Tag Archives: Rock Art

Why You Should Boycott Monster Energy Drink

It’s rare that I call for an outright boycott of a product or company, but this is one of those cases where it is most definitely called for.

You see, up in the very small town of Morrisville, Vermont, there stands a very small brewery, producing only about 3,000-3,500 barrels of beer per year. This brewery started in the owners’ basement and grew to this small industrial building. It employs only 7 people besides the husband and wife team that owns it. This brewery is called Rock Art. They produce some awesome beers, some of which are very creative. They sell their beers at a very reasonable price (less than what they could get for them if you ask me, but I’m definitely not complaining). On their 10th anniversary, they made a 10% version of their flagship beer, Ridge Runner. They named this new barleywine The Vermonster

In another part of the country stands this giant beverage corporation. They are in the soda, juice, tea, and energy drink business. They do not make beer, but they are large and have a lot of money. This company is called Hansens Beverage Company. They own the popular Monster line of energy drinks.

Recently, Rock Art filed for a trademark for The Vermonster name nationally (it was already trademarked in Vermont since its creation). Shortly after the filing, they received an impersonal cease and desist order from the lawyers representing Hansens. The order told them that they must stop using the name as it infringes on their trademark of “Monster Energy Drink”. Now, the term “monster” is by no means trademarkable. The way trademark law works is that you have to protect your trademark or you lose it. Once confusion exists, the trademark is nullified. Examples of this are Kleenex tissues or Bayer’s trademark of the term Aspirin. Those words became so commonplace for any tissues or for any headache medicine that the trademark was dilluted. While I understand Hansens right to protect their trademark from becoming dilluted, they have lost all PR points in their methods.

The reasoning Hansens gives for the trademark infringement is incredibly weak. They claim that there is major overlap between the energy drink market and the beer market. Perhaps that is true if you consider beer as being only Bud, Miller, and Coors. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Rock Art’s market does not overlap with the energy drink market. They also claim a type of synergy between the beer market and the energy drink market. Again, this is all marketing lingo and completely false. There is absolutely no mistaking a beer which comes only in a 22 ounce brown bottle for an energy drink that comes in a large can. There is no mistaking the different labels. Finally, there is no mistaking the term “Vermonster”, a play on the name of a state, for the term “Monster”.

This whole thing reeks of Monster Cables and their frivilous lawsuits against anyone and anything they can go after. They have lost many of these because the justice system decided they were too ridiculous in their claims, but they knew they were the big guys in the case and could probably bully the little guy around. That is exactly what Hansens is doing here. Rock Art is a small brewery. It takes a lot of time and overhead to run a brewery. Rock Art only distributes to a couple of states with the vast majority of their distribution being in Vermont. They don’t have the reach that Hansens has.

So, because of all this and because Rock Art is such a great brewery owned by some great people, I urge you to boycott Monster Energy Drink. In fact, I would extend that boycott to all of Hansens’ products. This is purely corporate bullying and greed. Rock Art has a case, but doesn’t have the wallet to defend their case. In a country founded on justice for all, they should get what’s theirs and not have to fight a long expensive legal battle.

How can you help?

  1. Buy Rock Art beer if it’s sold in your state or nearby (this is the most important).
  2.  If you’re on Twitter, tell @MonsterEnergy how shameful this is.
  3. Tell @RockArtBrewery how great they are and show them some support.
  4. Use the hash tags #monsterboycott and #ISupportRockArt in your tweets.
  5. Join the Facebook group Vermonters and Craft Beer Drinkers Against Monster.
  6. Contact Hansens and tell them what you think.
  7. Contact Monster Energy Drink and tell them what you think.

Since you’re probably looking for more information on this debacle other than my simple blog post, here are a few links to various news outlets reporting on the story.

Associated Press

Burlington Free Press

Rutland Herald

Finally, here’s a great video of Matt Nadeau, the owner of Rock Art, explaining the situation.

Recent Noteworthy Beers

Here “noteworthy” does not necessarily mean it was good.  It also means it was notably bad.  Since this is a re-cap of a lot of beers I’ve had, but failed to review, don’t expect full reviews other than some brief notes.

