Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday Night Suds - Saranac JugglerNaut Wheat Ale


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Saranac JugglerNaut, a possibly new beer contained in their summer mix box.

Earlier this summer I purchased the Saranac 12 beers of summer pack and stashed it in the den while I did the trek back and forth to Camp M. Now that summer travel has ended I cracked open the Saranac mixed pack to sample some of the new and/or possibly new beers.

The reason that I preface this review as one of a possibly new beer is that I can't tell whether the Jugglernaut is a new beer. Until recently, Saranac used market a pomegranate wheat beer (reviewed here http://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2008/05/sunday-night-suds-saranac-pomegranate.html). As you can see from the label from the 2008 review, the bottles look nearly identical. Unfortunately, it is impossible to find a link to the Jugglernaut on the Saranac website, so I can't see whether they are rebranding the pomegranate wheat as Jugglernaut.

Although the bottle labels have some similarity, I was not convinced that they are the same beer. The Jugglernaut is a light wheat beer with some sweetness from the pomegranate juice which is added to the brew process. I feel like the old pomegranate wheat had a stronger flavor profile, but its been a few years since I had one so I can't be certain.

The Jugglernaut is a good summer beer, especially for those who like a little sweet in their brew. I had this on shabbos with cholent and I found that the sweetness did not clash with the savory stew. Of course part of the reason could be that the flavor of the Jugglernaut was on the mild side (a rarity for a Saranac flavored product).

Saranac Jugglernaut is under the Kosher Supervision of the Va'ad of Detroit as is every other beer produced at the Matt Brewery plant in Utica, NY. Keep in mind, Saranac brews some of its High Peaks series off site and these bottles do not have kosher certification from the Va'ad of Detroit.

To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about the Dry Hop Lager, please follow this link www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/99/116791.

As always, please remember to drink responsibly and to never waste good beer unless there is no designated driver.

If you've tried this beer or any others which have been reviewed on the kosher beers site, please feel free to post your comments (anonymous comments are acceptable).

If you have seen this post being carried on another site, please feel free to click www.kosherbeers.blogspot.com to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Shoftim

Although it is only the 28th of August, it is also the first Thursday Night of Elul and R' Frand has begun the new season of Parsha shiurim. The following is a brief summary of a thought said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce this vort to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

The Torah states at Devarim 17:9 that if there is a dispute, the litigants should go to the Shofet of your days and he will paskin for you.

The Gemara in Rosh Hashanah asks - why does the Torah have to add that the Shofet is of your days? Can a person go to a Judge from a prior generation who is already in the Olam Ha'Emes? The Gemara answers that a person CAN only go to the Shofet in his days and that he should not attempt to compare him with the judges of yesteryear.

R' Frand then linked this to the Siyum HaShas which runs every seven and half years. Invariably, some of the Rabbanim who were on the dais at prior events do not live to see the next siyum. People speak nostalgically about how R' Moshe Feinstein and other rabbanim attended prior siyumim.

R' Twersky mentions in one of his seforim that Avraham Avinu brought thousands of people to teshuva, but what happened to the "nefesh asher asu b'Charan" mentioned in Bereishis 12:5, where did they go? The speculation is that the ba'alei teshuva did not want to go Yitzchak because they remembered him when he was young and did not see him as a proper person to visit with for questions.

R' Frand talked about visiting the grave of the Chasam Sofer. He told a story that when the Chasam Sofer died the very first person to speak at the funeral said that he accepted his son as the Rav for the community and wished him a mazal tov. One does not normally (perhaps ever) hear a mazal tov at a funeral, but this speaker wanted to make sure that everyone understood that there was a new Rav who would be making p'sak for the community.

R' Frand next quoted R' Chaim Shmulevitz who quoted a Gemara wherein Rebbi was giving a shiur and there was a foul smell from garlic which someone had eaten. Rebbi said - whoever ate the garlic should leave. R' Chiya got up and left. Thereafter, everyone else left. The next day R' Shimon B'Rebbi saw R' Chiya and said did you eat garlic? No, he responded. Why did you do this? Because I learned from R' Meir HaKatan. The Gemara then explores R' Meir's story and asks where he got this concept from and he says R' Shmuel HaKatan and then traces the act back to Yehoshua who learned from Moshe.

