This is the blog for Matt Hollingsworth. I'm from Ojai, California. I've worked in comics for 22 years as a color artist.

This blog will largely be used to show my daily life as I live in Samobor, Croatia and as I travel around the region. Lots and lots of photos! Leave me a comment, will you?

All content on this blog is copyright 2013 Matthew Dale Hollingsworth and cannot be copied or used for any purpose without my consent.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

This is the third in my series on top ten beers.


part three, third entries of each.


3. Deschutes Jubelale

When I lived in Portland, which I did for nine years, winter was a time we looked forward to in a certain sense. It was when the winter seasonal beers were released. Something to ease our pain, something to get us through all the rain, freezing and otherwise. The big three locally at that time were Widmer Winternacht, Full Sail Wassail and Deschutes Jubelale. And, for whatever reason, nearly every year, the JubelAle was the best.

For anyone that doesn't know, Deschutes is a really great brewery. It is my contention that, across their product line, they are the single best brewery on the entire West Coast. They simply do not make bad beer. Obsidian Stout, Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Black Butte Porter, JubelAle; these were all classics when I lived there. And their product line is even bigger than that and has NO bad beers in the bunch, ever. Extremely high quality beer brewed to the highest level of the craft.

One of their former brewers, John Harris, is even a bit of a celebrity there in Portland. He created Mirron Pond, then went to a brewpub chain called McMenamins and created two beers; Hammerhead Pale Ale and Terminator Stout, both of which are famous and popular. After that he went to Full Sail and last I know he was still there. He brews up test batches that are pretty cool for the Full Sail pub down on the waterfront in Portland. Many are one off, and the only chance of ever tasting them is at that pub.

If we were lucky, we could find JubelAle on cask at either the Horse Brass or The Moon and Sixpence. Again, for those who don't know; a cask ale is an ale that is allowed to condition inside the cask. It's not really carbonated in the same way as kegged beer. The carbonation is allowed to develop in the cask and is softer, not so aggressive as kegged beer. To the average citizen, it seems like it's flat. And, it's usually served at cellar temperature, somewhere in the range of 58 F. Refrigerated beer is usually much colder than this. This is why you hear Americans call British beer warm and flat. To me, this is a compliment, because truly good cask ale is usually far superior to it's kegged counterpart. There's something about the sensation of bubbles scrubbing across your tongue that diminishes flavor. I've had many side by tastings with the same beer on cask and regular tap and the taste difference is sometimes astonishing.

Anyway, JubelAle is the shit either way. Winter is not truly here yet, but Deschutes is now distributed in LA at many, many places, so I think JubelAle will be here soon, even if I have to go to Beverages and More to get it. Besides, most of them come out right around now these days, not really in the winter anymore. American Octoberfest in a way, I suppose. The recipe changes year to year, but typically, all Portland Winter Warmers are strong amber ales that sometimes bear a slightly spicey note. Usually they do not use spices themselves, but it's been known to happen. The art on the label changes year to year for JubelAle.

Here's their writeup:

Available October through December

Did you know that Jubelale was the first beer ever bottled by Deschutes Brewery? Highly anticipated every fall, Jubelale is in a category of its own with a flavor and following that is impossible to match. Dark crystal malt creates that “luscious” holiday note while the roasty flavor and bountiful hops excite your tastebuds, reminding you why Jubelale is the perfect holiday beer.

Deschutes Brewing


Beer Advocate

Deschutes profile on Beer Advocate

Octoberfest on WikiPedia


3. Widmer Bourbon Barrel Bock

Now, I have no really good photos for this one, because this beer was not really fully commercial and is extinct. So, gotta make do with a patchwork of photos of the brewery, a bourbon barrel and some Widmer products. This beer was never bottled that I am aware of. And the first time I encountered it was at the summer beer festival in Portland, maybe 6 or 7 years ago. I seem to remember also having it on tap locally. This was one of the best beers I have ever tasted in my life.

At that time, it was getting really popular to age beer in bourbon barrels; whiskey, scotch, whatever. Mostly with homebrewers though, because it's just far too expensive for commercial beer to do this. Basically, the wood of the barrel itself becomes impregnated with whiskey or whatever soaks in it. And, sometimes distilleries will sell these barrels. I believe this one used Kentucky wood. So, what, maybe Jack Daniels?

