Saturday, February 15, 2014

Brew Review - Hoppin' Frog Brewery & Taproom - Akron, Ohio

Hoppin' Frog Brewery Taproom - 2/14/14

Patty and I headed down to Hoppin' Frog Brewery tonight for some food and good beers.  This place opened a few months ago, but haven't had an opportunity to go until now.  The place is pretty small about a 75 person capacity, but its cool inside.  The bartenders were all super nice and there were a bunch of brewery workers chilling.  The only thing that was weird was the menu was like a karaoke song catalog.  Too many pages, multiple types of beer lists, world food tours, regular menu, special menu, just really confusing.  Although our bartender Joe was really nice, he explained the menu for 3-4 minutes.  I also found the prices to be a bit high for brewery food.  I get the whole craft beer taproom "artisan", "organic ingredient" type foods, but c'mon $14 for 3 tacos?  Also, they had a few different sizes of beer (which added to the karaoke catalog confusion).  They had 4oz, 8oz and 16oz pours.  The 8oz pours were priced like a normal pint at normal bar.  If I'm buying beer from the brewery that makes it, I expect to maybe get it for a bit less than if I bought at another bar...I mean there isn't any distribution mark up or anything.  Am I crazy for thinking that?

I got a spin on a Cuban sandwich and Patty got the tacos.  Both were pretty bangin'.  Beerwise, I went with the following beers:

Fresh Frog Raw Hop Imperial Pale Ale - This was super fresh tasting and really fragrant hoppiness.  Pretty awesome.

CafĂ© B.O.R.I.S. - This was an awesome oatmeal coffee stout.  I had this after my meal and it was almost like a dessert.

Overall, a pretty great place.  Its in an industrial complex which is normal for taprooms attached to breweries.  Great and friendly staff.  Most patrons seemed like regulars but everyone went about their own business.   I'll probably go back again.  Be realistic with your prices though guys. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Concert Review #2 - Dr. Dog - Riviera Theatre, Chicago, Saturday, 2/8/14

Concert Review #2

Dr. Dog - Saturday, February 8, 2014

I woke up after a long night of drinking and concert going the night before seeing Houndmouth with Gary (see Concert Review #1) in Chicago.  We stumbled out of the gate in the morning and just needed some strong coffee to get going.  We headed over to a great breakfast place called Toast.  Its on Damen in Bucktown.  I got the breakfast burger which was awesome.  It a little prosciutto on top, which was a great little oompf to put it over the taste edge.  Perfect coffee, perfect breakfast, but I had to race walk back to Gary's to get rid of it all.  Coffee is my laxative.  We came back and chilled for a couple hours and listened to a couple records, one of which Gary picked up the night before at the Houndmouth concert.

That afternoon and night, we bopped around to couple places, until we got to the concert.  We first headed over to the world famous Map Room.  Great beer selection here, one of the best in the city in my opinion.  I had a nice Half Acre Hyoka on tap and boom, I was ready for another night of awesomeness.  Gary's buddy, Pope was hanging with us.  We watched the Olympics then headed back to Gary's for one more beer before we headed out to grab some grub.  Gary picked this place I had never been to before called The Radler.  Pretty sweet place with a twist on German food.  I got the pork belly with a side of spatzel which was insanely good.  Gary's new girl showed up and hung out with us for a bit.  After dinner and more drinks we headed over to the Riviera. 

We showed up and the show was sold out.  It was insane, because there were a ton people outside trying to get tickets.  Luckily I bought tickets the day before.  We got in right after the opener.  After living in Chicago for 3 years, I had oddly never been to the Riviera.  The venue is older and gritty, but being from Cleveland I was right at home.  These four younger dudes then showed up that were completely wasted on something and stood right by us.  These dudes were probably in high school or right out of high school.  They were stumbling all over the place and rubbing each others' backs.  Very weird.  One of the dudes ended yakking his brains out mid-show as people were jolting away from him to avoid getting his dinner on their shoes.

Dr. Dog then came on stage and just rocked from the first song.  Mind you, I'm a huge Dr. Dog fan and this was the third time I saw (once at Lollapalooza 2012 and once late 2013 at the Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland).  I was not a huge fan of their latest album B-Room, but they played a few tunes from that album and they rocked.  They played most of the songs off of their 2011 album Be The Void, which is a fantastic album from top to the bottom.  Closer to the end of the show, they played my favorite song off of that album, Heavy Light and the place went nuts.  What an insane dynamic again between the dual singers Scott McMicken and Toby Leaman.  The songs flowed smoothly between them and where McMicken had his normal jam out, sunglasses on, in his own world approach, Leaman basically was making love with the mic and crowd.  They absolutely killed the performance and its another reason they're in my top 5 bands to see live.  One gripe with band though and really any other band that is the gig poster.  C'mon guys, in the age of print-at-home and will call tickets, I need some sort of keep sake that I can look at on a daily basis.  I bought one of your t-shirts last concert.  No worries though, your performance covered that gap.

