Category Archives: Opinion

Why Social Media is Critical for Breweries.

A couple weeks ago Carla Jean Lautner (@beerbabe) started a twitter discussion on the importance of every brewery having a functional and informative website. Lots of great points were made and it led me to think about all of the pieces that go into a brewery’s presence online. While I agree that a website full of information is crucial, it is also very important for a brewery to set up and maintain active accounts on social media platforms. Social media is an amazing (and mostly free) marketing tool. if it wasn’t for social media I doubt that anyone outside of a few of my friends would ever read Hoppy Boston. in theory social media is easy, customers like your beer, or are interested in learning more, they follow your accounts on different platforms and it allows the brewery to keep these customers updated and engaged in the brand. Obviously brewing great beer is the most important thing, but success engaging with customers in person and online will be crucial as the marketplace becomes more crowded.

Some breweries do an amazing job on their social media accounts. Allagash has a steady stream of beautiful pictures that accompany information about their beers and events at the brewery. TreeHouse is so popular that could probably release their beers at 2 AM on Tuesdays and still attract massive lines, but they are still very engaged with their customers on all social media accounts and keep people well informed on release schedules and wait times. Other breweries are MIA, the accounts either don’t exist or they haven’t been touched in months. Here are a few necessities for every brewery on social media, feel free to suggest anything I’ve missed.

1. Have the necessary accounts:

Every brewery should have a Facebook, Instagram and Twitter account. It is amazing that a significant number of breweries don’t have all of these. I don’t see the use of LinkedIn (at least to communicate with customers), Snapchat or Tinder for breweries, but feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. I imagine there are other social media networks that I’m not privy to (these things make me feel a little old), but these “big three” seem to be the absolute minimum. Beer rating sites like Untappd are a different beast, I know they are important, but I am not counting them for this exercise. Just having the accounts isn’t enough, every brewery should have an employee who regularly posts on all three accounts and responds to comments and questions posted by others.

2. Have a designated person who runs social media accounts:

Bigger craft breweries tend to have a designated person in their marketing group that exclusively handles social media. A small start-up brewery probably can’t afford to hire a designated marketing person, but there should be one person in the group who takes on this role to start. This person should devote a portion of every day to the accounts, posting news, reminding people of beer releases or other special events, and most importantly interacting with customers. Social media allows direct and constant access to your customer base, and allows the brewers to get feedback on everything they put out. Building these positive online relationships can lead to repeat customers, and satisfied customers spread the good word to their friends, which leads to new customers.

3. Take good pictures:

It’s pretty awesome that we all carry phones in our pockets that come with solid cameras, you can capture any aspect of your life with a picture at any time (good God, am I glad that wasn’t true when I was in college, missed this by a couple years). While these pictures are fine, you can really tell when a talented photographer has taken picture with a high quality camera. Inevitably some of the day-to-day pictures in a brewery will be taken with phones, but every brewery should make an effort to engage a trained photographer to take professional pictures of their facility and their beer. There is no excuse for stock photos on the website or social media accounts. Chefs always say that people eat with their eyes first, and the same can be said with beer, quality pictures get you excited to try the beer.

4. On Facebook:

The brewery Facebook account should have all of the general information from the website (location, hours, etc.) but your Facebook page is NOT a replacement for a website. Posts should be frequent, but shouldn’t overwhelm the news feeds of your followers. Daily updates that include which beers are available and other special events are encouraged. Facebook is great for brewery events, you can invite all of your followers and their friends will be able to see when they respond “yes”, potentially attracting new customers.

5. On Twitter:

Twitter allows for much more regular updates, but it is important to do twitter specific posts instead of just sharing links to your Facebook account. The key to twitter is engaging with your followers. You don’t need to retweet every positive Untappd check-in (actually, please don’t do that), but it takes minimal effort to hit the like button when a customer says they love your beer, and a quick “thanks” takes just a little more time. Whomever is in charge of the twitter account should also regularly respond to questions and know when and where the beers they are talking up will be available. Twitter is also a good place for people to reach out with a QC issue, but don’t rehash the whole issue on Twitter for everyone to see, just pass along an e-mail or do it through DM.

6. On Instagram:

Instagram is pretty easy. Take cool pictures of your beer and your brewery and then share them. When others post cool pictures of your beer click the like button and say thank you. It’s also another good place to share beer release/special event info, but the key is quality photography that will catch people’s eyes.