Anyway, the time of the beer fest was a big thing in Portland. And, the local breweries would usually try to outdo each other. There was a very good brewing scene, and these guys would want to really crush the other guy with the best beer. Which was great for us, because they'd try weird shit and make really strong beers and there was a whole helluva lot of really great brewing going on. This was released for that.

Widmer made a very nice Doppelbock, then aged it in those wood barrels. It soaked up some of the bourbon taste, some oak. It was fucking killer. Basically.

Sorry to say you guys may never get the chance to try this. But, if you EVER see someone making a beer and aging it in bourbon barrels, it's at least worth checking out. If the brewery sucks, they'll make a powerfully bad beer. But if they're good, it will make you cum.

Doppelbock on German Beer Institute

Bock Style on Beer Hunter

Beer Advocate

Bock Style on WikiPedia

Friday, October 13, 2006

This is the second in my series on top ten beers. See previous blog entry for the starting point.

That being said, here's my list:


part two, second entries of each.


2. Westmalle Tripel

There are 7 Trappist Monasteries out of the existing 171 that make beer for commercial consumption. 6 are in Belgium, 1 in the Netherlands. These breweries are the only ones allowed to actually say "Trappist" on the label. Any others that are not made at these monasteries, but are going for their style of beer, will have "Abbey Ale" on the label instead. Many of these Abbey Ales are also quite tasty, but Westmalle is head and shoulders above most beers on the planet. Brouwerij Westmalle is located at the Westmalle Monastery in Antwerp, Belgium. Their Tripel is amazingly well balanced, with a nice clean malt shining through. Extremely highly recommended. Available in LA at The Other Room in Venice. May also be available at Lucky Baldwin's in Pasadena, Father's Office in Santa Monica and Library Alehouse also in Santa Monica, though I am not sure. Beverages and More also should have it, and perhaps Whole Foods.

Here's their writeup:

Westmalle Tripel is a clear, golden yellow Trappist beer that undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle (9,5% alcohol). It is a complex beer with a fruity aroma and a nice nuanced hop scent. It is soft and creamy in the mouth, with a bitter touch carried by the fruity aroma. An exceptional beer, with a great deal of finesse and elegance. And with a splendid long aftertaste.

The Westmalle Tripel is indeed called the “mother of all tripels”. This type of beer was first brewed in Westmalle abbey in 1934 when the new brewing hall came into use. The current formula has stayed practically unchanged since 1956, thus almost for 50 years.

Abdij Der Trappisten Van Westmalle

Westmalle Brouwerij

Trappist Style on WikiPedia

Westmalle Tripel on Beer Advocate


2. Paulaner Salvator Doppelbock

Bock Beer is a strong lager made in the winter and drank in the spring. The style originates from Munich. It's another beer style brought to us by monks, so it's a monk beer day today! These guys always made these beers to drink during fasting. No food, combined with very strong beer. That's always a good idea. No wonder they see God and have visions, eh?

I recommend you eat.

From WikiPedia:

Many bock beer producers have displayed goats on bottle labels since Bock in German means billy goat. In the local dialect, Einbeck is pronounced similar to "Einbock", which sounds like ein Bock (a goat).

From the German Beer Institute web site, linked below:

It is a fair guess that the Paulaners' Lenten "liquid bread" got stronger over the years. It is not exactly clear, however, when it reached the strength we now associate with a modern Doppelbock. Obviously, the Paulaners revered their weighty and now papally sanctioned brews, because eventualy they came to name the strongest of their strong beers "Salvator," after the Savior, their other passion in life.

Though initially intended only for themselves, the Paulaners must have let some of their beer leak out, for cash, to the population. This, under stringent feudal rules, required a permit from the civil authorities, which the Paulaners did not possess; and soon the Paulaners were brewing not only beer but trouble, too. We know so, because of many civil complaints on record about public rowdiness and drunkenness in the streets around the monastery. There is even evidence that the monks served Doppelbock illegally on April 2, 1751, the names day of their patron saint, Saint Francis of Paula.