I’ll start out with one of the better beers I had, Jolly Pumpkin Bam Noire.  This is the first beer I’ve tried from Jolly Pumpkin, a brewery for which I have heard and mixed reviews.  The bottle calls it a dark farmhouse ale.  It’s basically how it tasted.  My bottle was aged a bit and the beer was fantastic.  It had a nice funky flavor with some sour notes.  I’ll likely try to seek this one out again.

We’ll come back to New England for the next one, Rock Art Double Smoked Porter.  This, as it tasted, is basically a beefed up version of their Midnight Madness Smoked Porter, another excellent beer.  The Double Smoked Porter is part of their Extreme Beer Series and it’s got quite the flavor.  It’s not quite as smoky as the Midnight Madness, but it’s full of flavor.  My bottle was probably almost a year old, and maybe some of the smoke had disappeared in the aging.  Lots of nice roasted flavor, some coffee and chocolate notes, and some dark fruit.  I need to get myself more of this one.

I’ll put the biggest disappointment in the middle.  Harpoon had announced a Chocolate Stout as part of their winter variety 12 pack.  I was very disappointed by this one, though Susan liked it.  It tasted like Hershey’s syrup with alcohol, only it was a very astringent Hershey’s syrup.  I managed to drink the whole bottle and it was, a bit better warmer, but I was not impressed.  That being said, I have heard from others who really liked it.

I’ll leave off on a high note with another good beer from Vermont.  Magic Hat Roxy Rolles is a great Amber Ale and a great winter beer.  It’s got a nice hops/malt balance.  It’s really just a simple beer, but nice and flavorful without being overpowering.  It’s nice to see Magic Hat brewing some better beers again.

More Rock Art

Friday night, it was hot and I wanted something refreshing.  I cracked open my bottle of Rock Art’s Sunny and 75.  It’s classified by BeerAdvocate as a Saison, and that’s exactly what it was (the label said “ale brewed with spices”).  The beer pours a fairly clear grassy yellow/amber color.  It smells of spices and malts with a little yeast.  The taste is crisp and refreshing.  It’s got a nice crisp spiciness to it with a little malty sweetness to balance it out.  It’s got a slight bready flavor, though I didn’t pour any of the yeast into the glass.  It’s a perfect beer for a hot summer afternoon.

This afternoon (since I’m not going anywhere), I cracked open Rock Art’s IPA (II) Double IPA.  I didn’t have high hopes for it as their regular IPA is pretty lackluster, but I was surprised.  It pours a dark cloudy amber with a nice white head.  It smells of hops and nothing but hops.  The hops dominate the flavor as well, but it’s got a nice malt balance to it.  The hops seem to be a mix of pine and grapefruit.  It’s got a nice thick oily mouthfeel, yet it’s quite drinkable.  I’m impressed.

One last note, and this is nothing in depth.  Susan had her bottle of Arcadia’s Scotch Ale on Friday.  I took 1 sip and enjoyed that sip.  I can’t really say much else other than that it’s worth a try.

Infusco, Old Rusty’s Red Rye, and YuleSmith

The past 3 nights I had a bomber.  I shared most of them with Susan (though tonight was all me, which could lead to some typos).

Two nights ago, I had Infusco from Rock Art, one of the bombers I brought back from Vermont.  It’s a Belgian-style dark ale (or strong dark ale, I’m not looking it up right now).  It was quite different.  It was good, just different.  It had a flavor to it that I couldn’t place and have never had in a Belgian dark or strong dark before.  It was a malty beer with a nice mouthfeel and brown in color.  I liked it.  Susan liked it.  It was 2 nights ago and I just finished a whole bomber of YuleSmith, making it hard to recall.  If you see it, try it.  It’s worth at least a try.

Last night, we split the bottle of Old Rusty’s Red Rye Ale, the latest in Harpoon’s 100 Barrel Series.  I wasn’t impressed.  It had a slight spiciness from the rye, but nothing overwhelming.  It lacked a hops character and even the malt was kind of weak.  It was a fairly weak beer all around.  I had tried this on tap on our honeymoon at Mr. Pickwick’s.  The bartender was nice enough to give me a sample.  It was much better on tap than in the bottle.  It’s still worth a try, mainly because it’s local and something a bit different than the norm.

