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Wednesday, August 29th 2012

White IPA
(Blue Point Brewing Company)

Blue Point Brewing has the distinction of being the first American craft brewery to can a White IPA style beer. This relatively new "style" of beer is a combination of a Belgian Wit and an American IPA. Subtly different than the Belgian IPA, this is combo that works extremely well during the summer (or anytime for that matter). We love the can design that features a NYC subway stop design. Very cool. By the way, this is a brand new beer for the Long Island brewery and it can be found year-round.

From the Blue Point site:

"Remaining at the forefront of experimentation, the brewers at Blue Point have produced a white beer/IPA hybrid that is well on its way to creating a new style for the beer description books. Our White IPA is an unfiltered European-style white ale with a fresh American IPA finish. Brewed with malted and unmalted wheat and just the right amount of west coast hops, it’s fermented with German yeast to give it a perfectly balanced character with less bitterness than traditional IPAs."

Here we go...

Pour - soft in appearance, a little cloudy with a with wispy white head that leaves some decent lacing. Looks very much like a witbier.

Aroma - some nice sweet citrus tang, some floral hop notes, a bit of tropical fruit aroma, along withi some yeasty spiciness. Quite aromatic.  

Taste - soft on the palate and super smooth on the tongue. Blue Point's White IPA first delivers some some citrus flavors that dance around in the mouth and are followed up by a bit of yeasty spice. A very thirst quenching beer that provides an almost juicy finish with some nice lingering bitter, piney hop notes. A bit of lemon and orange zestiness round things out nicely. 

Overall - definitely fans of this yet-to-be style of beer. The combination of the two styles works so well together and this delivers the best of both worlds. So easy to drink and very satisfying on a warm summer night. We expect to see a lot more breweries provide their take on this style soon. Cheers!

Note - Along with their White IPA, this summer Blue Point also released their flagship Toasted Lager and their Summer Ale in cans. 



Hops Scale:
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White IPA
Style: White IPA
Brewery: Blue Point Brewing Company
City: 
Patchogue, New York  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 6.0%
IBUs: 40
Date: August 29th, 2012

Posted by Russ


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Monday, August 27th 2012

Ska and Golden Road Take New Approach to Seasonal Offerings

Its now late summer and you've probably begun to notice something at your local beer store. Yep, all of those summer beers are being cleared out to make room for pumpkin ales, harvest ales, and Oktoberfests. This seasonal shift is happening all over the country with many craft breweries packaging the same familiar styles for each new season. Here we take a look at two breweries that have chosen to depart from the norm and take a whole new approach to "seasonal" offerings. 


Ska Brewing out of Durango, Colorado is one of the more recognizable names in the craft brewing industry. They're celebrating 17 years of brewing this year and have been canning for a decade. Out in Los Angeles, Golden Road Brewing is the new kid on the block - the very cool and instantly popular new kid on the block. Not even a year old, Golden Road has taken the Southern California beer scene by storm and their name is on the lips of many craft beer lovers. So what do these two breweries have in common? 


This week Ska Brewing will begin packaging their Autumnal Molé Stout, an absolutely irresistable sounding beer that's brewed with a variety of chile peppers, cocoa nibs, and spices. It represents the first of four canned stouts the brewery plans to release with each corresponding with either an equinox or a solstice.


Future releases, although not confirmed, may be a peppermint stout, an orange cream stout, and possibly a stout aged in merlot barrels. Each can will also feature the familiar artwork that is commonplace with all of Ska's releases. Not only are we excited for all four of these beers, we find this approach to "seasonal" offerings quite refreshing.

If you're a fan of hops you'll love what LA's Golden Road has planned for their take on "seasonal" offerings. They've just recently released a limited amount of their "Wolf Among Weeds" -  an 8% IPA featuring four different hops - which is the first of four canned "Custom IPAs" they'll be releasing on a quarterly basis each of which will feature photos on the can designs. The beer is described on the Golden Road site as:

"This beer is a balanced showcase of the majestic hop specie, in Latin, Humulus Lupulus, which translates “Wolf Among Weeds”.  It is the first beer to be canned in our Custom IPA series, which celebrates California’s enthusiasm for hop-forward IPAs.  At 8%, Wolf will sneak up on you from behind the fresh pine sap and tropical fruit notes mirrored in its aroma and flavor profile."

