Kevin’s Blog: Almost Live, Definitely Half Assed Review of #WWE #Raw

sigh-of-reliefSo I’m watching this game between the Penguins & Bluejackets for entirely too much time. The Pens got a 2-0 lead pretty quickly. They then made it 4-0 in the 2nd period so that they hopefully would avoid the jinx of the 3-1 lead in this series. (Next Day Note: I had to re-write the beginning but should have scrapped even more because I didn’t watch that game for too long. The Pens lolly gagging on a PP led to the Jackets getting a burr under their saddle.) They tried to blow it by allowing three goals in the third period but got their shit together long enough to hold off the Jackets. I’m going to be so happy to “upgrade” the announcers next round to the morons on NBCSN. Very slight upgrade. Time for wrestling. Let’s roll.

John Cena is in the ring first inside a cage. I just sat back and listened because when Cena is on, he can really spin a yarn. He did by asking why the crowd picked the worst odds for him. Cena needs to contain the message of Bray Wyatt because the fans don’t understand how bad that could be. Okay, so that part is a little over dramatic but we’re talking wrestling here. A choir of children sign for Bray Wyatt. He then marches down to the ring with the Family and the choir. They end up having the lambs masks on after Wyatt blows out the kerosene lamp. We get a dull “Cena” chant. This angle has edged his crowd more than normal in the somewhat favor or Wyatt, who gets sing alongs but not much otherwise. He laughs as he rocks one of the children. It’s supposed to draw more heat, right? Good stuff though.

Rybaxel is taking on The Usos for the tag team championships. Curtis Axel starts against Jey, who I can now remember has the full tattoo on his right shoulder. Ryback comes in and of course uses brute force. He misses a splash so that Jimmy come in. Flying Usos. Jey holds his left ankle at the break. (Next Day Note: I was wondering if they’d move the titles to Rybaxel until the “injury.” Sure fire sign the baby faces win.) Jimmy is taking the beat down. Jey ends up getting a hot tag even with the injury. It holds up long enough for a Samoan Drop. Corner splash only gets a two count. Ryback gets a tag behind Jey. He power slams Jey but only gets two. Super kick as Ryback goes for the Meathook Clothesline. Ryback clothes line Jey. Sunset flip by Jey only gets a two. Jimmy gets a tag behind Axel’s back. Jey takes a Perfectplex but Jimmy splashes Axel for the win. Fun stuff. I hope Rybaxel stays together. Sad that’s a statement after a loss in a TV title match.

Paul Heyman admits his faults to Cesaro but guarantees he takes his clients to the top. It’s enough for Cesaro. (Next Day Note: I’d like to hear more from Cesaro but there’s time.) It was all Steph vs Daniel Bryan stuff afterwards. Thanks for letting me play catch up.

Titus O’Neil attacks Sheamus from behind as he made his way down to the ring. Titus tries to take it to Sheamus. The ref breaks it up. Sheamus comes out of the corner with a Brogue Kick for the win. Goodnight to O’Neil’s career of relevance. That’s all I had to type for another segment.

Dolph Ziggler, who I learned is my child over the weekend, (Next Day Note: I was wearing Kent State gear at a bar over the weekend and the waitress asked me if my child went to KSU. I knew I was getting old but not that old.) who gets to introduce Hugh Jackman. Of course they bring up the punch. “Jack Swagger has kicked me harder than that.” is a nice line from Ziggler. Damien Sandow comes out dressed in Magneto’s oversized outfit. This segment is going nowhere fast. They act like Sandow can pull the mic towards hip. Jackman hip tosses Sandow and the he gets Zig Zagged. Woof. Video packages for a PPV = time saving device though it’s good practices by the WWE. (Next Day Note: It also prevents me from typing as much as normal.)

I'm hot so I know what looks good. I picked Jack's new hair cut. Any questions?

I’m hot so I know what looks good. I picked it just for him. From pwmania.com.

Zeb Colter & Jack Swagger come to the ring. Paul Heyman comes out and tries to shame the crowd by saying his kids love him. Oh man, how did I not see that coming with the joke about the Undertaker? I hope that’s the end of the ground beating on the Streak talk too. Good timing to stop after a funny couple of weeks. Cesaro gets introduced. I saw someone complaining about Cesaro’s music on Twitter while looking at game tweets. I agree. It sucks. Cesaro takes control early. Swagger is trying another dopey hair cut. Swagger finally locks up Cesaro with a reverse full nelson. Colter grabs Cesaro’s leg. Swagger takes advantage. Paul Heyman grabs Colter’s mustache. Swagger gets distracted. German suplex for the Cesaro win. Weird finisher. Renee Young wants a reaction from John Cena. He gives no answer just a look of concern.