Tonight, I had (as I said before), YuleSmith from AleSmith.  This is their winter version that came out around Christmas.  I picked it up at Julio’s last Friday.  The beer is absolutely wonderful.  It’s a Double IPA, and a really good one at that.  It pours a nice deep amber color with a nice head (my head was huge on this one and I poured slow, even after pouring my second glass almost an hour later, it was a good sized head).  The aroma was of nothing but pure unadulterated hops.  It was bliss.  The beer was perfectly balanced with a lot of hops character.  It had a nice oily mouthfeel, but was very drinkable.  I’m pretty buzzed, but I wouldn’t have known I would be this way while I was drinking it (had I not looked at the bottle to see the alcohol content).  AleSmith is one of those breweries I need to try more often.  I have 2 of their beers in my cellar right now.  I should open them.  Perhaps I can talk Susan into splitting a barleywine with me soon (I have Old Numbskull waiting to be cracked).

An Alt, a DIPA, a Smoked Porter

I’m still trying to drink through my ever expanding beer collection so that I can actually use part of the shelf in my fridge, but I keep buying more.  I’ve decided that as long as I’m drinking more beer per week than I buy per week, I’m good.  Tonight, I had 3 beers.

I started with Victory’s 10 Years Alt.  It’s, obviously, an altbier.  Very few American breweries make these (in fact, the only ones that come to mind are Long Trail and Tuckerman).  This one was originally brewed for their 10th anniversary (hence the name, which is a play on words as “alt” means “old” in German).  It pours a nice dark amber color with a small head.  It immediately smelled of nice piney hops and sweet malts.  The taste is hops up front and malt down in back.  The malt profile becomes more pronounced as the beer warms.  It’s a tasty one.  I think I actually found an American altbier that I like better than Double Bag.  Unfortunately, I can’t get this one anymore.

I then moved on to Speakeasy Double Daddy.  It’s a double IPA.  I think I wrote about Speakeasy once before and mentioned that they had only 2 beers worth buying, this one and the amber ale.  This one was really nice.  I had a mix of different hops.  There was some grapefruit flavor mixed in with some piny hops with just enough malt to give it balance without detracting from the hops.  It was a nice solid DIPA.

The last beer I had was Rock Art’s Midnight Madness Smoked Porter.  I don’t remember if I wrote about this one yet.  It’s a very smoky porter with just enough roasted malts to give it a nice flavor.  This would be great paired with Vermont cheddar or some smoky meats.

It’s Hot, but Here Goes

I’m continuing through my beer collection that’s too large at the moment.  Last night and tonight were no different.  Luckily, I have a lot of very refreshing beer, which is perfect for these ridiculously hot and humid summer nights.

Over the holiday weekend, I had a bunch of Festina Pêche.  I believe I’ve written about that before.  So to keep it short (and me somewhat dry), I’ll just say that it was a perfect BBQ beer.  It’s refreshing, easy drinking, and well worth a try, even if you’re not into beer because it doesn’t taste like any beer you’ve ever had (unless you’re like me and are really into beer).

Last night I decided to crack open my bottle of Rock Art Jasmine Pale Ale.  It sounded like a nice light beer, perfect for a hot day.  I was right.  It’s basically an amber ale brewed with jasmine.  It’s got a nice light flavor with a little floweriness (if that’s even a word) and a nice herbal quality.  It’s light, it’s not too sweet, but it hit the spot.  I give it two thumbs up.  Later on, I decided to try Dark and Stormy Night from Picaroons, the 5th beer from my trip to New Brunswick.  The label calls it a dark wheat ale and describes it as a German dunkel crossed with an English ale, and that’s exactly what it was.  It’s got a nice roasted quality with a nice wheaty/yeasty breadiness.  There’s a hint of caramel as well.  I was going to add it to Beer Advocate because it wasn’t there last I checked, but someone beat me to it.  I reviewed it anyway.  It was added as a dunkelweizen, though I was going to add it as an English brown ale because, to me, that’s what it tasted like (though the wheat and yeast obviously were what threw me off).

