Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sunday Night Suds - Saranac Red IPA


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Saranac Red IPA.
 
This week's post completes my review of the 2012 the Saranac Winter Box. As I have been mentioning in various posts over the last two months, the Saranac Winter Box has two of their better winter seasonal beers - the Chocolate Lager (reviewed here - http://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2011/12/sunday-night-suds-saranac-chocolate.html ) and the Big Moose Ale (http://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2009/11/sunday-night-suds-saranac-big-moose-ale.html ) along with four new varieties - the Black Bear Bock (http://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2012/12/sunday-night-suds-saranac-black-bear.html), Belgian Pale Ale (http://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2012/12/belated-sunday-night-suds-saranac.html), the 4059' Porter (reviewed last week here - http://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2012/11/sunday-night-suds-saranac-4059-porter.html) and the Red IPA.
 
The experts at BA have classified this beer as an American Amber/Red Ale, which they define as:
 
Primarily a catch all for any beer less than a Dark Ale in color, ranging from amber (duh) to deep red hues. This style of beer tends to focus on the malts, but hop character can range from low to high. Expect a balanced beer, with toasted malt characters and a light fruitiness in most examples. The range can run from a basic ale, to American brewers who brew faux-Oktoberfest style beers that are actually ales instead of lagers.

I would not necessarily agree with BA as to their characterization of the beer as an American Amber. Although the category is apparently drawn wide intentionally, the beer leans more towards an IPA than an Oktoberfest type brew. I found that the beer had a nice hop bite with some piney aftertaste as well. The beer would go well with spicy chinese food or even lighter stews.
 
Saranac Red IPA 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 has begun to brew 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 Red IPA, please follow this link - www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/99/86600.
 
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, December 27, 2012

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Vayechi

The following is a brief summary of thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce these 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 R' Frand.
 
In Bereishis 47:31 it is written that Yaakov knew that he was about to die and he called Yosef and asked him to come to his bed. Once Yosef arrived, Yaakov made Yosef promise that Yaakov would not be buried thereafter. Once Yosef agreed, the pasuk states that Yaakov got up and bowed to the head of the bed. Rashi learns from here that the Shechina is above the bed of a sick person. Even though Yaakov was weak, he bowed to honor the Shechina.
 
R' Frand quoted a sefer called Tiv HaTorah who asks - why is the Shechina on top of the bed of a sick person. He theorizes that when a person is sick he may take the attitude that Hashem has abandoned or hates him. However, the real reason that the person is sick is because Hashem feels that a person needs to go through this. This is the reason that Hashem is at the bedside - to let the person know, it is from Hashem and Hashem is there for the person.
 
The sefer Tiv HaTorah quoted a story involving R' Tzvi Kowalsy, who R' Frand said that he knew personally because he was the nephew of a fundraiser for Ner Yisrael called R' Chaim Nachman Kowalsky. When he was sick, people would come visit him and gave him kvitlach which he would put on top of his bed. He would put these kvitlach there because the Shechina was always present. The man did not feel that Hashem had abandoned him.
 
The second vort that R' Frand said related to Yaakov's exchange with Yosef wherein Yaakov says that he never thought that he would see Yosef again and now he sees Yosef's children. R' Frand asked - Yaakov came down to Egypt seventeen years before Yosef appeared at his bedside with Menashe and Ephraim. Yaakov had been living in Egypt for the last seventeen years and had obviously seen Yosef and his sons quite often. So why does Yaakov pick this time to say- I never thought I would see you again and now I even see your children?
 
R' Frand answered that people tend to forget events in their lives. We may have anniversaries that remind us of our weddings or the birth of a child or marrying off a child, but these become "old news." The pasuk tells this about Yaakov because every day Yaakov remembered that he never thought that he would see Yosef again and was so happy to see Yosef again.
 
The third vort said by R' Frand was given over in the name of R'Shmuel Birnbaum who was the former Rosh Yeshiva of the Mir in Brooklyn. R' Frand related that although the brochos given in the parsha may not all seem like typical brochos, they were in fact blessings as it is a great brocha to point out someone's strengths and weaknesses so that he knows what to work on the future. This can be seen in the brocha to Levi, where Yaakov points out Levi's trait of zealousness which Levi then develops and serves the Jews well at the Golden Calf. R' Frand pointed out other positive brochos before stopping at the blessing to Yosef.
 
In Bereishis 49:22-23, Yaakov calls Yosef a "charming child." However Yosef is also called gorgeous, to the point that Egyptian girls would climb the walls of the palace to catch a glimpse of Yosef. This is abnormal as the positive attributes of a person do not generally include statements about him being "drop dead gorgeous." The Torah then continues (and as interpreted by Rashi) the Torah states that Yosef's brothers hated him and spoke with sharp tongues about him. But how is this a brocha?
 
R' Birnbaum stated that people gravitate towards those who love them and value them and speak nicely about them. People tend to avoid those who speak harshly to then and clearly do not value them. Sometimes a child will leave his home or his peers because he feels that he is not valued, but people who live on the street love him. This is the brocha and strength of Yosef. Yosef knew that his brothers hated him and sold him down to Egypt. Yosef came to Egypt and the girls swooned over him. He could have tossed his identity away and followed the Egyptian girls. But Yosef remained steadfast to his religion. This is strength of character, the same strength he had to resist the wife of Potiphar when he was 17 years old. This is what Yaakov was recognizing in the brocha.
 
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Monday, December 24, 2012

Monday's Musings on Sports from Tim to Egypt and Back

Nearly a year ago, the sports world was abuzz about Tim Tebow. Tebow had been a superior college quarterback who was given no chance by most pundits at succeeding in the NFL. The scouts did not think that he had the throwing motion nor accuracy to succeed as an NFL QB. Tebow was drafted in the late first round of the NFL draft by the Denver Broncos, but he had seen almost no action in his first year in the NFL.
 
Last year, the Denver Broncos were foundering and the team had gone through two ineffective QBs. Out of sheer desperation and to satisfy the demands of the Tebow fans who had followed him from college in Florida to Denver, the Broncos begrudgingly put Tebow into a game. And the team started to win. Although a careful analysis of the Broncos games can yield any number of reasons that the team won seven of the first eight games that Tebow started, the immutable truth is that the Broncos won the games that Tebow started. The games were often ugly, but Tebow just could not be denied.
 
I remember watching the first round playoff game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Denver Broncos last year. Pittsburgh was down Ryan Clark because of the altitude in Denver (for more on Clark see my post here - http://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2012/01/mondays-musings-on-sports-santonio.html). I could not believe that the Broncos had been able to keep up with the mighty Pittsburgh Steelers, but somehow the regular session ended in a tie. A few minutes into overtime, Tebow his Demaryus Thomas with a perfect seam pass and he was off to the races. Although the Bronocos got punched in the gut the following week, the legend of Tebow was born.
 
