Glassvember 2017 – Brewery Ommegang Game of Thrones Goblet

I have never seen a full episode of Game of Thrones. However, I did buy a bottle of one of Brewery Ommegang’s Game of Thrones beers. At checkout I was given this glass. It has served me well. I like to drink stouts out of it. It makes me feel like Winter is Coming or Hold the Door or I drink and I know things or something from Game of Thrones. Thanks for the free glass.

Glassvember 2017 – Goose Island 25th Anniversary Nonic Pint

This glass arrived at my house one day. I did not order it. No one told me it was shipped to me it just showed up. I believe it is haunted. I do not use it. I have tried to break it. It will not break. I have moved twice while in possession of this glass. Twice I have not packed it. Twice it has ended up in my cabinet. Please, please someone at Goose Island explain this glass to me. Are they all like that? Or is it just mine?

Pretty nice glass, even if I didn’t ask for it. Bet an ESB would taste delicious in it. But as mentioned previously I refuse to use it.

Glassvember 2017 – Half Acre The Big North 2016 Taster Glass

This is the “taster glass” from the first annual Half Acre The Big North party. My assumption is that every thing before the “bowl” is the taster portion. However, at this party every pour was to the top. From Daisy Cutter to every 13% ABV barrel-aged beer my glass and everyone else’s was filled nearly to the brim. I did not last long at this party and left after I believe less than two hours.

What would drag me away from a Half Acre party? 3 things. 1. My brain was screaming at me to leave this place before I inflicted alcohol poisoning on myself. 2. The Frank Ocean album came out and there was a pop-up shop for his magazine three miles away. 3. When a Half Acre party start a Half Acre party don’t stop.

Glassvember 2017 – Little Goat Diner Tulip Glass

Pardon the bad pics I’m working on it as you can tell by my makeshift studio. A few years ago we had some beers over at Little Goat Diner and then walked across the street to “Big Goat” to have a dinner in honor of the anniversary of my birth. At dinner my wife handed me a brown paper bag that had this glass in it. I use it a lot for drinking Saisons and Double IPAs. Anything that I know needs to express its aroma.

I have a lot of great memories of trying beers at Little Goat and eating incredible meals at Girl and the Goat. This glass is the perfect reminder of all those times.

Glassvember 2017 – Wheaton Ale Fest 2012 Shaker Pint

Here’s the first pint glass I ever got from my first ever beer festival. Me and a couple of friends went out to the Wheaton Ale Fest in 2012 and I decided to try every IPA I could. They all pretty much tasted the same until I saw a booth with a raised fist. I wandered over and for the first time I had Revolution Anti-Hero IPA. It had such a unique hop bite that was different from the west-coast IPAs I had been drinking all day.

For some reason I’ve never gone back to the Wheaton Ale Fest but this glass reminds me of what a good time I had at my first beer festival trying so many beers from so many breweries I would go on to love.

The 15 Bands You Must See At Riot Fest 2017

After taking last year off from Riot Fest I’m back at it this year! And that means I’m back at writing this post. Well it was posts but I’ve been busy so here’s one big post. These are the 15 bands you need to see at Riot Fest 2017!

At the Drive-In 7:40pm Saturday Riot Stage

I had tickets to see At the Drive-In but they cancelled on me. Then they broke up. Then they got back together and did a bunch of festivals that were very poorly received. Then they recorded a new album and played some shows that were more warmly received. So, take your chances but some of us are finally getting to see At the Drive-In.

Beach Slang 12:40pm Sunday Riot Stage

I saw Beach Slang at last year’s Goose Island block party and they were fantastic. Now they are back to rock another Chicago festival crowd. Beach Slang’s brand of fuzzy rock should be exactly what we’re going to need first thing Sunday morning.

Cap’n Jazz 4:25pm Sunday Riot Stage

Speaking of Goose Island they partly sponsored a free show with Cap’N Jazz a couple of months ago and it may have been the best concert I’ve ever been to. Cap’N Jazz did some reunion shows in 2010 that were fun and it was great to finally see them but in 2017 they’ve found a renewed vigor. If there’s a band that could legitimately start a riot at this year’s Riot Fest it’s Cap’N Jazz. Trust me you don’t want to miss this.