Those are my key points, running successful social media accounts isn’t that hard, and the effort it takes will pay for itself between feedback that improves the quality of your product and the relationships you build that turn occasional customers into regulars. Plus, anytime the occasional negativity of beer social media gets you down just spend a little time on pages where people are arguing about politics and you will feel much better (about beer debates, not about the state of the world). Cheers!


Can mid- and larger sized craft brewers find success with NEIPA?

The buzz around cloudy, juicy New England style IPAs keeps growing, and while many beer snobs (and quite a few brewers) continue to dismiss the style as a fad there is no denying that a huge market has developed for this sub-style. Follow a bunch of local beer geeks on Instagram or Untappd and it will look like a majority of beers they consume are hazy and heavily dry-hopped. I knew that the NEIPA buzz had reached another level when a buddy of mine who drinks far more Coors Light than anything else was raving about TreeHouse Green. The popularity of the style has attracted the attention of breweries that you wouldn’t associate with hazy and hoppy beers. Shipyard, a brewery known for traditional British Ales brewed with the distinctive Ringwood yeast strain, now has a new NEIPA that is getting positive reviews. Even Sam Adams, a brewery that resisted the IPA revolution for many years, has announced that they are producing a hazy, juicy IPA starting in 2018. It is no surprise that so many breweries are throwing their hats into this ring, but the question remains, will these bigger breweries have success with this style?

Trillium Melcher StThe New England IPA craze has been fueled almost entirely by small breweries with limited or no distribution. If you look at the breweries that popularized the style, The Alchemist, Trillium, Treehouse, Bissell Brothers and Other Half are good examples, they sell the vast majority of beer on-site and very soon after it’s packaged. This limited distribution has driven demand, follow any of those breweries on social media and you’ll get a deluge of stories about wait times, long lines and per-person purchase limits. If people are willing to jump through these hoops for this beer style, doesn’t it stand to reason that a larger brewer without the same production and distribution constraints could sell a massive amount of NEIPA?

There are a number of advantages bigger breweries have as they begin to produce New England IPAs. The biggest advantage is the economy of scale, bigger breweries should be able to make the beers on scale and then sell them at a lower price point, which is huge when many small batch NEIPAs are routinely over $20/4 pack. These breweries also have the distribution apparatus in place to get the beers right onto the shelves soon after they are packaged. An advantage that is easy to forget is the big hop contracts large breweries sign, they should have no issues buying large lots of sought after hop varieties (this is an under-rated issue for small breweries who can’t scale their homebrew recipes due to a lack of specific hops). I think we’ll see large increases in acreage planted with Mosaic, Citra and Galaxy hops. These larger breweries typically employ talented brewers who should be able to develop recipes that are competitive with some of the better beers on the market. I assume these beers can scale, I’m not a professional brewer but I would be interested to hear if anyone with more experience in the field thinks this will be an issue.

There are also a few big disadvantages that larger breweries face when they try to compete in the NEIPA space. The biggest one is making sure their consumers buy and drink fresh beer. These beers have notoriously short shelf lives, and just because they reach the shelves fresh doesn’t mean they are still at peak flavor and aroma when they are purchased and consumed. I’ve already seen a number of NEIPAs from mid-sized breweries that have clearly been sitting on the shelves well past their peak. This is a huge advantage to small breweries, who sell the majority of beer onsite within days of packaging, so customers are always purchasing it at peak freshness. The other issue is buzz. There is a well established psychological phenomenon where people enjoy a food/beverage more when they think it’s rare, expensive or highly regarded. One of my big goals with this blog was to find readily available beers that are just as good as the whalez people wait in line for. While I think it’s been a success, the user ratings on crowd-sourced beer sites are still heavily skewed towards rare beers from a select subset of breweries. While bigger breweries can fight back on value there is no chance they will attract the same buzz as releases by TreeHouse or Bissell Brothers. The freshness and buzz issues can go hand in hand too. I read two reviews of a new NEIPA from a regional brewery, one reviewer loved the beer and the other completely trashed it. It might be a difference in personal preference, but I wonder if the writer who trashed the beer was drinking a batch that was past it’s prime.