Tonight I started with Aprihop, which I have talked about here, but is one of my favorite summer beers (even though Dogfish Head releases it in the spring for some reason).  It’s a nice fruity IPA with the apricots balancing off the hops bitterness.  It’s very refreshing, even though it’s 7% ABV.  With dinner, I had 1809 from Weihenstephaner, a Berliner Weissbier.  It was absolutely awesome, though the first pour was a bit foamy.  It pours a nice pale grassy yellow with a lot of effervescent bubbles.  If I didn’t smell it, I would’ve called it a pilsener.  However, I did smell it and it has a lot of sour notes to it.  Basically, it’s a sour wheat beer, though quite refreshing and not quite as sour as a lambic.  It’s very light and very drinkable, and absolutely perfect for a night like tonight with temps in the upper 80’s.

I need to get out of this room, it’s really hot in here (I should invest in another air conditioner for my home office).

Rock Art, Harpoon, Rock Art

I’ve been drinking more.  While that might sound bad, that just means I’ve been increasing my one beer per night to 2-3 beers per night.  The reason for this is I just have too much beer.  Since our honeymoon in Vermont, when we came home with about 3 cases of beer, we’ve kind of been on overflow.  An entire shelf in the fridge is dedicated to only beer (though there are a couple bottles of the Smirnoff Twist/Ice variety in the back).  I have beer that needs to get in the fridge lest it goes bad.  The worst part is, Susan, who had asked me not to buy a lot of beer since returning from Vermont sent me a message yesterday asking me to pick up some more!

Anyway, last night I had 3.  The first was Rock Art Whitetail Golden Ale.  It’s a nice light, crisp, and refreshing ale.  It has a nice sweet malty flavor with just enough hops for balance.  It’s crisp and dry and makes for a great summertime beer.  There’s a little fruitiness to it as well.  It’s a very easy drinking, yet nicely flavorful beer.

The second was Harpoon’s Weizenbock from their 100 Barrel series.  Susan and I split it with dinner.  It had a lot of banana flavor to it and was very bready.  It wasn’t my favorite weizenbock, that’s for sure.  I almost dumped part of mine, but I finished it.  I did not, however, help Susan finish her half of the bottle.  I just didn’t like it that much.

The third was Rock Art’s flagship beer, Ridge Runner.  It’s classified as an English Barleywine.  I thought it was just okay, but it definitely got better upon warming.  There were 3 in the mixed 12 pack I bought.  I left one in the fridge and I put the other one down to age for a bit and see what happens.  I imagine it will get a little better with age.

Two More Beers

To avoid having to play catch up again, here’s tonight’s beers, since they’re out of the ordinary.

I started with Picaroons Man’s Best Friend.  It’s a porter, I imagine an American Porter considering the body and bigger flavor.  It’s got a nice roasted malt flavor with just enough smoke to give it another dimension, but not enough to call it a smoked porter.   The beer is hopped for perfect balance, but it’s all about the malts.  It’s probably one of the best porters I’ve had.

The second beer of the night was less impressive.  I had Rock Art American Red Ale.  It looks as though it’d be a great red ale, but it’s a bit light in flavor.  Everything else is spot on.  However, as it warmed, the flavor picked up quite a bit.  It’s very drinkable, but nothing special.  I have 2 more in the fridge, but I’m sure I’ll enjoy drinking them.

Playing Catch Up

I’ve had a lot of beers that I haven’t written about.  You can always check my beer list if you’re curious as to what I’ve been drinking.  I keep that more up-to-date than my posts about beers I’ve had.  Anyway, here’s some of the beers I’ve had since I stopped writing about them.

As I posted previously, I picked up a bunch of beer from Rock Art in Vermont.  I have since tried their Midnight Madness Smoked Porter and their IPA.  The Midnight Madness was awesome.  It was nicely smoked and a great all around porter.  The IPA, however, was pretty bland.  It was light in color, flavor, and body.  It didn’t have the hops flavors I’ve come to love in my IPA’s, but it wasn’t really an English-style IPA either.  I probably wouldn’t bother with this one again.

One beer I picked up in Vermont that I thought was really solid was Peak Organic’s Maple Oat Ale.  This one has a nice hint of maple and the smoothness of the oats.  It’s a really great amber ale that I will likely buy again and again (perhaps they’ll find their way down to RI soon).

I rarely give a beer a drain pour.  However, I tried the bomber of McNeill’s Summer IPA.  It was easily the worst IPA I have ever tried (and being an IPA fan, I’ve had a lot).  I drank a full glass, but poured the rest.  It was just an unbalanced mess of hops and malt that didn’t make for a drinkable beer.