Without a huge amount of seasonal weather change driving the styles of beer they produce, Golden Road is focusing on one of craft beer's most beloved styles - the India Pale Ale. The next release in the series has us very excited as it will be a smoked IPA called "Burning Bush". Having never had a smoked IPA we're very intrigued.

 

Here is Golden Road's description:

 

"Brewmaster Jon Carpenter had a vision so absurd in scope that it took his brew team tasting the finished Burning Bush to believe that his revelation was divine. The first known Rauch IPA to our knowledge, Burning Bush uses the smoked malt characterized by a traditional German style Rauchbier with the hops of an west coast IPA. This deep copper colored ale has a light smoky aroma that sits atop a generous floral and piney hopping. At 8%, it’s difficult to taste the alcohol in this smooth-drinking IPA. With its wispy smoke character, Burning Bush is also an incredible complement to grilled foods."

So, whether you're a fan of things dark and malty or all things hoppy, Ska and Golden Road have you covered. They've both got some very interesting and unique beers coming out over the next year and all of them will be packaged in cans. Cheers!



Posted by Russ


Labels: Opinion


Tuesday, August 21 2012

Hoopla Pale Ale
(Boulder Beer Company)

Hoopla Pale Ale is the newest canned release from Boulder Beer Company - Colorado's first microbrewery. It's also the first time they've canned anything other than their flagship Hazed and Infused which was launched a couple years ago. It represents a collaboration between Boulder Beer company and Kyle Hollingsworth - keyboardist for the band The String Cheese Incident. As a homebrewery Kyle was sick of seeing people at festivals and shows drinking average beers. This was an attempt to put something better in their hands.

Hoopla was canned with the help of Longmont's Mobile Canning - a mobile canning service that has helped quite a few breweries in Colorado with their canning needs. Its hard not to love the can design here and of course be intrigued by this summer offering of pale ale-ness. Cheers!

From the Boulder Beer site:

"In search of the perfect festival beer, our Boulder Beer brewers and Kyle Hollingsworth, keyboardist of The String Cheese Incident and an avid homebrewer, joined creative forces. Imagination and improvisation flowed freely, and Hoopla was born. Hoopla Pale Ale is dry-hopped with generous amounts of Glacier hops for a fruity, floral hop aroma and flavor that will have your taste buds dancing."

Here we go...

Pour - golden honey in apperance with a big fluffy white head on top. Clean looking beer and definitely enticing.

Aroma - floral hops with some light fruit aromas, almost like melon, along with some caramel from the malts and some toasty or bready notes.

Taste - grassy, citrusy, floral hops stand out in the first sip with a good amount of biscuity sweet malts backing things up. Very smooth and soft on the palate and very easy going down. Bitter on the tongue in the finish with some apple and pear notes. This is they type of beer that has a flavor profile that would appeal to a lot of different types of beer drinkers.

Overall - I can definitely taste what they were going for with this beer. Its light and refreshing with some definite hop flavor and good body while also being fairly sessionable - even at 5.7% - for a day at a festival or a long concert. Not a bad beer by any means and a good candidate for some time on the beach or some summer camping.

Note - you can learn more about Hoopla Pale Ale by checking out the Boulder Beer site. Also, below is a video that shows Kyle Hollingsworth at the brewery brewing up the first big batch of Hoopla Pale Ale. Very cool. 


Kyle Hollingsworth and the making of Hoopla


Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Hoopla Pale Ale
Style: American Pale Ale
Brewery: Boulder Beer Company
City: 
Boulder, Colorado  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: Glacier
ABV: 5.7%
IBUs: 35
Date: August 21st, 2012

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Labels: Pale Ales


Saturday, August 18th 2012

Hilliard's Amber
(Hilliard's Beer)

One of the first two canned offerings from Seattle's Hilliard's Beer. We love the description of this beer as provided by the brewery. If you need a beer that pairs well with just about anything we think you've found it with this amber/red ale. Cheers!

