Green Flash Brewing Company – Double Stout

So this is the last day of February, and therefore, it is my last entry into stout month.  If you are a regular reader here you may actually be happy to see it go.  I did a few other reviews here and there over the month; however, I really did try to focus on stouts this month.  Therefore, Friday I’m going to be giving a little stout report card for the month.  Of course there are far more stouts available out there then the ones I tried, but I attempted to give a nice cross section of the different stouts that are available out there.  Look for the report card on stouts this Friday and find out who made it to the top of the class and who didn’t make the grade.

The final entry into stout month is actually the first beer I can remember having out of Green Flash Brewing Co.  I feel like I say this about a lot of beers; however, I know some people are shaking their head at me in disgust.  I know Green Flash has a reputation for putting out some great beers, and I should have tried something from them far before this.  I apologize!  None-the-less, I bought this one with the ultimate disappointment that was Dogfish Head’s Chicory Stout last week.  I suppose you could say Green Flash is a company built on love.  Only having been created in 2002, Mike and Lise Hinkley create brews that are based off traditional styles with a new modernized twist.  Coming out of California only increases my desire to get over there for a few brewery tours of breweries on the west coast.

This particular release is known as their Double Stout or black ale.  There isn’t a whole big write up on their site about it; however, they do state it has, “Golden naked oats mashed with dark crystal and robust roasted malts (to) create a luscious black brew with satin smooth finish. An old-world style, done the Green Flash way. Big, bold, flavorful and complex.”  Having not yet fully invested myself in brewing, I’m very interested in the oats and crystal aspect of this beer.  They also state that this beer contains 45 IBUs which only peaks my interest even more.  Seeing that this beer won medals at both local and world wide competitions only increases my hope that I love this brew.

This beer pours out an extremely dark black oil color.  I know it’s been the theme for all of the beers this month; however, I’ll start mixing it up in the next month.  There is an ample espresso coffee head that develops on top of the beer.  I do enjoy the combination of both the large quantity of head and dark color.  I’m slightly more used to one or the other, but you don’t always get both of them at once.  Of course, there are others as well.  Agitating the beer brings back a lot of the foamy nature of the beer.  There really isn’t a whole lot of lacing on the side of the beer, but you do get a lot of sticky left over residue on the side of the glass. There is, of course, no clarity at all, and you can’t see any of the carbonation either.

The aroma has a really deep rich roasted smell that overwhelms the overall scent of the beer.  A lot of the other smells have similar aspects that are close to a lot of the other stouts I’ve had during this month; however, the aromas found here tend to be really bold. Coffee is definitely another big smell to come out of the beer as well.  It’s slightly closer to more of an espresso smell then an actual coffee aroma.  There are definitely a lot of sweet malts in here too, and you do get a lot of chocolate as well.

The beer flavor starts with a very sweet malty introduction.  This does last for a little bit of an extended period of time; however, it is met by a big hit of the strong roasted flavors.  The roasts are extremely heavy and rich.  They mix shortly thereafter with a lot of well-balanced espresso coffee flavors.  The coffee flavors have a lot of bitterness to them that combines with some nice pleasant hop bitters as well.  I get a lot of chocolate sweetness that mixes with the roasted flavors.  I thought that was where it ended; however, I get a ton of smoky flavoring on the ending as well.  I didn’t really expect it, but as I continued to drink the beer, I noticed the smokiness throughout most of the beer.  The smokiness is somewhat a new addition to stout month, but it is really appreciated as well.

The most surprising aspect of the mouthfeel is the really rich thick smokey feel.  I really like the large amount of smoke they managed to get in here.  It adds a completely new dimension to your typical stout.  There is definitely enough carbonation on the start; however, it does manage to work its way into a little bit of syrup.  The rest of the carbonation really does help to break up the smoky thickness as well.

