GABF 2014 Hangover: Brad’s Re-cap of America’s Biggest Beer Festival

gabf logoAnother year, another GABF (Great American Beer Festival) in the books and another taster cup added to the collection (my 4th year in a row!).  Another tradition of mine when it comes to GABF is that after my mild hangover is subdued with sleep and a big breakfast, I like to go back and rate some of my favorite beers from the festival. This year was pretty cool because it so happened to work out with ticket buying that a lot of my friends had the same session. I enjoyed the member session quite a bit last year in its more intimate setting (and glass tasting glasses) but it was pretty fun to run into many friends, meeting up to plan attacks and then separating only to run into other people we knew for Saturday Night’s session.  My number 1 goal this year was to stretch across the entire floor as I felt like I hung out in the Great Lakes region far too much last year and was already swaying by the time I started hitting the breweries of the southwest. I also stuck to my carefully planned list for the most part and I felt that it gave me a better experience. In addition I wasn’t too worried about pouring out the “meh” beers or being worried if I separated from my crew.

gabfThis year I wasn’t really feeling the hops. I’ve made strides in adapting to drinking hoppy beers in recent years. Especially, if we were to time travel and meet 2009 Brad, whom just survived his first Colorado Winter, after living in the desert meets plains landscape of Abilene, Texas for his first 24 years of existence. 2009 Brad was in the shallow end of craft beer and was dogpaddling to the deep end…actually that’s a pretty spot-on analogy because I’m absolute rubbish with swimming. Six years later, I’m proud to say that I’ve embraced the hops and drink IPAs quite regularly…still a shit swimmer though. However this year I drank only a few IPAs and focused largely on Sours and Barrel Aged Beers at the festival. It also would seem that this was the focus for several brewers as well, so I had lots to choose from. (CLICK FOR FULL RECAP)

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Going Beyond Evil Spock: Listing My Favorite Alternate Universe/Alternate History Stories

Parallel universesOne of my favorite tropes in fiction is that of the existence of an Alternate Universe/Alternate History. With real and mind-blowing scientific theories suggesting that there’s an infinitive amount of alternate and parallel universes that mirror our own; it leads to many “what if” questions and scenarios and naturally, those “what-if’s” can make for great story telling. These stories range from Ray Bradbury’s short story “The Sound of Thunder” in which a hunter goes back in time to kill a T-rex but alters the universe by accidentally stepping on a butterfly to Stewie and Brian’s multiverse traveling adventures  in Family Guy. It’s fair to say that the concept of Alternate Universes and Histories has made its impact on pop culture. Spurning from a recent small talk conversation at work with a few co-workers, I thought it’d be fun to list some of my personal favorite alternate universe/history stories found within comics, TV shows and movies (in no particular order):(READ MORE)

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Craft On Tap: Autumn 2014′s “Ultimate Autumn Six-Pack”

fall beersWhether you like it or not, Autumn is here once again. While it may be a few more weeks before the leaves change colors and the air grows colder, if you visit your local beer store you’ll probably notice that the pumpkin beers are already starting to take up some prime real estate in the coolers and on a few tap walls as well. While I’m more of a fan of sunshine, flip-flops and nice biking weather, Autumn usually heralds the arrival of some of my favorite beers. In addition, being somewhat spoiled by living in Denver, One of America’s biggest beer cities, Autumn also brings the Great American Beer Festival (aka my personal “SuperBowl”). So it’s usually this time of year that my love for beer becomes somewhat annoying to my non-beer drinking friends as I gush about various breweries, beers, and tap takeovers leading up to the event.

I decided that since Autumn is once again upon us, that it’s time to do another Craft on Tap entry (apologies for not doing one for Spring/Summer, I was dealing with job things).  I didn’t really get any correspondents this time around but maybe I’ll have a few for my Winter installment. To make this entry interesting I’ve added a new rule to this series: Your picks cannot be repeated if they showed up on a previous year’s picks that you have made. This keeps it fresh and more challenging. Here’s last year’s picks.  So call this “Ultimate Autumn Six-Pack Vol. II” if you will. If you need a refresher here’s the other rules for this series:

  1. The beers have been tasted (there’s so much beer, so little time/body limitations to try them all…plus it’d be bullshit to rattle off beers that haven’t been tried first). So in other words “duh!”
  2. The beers can be found in stores (there’s plenty of breweries that are “on-tap only” that I’m fiercely loyal to, but unless you live near us, this list won’t help you out much, plus it isn’t designed to provoke a “I have better places to drink than you” pissing contest), so these can hopefully be found in your local stores as well.
  3. The beer is distributed to Colorado. That’s where I’m located currently. This stipulation also obviously mirrors stipulation number 1. There’s plenty that I tried at the Great American Beer Festival and wish that came this way (I’m looking at you 3 Floyds, Sun King, Cigar City, Jester King, Heavy Seas and Brooklyn Brewery!!) Needless to say, I’m sure there are possibly some blasphemous omissions from the following lists, but there’s also a very good chance that it hasn’t been tried or made available out here. Plus you can sound off below in the comments!

Without further adieu, here’s my picks for Autumn 2014 (FULL STORY)

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PopcultureAsylum’s Must Watch Episodes For The Every Simpsons Ever Marathon

Simpsons_FamilyPictureThe Simpsons have been around for 25 years. They’ve been around for 4 presidential administrations (3 of which served 2 terms each), outlived numerous TV shows, and contributed to several pop culture history-making moments. In addition they’ve stared in several videogames spanning since the old NES games, had a Lego set, fictional food products to tie into their movie, and theme park rides.  The 552 episodes began airing non-stop yesterday on FXX and with the addition of The Simpson’s movie, it will take 12 full days to go through the entire catalog. Unfortunately sleep and work will likely get in the way of many fun episodes, so if you are the owner of a DVR, this is when you get to put it to major work. Although a few super-early classics such as “Stark Raving Dad”, “Flaming Moe’s”, “Bart Gets and F” have already passed through, there’s still plenty to be excited about in the coming days of the mega-marathon. Like many fans, I believe the show’s best years are definitely behind them, but staying on the air since 1990 is no small task….there’s people drinking in bars now that weren’t even born when the show first aired. So among reliving the show’s best days, it’s also kind of nice to see a few episodes that I’ve missed in the mid-2000s when I mostly stopped watching. As I’ve mentioned earlier, it’ll be impossible to binge-watch all the episodes, so here’s a few of my suggestions for which episodes to catch during the marathon (or to DVR as some of these will be in the late night and wee hours of Friday night and Saturday morning.) (READ FULL STORY)

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15 Things That “I Love The 2000s” Apparently Didn’t Love…But I Did

2000sVH1 once again put on the rose colored glasses to take a look at another decade with their popular “I love the…” series. Previous installments focusing on the 70s, 80s and 90s became popular hit series. This time around we take a look back to a decade that ended just 4 years ago with “I love the 2000s”. It’s easy to argue that not enough time has passed for the nostalgia to settle in, but to be fair, I must point out that they took a look at the 90s in 2003 or so, which at the time seemed to be too soon to reflect back then.

However, one of the many problems with this new series is that they kind of already did this show back in 2008 with “I love the New Millennium” before the decade even ended which covered 2000-2007. I vaguely remember watching a little bit of it and not ever tuning back in for the rest of the series due to it seeming too soon to look back on things that happened only a few years before. So due to that desensitization,  I wasn’t as pumped for this new series as I remember being with the prior incarnations. As a pop culture blogger, I did my duty and watched the full series and while I’m glad that some events were covered, there were plenty of events ignored that I wasn’t too happy about. So here’s my list of what I felt like would have been great inclusions. (READ MORE)

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Dispatches from Denver Comic Con Day 3: Saying “Cheese” with Bruce Campbell and hearing the voice of Batman (and Tigger too)

IMG_3787Sunday is the shortest and final day of Denver Comic Con. It’s the day that the last of the big panels wrap before 3pm and the exhibit hall shuts down 2-3 hours earlier than the other days. Still reeling from yesterday’s awesome hurricane of events, I was glad that today was largely a “relax day” for us. Last year we had to show up a good hour ½-2 hours to score wristbands to get into some of the bigger panels like George Takei or William Shatner. This year, we didn’t have that to worry about, but just like the year before, Sunday we enter the con extremely exhausted after 2 days of celebrating pop culture. Despite the exhaustion, I still very strongly advocate buying a weekend pass rather than the single day tickets as it’s the better value. I also like having the option to decide if a certain day is a “panel day” or a “explore the floor” day. (READ MORE)

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Dispatches From Denver Comic Con Day 2: Talking weird mating rituals with The Oatmeal and Bruce Campbell!!!

iron giantDenver Comic Con has been around for 3 years and each year seems to get bigger and better. Guests change, vendors change, and policies even change. However, one constant is that Saturday has always been the definitive date of the convention. It’s usually when the biggest panels occur, the cosplayers are at their fullest numbers, and so on. Today was no exception. This was the day that the Con was in full effect.

