessary for vanquishing those who would haunt us and prey upon us as we idly wander the streets looking for one of two things: tricks or treats. Now, before vampires were bedazzled emo kids with a penchant for sniffing out awkward, off-putting teens, they were…

Many of you may remember my post on the beer baths that the awesome people of the Czech Republic get to enjoy at the Chodover brewery. Sadly, no one has offered to send me there to fully experience the glory and wonder of this exciting way to enjoy beer. (He typed grudgingly.) But, I’m not bitter. I wanted to figure out a way for one to treat oneself to the therapeutic effects of beer (other…

With summer in full swing and late night BBQ’s and mosquito bites starting to pile up, it goes without saying that you are probably spending more time outside. For many of you, that means spending time in the proverbial great outdoors. Rekindling your relationship with nature, struggling with fiberglass tent poles, being told by park rangers to “keep it down,” drinking copious amounts of beer, and pulling up your folding chairs close to a campfire…

With July here I am almost certain that many of you will be stocking up on briquettes and beers for the upcoming 4th of July shindigs and hootenannies.  Our nation’s birthday is always celebrated literally with a bang as the floodgates open and the masses are inundated with so many beer promos it’s difficult to think of much else! So while you sit and ponder the perfect beers to pair with hot dogs, brats, and…

Getting the most out of your beer drinking experience seems like something that all craft beer aficionados would gladly embrace. I mean, what is the point of opening a bottle of Trappist Westvleteren XII and just drinking it straight from the bottle? You just wouldn’t do it. The point is, proper glassware is essential when imbibing on the myriad styles of brew out there in order to fully appreciate the subtle nuances of the particular…

Okay, I don’t want to hear any “your Mom” jokes. It’s Mother’s Day so let’s show a little class! She gave birth to you, she clothed you, fed you, cleaned up after you, and possibly also had a day job on top of all that. If she was a stay-at-home-mom, Forbes.com estimates she should have earned $115,000 a year for all of the work she did. So at least get your mom a card for…

I do love getting packages in the mail! Those butterflies that arise when you see UPS or FedEx screeching to a halt, the sound of the diesel engine being turned off, and the ringing of the doorbell which signals that in mere moments you will be tearing into something new and exciting. I recently received an email from Widmer Brothers Brewing which merely had a tracking number in it…no explanation, just a tracking number. Oh…

With day length increasing as the season progresses, and with even the shyest of flowers beginning to bloom, it is clear that the rejuvenation of our landscapes is arriving in the form of spring. This renewal which takes place every year transforms the barren into bounty and signals the rebirth of the nature that surrounds us. One part of this nature that I’m sure we are all appreciative of is hops! So as the hop…

As one of the most widely observed Jewish holidays, Passover is a Jewish festival which commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt. Beginning on the 14th day of the month of Nisan in the Jewish calendar, Passover is in spring in the Northern Hemisphere, and is celebrated for seven or eight days. During this time, nothing leavened can be eaten, which means no bread, beans, rice, anything that puffs up. Matzah crackers and bread…

I do love a good conspiracy. The kind that has you feeling like something is awry in ones seemingly organized world, the kind that begs you to take action in an effort to get to the bottom of the mystery. But before jumping into my own personal Mystery Machine to engage in a caper laced with hijinks, I simply started with the “Google Machine” instead. By simply “Google-ing” Guinness beer, one will be treated to…

With St. Patrick’s Day upon us, the Kelly green flags and the Guinness posters will start popping up all over the place. Your local watering hole will be adorned with cheap, plastic promotional material attempting to make you feel as though the luck of the Irish is upon you as you search for the next pint of stout in the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Now we all know and love…

Ahhh, the finer things in life. Now I’m not talking about Ferraris in Venice or North Pole and Arctic island tours in Murmansk or any of that Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous stuff. I’m talking about the realistic finer things. Like a moment when the food and the drink align to bring the partaker to that place where the other senses shut down to allow for maximum appreciation for what is being consumed. You…

