Yes … even amid all the Corona-chaos that has caused the world to grind to a halt, breweries are still pushing out new releases. We got our hands on two of those recently and want to get you the details so that you can run out and stock the shelves. (Yes, it’s still legal to visit breweries which have been deemed essential services.)

On April 2nd at 10:31 am, Pontoon Brewing put up a Facebook post, announcing a new beer called Grand Theft Otter. If you’ve followed Pontoon at all, you have probably seen beers referring to otters and/or beers with Otter in the title. Again, this latest one was announced at 10:31 am. I know a guy (ok, it was me) who immediately saw it, ordered it online, and was at the brewery receiving my fresh new delivery at curbside from Tom. (And I scored some brewery-made hand sanitizer to boot.) Needless to say, I was pretty excited.

GTO is a double New England IPA that’s later double dry-hopped with Citra, Cashmere, and Centennial hops. So, yes, it’s a DDH DNEIPA. I don’t know if I’m sad or proud that I know what all that means. I’ll admit that I had high hopes for this one, basically because it was from Pontoon and they can do no wrong. At first sip, I was disappointed, and I can’t tell you why. The flavor just had something that was off-putting. I kept going, fighting the good fight, and something interesting happened. It grew on me … pretty quickly, For the same reason that I recommend not giving an Untappd rating until after 3-4 sips, this beer absolutely got better with each sip. The flavors are pretty intense – the hop bitterness is mostly covered with the citrus, but it’s still there more than more NEIPAs you’ve had. That may have been what threw me off in the beginning. But give it a few sips, and I think you’ll find that it balances really well and packs a pretty good punch too!


At about the same time, Reformation released a beer in collaboration with Variant and Sprayberry Bottle Shop. Drink Well with Others is the third in a series of beers dedicated to giving to charitable causes. The first two were for Sporty Girl and World Adoption Day – but V3 is for a cause that hits way closer to home. As we’ve previously discussed, the Covid-19 hysteria has the potential to be economically devastating for brewery workers. Proceeds from this beer will go to support a GoFundMe campaign for Reformation’s furloughed and out-of-work staff. Fantastic cause … rock-star level beer. Think pineapple + vanilla and don’t think about anything else. Described as a Pineapple Milkshake IPA with “insane amounts of fresh Madagascar Vanilla beans, Sabro & Strata hops, and lactose,” this one walks, talks, and acts exactly like you’d think based on that description. If you don’t like pineapple, just walk away. If you do, buckle up and have a field day! This is insanely and maybe even frighteningly drinkable – at north of 7%, it could cause some blurry vision. Delicioud beer + great cause = victory.


Thank you to all the local craft breweries that are still working everyday to make OUR days a little better. We salute you!

Mike Pennington by Mike Pennington

I’ve been on a bit of roll lately. I’ve had a lot of good days this week. And it felt good at church this morning when I had some people comment on the fact that I seemed less large. (And they had been reading the blog which it made it a double bonus.)

For breakfast, I had my requisite Fiber One bar. Duh. And then I hustled home from church to get ready for tennis. Mentally, I was prepared to play at 1pm … get a ton of steps and cardio in, and basically earn some bad decisions today. But Atlanta is the new Seattle and it rains every day. Today was a washout, and that threw me off my game all day. One bad thing led to more bad decisions and I feel like I dumped all of my progress in the pooper with one bad day.

Lunch was a pile of crap I pulled out of the fridge. One slice of yesterday’s pizza; some leftover pulled pork; a boatload of BBQ chips … sigh. And then I sat on the couch doing nothing for what seemed like another 7 or 8 hours. I rallied in time to go out and celebrate my nephew’s birthday.

Originally, he had chosen Longhorn for dinner, and I was pumped about that. You can escape that place with a filet and salad for about 600-700 calories. And then it was changed to my nemesis … Mexican.  Yeah: tacos + chips + queso + rice & beans. No bueno. More sighs …

And now for the beer

Delicious, fantastic Variant

Tonight, I had a Variant Brewing Moon Cloud. It’s a lighter IPA. Very smooth and nicely balanced. And then the keg floated, and so I switched over to Scofflaw Basement. Much like CC Tropicalia from yesterday, it’s a great fallback option when I find myself confronted by a not so varied tap list. A good beer night after a bad food choice day.

But tomorrow is a new day. And I hope that tennis match can be rescheduled!

Mike Pennington by Mike Pennington

Spoiler alert … today may have been my favorite beer day so far during the #DrinkAndDropChallenge. But you’re not allowed to scroll ahead and … who am I kidding? Go ahead and skip to the end if you want. I mean, this isn’t Russia, is it Danny?

Okay, if you’re still reading and didn’t skip ahead, thank you. Today was another pretty excellent day. New massive and fancy fridge installed in the kitchen, impromptu date with the most beautiful woman in the world, beer at one of my favorite breweries, delicious dinner with the fam, and capped it off with movie night downstairs (we finally got around to watching Bohemian Rhapsody, which is really well done. And makes me want to listen to Queen a lot more.)