Having heard a lot about Green Flash, and never actually drinking one of their brews, I built up my expectations in my mind.  I was definitely really happy with my experience with their Double Stout.  This ends stout month; however, if you’re looking for a good stout before the end of winter, you definitely need to check it out.  It should have a little bit better availability, so try to find yourself a bottle.

Teacher Grade: A

On Being Well-Rounded

I have been thinking about this idea of being a well-rounded person as of late.  I have put out the idea of a jack-of-all-trades at one point in time on here, and  I definitely feel like this is something good to be.  I hate it that there are certain things I’m completely not good at.  I have tried to be successful at certain aspects of car repair.  I can do certain things.  I’ve changed my oil, replaced bulbs, replaced mirrors  after they have been knocked off living in the district, and replaced my headlight when someone backed into my car when parking.  However, the car still manages to run with all of these aspects breaking.  When it comes to major repairs, I’m at the will of the masses.  The same thing goes with home repair.  I can do a few minor things, and I feel really good when I do something slightly more than minor, but I am at a loss with so many things.  I had a broken toilet a few months ago, and I paid a guy over $100 to do something that took him 20 minutes max.  I need to be more well-rounded in many aspects of my life.  There are, however, parts of my life that make me feel like I’m not at a total loss.

Sports I know a lot of people like sports, but I try to do my best to not only watch sports, but also, stay active and involved in them as well.  I have a lot of sports that I like.  I follow football (Eagles), hockey (Capitals), and baseball (Phillies) regularly.  I have more of a problem enjoying basketball, and I tend to only watch soccer during the major events.  I have an appreciation for golf and tennis although I don’t really follow them.  I seriously love the tour-de-France during the summer. I really don’t try to descriminate too much when it comes to viewing sports.  I have, however, also a really big love for playing sports.  I have played hockey now for the past 4 years or so.  It’s a group of guys I managed to find after my brother gave me our collective equipment from high school after he joined the Coast Guard.  We play two seasons a year, and we have managed to be champions three times thus far.  I have also taken up golf in the last year or two.  I know that is a little bit more of an old man sport, but I enjoy it quite a bit.  I’m not really all that great at it just yet, but any sport you can drink beer while playing can’t be bad.

A few race medals

Exercise – I was thinking about grouping exercise into sports, but I don’t think they are exactly the same.  I know people who play and watch sports, but they never actually exercise for the sake of exercising.  This became really important to me about three years ago.  I was overweight and needing to make a change.  I joined a gym and took 15-20 lbs off in one summer.  Especially with beer blogging taking over, I have managed to put back on some of that weight, but I am still exercising and looking to do another transformation.  Just this past year I ran in a 10k, a 10 miler, and in March I’ll run my first half marathon.  Growing up I hated running.  I always told people running isn’t a sport; it’s something you are forced to do in a sport as a punishment for doing something wrong.  I have been fairly amazed at my ability to run long distances.  Just this past weekend we ran 11 miles while training for the half-marathon.  I have been biking far longer than I have been running.  My Dad gave me his road bike a few years ago, and I’ve had some pretty good times on that.  The longest I have ridden is 40 miles.  That’s from my house in DC to Mount Vernon Va and back.  Lately I’ve been running far more than I’ve been biking, but biking season is coming up.

Reading – The amount that I read has really taken a hit as of late.  I typically read 20 or so books a year, but I spend all my reading time writing for this now.  So, I actually need to work on being a little more well-rounded in this aspect.  I do like to be well read for the most part.  I enjoy reading a lot of different genres of literature.  I enjoy getting into a classic, a piece of nonfiction, or even something like science fiction.  The current book I’m in the middle of I’ve been reading for quite a while now.  Like I said, I end up on here a lot; however, I tend to read quite a few young adult books.  I teach middle school, and I like to try and read some of the books I know they will be checking out.  After finishing The Hunger Games, I decided to see what else was out there.  I came upon Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.  It’s an interesting book that takes strange pictures and creates a story around them.  Sounded pretty interesting to me.

