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Russ Beck

Russ can trace his beginnings in craft beer to sitting in Zeno’s Pub in State College drinking various craft beer options from across Pennsylvania. Since then, he has never faltered in finding new brews, whether they’re rare, delicious, or hopefully both. Russ will be writing on a large variety of subjects, including but not limited to: reviews, homebrewing, and how to take labels off of beer bottles. He’ll drink just about anything, but prefers a nice Stout, IPA, or Weizenbock. Find Russ Beck on Google Plus

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Here are my most recent posts

Bluejacket Moving On Without Head Brewer

Bluejacket Moving On Without Head Brewer

Megan Parisi is no longer the head brewer at Bluejacket, as the two have amicably parted ways only three months after the brewery’s official opening. Megan, formally of Cambridge Brewing Company, spent the better part of the year spreading the Bluejacket name by brewing collaborations with everyone from Cigar City in Florida, The Bruery and Stone in California to De Struise in Belgium–experience that Bluejacket won’t be quick to recreate. Bluejacket’s beers haven’t hit the DC … Read entire article »

Filed under: Bluejacket

Reserve Society: Am I Getting My Money’s Worth?

Reserve Society: Am I Getting My Money’s Worth?

“Reserve Society” is the trending word in beer communities across the Unites States as we’ve entered 2014. From California to Washington D.C. and everywhere in between, breweries are charging an entrance fee for guaranteed access to their rarest beers, events, and even some swag. This approach circumvents the need to host beer releases at the brewery, which sometimes can get out of hand, and cuts down on the amount of people that travel to the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Adroit Theory Brewing Company, Beer Release, Breweries, Cigar City Brewing Co., Reserve Society, The Bruery, Three Stars Brewing Co., Upland Brewing Co.

Happy Valley Brewing Company’s Bitter Cold Start

Happy Valley Brewing Company’s Bitter Cold Start

State College has a new face in town, officially named Happy Valley Brewing Company (HVBC). It opened in December of 2013, becoming only the second brewery in State College (next to Otto’s Pub). Central Pennsylvania is begging for some new, top notch craft breweries, so HVBC has a big opportunity to succeed. It’s execution, however, has been flawed. The brewery didn’t open with the highest of expectations, as it launched without any house-brewed offerings. It’s curious that … Read entire article »

Filed under: Breweries, Happy Valley Brewing Co.

Better From The Barrel: Prairie and Pirate Bomb!

Better From The Barrel: Prairie and Pirate Bomb!

From the same tasting that brought you the video gem of Greg and I taking down Stone’s Crime, I now bring you the latest in the Better From The Barrel? series featuring Prairie Artisan Ales‘ Prairie Bomb! and Pirate Bomb! Prairie Bomb is an imperial stout aged on coffee, cacao nibs, vanilla beans and chili peppers and stored in a 12oz wax bottle. The beer is relatively sought after, fitting a recent trend of imperial stouts … Read entire article »

Filed under: Beer, Better From The Barrel?, Imperial Stout, Newport Distilling Company, Prairie Artisan Ales

Best Beers of 2013

Best Beers of 2013

We here at The Beer Circle like to think that we drink a lot of good beer. With that in mind, we decided to vote internally on what our favorite new beers of 2013 were. The criteria was simple: you had to have the beer to vote on it and the beer had to make its debut in 2013. The list ended up being, predictably, focused on Pennsylvania. Voodoo Pappy van Winkle Black Magick Probably the most sought … Read entire article »

Filed under: Beer, Beer Facts, Bullfrog Brewery, Perennial Artisan Ale, Pizza Boy Brewing Co., The Beer Circle, Voodoo Brewery

Cellar: Victory Storm King 2011-2013

Cellar: Victory Storm King 2011-2013

Back in 2011, when I was fresh into beer, I decided that Victory’s Storm King Stout would be a nice beer to start my cellar. When I lived in Pennsylvania, it was a local beer that was relatively easy to find, so it all came together. A lot has happened since then, including the decision by Victory to sell Storm King in four packs, instead of six packs. I was so taken aback by the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Beer, Cellar, Russian Imperial Stout, Victory Brewing Co.

DC Breweries Tour Recap

DC Breweries Tour Recap

This past Saturday, despite a continuous deluge of wintry mix in the Washington area, a car full of good friends drove across our nation’s capital to see five different breweries: DC Brau, Atlas Brew Works, Chocolate City, Right Proper, and Bluejacket. A testament to the success of craft beer right now, the longest drive between breweries was 15 minutes. The fun breweries paired with almost everyone being a bit sleepy and hungover made for a … Read entire article »

Filed under: Atlas Brew Works, Bluejacket, Breweries, Chocolate City, DC Brau Brewing Co., Right Proper Brewing Co.

Saturday, 14 December: DC Breweries Tour

Saturday, 14 December: DC Breweries Tour

Come one, come all to the finest craft beer breweries that the District of Columbia has to offer! On Saturday, 14 December, a group of us will be making stops at five breweries whose addresses contain Washington, DC (apologies to those in VA and MD!). Most of these breweries are new, and only offer growler hours to the public on Saturdays. So, barring another snowpocalypse, we thought it would be a good idea to stock … Read entire article »

Filed under: Atlas Brew Works, Bluejacket, Chocolate City, DC Brau Brewing Co., The Beer Circle, Three Stars Brewing Co.

Video Review: Stone Crime

Video Review: Stone Crime

About four months ago Greg had the idea that sparked a movement: A chili stout tasting. The movement wasn’t necessarily one of social importance, but more a movement of beers from the cellars of Paige, Greg, and Russ to make the tasting happen. After a delightful, two day event that including amazing beers including Barrel Aged Abraxas, Prairie Bomb!, and Red Wine Barrel Aged Mexican Cake, we ended with Stone’s Crime. Crime’s base is bourbon … Read entire article »

Filed under: American Strong Ale, Beer, Blend, Stone Brewing Co.

Better From The Barrel: Hardywood Farmhouse and Rum Pumpkin

Better From The Barrel: Hardywood Farmhouse and Rum Pumpkin

On the heels of the outstanding news that Hardywood will begin distributing some of its stock to Arlington in November 2013, I decided to find out if their most recent Barrel Collection release was actually better from the barrel. It all starts with Farmhouse Pumpkin, part of Hardywood’s Reserve Series. This pumpkin ale, farmhouse ale hybrid doesn’t fit nicely into one style, but piqued my interest as a different take on the pumpkin style that currently … Read entire article »

Filed under: Beer, Cruzan Dark, Hardywood Park, Saison