94. Felix in The Peninsula Hotel, Hong Kong (#71)

This is #94 on the list … over 70 places on the list now. Yes, I’m still making my way on the All About Beer Magazine’s “Growler List” 125 best places in the world to have a beer.

Some of the recent entries have seemed a little “dated.” I know they are great places, but they seem to be a little worn or have lost the “vibe” to newer places. Not The Felix. This is an exceptional bar with a fantastic view of the Hong Kong Harbor.

This bar is on the 28th floor of The Peninsula Hotel in Kowloon. If you are familiar with the James Bond films, you will recognize this hotel from Roger Moore’s “The Man With the Golden Gun” movie. However, the Felix didn’t exist when that movie was filmed in 1974. The hotel is known for its fleet of courtesy cars … Rolls Royces. Unfortunately, they didn’t pick us up from our hotel … we had to walk.

The bar doesn’t open until 1730 … but once it does, you ride the elevator specifically for the bar / restaurant. You get to the top, walk into the restaurant and open your mouth to the view, just like everyone else.

I ordered a beer and sat at the bar before we had dinner. It was a special IPA, made locally, with a slang name: “gwei-lo.” It means “pale guy” (or whitey) in English … slang for foreigner. Kind of funny. It was quite tasty though!

We reserved a table by the window to watch the everyday 8pm light show across the harbor. The dinner was ok … you can just visit the bar and enjoy a beer if you’d like. I highly recommend a stop if you are in Hong Kong. Definitely deserves to be on the list!

Oh, finally, what beer goes in must come out. If you go to the men’s room, you have a fantastic view while standing at the Urinal as well. Haha.



Miscellaneous Growler List Photos …

As a reminder, this list is my effort to complete the All About Beer Magazine’s “Growler List.”  125 best places in the world to have a beer.

From the summary — see my earlier post for explanation:

Total (actual) places visited: 70.  A few years ago, my brothers and my best friend joined me in Europe for a 2 week beer swing.  Not sure I posted about that, but here are a few random photos from that trip …

3) U Fleku (Prague, Czech Rep) … great place … nice “ambience” … yeah, i was without luggage for a few days …

6) Augustiner Keller (Munich, Germany) … my brother and I hit this as one of the last places before he had to depart the country.  Worth a stop in warm weather. 🙂


28) Zum Uerige (Dusseldorf, Germany).  Too commercialized now … there are other Altbier locations to visit that have great beer and decent service.  It was quite active though! 

37) Atelier am Dom (Cologne, Germany).  Views — spectacular!  Beer — pretty good.  Highly recommend. 

41) Blues Bar (Stone Town, Zanzibar).  [This place was closed so I substituted Mercury’s … you can see the old Blues Bar in the distance]  I took this photo from Mercury’s patio.

61) Krcma (Ceske Krumlov, Czech Rep).  The food was good … beer was Ok.  locale was spectacular!

68) Gösser Bierklinik (Vienna, Austria).  Hard to argue about a place that’s been there for hundreds of years. 

73) Schlenkerla Brewery Tavern (Bamberg, Germany).  Whoa!  That smoked beer … amazing!  The town is fantastic too.

77) Die Weisse (Salzburg, Austria).  An interesting stop as we were passing through the country. 

78) Halve Maan Brewery (Brugge, Belgium).  Yep, six  years ago I was there on my birthday.  They almost spelled my name right!  But it was a great tour, great beer, great location.  Did I say it was great?

90. Cantillon Brewery and Gueuze Museum (Brussels, Belgium). Wow, wow. and wow.  Highly recommend a sto here. wow.



Beer Mentor.

Growler List: Summary Update #6 … not Final

Reference:  All About Beer Magazine’s “Growler List.”  125 best places in the world to have a beer.

Ok, I said it was my final entry last May … but I changed my mind!  Yes, I’m still scouting out new bars/places to enjoy a cold, refreshing beverage, but I will continue to work on this list because, dang it, I like to work on lists.

Summary: Total (actual) places visited: 70 (55 remain on the list).  I’ve worked very hard on correcting my list, so I think I’ve visited 4 (and sub’d 2) places since my last post:

#93: Bruxellensis Festival of Characterful Beers.  Unfortunately, this festival is defunct.  Darn.  I would have loved to go to this one!  I’ve substituted an equally appropriate one: Big Beers, Belgians, and Barley Wines in Breckenridge, CO.