A few months later, the Indianapolis Colts cut Peyton Manning due to concerns about his health and the fact that Andrew Luck had fallen into their laps. Peyton visited a few teams and took a couple of phone calls before he decided that Denver was his best choice as a free agent. Not long after, Denver traded Tebow to the Jets. And the Jets season was stillborn before they played their first game.
 
There have been far too many articles written about why Tebow was a bad fit from the start for the Jets. Be it Sanchez's fragile ego, the lack of a plan for the use of Tebow or the fact that the offense had too many holes which needed to be filled, the Tebow experimented was destined for failure.
 
So the Jets started their season and the Sanchize had some good and some not so good games. Still, their defense kept them in games and their playoff hopes were still alive at the midway point of the season. However soon after, Sanchez had some brutal games, none worse than the debacle against New England which gave the Jets their seventh loss. At this point, the Jets knew that another loss would doom their playoff hopes. When Sanchez started poorly against Arizona the following week, Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan brought in the backup QB, but it was not Tebow since he was unavailable due to injury. Instead, third string QB Greg McElroy saved the day and for the moment, the season.
 
The next week, the Sanchize was back in as QB and the team barely managed to scrape out wins against bad teams. Tebow eventually made his way back from injury, but he was not put in to spell an ineffective Sanchez. After the Jets were finally (mercifully) eliminated, the team announced that it would bench Sanchez and that ... McElroy would start the game against the SD Chargers. Although the Jets lost the game 27-17 and McElroy had flashes of competency (he was sacked 11 times), the Jets did not replace him with Tebow.
 
To his credit, through it all, Tebow has been stoic and has not publicly said a bad word about Jets ownership, management, his teammates or coaches. In fact, each time that Tebow is interview he does everything but criticize the Jets or call anyone out.
 
Tebow's positive demeanor despite his humiliating treatment brings to mind a vort I saw in the name of the Netziv about Yosef. In last week's parsha, Yosef finally breaks down and tells the brothers that he is really Yosef. Prior to this event, Yosef sends all the Egyptians out of the room so as to not embarrass the brothers. Once the Egyptians have left, Yosef says to his brothers - I am Yosef, is my father still alive. The Netziv asks - why is it that Yosef does not say "I am Yosef who you sold down to Egypt?" The Netziv answers that even though the Egyptians were out of the room, Yosef was concerned that they could hear him speaking from their location in the antechamber and in an attempt to protect his brothers from embarrassment, Yosef did not fully call his brothers out.
 
This is the way of all those who think positive and know that what matters is what they can do, not putting others in their place.
 
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Belated Sunday Night Suds - Saranac Belgian Pale Ale


This week's (belated) Sunday Night Suds looks at Saranac' Belgian Pale Ale.
 
Due to the fact that yesterday was the Jewish fast of Asarah B'Teves, I deferred this week's new brew until tonight. (Unfortunately, I have yet to find a beer that goes with lasagna which was what Mrs KB made to break our fast).
 
As I mentioned last month, the Saranac Winter Box has two of their better winter seasonal beers - the Chocolate Lager (reviewed here - http://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2011/12/sunday-night-suds-saranac-chocolate.html ) and the Big Moose Ale (http://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2009/11/sunday-night-suds-saranac-big-moose-ale.html ) along with four new varieties - a Red IPA, Black Bear Bock (http://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2012/12/sunday-night-suds-saranac-black-bear.html), Belgian Pale Ale and the 4059' Porter (reviewed last week here - http://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2012/11/sunday-night-suds-saranac-4059-porter.html).
 
The Saranac Belgian Pale Ale is a very good American take on a Belgian Pale Ale. The beer has a good amount of spice which emanates from the yeast. It also is not very heavy in its alcohol taste nor content (it is 5.4% abv which is on the lower end of the spectrum for this style) would allow you to have more than one if you had the desire to do so.
 
The flavor profile also allows for a variety of pairings (but sadly, not lasagna). The beer would go well with rich poultry dishes to lightly spiced meat, but not stews/cholent. I had the Saranac Belgian Pale Ale with chicken and spiced red quinoa and the pairing was quite good. If you have tried a combination that works for you, please shoot me an email or post a comment with your thoughts.
 
Saranac Belgian Pale Ale 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 has begun to brew 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 Belgian Pale Ale, please follow this link - www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/99/86607.
 
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, December 20, 2012

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Vayigash

The following is a brief summary of thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce these 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 R' Frand.
 
This week's parsha contains the culmination of the Yosef story as Yosef reveals himself to the  brothers and asks whether his father is still alive. The revelation takes place after Yehuda pleads with Yosef that the brothers have an old father who needs them and that they must be allowed to return with Binyamin.
 
R' Frand asked - why is it that Yosef listens to Yehuda now when he had not paid him any mind before when Yehuda had told the same story? R' Frand offered two answers to the question.
 
The first answer proposed by R' Frand relates to a Rama in Shulchan Aruch. The Rama states that when a person is about to begin shemoneh esreh, he should take three steps back and then take three steps forward. The Rama quotes the Rokeach who explains that the source for this act is that the Tanach contains the word Vayigash three times - each of which making reference to davening. The word is written once by Avraham and once by Eliyahu, both in instances where it is obvious they are in the act of praying. However, the Rokeach states that Yehuda was also praying when he spoke with Yosef and that this act of prayer was enough for Hashem to influence Yosef to forgive the brothers.
 
R' Frand said that we see from this that there are times when a person prays and they feel he is not being answered. The gemara in Berachos says that if a person prays and does not receive an answer, he should pray again. We also see a similar concept by Moshe in Parshas Vaeschanan that Hashem told him - stop praying because if you pray one more time, I will have to allow you to enter the land of Israel.
 
This is the message of the story - when Yehuda prayed again while speaking to Yosef, it was enough to allow Hashem to push Yosef to relent.
 
The second explanation which R' Frand referred to came from the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh. He writes that the way that a person thinks about another is the same way that a person thinks about him. He compared it to looking in a mirror or pool of water - the way you look when you look into the reflection will be what you see back.
 
The Ohr Hachaim explains that previously Yehuda despised Yosef and it was obvious on his face. This time, Yehuda worked on himself to act warmly towards Yosef and be nicer and kinder. This was what pushed Yosef into revealing himself to them.
 
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Monday, December 17, 2012

Monday's Musings on Sports - Is there an NHL anymore and how R' Aharon Kotler met the Mob

With all the serious events which occurred over the last few months, I wanted to try to lighten things up by looking at what has become a joke of a league - the NHL.
 
During the last twenty years there have been three work stoppages in the NHL. The first came in 1994, the season after the NY Rangers won their first Stanley Cup in more than fifty years. The NHL was riding a wave of popularity with Wayne Gretzky in LA, the Rangers as Stanley Cup champs, Jaromir Jagr driving the Pittsburgh Penguins and a young goaltender named Marty Brodeur about to enter his prime.
 
And then, the league locked out the players and the season did not start until January 1995. The season was shrunk to nearly half of its usual length (48 games) and the fans shrugged their shoulders and watched basketball instead.
 