Doppelbock on German Beer Institute

Bock Style on Beer Hunter

Beer Advocate

Paulaner on WikiPedia

Bock Style on WikiPedia

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I was recently asked by someone online what my top ten ales and lagers are. Now, I don't claim that these are really my favorite ten of each. These are the top ten that I can think of at the moment. Undoubtedly, some really great beers are not in my mind at this very moment. So, I reserve the right to change my mind entirely at any given moment. Which is a good way to live life. Makes you much more open to change.

That being said, here's my list:


part one, first entries of each.


1. Balik Beer

There's a seafood place at Heathrow Airport in London that serves this beer. I do not remember the name of the place, but if you're in Heathrow, you should see it. It's basically a seafood bar with tons of caviar, smoked salmon and that kind of thing. Not cheap. But, they weren't as crowded as all the other places, presumably because of the expense, and I was able to relax there for a while. Smoked salmon accompanied by this beer rocks. Honestly, it does not taste like an ale. It tastes like a very strong lager. But, this is based on a Porter recipe, or so they say, and lager did not exist when this style originated and porter is also an ale, so I list it here. It's very clean and extremely strong. Made in Switzerland.

Here's their writeup:

Take your time for an exclusive expedition to the BALIK world of delights.
Just as BALIK, our "classic", this special beer has been brewed according to an old Russian porter recipe with brown malt, Russian kwas, hops and water from BALIK's own source at Ebersol.

It then matured during one year in old oak butts and received individual care up to its maturity. Its has been brewed and bottled in limited quantities at the brewery Locher at Appenzell. This brewery with 125 years of experience and family tradition stands for first class quality and natural taste. This very demanding procedure gives the BALIK BEER its noble and characteristic sherry taste and its amber colouring. But this sparkling BALIK BEER may reserve you some surprise. With 11 %vol. of alcohol, it compares much more with a wine than with traditional beer. It as been created not simply as a common beverage, but to accompany harmoniously our BALIK salmon. We recommend to drink BALIK BEER cool, at a temperature of 12° C. BALIK BEER should be stored in a dark place. When stored, the quality of the beer will improve yearly and its taste will become more and more harmonious.

store with beer

baltic porter style on beer advocate

1. Rogue Brewing's Morimoto Imperial Pilsner

There's a brewery on the coast in Newport, Oregon called Rogue that is known for taking brewing risks. The brewer, John Maier, is renowned amongst brewers for trying interesting combinations of ingredients and being willing to risk certain death in bending the rules or rediscovering old recipes or techniques. He also usually adds a lot more hops than a traditional recipe may call for. For many beers this is good, though this is not always the case. This particular beer is really great, though, and where I live, in Santa Monica, is available at Whole Foods. Luckily!

Here's their writeup:

Imperial Pilsner, part of the Morimoto Signature Series, was launched in September 2003. The beer was selected by internationally acclaimed Chef Masaharu Morimoto--a James Beard awarded chef and one of the stars of the Food Network series, Iron Chef.

Brewed with four ingredients: 100% French Pilsner Malt, 100% Sterling Hops, Free Range Coastal Water and Czech Pilsner Yeast. Imperial Pilsner is golden in color with a dry hop floral aroma and intense hop bitterness supported by a big malty backbone. Available in a swing-top 750 mil ceramic bottle.
To learn more about the Chef, visit Morimoto's web page.

Measurements: 18 degrees Plato, IBU 74, Apparent Attenuation 80, Lovibond 16 degrees, 8.8% ABV
No Chemicals, Additives, or Preservatives

Rogue Brewing


beer advocate

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Tales of Croatia. Part Nine.

Entire story takes place from late May to late June in Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Makarska, Omiš, Split, Vodice
and Tribunj, Croatia, as well as Slovenia.


Continued from part eight...
To recap; I'd spent about three weeks in Zagreb. Sasho Maleev joined us and we flew SouthEast to Dubrovnik, hanging out there for three days.

And so, Thursday came and we rented a diesel Astra of some sort. It was a decent touring car. We drove North from Dubrovnik, heading towards Tribunj.