#10: The Great Canadian Beer Festival.  This was definitely a good festival–I wouldn’t call it great.  Because of the laws in Canada, you can’t just buy one ticket and drink all the beers you want (like in the US festivals).  You have to purchase a token for a “sample.”  The samples are larger so you won’t be able to taste several beers without stumbling back to your hotel.  Oh well, if I must.


#23: Henry’s 12th Street Tavern.  This was a very nice place in Portland, OR.  I visited with my brother and sister … with the abundance of great places now, I would rank this one down the list … worth a stop if you are in the area, but not worth going out of your way to get there.

#36: McMenamins’ Kennedy School Hotel, Portland, OR.  This one is worth a visit!  The brewery, restaurant, and hotel are all in an old elementary school complex.  Definitely a unique location with ample parking.  Worth a detour!

Here’s the complete list of places I’ve visited … new entries in Bold. Substitutes in Italics.

1. Great American Beer Festival, Denver, CO (2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2016)
2. The Grand Place, Brussels, Belgium (2010) (2012)
3. U Fleku, Prague, Czech Republic (2012)
5. Oktoberfest, Munich, Germany  (1998) (2012)
6. Augustiner Keller, Munich, Germany (2012)
7. Abbaye de Notre-Dame d’Orval, Orval, Belgium (2009) (2012)
10. The Great Canadian Beer Festival, Victoria [BC] (2017)
11. Hofbrauhaus, Munich, Germany (1997, 1998, 2001, 2012)
12. The Brickskeller (now Bier Baron), Washington, DC (2005, 2011)
14. The Market Porter, Stoney Street, London, England (2010)
15. Cat’s Eye Pub, Inner Harbor, Baltimore, MD (2011)
16. Camden Yards (Baltimore) [Substitute] (2008, 2009)
(Original: Fenway Park)

18. Horizon’s Cafe – CN Tower (Toronto, Canada) (2016)
19. Glengarry Highland Games Beer Tent (Maxville, Ontario) (2003, 2011) [Substitute]
(Original: Saratoga Race Course)
22. German Bundesliga (Kaiserslautern) (1997) [Substitute]
(Original: Daytona Motor Speedway)
23. Henry’s 12th Street Tavern (Portland, OR) (2018)
24. Hopleaf, Chicago, IL (2014)
25. World Beer Festival, Durham/Raleigh, NC (2011)
28. Zum Uerige, Düsseldorf, Germany (2012)
29. Toronado, San Francisco (CA) (2017)
30. The Olde Mitre Tavern, Ely Court, Hatton Garden, London, England (2010)
31. Cowboys/Redskins, FedEx Field Skybox (DC) (2009) [Substitute]
(Original: Indianapolis Motor Speedway)

32. Rogue Brewery, Newport (OR) (2017)
33. The Wynkoop Brewery, Denver, CO (2011)
36. McMenamins’ Kennedy School Hotel, Portland, OR (2018)
37. Atelier am Dom, Cologne, Germany (2012)
38. Anchor Brewing, San Francisco (CA) (2017)
39. The Flying Saucer, NC, SC, TN, AR and TX (2010, 2013)
41. Blues Bar, Stone Town, Zanzibar (closed)
[substitute: Mercury’s] (2013)