  • Breakfast. broken record … more Fiber One bars for me. I know it’s mundane to have the same, small, simple thing every day. But I like them, they are low calorie, and they get me through to lunch. That’s usually all I’m looking for in a breakfast treat.
  • Lunch. We tried a new Mexican joint near the house today. I got the Speedy Gonzales, mostly because I love that Looney Tunes character. But I was also thinking, it’s a smaller meal and is likely less caloric than the #11 I’d usually get. (Does anyone else notice that the #11 is the same at every Mexican joint on the planet? Burrito, enchilada, taco, rice, beans. The other combos may change, but good ole #11 stays the same. Once again, I digress.) The food was fine, the company was F-I-N-E fine. Yeah – I got to each lunch with my wife, which is an other-worldly treat.
  • Dinner. Instant Pot pulled pork, plus a lighter version of cole slaw, and some waffle fries in the AirFryer … it really wasn’t an unhealthy dinner either. The pork and fries were awesome. The cole slaw – not so much. All in all, it was a pretty successful day.

And Now for the Beer

We snuck over to Variant for a few half pints. (Pro tip – they don’t do flights on Fridays … can get to be too hectic with the crowds. But they will give half-pours which serves the same purpose.) I thought three sounded like a reasonable number, but I really could have ordered about a dozen more. SO GOOD. Beers below are listed front-to-back in the picture above.
  • Tangerine Milkshake Street. It’s a Milkshake IPA (not for the lactose-intolerant.) But this one is brewed with tangerines and vanilla. I didn’t get much vanilla out of it, but the tangerines add a freshness that I wasn’t expecting. This is a fantastic beer.
  • Conditional Love. So very imaginative. It starts as a biere de garde. And they aged it in red wine barrels with … peaches. So, you have the traditional feel and taste of a biere de garde, with some added warmth and depth from the red wine, and a sweetness from the peaches. You just have to try it!
  • International Taste Station. It’s an Imperial Stout brewed with maple, vanilla, and coffee. This is … ridiculous.
That’s all for today. I’ll finish with one thought. #DrinkLocal. I’ve said it before – Russ has said it a lot. DRINK LOCAL. There’s just something special about rolling into the local brewery for a pint.
Mike Pennington by Mike Pennington

It’s one of those days when you know you’ll be bad later in the day, but you’re just not sure HOW bad. How do you budget calories for a questionable evening, not knowing how questionable to will get?

I think the answer lies … again … in moderation and limitations. I have to be good at monitoring (and cataloguing) calories throughout the day. Knowing where I stand and what I have left in the budget for the day allows me to make informed decisions. If I look back after the fact and forget about the two cookies I snuck in at lunch, I’ll be over budget. Strict adherence to the calculation is THE ONLY WAY to succeed in this game. At least for me.

My kid is apparently 75% Italian. He had a meatball sub last night; asked for lasagna tonight, while knowing that he requested his favorite Italian joint for tomorrow night … so that we can have lasagna. So, I’m eating lasagna tonight. Ugh. I do like cheese. Lots of it. The gooier the better. I NEED to budget properly.

At least I was able to suck at tennis for a few hours in the middle of the day to get the blood flowing. 🎾

Breakfast – 🚨 NEWS ALERT 🚨 I did NOT have a Fiber One bar this morning. I had a cinnamon roll (as birthday treats continue for lots of days in our house, apparently.) And I avoided the doughnut. Small victories.
Lunch – tennis courts. I don’t eat much when I play. I had two miniature chicken-salad-on-croissants and a turkey-provolone slider. That’s it. Oh yeah … and a few Peronis.
Dinner – lasagna. But I ate the version made with zucchini noodles instead of normal delicious noodles. So, maybe it was less bad for me? I even avoided having any of the Texas toast. Again, small victories. (And FYI, according to Fitbit, I added 1400 calories to my allowance for the day by playing tennis. Not that I think I should use all of those. Just sayin’.)

And now for the beer …

– Yup. Continuing with the Italian theme, our opponents brought Peroni as part of the spread. Since I was so miserably terrible on the courts today, I thought I should take two beers of theirs.
– As my pre-dinner ritual, I had a Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA. Uhhhh, yes. Delicious
– And with dinner, there’s a chance that I had a giant bottle of a very cool VariantPontoonGate CitySprayberry Bottle Shop collaboration. It’s called the Wolf Pack. Sharing from the official description, this Imperial Sweet Stout was aged in Vanilla Bourbon Barrels for six months on rich chocolate, toasted coconut and Tongan vanilla beans.” Yes. All of the yes on this one. The birthday finally arrives tomorrow. More Italian food for us … and this time with unlimited salad and bread-swimming-in-butter.

Mike Pennington by Mike Pennington