Nine years later the NHL again locked out their players after they could not come to an agreement on an extended Collective Bargaining Agreement. This time, there was no mid-Winter compromise and the 2004-2005 season was cancelled. When an agreement was finally reached, the league also hammered through some competition rule changes which included the use of shootouts to settle regular season games (instead of ending in ties). The resultant product was more exciting, but the fans and players lost a season of hockey.
 
After the LA Kings finally won their first Stanley Cup last spring, the league again locked out its players. As of my writing this post, all NHL games through New Year's have been cancelled and other than hockey purists, no one seems to care.
 
A few weeks ago I was in a sporting goods store with one of my daughters and I said to one of the clerk's - when is there going to be hockey? He pointed me to the hockey merchandise. I said to him - no, when will there be any hockey games. Although he worked in a large national sporting goods store he was clearly oblivious and he responded to me - they will start playing games in a few weeks.
 
What the NHL fails to understand is that by cancelling games they do more than just hit the players in the wallet. They deprive people of their livelihood and drive fans away from a sport which could use all the exposure that it could get. While the ultimate dollars and sense is certainly important, the prospect of cancelling a full season for the second time in less than a decade, threatens to make hockey irrelevant.
 
So to return to the reason that I started this post, I saw an article which made me laugh, even though it is more pathetic than anything else. As was reported in the Yahoo Puck Daddy blog (http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/leafs-joffrey-lupul-discovers-nhl-lockout-extends-restaurant-224713372--nhl.html) an NHL player was denied service at a sports restaurant in Toronto which is owned by the Maple Leafs. The reason given by the restaurant is that during the NHL lockout, the team may not permit the players to have access to any of its facilities, including team owned restaurants. The player joked in the article that it is OK for the restaurant to sell jerseys with his name on them for $300 a pop, but he can't get a reservation at the restaurant. I had to wonder whether the Cablevision owned NY Rangers had cancelled service to any Rangers player.
 
The humor of the story and the fact that the team's lack of perspective on service at the restaurant made me think of a story that Rabbi Frand told last Thursday Night about R' Aharon Kotler and Joe Bonanno. During WWII, some boys from a yeshiva had tried to escape Europe by crossing through Nazi allied Italy. They were captioned and imprisoned and faced certain death. R' Aharon Kotler and R' Moshe Sherrer went to Joe Bonanno to see if he could use his influence in Italy in order to obtain the students' release and safe package. During this meeting, Joe Bonanno asked R' Kotler for a brocha (blessing). R' Frand stopped his telling of the story and asked the audience - what kind of brocha can you give a murderer? He continued the story and explained that the blessing given by R' Kotler was that Bonanno should die in his own bed (as opposed to prison or at the hand of an enemy).
 
While this may not seem like a blessing to you or me, it was very valuable to Joe Bonanno. (The story concludes that twenty years later a limo pulled up in Lakewood as Bonanno's son wanted a similar bracha. However at this point R' Aharon Kotler was long deceased). Still it is a strong indicia of the power of perspective.
 
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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sunday Night Suds - Uinta Monkshine Belgian Blonde Ale


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Uinta's Monkshine Belgian Blonde Ale.
 
I read last week about how a beer which has been described as the "world's best beer" by reviewers and fans will now be available for sale outside of the abbey where it is brewed. The beer is called Westvleteren XII and is produced by Trappist monks in Belgium and sold at the abbey of Saint Sixtus in the Belgian countryside. The beer can usually only be purchased by reservation at the abbey - and reservations are supposedly extremely hard to come by. Since the abbey has fallen on difficult financial times, it is being exported and is available for retail purchase for $84.99 which buys you six bottles of the brew and two glasses.
 
I have not purchased the Westvleteren XII and have no idea whether it is kosher, although I would venture a guess that no Rabbis have been checking out the brew process inside the abbey of Saint Sixtus. Instead, I looked to the far west and chose a Belgian beer by way of Salt Lake City, the Uinta Monkshine Belgian Blonde Ale.
 
The good folks at BA have defined the Monkshine Belgian Blonde Ale as a Belgian Pale Ale, which:
 
were initially brewed to compete with Pilseners during the WWII time frame. They differ from other regional Pale Ale varieties, by traditionally being less bitter, using aged hops for a delicate hop finish, and boasting sweetish to toasty malt overtones. They should be decanted properly, leaving the yeast in the bottle. This will showcase their brilliant color range from pale straw yellow to amber hues. Most will be crowned with thick, clinging, rocky white heads. Flavors and aromas will vary. Some have natural spice characters from yeast and hops, while others are spiced.
 
The Uinta product is full of spice from the yeast, and I found myself asking more than once if this was some kind of hefeweizen hybrid. The beer is not cloudy and does not have the depth of flavors of a true wit beer, but it has a lot more spice than a typical blonde ale. I enjoyed this beer with Mrs KB during a few quiet moments after an exceptional Friday Night dinner. We did not pair the brew with any food, but it was quite enjoyable as an after dinner treat.
 
Uinta Monkshine Belgian Blonde Ale is certified kosher by the Orthodox Union and bears an OU on the label. For the experts' take on the Uinta Monkshine Belgian Blonde Ale please click here http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/1416/23313.

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 http://www.kosherbeers.blogspot.com / to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Mikeitz

The following is a brief summary of thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce these 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 R' Frand.
 
There is a famous pasuk in this week's parsha where the butler (aka Sar Hamashkim) says to Pharaoh Es Chatai' Ani Mazkir Hayom. The sentence is generally translated as "I remember my sin today." However, the actual meaning of the pasuk is I remember my sins today.
 
R' Frand quoted the Alshich who asked - why is it that the butler was given the zechus to be known as the person who got Yosef out of prison? The Alshich answers by quoting the Riva who in turn asks - what were the multiple sins of the butler. The Riva answers - the butler told Pharaoh - I have two sins. I sinned because there was a fly in your wine and also because I did not mention to you for two years that Yosef was in jail and could help you.
 
The Alshich explains that it is very difficult for people to admit that they had done wrong. The zechus for the butler was his very public admission to Pharaoh that he had messed up by not mentioning Yosef earlier. It is for this reason that the butler goes down in history as the person who caused Yosef to be released from prison.
 
R' Frand also quoted from pesukim (Bereishis 42:27-28) which state that the brothers trembled in fear when they opened their sacks and saw that they had money in the sacks in addition to food. R' Frand quoted the Darash Mordechai who explains that the brothers were scared because they saw that they had money in their sacks which was not theirs and they did not want this money.
 
The Darash Mordechai linked this vort to the concept that gedolim are very careful with other people's money. There is a story about R' Aharon Kotler who devoted much time for raising money for Chinuch Atzma'i. After some time, the people from Chinuch Atzma'i wanted to do something for R' Aharon Kotler and so they bought him a new beckeshe.
 