Cody Rhodes is taking on Alberto Del Rio. Goldust is in Rhodes’ corner. Del Rio takes control when I start paying attention. I was trying to do other stuff. Cody gets out of a reverse chin lock. Cody kicks Del Rio in “the gut.” Del Rio locks in the cross arm breaker. Cody holds out but eventually taps. Cody is still pissed at Goldust. (Next Day Note: I’m not sure why Cody is getting another singles push. I can’t wait for the next inevitable one trick pony gimmick he gets.)

Alexander Rusev gets introduced while Xavier Woods is in the ring. Why is he taking him on again in singles competition? Rusev goes for the Accolade when R Truth clocks him for the DQ win. Woods & Truth work together to get him out of the ring. Lana wisely holds back Rusev. (Next Day Note: Rusev is going nowhere fast.) They show John Cena granting wishes today. Renee Young gets my attention when she talks to RVD. Bad News is going to receive some tonight. Zeb Colter asks RVD to help get rid of their common enemy. He gives a stoner response, grandpa.

Los Matadores is taking on 3MB again. Holy crap. A Wee LC Match. I pay little attention to this match because the high light is the little guys on the outside. Heath Slater pins Fernando. “Barry Horowitz is spinning in his grave but he’s not dead yet.” – JBL.

Stephanie McMahon comes to the ring. Daniel Bryan comes out to the ramp before she says anything. Bryan says “She’s full of crap.” Harsh words. She admits her faults. She just wanted a credible opponent for TLC for Bryan. Brie gets a Divas Title match out of the gig. Ominously, Kane’s mask is gone.

From quicklol.com

From quicklol.com

Paige doesn’t get an entrance. Brie gets the offense in first. Paige goes psycho and takes over. Paige knees Brie who was tied up in the ropes. Running knee by Brie is not sold enough. (Next Day Note: Paige takes a knee to the head but recovers before Brie was even on the top rope. Whoever laid out the match didn’t think about that much.) Paige superplexes her. Kane comes up through the ring. Why are broads too dumb to run? Bryan clocks Kane with a giant monkey wrench. Kane recovers as Brie is shuffled out of the ring. But she goes back in for some stupid broad reason after Bryan gets choke slammed. Good build up for such short notice. (Next Day Note: Although in no way do I still buy Kane as a credible opponent.)

Stephanie plays sorry again. Brie “Bitch, get out.” PG rated, right? Renee Young finds John Cena for a second time. Cena just can’t help himself. Stop making the dumb jokes. You’re tainting the greatness you dealt to start the show. Wade Barrett cheers me up with his promo when cutting down of RVD.

RVD takes on Barrett in the IC Title Tournament. They pimp a Big E interview online since he has barely been seen except for short peaks from the back. (Next Day Note: Another shot of Big E rubbing his chin hit right after I typed that.) Barrett gets in some early shots. RVD takes over. Barrett back elbows out of the ring. B-n-B with the thumbs. Barrett kicks RVD “in the stomach.” Barrett has a reverse chin lock. RVD fights out. Winds of Change by Barrett only gets a two count. Neck breaker by Barrett. RVD warms it up as I realize I forgot to tape The Boondocks. I suck. Cesaro comes to the ring. RVD is distracted. Swagger comes down. Barrett misses the Bull Hammer. RVD goes to the top when Cesaro interferes again. Bull Hammer Elbow leads to the win. I hope the match on Sunday is better. (Next Day Note: I meant Barrett vs Big E. Lots of noise surrounding this match. Not sure why RVD got drug into the Real Americans break up aside from the Heyman reference.) Cesaro attacks RVD. Swagger attacks Cesaro. Then RVD. Then RVD gets to go over on both of them. That was a serious Five Star in the distance department. The Shield is in blue light. Dean Ambrose notes that it’s past Evolution’s time. Seth Rollins thinks they believe in false power. Roman Reigns thinks Randy Orton is the past and he’s the future. Believe in the Shield.

