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John Sciacca Writes...

Features, Reviews and a Blog by John Sciacca

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA - 1 year later

Posted on April 22, 2013 at 5:55 PM Comments comments (0)

You may recall that exactly a year ago yesterday I posted my drinking notes on Dogfish Head’s 120 Minute IPA. My summary was that it was – clears throat – “Like drinking a hammer.”


Dennis Burger also provided that review with some wonderful color commentary in the form of t...

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Sampler Adams -- Brewer, Packager

Posted on April 5, 2013 at 5:10 PM Comments comments (6)

I’ve had my share* of beers at this point. And you get to a point that when you roam the aisles of your local grocery stores, liquor stores and beer emporiums you find yourself running out of new things to try. Especially when the city you live in has both Myrtle and Beach in the title and is often referred to as “the Redneck Riviera.”


(* Many would say I’ve had more tha...

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Something old, something new: Stone Brewing

Posted on March 21, 2013 at 5:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Oh, Stone Brewing Co! Everything you do seems to be a giant, bar-raising, F-you! to the rest of the brewing world. You people think you’ve got a fresh beer? Fine, we’ll make one so fresh we’ll put the expiration date right in the beer's name and make it be enjoyed within 30-days of going in the bottle! You make a flight of beers? Bully for you. We’ll make a Vertical flight that span...

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Westbrook Brewing: Single Hop to it

Posted on March 13, 2013 at 2:35 PM Comments comments (1)

Growing up outside of Napa Valley, I discovered that the best way to learn what wines you like is to try a bunch of different wines. And almost everyone who starts their journey to becoming a wine lover starts off sweet. The Rieslings, the Gewurtztraminers, the Muscats, and that bastard of the wine family, the Rosés. (I'm not even going to dignify "fruit infused wine beverages" that sta...

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The One Where I Review Budweiser Unironically

Posted on March 2, 2013 at 5:30 PM Comments comments (2)

I’m becoming a total beer snob, and, frankly, I don’t mind the label. Rather, I embrace it. After drinking – and reviewing – over 160 beers, I think I’ve earned the right to a little snobbery, and I now know exactly what I like and what I don’t with a razor’s honed edge.


However, I’m all about trying new beers. And when I stumbled across an interesting case of ne...

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Getting Bombed on Avery Brewing Bombers

Posted on February 27, 2013 at 4:45 PM Comments comments (0)

It took me a while to embrace the beauty which is the 22-ounce bomber. Frequently a good bit more expensive – the five beers reviewed here would be in the $23+/6-pack range if you calculated by ounce) but there is just something so right about the bomber.


What I’ve grown to love is that the second glass is almost always better. I don’t know if it is the 20 minutes or so that it rests in the fridge while you’re down...

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Hair of the Flying Dog They Sent You

Posted on February 22, 2013 at 5:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Good people drink good beer.” – Flying Dog Brewery


You gotta hand it to Flying Dog Brewery…with names like Raging Bitch (Belgian Style IPA), Pearl Necklace (Oyster Stout), Doggie Style (Classic Pale Ale) and Horn Dog (Barley Wine), these folks have a great sense of humor.


But don't let their names fool you; they take brewing seriously and...

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Super Beer Bowl III

Posted on February 5, 2013 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (2)

Starting a couple of years ago, I started a personal tradition of spending Super Bowl Sunday drinking a variety of high-end brews. The Super Bowl is one of only two sporting events I enjoy watching religiously. In fact, this will be the first football game I watch this year. (It certainly doesn’t hurt that my favorite team – the Niners – is in the Bowl. I mean, I’d watch it either way, but now I’m going to be a lot more vested in the actual game an...

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Beers Brewed for a Right Bastard

Posted on January 25, 2013 at 4:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Not all beers are created equal. Some beers are thin, yellow, pissy affairs that are suitable for little more than flavoring the water they’re brewed in. Others are meant to be light and easy, letting you drink all day while lying by a pool or ocean and taking your mind off of a sweltering sun. Others are flavored with fruit and sissified for people who want to drink beer but that don’t really like beer.


Then there are beers ...

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Chasin' Doubble Unearthly Alpha IPAS

Posted on January 21, 2013 at 2:30 PM Comments comments (2)

If you think I’ve been slack in reviewing beers lately, you’d be wrong. Dead wrong. What I’ve been slack in is *posting* beer reviews lately. I’ve been drinking and reviewing beers just fine, thank you very much. But in looking through my notes, I see that I have over 20 beers already photographed and reviewed and just waiting for their days in the sun!


So, let’s start with four new IPA...