I doubt I really need to talk about my love for beer and music, but obviously if you are here you can tell that.  I tend to focus so much on this blog on beer and music that I want to stress that I do a lot of other stuff.  I wish I was even more well-rounded, but for now, I feel pretty good about where I’m at.  My interests have even helped me get my writing into gear as well.  As I keep getting older I only feel even more like I need to keep figuring out more ways to keep myself busy.

Next up homebrewing!

Epic Brewing Co – Big Bad Baptist Imperial Stout

I’ve been saying for weeks now I have a lot of 750 ml bottles of stout I need to get through.  There was no way I could get through all of them before the end of stout month, but I really wanted to get at least one in.  Although I hate to do it, due to the heavy quality of the beer, I did actually drink this one alone Friday night.  This was part of a very big buying weekend for beer a few weeks ago.  I picked up three aged beers totaling about $50.  I haven’t done a review of the other two beers just yet, so I’ll hold out on the identity of those two.  I’m actually holding out to drink the one until my one year anniversary as a blogger which is coming up on March 30.  However, I thought this one might be the most drinkable beer out of all the imperial stouts I’m holding on to.  Plus, I was drinking it before I went and played hockey Friday night, so I was a little scared of consuming the others before a big hockey game.

I feel like Epic has one of the largest line-ups of beers on the market today.  Well for a somewhat smaller craft brewing company anyway.  They benefited from some law changes in brewing in the state of Utah, which enabled them to be able to start the brewing company they had been longing to begin.  I consistently look at the brews they have available every week at the store, and I have been tempted to buy their stuff more than once.  The only other one that I’ve had from them is their Pumpkin Imperial Porter collaboration with DC Brau.  I had some mixed feelings on that one.  I always want to love everything DC Brau does, but I was a little disappointed by the amount of pumpkin flavor in there.  Although I was really looking forward to that one, I was looking forward to this one even more.

Big Bad Baptist is an Imperial Stout that is a part of Epic’s Exponential Series.  The brewery doesn’t really give a whole lot of information on their site about what this series means, but it says it is for the “accomplished consumer or the ever-curious”.  The other really interesting thing about this series is that they really keep track of the different releases of these styles of beer.  For instance, my bottle is the third batch in the Big Bad Baptist release; however, they have had five releases of it thus far.  Their site also tells me it was brewed August 22, 2011 and released December 9, 2011.  This beer is brewed with cocoa nibs, coffee nibs, and aged in whiskey barrels.  Sounds good to me!

This beer pours out a very black midnight oil color.  As with all of the other stouts I have reviewed this month, this beer has little to no clarity even possible.  Any one of these stouts that gets aged in a whiskey or bourbon barrel seems to always turn out extremely dark.  I would say the ones that haven’t been aged have turned out a little less dark.  Anyway, there is a light amount of visible lacing that develops on the sides of the glass; however, you do get a ton of sticky residue.  The carbonation really isn’t visible, but if you agitate the beer and look around the edges you can see it.  The pour results in a moderate amount of brown chocolate colored head that dissipates rather quickly.

I get a lot of ample dark chocolate on the smell here.  It has a lot of general sweetness that is in combination with the chocolate smells.  I get a lot of light but rich roasts coming off of it.  I don’t think it’s really hoppy, but I am getting a little bit of peppery spice in here as well.  The coffee smell is certainly secondary to the chocolate, but it is obviously present in here as well.  The booziness from the whiskey barrel aging is apparent but not overwhelming.  I believe the aging also gave the beer a really woody earthy odor as well.

The beer has a really sweet malt introduction.  This is for a slightly extended period of time; however, the whiskey bourbon burn comes in next to create a lot of complexity.  The burn from the aging really isn’t all that rich like it is in a lot aged beers; however, you do still get some of the alcohol burn here.  I think I actually enjoy that it is slightly lighter than usual.  Drinking it on my own makes it a little bit easier on me.  There is a lot of rich dark chocolate that comes in after the initial alcohol burn, and it comes combined with a lot of mellow well-balanced coffee flavors.  The spicy peppery aroma I smelled in the beer does come through in the taste.  It gives a lot of complexity to the normal feel of a barrel aged stout, which is a really welcoming addition to a type of beer I’ve been drinking for the better part of a month.  The pepperiness and booze burn combine with the chocolate sweetness to create a really nice complex ending.