Culture Abuse 2:00pm Sunday The Heather Owen Stage

Not long after Beach Slang wraps up on Sunday another fuzzy punk rock band will take the stage. California’s Culture Abuse keeps building up their fan base since the release of last year’s “Peach”. It’ll be fun to see them play their catchy songs for a festival audience.

Dead Cross 3:25pm Saturday Roots Stage

Mike Patton leads a band that contains Justin Pearson, Dave Lombardo, and Michael Crain and it sounds exactly how you want it to sound. This super group was made for festivals. Will you get another chance to see them play together? Who knows! Don’t take the chance this is another must see band!

Dessa 2:00pm Sunday Rise Stage

Well. This is unfortunate. Dessa and Culture Abuse play at the same time. And for the exact same amount of time. So, we all have a tough choice to make and I haven’t quite decided how I’m going to let this play out. We saw Dessa at Riot Fest in 2012 and she was great. It would be hard to walk away from her set definitely the most frustrating conflict of the weekend.

The Hotelier 4:00pm Friday The Heather Owen Stage

I’ve yet to see The Hotelier since they released their sprawling third album “Goodness”. I’m very excited to see how it plays out in front of a big crowd. I’m also interested to see which older songs they sprinkle into their 40 minute set.

Hot Water Music 1:25pm Sunday Roots Stage

Hot Water Music release a new album on the Friday of Riot Fest. On Sunday they play a quick set early in the day. The new songs sound like the Hot Water Music we’ve come to know and love and I haven’t seen them since Riot Fest 2012. I wish their set was longer so they could play some deep cuts and introduce some new songs but Hot Water Music has been around long enough that I’m sure they’ll play a satisfying set.

INVSN 1:25pm Friday Roots Stage

INVSN is the “poppier” side of Refused front man Dennis Lyxzen. The music has an airy atmospheric quality I like but I’m very interested to see how something so sugary sweet goes over early in the day at Riot Fest.

Jawbreaker 8:45pm Sunday Riot Stage

Jawbreaker is playing at 8:45pm on Sunday. Jawbreaker is playing at 8:45pm on Sunday. Jawbreaker. Sunday.

The Lawrence Arms 5:30pm Saturday Rise Stage

The court jesters of punk rock The Lawrence Arms are always a must see but especially in front of a giant hometown crowd. Expect 30 minutes of exceptional punk rock and probably 30 minutes of stage banter.

Ministry 6:05pm Friday Riot Stage

I mean you’re going to see Nine Inch Nails on Friday night, right? So, might as well warm up for that set by seeing Chicago’s own Ministry. It has been a long time since I’ve seen them live but they were very loud. I mean don’t get me wrong these are classic industrial rock songs but they are also very very loud.

Nine Inch Nails 8:30pm Friday Riot Stage

After you get your ear drums blown out my Ministry it’ll be time for Nine Inch Nails. NIN was the first concert I ever went to TWENTY THREE years ago. And I haven’t seen them since. So this is definitely going to be a big deal for me. This is easily one of the biggest bands to ever play Riot Fest. You probably already know if you’re staying for Nine Inch Nails.

Radar State 3:00pm Friday The Heather Owen Stage

Radar State is another super group. This time we’ve got Jim and Matt of The Get Up Kids and Josh from The Anniversary doing sloppy rock and roll. So far 2 of the 3 songs sounds like “Ten Minutes” by The Get Up Kids. So, yeah you should probably go see Radar State.

The Smith Street Band 1:15pm Saturday Rise Stage

Much like Beach Slang on Sunday The Smith Street Band is Saturday’s “HEY WAKE UP AND SHAKE IT OFF” band. Show up early and be rewarded with 45 minutes of loud songs about love, hope, depression, and “lads” which I think is Australian for friend. You could sleep in on Sunday but I mean come on these guys came all the way from Australia.