R' Chaim asks - why is it that the Gemara did not just say that the concept of not embarrassing was learned from Moshe? He answers that Moshe was not R' Shmuel's rebbi and he did not learn directly from Moshe. Its important to have a Rav and to learn and act based on the teachings of your Rav and not hearken back or try to compare with Rabbanim of yesteryear.

If you have seen this post being carried on another site, please feel free to click www.kosherbeers.blogspot.com/ to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday's Musings on Sports - The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Although not truly a sports issue, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has spanned many genres and has even permeated the sports world. Although the first sports persona who I saw take the challenge was the curmudgeony Bill Belichick who took the plunge during the first week of August, the ice buckets have been flying across all the major and minor sports.

Unless you live under a rock, you have a heard about the premise of the challenge - agree to dunk yourself under a bucket of cold water or donate money for ALS research. The challenge was the brainchild of Peter Frates and Pat Quinn (both ALS patients) as a way to raise awareness of this horrible disease and to raise money for medical research to find a cure.

Some of the notable athletes who have taken the challenge in various public and creative ways are Kevin Durant, Lebron James (who unsuccessfully nominated the POTUS to take the challenge), Caroline Wozniacki, Roger Goodell and LA Kings forward Marian Gaborik who used a zamboni for the challenge.

While driving home from Camp M last week, I heard a discussion about an article that ran in the NY Times which quoted Arielle Pardes who opined that “[t]here are a lot of things wrong with the Ice Bucket Challenge, but the most annoying is that it’s basically narcissism masked as altruism.”

The skepticism related by Ms. Pardes was challenged by Mike & Mike who had received word from the ALS foundation that in the month since the Ice Bucket Challenge had commenced, they had raised as much money as the entire 2013 calendar year. Additionally, Mike Greenberg observed that people were donating money for a worthwhile charitable cause and it should not matter what their motivation was for making the donation.

The story reminds me of a vort in connection with Parshas Tezaveh wherein it states that Betzalel made calculations as to the gold, silver and copper which were donated for the mishkan. The rishonim teach that those who donated for pure reasons were the "gold" and their donations went for the highest purpose, wherein those who had donated but wanted recognition were the silver and those who solely donated for public accolade were the copper.

The bottom line is that all the money was used for holy spiritual purposes, but those with altruistic reasons for donating received a greater spiritual reward in that their donations were used for a higher spiritual purpose. 

Similarly, it does not truly matter why a person takes the ALS challenge. What matters is that the money is used for charitable purposes - fighting and finding a cure for this horrible disease.

If you have seen this post being carried on another site, please feel free to click www.kosherbeers.blogspot.com to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sunday Night Suds - Shiner Holiday Cheer


This week's Sunday Night Suds cheers the shiny new couple - Mr and Mrs P, whose beautiful wedding I was zoche to attend with Mrs KB this evening.

Earlier this summer I found a bottle of Shiner Holiday Cheer in the mix your own six pack section of the Big M supermarket in Walton, NY. Having never seen this variety before, I tossed it into the six pack holder with some other new beer and shortly thereafter put it in the fridge and forgot about it.

A few weeks later, I was looking through the fridge for a beer to share with Mrs KB on a warm Shabbos afternoon and came across the Shiner Holiday Cheer. We opened the beer and were immediately struck by the fruitiness. However, this was not citrus or spice - it was real fruit, more specifically a strong peach flavor. At that point I examined the bottle label more carefully and noticed that the beer was flavored with pecans and peaches. Yes, these are "holiday" fruits, but one would expect them to be found in a fruitcake, not beer. Yet strangely, these flavors really worked in this fruit infused Bavarian style dark wheat beer. The fruit was oddly refreshing and was not cloying nor medicinal. (Unfortunately the bottle went out with the trash before I could take a picture of it, hence the stock photo above).