R' Frand digressed to tell a story about R' Aharon and how he met Joe Bonnano, but I will i'yh have to recount that story in another post. For the purposes of tonight's post, the upshot of that story is that when R' Kotler met Joe Bonanno, the crime boss was put off by the fact that the sleeves on R' Kotler's kaputta were frayed.
 
Back to the original story, some years later, R' Aharon and R' Yitzchak Zalosnik (sp?) went to a parlor meeting for Chinuch Atzma'i. After it was done, R' Aharon asked to be driven home before he was to go to a wedding, because he needed to change. When R' Yitzchak asked why he needed to change, R' Aharon responded - the people from Chinuch Atzma'i bought me this coat for a reason - to go out and speak on their behalf.
 
The Darash Mordechai asked - why couldn't R' Aharon have said to himself - they bought this coat for me and they wanted me to have it. I can use it for my own purposes too! The Darash Mordechai answered - this was R' Aharon and this is the way that gedolim act. They are alwys careful with other people's money. This is the lesson of the fear of the brothers.
 
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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sunday Night Suds - Lakefront Brewery Bock


This week's Sunday Night Suds review looks at Lakefront Brewery's Bock.
 
After last week's less than spectacular Bock review, I looked around my beer storage area for another Bock to review and came up with a Lakefront Brewery Bock which I had purchased as a single at DeCicco this summer. Although the beer had a brewed on label of mid-March, I decided to give it a shot because the beer was not going to get any fresher anyway.
 
As I have been reminded that it has been a few years since I reviewed a bock (before last week), I have reproduced the definiton from the BA gurus below:
 
The origins of Bock beer are quite uncharted. Back in medieval days German monasteries would brew a strong beer for sustenance during their Lenten fasts. Some believe the name Bock came from the shortening of Einbeck thus "beck" to "bock." Others believe it is more of a pagan or old world influence that the beer was only to be brewed during the sign of the Capricorn goat, hence the goat being associated with Bock beers. Basically, this beer was a symbol of better times to come and moving away from winter.

As for the beer itself in modern day, it is a bottom fermenting lager that generally takes extra months of lagering (cold storage) to smooth out such a strong brew. Bock beer in general is stronger than your typical lager, more of a robust malt character with a dark amber to brown hue. Hop bitterness can be assertive enough to balance though must not get in the way of the malt flavor, most are only lightly hopped.
 
The Lakefront Bock was a dark orange color with almost no foam. The alcohol taste was quite pronounced, while the hop bite was practically non existent. This beer is really all about the malts and they are present from the first sip and well beyond finishing the brew. There is some fruit, almost a little cider in the aftertaste. I would never drink a beer hot, but this is one brew that I could actually see enjoying at close to room temperature.
 
Lakefront Brewery's Bock is under the kosher supervision of the Star-K (there is even a Star-K on the label). For the experts' take on the Bock, please click here http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/741/3479.

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 http://www.kosherbeers.blogspot.com to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Vayeshev

The following is a brief summary of thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce these 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 R' Frand.
 
In this week's parsha we read about Yosef's time in Potiphar's home after Yosef is sold down to Egypt. The gemara in Sotah recounts a machlokes between Rav and Shmuel about why Yosef was present in Potiphar's home on that fateful day. One opinion is that Yosef was there to do his work, while the other authority maintains that Yosef was going to give in to Potiphar's wife's entreaties. According to this view, Yosef was able to stop himself from following through with his desires because he saw an image of his father Yaakov and this was enough to stop him in his tracks.
 
R' Frand quoted R' Yaakov Kaminetsky who explains that this is a lesson that a father should strive to maintain an air of importance and dignity before his children. If the children will look up to and respect the father, they will be more likely not to do anything which will disappoint him.
 
R' Frand also quoted a Chassam Sofer who tied this story to the confrontation between the brothers and Yosef after Yaakov passed away. When the brothers approach Yosef in Parshas Vayechi, Yosef tells them not to be afraid because he realizes that it is all from Hashem. The Chassam Sofer recites the vort about how Yosef was able to stop himself from being intimate with the wife of Potiphar when he saw the image of his father, and then asked - why could the brothers not have been shown the image of Yaakov so that they would not have sold Yosef down to Egypt?
 
The Chassam Sofer answers that Yosef realized that the reason that they were not prevented or dissuaded from selling him down to Egypt is because this was how the Jews would go down to Egypt. Since this was Hashem's plan for the Jews arrival in Egypt, Yosef told his brothers - don't worry, I know this was all from Hashem.
 
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Monday, December 3, 2012

Monday's Musings on Sports - Romeo & The Yetzer Hara

After this Shabbos was over, I found myself sitting in my study, listening to an interview by Tony Paige on 660 WFAN. I had turned the radio on just to have some background noise, but I found myself riveted to the interview. The host was discussing the death of Jovan Belcher, a Kansas City Chief football player who I learned during the interview had ended his own life in front of his Coach (Romeo Crennel) earlier that day.

The person being interviewed was a high school friend of Belcher and he was talking about how Belcher had been very generous with his time by volunteering to help underprivileged kids in Long Island and Kansas City. The interview was laudatory and ended with a wish that Belcher's life be celebrated for all that he accomplished, rather than how it had ended.

Immediately after the interview ended, the calls began and I learned much more about the story. The callers blasted Paige for ignoring the fact that Belcher had taken the life of his girlfriend, leaving their infant child an orphan. I could not believe that this fact had been omitted by Paige and it significantly changed my view of the story.

The following day, the Chiefs played their regularly scheduled game against the Carolina Panthers. There had been some talk of cancelling the game and some journalists like Michael Silver who openly advocated for the postponement (http://sports.yahoo.com/news/nfl--nfl-making-mistake-by-allowing-panthers-chiefs-game-to-go-on-as-scheduled-222206231.html ) but the NFL did not see fit to move the game.

On Sunday Night, Sarah & I attended a family event and returned home around 10 PM. I turned on the Sunday Night Football game in time to see the half time shpiel given by Bob Costas. Although I am generally a fan of his commentary, I was taken aback by Costas' take on the Belcher tragedy. In essence, Costas blamed the entire event on the fact that Belcher was able to obtain a gun and he theorized that if Belcher had not had access to a gun, or if handguns were banned, the tragedy would have been averted.
 
After turning the game off, I said to my wife - does that mean that we should ban steak (G-d forbid) because people might use steak knives to kill? Or maybe cars should be eliminated, because a person could take his target for a ride and then drive off a cliff. I admit that a gun is a very potent weapon, but if Belcher really wanted to kill his girlfriend before taking his own life, he could have done it in hundreds of other ways.
 