I really like how well-balanced this beer seems to be.  It has a higher amount of carbonation at the start with slightly more syrup on the ending.  The carbonation is still ample enough at the end to keep the syrup from becoming too overwhelming.  The beer is a little dry on the ending which is fine; although, I would have enjoyed it being a little more robust on the ending.  Overall, it is also slightly thick as well.

I did really enjoy consuming this beer, and I don’t think it was too overwhelming to consume on my own.  I’m slightly struggling with the grade under my new parameters here; however, as you’ll see, I used the +/- delineation to show my desire to show it’s slightly better than the flat B grade.  I need to start picking up more from Epic in the future.  They definitely impressed me with this one, and I only expect more great things out of them.

Teacher Grade: B+

Dogfish Head – Chicory Stout

Stout month continues to roll along here, and I kind of got my second wind on it.  Last week I had grown somewhat tired of drinking so many stouts.  Honestly, I only really have one or two a week at this point anyway.  I’ll definitely have some 750 ml bottles left over at the end of this month, but I had pretty much run out of new 12oz bottles to review.  Therefore, this week when I stopped by Rick’s for my weekly pick up, I knew I had to see if I could find a couple 12oz bottles to get me to the end of the month.  I figured a month where I focus all my energy on a particular style of beer could only be helped by adding in something out of the most frustrating brewery of all time: Dogfish Head.  There were two stouts to choose from Dogfish.  Did I want to spend $10 on the World Wide Stout, or would I go the cheap route with the Chicory Stout.  I really wanted to get the World Wide one, but I couldn’t talk myself into spending that much money for a 12oz.  Therefore here we are with the Chicory Stout.  I guarantee my taste buds would have been more pleased if I had gone the other route.

Chicory stout is a seasonal brew that gets released between November and December every year.  The major ingredients associated with this brew are roasted chicory, organic Mexican coffee, and licorice root.  I really am not very familiar with chicory, but it seems to be a plant that has some kind of association with coffee.  One site that I read said that when it is dried and ground it makes an excellent substitute for coffee.  I think this helps to explain why I couldn’t really find a lot of it in the beer when I was reviewing it, but I honestly think I’ll stick to the real coffee anyway.

I really thought I was going to love this beer.  I don’t always trust a lot of things that Dogfish Head does, but I do enjoy stouts.  I really didn’t think this one would be a miss for me, but I guess I was wrong.

It started off the right way on the pour.  It poured out a really dark black oil like color.  For me, this is always a great sign when it comes to stouts.  I guess most stouts are pretty dark anyway, but I swear it seemed like this one had kind of thick quality to it.  It developed a fairly moderate head that disappeared rather quickly.  Swirling the beer provided some very light lacing and a little sticky residue as well.  The beer is definitely still too dark to be capable of figuring out the clarity, and you can’t see any visible carbonation either.

The smell is dominated by a lot of strong roasted coffee smells.  They have a rather woody earthy quality to them.  It is fairly nice smelling.  Like I said earlier, I’m not familiar with chicory enough to know if I’m smelling it at all, but if it smells like coffee, I’m sure I pulled chicory out.  Some of the more mild scents are light chocolate and sweet malts.  I’m fairly certain I’m getting a little hint of hops in here as well.  The last smell i get is a little light licorice as well.  I wasn’t sure I was getting the licorice, but looking the beer up revealed that it is in the brewing process.

