Monday, October 31, 2022

Books read in 2022: No. 31 -- Conan and The Treasure of Python

by John Maddox Roberts

Started: Oct. 18
Finished: Oct. 31

Notes: It's back to reading fantasy. For perhaps the first time in decades I do not have any new Robert E. Howard to read, but at least I have this novel based upon his most famous of characters. I'll see how this author handles Conan the Cimmerian.

Mini review: This is not Howard's Conan, but is much more akin to the Conan of the 1970s Marvel comics, not that that's an awful thing. Her Conan is hired by some Aquilonian nobels to go in search of a missing brother, which is really a subterfuge for finding the treasure which the brother went in search of. Decently written, I felt there wasn't enough action though there's a fair amount of weirdness reminiscent of Lovecraft. However, the ending was fine and bloody with a running fight, a battle, a duel, an unearthly monster, and more, so in the end it was a decent read.

Beer of the Week: Bohemia Pilsner

Beer score: 3.5

Company: Bohemia
ABV: 4.7

This beer has gone by a number of names over the years, from just "Bohemia" to "Bohemia Clasica" to most recently "Bohemia Pilsner," but it's all the same beer (though I suppose it's not impossible the recipe has been tinkered with from time to time).

Whatever the case, this beer has a color like straw and gives off scents of yeast and biscuit. Not bad, but not great.

There's a little breadiness in the tasting along with too much carbonation. Basically, yet another weak, fizzy Mexican brew. Premium beer drinkers might like this, and I'll leave it to you.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Beer of the Week Blast from the Past: New Amsterdam Blonde Lager

Yep, it's another beer and brewery which are no longer around, but I have a few old notes.

Beer score: 7.9

This one was excitingly crisp and wet with a brilliant sweetness that rounded out this fine drink. Went down smooth with nice citrus flavors.

I really liked this one, so I'm sad it's no longer with us.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Books read in 2022: No. 30 -- The Book of Ezekiel

published by Zondervan

Started: Oct. 10
Finished: Oct. 18

Notes: Catching up on my Biblical reading, this is one of the more famous books from one of the Old Testament prophets.

Mini review: Much of this book is Ezekiel handing out messages he has received from God, mostly condemnations of Israel and other nations, though there are some signs of hope for Israel's future. The last portion of this book is almost a much shorter reworking of the Numbers and Deuteronomy, laying out the building of a new temple as well as appointing lands to the twelve tribes.

Monday, October 17, 2022

Beer of the Week Blast from the Past: Firehouse Brewery Beers

Over the years there have been multiple brewing companies with the name Firehouse Brewery, so to be clear, I'm talking about the defunct brewery which operated out of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, more than a decade ago as of this writing. Too bad they're no longer with us, because they made some pretty good beers. Below are my notes for two such beers.

Firehouse Brewery Kolsch Lager
Beer score: 8.0

Had the color, smoothness, and texture of a white ale. Pretty smooth with a slight tartness that was quite enjoyable. I tend to like "white" beers and this was one of the best, so too bad it no longer exists from this brewery, which is out of business.

Firehouse Brewery American Ale
Beer score: 5.9

Wet and smooth with a smoky bitterness that took a few drinks to get used to. Had a weak lager quality. Not bad, so again, it's unfortunate this brew is no longer around.

Monday, October 10, 2022

Books read in 2022: No. 29 -- Haunted Chillicothe

by Neal Parks

Started: Oct. 9
Finished: Oct. 10

Notes: Since it's the Halloween season, I thought I'd take a break from my recent fantasy reading and turn to something spooky. Plus, I actually lived in Chillicothe, Ohio, for 10 years during the '90s, so it might be fun to re-visit some old haunts. Pun intended.

Mini review: A short book, but worth the read to relive some memories and to learn about spooky places and events in a place I continue to cherish. Similar to many regional ghost-hunting books, this one could use some editing, but it still wasn't a bad book. Locals to the Chillicothe area should love this one.

Beer of the Week: Thames Welsh ESB

Beer score: 5.4

Company: Felinfoel Brewery Co.
ABV: 6.5

Pours a dark brown color while giving off scents of caramel and citrus.

Has an overly strong burnt fruit flavor in the tasting with more hints of caramel. Mighty strong and sweet, especially for a bitter-style ale.

That overpowering burnt sweetness is a bit too much for my taste and my stomach, which is why I don't score this beer higher, but there definitely are far worse beers. Worth tasting at least once to experience the near-uniqueness of this beer.

Apparently this drink is made based upon an old Welsh recipe.

Saturday, October 08, 2022

Books read in 2022: No. 28 -- Demons Don't Dream

by Piers Anthony

Started: Sept. 16
Finished: Oct. 8

Notes: Somehow or other I've made it all these decades without having read a Xanth novel, or for that matter anything by Piers Anthony. So I thought it high time I fix that situation. I picked this one by happenstance, having come across it in a used book store a while back.

Mini review: A teen boy and girl are pulled by a computer into the world of Xanth where they take part in a game for a prize. Along the way they make companions, meet lots of strange beings, and visit plenty of fantastical places. If you're one who enjoys silliness and especially puns, this one should be for you. Unfortunately, while I could enjoy this book, it wasn't what I was really in the mood for. The writing was good enough and the ending was actually quite nice, but I suppose my state of mind was seeking something more serious. That doesn't mean I won't give Piers Anthony another try at some point, but either I'll try on of his non-Xanth books or I'll make sure I'm in a goofy state of mind before I start a Xanth book.

Monday, October 03, 2022

Beer of the Week Blast from the Past: Hempen Ale

Beer score: 5.5

Another beer that's no longer with us.

Originally brewed by the Frederick Brewing Company in Maryland, but later on was brewed by the Wild Goose Brewery. This beer was made using seeds from hemp plants.

The drink was a sweet brown ale that at first felt oily to the lips. A little sweet, drinkable, and didn't taste awful. But wasn't awesome. Which is probably why it's no longer around.