(READ MORE)

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Dispatches From Denver Comic Con Day 1: Morphin Time with the Power Rangers and Singing with Levar Burton

lego batDenver Comic Con is here once again and like the past 2 times, I’ll be doing day-to-day coverage of this weekend’s ultimate pop culture party in Denver.

My wife Stacey and I began our day early (at least for me anyway) as Denver Comic Con officially opened at 10 am this morning (much earlier compared to starting on Friday afternoons in previous years). Having a new puppy has added an extra hour into our morning routine as we needed to take Faraday on his morning walk and drop him off at his “human grandparents” home to be cared for while we were gone. To answer any questions; Yes, we named him after the shaggy haired twitchy character on Lost, but my wife tends to default to saying he’s named after Michael Faraday (a scientist famous for studying electromagnetism) since she’s a research assistant.  Halfway to my in-law’s place I realized that I made a really dumb mistake and left our badges at home. Shit! And I forgot to grab a sharpie as well. Shit! Next to our car having issues starting and delaying us by 15 minutes, we are now also looking at a good 30 minute delay to our planned schedule. Shit! Shit! (READ MORE)

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Summer Movie Blockbuster Reviews (Pt. I)

summerblockbustersSummer is often times a beloved time of year. It’s when we trade out pullovers and scarves for shorts and flip-flops, winter hats for sunglasses and we start to see less dramatic movies and more movies with explosions and superheroes. While the Academy Awards typically focus on the holiday movie releases and ultra-dramatic films, I feel that summer is when the movies are the most fun. This is typically when all the big guns come out figuratively in the form of mega-blockbusters and literally in the form of explosive action movies. With Summer just starting, I thought that I would weigh in on what movies already came out and maybe touch on some that I’m looking forward to. I have yet to see a few other films such as Neighbors, A Million Ways to Die in the West, Maleficent, or Edge of Tomorrow. However, I did see some of the big movies so far, of course 75% of them in this review are based on Marvel super-heroes, but really in the last few years superhero movies have dominated the theaters. Here’s part one of my summer movie reviews: (READ MORE)

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Game of Thrones Season 4 Preview: A Refresher on the War in Westros

s4Much like last year’s advance screening with The Venture Brothers, I was able to see the first episode of Game of Thrones a little over a week before it airs. However, I will not spoil a moment of the first episode “Two Swords”. Firstly, because of the Game of Thrones honor code of not spoiling upcoming episodes despite the wealth of spoiler-heavy material in the form of the books, innocently reading the back spine of a book, or deciding that visiting a Wiki of Ice and Fire will help you sort out a who’s who of Game of Thrones (it does, but looking up a name made me well aware of the Red Wedding a solid 3 years before it ever aired). I will tell you that the season kicks off very well and it was a very enjoyable episode. The event itself was a lot of fun and I even got a chance to sit on the Iron Throne. The sneak peek of the weeks to come (which also will likely air following next week’s episode) did plenty to get me psyched for Game of Thrones returning after 9 long months of waiting.

While a 9 month hiatus isn’t really a terrible deal for other hit shows like Lost or more recently, the Walking Dead or Breaking Bad to have; those shows are easy to pick up on due to the much smaller ensemble cast. With Game of Thrones, you have many characters in different conflicts and journeys. To make matters worse, several characters have similar names and different houses are added every few episodes. Simply put; you can easily lose track of everyone. With Season 4 finally here, I thought it would be helpful to recap. I did say I won’t ruin a moment of season 4, but this will ruin the hell out of last season …but to be honest, you wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t already watching the show so suck it if you’re going to cry foul over spoilers for the previous seasons. Anyway, here’s a quick refresher on where the 5 major sides stand at the end of Season 3 and their overall power ranking going into Season 4:

(READ MORE)

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