42. Sandlot Brewery (seems perpetually closed)
[substitute: Great Divide Barrel Bar), Denver (CO)] (2016)

43. Clark Street Ale House, Chicago, IL (2014)
44. Tailgating Frankfurt Galaxy NFL Europe Game (1996, 1997) [Substitute]
                 (Original: Tailgate SEC game. Sorry, Big 12 fan)
45. Selin’s Grove Brewing, Selinsgrove, PA (2010)
47. The Map Room, Chicago, IL (2014)
48. The Blue Tusk, Syracuse, NY (2010)
51. The White Horse Pub, Parsons Green, London, England (2010)
54. Falling Rock Tap House, Denver, CO (2011)
57. Andechs Monastery, Andechs, Germany (2010) (2012)
61. Krcma, Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic (2012)
66. Delirium Café, Brussels, Belgium (2010) (2012)
68. Gösser Bierklinik, Vienna, Austria (2012)
71. Brewer’s Art, Baltimore, MD (2010)
73. Schlenkerla Brewery Tavern, Bamberg, Germany (2012)
77. Die Weisse, Salzburg, Austria (2012)
78. Halve Maan Brewery, Bruges, Belgium (2012)
80. Le Bier Circus, Brussels, Belgium (2010) (2012)
82. Irseer Klosterbrauerei, Irsee, Germany (2010) (2012)
84. Goose Island Brewing, Chicago, IL  (2014)
85. Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2014)
88. Baumgartner’s Cheese Store & Tavern, Monroe, WI (2014)
90. Cantillon Brewery and Gueuze Museum, Belgium  (2012)
91. Dogfish Head Ale House, Rehoboth Beach, DE (2010)
92. Belgo Centraal, London, England (2010)
93. Bruxellensis Festival of Characterful Beers (defunct/closed)
      (Substitute: Big Beers, Belgians, and Barley Wines (Breck’, CO) (2015, 2016, 2017)
97. Clark’s Ale House, Syracuse, NY (2010)
100. Steamworks Brewing, Vancouver, Canada (2015)
103. Kelly’s Caribbean Bar, Grill & Brewery, Key West, FL (2007, 2016)
104. Rose & Crown Pub, Epcot Center, Orlando, FL (2006)
106. Brick Store Pub, Decatur, GA (2011)
108. The Ghost Bar at the Palms Hotel, Las Vegas, NV (2015)
110. The Gingerman, Austin, TX (2010)
113. beerbistro, Toronto, Canada (2016)
114. The Dubliner, Washington, DC (2010)
115. John Barleycorn, Chicago, IL (2014)
118. Top of the Hill Brewery & Restaurant, Chapel Hill, NC (2011)
121. Old Ebbitt Grill, Washington, DC (2010)
122. 5 Seasons Brewing, Atlanta, GA (2011)
123. Tim Schafer’s at Lake Norman, Sherrills Ford, NC (closed)
               (Substitute) In de Vrede (Belgium) (2010, 2012)
124. Stumbling Monk, Seattle. WA (2011)
125. The Happy Gnome, St Paul, MN (2014)

Beer Mentor

Canada’s 150th! Beer #4! Picaroons Traditional Ales + Central City Brewing

Time just runs away when you are always out and about!  I need to hire an assistant now that I’m retired.  haha.  Today, I’m sampling beer #4 in the Collaboration Across the Nation! beer collection.  The collaboration in this instance is Central City with Picaroons Traditional Ales.

I’m working my way from East to West and this was a difficult choice for me.  Geographically, Quebec is further east than New Brunswick but the breweries I’ve been sampling have been geographically correct East to West.  Next in line was Picaroons!  They make traditional English-style ales (hence the name).  An interesting note about Picaroons–this is not their only 150th Collaboration.  They have brewed an historical ale using traditional methods … see the link here.  I need to get my hands on one of these!  🙂

Ok, to the beer … to re-recap, I will be using the 2015 BJCP Guidelines to score this beer based on Aroma (12 pts), Appearance (3 pts), Flavor (20 pts), Mouthfeel (5 pts), and Overall Impression (10 pts).  You can see the standard score sheet here.

The Evaluation.  The beer is called RESTORED HOP(E). From the description: “New Brunswick was largely founded by French descendents and United Empire Loyalists which inspired the province’s motto “Spem reduxit”, meaning “hope is restored.”  For this reason, we have brewed the classic English style of an extra special bitter.”

Since the ABV is 5.6%, and looking at the description, this beer falls in the category 11C – Strong Bitter.

Aroma. A medium biscuity, bready malt aroma upfront followed closely by medium caramel notes.  Very low floral, resiny hop aroma.  Medium fruity esters (apple/pear) present as well.  All to style  (10/12 pts).

Appearance. A bright copper color with a light tan head — quite large with excellent retention.  Brilliant clarity. (3/3pts).

