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John Sciacca Writes...

Features, Reviews and a Blog by John Sciacca

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA - 1 year later

Posted on April 22, 2013 at 5:55 PM Comments comments (0)

You may recall that exactly a year ago yesterday I posted my drinking notes on Dogfish Head’s 120 Minute IPA. My summary was that it was – clears throat – “Like drinking a hammer.”

Dennis Burger also provided that review with some wonderful color commentary in the form of t...

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My Home Theater System - The Gear in My Rack

Posted on April 8, 2013 at 1:00 PM Comments comments (3)

A recent blog post I wrote titled "The Death of the Dedicated Room" got me talking about my family room home theater system.

I’ll be honest, when I installed it, I felt like installing a theater in my family room was a compromise. I really wanted a dedicated room to house my system, but, well, I could eit...

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Sampler Adams -- Brewer, Packager

Posted on April 5, 2013 at 5:10 PM Comments comments (6)

I’ve had my share* of beers at this point. And you get to a point that when you roam the aisles of your local grocery stores, liquor stores and beer emporiums you find yourself running out of new things to try. Especially when the city you live in has both Myrtle and Beach in the title and is often referred to as “the Redneck Riviera.”

(* Many would say I’ve had more tha...

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i'm Watch Review: i'm Sad, i'm Angry, i'm Confused, i'm Fail

Posted on March 27, 2013 at 4:00 PM Comments comments (4)

Remember the Iraqi Information Minister? He was that guy during the first Desert Storm that would get on TV and make those awesome declarations about how the Iraqi army was doing. With jets streaking overhead, bridges blowing up, tanks being obliterated and US troops holding hands and hopscotching into Baghdad, good ole Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf kept a stern face and proclaimed such awesomeness as:

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Something old, something new: Stone Brewing

Posted on March 21, 2013 at 5:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Oh, Stone Brewing Co! Everything you do seems to be a giant, bar-raising, F-you! to the rest of the brewing world. You people think you’ve got a fresh beer? Fine, we’ll make one so fresh we’ll put the expiration date right in the beer's name and make it be enjoyed within 30-days of going in the bottle! You make a flight of beers? Bully for you. We’ll make a Vertical flight that span...

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Westbrook Brewing: Single Hop to it

Posted on March 13, 2013 at 2:35 PM Comments comments (1)

Growing up outside of Napa Valley, I discovered that the best way to learn what wines you like is to try a bunch of different wines. And almost everyone who starts their journey to becoming a wine lover starts off sweet. The Rieslings, the Gewurtztraminers, the Muscats, and that bastard of the wine family, the Rosés. (I'm not even going to dignify "fruit infused wine beverages" that sta...

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The One Where I Review Budweiser Unironically

Posted on March 2, 2013 at 5:30 PM Comments comments (2)

I’m becoming a total beer snob, and, frankly, I don’t mind the label. Rather, I embrace it. After drinking – and reviewing – over 160 beers, I think I’ve earned the right to a little snobbery, and I now know exactly what I like and what I don’t with a razor’s honed edge.

However, I’m all about trying new beers. And when I stumbled across an interesting case of ne...

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Review: Going Custom with Indochino

Posted on February 28, 2013 at 11:35 AM Comments comments (40)

Bespoke (biˈspoʊk) is an English word that means a clothing item made to a buyer's specification (personalised or tailored). While it can be applied to other items, including computer software and luxury cars, the term historically was applied only to men's tailored clothing, footwear and other apparel, implying measurement and fitting. For most non-clothing items, the term build to order is usually used instead. The distinguishing points of bespoke tailoring are t...

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Getting Bombed on Avery Brewing Bombers

Posted on February 27, 2013 at 4:45 PM Comments comments (0)

It took me a while to embrace the beauty which is the 22-ounce bomber. Frequently a good bit more expensive – the five beers reviewed here would be in the $23+/6-pack range if you calculated by ounce) but there is just something so right about the bomber.

What I’ve grown to love is that the second glass is almost always better. I don’t know if it is the 20 minutes or so that it rests in the fridge while you’re down...

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Hair of the Flying Dog They Sent You

Posted on February 22, 2013 at 5:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Good people drink good beer.” – Flying Dog Brewery

You gotta hand it to Flying Dog Brewery…with names like Raging Bitch (Belgian Style IPA), Pearl Necklace (Oyster Stout), Doggie Style (Classic Pale Ale) and Horn Dog (Barley Wine), these folks have a great sense of humor.

But don't let their names fool you; they take brewing seriously and...