Wachusett WallySo, back to the big question, can larger brewers be successful making NEIPA? I’m tempted to just say we’ll see, but what fun is that? I think a few will find success, the beers won’t be the envy of beer traders or cause people to stand in lines, but they will sell well and turn a good profit. I think Wachusett Wally is already a success story and the delicious NEIPAs from Springdale are ramping up production with an eye on distribution. I also think many will fail, and some will fail miserably. Some of the beers will be lower quality, or the breweries will do a poor job keeping fresh beer on the shelves and consumers will be ignored these brews in favor of other options. I also think the glut of these beers on the market will be a problem, Sam Adams isn’t going to convert Trillium drinkers, they are going to compete for marketshare with other mid-sized and large breweries making large batches for distribution. The competition is a good thing for consumers in theory, but it will probably mean more old and mediocre beer sitting on store shelves. It will be interesting to see how long the NEIPA phenomenon lasts, I think some of the popular breweries will still make the style for a long time, but the trend chasers will move away from it quickly. Regardless, I love my hazy, fruity, low bitterness IPAs, and I am really interested to see more breweries tackle the style! If you get overwhelmed by the number of options keep tabs on Hoppy Boston and I’ll try to review as many as I can. Cheers?

Cross-blog: Short Brews Question #1

This is a new type of article for Hoppy Boston, where I’ll pose a question and provide my answer as well as the answer of another beer writer. For the first question I’ve enlisted the help of beer blogger Thomas Short from We are planning to make this a series, so feel free to pass along potential questions of give your own take in the comments or on social media. While you are at it, give Short Brews a like on facebook or a follow on twitter @short_brews. Hope you enjoy and let me know what you think of the new article style

What is an under-rated/underappreciated beer style that you really enjoy?

Allagash SaisonRyan ( I proposed this question and had an answer in mind before I asked it. My favorite under appreciated style is definitely the saison. I understand why some people shy away from the style, I wasn’t a fan of the flavors imparted by Belgian yeasts when I first started drinking craft beer and it took a while for me to come around, but now saisons are one of my favorite beer styles. The yeast is the key to a great saison, the expressive Belgian and French saison strains can add a whole host of flavors, fruity, spicy, funky even a little sour, or some combination. After that the style is pretty wide open. The saison style started in farmhouses across Belgium and France, the beers were brewed for the farm workers, so the malt and hop bills can cover a wide range. This gives a brewer a lot of latitude as they design their beer, and American breweries have taken advantage. I’ve tasted saisons as dark as a stout or as hoppy as an IPA. My personal favorite twist on the style mixes late doses of fruity new world hops with the expressive yeast. For a while I thought hoppy saisons would be the “next IPA”, but it didn’t really happen (FWIW, there is no “next IPA”, I don’t think any beer style will hit that height of popularity). So if you haven’t given saisons a try in a while I highly recommend putting down the hop bomb IPA and boozy imperial stout and trying some Belgian ales. If you need some recommendations I am happy to help!

Aeronaut Robot Crush

Thomas ( The only answer I can give is the classic pilsner. Anyone who has been reading ShortBrews lately knows that I’ve been on a big lager kick, and I feel like some people might have gotten the impression that I don’t like lagers which is not the case. I don’t like many lagers, but I love a good pilsner – specifically Czech-style since pilsners hail from Plzen, modern-day Czech Republic. It’s a perfect lighter beer (not to be confused with “light” or “lite”), but it doesn’t lack in flavor. The crispness is perfect for the fall, the same season when I fell in love with pilsners when I (here come the name drops) went to Prague after enjoying pilsners at Oktoberfest. They should have a nice, golden color, a crisp feel, and just enough malt to complement the hop flavor. As the leaves change and the air cools, I highly recommend drinking a nice pilsner with your football. For a ready-to-go pilsner, check out Pilsner Urquell or your local German-style beer hall. Europe does these right!

Should Beer Writers be Critics or Cheerleaders?

I recently read an interesting article by Jeff Alworth on the beervana blog, he has decided to make a conscientious effort to write about beer and breweries that have disappointed him. He isn’t talking about being a critic for critics sake (or being one of the yahoos who love to write negative reviews of Bud Light on Untappd), but instead offering constructive criticism of breweries that are doing some things right but have significant room to improve. This can be a difficult task for beer writers, it’s fun to write about the great beers you sample, especially when you find a new favorite that hasn’t become a target of beer snob hype yet. Writing about bad/mediocre beer is tougher, most craft breweries are small businesses that are run by passionate people who care deeply about their brand and their beer, and articles that paint their product in a bad light can be damaging to their business. As more breweries open there is more great beer, but there is also more mediocre or inconsistent beer, which leads to the question, should beer writers just focus on praising great beers or also call out beers that fall short?