HHH, Randy Orton and Batista come to the ring. They each get short promos. Weird that you book the main event so tight. I’m sure this ends in a brawl. Ric Flair’s music hits and he comes out. He sells them out, right? Yep, after he talks up his ties with Evolution, he picks the Shield. Then walks away. Unless this ends in a hurry, I’m not catching the end. Mitchell Cool mentions “cream puff” again. They really want that to catch on or are rubbing in a terrible choice of words. HHH yanks Reigns leg as he sets up for the Superman Punch. Ambrose & Rollins attack HHH & Batista. Superman punch connects as my DVR comes to a halt. Piss off for the first time since WM, WWE. – Kevin

Stunt Granny Lunch Conversation – Stanley Cup Playoffs and WWE Raw

Lana NXT

Jeremy: That was an interesting game with Pittsburgh Penguins and the Columbus Bluejackets last night.

Kevin:  I was so annoyed by the start. The Pens took control after the TO though. It took them a while to crack Bob still.
Jeremy:  Shows the inexperience. Shouldn’t blow a two goal lead in 3rd.
Kevin:  They’ve done that twice so far this series and I do think it’s partially inexperience. The other part, which is what is bothering me more, is the Pens are more talented. Granted, outworking them is helping the CBJ stay in it.
Jeremy:  I started flipping between Raw and hockey so didn’t see enough to see that.
Kevin:  So Wednesday should be interesting.
Jeremy:  Yeah for sure. Thought of that last night. Pivotal game. No chance Cbus can go down 3-1
Kevin:  Which is what I’m hoping for. As soon as I knew I only had game 4, I was hoping the Pens weren’t on the verge of a sweep because they have only swept 1 team under Dan Bylsma.
Jeremy:  no one can sweep so far which is good
Kevin:  Did Tampa finally win? Walked the dogs during intermissions and started watching Raw after the game.
Jeremy:  Oh forgot about them. I was out by 10:30 or so. Have to watch end still but no shock Cena won even if by DQ.
Kevin:  I’ll have it in a next day note but it was funny of the WWE to skew a vote against the baby face to continue the narrative.
Jeremy:  Yeah I know. Like the outcome was in anyway a surprise.
Kevin:  It’s so weird too since it’s basically the same mistake he made against Nexus that he claims to regret. Learn from past mistakes, John.  Just read that Jim Ross thinks the fans voted for that situation. Either he’s a rube or he’s still covering for the WWE. Either way, it’s a bad look for credibility.
Jeremy:  Nah I have no doubt the fans really voted that. Why would they want anything but the most in that?
Kevin:  Then why would the 2nd most votes be just for Harper?
Jeremy:  Harper is awesome. I am convinced the app stuff is for the hardcore stuff which is why they keep explaining hwo to do it. They think the average fan is stupid and reading the comments on pics and that, ugh, they are.
Kevin:  I just need to read the comments from Twitter they post on the screen. The Tweets couldn’t try to be less mundane.
Jeremy:  Oh yeah those are great. Totally useless.
Kevin:  So I’m sure the comments are just as priceless. Luke Harper rulez! Thanks @TheBeztWWEFan
Jeremy:  I am not doing better than that one. You nailed every aspect, down to the Z in the name.
Kevin:  I’m not even sure if I could Tweet something like that. Maybe I could just to see @Stunntgranny scroll across the screen.

Jeremy:  I considered it but just no
Kevin:  The level of shame attached isn’t worth it.
Jeremy:  Exactly.
Kevin:  Ha. Anything else jump out at you during the show?
Jeremy:  They got Daniel Bryan off tv fast to deal with his dad dying. thought that was a nice touch. Crazy month for that guy. Total roller coaster.
Kevin:  Included that in the corrections I just posted. That is the definition of up & down.
Jeremy:  yeah, when he came out I expected him to say something about it, hence the Brie Bella cameo.
Kevin:  I didn’t know that was news before the show. Never much check the sites after noon.
Jeremy:  I saw it on twitter or something. Not a usual destination but came across it somehow.
Kevin:  I was avoiding that being behind in the game some
Jeremy:  OK, so Lana’s real name is CJ Perry on the SSV board have near nude pics of her already. Damn fine work.
Kevin:  I decided to put Paige pics in the column instead of Lana.
Jeremy:  Nice. She is attractive.
Kevin:  I’ll have to take a look at the Lana pics though. Never been much for blondes.
Jeremy:  Ha. Booooo.
Kevin:  I wouldn’t kick Lana out of bed for eating crackers after watching that short video.
Jeremy:  Nope
Kevin:  Probably a little short on a column still. Dusty is doing the show tonight. So anything else strike you from Raw that we can discuss?
Standard_Poodle

