A Note Of Holiday Cheer….And A Beer!

There is a heavy black Converse All Star shoe box on my table sent from Dan Harder and I owe it to Facebook and beer…


(Note-There will be a description of the tasty Robert the Bruce from Three Floyd’s Brewing further down, I promise. But first, I must digress as there are stories to be told.)

First Digression

I know people like to rail against Facebook or proudly state that they don’t have a page. FB does have more than its fair share of cat pictures (not guilty), food (guilty), and liberal knowledge nuggets (way guilty) but I have  connected, reconnected, or stayed connected with folks (many of them from high school back in Munster, IN…this is an important clue). I’ve shared meals with a few FB buddies passing through town, had a few stay overnight, discovered that a few are fellow Coloradoans, and even provided shelter for the offspring of an FB friend and her traveling band (fine young folks, Radiation City. Check them out at


Second Digression

This all started a few years ago when I finally joined Facebook at the urging of some of my former 5th graders (now in college and way beyond). I was reacquainted with so many former high school classmates that I had to attend the next reunion.  I was graciously invited to stay with Linda and Brian at the lake house and, knowing that I would be the first to arrive, was instructed to” open up” the house. After completing my chores, I noticed a refrigerator in the garage and discovered beer. I popped the cap and tasted. Wow…pretty darn good and it was a company I had never heard of. Three Floyd’s? Where is that, pray tell. Munster, Indiana!!!!?  I thought the only businesses of note were the McDonald’s (where every Etling worked), Schoop’s, and Ogren Insurance. But a micro-brewery? And, as I later found out, an award-winning one at that.

Throughout the various celebrations that weekend, I had a chance to enjoy a few more.

Third Digression

So a couple of years ago I was escorting my mom back to New Buffalo, MI to attend the graduation party of my almost favorite niece, Natalie (and this would be the youngest daughter of my younger sister, Julie). To be fair, she only just recently became my almost favorite when her older brother started a craft brewery in Michigan City, INBurnem (Burn’em Brewing- https://www.facebook.com/pages/Burn-Em-Brewing-LLC/421848697897829?ref=br_tf )

I dearly wanted to connect with Deb C and her lovely mate, Patrick as a consequence of our enlightening FB conversations. Mom and I flew into Midway, picked up our rental care and zipped to Munster, stopping by to grab a bottle of wine as we were planning on having lunch. Joann W was going to meet us there as well and had agreed to deliver a 6 pack of Robert the Bruce. This was important as I was planning a birthday party for my stepson’s significant other who is not only Scottish, but also who has the same last name and is, in fact,  distantly related to the Scottish rebel. For her birthday celebration I was trying to assemble a wide variety of Scottish ales, but this one would be the pièce de résistance!


It turned out to be one of those blisteringly hot days, over 100°F. The BBQ lunch was postponed due to  the extreme heat. Fortunately, Joann had brought cake, we had brought wine, so we had a delightful if unconventional repast that sent us happily on our way. I look forward to a return trip.

…which brings me to the box on the table, already opened as you can plainly see.

Given the 1022 mile difference between our houses (Google Maps is sooo cool!), I thank Facebook for making this connection possible as well as connecting to virtually all the other people mentioned in this piece (and, of course, many more). So raise your glass and toast our connections! Happy Holidays!!


Oh wait…the beer.

And a bit of geekiness…

The categories for Scottish ales can be a bit confusing. According to the Beer Judging Certification Program (BJCP), there are 3 categories for Scottish Ales- Light, Heavy, and Export ranging in ABV from 2.5 to 5.0% and IBU’s from 10 to 30. Additionally, the BJCP lists a fourth category of Strong Scotch Ale which has an ABV range of 6.5 to 10% and an IBU range from 17 to 35.  At 7.0% ABV and 30 IBU’s, Robert the Bruce is clearly in this latter category even though the label says “Scottish Style Ale”.

As I recall, the original six pack which I carefully shepherded home to Denver, was consumed the evening of my stepson’s significant other’s…..oh, heck, let’s just call her my daughter-in-law…my daughter-in-law’s birthday dinner.

So not having had this beer in a few years, it is with exquisite pleasure that I pop the cap and enjoy.Rob

A quickly dissipating head reveals a lovely reddish caramel color. I’m already salivating and I still have to wait a bit more for it to warm up to proper drinking temperature (50-55°F).  A very subtle sweet malt aroma arises, less powerful than I was expecting, but very nice. After drinking a lot of Belgian-style Quads and Russian Imperial Stouts of late, this is quite refreshing. No real hop taste that I can fathom, but my mouth is eagerly awaiting the next sip. A medium body and slightly less than average carbonation complete the profile. I can suddenly envision sitting in a pub watching a soccer match and downing a few of these with me mates, although, at 7% ABV, I think it would be best if we planned on walking home. “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men/Gang aft a-gley “.