It is an absolute jungle out there in the world of beer. Seemingly every day there is a new brewery that pops up with offerings ranging from simple yet elegant, to more exotic and complex. Walking into a local bottle shop can be wrought with anxiety if one lacks the necessary intellectual machete to hack through the thickets that is the jungle of bottles. The nice thing about beer cocktails is that because one is…

Valentine’s Day. Whether it excites the butterflies in your love-stricken heart or antagonizes your gag reflex… it’s happening. But don’t despair or avert your eyes from these words until you’ve read just a tad more! If upon hearing the words “Valentine’s Day” you first think of the actual St. Valentine being martyred by beheading, or think of the 1929 St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in which Al Capone “retired” 7 mob associates, this first beer is…

It’s New Year’s, and that means a few things. Parties, noisemakers, kissing a special someone at midnight, and of course imbibing are all standard fare on December 31st. For years Champagne has dominated this celebration with all of its pomp and circumstance, but no longer! Champagne will become the “old acquaintance” that shall be forgotten. Not content with being considered a 2nd class citizen on this holiday, beer steps up to the mic to claim…

The end is nigh! Every great civilization throughout history has fallen in one way or another and why should we be the exception? The Mayans, in all of their diligence regarding astronomy, have given us until December 21st of this year before the end of days. They say that the god Quetzalcoatl, depicted as a feathered serpent, will return from the sea and that will be that. But, we know better. If we truly are…

With new gadgets and gizmos popping up every day to improve our quality of life, one area that seems to be neglected is the improvement of imbibing…until now. Bridget and Kate are two ladies who grew up in Annapolis and have taken many sailing trips down the Chesapeake Bay. Their journeys culminated in a very specific gripe. Sailing isn’t easy business and they were unable to “trim the jib, raise the chute and tack” while…

As we all prepare to reap the bounty of the harvest on this third Thursday of the month of November, the flood of things that I am thankful for rush past my mind like the Mayflower rushing to the New World. Family is an obvious one, friends is another, health, happiness, and love also make the list of blessings to count. And, as I slide the beads of my abacus over one by one while…

With the leaves falling off of the trees, the chill in the air, and the smell of Ticonderoga #2 pencils, the beer world is once again blessed with the bounty of the harvest in the form of Pumpkin beers. As the autumnal spices fly off the shelves and pumpkin goes into the mash to make beer, many breweries will be vying for our taste buds’ attention with this seasonal offering. One brewery in particular is…

Picking out a pumpkin for Halloween can be a daunting endeavor for sure. As the man or woman on the tractor tows you along as you sit perched on a bale of hay, and as your eyes scan the patch for the perfect pumpkin, you envision how your Jack O’ Lantern will turn out this year! Just as there are endless options in the pumpkin patch, so are there seemingly endless amounts of Pumpkin Ales…

Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and caldron bubble. With All Hallows Eve just on the brink, You, dear readers, need something to drink! And I have found the perfect potion to conjure up if you are looking for a little something different to sip on for your clandestine gatherings this Halloween! Inspired by a beverage that I found from the restaurant Firefly, this Gin based beer cocktail will have you cackling at the…

Whether you are into craft beer, home brew, commercial brew, or even strange brew, the fact remains that we live in exciting times in regard to beer! With so many varieties and versions popping up seemingly daily, it can be a little overwhelming trying to figure out a new beer to try. So if you’re looking to take a break from the Lagers, Pilsners, Wheat beers, and IPA’s that are being marketed at you, try…

Now I know there are plenty of you out there that will no doubt NOT need a reason to celebrate the much loved brew that you are probably enjoying as you read this. Tuesdays, Flag Day, Teacher In-service day, whatever! Crack one open! But for some the celebration is part of the ritual, part of the love that he or she feels for our beloved beverage. And when it comes to parties, few can measure…

In a world, dominated by bacon, one beer stands alone against the odds…ok, I know, without Mr. Movie Voice Don LaFontaine saying it the words are just ridiculous! The truth remains though that we do live “in a world” that is gone bonkers for bacon, and it shows in the endless amounts of bacon products out there. From bacon gum to bacon lip balm, this delicious meat has been “hogging” the market like…well, like a…

Welcome to Hazard County, Kentucky, home to Bo and Luke Duke, a couple of moonshiners from a popular ‘80’s television show that made its way into the hearts of many!