Jeremy: Ran home and watched that main event. Weak shit. The Super Cena stuff doesn’t work anymore. Everyone else has some realistic tendencies but hsi act is so bad in comparison. He did , maybe, 7 moves all match and won. The instant DQ at the end was idiotic. Really bad stuff. It should have just been a beatdown and no match.
Kevin:  Whoever booked the match did pace things well in that Bray Wyatt kept letting Cena off the hook by playing to the crowd which allowed him to get those 7 moves in.
Jeremy:  yes that was OK but it was a beat down for 15? min. it is just the character doesn’t meld with the new or current guys
there are too many established “legit” guys now. It isn’t like he is facing Alberto Del Rio. If it was Erik Rowan takign a AA and then a nearfall then ok, but not Wyatt who you are tryign to build up. You have to sell a cage macth for christ sake. If he can beat him with the interference what is the damn point?
Kevin:  Why I skipped over that aspect of it is a mystery to even me. Rowan is getting in less and less ring time as their gimmick keeps getting used. Not a good sign for him. You are right that he should be the one nearly losing. Not the guy who already lost to Cena at Wrestlemania.
Jeremy:  Right,I know that Cena is ” the standard” now but there is money in the idea that the younger guy is nto ionly getting in to his head but wearing him down physically. Having him get beat for 18 minutes only to make a comeback like nothing happened is not a smart way to further a story.I am not even hating on Cena. This would be a good week to see whot he producer of the segment was. They need to get across the importance of looking weak. Remember Nexus just crushing Cena a few years back. It was startling because it never happened. Last night was a moment to do the same. Cena cannot win against the Wyatt Family. They are too strong or they have worn him down so far between the onset of the feud and now. It makes Cenas eventual triumph that much bigger. Fuck, this is easy.
Kevin:  But you don’t know the back stage politics, man! HHH would never take a spear from Roman Reigns to help build up Evolutions feud with the Shield. So why would John Cena receive a beat down?
Jeremy:  Well Cena did take a beat down after the fact as well but it rings hollow. Yes I am ignoring your very accurate point about Triple H. It was just a very poorly conceived segment. It would also help if the Attitude Adjustment wasn’t a sorry looking finisher. Outside of Ryback who has a weaker looking final move?
Kevin:  So glad Bad News Barrett isn’t using Wasteland any more. But trying to think of bad finishers and am coming up empty. Looked at the roster after thinking on it and still nothing.
Jeremy:  I was aiming more at bigger guys with weak finishers. Anything that consists of a flat back bump isn’t too harsh looking. It also depends on the delivery. If Cena drove the body to the mat or at least kept his hand on the stomach to make it look like he was driving them then cool. He simply flips the guy on to the back. No different than a hiptoss or a back drop.

Kevin:  It reminds me of the Walls of Jericho in a way. It looked good at the start but looked weaker when they started doing it a lot. Jericho turns it into a Boston Crab. Cena has gone from a DVD to as you noted, tossing someone on their back.
Jeremy:  Even the STF has gotten a bit better ever since Austin tod him on his podcast to tighten it up. ll of this factors in making this angle with The Wyatts work. They are believable in their actions and moves and he has the responsibility to do the same. It falls on the producers to get it over as well.
Kevin:  Ha. Didn’t listen to that one but it’s good that Austin called him out. Austin was the best at doing the little things to keep it look realistic. I remember him just punching people as he drug them back to the ring. One of the reasons I like Austin over other people.
Jeremy:  It is alwasy the little things that go towards making things realistic. Even if the announcers, which they didn’t, would have brought up the fact that all John had to do was get dirty to fight back it would have helped last night. Fight fire with fire.Some cliche like that.Imagine after all that with Kane and Daniel bryan he gets up and gives the running knee to kane.
Kevin:  That would have been ridiculous. DB and Cena have much different characters. Cena’s needs to be more like DB. Allow a beat down to happen. As much as we’ve talked up Cena for losing key important matches, he doesn’t allow beat downs like he should.
Jeremy:  Well he allows the beat down but never the culmination of the beat down. He has no issue showing one cheek but he never goes full on ass.