I was a little put off by the taste because it just feels a little weak and one-dimensional.  There is a really long sweet malt introduction.  It has some light chocolate mixed in there with it, but the malty intro lasts for a very long period of time.  You finally get a quick hit of coffee and licorice.  This helps to introduce the moderate roasted flavors.  I think the smell of the roasts were stronger than the actual taste of them.  Perhaps chicory is a little weak?  The end of the beer relies heavily on the roasts; however, it seems to kind of fizzle out at the end.  I wanted some lingering flavors, but they come to an abrupt halt.

The mouthfeel is also slightly uninteresting.  It has some ample carbonation that leads to some very light syrup as the carbonation mellows.  This part is fine, but it just doesn’t seem to have enough body and complexity to it.  The roasts and coffee flavors are good, but they do seem to be the one trick pony of this beer.  The abrupt ending is really frustrating.  I would have liked the flavors to last a little longer for sure.

I have a big love hate relationship with Dogfish Head.  I want to love everything they do, but it seems like I have been getting more frustrated with their brews lately.  Dogfish’s site states this is one of the first beers they started brewing, and I can’t help but think they may need to update their recipe on this one.  I might have to go World Wide next time so I know Dogfish is capable of making a tasty stout.  I struggled between a D and C on the grade for this one, but as you’ll see, I decided to go with the C here.  I think I could drink this one again, but I would definitely be looking to see if there is a more interesting stout on the menu first.

Teacher Grade: C

The Grading System

One of the things that is always an afterthought in my beer reviews is the actual grades I assign to the beers.  I feel as a reviewer the need to actually assign some sort of grade to the beer, but I have some regular readers who love to call me out on why certain beers received certain grades.  I tend to not think of the grades as comparing one beer to another, but it would seem others do actually compare one A to another A.  So, at the suggestion of a reader or two, I wanted to do a little post that actually outlines what I feel A-F actually means.  I plan on creating a new page on the blog that you can click on and refer back to this post as a little reminder of what the letters actually mean.  So let’s begin!

Teacher Grade F: Sadly in some school districts, like the one I teach in, this grade actually doesn’t exist anymore.  If a child is failing my class, I actually have to assign them an E instead.  Evidentially, years of giving students F’s has placed a negative connotation on it.  I thought failing in general was negative.  Anyway, as many of my readers will be able to tell you, I really don’t give a whole lot of beers failing grades.  I believe I have done it here before, but I would really have to go back and check.  Let’s face it, I buy beer I think will be good because I want to drink good beer.  Chances are I’m not buying a beer I will consider crap.  Therefore, if I give a beer a failing grade, I really have to feel it’s bad.  The key point here is, if I do give a beer a failing grader, I will never seek to buy or drink it again.  F = Never again! I’ll drink water!

Teacher Grade D: I have assigned a few D’s in my year of grading thus far.  I sometimes buy a beer I really hope will be something special, and it goes the complete opposite way.  However, to keep it from receiving a complete failure, I have to find some redeeming quality to it.  It could be the use of hops, malts, or some other singular flavor I actually enjoy, but it has to have something going on it that I think makes it acceptable to have been brewed.  D = If it’s the only beer available!

A definite C in my book

Teacher Grade C: I think of C as a completely average beer.  It definitely isn’t a bad beer, and it definitely isn’t a great beer.  Even as a teacher, I never really feel all that bad about giving students a C.  It shows that they aren’t anything special, and they aren’t a terrible student either.  They are perfectly average.  This of course isn’t acceptable to the parents of the Talented and Gifted students I teach this year, but some people are just middle of the road.  Likewise, a lot of beers just don’t stack up against the superior competition.  C = I’ll drink it again, but I might grab a PBR first!

Teacher Grade B: This has to be a beer that is heading towards greatness, but it has something going on in there that is keeping it from reaching ultimate superiority.  Lately I believe I may have been a little too relaxed with my grading method.  I’m sure I’ve given a few A’s to beers that actually should have been something more like a B.  Therefore, I have a feeling a lot more beers will start showing up as B’s instead of A’s in the future.   I think a beer will get a B if it is missing some small aspect that I want or contains a component I don’t like.  It could be a little too much hops, a little bit too syrupy, or lacking in carbonation, either way, I  believe that beer will now receive a B. B = I will definitely drink this beer again, but let me take one more look at what you have!