From the Hilliard's site:

"The perfect balance of bitter and aromatic. It’s our NW take on an Amber Ale: A bit cloudy with a big, bright hop presence. Pour it in a glass or drink it from the can. Pairs well with: food, concerts, parties, television, boating, yard work, avoiding yard work, badminton, etc."

Here we go...

Pour - slightly hazy and dark amber as it hits the glass, almost dark orangish-brown in color. When held to the light it appears bright and amber in appearance. A nice off-white head appears on top. 


Aroma - caramel malts and citrus hit the nose at first. There is a bit of a sweet fruit aroma, reminiscent of apples and grapes. A good deal of hops are present. Those IBUs need to come from somewhere...


Taste - toasty, roasty and malty with a good deal of hop presence. I'm digging the citrus and almost fruity hop flavors that are swirled into the mix with this beer. At 5.5% its not packing any heat but its very flavorful and well put together. The finish leaves a lingering hop flavor on the tongue. I could definitely do a few more pints of this!


Overall - a solid amber ale. No complaints. It hits the marks and quenches the thirst. With 60 IBUs this is packing a little more punch than one might expect from the style and we're totally cool with that. Definitely a very drinkable brew with a hoppiness that is quite enjoyable. 

Note - Hilliard's has just recently released two more canned offerings, their Blonde Ale and Pils both now come in tall boy cans that also sport the same sort of retro graphics. Very cool. We love this brewery...


Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Hilliard's Amber
Style: American Amber/Red Ale
Brewery: Hilliard's Beer
City: 
Seattle, Washington  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 5.5%
IBUs: 60
Date: August 18th, 2012

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Wednesday, August 15th 2012

Elevated IPA
(La Cumbre Brewing Company)

Big thanks to Rob out in New Mexico for sending some of these our way. You rock Rob, seriously. So, why are we so excited? Well, this little canned gem holds 16 oz. of this past Great American Beer Festival's gold medal winner in the extremely crowded, and highly fought over, American IPA category. If you've got a penchant for all things hoppy than you'll probably agree with us when we say that we can't wait to crack this open and try if for ourselves.

From the La Cumbre site:

"Did someone ask for hops? Tired of beers that promise a full lupulin experience, but never deliver more than richly malted bitterness? It’s no secret that this is what we excel at. We’ve been brewing world class IPAs for years. Our flagship is the culmination of a decades worth of studying and brewing. Take a step above and acclimate to what an IPA should be."

Here we go...

Pour - amber to honey-colored pour with a white head that steadily forms and as it retreats leaves some sticky lacing inside the glass. Carbonation looks good and this is ready to go..

Aroma - once the can is opened you'll know you're holding something special. The smell hits you from an arms length away. This packs some big, make that huge, aromas of fresh, green, sticky, hops along with an intense smell of pine. I could sit here and smell this all day. But then I wouldn't get to drink it. But if I drink it I won't be able to smell it. Dilemmas, dilemmas. I should probably take one for the team and at least try a small sip. 

Taste - fan of hops are ya? Well, one sip of Elevated IPA will have you rejoicing. Loads of fresh pine and grapefruit flavors abound with big resiny notes, a sharp bitter hoppy punch and a finish that will keep your palate very happy until the next sip. In no way is this a one-sided IPA that simply brags about IBUs, those 100 bad boys are backed up nicely with a sweet, tropical-flavored maltiness. Balanced, intense, and outstanding. 

Overall - absolutely one of the best IPAs we've ever had. If you're a hophead then put this one on the top of your list. Definitely worthy of the gold at the 2011 GABF and if it's back this year it's going to be hard to beat.

Note - Along with beating out 175 other entries to win the Gold in the American IPA category with this beer, La Cumbre also took home Gold in the American-Style or International-Style Pilsener category with "BEER" as well as Silver in the Foreign-Style Stout category with their Malpais Stout. Well done!