August 2017 lineupThis article brought me back to a conversation that I had with a friend who is also a regular reader of this blog. He pointed out that the vast majority of the beers I review are 4.0-5.0 on my five point scale. Weren’t there beers that I disliked? I had a multi-part response to this. First, most of the beers I sample with the intent on reviewing fall between solid and great. I get plenty of info from other writers and beer enthusiasts before I do stock-up runs, so I feel confident that many of the beers I buy will be tasty. I also go out on a limb and try random beers, and sometimes I do find beers that I dislike or that have distinct off-flavors. In most cases I decline to review those beers. I would guess that I have around 1-2 beers a month that I buy with the intent of writing a review and then don’t ever write up for one reason or another. Some of these beers were simply past peak freshness when I drink them, others were oxidized or have other off flavors, and many were just mediocre.

The purpose of this blog has always been to find amazing local beers, especially beers that don’t involve online trading or waiting in crazy lines, and recommending these beers to my readers. I want Hoppy Boston to be an index of the best beers that New England has to offer. I understand that there is value in writing about beers I disliked too, and it has been a struggle making the decision to focus on beers I enjoyed instead of being critical. In the first few months of the blog I wrote a terrible review of an IPA only to sample it later and realize that the first beer was just well out of date. I felt really bad about the initial review, and from there decided to really focus on writing about the beers I enjoyed. FWIW, I later returned to the store where I bought the offending beer, they had a year old seasonal beer on display (the season was correct, but the labels had changed from the previous year). I stopped shopping at that store immediately.

It’s easy to forget that the concept of beer writing is relatively new, especially compared to writing about food or wine. Early beer writers where educators and salespeople, expounding on the merits of better beer because so many people didn’t even realize that non-macro options existed. Things have changed drastically over the last decade. When I moved to Boston after college it was rare to find a bar that had extensive craft options. You’d see plenty of Sam Adams and Harpoon, but any bar that carried Sierra Nevada, Allagash or Long Trail would be considered a “beer bar”. Now you can walk into almost any bar in the city and see a variety of styles and multiple local options. Many dives and cookie cutter chains carry multiple IPAs. Big beer and their crafty offshoots still dominate marketshare, but I don’t think there are many people who are unaware that craft beer is an option. That being said, I think there is still value in extolling the virtues of great beer, the number one reason I started following beer blogs was to find out about delicious beers I wanted to try.

Watch City Rescue One KolschThere is also a place for beer criticism. Constructive criticism can also be a positive for breweries, especially brewers who are willing to hear the criticism and use it as an impetus to improve their product. The beer field is getting more and more competitive, places that make inconsistent or mediocre beer are going to start to fail as more and more top notch breweries reach the market, expand production and hone their craft. I’ve seen a few examples where local breweries have responded well to early criticism and it’s been a boon to their businesses. I’ve also seem breweries that have refused to change and have either gone out of business or been forced to sell.

So what is the answer to the question I posed in the beginning of the article? Should beer writers be cheerleaders or critics? Like IPAs, stouts and pilsners, I think there is room for all varieties of beer writing. I am going to continue to focus my beer reviews on brews I enjoyed, that has always been the point of this blog and it’s what I like writing about. That being said, I think it is important for more of the talented writers in the beer community to mix in some constructive criticism. Any short term losses that a brewery faces after a negative article could be quickly recouped if they fix the noted problems and make consistently better beer. From there I’ll pass it to the readers: what is your opinion? Do you prefer to read praises of great beers or criticism of poor ones? Let me know your opinions here or on social media!

Thoughts on the changes at Geary’s

Over the last few weeks there have been a number of articles chronicling the ongoing changes at Geary’s Brewing Company, the oldest brewery in Maine. First it was announced that founder David Geary was selling the brewery to Freeport businessman Alan Lapoint. Jason Notte noted that Geary’s had to lay off some long time employees as part of this transition, and that they would have gone bankrupt without the intervention. The new owner seems optimistic and has a plan to turn around the brewery, which has seen sales decline over the last few years.