The story made me think about a vort that I heard on a Rabbi Mansour MP3 about the parsha. After Yaakov bests the angel in battle, he asks the angel to tell him his name. Yaakov's request is hard to understand. Why does Yaakov care what the angel's name is. R' Mansour explained that Yaakov knew that he was battling the yetzer hara and that the angel's name was indicative of its nature. If Yaakov could learn the nature of the yetzer hara, he could tell his future generations how to defeat it. However, the yetzer hara responds to Yaakov - why do you care about my name? By so doing, the yetzer hara is telling Yaakov - my name does not matter, because in each generation I will be a different foe. You can try to plan to defeat me, but I will always find a different way to tempt and attack your people.
 
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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sunday Night Suds - Saranac Black Bear Bock

This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at another of Saranac's new winter offerings - the Black Bear Bock.
 
As I mentioned in last week's post, the Saranac Winter Box has two of their better winter seasonal beers - the Chocolate Lager (reviewed here - http://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2011/12/sunday-night-suds-saranac-chocolate.html ) and the Big Moose Ale (http://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2009/11/sunday-night-suds-saranac-big-moose-ale.html ) along with four new varieties - a Red IPA, Black Bear Bock, Belgian Pale Ale and the 4059' Porter (reviewed last week here - http://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2012/11/sunday-night-suds-saranac-4059-porter.html).
 
In last week's column I thanked Dan R for letting me know that the new Saranac Winter Box was in stores. In this week's column I must wish Dan R a mazal tov on the birth of a baby boy. The Shalom Zachor was awesome, and the beer was all Dan R's home brew! If and when Dan R starts selling his brews commercially (he has gotten some decent grade from Sam Adams for some of his homebrew submissions) you could see some of them reviewed here!
 
Back to the brew under review, the Saranac Black Bear Bock. This beer is not a typical bock as the malts are very subdued and the beer almost seems like a pilsner to me. While Saranac does not generally brew 12oz beers with a high alcohol content, the lack of a kick in this brew along with the mild flavor, made me wish that they had amped up the alcohol content. I would not recommend this beer as it seems to me like Saranac has missed the boat on this one. Of course, they have such a great product line that the lack of taste in this brew does not make me wonder about the other new beers in the winter box. Still, it would have been nice to have a little more depth in this one.
 
Saranac Black Bear Bock 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 has begun to brew 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 Black Bear Bock, please follow this link - www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/99/87146.

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, November 29, 2012

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Vayishlach

The following is a brief summary of thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce these 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 R' Frand.
 
In Bereishis 32:5, Yaakov tells his messengers to say to Esav that Yaakov had lived with Lavan. In so doing, the Torah uses the word "Garti". Rashi learns from here that Yaakov was saying that he had lived with Lavan and despite the fact, he kept the 613 mitzvos as 613 is the numerical value of Garti.
 
R' Frand commented that when one talks to a person, he needs to speak in the language that appeals to the person that he is speaking with.  By way of example, if you were to meet a football player who plays at MetLife stadium, it will not impress the player if you tell him - you play football at MetLife stadium, I finished Shas at MetLife stadium. So why does it make a difference to Esav that Yaakov kept the 613 mitzvos? Esav has no interest in mitzvos and hearing this makes no impression on him.
 
R' Frand answered the question based on a vort said by R' Mordechai Druk in the Sefer Darash Mordechai. He explains that Yaakov had an agenda to try to get Esav not to hate him. He called Esav his master and referred to himself as your slave. Another tactic was appealing to Esav based on Esav's view that Yaakov was a rosha because Esav believed that Yaakov was faking while being in the beis medrash. Yaakov was saying to Esav, no this was not an act.
 
R' Frand quoted the following example from R' Druk's sefer. One day R' Druk was late running to give a shiur. He passed a Shames who was trying to get a tenth man for a minyan. R' Druk apologized for not being able to be the 10th man because he was late for the shiur. The Shames then said to R' Druk - you are running for money because you are getting paid to give the shiur, have you ever done anything for free?
 
The problem with the Shames' question and thinking was that R' Druk never got paid for giving a shiur. However, to the Shames who gets paid for his job, R' Druk must have been giving the shiur for money. R' Frand then quoted an expression - what Peter says about Paul says more about Peter than it does about Paul.
 
This was the same thing that happened with Yaakov and Esav. Yaakov says to Esav, I was with Lavan for 20 years. You think that I am just acting frum? No! You may be a faker, but I was with Lavan for 20 years and although there was no one else there who would have known I was doing something wrong, I kept the mitzvos because I am no faker.
 
R' Frand also said a separate vort in connection with the issur to eat the Gid Hanesheh. The Chinuch writes that the reason for this mitzva is to show that the Jews will never be destroyed. Throughout Jewish history they will be tortured by the other nations who will try to wipe them out, but the other nations will be unsuccessful. The mitzva arises because the angel of Esav tried to end Yaakov and his lineage by striking at Yaakov's thigh, but he was unable to end Yaakov.
 
R' Frand quoted a story from R' Matisyahu Solomon (who he said should have a refuah sheleima). When R' Solomon was learning in Gateshead, it was a very small yeshiva. There was not enough room for all the boys to have their gemaras out on the table at the same time. There was a town called Wallsend about 10 miles from Gateshead. The town drew its name from the wall that Hadrian built to protect England from the Scots and to keep them out of England. People still come to visit and see the pile of rubble where the wall once stood.
 
One day, a non religious Jewish journalist came from America to write a story about Wallsend. While in the town, the writer suddenly remembered that he had yahrtzheit. He asked, are there any Jews here? He was told that there was a yeshiva in Gateshead and the journalist went to the yeshiva. When he entered the yeshiva, he heard the boys arguing in Torah and one student say to the other, R' Akiva held... The journalist had heard of R' Akiva and was struck by the irony. Hadrian was the Roman leader who had R' Akiva killed for teaching Torah. Now, two thousand years later, Hadrian's wall had collapsed and lay as rubble and the teachings of R' Akiva are being discussed and learned. Upon his return to America, the journalist wrote about his visit to Wallsend and began the article by quoting the irony.
 
This is the message and promise of the Gid Hanesheh. The other nations may attack the Jews and make life difficult, but they will always survive.
 
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Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday's Musings on Sports - The Dirt Always Wins

Astute fans of the NBA are aware that tonight is not the opening night of the season for any particular team. Tonight is not even the first night that any NBA team has played at home, since every team in the NBA has already played at least five home games. Yet tonight is a night that many Brooklyn Nets fans have been belatedly waiting for. Because tonight is finally opening night.

After years of planning and nomadic living in Newark, the newly minted "Brooklyn Nets" finally completed their new home at the intersection of Flatbush The NBA had indulged the Nets by scheduling the Knicks to play the opening game for both teams at the new arena. The game was scheduled for Thursday November 1, 2012, but was postponed in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.
 
The postponement of the game was not without controversy. Immediately after the storm, the Nets management had indicated that they wanted the game to go forward, notwithstanding the fact that the City had barely begun to clean up after the storm and the LIRR and subways were only running on a limited schedule. However, Mayor Bloomberg stepped in and requested that the game be cancelled because he felt that the City was not ready for a basketball game in downtown Brooklyn on Thursday. Curiously, the Mayor had no problem with the Knick game against the Miami Heat going forward on Friday. I am unsure how the traffic and neighborhood disruption was more severe in downtown Brooklyn where they had power, whereas Manhattan below 30th Street (two block south of the Garden) did not have electricity. Still the Nets did not argue with the mayor and acceded to his wishes.
 
