Beer Learnin' - the BJCP Guidelines

This is for the beer geeks out there. Ever wonder what exactly the distinctions are between different types of beers? What exactly makes a pilsner a pilsner and a lager a lager? The Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) has created the BJCP Guidelines to help resolve just such a question.



Turns out there are 23 main categories of beer, plus 3 categories of mead and 2 categories of cider. Who knew? Really interesting (i.e. dorky) reading if you are into beer and also kind of a nerd.

Beer Wednesday: Le Freak by Green Flash Brewing

Green Flash is yet another good brewery in San Diego. They are best known for their Green Flash IPA. We reviewed their Le Freak in a tag-team effort between Aaron and myself. The Le Freak is a fusion of styles, it is alternately described as a Belgian IPA, an Abbey Trippel, a blond, and as Green Flash's own combo description described below. (Feedback on the format is appreciated; this is our first time experimenting.)

It is $7.49 for a 22oz bottle and has 9.2% ABV. Below is the discussion Aaron and I had in which we reviewed the beer.


Happy Friday! DMX and Dropkick Murphys

In case you needed to get pumped for the weekend on this happy Friday, I present to you the following. Sadly these are two well-known, separate songs by DMX and Dropkick Murphys, not a collaboration between the two (which would be awesome):



Tech Thursday: Windows Phone 7 Review by Wired

I don't have the grandiloquent style that Scott does when it comes to describing the tech world, so I will just introduce the Wired review of the new Windows Phone 7 operating system by saying that I am very interested to see how the competition between Apple's iPhone, Google's Android, and Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 shakes out. I can only hope it will result in a better product for the end user as each OS strives to add more features, better apps, and cleaner user interfaces.

This is yet another arena in which the big three tech companies are competing. Thank you Scott for the link. Anyone have an opinion on which mobile operating system will be the standout, and why?

Beer Wednesday: Seventeen Black Lager by Avery Brewing

Avery Brewing is based in Boulder, Colorado, like many other cool companies. (Amusing sidenote: The tag line for Avery is "Small Brewery, Big Beers". Our friend Grace Boyle is also based in Boulder and has a blog called Small Hands, Big Ideas. They should, like, share notes on tagline creation.)

Avery tends to produce beers with interesting styles. I like that few of their beers are by the book; that experimentation must be fun for the brewer and is definitely fun to experience as a beer drinker.

The 17th Anniversary Dry-Hopped Black Ale by Avery Brewing is a great example of their creativity.


Music Tuesday (on Thurs) - Kingdom of the Animals by Iron & Wine



From the enigmatic MP, aka the Keyser Soze of FIWK, comes this week's Music Tuesday. Brought to you on a Thursday. Cause that's how MP rolls.

This Week in Sports: The British Open started...yesterday


Before going to bed last night around 11:30pm PT, I checked ESPN.com one last time and learned that some French guy had birdied the second hole to take the VERY early lead at the British Open. Now that I'm in my office, most of the rounds have been completed. That's definitely a big part of why I've never gotten into the British Open quite like my love of the Masters and the US Open. It's weird golf over there. Normally the ground is very hard and your ball rolls a lot making it easy for a nice drive to roll through the fairway into the fescue...even though the fairways are very wide by pro golfer standards. The hardness of the fairway and greens make it hard for the pros to really spin the ball and stop it like they normally can. They have to plan on landing the ball short of the hole and rolling it close. However, supposedly the putting is actually very slow. I haven't really figured out how the greens can be hard and slow...

Beer Wednesday: Long Shots Homebrews by Sam Adams

Sam Adams recently released a six-pack featuring the winners of their Long Shots Homebrew Contest. The winning beers: a Lemon Pepper Saison by Jeremy White, the "Mile High" Barleywine by Ben Miller, and "Old Ben" [English] Ale by Michael Robinson. You can read summaries of the three beers here and here.


Music Tuesdays via Caitlin McCabe - ADD SUV by Uffie (ft. Pharrell)



I was going to go with something else today, but then I found this song via Caitlin McCabe who found it via Prima Mag.

This song absolutely cracks me up. I'm still not sure what's going on - all I know is when the black-and-white mime guys on bicycles appeared, the video won me over.

This Week in Sports: LeBron's Decision was bad for sports, but LeBron playing for Miami is good for sports.


Bill Simmons wrote a column during the 2006 NBA Finals, in which he describes two possible futures for the NBA. The Mavericks could win and convince NBA teams and younger players that the collective team concept was the best way to play. Or Dwyane Wade and the Heat could win and reinforce the idea that a perimeter scorer playing a clear out one-on-one game was the best way to win. Unfortunately Wade won and guys like Vince Carter, Allen Iverson, Gilbert Arenas and now Joe Johnson get max contracts.

Fans continually call out to their sports heroes to take less money to help the team sign other players good enough to help them win a championship and that is exactly what LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh did by agreeing to sign with the Miami Heat for less than the maximum contract available. Parents tell their kids to play as a team. We despise Kobe Bryant for taking thirty (30) shots to get his points when most observers would agree that the Lakers best chance to win is for him to create open looks for himself and the rest of his team. We prefer to see LeBron win getting a 20-10-10 instead of Monta Ellis scoring 42 in a loss.

The Miami Heat should be a team in every sense of the word. They should be able to win unselfishly and make people proud to be fans of the NBA.

Tech Thursday: 214 MPG

We here at FIWK have been loosely following the green movement - from Aaron's quest for a new car (I'll be joining your search soon) to Royce's first foray into the Smart Grid - so I thought it wise to continue this look with Pop-Sci's DIY article on making your own MPG improvements. The headliner? Dutch designer Allert Jacobs' 214-MPG motorcycle (the Dutch sure are having a good week!). I love everything about this article.


Image Via Pop-Sci.

Beer Wednesday: Imperial Russian Stout by Stone Brewing

I am quite familiar with Stone Brewing. For one thing they are based in San Diego, just like Ballast Point Brewery; that innate characteristic makes them awesome by default. We all know how much Aaron loves Stone's Ruination IPA, which we all agree is one of the pinnacles of the IPA style. Stone clearly knows how to make a good beer.

That makes their lackluster Imperial Russian Stout all the more disappointing.


Happy Friday! Desktop Tower Defense

If you've never played a tower defense game before, then give Desktop Tower Defense if you have a little time. It's flash based and very simple to learn. But it's fun and the strategy starts getting deep as you progress.

If you do check it out, let me know and we have a little contest with high scores.

Tech Thursday: The Faster Internet we Desperately Need

Gigaom reported yesterday that researchers at MIT have developed a method that could increase the speed of the internet 1,000-fold. (Wait - THAT'S A LOT! - you say? Why yes, yes it is!) Gigaom does a decent job of summarizing the original article, but if you'd like a bit more detail, and some extra commentary, you can find it at Physorg. Essentially, the team has devised a way to eliminate the need to convert optical signals into electrical signals in order to store data in short-term memory while waiting at a router. If that sounds complicated, you're probably right, and I''m not going to even try to describe how this will work. I will, however talk about why I think this is cool after the jump.