Another recommendation from BeerRiot was Clipper City’s Loose Cannon from the Heavy Seas lineup.  It was good, but nothing special.  I’d consider it just an average IPA.

Another disappointment was Founders Devil Dancer.  I use the term “disappointment” lightly as the beer was good.  It just wasn’t what I expected.  They call it a “Triple IPA”.  That’s not a true style (not yet at least), but the beer tasted like a slightly hoppy barleywine.  It was good and definitely worth trying (and maybe I’ll buy it again), but I wanted a DIPA at the time.

I tried a different Victory beer (and I think I’m just about through with their whole lineup aside from the bigger bottles, like V-12 and V-Saison).  I had the Moonglow Weizenbock.  It had a nice banana and spice flavor to it, but it wasn’t overly complex.  I’ve had better weizenbocks, but this one is still a great weizenbock from a great American brewery.

Finally, the beers I brought back from Canada… I had Picaroons Blonde Ale and Picaroons Yippee IPA.  The Blonde Ale was simply fantastic.  It was a nice light ale.  It was very refreshing, but still had a lot of flavor.  The IPA wasn’t quite as good, but it was still a good English IPA.  It had this other flavor to it that I couldn’t figure out.  The only thing I can liken it to is a slight whisky flavor (perhaps it was aged in barrels).  Other than that other flavor, which did make it good, it was a very solid beer.  The label made it sound like they were playing around with the recipe with each new batch.  I’ll have to look over their Brewer’s Log to see if I can find it.  Picaroons is turning out to be a totally awesome brewery.  I can’t wait to try the others I bought.  I had to add the Blonde and the IPA to BeerAdvocate because they weren’t listed (new styles, perhaps?).

That ends my catching up.  I’ll post about the Dogfish Head dinner in a little bit.  Right now, I think I need some Mr. Lemon.

Honeymoon Day 5: Hiking, Rock Art, Culinary Classic

Day 5 was Friday.  We spent the day doing everything else that we had wanted to do.  We started the day with a light hike to see the falls.  It ended up turning into a serious descent down a bunch of tiny stone steps, but it was worth it.  The water was unbelievably clean and clear (I wanted to drink it).  The falls were beautiful and the way the water cut into the rocks was just awesome.  Unfortunately, and I didn’t realize this until we started walking, it was all downhill… meaning the return was all uphill.  Who would’ve thought that a hike in the mountains would start downhill.

After the hike, we went back and changed because we were now hotter than we had planned.  Then we headed to Morrisville to visit Rock Art Brewery.  Luckily, Fridays are tour days at Rock Art, not that there’s a big planned out tour.  We were the only ones there aside from the 3 employees cleaning the tanks (Friday is also clean up day).  One of them gave us a nice tour, which didn’t involve a lot of walking because the brewery is small.  However, it was the best brewery visit I’ve had out of the 4 breweries I’ve visited (Long Trail and Magic Hat on this trip and Victory when Susan was living in Philly).  The woman who gave us the tour knew her stuff, and she was really fun to chat with at the end in their “store”.  Unfortunately, their tasting room hadn’t been completed and we didn’t get to try anything.  We did buy a ton of beer from them and so far it’s awesome.

Following Rock Art, we decided to try to find their one beer that’s 10% ABV, The Vermonster.  Now, just recently, VT passed a law that allows the sale of beer up to 16% ABV.  Previously, the cap was at 8% and anything above that had to be sold as liquor in a liquor store.  The new law, however, does not take effect until July 1.  We ended up grabbing a sandwich and heading back to Stowe after not having any luck in the nearby liquor store.

Before our trip up, Susan had read about the Vermont Culinary Classic.  They had a kick off event on Friday night at the Stowe Country Club.  It was advertised as a local food and craft beer tasting.  We decided to check it out since we’re suckers for craft beer tastings.  Unfortunately, the only craft beer was on tap at the bar and you had to pay extra for it.  The food was excellent, especially the strawberry crepes, but the poor advertising had me expecting more.

It was a great trip.  I fell in love with Burlington and maybe someday we’ll move, though being that far from our family and friends might be a bit difficult.  I want to go back there again.  I love Vermont and all it has to offer.  It’s really one of that best states in the country.