Beer Accessories

Sung to the tune of Bear Necessities from Walt Disney’s The Jungle Book. Feel free to sing along. “Beer accessories my favorite beer accessories.” I love all things beer so by association I am a huge fan of beer accessories. Here are three of my current favorites in no particular order.

Take your beer snobbery to the next level with these first I two items from Hide and Drink. This hand cut, hand sewn, 100% genuine leather pint sleeve looks amazingly cool on a pint glass with the added benefit of helping keep it cool. It will last forever and this full grain leather sleeve will only look better and better with age. I chose the bourbon brown for obvious reasons and now think it’s a must have for any legitimate beer snob.

Beer snobs will look down their nose at the age old beer kookzie once they see this Rustic Leather Beer Glove. Be honest, just the name rustic leather beer glove makes youE291C602-DD61-40E0-ACEB-BD8D213D4A5A feel the need go buy one. I bought mine in Bourbon Brown and just holding it in may hand and feeling the supple leather and drinking in the smell makes me want to put a beer in it. Walmart has some leather koozies that look pretty good. I can’t personally vouch for them because I haven’t actually bought one but the price seems decent and they look ok on the website.

Finally, who doesn’t like a growler of beer? Seriously, who doesn’t? You must be singled out and made fun of if you’re that person. I’ve had two of these growlers for a few years and can honestly say I’ve never once gotten them filled without someone asking about them. My marginal coolness jumps up a couple notches when people see how strong my snob growler game is. They work VERY well and keep your beer fresh twice and long as the standard screw top growlers used by peasant beer drinkers.

These are a few of my current favorites. The list changes as I discover new things. Do you have any fun beer accessories you can’t do without?  If so please let me know.


The One Drink Every Man Should Know How To Make

I Read an article recently from Esquire magazine titled The One Drink Every Man Should Know How To Make. To steal a line from the movie Jerry Maguire you had me at hello.

I immediately assumed it was a Manhattan. For me that’s the cocktail of choice. Here’s a recipe from the fine folks at Woodford Reserve. I prefer a perfect Manhattan with a higher proof alcohol. I order mine “up” meaning served in a chilled martini glass with no ice. It’s a thing of beauty.

A couple of bourbon cocktail tips; First, NEVER shake a Manhattan. It will make your lovely cocktail cloudy. Google provides a wealth of information on shaking versus stirring. This article from adventuresincocktails goes deeper if you’re interested as to why. Second and as mentioned before, consider selecting a higher proof bourbon. This just makes a really good Manhattan even better I like Knob Creek or a higher proof of Old Forrester. Trust me I’m a Kentuckian, bourbon drinker and Manhattan devotee.

I’m getting off track here. Back to the article in Esquire about the one drink every man should know how to make. It was NOT about the Manhattan but rather another classic bourbon cocktail, the Old Fashioned. Normally I’d argue in favor of the perfect Manhattan but maybe I am softening in my old age.

With Kentucky Derby Season right upon us it’s a recipe worth sharing. The more ways you can drink bourbon the better off you are.

No matter which cocktail you choose I’d use Old Forrester 86 lovingly referred to as “Old Fo.” It comes from the same barrel house as Woodford Reserve. In fact I’ve always sworn if you drink three stiff “Old Fo 86’s” you’ll think it’s Woodford Reserve and better still, you’ll still have a couple bucks in your pocket to bet on the horses.

It’s Derby season in Kentucky y’all.



Three Easy Tips For Better Untappd and Instagram Photos

Do you want to take better photos with your smart phone? Do you enjoy trying new beers and documenting them with a picture? Do you use the craft beer social app Untappd?That’s a lot of questions to begin a post but if you answered yes to one or all of the three this blog entry may help you.

Today’s post is about three easy steps you can take to get better beer photos. I’ll also link a powerful free app I use to do some edits on my photos after I shoot them. Before the tips, just a couple pointers. Whether I’m posting to Instagram, Untappd, Facebook or Twitter I use the photo app on my phone to capture the picture I want. I also usually set the format to square since that’s the default display used on Instagram and Untappd.

Let’s get to it. Tip number one is about light, the basic element of photography. Not just light but the right kind of light can be the difference between a flat lifeless picture and a photo that tells a story. Take a look at this beer photo I snapped using my iPhone flash. It’s everything that’s wrong about beer photos.

Tip number one is kill the flash and seek out natural light whenever possible. The flash does nothing to improve the photo. It doesn’t highlight the beer or provide any valuable accents at all. Seek out filtered natural light wherever possible. Position your subject (beer) so that the light falls across it on an angle. This will add depth and highlight your subject. Take a look at these photos. Same phone but better composition and NO FLASH. Speaking of composition that’s tip number two.No flash. Just a beer, some window light and my iPhone.

Take a moment to compose your photo in your mind. Remember tip number one as you create the photo in your mind and once you find the lighting you want consider the background. Avoid clutter and anything that doesn’t add to the story. Look at this picture from Ethereal Brewing in Lexington, KY. It gets a check mark on the filtered natural light. In fact I’d say it’s not a bad photo EXCEPT, what’s that spotted thing in the background?

The bartender popped into the frame just as I was shooting my picture creating an unwanted distraction from my tasty craft beers. Not to be too picky but the background is also kind of busy and doesn’t help the picture. There’s a great free app that can fix the background and I’ll tell you about it after the third and final tip.

This final tip is probably the easiest and takes into consideration the previous two tips. After you have selected the lighting and composed your photo in your head the way you’d like then use tip number three to get good spatial arrangement. That’s as easy as shooting pictures using the rule of thirds. Divide your photo into verticals and horizontal thirds then use that grid to position your subject slightly off center. The off center position is more pleasing to the eye. It also avoids making your subject appear it’s been put in a box which creates a boring story.

Hope these three tips make your Instagram and Untappd beer pics better. Just remember angled natural light, compose your photo in your mind and take into account the background and shoot the picture using the rule of thirds.

Check out this powerful free photo editing app Snapseed by following this link. After a slight learning curve you’ll be adding fun effects like text, blurs, vignettes and lots more. Here’s hoping your photography is as fun as your beer drinking. Follow me on Untappd user RobbLee and on Twitter @robblee.