Sam Adams Hopscape Martin Reunion
I know I promised you a review of a truly dreadful beer as the third post in my re-re-return to blogging, and I promise to deliver on that this week.  It will be the very next post, you have my word you bloodthirsty beer hounds!  Like our last post about the greatest beer ever, I have another positive post and want to keep the happiness going!  A very happy birthday (for yesterday) to my loving wife.  It was her “Rolling Rock” birthday as I like to call it.  We didn’t drink any Rolling Rock yesterday (which was the first ever review on Pick 6)….
bubbles
….we drank bubbles.  And some beer.  Which we (I) will review.  Before I get into the reviews, I did want to highlight a few beers we have been drinking.
Sam Adams Hopscape
My favorite kind of beers to blog about are the ones that I develop some sort of emotional attachment to.  Like Coast’s Kolsch and Anderson Valley Summer Solstice which were in my first every craft beer selection together in the summer of 2014.  Those are the beers I tend to love.  A new one that gets an attachment to it is Sam Adams Hopscape.  I’m not going to talk as much about the taste/flavor/aroma (all good) as I am how we developed the attachment.  This attachment started during the most amazing sporting run I’ve ever seen any of my favorite teams go through.  The Final Four for the Gamecock Men’s basketball team.  Those of you that know me well know how much and why I love Frank Martin as much as I do, and it still stuns me that he left a good situation at K. State to come take over the dumpster fire that Darrin Horn left behind.  So I was naturally excited, both for him and as a fan, when we made the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2004 this past season (should’ve made it the year before too #screwtheNCAA).  After watching game 1 with Davis, Wylie, and Andy at Grumpy’s in Aiken, we proceeded to go to Mellow Mushroom (and add Graham, Ashby, Kevin, and Lauren) for the rest of the tournament.  And Hopscape is what we drank.  It’s good, very good, but I will always associate it with the Final Four.  We had it several times afterwards and you can see me, Kendall, and Benjamin (?!) all enjoying it at the Martin family reunion last month.  Sam Adams Hopscape gets a Final ****.
river rat twisted lemon wheat cup
Last Friday as we started Kendall’s birthday weekend we decided to head down to have a beer at River Rat.  River Rat was having a summer kickoff celebration and we decided it would be a good idea for us to go have a beer or three down there to celebrate summer AND a very special birthday.  Anne, Brian, and Benjamin all came to join us and I was also able to see my friends Selia and Jessamine, along with the person who bought our old house #confidentialsale.  I started with a Twisted Lemon Wheat and Kendall got the Kolsch and both were cold and refreshing on a BRUTALLY hot Columbia afternoon.  I know Columbia has some new slogan and logo, but this place will always be #famouslyhot to me.  As long time readers of this site know, we love River Rat and no River Rat Beer has ever received less than a **** rating.  Which leads me to….
river rat luminescent lager benjamin
….River Rat’s Luminescent Lager.  After we finished our first round, Kendall got a Prosecco Popsicle and I ordered one of these.  This beer was originally made for the Fireflies baseball team (they’ll always be the Railroad Spikes to me #spikeout) and is your traditional American lager.  Only with taste.  It’s a perfect hot weather coldie and even though I haven’t seen the Lighting Bugs play yet this year, I have seen this beer around town at Craft and Draft and at the Alley Tap Room in Aiken.  So of course I ordered one while we were in the Rat Cave sweating profusely and absolutely crushed it.  A home run if you will.  At 4% ABV this beer is…grand slammable one could say ****.5.  Also, Anne, I think Benjamin may have inherited your love of beer.
alpine brewing willy vanilly bottle
So what else is in the cooler?  After all, it was Kendall’s birthday weekend right?  Her sister came in town so we hung out by the pool and grilled some hot dogs on Saturday.  No boat ride though because it was windy and her dad and wind are mortal enemies.  Above you’ll see Alpine’s Willy Vanilly which I found at Total Wine.  I know Total Wine is the devil and all, but you can’t deny they keep a solid selection of beers and the ability to order them online and pick them up is very convenient.  Now if only they could get Tropicalia….
unknown pregame session ale growler
On Sunday we went down to spend the night with Mom and Dad, go to dinner at our favorite restaurant Prime, and see the progress on the house.  On Prime, outside of Hall’s Chophouse, it’s the best steakhouse in South Carolina.  And it’s on Hall’s level too.  We’ve never had a bad steak there.  The above beer is Unknown’s Pregame Session Ale which we got at the Alley Tap Room.  We’ll do a separate post on the Tap Room sometime down the line.  It’s a cool place, but the growler fill was way too expensive.  I filled that growler up about 3/4 full and it cost me over $20.  That said, the beer was very refreshing as we gave Graham and Ashby a tour of the progress.
boulevard unfiltered wheat
Now, yesterday for Kendall’s actual birthday, I picked her up from work (part of her gift is I’m her chauffeur all week) and we took Riggo down to the riverwalk and for a little evening stroll.  And by evening stroll I mean we went all the way down and back.  Five miles.  My legs hurt and Riggins is still acting like she’s completely exhausted.  Afterwards we were decidedly starving and thirsty so we headed on up to Old Chicago for an early supper.  At first I ordered a Kona Big Wave because I needed something slammable to re-hydrate but they hadn’t tapped that keg yet.  I scanned the menu and settled on Boulevard Brewing’s Unfiltered Wheat.  Admittedly I ordered this because I thought for some reason they were based out of Denver and we visited the brewery awhile back, but nope, they’re out of Kansas City.  I should have known this because we’ve had these guys on the blog before but I’ll remember going forward.  Very slammable at 4.4% and it has a nice sweet flavor on the finish that was perfect after five freaking miles.  Another good showing from these guys, ****.5.

That wraps up a very special birthday weekend for my very special bride.  I’ll be back later this week with the review I promised you.  Let’s just say with this beer I felt a great disturbance in the Force.

Cheers!
Franklin

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