Teacher Grade A: I have definitely been a slightly bad teacher when it comes to beers lately.  I

A definite "A" lately

feel like I’m the teacher you want to take in college because you know you’ll get an A.  Well times they are a changing!  I want to try to reserve my A grade for beers I feel truly deserve it.  I don’t want people to think I adore every single beer I drink; therefore, I’m hopeful I’ll be slightly more stingy with my A’s.  This beer has to have everything going on for it.  I need to not find a single thing wrong with the beer.  They truly need to earn the A from now on.  A = Don’t even tell me what else you have, I’ll take one of those!

I believe I’ll be relying on my pluses and minuses a lot more from now on to give a little more delineation between the really good and really bad, but I’m going to try to be a lot better with my grading system from now on.  Time will only tell if I stick to the parameters I have set out here.  Hopefully, I’ll have a few people a little bit happier with my grading system from now on.  Stay tuned to see if it works!

Russian River Brewing Company – Pliny The Elder

One of the biggest problems beer lovers have is attempting to find beers brewed by companies that don’t deliver in their area.  
Russian River and Three Floyds are two of the brewing companies I can think of off the top of my head that are really frustrating living in this area.  Three Floyds sounds like one of the more interesting breweries out there today.  They always seem to come out with interesting flavor combinations, and you hear people say a lot of good things about them.  However, Russian River would have to be the most regrettable one that we don’t get in our area.  I have managed to enjoy an occasional brew from them every once in a while, but it is definitely rare.  I managed to have the Collaboration Not Litigation collaboration brew with Avery last year, and I had their Redemption beer at a bar in Philly just last month.  Evidentially you can find Russian River in Philly.  Well that leads me to my latest hunt.  Actually, I can’t take credit for that, all of the hunting was done for me.

There is one beer that comes out of Russian River that every person seeks out: Pliny the Elder.  Somehow, occasional guest reviewer John managed to find a bottle online that could be shipped to your house.  It was through a distributer, and although shipping wasn’t cheap, he didn’t pay through the nose through a site like Ebay.  Since he lives in Maryland, he couldn’t get it shipped to his house.  Therefore, I had the joy of receiving it, and a few other beers, at my domicile.  Since we do enjoy sharing most important beer, and beer is better when you have someone to discuss it with, we finally cracked it open this past weekend after we got home from a long day of teaching.

Pliny the Elder is the double IPA coming out of Russian River, and it is regarded as one of the best beers around.  It has a rating of 100 on Beer Advocate in both the bro and pro categories.  People love this beer!  According to the Russian River site, the real Pliny was also one of the first people to reference hops. I guess that would make him the perfect subject to use to name your beer after.  They tell you Pliny has to be enjoyed as fresh as possible, and even though the bottling date was in January, we were hopeful that we would still get a good experience after waiting till February to consume it.

The beer pours out a very amber yellowish color. John, or someone, said it resembled sunset.  We may have been getting a little too poetic in the face of such a high profile beer.  There is an ample white fluffy head that develops on top of the beer that sticks around for an extended period of time.  Swirling the beer gives you some nice lacing and a lot of sticky residue clinging to the sides of the glass.  The beer has a lot of haze to it, but it actually doesn’t have any real visible carbonation in the glass.

One thing really stuck out to me in the smell of the beer, it really wasn’t as potent as I was expecting.  There is only one thing you do when you hear about a beer for so long and “pine” after it: build up expectations.  We managed to build up a ton of excessively high expectations, and this is where I was scared our expectations might not be met. There was definitely a lot of light floral hops proceeding out of the aroma.  There is a lot of pine and typical hop aromas associated with the smell.  I definitely do pull out some of the grapefruit and other citrus flavors, but I wouldn’t say they dominate the profile.  Overall it does have some slight sweetness and earthy undertones as well.