Hops Scale:
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Can Scale:
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Elevated IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: La Cumbre Brewing Company
City: 
Albuquerque, New Mexico  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 7.2%
IBUs: 100
Date: August 15th, 2012

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Monday, August 13th 2012

Baxter Brewing Set to Release
Cans of Hayride Autumn Ale

Press Release

LEWISTON – AUBURN, MAINE

Autumn in New England is a special time in a special place, and Baxter Brewing Company, the acclaimed all-canned craft brewery in Lewiston, Maine, greets the season with the eagerly anticipated release of Hayride Autumn Ale, the second beer in the brewery’s line of limited edition seasonal varieties. Cold conditioned on a bed of American oak, Hayride is a blend of rye malts and exotic New Zealand hops, enhanced with touches of peppercorns, ginger and sweet orange peel, which produces a unique beer perfectly timed for leaf-peeping, apple picking, evenings around the campfire, and hayrides.


(mock up by craftcans.com)

"Cold conditioned on a bed of American oak, Hayride is a blend of rye malts and exotic New Zealand hops, enhanced with touches of peppercorns, ginger and sweet orange peel..."

The autumnal brew pairs especially well with stews, beef roasts, stuffed squash and pumpkin pie. “We were thrilled by the how enthusiastically our first seasonal, Celsius Summer Ale, was greeted by the beer community,” said Baxter Head Brewer Ben Low, who designed both recipes. “The only complaints we got were that no one could keep it in stock,” added company President Luke Livingston. That was especially true after Esquire magazine called it one of only “eight Just-Right Summer Beers - The ones you're always looking for when it's hot out but can never seem to find.” “Hayride is the second in a continuing series of seasonal varieties,” Livingston explained. “We will now always have a seasonal beer in distribution along with our year-’round varieties – Pamola Xtra Pale Ale, Amber Road amber ale, and Stowaway IPA. But based on how quickly everyone sold out of Celsius, I’d guess that there’s going to be a lot of early interest in Hayride, too,” he added.

Hayride Autumn Ale will be available beginning the first week of September, 2012 on draught and in 6-pack cans wherever craft beer is sold. Baxter beers are distributed in Maine by Nappi and Pine State Distributors and in Massachusetts by the member distributors of the Massachusetts Beverage Alliance.

More about Baxter Brewing: Located in the Civil War-era Bates Mill Complex in Lewiston, Maine, Baxter was the first brewery in the country to brew more than 5,000 barrels of beer in their first year of operation and was named the 2011 “New Brewery of the Year” by BevNet Magazine. They are also the first brewery in New England to package 100% of its beer solely in metal containers (aluminum cans and stainless steel kegs). The brewery also offsets 100% of its electrical usage every year with EPA-backed wind power credits. Visit their Site or on Facebook

 


Posted by Russ



Sunday, August 12th 2012

Threadless IPA
(Finch's Beer Company)

In case you're not aware of the back story behind this particular can of beer. Finch's partnered with Threadless, a well known t-shirt company, and held the "Threadless IPA Design Challange" to pick the label art for this can. 169 different entries were submitted and ultimately the winner was this particular design submitted by Sergiy Chebotaryov. This is the brewery's third canned offering.

From the Finch Beer site:

"Our Threadless/Finch collaboration IPA is a balanced experience of both perceived hoppiness and true bitterness. It pours a darker amber color and finishes with a citrus flavor, and when combined, will require this to be the last IPA you ever drink! Well, maybe, we realize you will probably drink more, but the result of this recipe clearly evolves into a very balanced IPA. The grain bill on this big pale includes melanoidin and Victory malts. We hop it up before the boil starts with some Columbus first wort hopping, then add a bunch more for bittering."

Here we go...

Pour - peach colored pour with a hazy appearance, not sure if its chill haze or just things taking some time to settle and clear. The foamy head on top looks just about perfect and is quite content to stick around for awhile. Overall a nice looking beer in the glass.