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Kevin’s Blog: Almost Live, Definitely Half Assed Review of WWE Raw

From themusicwithinus.com

From themusicwithinus.com

If you have ever been to this site, you know I put everything on hold when the Pittsburgh Penguins are in the Stanley Cup Playoffs so you are not surprised I’m starting this column late. Hockey is my favorite sport. This year, things are made interesting by the fact that they’re playing the Columbus Bluejackets, to which I have half season tickets. I thought I would be going to all home games but it turns out I’m only going to half so that at least allows me to finish this column in somewhat timely fashion. It also means I’m attending Game 4 on Wednesday so this game tonight was extra important. I feel much better about going to that game with a 2-1 game lead than being down one. I love Columbus, but that’s on hold until this series is over. Let’s Go Pens!

Brie Bella gets her in ring time with her husband Daniel Bryan, except Stephanie McMahon interrupts the fun. We get condescending Steph so it’s a good one. We’re supposed to be worried about the evil Kane being back though which needs more convincing from me. Kane from “out of nowhere” aka just where Bryan & Brie walked to. Bryan gets tombstoned by Kane as Steph shouts “No!” Kane sets up Bryan on the lower half of the stairs. Another tombstone. Is Bryan injured? (Next Day Note: No he isn’t. Unfortunately his father died. Man, that’s tough. You accomplish your dream, get married way above your looks only to have that happen. Yuck. Condolences to the Danielson family.) A third tombstone on the announce table still doesn’t sell me on Kane being able to beat Bryan. They’re trying at least.

If Bad News Barrett wins this match against Sheamus, then Cesaro loses against RVD later. These two have had some fun brawls in the past so I expect a good match. The cross body block is getting popular for the big guys to show off the agility. It never quite looks right and Sheamus is no different. Sheamus gets kicked off the apron to go to break. Sheamus takes over in this stretch. He does look much smoother doing the top rope shoulder block. Barrett turns it around with the Winds of Change side slam. Barrett misses the Bull Hammer Elbow. Sheamus turns it into White Noise. The cross body block to the floor looks rough. So much can go wrong when you do that. Bull Hammer Elbow as Sheamus goes for the suicide dive. Nice win for Barrett. I like Barrett more as an IC opponent than Cesaro, who seems destined for larger prizes. (Next Day Note: Of course I’m assuming that they won’t go baby face vs Big E who is also babyface. I don’t see RVD holding the IC Title though at this time in his career. They could use him as a stepping stone if they go that route though.)

Bray Wyatt and the Family are on the stage. We’re a nation full of sheep, lead by wolves and owned by pigs. It’s a wonderful night for change. Everyone is abandoning John Cena and coming to his side. We get a sing along. He ends by warning us to fear him. I dig his work.

I was amused by the set up for the El Torito vs Hornswoggle on Smackdown. They wrestled a real match as far as the sequence of moves went. The crowd could have cared less. El Torito is an impressive athlete considering his limitations. Jinder Mahal breaks up a pin. Drew McIntyre comes in to take on El Torito. Los Matadores hold up McIntyre for El Torito to sit on him from the top rope. El Torito then pinned him. “Evolution has always been the measuring stick” from Jerry “The King” Lawler. Is he going heel? He was just running down El Torito. I’m so confused. (Next Day Note: Lawler went back into baby face mode for the rest of the show which makes me even more confused.)

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#SippyTimeBeer Review – @BellsBrewery, @BreweryOmmegang, @Gordon_Biersch and @Weyerbacher

Bells Amber AleBell’s Brewery, Inc.Amber Ale – From time to time, I stop exploring the new world of IPAs and head back to my traditional drink of choice, ambers. Bell’s is is from Kalamazoo, MI and is quite well received around these parts. I liked the maltiness that was brought to the table by this beer but the sticking point to me the was bitter after taste that you got. It drank smoothly except for that end part. It is a little bit darker than most ambers but I’m not sure what that is from exactly. The beer clocks in at a low 5.8% ABV so it won’t knock your socks off if you want a relaxation beverage. If they have this one in your area, go for it but it’s good, not great.