But, this isn’t a TV blog and I didn’t come here to talk about that, so don’t get your Daisy Dukes in a knot; I’m getting to the beer cocktail!

Now, there are places in the South that may be known for its “White Lightning,” or moonshine which is the more common term, but that stuff can make you go blind if you get a bad batch. So in an effort to ensure the safety of your precious eyesight, I chose to put down the mason jar of questionable origin in favor of Kentucky’s legitimate contribution to the world of spirits: bourbon.

I have no idea where you are reading this from dear reader, but here, it’s hot. When the sun bears down on you like you have entered Hades itself the only thing, or I should say the RIGHT thing, to do to escape the 104° heat, is to turn the A/C switch to that little snowflake symbol and reach for a bottle opener. I’ve been trying a few beers lately that, I guess one could…

Have you ever had one of those dreams where you’re floating? Cruising through the fluffy white clouds in the sky on a journey created by the precious REM cycle that we all love? Then the unthinkable inevitably happens: we are ripped from the skies, wings clipped as we are pulled down to the earth as gravity wages a violent attack on our pleasure cruise. No announcements of placing our seats and tray tables in the…

Being a patriot means something different to everyone. And although we don’t all agree about what the criteria for patriotism is and all of our politics are different, we can all agree that a party is in order to celebrate the birth of our nation! So fire up the grill, put ice in the cooler, and get ready to light up the skies, because the 4th of July is upon us! Now, if you’re looking…

“Keeping it real” is a pretty subjective concept. The individual nature of the “realness” varies from person to person, transcending convention as it harkens the partaker to the days of yore as they reminisce of the past experiences that acted as the roots of their image. One might call it a guilty pleasure or a stroll down a lane bespeckled with memories, some good, some bad, and many just plain awkward! Ok truth time…on occasion,…

Tequila. Obviously 3 letters too long to be considered a four letter word, but I’m sure many of you will swear in consternation as images of frat parties or spring break are conjured up from the depths of long blocked out memories of this south of the border beverage. Now there are those who believe the seemingly prevailing opinion that there are no truly good beers that come from the country that gave us Tequila,…

If you were to follow the timeline of beer, one would at the same time see the progress of humanity. Beer has quenched the thirst of countless individuals since antiquity, lubricating society as it has pushed forward to leave their mark in the annals of history. Within the earliest accounts of civilizations around the globe, beer or beer like libations can be found in most early cultures. A gift from the gods in some cultures,…

Ahoy Mateys! In my journey to find the most delicious beer cocktails, I have stumbled upon some real buried treasures in regard to beverages. As I set sail (with all three sheets to the wind of course) to bring yet another delicious treat to the reader’s beer glass, I uncovered a drink that definitely deserves a place in the treasure chest! Now plundering and pillaging is thirsty business and what better drink could a scallywag…

Sometimes you just have to take matters into your own hands. Now I’m not talking about the type of vigilante justice found in many a Steven Seagal or Jeane Claude Van Damme films; I’m talking about shedding the doldrums of the winter months and forcing your mentality and imagination into a more exotic mindset. Mother Nature does not always make this very easy. You want to go for a bike ride and it’s raining cats…

Be honest. Have you ever drank a beer while running on the treadmill? Yeah…me neither…I was just asking. The point is, drinking and exercise are generally considered polar opposites to one another, and many “experts” would scoff at the idea of allowing alcohol to be present in any serious dieting and exercise program. But with every aspect of the human experience, there is always at least one person who tweaks their nose at established conventions…

For years, beer, like the proverbial cheese, has stood alone. Immune from the ever changing and expanding world of cocktails, beer has enjoyed many years of solitude as pint after pint has been consumed in all of its foamy goodness. But the times they are a changin, and beer products are slowly being introduced to the world of cocktails in an exciting new chapter in the world of suds. It may not be Fall yet,…