Meanwhile, the Mayor caught his comeuppance for his utter arrogance in insisting that the New York City Marathon go forward on the Sunday after the storm, notwithstanding the utter devastation in Staten Island. The public was ruthless in its (correct) criticism of the Mayor's use of police to secure the parade route, while people were still trapped in their homes. The media was even more cutting and several papers ran pictures of generators which had been deployed to support the marathon instead of giving life sustaining power to neighborhoods without electricity.
 
After suffering through two days of withering attacks, the Mayor finally agreed to cancel the Marathon on Friday afternoon, just a few hours before the Knick game was played.
 
As an avid sports fan, I had significant issues with the way that Mayor Bloomberg appeared to play favorites in pushing forward with some sporting events, while burying others. But to his credit, the Nets outspoken owner, Mikhail Prokorov, did not speak out or question the decision.
 
So tonight the Nets finally played their "opening night" game and defeated the Knicks. I have the feeling that had this game been played on the true "opening night", the result might have been different as the Nets have begun to gel as a team over the last two weeks. By not pushing forward and demanding that the game be played, the W wound up in the Nets column instead of the Knicks'.
 
The decision to keep one's mouth shut when necessary has a deep connection to Parshas Vayeitzei. In the beginning of the parsha, Hashem tells Yaakov that his children will be like the dirt of the land. This reference is rather puzzling, since it follows more flowery metaphors like the stars in the sky or the sand on the beach. R' Mansour explains that the reason for the reference is to tell Yaakov that the Jews will be like the dirt-although it is constantly stepped on, the dirt does not go away and eventually will cover the person doing the walking, because the dirt always wins.
 
We see a similar concept by Rachel when she is confronted by Leah in connection with Rachel's request for the dudaim flowers. When Rachel makes her request, Leah responds - you stole my husband and now you want my son's flowers? If I was Rachel,  I would have smacked her across the face, both literally and figuratively. It would have well been within Rachel's right to respond, "your husband? If I did not give you the signs to save you from embarrassment, I would have married him first!" Instead, Rachel keeps her mouth shut and not long after she is rewarded with her first child.
 
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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunday Night Suds - Saranac 4059' Porter


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Saranac Brewery's 4059' Porter.
 
I got tipped off to the new Saranac Winter box brews by my good friend Dan R. who besides being an excellent little league coach, is also a knowledgeable beer guy who even brews his own beer. After being alerted that these beers were available locally, I did a quick check with the Va'ad of  Detroit and was assured that all of the new brews are certified kosher. Then it was off to Beverage Barn on Jericho Turnpike to pick up a 12 pack. [While there I also picked up a 12 pack of Mrs KB's new favorite Saranac product --- the Saranac Blueberry Blonde Ale which they are blowing out at $10.99].
 
The Saranac Winter Box has two of their better winter seasonal beers - the Chocolate Lager (reviewed here - http://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2011/12/sunday-night-suds-saranac-chocolate.html ) and the Big Moose Ale (http://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2009/11/sunday-night-suds-saranac-big-moose-ale.html ) along with four new varieties - a Red IPA, Black Bear Bock, Belgian Pale Ale and the 4059' Porter.
 
The 4059' Porter derives its name from an Adirondack peak called Porter Mountain which stands (can you guess?) 4059' feet above sea level. But more interesting than the name is the beer itself. This is a sipping beer, not something that you would gulp down or even drink with a light meal. It is a brew which is true to the Porter style as you are struck by the coffee and burnt chocolate smell the moment that you open the bottle. The beer pours a dark brown, nearly black color with some tan foam which stuck around for at least half an hour.
 
What makes this beer more than just a heavy dark brew is the interesting way that the chocolate comes to the forefront after the coffee flavors have faded. There is a bit of a bitter aftertaste which is not unpleasant, but again not something that you would want to accompany a light meal.
 
Saranac 4059' Porter 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 has begun to brew 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 4059' Porter, please follow this link - www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/99/86601.

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!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Vayeitzei

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.
 
This week's parsha contains the story of Yaakov's marriage to Rachel and Leah which resulted from Lavan's attempts to interfere with Yaakov's choice of marrying Rachel. One of the more famous questions on this story is how can Yaakov marry sisters if this was later banned by the Torah?
 
R' Frand quoted the Ksav Sofer who had an interesting answer to the story and a link to the story later in the Parsha. In Bereishis 30:14-15, Rachel approaches Leah and asks for the dudai'm - the special flowers with a segulah for fertility. When Rachel asks Leah for the flowers, Leah says to Rachel, you have taken my husband and now you want the flowers too? Rachel should have responded to her- this was my husband! I gave you the signs so that you would not be embarrassed, but it should have been me first. However, Rachel does not give this response.
 
R' Frand next quoted the Ramban who explains that the issur to marry sisters is not an arayos problem but one of tzror or rivalry. If one sister was jealous of the other it would create tremendous friction in the house. This can be seen by the fact that after one sister dies, the husband can now marry another sister.
 
However, Rachel tells Yaakov, I am OK with the marriage and therefore Yaakov goes forward with marrying both Leah and Rachel.
 
The Ksav Sofer explains that Yaakov was aware that Rachel truly was OK with the marriage because he learned that Rachel had given Leah the signs so that she would not be embarrassed. However, he was concerned that maybe down the road, Rachel would come to regret her actions and then he could retroactive have a tzror problem. If so, it could render the marriage a sham and the children chas v'shalom would become mamzerim.
 
This could perhaps be the reason why Rachel has no children up until this point. Once Yaakov sees that she is quiet when challenged by Leah, he knows that she really was mochel. A few short pesukim later, Rachel finally has children, because we see that she truly was mochel.
 
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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sunday Night Suds - Samuel Adams Tasman Red


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Samuel Adams Tasman Red IPA.

I picked up this brew about four months ago in the Beverage Barn on Jericho Turnpike in Garden City Park. Generally, I would not keep a beer around and let it age more than a year after it was bottled, but the bottle suggested aging the beer would allow the flavors to develop, so I decided to give it a shot.

I have heard different rules about how long one could or should leave a beer around before drinking it. Leaving aside my friend Charlie H's rule (never leave a beer around because someone else might drink it), the general rule of thumb is that a beer should be consumed within six months of bottling. However, when dealing with beer with a higher alcohol content, this rule is relaxed because the beer can continue to mature in the bottle (unlike scotch and other hard alcohol). As the Tasman Red has a 6.75% abv, it fell on the higher end of the scale for American IPAs and had a decent chance of improving with age.