E3 2017 Thoughts

If you follow me on Twitter you know that this year is most likely the last year I’ll take time out of my schedule to watch the E3 press conferences. It was also supposed to be the last time I was going to podcast about E3. Unfortunately the podcasts did not happen. So since I took the time to watch all the conferences I thought I would at least put my thoughts somewhere.

Things started on Saturday with a pretty lackluster EA press conference. Everyone is trying their hardest to get into eSports and EA is no exception. They are who you think of when you think of sports in video games so if anyone can pull off some growth in this space it’s them. Also, for some reason they are cramming in cinematic single player campaigns into all of their sports titles. Is this popular? Do people like that? A Way Out looks neat but if the game is too scripted it won’t generate any of those moments you talk to your friends about to see if it played the same for them. Finally, Anthem looks great but I’m curious to see how they’ll instill the infamous BioWare story elements into the game if at all.

Microsoft was up next and the Xbox One X looks great but man, I have never seen so many mixed opinions about a console. On the one hand some people seem to think that no one will really buy it because its meant for high end consumers but on the other hand I wonder if there’s enough people out there that will want it Day One that we’ll see shortages at launch. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds coming to Xbox is really cool news. The game is a phenomenon on PC so to letting console players in on the fun is great. State of Decay 2 looks like a ton of fun if you have time to play games like that. I don’t care about Sea of Thieves. I’m very sorry. Crackdown 3 looks…..like more Crackdown which is what I think everyone wanted but that trailer fell a little flat.

Bethesda had a cool conference. Wolfenstein 2 looks great. Its neat that they added Link weapons and armor to the Switch version of Skyrim. Bethesda doubling down on VR is interesting. I wonder if Skyrim and Fallout will be the thing that gets VR into the mainstream.

Ubisoft opened with a very cute Rabbids x Mario game. Unfortunately I’m not a big fan of strategy games so I’ll pass.  Starlink could be neat but toys to life seems like a weird thing to try now. And of course we finally got a trailer for Beyond Good and Evil 2. It was fun, but what is the game?

Sony’s conference was literally hard to watch. We had to restart the stream a few times and it stuttered a lot. Days Gone looks like a Vita spin off of The Last of Us that Sony decided to turn into a full PS4 title. Shadow of the Colossus remake seems like Sony testing the waters for green lighting a sequel. God of War looks fine. Detroit looks like a David Cage fever dream. And Spider-Man looks fantastic.

Nintendo had a breezy conference where the two biggest announcements were just mentions. Super Mario Odyssey looks like a lot of fun and might get me to buy a Switch. It was interesting that the Yoshi and Kirby games don’t have full titles but it’s possible those are coming. Outside of their Nintendo Direct they announced a new 2D Metroid which looks very promising.

There you go. It was a pretty sleepy E3. I’m sure I might hang with Fish and Dave next year for some of the off day conferences but I can’t see myself being very active anywhere but Twitter. So, thanks for reading, more beer and barbecue to come.

Dark Lord Day Survival Guide – 2017 Edition

With less than one week to go until this year’s Dark Lord Day I thought I would re-write my survival guide to include some things that I learned last year.

First, remember how I said you should hydrate the week of Dark Lord Day? Well, that might be a bit much. While I do think that you should watch your alcohol, caffeine, and water levels the week of the event my body got so used to using water to flush my system that by the time I got corralled into the cattle pens I had to pee so bad I thought my bladder might actually rip open. So I’d say try not to overdue anything the week of and depending on how early you arrive increase your water intake once you are IN the festival.

Continue to do everything in your power to not get sick. Take Emergen-C, work from home every day this week, don’t go to the doctor, do not get sick. And if you do get sick DO NOT take anything for it on Dark Lord Day. You have no idea how the medicine you take is going to interact with alcohol. That’s probably the part that will fuck you up more than just being sick that day.

I stand by what I said about the Friday night bottle shares. Partake at your own risk. Do you really want to get so messed up on Friday that you miss your Group B call time? And on top of that possibly be so sick that you don’t drink anything on Saturday?

I think the Camelbak bladder thing is a real good idea. Mine broke before things even got started last year. Luckily, I had backup water bottles. Definitely bring one or the other. I haven’t bought a replacement bladder yet, I might just go with plenty of bottles.