The drive along the coast is beautiful. The road runs largely at the foot of the hills and mountains, yet raised up above the sea as well, giving a nice view.

Looking inland.

Off the coast, island after island passes by. We made our way to Makarska and stopped for lunch. This is a nice little bay city with a marina and seaside cafes and restaurants.

Esad in Makarska. Notice the no smoking sign to the right. There's a boat fueling station there.

Me, in Makarska.

We sat down for another meal of seafood much as in Dubrovnik. Around the bay, Esad took us to show us this bar. Down by the water, they have a part of the bar inside of a cave with a glass bottom so you could see the water below. Nice.

Esad and Sasho.

We get back in the car and head North again. It's quite a long drive, but beautiful. We stopped along the side of the road at some fruit stands. They make homemade rakija, brandy. It's of varying color, with various kind of fruits. And the fruit is very fresh and tasty. We bought cherries, plums, strawberries and tomatoes.

South of Split, we make our way down to the water again, and a seaside town called Omiš.

Omiš, pronouced 'Oh-Meesh'. Sasho took this photo. I'm in the background on the left. See if you can spot me.

It's an old pirate town that still has ruins of pirate forts up on the hillside. We stopped here for a beer and coffee. Esad explained that it used to be a center for pirates, and they would actually fight off fleets that came to fuck with them. But, eventually, the Turks had some kind of treaty with the Spanish and their destruction was requested for some reason, then it was all over.



It was also a partisan town, with many hrvatine (hrvatine are kind of like frat boys in the military, though older. Like somewhat mindless military guys that are super pro Croatian.). The name of a general is spray painted on the wall of a major building and posters of him hang in cafe windows to show support for him. He's in the Hague as a war criminal.



End of Part Nine.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Tales of Croatia. Part Eight.

Entire story takes place from late May to late June in Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Makarska, Omiš, Split, Vodice
and Tribunj, Croatia, as well as Slovenia.


Continued from part seven...


Esad on the West side of the wall.

The next day we had our usual day, wandering around. Hit the beach again, lunch at the same place again etc. At the fish restaurant, we saw one of the ugliest women any of us had ever seen. The picture simply does NOT do her justice. When she walked by when we were eating, I saw her first and was immediately taken aback. I said to Esad and Sasho who had their backs to her, that there was someone walking by and I could not tell if it was a man or a woman. Sasho turned around, saw her and audibly gasped without any sarcasm. He was shocked by her appearance. I started laughing at his response and it became infectious and none of us could stop laughing. She sat near, but in the distance, at a table selling her needlepoint. She had not noticed us, so we didn't need to feel guilty about the response we had. But, it was genuine mirth and did us all some good.

Yes, that's the ugly woman. Mustache and all. No, that's not shading, it IS a mustache. She yawned at one point and looked like a walrus, I swear!

It was a nice leisurely day. We kind of didn't go too crazy as we were tired from the heavy night the night before, and we all wanted to watch at least two football games per day if we could. There were three a day at that point, at 3PM, 6PM and 9PM.

We then did the entire wall tour again, this time with the Irish girls. Took our time a bit more, took photos and just enjoyed the view of this great city.

For dinner, we were joined by Iva and her Serbian friend, and one other Serbian girl. We ate and hung out, one final time at our favorite fish restaurant, then off to the cafe and another night of drinking. Lather, rinse repeat. You know, same kinda night, but no dance club this night. We walked by the area where the lady had jumped and saw a memorial of candles and flowers laid out.

Dubrovnik has these birds that fly around at night. Sometimes during the day too, but mostly at night. They're loud, diving birds. The Irish girls kept thinking they were bats and were disturbed by them, but they were birds. And they were fascinating, flying around at 3 in the morning. The city is empty that late, and we wandered around in abandoned streets in the inner city.

The city is also a very old city, and often the stench of sewage comes up. It's not constant, though, but it does come up sometimes. It's very touristy in it's way, but still, it remains an old city with a lot of charm to it. It ain't no Disneyland, that's for sure.

Esad gives my nipples some attention.

Football in Dubrovnik.

Birds eye view of me, eh?

End of Part Eight.