That Old Black Hole
These Days
Ain’t It Strange
Broken Heart
Shadow People
The Beach
Say Ahhh
Distant Light
Heavy Light
Too Weak to Ramble
The Truth
Jackie Wants a Black Eye
Heart It Races (Architecture in Helsinki Cover)
Oh No

How Long Must I Wait
Shame, Shame
County Line
The Rabbit, the Bat & the Reindeer

Check out this legit review on Consequence of Sound with the above mentioned setlist:

Concert Review #1 - Houndmouth - Lincoln Hall, Chicago, Friday, 2/7/14

Concert Review #1

Houndmouth - Chicago's Lincoln Hall, Friday, 2/7/14

I drove into Chicago last Friday after work to visit a good buddy of mine for the weekend (for blog purposes, his name is Gary).  I got in around 9pm CST, but immediately got stuck in an awful Chicago street snow bank.  Gary lives in Bucktown and for those of you who know Chicago streets, know its awful in the winter to park.  He came out and pushed me out and we were at his place enjoying a beer by 9:30. 

The reason for coming in was I really wanted to see one of my favorite bands, Dr. Dog on Saturday (I'll get to that in another post), but Gary told me one of his latest favorite bands Houndmouth was also in town on Friday.  I was in because I'm always in for a concert regardless of who's playing - to a certain extent. So, after a few beers we headed over to Lincoln Hall.  We got there right after the opener who I wasn't familiar with.  Houndmouth came on stage around 10-10:30 and I was pretty impressed from the start.  They have a pretty sweet dynamic: part folk, part rock, part country, part female singer, part male singer.  I can get into folk if its a bit more upbeat and these guys rocked it.  I listened to a few songs on Spotify on the way in and they played most of the songs of their latest album, From the Hills Below the City.  On the Road and Casino (Bad Things) were two of my favorites live.  They had the crowd singing along from the first note.  Lincoln Hall was pretty packed, but luckily we landed a sweet spot on the steps next to the rail and didn't bugged by security to move.  I'll definitely check them out again.  They'll be playing a few festivals this summer, so there is a good chance I'll see them more than once.  One thing I will say, as I always do:  Please come to Cleveland.  No one does anymore.  Skip Columbus, Detroit and Pittsburgh.  We're cooler.

I'm a big gig poster guy too and it just so happened they had one for the show and attached the post.  Its done by a guy named Dan Grzeca.  I checked online and he's done a ton of posters for some sweet bands (Black Keys, Portugal. The Man).  It seems like he does only Chicago shows.  A bunch of his posters have the bird on top of a vehicle/large object theme.  I like the theme and I like his colors on this one.  Bright blue jay saying, "Hey what'dya want from me?" chilling on top of a steam engine.  Pretty solid.  Nice job Dan, if you're reading this.

Get it.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Get it.

Let's Get It Movin'

Let's Go!

Welp, this is the first post of my blog.  Hopefully I can capture what a fun life I share with my main sidekick Patty Mayonnaise and my other sidekicks, the Sons.  I feel like I have a life worth documenting, but haven't done so up to this point.  We don't have kids, we travel frequently, we go to 3-4 concerts a month, we enjoy great beer and visiting the breweries that make them, we love coffee, dining out, cooking, brewing our own beer and just admiring the culture around us.  Patty and I figured out that as soon as we got married 2 years ago, we had a limited amount of time before we had kids.  So right out of the gate, while still living in Chicago we set out on a sick adventure of doing all of the activities mentioned to the fullest.  We have since moved back home to Cleveland, but have not slowed down a bit.  I think we have a year or two to keep rockin'.

Keep It Movin'

Everyday, I ask myself why no one in my immediate circle of friends has a regular blog.  Maybe they don't care to share their everyday experiences with the world and being an open book out in the interweb.  You have to understand one thing about a few of the Sons, none of us share our lives through social media.  No Facebook.  No Twitter.  No Instagram.  Nothing.  Some of us simply exchange thoughts and barbs through a 8 year old email chain and texts.  The conversations on this email chain consist of crude weekend experiences, happy hour escapades, sports talk, music talk, travel and concert talk, constant ripping on each other and just normal everyday conversations.  My other sons share interests and passion towards beer, food, music, concerts, music festivals and gig posters.  Share is probably a strong word on some of those things (like gig posters), because I tend to go overboard on my interests.

This One is Off Our Last Album

I'm going to try and keep this up to date with our experiences as frequently as possible.  I'm staying anonymous, not because I have anything to hide, but because I have found it's hard for people to admire you if you constantly brag about how great of a time you're having.  This is probably one of the reason why I'm not signed up on any social media outlets.  I also have a day job that I truly love and respect.  It's a major part of my life that I could not bare without.  I feel like people often forget about how their careers are their livelihood and how its hard to break perception in the workplace.  You're bound to offend someone you cross paths with in the workplace with your personal lifestyle.  I can't explain, but I've always kept work and personal as far apart as possible.  It's helped me up to this point, so I'm not going to change it.  I'll probably rant on in future posts on people who don't follow the same thought process.  I can't wait to get this rolling.  Hope you stay tuned.

Get it.