I finally opened this bottle on Friday Night when we hosted our first tisch of the winter. With a number of our friends sitting around with divrei Torah and zemiros, it just seemed the right time to open a bottle with a Rebbi like figure on the label. (The one Rav at the table asked me if that was the Rogechover on the bottle, but I don't know if he was being serious or not).

The beer poured a dark red, almost brown and much deeper hue than I was expecting. The ale was very floral with a little pine, but also plenty of malt. The richness of the brew was also quite striking and it paired very well with the accelerated Friday Night Cholent. It was well received by all who tried it (including Mrs KB). At a little more than $5 for a 22 oz bottle I will not be buying another one soon, but it is one keep in the back of my mind as we draw closer to the holidays.

The Samuel Adams Tasman Red IPA under the Kosher Supervision of the Star-K. Like many other Samuel Adams brews, this bottle does not have the Star-K certification mark on the label.

To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about the Tasman Red, please follow this link - http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/35/74530 .

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, November 15, 2012

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Toldos

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.
 
In this week's parsha, the Torah relates the conversation between Hashem and Yitzchak when Yitzchak desired to leave the land of Israel. After being informed that he must stay in Israel, Hashem tells Yitzchak of the brachos that he will receive and that they are due to Avraham's listening to Hashem and keeping the laws, commandments and Torah.
 
R' Frand quoted the Ramban who learns from this pasuk that the Avos kept the entire Torah before it was given. However, the Ramban then questions - if the Avos kept the whole Torah, how could Yaakov marry two sisters? The Ramban answers that the Avos only kept the whole Torah before it was given while they were in Eretz Yisrael. However, since the story took place in Haran which was outside of Eretz Yisrael, he could marry two sisters.
 
R' Frand then quoted R' Yaakov Kaminetsky who explains that the Ramban was stating that the reason that Yaakov married two sisters was because he gave his word to Rachel that he would marry her. After he got tricked into marrying Leah, he still had to keep his word and therefore he married Rachel. Yes, it is true that one cannot marry two sisters, but the Ramban (as interpreted by R' Yaakov Kaminetsky) is explaining that this is merely a chumrah and should not be an impediment to Yaakov marrying Rachel as she should not be bound by his mistake.
 
The problem with this explanation of the Ramban is that one must wonder - what question was the Ramban answering when he said that this was merely a chumrah which should not prevent Yaakov from marrying Rachel?
 
R' Frand quoted R' Kaminetsky who explains that there is a general principal that Hashem does not allow a Tzaddik to fall through a mistaken occurrence. Thus, the Ramban was bothered, how could Hashem allow Yaakov to be tricked into marrying Leah, when it would mean that Yaakov would be halachically prevented from marrying Rachel? The answer that the Ramban gives is that Yaakov was outside of Israel and therefore the bar to marrying two sisters did not apply.
 
R' Frand then developed this vort to explain that R' Kaminetsky meant by this that one should always keep his word. R' Frand did this by telling two stories about R' Yaakov. The first story related to how R' Yaakov started putting on Rabbeinu Tam tefillin at the end of his life. Why did he do so? The story is told that when R' Kaminetsky was younger, he was approached by someone who said - why don't you wear Rabbeinu Tam's tefillin like the Chofetz Chaim did when he was older? He answered, when I get to be the age of the Choftez Chaim, I will wear it. Fifty some odd years later, when R' Yaakov reached the age that the Chofetz Chaim started wearing the Rabbeinu Tam tefillin, R' Yaakov started wearing the tefillin. Why? Because you keep your word.
 
The second story related to eating gebruchts on Pesach. R' Yaakov did not eat gebruchts, but allowed his family to do so. Why? Because when R' Yaakov was a young man, he was in yeshiva over Pesach and he was assigned out to a family to eat with them over Pesach. R' Yaakov had some concerns about the kashrus of the family and needed a way to escape eating with them without hurting their feelings. He decided to tell the yeshiva that he could not eat there because he did not eat gebruchts and they served that food on Pesach. Since this was his personal problem, he himself did not eat gebruchts because he said that he does not eat it. But his family could eat gebruchts.
 
R' Frand closed the vort by repeating that to R' Yaakov, one's word is his word. A chumrah does not trump your word. That a man is not allowed to marry two sisters is only an issue to the Avos when they were living in Eretz Yisrael. But since the story took place in Haran, Yaakov was able to keep his word.
 
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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sunday Night Suds - New Belgium Red Hoptober Ale


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at New Belgium's Red Hoptober Ale.
 
The Red Hoptober Ale is one of New Belgium's newest offerings and the seasonal limited edition in this fall's Folly Pack. The experts at beer advocate classifies the Red Hoptober as an American Amber or Red Ale which is classified as:
 
[A] catch all for any beer less than a Dark Ale in color, ranging from amber (duh) to deep red hues. This style of beer tends to focus on the malts, but hop character can range from low to high. Expect a balanced beer, with toasted malt characters and a light fruitiness in most examples. The range can run from a basic ale, to American brewers who brew faux-Oktoberfest style beers that are actually ales instead of lagers.
 
The New Belgium website indicates that the beer is made with five different kinds of hops including Centennial and Cascade varieties which I am familiar with and Nugget, Target and El Dorado hops, which I have never heard of. The website states that the El Dorado hops add a "distinct piney flavor" but I did not detect any pine-like influence. Instead, I was struck my malts which harmonized with the citrusy Centennial and Cascade hops and make this beer a brew that can be sipped or consumed with larger gulps.
 
I would recommend this beer with spicy poultry or fish dishes. If you have tried this with a meal that worked for you, please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts.
 
New Belgium Red Hoptober Ale is under the Kosher Supervision of the Scroll-K of Colorado. Although the beer does not bear the kosher symbol on the label, it can be found on the bottom of the Folly Pack box. Please note that not every brew produced by New Belgium is under kosher supervision. For a list of the New Belgium brews currently under supervision, please click on the link on the left side of my home page for my latest Kosher Beer List.

To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about New Belgium Red Hoptober Ale, please follow this link http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/192/83434. 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 http://www.kosherbeers.blogspot.com/ to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Chaye Sarah

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.
 
Rabbi Frand quoted a pasuk in Mishlei that states that one who chases after Tzedakah and Chesed  will live a long life and find Tzedakah and Kavod. The Midrash on Parshas Noach says that Avraham was a Rodef Tzedakah and also that he was a Ba'al Chesed because he buried Sarah. Avraham also lived a long life. Avraham merited this long life because Avraham adopted Hashem's traits, so Hashem gave him these rewards.
 
R' Frand asked - why is Avraham's paradigm act of kindness the burial of his wife? Every human being buries a dead relative. Meanwhile, the angels come and Avraham thinks that they are idol worshippers and Avraham busies himself with their meal and still this is not a significant Chesed event.
 
R' Frand quoted a Sefer called Me'oras Mordechai which writes that there are people who will do tremendous chesed for others, but will not help out at home. They may help a stranger change a flat, but they won't help with the laundry if their wife had a hard day.
 