Flavor.  Med-high hop bitterness with a medium malt flavor (bready, biscuity) in support.  Medium floral hop flavor comes through into a very dry finish.  Bitterness and floral notes linger into the aftertaste.  Low caramel flavors blend with light fruity esters to give a nice fermentation complexity.  (16/20 pts).

Mouthfeel. Medium-full body with medium-high carbonation.  Slight carbonic bite.  No astringency. Low alcohol warmth.  Not creamy — crisp!  (4/5 pts).

Overall Impression. This is a fantastic example of the style!  Very drinkable, great aroma and flavor.  Wonderful balance for style — only mark would be that it is just a tad too carbonated.  Otherwise, great!  (8/10 pts).

That’s 43 out of 50 points bringing this beer into the Excellent category.

Thanks, again, to both breweries for producing a wonderful Extra Special Bitter.

Beer Mentor

Canada’s 150th Beer #3! Garrison Brewing + Central City Brewers

In celebration of Canada Day, I’m sampling beer #3 in the Collaboration Across the Nation! beer collection.  The collaboration in this instance is Central City with Garrison Brewing.

This is a cool one for me … back in June of 2010, my daughter and I went to Halifax and I had a chance to visit this brewery.  It was a great place, right on the pier, the beers were excellent and I think, still worth a stop!  If you are in that area give it a visit!

Here’s my photo from 2010!  I think the place still looks the same.  However, they have built a new brewery.  Congrats to them!  Ok, onward to the beer … to recap, I will be using the 2015 BJCP Guidelines to score this beer based on Aroma (12 pts), Appearance (3 pts), Flavor (20 pts), Mouthfeel (5 pts), and Overall Impression (10 pts).  You can see the standard score sheet here.

The Evaluation.  The beer is called “New” Scottish Ale. From the description: “In Latin, Nova Scotia literally means “New Scotland.”  To celebrate Canada’s Scottish roots, we have brewed up a lightly peated Scottish Ale.”  This is a tough one to categorize.  Since the ABV is 5.5%, it would fall in the category 14C – Scottish Export.  However, because the brewers mention “peat,” I’ve decided to judge it in category 32A – Classic Style Smoked Beer.  Basically, the smoke flavor should be supportive and supported by the Classic Style selected (in this instance, 14C).

Aroma.  Low smoky phenolic right up front but doesn’t overpower.  Light toasty, bready malt in support.  No esters.  No hop aroma.  As it warms, the smoke begins to dominate the biscuity malt character. (7/12 pts).

Appearance.  Pours to a bright copper color with a small off-white head.  Does not persist.  Bubbles continue from the bottom of this clear beer. (3/3pts).

Flavor.  Big, smoky phenolic (peat) flavor at first.  Peat lingers well into the aftertaste.  Medium high hop bitterness balances but does not dominate.  Finish is quite dry.  Subtle pomme-fruit esters show up in the middle.  Light floral, spicy, earthy hop flavor as well.  Medium levels of malt (bready, grainy, toasty) are there but balance is to the peat/hops.  Should be the peat/hops in support instead.  Clean ale fermentation character. (13/20 pts).

Mouthfeel.  Medium body with medium carbonation.  Peat blends with carbonic bite to lend a slight astringency. Expected a little creaminess for style–not there. (4/5 pts).

Overall Impression.  This is a very drinkable beer, but the peat is distracting, especially in the aftertaste.  Recommend doing away with the peat altogether.  Maybe add some crystal/caramel malt and reduce the hop bitterness by 1/8.  That should swing it right into style! (7/10 pts).

That’s 34 out of 50 points bringing this beer into the Very Good category.

Thanks, again, to both breweries for producing this nice, refreshing “New” Scottish Ale!  Cheers to them and to Canada on this special day!

Beer Mentor

Canada’s 150th #2! P.E.I Brewery with Central City Brewers

Across the Nation Collaboration!

This is the second post in this series … as mentioned in the previous post, Central City Brewers and Distillers has collaborated with twelve other breweries in celebration of Canada’s 150th Anniversary.

Working my way from East to West, the next in the series is from Prince Edward Island.  The aptly named brewery is P.E.I Brewing Company.  Their brewing history reaches back to 1997 and continues strongly through today brewing award-winning beers.

