My Girlfriend (now fiance) and I just got back from an 11 day trip to Austria. We had an absolute blast. Saw some beautiful places, ate some great food, drank some great beer, and I suppose most importantly, got engaged!

I was re-reminded on this trip how nice a well brewed Munich Helles can be, which is the de facto beer style in Austria and Bavaria. Unfortunately, after eleven days, I was ready for something with some American hops, so it's nice to be home.

Obviously I don't have too many home-brew related updates at the moment, but there's some stuff in the pipeline, so I'll have some more posts up soon. But in the meantime, Prost!

My Black Rye IPA is finally on tap, and tasting delicious. I had talked about the recipe here, and I found out shortly after I brewed this, that Firestone Walker is brewing nearly the same damn beer. Now I'll be honest, I had heard they were brewing a Black Rye IPA, but I had no idea our recipes would be so flipping close. Their beer is a little bigger (8.5% ABV), looks to be a little less dark, and uses a slightly different malt bill, but it still looks remarkably similar.

Beer reviews aren't something I ever intend to post, as there are a million blogs that do just that. But this isn't exactly a review, and it's worth sharing. Two weekends ago, my friends and I, had an IPA and chicken-and-waffles night. One of my friends makes knock-out chicken and waffles from scratch, and I happened to have a fridge full of awesome IPAs.

It was definitely a great night with great friends. My boy Greg made some killer ribs on the grill, and Floyd's chicken and waffles didn't disappoint. Pictured above were eight of the beers we sampled. My Furry Penguin was also there, as well as about eight others that Greg had picked up.

Double Jack was the clear favorite. Followed fairly closely by Hopslam. Furry Penguin was the third favorite. Hoptimum was good, very pungently hoppy, but overly bitter compared to some of the other beers. Union Jack and West Coast IPA were excellent as always. Scuplin and Mycenary were both about three months old, and a little past their prime. It showed compared to some of the fresher examples. Odell's IPA wasn't the hoppiest beer of the night, but well liked. Sierra Nevada made a strong showing, Ruthless and Torpedo were also well received. And last, but certainly not least, Hop Knot stood it's ground against some tough national competition. I'd say it was in the top third of the pack; great beer.

In other news, my Amber Ale placed 2nd in a local competition last weekend with a 39! None of my other beers place, but I'm still excited regardless.

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