R' Frand next quoted R' Chaim Vital who writes that there are men who do chesed with the rest of the world, but are not nice in their own homes. These men when they come to shamayim will expect entry to Gan Eden. Woe to them, as they don't understand that the first step of chesed is at home.
 
R' Frand quoted a story where a young man came to complain to R' Shach that no matter how late shabbos started, his wife was never ready. R' Shach responded - pick up the broom and help your wife.
 
This is the message of the Medrash - Avraham's chesed began in the home and spread beyond it.
 
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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Belated Sunday Night Suds - Lakefront Eastside Dark Lager


This week's (belated) Sunday Night Suds looks at Lakefront Brewery's Eastside Dark Lager.
 
The Lakefront Eastside Dark Lager is yet another entry into the (somewhat) newly former category of dark lager which seems to grow on a monthly basis. However, unlike some of the more recent dark lagers, Lakefront is already closing in on its 5th year of brewing Eastside Dark Lager.
 
The experts at BA classify the Eastside Dark Lager as a Munich Dunkel Lager, which they define as:
 
An old friend of Bavaria, Munich Dunkels are smooth, rich and complex, but without being heady or heavy. They boast brilliant ruby hues from the large amounts of Munich malts used, and these malts also lend a fuller-bodied beer. The decoction brewing process also lends much depth and richness. Bitterness is often moderate, with just enough to balance out any sweetness. Hop varieties used tend to be of the German noble varieties, like: Tetnang and Hallertau.
 
The Eastside Dark Lager is certainly smooth and not much like many of the beers which are calling themselves "dark lagers." The beer has a richness to it which is almost approaching stout, with a creamy chocolate backbone. I would prefer a little more carbonation (especially since the beer calls itself a lager) but on the whole, it is a pretty complete beer.
 
I would recommend the Eastside Dark Lager with charred meat dishes or stews as the flavor will hold its own, but not drown out the food. Since the Eastside Dark Lager is one of the more readily available Lakefront products, you can experiment and see which flavor combos work for you.
 
Lakefront Brewery's Eastside Dark Lager is under the kosher supervision of the Star-K (there is even a Star-K on the label). For the experts' take on the Eastside Dark Lager, please click here http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/741/2220.

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 http://www.kosherbeers.blogspot.com to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up!




Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Vayera

Due to significant Hurricane Sandy related issues, we were unable to broadcast the Rabbi Frand Shiur this evening in West Hempstead and instead showed the 2009 shiur for Parshas Vayera. I hope to possibly reproduce this year's vort in a Motzei Shabbos post. However, rather than leave this page dark, I have reproduced the 2009 vort below. As always, any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.
 
In Bereishis 19:29, the Torah recites that when Hashem destroyed the cities of the plain (S'dom and Amorrah) that Hashem remembered Avraham, so he sent Lot out from the upheaval when he overturned the cities.
 
Rashi asks why does the pasuk say that Hashem remembered Avraham since it was Lot who was remembered and saved? Rashi answers that Lot knew that when Avraham went down to Egypt (in Parshas Lech Lecha) that Sarah was really Avraham's wife and not his sister and he did not reveal the secret, therefore Hashem remembered his connection with Avraham and saved Lot.
 
Rabbi Frand then quoted the Maharal (Sefer Gur Aryeh) who asked why not just say that Lot was saved because of Hashem's love for Avraham rather than because of Lot's staying quiet? Additionally, if we were to discuss Lot's significant act we should mention that he followed Avraham out of Haran in the beginning of Lech Lecha.
 
Rabbi Frand said that the Maharal answers that the z'chus for Lot's being saved is a great "sod" and that Lot's staying quiet formed a connection and bond with Avraham. R' Frand prefaced that he did not truly understand the concept and was translating the Maharal's answer. He urged those listening to look up the Maharal inside and stated that he wanted to give the answer from the Tolner Rav instead.
 
The Tolner Rav began his answer by citing to Pirkei Avos 5:22 that a person who has the following three attributes is a talmid of Avraham - Ayin Tova (gives charitably to others) Ruach Nemucha (humble spirit - not being self impressed) and Nefesh Shefeilah (not being too materialistic). He quotes the Maharal that every person is born stingy wanting to have it all and for others to have less. One must fight their very nature to be happy that someone else has the same as you. The Mishna does not state that anyone who has emunah is a talmid of Avraham - rather the person must modify his natural inclinations and be like these character traits of Avraham in order to be a talmid of his.
 
The Tolner Rav then states that Lot was connected to Avraham based on his not revealing Sarah's identity because Lot also fought human nature to hold back from speaking. A person who hears a secret feels compelled to tell the secret. While knowledge is power, being the one who reveals the knowledge is the way to achieve greater stature.
 
Rabbi Frand then offered the following hypothetical scenario - Avraham and Sarah come to Egypt and are greeted by the King. Everone is talking about Avraham and his "sister." Meanwhile Lot is in a bar and hears the people talking. He could have opened his mouth in order to appear important and say "I know the real dish on Avraham's sister..." But Lot conquers his nature and does not reveal the secret.
 
Rabbi Frand then mentioned that the Tolner Rav said that Lot was the gilgul for Yehuda and that the neshoma then came back again as Boaz. Lot started the process of conquering his yetzer to speak out when he kept quiet about Sarah. This was later refined when (as Yehuda) he quashed the need for self-preservation and opened his mouth to say that Tamar was right. All of this culminated with Boaz where he could have rationalized to himself that since he and Ruth were single there was no problem with them being intimate. Instead, Boaz conquered his yetzer and was only with Ruth after they married.

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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sunday Night Suds - Lakefront Fixed Gear American Red Ale


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Lakefront Brewery's Fixed Gear American Red Ale.
 
Every so often you come across a beer that really makes you pause. When I first tried the Fixed Gear, it made me think of another ale with a similar flavor profile. The name of the brew only reinforced to me that the Lakefront folks were aiming to make a beer much like that cult favorite, the Fat Tire from New Belgium.
 
The Fixed Gear Red Ale poured a deep amber, near red color with quite a bit of foam which stayed up on the side of the cup. The hops were prevalent, but the malts were also present, perhaps more than one would expect of an ale.
 
But while the Fixed Gear Red Ale was clearly modeled after the Fat Tire, the beer is not as rich as the New Belgium brew. The toffee notes and caramel, even a little bitter brown sugar can be tasted in successive sips of the brew, but while the flavors are there, the brew is not as thick as one would expect.
 
I would pair this brew with smoky, charred beef or sweet BBQ ribs as the flavors would be perfectly complemented by the brew. If you find that this beer pairs well with other dishes, please drop me a comment on the blog post.
 
Lakefront Brewery's Fixed Gear American Red Ale is under the kosher supervision of the Star-K (there is even a Star-K on the label). For the experts' take on the Fixed Gear, please click here http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/741/56386.

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 http://www.kosherbeers.blogspot.com to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up!