As far as food goes I say skip the festival food. Bring Cliff bars with you. They will get you what you need to keep you going as soon as you need it. The worst thing would be waiting in line for food while still bottle sharing and now you’re drunk because you were drinking on an empty stomach.

I’m just going to quote myself about tasting glasses from last year: “Don’t bring a tasting glass larger than 5oz. I know. It sounds crazy, right? But you will be drinking high octane beers for upwards of 12 hours. Take a 3oz taste, move on to the next thing. By the time you hit beer number 15 your taste buds are going to be shot anyways. You aren’t going to remember half of what you drank so why take giant pours that will only end up with you being very sad the next day.

Taking an hour break in the middle of the day is still really good advice. If the weather is actually decent this year you’ll be able to walk around the festival grounds. See a band, buy some merch, soak it up. You’re at Dark Lord Day!

And finally, stop drinking. When it looks like the people you are with are ready to head out stop taking pours. Put your glass away and pat yourself on the back. You survived Dark Lord Day!

Thoughts on the Wicked Weed Acquisition

 

This morning, I opened Twitter and at the same time as everyone else I learned that Wicked Weed Brewing had been acquired by Anheuser-Busch. My social media feed was flooded with posts about Wicked Weed and ABInBev. My first thought was “wow, my social media is going to be a shit show today”. And it still is.

I wish Wicked Weed all the best.

However, if anyone brings Wicked Weed to a bottle share I attend from this moment forward I will have to say something. Probably something hilarious like “we better drink this before it turns into Bud Light” or “didn’t Anheuser Busch already make sour stouts in 2015” a very funny zing referring to the infected bottles of Bourbon County Stout.

Anheuser Busch wants to destroy craft beer. When they bought Goose Island in 2012 you couldn’t buy craft beer in Chicago any more. I’ve switched to spiked seltzers.

I wish everyone at Wicked Weed the best and I know they will continue to make great beers. It’s too bad they made beer so good that a lot of people want to drink it.

Sincerely,
Jim Plachy

The Best Pork Shoulder I’ve Smoked (So Far)

Last Sunday even with the threat of rain I decided to crank out another pork shoulder. This time I rubbed it with mustard and managed to find time to brine it for about 16 hours. This is how it looked after it came out of the brine. I love seeing the molasses adhere itself to the fat cap.

At 4:45am the shoulder was on the smoker and this time I changed the way I handled the wood. I hid hickory and apple chips throughout the charcoal while setting up the bowl for the minion method. Then when I put the shoulder on I added a large chunk of hickory. I then alternated apple and hickory chunks every hour until the shoulder hit 160 degrees. I was planning on wrapping the shoulder but I was getting such good heat out of the smoker that I skipped it.

This is what the shoulder looked like towards the end of the cook. The bark was super dark and crunchy which is how I like it but I am very interested in doing a wrap one of these days. I was going to do a shoulder this weekend but my schedule didn’t allow for it.

After 12 hours the shoulder came off the smoker and after a 45 minute rest I pulled it. I mixed it up with additional rub and the spice and moisture level was perfect. Doling out the smoke every hour worked great. The meat had a perfect smokey aroma and it didn’t dominate the flavor of the pork. I also think the brining is a must. It adds so much moisture to the finished product. After finishing this shoulder I feel like I’m getting closer and closer to finally doing that brisket. Maybe Memorial Day weekend? Stay tuned!

COOK LOG

43 degrees
225 degrees

 

77 degrees
240 degrees

 

112 degrees
240 degrees

 

7:45am (Water pan refill)
135 degrees
238 degrees

 

152 degrees
218 degrees

 

160 degrees
227 degrees

 

10:45am (changed coal, water pan refill)
165 degrees
225 degrees

 

166 degrees
233 degrees

 

12:45pm (water pan refill)
171 degrees
258 degrees

 

178 degrees
240 degrees

 

184 degrees
243 degrees

 

190 degrees
232 degrees

 

195 degrees
247 degrees