Geary's HSAUnfortunately this news isn’t very surprising. When Geary’s launched in 1983 their classic takes on flavorful British ales stood out in a market dominated by light lagers. Their immediately recognizable lobster logo was great marketing in the tourist towns along the Maine coast. I grew up working in a family-run specialty grocery store and Geary’s beers flew off the shelves, especially in the summer months. In those days the number of Maine breweries were limited, and sales were good. In the last few years the Maine beer scene has exploded and competition for shelf space and sales dollars has become fierce.

While competition is a major factor in the decline in Geary’s sales there are also other factors. The biggest one was Geary’s stubborn resistance to change. While their new competitors were gaining accolades with hop-forward beers that showcased New World hop varieties, Geary’s kept brewing their same stable of classic English ales. While there is something to be said for sticking to your brand and not chasing every trend, not adapting at all to changing tastes can be disastrous for a brewery. They also took a long time to open a taproom even as it’s become clear that direct sales are extremely important for a profitable modern brewery.  It looks like new ownership is taking these challenges seriously. They have a taproom open and they are brewing many new beers, including some hoppy American ales. There are a number of recent examples of breweries successfully refreshing their brands, it will be interesting to see if Geary’s uses these success stories as a model.

Gearys London PorterI want Geary’s to succeed. Every beer geek has a few beers that helped lead them from macro lagers to better beer. They may not be your favorite beers anymore, but these beers were an important step in the transition from keg parties to beer appreciation. Geary’s Pale Ale was definitely one of these beers for me. I drank more than a few during my years at Bowdoin, and have enjoyed more since. I am still a big fan of HSA and London Porter. These two styles that aren’t in as high demand as IPAs, imperial stouts and sours, but they are well crafted and tasty. I think there can still be a market for some of these under-appreciated styles, but they can’t be all that you brew. Hopefully the new ownership finds a nice balance between tradition and innovation and we can all enjoy a new era of Geary’s beer.

Every Beek Geek Should Do Blind Tastings

On a Saturday afternoon in late March I gathered in the tasting room at Craft Beer Cellar in Belmont with a group of local beer enthusiasts to do a blind tasting of local stouts. This tasting was organized by the Mass Brew Brothers, and was the second in a series of tastings sampling a particular style of local beers. The first highlighted New England style IPAs and ended with some surprising results where some less heralded beers held there own against a few of the heavy weights of the local beer scene. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend that tasting, I was planning to and then I got sick, so I was excited to make up for it by tasting some stouts. I have been a big proponent of blind tasting, but haven’t participated in anything this organized and comprehensive before.

All of the beers we tasted were from Massachusetts, and they were all non-imperial (8% ABV or less) and non-barrel aged stouts. A few had adjunct ingredients, but the idea was to focus on standard dry, sweet and oatmeal stouts. You can read a full run down of the event and results on the Mass Brew Bros website HERE, but I thought I would pass along a few thoughts of my own. First and foremost, it was difficult to judge these beers. A couple had defined off flavors or quality control issues, but the rest were tasty and fit well into the flavor profile you would expect from a stout. None of the three rounds had a unanimous winner, and in the final all three beers had votes for best beer of the group. My personal favorite ended up being the Oatmeal Stout from Mayflower, it had great body and the rich roasted malt flavor I love from a quality stout. I thought Idle Hands Check Raise was in a virtual tie, and wasn’t surprised it won. The biggest disparity in opinions was around Bennington from Night Shift, which had the most obvious addition of adjunct ingredients. It was a great day tasting amazing beers and chatting with other enthusiasts and I can’t wait to do another blind tasting.