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Super Beer Bowl III

Posted on February 5, 2013 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (2)

Starting a couple of years ago, I started a personal tradition of spending Super Bowl Sunday drinking a variety of high-end brews. The Super Bowl is one of only two sporting events I enjoy watching religiously. In fact, this will be the first football game I watch this year. (It certainly doesn’t hurt that my favorite team – the Niners – is in the Bowl. I mean, I’d watch it either way, but now I’m going to be a lot more vested in the actual game an...

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Beers Brewed for a Right Bastard

Posted on January 25, 2013 at 4:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Not all beers are created equal. Some beers are thin, yellow, pissy affairs that are suitable for little more than flavoring the water they’re brewed in. Others are meant to be light and easy, letting you drink all day while lying by a pool or ocean and taking your mind off of a sweltering sun. Others are flavored with fruit and sissified for people who want to drink beer but that don’t really like beer.

Then there are beers ...

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Chasin' Doubble Unearthly Alpha IPAS

Posted on January 21, 2013 at 2:30 PM Comments comments (2)

If you think I’ve been slack in reviewing beers lately, you’d be wrong. Dead wrong. What I’ve been slack in is *posting* beer reviews lately. I’ve been drinking and reviewing beers just fine, thank you very much. But in looking through my notes, I see that I have over 20 beers already photographed and reviewed and just waiting for their days in the sun!

So, let’s start with four new IPA...

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Gettin Hoppy With It - 5 Big IPAs

Posted on December 21, 2012 at 10:50 AM Comments comments (0)

If you know anything about me, it’s that I love IPAs. Big, giant, crazy IBU, hop-filled beers that just light your mouth ablaze with flavor. Nay. Flava.

So whenever I spot a new Double/Imperial that I haven’t tried, I feel compelled to pick it up. You never know when you’re going to stumble on that next Hoppy Grail that is going to put a smile ...

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12.12.12 - A Day for an Epic Ale

Posted on December 13, 2012 at 10:10 PM Comments comments (1)

All day on Twitter yesterday I was bombarded with messages and reminders that it was 12/12/12. And until that most unlucky of unlucky days – 13/13/13 – this would be the last time such a date happened in this century. So, what better beer to drink on such a day as an Epic Ale?

And what beer could possibly be more epic than a beer that ha

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Mouthdeep in Hops - Four IPAs With a Brother

Posted on December 1, 2012 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (26)

My brother, Adam, is a triple-threat, perfect storm when it comes to helping-a-brother-out and providing beer. 1) He’s incredibly generous, 2) He loves huge, crazy-hopped IPAs, and 3) He lives just outside the San Francisco Bay Area which is home to some of the greatest microbrewers on the planet, giving him regular access to some of the finest beers on the planet. (How’d you like to just stroll into the store any day and pick up Pliny the Elde...

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Exclusive First Look! Marantz AV-8801/MM-8077

Posted on November 24, 2012 at 3:25 PM Comments comments (43)

I’ve been a fan of Marantz products for a while now for two big reasons.

One: The stuff has great sound and build quality and hits that sweet spot between middling receiver performance and the truly insane gear found at the high-end. (I’m looking at you, Meridian, Krell, Lexicon, ADA and Theta!)

Two: Kevin Zarow – VP of sales at D&M (Marantz, Denon and B...

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Dirac: The Best Free Audio App You've Never Heard

Posted on November 18, 2012 at 6:15 PM Comments comments (2)

Typically I would say that if you’ve purchased an iOS device – Pod, Phone, or Pad – the first thing you should do to improve your music listening experience should be this: Take the free, white, pack-in headphones and carefully unwrap them from their packaging. Admire them for a moment – so white and gleaming! – and say a quick word of thanks to Jobs and gang for including a complete, ready-to-listen, user experience right out of the box. And then&...

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Kaleidescape App: Re-Rediscover your movie collection!

Posted on November 12, 2012 at 1:25 PM Comments comments (2)

How many times has this happened to you…

You’re over at someone’s house, say, babysitting their kids. You start browsing through their movie collection looking for something to entertain the little youngins. As you are flipping through the titles you spot an interesting sounding film. You think to yourself, “Hmm. This is the fourth movie in the series; that must mean that the first three were also good, so chances...

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Bless me Father, for I have beered!

Posted on November 10, 2012 at 3:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Without a doubt, big, fresh, juicy, hop-filled IPAs are my beer of choice. The zing of the fresh pine and citrus juice that nearly puckers your mouth followed the lingering finish of bitterness… When done right, it is difficult to surpass the flavors of a great (Double/Imperial) IPA in my book.

But there are a lot of other beer styles out there, and for this tasting I rounded-up five different Trappist and Bel...

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