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Beer photography

I’ve gotten a few e-mails in the past two months asking about the ways that I take my pictures for this site. I am in no way a professional photographer, but I do like taking pictures of things and playing with camera equipment. I added some new equipment to my setup in the past few months and I think they quality of the pictures has really made a big turnaround.

The first thing that I added was a lightbox kit. A lightbox basically gives you the ability to control the background and lighting in one easy sweep. The background is long enough for the object of the photograph to be placed on. The lack of edges gives the photograph the look of having an endless background. It also can let it look like it is floating in air. I have my lightbox pictured below along with the lights I use to brighten it up.

If you look at the images I posted when I first started this site you can see that they look very different. The original location I took my pictures was in the kitchen of my college apartment. I picked this spot because it had good lighting and a white background. As you can see from the picture below the colors are good, but the lighting reflects things I don’t want in the picture and you can see various kitchen tools/equipment. My favorites are the power outlet on the right and the spatula on the left.

When I was in Lubbock, Texas I also took pictures in the kitchen. The lighting was good, but the background was not. As you can see in the pictures¬† below there is a defined corner and the picture is not level. The counter top wasn’t close to level, which made getting a level picture difficult.

In addition to the lightbox I also purchased a low-end digital SLR. This gave me the ability to control everything on my camera. Unlike most point and shots, a digital SLR gives you the ability to fully customize each setting to get an optimum picture. I still have a few things that I want to do with my current setup, but I feel that the quality of the images on this site have drastically improved since its beginning.

Beer Review #54 Terrible

As I have said before I am a sucker for a good name and/or a good looking beer bottle. In this case, Terrible had both. When I saw this beer sitting on the shelf at the local beer store, I knew I had to get it. I mean how can you pass up a beer with the audacity to have the name Terrible. And the bottle wasn’t too shabby either; simple, clean, and attractive.It is also brewed by Unibroue Quebec, Canada.

On pouring the beer it comes out a nice dark brown. There is a tan, almost redish head, that quickly faded back into the beer. I was somewhat surprised that it went away so quickly as most Belgian beers have ample amounts of head. Maybe it was just the 10.5% ABV that thinned it so quickly. On the nose I fist noticed how sour it smelled. I believe that it came from the dark chocolate notes that I later tasted, but I was a bit surprised to smell them in there. Other aromas came out of some nice malty sweetness and the ever present Belgian yeast strain.

The taste was complex and pleasant. The sourness was there and so was the malt, but there is also a lot more to be found. Those chocolate notes that I talked about before are sure in there, but not over powering. Heat is there to be sure, but at 10.5% that should be expected. Terrible had a few peppery notes as well and judging by previous Unibroue ales that I have had, it is part of their signature yeast strain. I also got some almost bourbon notes in there as well that I didn’t expect, but rather enjoyed.

The mouthfeel is medium and lighter than what I would of expected for such a big beer. I really enjoyed it. I’ve had better Belgian Strong Ales, as this is what Terrible is classified as, but I was solid. From what I have read this beer is a limited or special release, so it might be tough to find, but if I can get it in Lubbock, Texas than I would imagine it can’t be to terrible to find. The biggest downside to this beer is that it comes in a 750 ml bottle, which at 10.5%, one bottle is more than enough. I sure enjoyed it and I think you will too if you get the chance. (more…)

Custom six packs

For some reason I forgot to mention that my new “home” of Lubbock, Texas has become a wet city in the past 2 months or so. I would like to think that this happened becasue I moved into the area and they knew that I didn’t want to drive long distances for an adult beverage. So you are welcome Lubbock for not having to travel outside of city limits for a drink.

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Anyway, one of the guys at work alerted me to our local World Market. He said that they have beers from all over the world there and that the prices aren’t too shabby either. I went out yesterday for a few things and stopped by the World Market to see what he was talking about. And he was right on both counts; beers from everywhere and decent prices. Most of the world beers came in clear bottles and you can buy them singles only. Not a fan of that. But on the American side of things you could get six packs, cases, and mix and match six packs. Awesome.

There were roughly 30 different beers that you could choose from to put into your six pack. While I was deciding on which six beers to purchase (only 6 under strict instructions from SWMBO), I was thinking about why more places don’t do this. It is a great option for a place that specializes in craft beers. Most craft beer drinkers want to taste everything they can, and the store can charge a slightly higher price per bottle for the convenience of having a custom six pack. The other nice thing is that they had a flat price per bottle, so your choices were not limited by the cost either.

I picked up the following beers for $1.89 a bottle:

  • Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale
  • Sierra Nevada Stout
  • Victory Storm King Stout
  • Pyramid Snow Cap Ale
  • Full Sail Amber Ale
  • Great Divide Hercules Double IPA

Some of those beer would of cost me more per bottle if I would of just gotten them as a six pack. Sweet. Anyone else have a local store that does mix and match and do they do it on a per bottle charge or a flat fee?

Lubbock, TX Triple J Sampler Beer Review

Two weeks ago I was in Lubbock, Texas doing some job hunting during my spring break. Naturally one of the first things I did was look for a brewpub to visit. I found the Triple J Chophouse and Brew Company. You can check out their site here. Triple J is a nice place; it has some good food (a bit overpriced) and looked to have some promising beer.

09-03-19-01For a seemlingly upscale place, the table covers were brown paper. Kind of werid but I liked it. Anyway, onto the beer. I ordered the sampler which came with four of the breweries five beers, my server gave me a taste of the other one as well. From right to left you have the stout, cream ale, rye ale, raider red, and the smaller sample was of their IPA.

The cool thing was that they served their beers in little mason jars. The stout was pretty good; nice, roasty, and well balanced. I enjoyed it but it was nothing super special. A very good example of the style. The cream ale wasn’t my favorite. It wasn’t very creamy with no head and a real lack of flavor. The rye ale was a nice treat. I love rye beers with their suttle flavors and this one was a bit different. The rye was really allowed to shine and it got better the more I drank. The Raider Red (Lubbock is home of the Texas Tech Red Raiders) was my least favorite of all of the beers. The website claims it is malty and balanced with hops, but I think it was way over hopped. There was a bit of nice malt upfront but it faded quickly with the hops. The final beer was the IPA small sample. As with the Raider Red it was over hopped, but it fits with the style. My problem was that it went too far with the hops. I like an IPA that has a little something else to offer, this did not. There was not a strong malt backbone to help balance the hops at all. Some may love it, I did not.

If you are in Lubbock for any reason (please don’t) then check out the Triple J. It’s not my favorite brewpub but it offers tons of different beers thoughout the year.