Tag Archives: listmas 2013

Listmas 2013: Chip’s Top Five Beers of 2013

It is a well-documented fact that I am a bit of a beer snob.  In the same way that I approach food, I make an effort to sample new beverages as they make their way to store shelves.  It’s rather fascinating to see how the flavors and ingredients of beers change with the seasons, especially in the wide world of micro brewing.  So for my top five beer picks, I decided to dedicate one brew to each season.  How do I pick five beers when there are four seasons?  Stay tuned to find out!

Spring: Orion

OrionBeerSince GIMMGP Headquarters is located close to the nation’s capital, Laura and I have tried to make a habit out of attending the Cherry Blossom Festival each April.  Every year there are concerts, street vendors, and plenty of food stalls to visit in the DC area.  With the piles of fresh sushi, savory udon, and piping-hot takoyaki that are consumed, I particularly enjoy a crisp beer with a soft finish.  Crafted in Okinawa using spring water located by the brewery, Orion draft beer is easy on the palate and a perfect complement to Japanese cuisine.

Summer: Porch Rocker

GIMMGPUnibroueLet’s be frank at the commencement: I don’t like fruit-flavored beers.  If any sort of citrus, berry, or melon is added to a brew, I will generally pass the bottle to someone who likes juice instead of beer.  So when I picked up Sam Adams Beers of Summer 2013 variety pack, I naturally gave the lemon shandy to my wife.  But after insisting I give the Porch Rocker a try, I took a quick swig from Laura’s glass and found myself taken aback.  Most of the shandies I have drunk in the past have been overly sweet with the odor of lemon Pledge; this was not the case with Porch Rocker.  Sam Adams has crafted a smooth lager with mild citrus sweetness that makes for a great summer sippin’ beer.

Autumn: He Said, He Said

HeSaidHeSaidI have a yearly drinking tradition once August rolls into town.  As soon as the first batch hits the local beer store, I make a mission out of trying every single pumpkin brew that I encounter.  I started a small journal this autumn in order to properly rank each of the spirits that I sampled.  There were many delicious and interesting entries in my Pumpkin Diary of 2013, including a ginger-pumpkin pilsner and a chocolate-pumpkin ale.  Of the thirty-two different pumpkin concoctions that I consumed this year, there was a pair of beers that took the blue ribbon.  He Said, He Said was a collaboration brew between 21st Amendment Brewery and the Elysium Brewing Co.  This modest little four-pack actually contains two separate beverages: a Baltic-style pumpkin porter and a pumpkin Belgian-tripel.  Both of these styles are rather unique for pumpkin beers and each of these make for a delicious drink.

Winter: Snow Blind

SnowBlindBeer2013Just as food turns heavier and sweeter at the end of the year, so must the beers in winter.  I am a huge fan of savory and sweet combinations in flavors (trail mix, sea-salt caramel, chocolate-covered bacon), so bocks and porters tend to fill the GIMMGP Fridge during the holidays.  This year, Star Hill’s Snow Blind was my winter warmer.  A dark beer that starts with sweet chocolate/coffee notes and finishes with a slightly salted taste, this brew is a solid start (and finish) to holiday meals and festivities.  Special thanks to Draft Notes for the great picture!

Chocolate: Sweet Baby Jesus

IMG_7566Now for the not-so-elusive fifth season of taste, chocolate.  It seems that no matter what time of year it happens to be, chocolate will find its way into all sorts of occasions and dishes.  Earlier this year, chocolate (and peanut butter!) snuck into my beer and my life is made much better for it.  Sweet Baby Jesus was a strange recommendation from a friend that turned out to be one of my new favorite brews.  With neither flavor overpowering the taste of a delicious porter, Sweet Baby Jesus makes for a tasty treat all year round.

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Listmas 2013: Our Top Five Anime of 2013

As life sometimes demands, Laura and I must take a break from playing video games to indulge other needs (like eating, sleeping, and the dreaded ‘going to work’).  One of these needs just happens to be watching anime.  Thanks to the debut of Crunchy Roll on our home consoles, Laura and I have consumed several new series this year.  We would like to share our personal favorites that we discovered in 2013.

Silver Spoon

SilverSpoonA surprising entry from the creator of Full Metal Alchemist, Silver Spoon eschews the usual fantasy settings of Hiromu Arakawa and gives the author a chance to write a more realistic tale.  The story revolves around Yugo Hachiken, a city boy who has decided to study at an agricultural high school to escape his strict father.  As a fish out of water, Hachiken initially struggles to adjust to his rural studies (“Eggs come from where?!”).  With the help of more experienced students and faculty, he grows to appreciate the science and effort behind farming and food.  As food fanatics, Laura and I loved to watch an anime around farming culture and schooling.

The Eccentric Family

TheEccentricFamilyLaura and I really enjoy seeing myths and legends from various cultures translated to a modern setting and The Eccentric Family scratches our itch.  In modern-day Kyoto, tanuki, tengu, and humans all inhabit the same city.  The main plot revolves around a family of tanuki, the Shimogamo clan, and the struggles and adventures they have shared since the untimely loss of their father.  An anime that walks the bittersweet line of comedy and tragedy quite well, The Eccentric Family is a solid fantasy full of interesting characters and wonderful artwork.

Sword Art Online (note: just the first season)

SAODon’t worry, not all of our recommendations are slice-of-life anime.  Sword Art Online is a battle anime with a fascinating preface and gorgeous artwork.  In the not-too-distant future, the world’s most popular MMORPG is about to unload a fully interactive device that will immerse players in the game world.  Once the update goes live, every player becomes trapped in the game, unable to leave until someone clears the final dungeon.  While the premise isn’t necessarily novel, Sword Art Online has a great balance between the gravity of the real-life situation and the immersion of players in the game world.  Just a warning: after the first season, the show loses traction and becomes a little… pervy.

Genshiken Second Season

GenshikenSecondSeasonFull disclosure: I love Genshiken.  I read the first series cover-to-cover, I devour fan translations of the second series the moment they surface, and one of my favorite blogs takes its namesake from a main character.  The entire series is full of loveable otaku of varying styles and intensity who make up the Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture, or Genshiken for short.  The second season picks up where the first series left off, but a previous knowledge isn’t entirely necessary to enjoy the anime.  Laura never encountered the first season (save for my fervent rants) and she found the characters endearing and fun to watch.

Polar Bear’s Café

PolarBearCafeIf you haven’t watched Polar Bear’s Café at this point, stop reading this article and go watch the entire series.  I would say watch an episode or two, but I know just how addicting this anime can be.  What started as checking out a cute-looking show became a total obsession for Laura and me.  The premise is simple: a polar bear runs a café in Japan where the local animals and humans come for delicious food and drink.  All of the animals can speak, yet they are drawn realistically and most of them work at the nearby zoo as themselves.  Need I say more?

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