Aroma - citrus, lime zest, powdered sugar, pineapple along with some caramel notes. Lots of tropical fruit aromas after sticking a nose in the glass a few more times. Quite aromatic and enticing.

Taste - sharp, but not astringent, hop bitterness right off the bat but its balanced nicely by sweet tropical fruit flavors and a nice malty backbone. The mouthfeel is actually quite soft despite the hop profile. Not a bad IPA by any means and one that we're really enjoying as we reach the bottom of the glass. 

Overall - flavorful and hoppy with tropical fruit notes ranging from mango and pineapple all the way to papaya and even coconut. Soft on the palate with a good amount of hop bitterness. Solid IPA and the best of the three Finch cans we've had so far.

Note - You can check out all the different designs that were submitted for the label design contest HERE - there are definitely some that were very well done, even if they didn't win.

 



Hops Scale:
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Threadless IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Finch's Beer Company
City: 
Chicago, Illinois  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: Melanoidin and Victory malts
Hops: Columbus
ABV: 6.0%
IBUs: ???
Date: August 12th, 2012

Posted by Russ


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Sunday, August 12th 2012

Collaborative Brew to be First Ever Canned American Wild Ale



We've known about the exciting collaboration between Michigan's Brewery Vivant and the almighty New Belgium Brewing Company for awhile now but we weren't entirely sure which packaging option the breweries would ultimately decide on for Escoffier Bretta Alethe name of their collaborative effort. They both have canning lines (New Belgium has a bottling line too) but this is a pretty special brew. We've now gotten confirmation that Brewery Vivant will indeed be canning the Escoffier Bretta Ale that's brewed in Grand Rapids and it will be distributed throughout the brewery's distribution network in September - which will also include Chicago for the first time.


Escoffier Bretta Ale, a 9.25% American Wild Ale, once canned will be the first of its kind ever clad in aluminum. The name of the brew is a nod to August Escoffier, a French chef, restaurateur, and culinary writer who helped popularize French cooking in the early 20th century. According to the approved can art, which features crossed cooking unensils and a brewer's mash paddle,  the beer was brewed to...

"...celebrate the connection between beer and food; brewery and chef. In fact, our whjole brewery is built around the notion that the two can come together to uplift the enjoyment of both. The name of our brewery stems from a term used in France and Belgium that describes this very thing. One who enjoys good food and drink is said to be a "Bon Vivant" - they enjoy the "Good LIfe."

New Belgium and Brewery Vivant share a common inspiration, that being Belgian-style beers, and both breweries worked on their own recipes for Escoffier Bretta Ale. The beer will be brewed at both locations using Brewery Vivant's house yeast for primary fermentation and then aged with New Belgium's wild yeast - Brettanomyces Bruxellensis. This should make for an interesting comparison between the two batches. The label says to expect a "dry beer with the classic "horse blanket" characteristics". Brett fans rejoice. New Belgium will be releasing their version in 750 mL bottles as part of their Lips of Faith series.


The fact that these two breweries are working together is a great example of the commaraderie that still exists in today's ever-growing craft brewing world where toes are becoming more and more susceptible to being stepped on.   Its similar to what Maui Brewing and Jolly Pumpkin did together recently Its nice to read these stories with all the recent bickering about beer names and labels - not to mention the recent trend with certain breweries calling others out for this and that. We'd love to see more of this and less of that. We're looking forward to trying this unique offering as soon as we can get our hands on some. Cheers!

 

 


Posted by Russ



Thursday, August 9th 2012

Lava Lake Wit
(Crazy Mountain Brewing Company)

Today we finish off the initial trio of canned releases from one of our favorite little breweries out in Colorado. Crazy Mountain has done a great job showcasing the place they call home on their cans and all three have fantastic designs. Its not all just looks however as the beers that come inside are all top notch as well. We're excited to crack open this Belgian-style Witbier on a hot and humid night as it should provide some very necessary refreshment. Cheers! 