Gordon Biersch Winter BockGordon Biersch Brewing CompanyWinter Bock – It’s quite handy to be able to stop in at Gordon Biersch before and after Blue Jackets games. It’s not always a common stop but they do serve good food and have a nice set of taps for beer lovers. They always have a seasonal beer and it happens to be winter so we get a Winter Bock. I do love monks because they had a love for beer. This bock is inspired by them. I had no idea though that monks liked toffee in very large quantities. It made the beverage too sweet by a small margin for me. The beer was appropriately dark for the style, had nice head and drank smoothly. This beer has an ABV of 7.5% so there’s a reason the adjective merry was followed by the word monk a lot. It also has an IBU of 26 so this isn’t making a dent in the bitter department. Not even like the after taste in the Amber Ale from Bell’s. Ohio is as far north as Biersch has made it, so if you’re in the south check out these available locations.

Ommegang Amber AleBrewery OmmegangRare Vos – The Knickerbocker Tavern in Altoona, PA has a fabulous selection of beers. It has been that way for quite a while so I go there frequently with the small contingent of friends I talk to back in the home town. I always try to get something that I can’t here but that’s been harder to accomplish. On an upside, their stock is so good that I can still find other kinds of beer from companies that I have tried. Ommegang is one of those companies. It’s hard to resist any amber and this one was more intriguing than most because it is Belgian style, cafe ale. I didn’t taste the orange peel that they say is in there but I did have the coriander and grains of paradise tap dance across my tongue. The beer went quickly down my throat. The hue of the beer is a more traditional amber color. It has a 6.5% ABV and is even less bitter than the Winter Bock at 21 IBU. This fine company is out of Cooperstown, NY and can be found in these area. This beer is a must try.

Weyerbacher VerbotenWeyerbacherVerboten – This beer was the second one I had at the Knick. If you’re not familiar with German (I took it in high school and for a semester at Kent State) Verboten means forbidden. I’m glad I wasn’t forbidden from drinking it. It’s a Belgian style pale ale. I have liked pale ales long before venturing into India Pale Ales. Now I know that they use less hops and it comes off far less bitter. That is confirmed by this beer checking in at 30 IBU. They use three different styles of malt with one style of hops and of course the always present Belgian yeast. It all combines into a fantastic beer that I would suggest drinking like a fool, which is the Belgian translation for Verboten. At 5.9% ABV, you won’t get tanked quickly on it. This company out of Easton, PA distributes to these 19 states so if you’re a lucky person, go and grab it.

My younger brother Brian gave me this map from Deadspin the other week and I forgot to link to it. It maps out the 2,500 breweries that are currently in the US. That’s a lot of different #SippyTimeBeers to try. Go and enjoy one from your area. – Kevin

#SippyTimeBeer Review – @21stAmendment, @AveryBrewingCo, @GLBC_Cleveland and @Harpoon_Brewery

21st Amendment Back In Black21st Amendment BreweryBack In Black – The picture doesn’t do justice to yet another quality beer can label that 21st Amendment uses. For some reason I chose to feature the label instead of the art. This black IPA is more than just the fancy graphics on the outside. It was brought to my attention by my lady’s sister, whose hand is also in the picture, because of her love of the style. It gets the black color from dark malts which enters the taste equation more than an regular IPA. It may have also led to a thickness that was reminiscent of a porter.  The hops are still front and center though. It is noticeable with the 6.8% ABV. This beverage is out of San Francisco CA and can be found in these locations. Enjoy it if you can.

Avery White Rascal

Avery White Rascal

Avery Brewing CompanyWhite Rascal – Anything other than an IPA recently has seemed out of the norm. This beer is a unfiltered wheat, aka white, beer. The difference in naming is basically a geographic change from Germany to Belgium. Because it is unfiltered, you will get some yeast at the bottom of your glass after drinking this fine beverage. The cloudy white ale has a tinge of orange because there is orange peel in this brew that comes in the flavor. Also present in it is coriander which is a go to spice for wheat beers and compliments the citrus. This beer is only 5.6% ABV so you can enjoy this one over a longer time frame. Avery emanates from Boulder, CO and can be sipped at these locations. If you like wheat beers, this one will tickle your taste buds.