I was slightly surprised by my first sip of this epic beer.  I really thought I was going to be blown away by hops like a lot of double IPAs I’ve enjoyed in the past, but I soon came to realize Russian River decided to do the unexpected.  This one starts with a surprisingly sweet malty introduction.  The surprisingly sweet introduction is followed by a rather subdued bite of bitter hops.  These hops give way to some well-balanced citrus and grapefruit flavors.  The really pleasant pine and floral hop flavoring continue all the way to the end of the taste.  The surprising part is the high amount of sweet flavoring that flows throughout the tasting of this one as well.  John tells me there are 40% more malts in the recipe as well, which I can assume can be to blame for the sweet quality.

There was plenty of carbonation on the mouthfeel and not much syrup to it at all.  Overall, I felt that it has a clean and crisp nature to it, but it has a slight thickness brought on by the sweet flavors as well.  This might be one of the most drinkable double IPAs of all time, and I think that is why people love it so much.  It displays both skill and restraint in brewing it.  The strong pine and citrus is met by enough sweet malts to create a really well-balanced beer.

You may never have the opportunity to purchase this one based on where in the country you live; however, if you ever see it, you have to get one.  Despite building up my own expectations, I was still really happy with this beer.   It’s definitely far more drinkable than I was thinking, but don’t let drinkability be a four letter word.  Russian River know how to brew a good beer, and they definitely did it here.

Teacher Grade: A

Bon Iver – “One Hit Wonder?”

If you haven’t already gotten sick of hearing about all of the Bon Iver backlash just yet, I have a few thoughts for you today.  Looking back at the individuals who have won Best New Artist over the past few years, it would seem most of them have become semi-successful in most of their careers.  I’m not really entirely certain if last years winner, Esperanza Spalding, is considered currently still successful or not; however, the Zac Brown Band, Adele, Amy Winehouse, Carrie Underwood, and Maroon 5 seem to still be enjoying the spotlight. Well maybe not Amy Winehouse.  Anyway, I was wondering if most normal people will consider Bon Iver a flash in the pan years down the road, or if he will find himself back at the Grammys sometime in the future.  Of course, some of us knew about Bon Iver before he created one of the funnier mass confusion moments at this year’s Grammys, but will he end up on a VH1 countdown with Right Said Fred?

For those of us who knew Bon Iver, i.e. Justin Vernon, before he made a “splash” at the Grammys, we found it funny that he was even up for an award declaring him best new artist.  Justin Vernon released his actual first album, “For Emma, Forever Ago”, back in 2008.  He also released an EP, “Blood Bank”, back in 2009.  So technically, he shouldn’t have even been eligible for this award.  But, a lot of people only just became exposed to his existence.  I did a little research, and Vernon experienced over a 100% increase in his sales following his win at the Grammys.  Therefore, it sounds like he could be experiencing a little bit more popularity.  Vernon even made it into a sketch on SNL this past week.  Justin Timberlake impersonates Vernon singing to Jay-z and Beyonce’s baby.  If you can manage to find the video, you definitely need to watch it.  Youtube isn’t giving me a good video of it to put up on here.

If you were paying attention to the various internet sites that would report on Bon Iver, you saw that he released a little 25 minute internet video last week.  In the video he performs with Sean Carey, supporting player in Bon Iver, some of the songs off “Blood Bank” and “Bon Iver” using only two grand pianos.  Having watched it all the way through, I really enjoy it a lot, but I’m not sure it will continue to win him any fans.  However, if you watched Vernon’s acceptance speech, I really doubt that’s why he put it out. He knows who helped put him on the map, and he knows who he makes music for.  Bon Iver may not make it back onto the Grammys ever again, but I think this video helps to show that he isn’t going to change.  He will continue to make music his way, and if the masses enjoy it, all the better.