From the Crazy Mountain site:

"This Ale is our take on a classic Belgian Wit Beer. To make this beer unique, we add un-malted wheat, rolled oats, two varieties of classic European hops, chamomile, curacao orange peel, coriander, grains of paradise, and a rare yeast strain from the Old Country. This is a beer that can be enjoyed year-round, whether on the slopes on a beautiful bluebird day, or lazily fly fishing in Lava Lake."

Here we go...

Pour - soft yellow, light straw-colored in appearance with a wispy white head that streaks down the inside of the glass. 

Aroma - lemons and limes, sugar, chamomile, along with hints of lemongrass and something else that I can't quite make out - perhaps its that rare yeast strain?

Taste - the first sip had me thinking "Sleepy Time"! This definitely has some subtle reminders of a cup of iced chamomile tea with lemon - if people actually drank something like that. A little zing and a little spice comes out of this rather light, yet very thirst quenching brew. Really enjoyable beer on a hot summer night. 

Overall - light and refreshing - what more could you want! Lava Lake Wit has a unique flavor that is all its own and truly makes it great. The spices and the chamomile really bring something special out of this beer. Definitely worth picking up some of these for any trip to any lake.

Note - If you're wondering where, or what, exactly Lava Lake is the Crazy Mountain website tells us that...

"Lava Lake is a hidden little gem off of Highway 131 on the drive to Steamboat Springs from Vail. This idyllic swimming hole is the first place Doobie, the chocolate brewery labrador, learned how to swim."

1% of all proceeds from sales of Lava Lake Wit are donated to the Eagle River Watershed Council  

          


Can Scale:
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Lava Lake Wit
Style: Witbier
Brewery: Crazy Mountain Brewing Company
City: 
Edwards, Colorado  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: Kent Goldings, Saaz
ABV: 5.2%
IBUs: 15
Date: August 9th, 2012

Posted by Russ


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Thursday, August 9th 2012

Brew S.A.! Brew S.A.! Brew S.A.! Full Circle in Full Olympic Spirit

Brooklyn's Full Circle Bar recently made our list of "15 Most Cantastic Places to Grab a Can of Craft Beer", and since the Olympics began they've been doing us proud by not only serving great canned craft beer - no bottles at Full Circle - but they've also come up with a great way to celebrate all of the medals being won by American athletes.


Full Circle Bar in Brooklyn, New York

Full Circle, which also happens to be the home of Brewskee-Ball, has partnered with Brooklyn Brewery and will be hosting a pretty sweet party following the completion of the games in London. During said party, which will take place this Sunday, August 12, they will be drinking a beer for every medal the USA wins (71 as of right now). All of the "Medal Beers" will be sold for $3, $4 and $5 (bronze, silver and gold) and ALL of the money from the Medal Beers will go to the Special Olympics. The Medal Beers will be Brooklyn Brewery's Lager (bronze), Pennant Pale Ale (silver), and their new Fiat Lux (gold). Anyone who purchases a Medal Beer will also be given a a card so they can toast to a specific athlete who won a medal if they choose.


the "Brew S.A. Medal Count" Board at Full Circle Bar

Right now if you walk by the bar, located in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, you'll notice they've come up with a pretty ingenious way to track our Olympic medals. They're spray painting can lids gold, silver and bronze and posting them on a large board in the window. You've got to hand it to Eric Pavony, co-owner of Full Circle, he never ceases to come up with fun and unique ways to celebrate the art of drinking good beer. Let us not forget that this is a bar that is also the "National Home of Brewskee-Ball"! Also, we think its great that Brooklyn Brewery got on board and all the money goes to the Special Olympics. Keep cheering on our athletes and then go cheer on the folks at Full Circle because they're going to have a lot of good beer to drink! Great job guys! Cheers!


plenty of gold medals left to be won - and  plenty of beer to be drank

If you (ever) happen to find yourself in NYC be sure to head over to Brooklyn and check out Full Circle Bar. They're located at 318 Grand Street | Williamsburg - Brooklyn. Guaranteed fun time. We promise.


Posted by Russ