As in the previous post, I will be using the 2015 BJCP Guidelines to score each beer based on Aroma (12 pts), Appearance (3 pts), Flavor (20 pts), Mouthfeel (5 pts), and Overall Impression (10 pts).  You can see the standard score sheet here.

The Evaluation.  The beer is called “Biere d’ici Honey Ale.”   From the description: “Prince Edward Island may be small but it is also known as the birthplace of Confederation.  Brewed with local PEI honey and maritime grown hops, this brew is a lighter take on the bière de garde style.”

With this description, I will judge this beer under category 24 (Belgian Ale) with the sub-style being 24C … Bière de Garde.  I will add my notes for the categories from above and then score it based on the total points available.  My assumption with this “Honey Ale” is that the honey was used to add flavor and aid in the dry finish.

Aroma.  Medium-low bready malt character that fades away.  I detect some Pilsner-ish malt notes.  Very light honey accents, but not overpowering.  A low, floral hop nose in support, but very faint.  No esters perceived. (8/12 pts).

Appearance.  Pours to a light copper color with a small, off-white.  Does not persist.  Bubbles continue from the bottom of this brilliantly clear beer. (3/3pts).

Flavor.  Grainy, bready malt character up front.  Again, pilsner malt seems prominent.  Light honey notes.  Medium hop bitterness competes with malt for balance.  Malt and hop bitterness both linger into the dry finish.  Aftertaste is more toward the hop bitterness–not to style.   Clean lager fermentation character. (13/20 pts).

Mouthfeel.  Medium body with high carbonation.  Low alcohol warmth. Very effervescent.  Not astringent.  Expected a little creaminess for style–not there. (4/5 pts).

Overall Impression.  This is a very good beer — quite drinkable!  The honey is a nice addition.  For the style, especially with an amber version, I would expect a little more malt character in both aroma and flavor.  Also, the hop bitterness is a little high for style — maybe reduce the bittering hops by 15 – 20 percent?  Otherwise, cheers!  (7/10 pts).

That’s 35 out of 50 points bringing this beer into the Very Good category.  A big thanks again to both breweries for making this one! As noted above from the description, the “lighter take” on the style is probably why the malt flavor/aroma is a little more subdued.


Beer Mentor

#63: Bruxellensis Festival of Characterful Beers (93) [DEFUNCT]

Note: Finalizing blogs on “Places on the Growler List.”  

This is #93 on the list … I hit a milestone with this entry … I’m made it over halfway there on the All About Beer Magazine’s “Growler List” 125 best places in the world to have a beer.

However, this is also a substitution … if you’ve read through my blog, you will see that some of the entries I’ve modified slightly.  There are two types of modifications–first, if the venue is closed, I substitute (what I feel) is an appropriate replacement.  The other is a “suitable sub.”  For instance, I’m not a fan of SEC football, so I substituted another “experience” entry.  I did that for about 5 entries (I think).  This entry, #63 for me, is a substitute for a defunct festival: Bruxellensis.  I’m sad about that because the festival looked very interesting.  My replacement, though, is a fantastic option (I believe).

The Big Beers, Belgians, and Barleywines Festival (formerly in Vail, CO but now in Breckenridge, CO is incredible.  If you go to just more than the festival — you can spend the whole weekend celebrating beer at this event — all the better.  Sign up for seminars, sessions, cigar tastings, etc, etc.


This event entered its 16th year in 2017 and you can really appreciate the maturity.  There are scheduled activities starting even earlier in the week and continuing through Sunday.  The basic format is — beer dinners/tastings/seminars/competitions early (Monday through Friday) and then the big Festival on Saturday.  And this is about Big Beers!  How about a 1994 Triple Bock from Boston Brewery?  The Utopias at 28%?


Many of the craft industries long-time members really go all out in support of this (Dogfish Head, Avery, and the Lost Abbey to name a few (Oh, and Boston Brewery?  see above)).

However, you also get the newer entrants in the industry as well — all focused on big beers or Belgians … and not just big, but great beers.  If you look at the link above and walk through some of the activities, i’m sure you’ll agree … worthy of a place on the list and as a replacement for Bruxellensis.

Finally, this is also on Beermentor’s 100 Places list … now there are two officially, this Festival and Russian River Brewing.  I will be adding my list soon … really.  🙂


Beer Mentor