The Shiner Holiday Cheer is generally available during the winter in mixed 6 and 12 packs, It is under the Kosher Supervision of the Va'ad of Detroit although there is no symbol on the the bottle. To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about the Shiner Holiday Cheer (spoiler alert - they like it too!), please follow this link beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/143/45591.

As always, please remember to drink responsibly and to never waste good beer unless there is no designated driver. If you've tried this beer or any others which have been reviewed on the kosher beers site, please feel free to post your comments (anonymous comments are acceptable).

If you have seen this post being carried on another site, please feel free to click www.kosherbeers.blogspot.com/ to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sunday Night Suds - Uinta Detour Double IPA


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Uinta's Detour Double IPA.

Like the artwork on the front label of the bottle, this is the last weekend of trips to visit Mrs KB and the kids at Camp M. To celebrate the end of the camp season (or maybe just because) we opened the Detour Double IPA and shared this premium Uinta beer with some of our friends as a melava malka.

As a Double IPA, this beer is not for those who dislike bitters. RL who joined us for the tasting quickly asked for something sugary to take away the bite (his loss). However the rest of us enjoyed the hop bite and the complex flavors which includes pine, citrus and a not too subtle reminder that the beer has a high alcohol content (9.5% abv).

The Detour Double IPA is sold in four packs and averages $10-12 per four pack. I found mine at the DeCicco's in Brewster which features six refrigerated cases of singles with only a slight mark up over the pack price (I believe I paid $3.49 for the bottle).

Uinta Detour Double IPA is certified kosher by the Orthodox Union and bears an OU on the label. For the experts' take on the Uinta Detour Double IPA please click here www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/1416/58754

As always, please remember to drink responsibly and to never waste good beer unless there is no designated driver. If you've tried this beer or any others which have been reviewed on the kosher beers site, please feel free to post your comments (anonymous comments are acceptable). 

Finally, if you have seen this post being carried on another site, please feel free to click www.kosherbeers.blogspot.com to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Eikev

As mentioned in prior summer posts, since there are no Rabbi Frand shiurim until Chodesh Elul, I would like to substitute a vort from other Rabbanim each week, rather than leaving the blog without a vort for shabbos. This week, I am attempting to repeat a vort heard from R' Eli Mansour as recorded on www.learntorah.com, Same rules as usual apply - I have attempted to reproduce the vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to the maggidei shiur.

The parsha begins with a statement "V'haya Eikev" - that in the event that you keep all of Hashem's mitzvos, there will be great blessings in both this world and the world to come,

R' Mansour quoted the Mishna in Pirkei Avos (1:15) which states that a person should have a fixed time for learning. R' Mansour mentioned a personal story which illustrated this point. When R' Mansour was in high school he had a set night for mishmar - after school learning of Torah. One week there was a "very important baseball game" and he had obtained tickets for the game. R' Mansour said to his principal that he knows that he was supposed to go to mishmar but he wanted to go to the game. So he proposed that he would skip recess, lunch and gym and in so doing would have more learning time than had he gone to mishmar.

The principal responded to R' Mansour that he appreciated how respectful he was in asking for permission, rather than just skipping out on school. The principal also said that the analysis of the learning time was also thoughtful. However he added that it is very important to have a fixed time for learning and that Hashem comes to listen to a person learn when the person has a daily fixed time to learn.

The principal concluded - I am not telling you what to do, just keep in mind that one who has a fixed time for learning will not lose out as a result.

R' Mansour decided to stay and learn, while his friends went to the game. However they did not wind up seeing a game as it poured that night and the game was cancelled after they had sat in the stadium in the rain.

R' Mansour concluded by citing back to the first pasuk of the parsha which states "V'haya Eikev." But the letters of Eikev can be rearranged to read Keva - fixed. Hashem promises that if a person makes his observance of the laws of Hashem "fixed" he will gain, both in this world and the world to come.

If you have seen this post being carried on another site, please feel free to click www.kosherbeers.blogspot.com to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up!