Great Lakes Christmas Ale

Great Lakes Christmas Ale

Great Lakes Brewing CompanyChristmas Ale – This beer fulfills my promise to cover a Christmas or Winter beer for the month. Yeah! I did drink  this one a while ago though before a Bluejackets game. This beer gets a lot of play around here and has for a while. I went to a friend’s bachelor party almost four years ago and his brother-in-law had saved a six pack of it for him until June. I think that’s an extreme reaction to this beer. I enjoy it but I don’t think it needs to be saved for six months. It has a nice maltiness which I enjoy. Like some similar beers, they use honey which sweetens it too much for me and is where this beer goes wrong for me. The ginger and cinnamon make an appearance in just the right doses. Christmas Ale also provides just the right amount of ABV at 7.5% to help you forget about the terrible sweater your aunt just gave you for Christmas. If your memory doesn’t serve you, this company is out Cleveland, OH and distributes to these places. The season is almost over so if you’re one of those types that’s going to hoard this beer, I suggest going out and purchasing it with a quickness.

Harpoon I.P.A.

Harpoon I.P.A.

Harpoon BreweryHarpoon I.P.A. – I thought I remembered this beer from when I was at Kent State. I could be correct since it got started in 1993 but I doubt it. It is still one of the earlier IPAs I remember trying and disliking. I think it may have been because I had never had a beer heavy with hops in it. Now that I’m getting into IPAs, I dislike it for a different reason. This one just seemed too tame to me in the hops department. At 5.9% ABV, that would seem to confirm my suspicions. Since there isn’t much malt, there isn’t a back up flavor to it. Harpoon doesn’t feature the yeast either. Which is unfortunately their stated goal for this New England style IPA. They wanted a well balanced triumvirate of flavors that none dominate. To me, that makes for a bland beer. You’ve got to lean to one of those three sides to highlight what else in the flavor profile. This beer comes out of Boston, MA and can be found pretty much anywhere in this fine country.

No fun links for this week but I will give everyone a heads up that I have rounded up a fine set of drinkers and their top five favorite beers of this past year. For the ladies, my woman is even throwing in her top five cider beers if you don’t like the traditional brews. Now go out and enjoy UFC 168 with a tasty #SippyTimeBeer in front of you. – Kevin

#SippyTimeBeer Review – @DarkHorseBrewCo, @HofbraeuhausMUC, @ImperialCerveza and @PennBrewery

Dark Horse Amber Ale

Dark Horse Brewing CompanyAmber Ale – This beer is not one that I expected. I had never heard of this company. The restaurant that the lady and I went to isn’t exactly known as a haven for the beer drinker either. I always have high hopes when I suck down some malty goodness. This time around, I was not disappointed. In fact I was quite happy with it. Dark Horse says that what sets this amber apart from others isn’t the malt or small dose of hops but the yeast strain that they use. It’s similar to a Belgain strain of yeast. They also say that there’s clove & some fruit to accent the beer but I didn’t pick up on those hints. If that’s what they say, I agree because it is one of the best ambers I’ve had this year. Their beers are available in 11 states so you’ve got a one in five chance of being in a state that sells it. So go out and find it if you live in one of these lucky states.

HofbrauhausHefeweizen – Back when I was at Kent State, I had the good fortune to go over to Italy to study for a semester. During that time, I had the chance to go to Munich and go to thee Hofbrauhaus. It is one of the original beer halls of Munich and was established in 1589. I went up there with my friend Michelle. While touring the Dachau Concentration Camp, we ran into some of my friends from James Madison. We decided to meet up later that night at the Hofbrauhaus to enjoy some bier. It was the first time I’d tried this beer but I don’t have much of a memory of it. When I recently tried it at Wurst Und Bier, I got a nice reminder. It had the hazy yellow color and the freshness that hefeweizens do but it lacks the banana and clove punch that others do. It makes it a smoother beer and closer to a traditional pilsner. It’s always worth trying this one because if it’s longevity and good taste.

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Kevin’s Blog: Almost Live, Definitely Half Assed Review of #WWE #Raw

BandwagonI had a full weekend but my favorite part came Saturday evening when exiting the Pittsburgh Penguins at Columbus Bluejackets game. Two things really amused me during the game. My girl and I walk past the sign up area to sign up for the “Arch City Army”, which is a faction of hard core Jackets fans, going to our seats every game. Since this game involved the Penguins, there were plenty of Pittsburgh fans in attendance including myself. The first derogatory thing told to me was to “Go home…to Pittsburgh.” After living in Columbus for 14 years, I still get this comment. I’m not going anywhere people. Deal with me rooting for the Penguins. The full season ticket holder that sits beside me seemed shocked that I wore my colors even though I told at Opening Night that I would be dressed in black and gold. What an idiot.

