Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Books read in 2019: No. 51 -- Mark Dawson's Mastering Simple Facebook Ads for Authors

by Mark Dawson and Kerry Gardiner

Started: Dec. 28
Finished: Dec. 31

Notes: With only a few days left in the year, I thought I'd break into this short read about running Facebook ads for authors. I've been meaning to look into this for some while, so why not now?

Mini review: About what one might expect. A short introduction to advertising on Facebook with a handful of hints to improve you chances. A decent starting point.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Books read in 2019: No. 50 -- The Bourne Identity

by Robert Ludlum

Started: Nov. 25
Finished: Dec. 28

Notes: Ludlum is one of many authors I've been meaning to read but have yet got to, and since I was in the mood for some fiction, I thought now would be the time. I've not seen any of these Bourne movies and only have a vague idea of what they're about, so there should be some surprises here.

Mini review: Though this one is definitely dated to the time of its writing (the 1970s) and the plot meanders about a bit too much for my liking, it all comes together quite well in the end. I can't call the writing style a favorite, but it's not bad. Fans of spy fiction will like this one.

Beer of the Week: Great Lakes Christmas Ale

Beer score: 4.8

Company: Great Lakes Brewing Co.

ABV: 7.5
IBU: 30

I've never had a bad beer from the Great Lakes folks, though this one probably comes closest. However, it's not necessarily the fault of the brewer. This one is on me. I simply don't like late-in-the year holiday beers, whether for Halloween or Christmas or whatever. There's always too much nutmeg and ginger and cinnamon flavoring thrown in for my liking, and sometimes even pumpkin ... YUCK!

All that being the case, this Christmas ale is better than most. It pours a nice amber, almost-red color, and has plenty of little, foamy bubbles without going over the top.

The taste has all those flavors I mentioned above (ie. the flavors I don't like), but there are also hints of caramel and citrus here which help to calm the holiday flavoring down to a not-so-awful level.

If you love holiday brews, then this one should be for you. If you're like me and don't care for holiday brews ... meh, this one is still worth a try; even if you won't love it, it's better than most such beers.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Beer of the Week: Shiner Kolsch

Beer score: 5.2

Company: Shiner

ABV: 4.9
IBU: 17

Don't let the lower-than-usual beer score above fool you. Every time I've had a Shiner brew, I've ranked it higher than this one, but this is still a good, solid staple beer and beer snob could be proud to drink.

Strong, but not too strong. Carbonated, but not too carbonated. I describe the flavor as "good and not weak."

Pours a fairly dark gold, almost a crimson. A head foams up quick but disappears just as quickly, leaving behind the barest scent of sweetness on the air.

Feels crisp in the mouth, as can be expected from the carbonation, and you can taste the grains amid the slight sweetness, perhaps even a touch of fruitiness almost like wine.

Not a favorite beer, but not an awful beer. I would drink it again.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Beer of the Week Blast from the Past: Great Divide Whitewater Wheat Ale

Beer score: 6.4

Company: Great Divide Brewing Company

While this fine brewing company is still around in Colorado, no longer are they putting out this tasty beer. Still, looking back, I found some notes from a decade or so back about this beer and thought I'd share them.

The style here was a hefeweizen, and it was light and wet with some sweetness, like many a good hefeweizen are. This was a pretty good drinking brew, though that sweetness tended to grow stronger and stronger the more you drank of it, so after a few you might have wanted to switch to something else.

Poured a light yellow, hazy color. Had a flowery scent to it, and went down with some wheat and citrus notes. Again, a good beer, but watch out for the growing sweetness.

Also, though this beer might not exist any more, the good thing is that since the company is still around, there's always a chance this one could come back some day. But even if it doesn't, the Great Divide Brewing folks have some solid beers to enjoy.

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Return to Nerdarchy!

For those who don't remember (or didn't know), I used to be site editor of a web site called Nerdarchy, a site for tabletop role players. I left that position a couple of years ago, but today I got to step back in time a little and pen an article for the Nerdarchy crew, an article about "Heroic Literature and Rogue Blades Foundation."

And in case you didn't know this, Rogue Blades Foundation is a non-profit publishing house with a focus upon heroic literature. And I happen to be vice president of RBF.

Monday, December 02, 2019

Beer of the Week Blast from the Past: Big Bear Lager

Beer score: 3.4

This is another beer which no longer exists, though I found part of an old review I did of the beer from a decade or so back. This beer was made for a chain of grocery stores in the Midwest in which the stores were called "Big Bear." This beer was brewed by The Hoster Brewing Co. of Columbus, Ohio, for the grocery chain before Hoster went out of business, and then Big Bear went out of business, too. I've had worse lagers, but there isn't much special here. It's got a good color and is stronger than I expected. At least it's not a Bud wannabe.