Mayflower Oatmeal stoutHere are a few reasons why I think everyone who is passionate about beer should try to do an occasional blind tasting:

  1. Tasting blind removes any preconceptions.  We all have breweries that we have enjoyed in the past and others that we tend to avoid. Sometimes a brewery that disappointed you before has made strides and you’ll find that you actually really enjoy one of their beers. On the other hand sometimes a brewery that people wait in line for has some beers that are no better than offerings you can find at any local bottle shop.
  2. It forces you to think about what you are drinking. It’s easy to crack a beer take a few swigs and decide that you enjoy it. Having to taste a series of similar beers makes you think about the characteristics that lead you to enjoy beers in that style. What makes one beer preferable to another? Even if you have no desire to drink that critically on a regular basis it’s interesting to go through the process on occasion.
  3. You might discover new beers or breweries. There were a number of beers in this panel that I’d never tasted before, including a few that I really enjoyed. I was reminded how much I like Mayflower Oatmeal Stout and I will definitely seek out Idle Hands Check Raise again. Another good beer that just missed the finals was Sam Adams Cream Stout, a quality offering from a brewery that takes a significant amount of flak from some beer geeks.
  4. It’s fun to chat about beer with others who are passionate about it. While the tasting was fun, it was even more interesting hearing what the other panelists thought about the beers, and chatting with them about everything that is happening in the local beer scene. We had tasters from very different backgrounds and it led to some diverse opinions.

You don’t need to go to great lengths to do a blind tasting, get a group of friends who like beer, a few bottles/cans of a selection of beers of a similar style, and put one person in charge of pouring and keeping track of which beers are in each round. I think everyone will learn a lot and have a good time (and feel free to invite your favorite local beer blogger too). If you do give blind tasting a try please let me know how it goes!

A beer to stock for everyone at your Super Bowl party, 2017 edition

My article today is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek rundown of the beers you should stock to please all of the characters at your Super Bowl party this weekend. I wrote a similar article two years ago, and then this happened:



I am not a superstitious person per se, but there was a 100% chance I would write an updated version of this article with the Patriots headed back to the Super Bowl. So without further ado, here are the beers you need to have on hand for your party this Sunday.


Notch Infinite Jest and Cerne Pivo: For the early arrivers and day drinkers. Kickoff isn’t until 6:30ish, it’s a long day and most of us need to get up for work on Monday, so pace is the key. Session beers are a huge help here, you can drink more than a couple without feeling too much of the effect.

Mayflower Porter

Mayflower Porter and Wormtown Be Hoppy: For game time. Two of my go-to house beers, one hoppy and one dark and malty. No beer fan will argue with having these on hand.

Boulevard Tank 7: To celebrate the fact that the Patriots are in their seventh Super Bowl in the Brady/Belichick Era. It’s hard to overstate how impossible a run like this seemed when I was growing up with the late 80’s/early 90’s Pats teams that routinely finished in the cellar.

Pretty Things Babayaga

Anything left in the your cellar from Pretty Things: For Gronk (not literally, I assume he will be in Houston). It is such an exciting time in local beer, there are more high quality options than ever, but I still miss the departed Pretty Things. Same idea with the game, you never complain about being in the Super Bowl, but it sucks that a generational player like Rob Gronkowski is sitting in the owners box.

Water: For anyone who defends the job Roger Goodell is doing as commissioner. They have clearly had too much to drink.

Goose Island Bourbon Country Brand Stout: For the elephant in the room for many Pats fans. I love BCBS and other Goose Island beers, but disagree with many of the business practices of their parent company AB InBev. Similarly, I’m a lifelong Patriots fan, but it’s a little disappointing seeing some of the political statements made by the owner and coach this year. A boozy beer like BCBS will help me forget and focus on the game.

Jack’s Abby Framinghammer: For the person who can’t stop talking about politics during the game (don’t tell them the ABV). Look, I get it, there is a lot going on right now and people have strong opinions. I do too. I just need a break from the constant political talk for a few hours so I can watch football. This beer is so easy to drink that the political commentator at your party probably won’t notice the booze and will be out cold before halftime.

A box of Franzia: For anyone who brings up deflated footballs or filming signals. Hand them a plastic cup fresh from the plastic bladder and then ask them if they would like some cheese with all that whine.

A bottle of whiskey: Regardless of your guests, you can bet that the network announcing team will repeatedly bring up deflated footballs. I’m sure they will also “forget” to mention the Falcons getting punished to pumping artificial crowd noise into the Georgia Dome. By the fourth quarter you might need something stronger than beer. Also handy in the unlikely event that a 2008 or 2012 type game happens.


Allagash Fluxus and Curieux: To celebrate a win. I wrote recently that Allagash makes some of the best special occasion beers, the Patriots winning the Super Bowl definitely counts as a special occasion worthy of a great beer!

Enjoy the game and GO PATS!