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Gettin Hoppy With It - 5 Big IPAs

Posted on December 21, 2012 at 10:50 AM Comments comments (0)

If you know anything about me, it’s that I love IPAs. Big, giant, crazy IBU, hop-filled beers that just light your mouth ablaze with flavor. Nay. Flava.


So whenever I spot a new Double/Imperial that I haven’t tried, I feel compelled to pick it up. You never know when you’re going to stumble on that next Hoppy Grail that is going to put a smile ...

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12.12.12 - A Day for an Epic Ale

Posted on December 13, 2012 at 10:10 PM Comments comments (1)

All day on Twitter yesterday I was bombarded with messages and reminders that it was 12/12/12. And until that most unlucky of unlucky days – 13/13/13 – this would be the last time such a date happened in this century. So, what better beer to drink on such a day as an Epic Ale?


And what beer could possibly be more epic than a beer that ha

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Mouthdeep in Hops - Four IPAs With a Brother

Posted on December 1, 2012 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (26)

My brother, Adam, is a triple-threat, perfect storm when it comes to helping-a-brother-out and providing beer. 1) He’s incredibly generous, 2) He loves huge, crazy-hopped IPAs, and 3) He lives just outside the San Francisco Bay Area which is home to some of the greatest microbrewers on the planet, giving him regular access to some of the finest beers on the planet. (How’d you like to just stroll into the store any day and pick up Pliny the Elde...

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Bless me Father, for I have beered!

Posted on November 10, 2012 at 3:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Without a doubt, big, fresh, juicy, hop-filled IPAs are my beer of choice. The zing of the fresh pine and citrus juice that nearly puckers your mouth followed the lingering finish of bitterness… When done right, it is difficult to surpass the flavors of a great (Double/Imperial) IPA in my book.


But there are a lot of other beer styles out there, and for this tasting I rounded-up five different Trappist and Bel...

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Beer Review: Five For Drinking

Posted on November 3, 2012 at 4:50 PM Comments comments (0)

This round of tasting is about as varied and different as any five brews I’ve put together so far. An Imperial IPA, a Red IPA, two pumpkin ales, and a coconut-vanilla stout!


And I came across these beers in most unusual manners as well. One beer I discovered watching some guy’s video review on YouTube; another my business partner traded me for; the third was a home brew gift from a brewer in Arizona that...

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Rare-a Nevada: Six hard-to-find Sierra Nevada Ales

Posted on October 19, 2012 at 3:40 PM Comments comments (1)

Hopefully you’ll recall the excellent Guest Blog that my brother delivered after his recent visit to the Sierra Nevada brewery in Chico, CA. Adam – the far more generous of the Sciacca brothers – also delivered even more from his trip, picking up five hard to find Sierra Nevada ales and sending them to me to sample. (I then stumbled across...

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Stone Brewing Co. - Tasting the Freesome Foursome

Posted on September 22, 2012 at 11:25 AM Comments comments (1)

Remember how I’ve been saying that this whole blog thing has been paying off in getting me new writing assignments and whatsuch? Yeah. Well you know what’s better than garnerig writing jobs through your exposure? FREE BEER! Damn straight!


So, I’ve now reviewed over 100 beers, and I figured...

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Beer Club Round 4: Double IPA 4-Packs

Posted on September 15, 2012 at 11:10 AM Comments comments (1)

American Double / Imperial IPA: Take an India Pale Ale and feed it steroids, ergo the term Double IPA. Although open to the same interpretation as its sister styles, you should expect something robust, malty, alcoholic and with a hop profile that might rip your tongue out. The Imperial usage comes from Russian Imperial stout, a style of strong stout originally brewed in England for the Russian Imperial Court of the late 1700s; though Double IPA is often the preferred ...

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Sierra Nevada: Rediscovering an old lover

Posted on September 14, 2012 at 1:05 PM Comments comments (0)

True story: there was NEVER any beer in our house growing up. My dad *hates* beer. In fact, I'm not even sure that "hate" is a word that accurately reflects his dislike of beer. The highest praise that he’s ever given to a glass of cold, malty-hoppy suds after taking the most tentative of sips was, “Well, this one doesn’t make me want to vomit.”


So, it probably points to something in our DNA that my brother and I ...

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Sam Adams: Brewer, IPA-triot

Posted on August 24, 2012 at 11:25 AM Comments comments (1)

Really, what do we know of this Sam Adams? Brewer. Patriot. Likes to drink frothy ale from a hearty, silver flagon. Wears a sleeveless leather vest fully unbuttoned with a shirt slightly agape. Wears his hair in a classic Friendo. Wins all kinds of Great American Beer Festival awards. Has a blue tap handle available at most breweries. Blah, blah.


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