Rollin’ Golden Pub – 2016

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It’s year three and the Rollin’ Golden Pub (RGP) is getting some serious mileage, literally and figuratively.  The RGP takes residence in a nearby parking lot, and we thank the property owner and its patrons for being mostly oblivious to Captureour rather public activity, not to mention the tell tale signs of our passing - cooler ice dumped onto the asphalt and various puddles of bottle rinse.  That said, the RGP has tacit permission to carry on, as one manager of the property pointed out in passing that “We do sell beers inside.”   Duly noted, and when we’re in a pinch and forced to settle for peasant beer, we’ll… well, actually, no we won’t.  But thank you for your support!
We’re proud to produce our 2016 Annual Report, which provides suitable detail to warrant the astonishment and jealousy of our admiring public.     For a detailed listing, click the logo above.

2014 2015 2016
# of Pub Visits 12 15 16
# of Beers Sampled 34 63 65
RateBeer Avg 98.5 97.1 97.9
BeerAdvocate Avg 94 91.7 95.2
# of RateBeer 100’s 10 17 31
# of BeerAdvocate 100’s 4 5 9

We tend to select our beers primarily on BeerAdvocate ratings, which provides an objective summary of so many subjective opinions.  This requires a fully charged smart phone when exploring beer aisles, but it’s worimageth it.  In any case, we draw your attention to BeerAdvocate Avg row in the table above.    Our 2015 beer ratings suffered in comparison to 2014 due to almost doubling our output input as well as our focus on sampling a beer from each of the 50 States.  In 2016, however, we kept the pace in consumption while surpassing our 2014 BA average, setting a remarkable new benchmark of 95.2.  In BeerAdvocate’s words, “world-class.”

For those that may desire to model their own RGP or equivalent in other locales (you know who you are in Chattanooga, Raleigh, Hartford, Portland ME…) we’re not so exclusive that we can’t at least share our secrets for qualitative and quantitative success:   Head to Massachusetts.  Tree House Brewing and Trillium Brewing provided 21 of our beers this year, almost a third.  We love Californian beers (nine this year), but comparing geographical size and the number of breweries, MA is clearly our brew state of the year.  Add in Vermont and Maine, and the Northeast is a significant contender as the beer lover’s paradise.

We were pleased to complete our pursuit of beers from each State, which required product from WY, NV, AR, and SD.  The first three of these States offered beer of surprising quality given the relatively limited choices of breweries and known people who might travel somewhere that those beers are distributed.  South Dakota’s Pile O’Dirt Porter, on the other hand, was adequate for its purpose, but we forgive it for its exclusivity.  In other words, we thank all of our beer mules heartily!

Metrics aside, it’s also important as a tasting group to express our opinions about the various beers sampled.  We do this regularly.  “That was good.”  “That was great.”  “That was outstanding!” “The more I drink it the more I like it.” “That was my favorite of the day.”  You can see we’re verbose about our beer.   Sadly, we lack the diction, patience and time to remark “Hazy unfiltered orange color with no head.  The nose shows intense and juicy orange and grapefruit without any bitter or heavy citric edge.  The palate is full bodied and somewhat pulpy with moderate carbonation.  Juice and intense flavors of blood orange, grapefruit and mango.  Light zesty bitterness on the finish but extremely harmonious.  Mouthfeel is almost like pulpy orange juice with light carbonation.  Extremely drinkable, refreshing.  This is damn near perfect.”  Thank you online reviewer jc1762…

Now, I can read that description, and I understand what is being said.  I can even relate, because if I had to hire a writer to describe Tree House Brewing’s Julius, that would fit the bill perfectly.  But it’s not our words.  We’re three years into this folks.  We know we can do better, especially when the stars and beer mules align for a Hall of Fame assembly of beers, rated 100 by both BeerAdvocate and RateBeer.  Yes, it’s the makings of a blind tasting:


Of these, Tree House’s Julius garnered unanimous votes for best of the bunch, with Pliny the Elder, the venerable Californian legend, a consensus second place.  We expected more from Heady Topper, an early favorite of the group in 2014, but… that’s why you have a blind tasting.  So, we’ve now contributed in some way to beer lore, for whoever may discover this writing.  Tree House.  Julius.  Get some. 

As you’re observant folks, yes, we’re also proud of our recent upgrade to the RGP, a veritable bar surface providing a steadier pouring platform for our enjoyment (and less chance of offending a Mrs. who may otherwise detect slight stains or absorbed goodness).  Only a couple of weeks after the tasting, we enjoyed a “Who’s Who” from Tree House Brewing:


Old Man, an English Bitter and newer effort by the brewery, was the outcast of the bunch.  It’s decently rated, but probably due to reviewer’s favoritism for the brewery.  Even with  86/66 ratings by the different sites, it didn’t dent our average scores.  Otherwise, well, we’re just bragging about sampling five beers from a brewery who only sells four days a week, from their brewery in Monson, MA, and typically with no more than two canned styles at a time.  Yes, we’re bragging.

This relates to the (beer) trade of the century:  We appreciate beer mules, products of careful  manipulation cultivation, instruction and/or pleading.  The key is to groom those who regularly traffic in highly rated and narrowly distributed beers.  We try to treat them fairly, but sometimes… sometimes you just have to take advantage of a situation, such as our key mule in Hartford, CT.  His wife loves Sweetwater Blue, a blueberry ale that is commonly available in Atlanta.   For this, he trades rarities from Vermont (The Alchemist’s Crusher and two cans of Focal Banger) as well as, I think, a Tree House beer and a CT favorite.  It’s clearly a “Win – Win” right out of negotiation class, but we know who’s winning more.  (Thank you, sir!)

Lastly, a word on sediment or solids that settle into a bottle.  We haven’t noticed a difference in taste, but after some reading, it’s possible that these may adversely affect the brewer’s intended flavor.  The Alchemist’s Focal Banger can specifically instructed that the beer should be poured without these for the best flavor.  They’re commonly called “Floaties” and occur regularly in unpasteurized or unfiltered beer.  Yeast and protein particles fall out of solution over time, so these can be considered an indication of the beer’s age in most cases.  The yeast is full of B vitamins, so it’s not a health issue to drink them.  At other times, a brewery will bottle condition a beer where sugar or wort are left in the bottle intentionally.  This creates CO2 and helps extend the shelf life.  That said, we’re from the South, so we call them “giblets” and consider them good drinking.


In case you missed our last outings, here’s the links to those.  Note that last year’s epistle contains handy by-laws for a group such as ours, which is Holy Writ except for an unstated but understood “margin” on the 72 ounce limit.  Bottle ounces don’t always add up to exactly that, now do they?

2015 RGP
2014 RGP

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