The second part was why I mentioned walking past the Arch City Army. After the Pens won 3-0, the best chant they muster was “Bandwagon! Bandwagon!” which is hilarious on multiple levels. You’re the only Bluejackets fans left in the arena. Looks like your bandwagon already left the arena so you’ve got no back up. Second, do you realize that the last time the Penguins won a Stanley Cup was 2009? That’s four years ago if you can’t do the math. You don’t stay on a band wagon for that long. When you’ve been rooting for a team for that long, you’re just a fan. The Pens have enjoyed a great regular seasons but have been terrible in the playoffs. Even last year ended with a miserable sweep to the Boston Bruins.

The “Bandwagon” chant also got me thinking after the Pittsburgh Steelers got dismantled by the New England Patriots. I wore my Pirates hat to the game because it used to be the best way to say “I’m a hard core Pittsburgh fan. You can’t call me a band wagon fan.” I’m starting to think now that I’m going to have wear Steelers gear since they’re the only losers in town. Time to review Raw after that rant which really could have been it’s own post. Let’s roll.

Lenny-Squiggy-laverne-and-shirley-19107748-640-480CM Punk kicks off the show then we get more review from last week. The Wyatt Family gets their entrance. Evidently, this is good for business. Luke Harper is Punk’s opponent. Jerry Lawler isn’t buying that it’ll stay a 1 on 1 match. Smart man. I’m not sure why Punk is going with the Squiggy look. Not surprised Harper got the call. He was good when I’ve seen him. Holy cow, Mitchell Cool is an idiot. Rowan doesn’t look like Michael Myers. Break time. Punk finally makes a come back. His neck breaker looked really bad. Punk ends up “stealing it” with a roll up. Rowan attacks Punk. Bray Wyatt joins in. Daniel Bryan makes the save with a chair. HHH gets more air time because the WWE makes content for their website. If it’s important, it makes it to TV. Could you imagine the CEO of Apple being taped saying “Finish him” to people mugging one of their employees, JBL? They’d be in as much trouble as Richie Incognito.

Renee Young talks to CM Punk. He knows that he’ll always be out numbered. Punk knows he’s not the only one who has a problem with them. Weird that Bryan didn’t pop in. Paul Heyman is on the phone. He appears to be in a Russian gulag because this interview isn’t on Skype. Heyman cries and hangs up. Ryback gets to take on the Great Khali to get some heat back. We get a break first. Lovely.

Khali is out powering Ryback early. I guess Ryback isn’t strong enough to give Khali Shellshock. Meat hook clothes line for the win. Ryback drags Santino out of the ring. He tosses Marella into the barrier. Just what the doctor ordered. We get more Big Show tape. JBL makes the same claims about jail. Evidently the authorities in those municipalities and the WWE don’t feel the same. Kofi Kingston shows up for Eric Nelson’s birthday, if he’s still alive.

Alberto Del Rio is his opponent. Del Rio is putting the boots to Kofi early. He needs to get heat back too if he’s going to take on Super Cena again. The crowd is still pulling for Kofi even though he’s been MIA for a while now. Del Rio misses the enziguri. Del Rio makes one of the lamest kick outs ever. Kofi goes for the SOS. Del Rio turns it into the cross arm breaker for the win. Nice counter. Dear lord, they go through Big Show’s charges with video packages. JBL has no answer for the charges other than he hates lawyers. That’s some weak sauce.

Randy Orton comes out first. Lawler is ready to announce his opponent when Orton gets on a mic. That was as bland as it could be. Big E Langston is his opponent. My boy Dolph Ziggler & the Miz got crushed. No surprise really because the only thing Orton had right was that the WWE Universe didn’t truly have a choice. We got 3 guys the WWE wants him to face. (Next Day Edit: Well, it’s really 1 guy that the WWE wants Orton to face and 2 guys that aren’t a stretch to face Orton.) Langston shoulder blocks him out of the ring. After tossing Orton to the outside a third time, we get a commercial. Orton finally gets control shortly after the break. Big E missed a spear. Yikes. That is a large gentleman doing that. Orton gets to bore us with a reverse chin lock. Big E shoulder blocks Orton in the corner. JBL gets no sold on a comment. Splash by Big E for a near fall. This is some bizarro world baby face match. Dominant showing by opponent, baby face makes a heroic comeback for the win. No way Big E wins this one. Hanging DDT by Orton. The ladies are loving the “New face of the WWE”. RKO out of the Big Ending. Why is Big Show getting so much air time?

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