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John Fiorilli: Director of Brewing Operations at Mountain Sun

We attended a dinner at Under the Sun recently where I had the chance to meet John Fiorilli, Director of Brewing Operations at Mountain Sun Pubs & Breweries.

The term “Director of Brewing Operations” comes about because John is responsible for overseeing brewing at all five of the Mountain Sun locations. As a group of brewpubs, Mountain Sun and its brethren are sort of in a class by themselves here in Boulder, not really what many of us think of us a brewery and yet more than a restaurant. It is because of this I was so impressed, meeting John, in how much emphasis the Mountain Sun folks actually do put on their beer.

I was able to catch up with John by email to ask him a few questions about his job:

john-fiorilliWhat brought you back to the Mountain Sun from your brewing jobs out on the East Coast? I moved to Boulder from Delaware after graduating from the University of Delaware in 2000. My first job in Boulder was at the original Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery location as a server/cook. After seven months, I was promoted to manager at Mountain Sun. The brewers there at the time were the ones responsible for my interest in home brewing. I left Boulder in 2003 to pursue a career in the brewing industry. After spending five years on the East Coast brewing at two different breweries, my goal was to return to Boulder and brew for the Mountain Sun. I wanted to return to Mountain Sun as I’ve always been impressed by the culture Kevin, Paul, Tom and the rest of the ownership team here created. Working here immediately after college had a huge influence on my career/life path.

Mountain Sun is famous for its Stout beers and Stout Month. How do you describe a Stout to a non-Stout drinker? First and foremost, I tell them not to be intimidated by the dark color. Dark does not automatically mean it’s a heavy beer. We brew light-bodied, medium-bodied and full-bodied Stouts. The dark color simply comes from heavily roasted malts, similar to how coffee beans are roasted, which is a create flavor comparison as well. If they are still weary, I ask them if they drink coffee. If they do AND they enjoy beer, it’s very easy to convince them to try stout as the roasted flavors are so similar to coffee. Lastly, I demonstrate the wide array of flavors that can be achieved in stouts. Part of what makes Stout Month so successful is that “Stout” is a spring board for so many different flavor profiles. I’ve attached the list of House Stouts released for Stout Month 2016 so you can see how many different ingredients are used.

You seem especially enthused about German and Belgian style beers right now. Is that correct and, if so, why? Our brewery team loves brewing styles from all regions. Currently, we are a little German and Belgian forward but we typically keep some English styles and obviously a range of American beers as well. We just love variety and so do our customers. As you could tell from our conversation last night regarding the Hilltop Vienna Lager, we also love brewing tradition/history and how certain historical events have influenced beer styles and beer culture.

Mountain Sun, as well as 4,400 other businesses, is riding the wave of the craft beer revolution. Have you seen any effects of increased competition in the market place? There is a lot of competition in the market place currently. Because I purchase beer from other local breweries to serve at our locations, I’ve noticed the price of kegs dropping a bit in an attempt to sell more product. For us, we only brew for our five restaurants and don’t sell any wholesale beer so we’re sort of shielded and that hasn’t affected us.

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The Frothy Five: Beer in Boulder’s Weekly Craft Brewery Events

It’s a clash of the seasons in this week’s Frothy Five brought to you by Beer in Boulder! The mornings have turned crisp but the days are still sunny and warm and, as summer transitions to autumn here in Boulder, we can’t help but get excited for cooler days, sweater weather, football season, and some […]

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The Frothy Five: Beer in Boulder’s Weekly Craft Brewery Events

Here in Boulder, we’re in a bit of a seasonal limbo. For many, school is back in session, giving us major fall vibes. At the same time, craft breweries continue to concoct and release delicious, refreshingly fruity summertime brews, but hints of pumpkin and hearty spices are starting to creep closer and closer to taprooms […]

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The Frothy Five: Beer in Boulder’s Weekly Craft Brewery Events

It’s a high-energy week at Boulder County’s craft breweries! In this week’s Frothy Five, presented by Beer in Boulder, we have live music, Pilates, a samba party, and more, all events that will get local craft brewery patrons up, moving, and grooving while they enjoy their favorite Boulder brews. Here are Beer in Boulder’s picks […]

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The Frothy Five: Beer in Boulder’s Weekly Craft Brewery Events

The Olympics are here! The excitement of watching all of the Olympic sports and competitions has us thinking about all of the podium-worthy pints we’re ready to indulge in this coming week, which brings us to the Frothy Five presented by Beer in Boulder! This week, celebrate Boulder County’s medal-winning (and potentially soon-to-be-medal-winning) craft brews […]

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The Frothy Five: Beer in Boulder’s Weekly Craft Brewery Events

What sounds, sights, smells, activities, and tastes instantaneously transport you to a summertime state of mind? This week’s Frothy Five, presented by Beer in Boulder, is a collection of a few of these quintessentially summer sensations. From explosions of refreshing fruity flavors to barbecues to live backyard music and more, Boulder County’s craft breweries are giving […]

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The Frothy Five: Beer In Boulder’s Weekly Craft Brewery Events

Welcome to this week’s Frothy Five presented by Beer in Boulder! Just because we’re into the second half of summer doesn’t mean that there aren’t still plenty of refreshing and outdoor craft beer events ready for you to enjoy here in Boulder County. Whether you’re craving summery treats like ice cream and s’mores or are looking to […]

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The Frothy Five: Beer in Boulder’s Weekly Craft Brewery Events

We’re saying a big happy birthday to multiple Boulder County craft breweries in this week’s Frothy Five presented by Beer in Boulder! From longstanding Boulder staples to new and exciting breweries, every craft brewery anniversary and birthday is a celebration of and testament to the innovative and thriving craft culture of our county. Cheers to many […]

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The Frothy Five: Beer in Boulder’s Weekly Craft Brewery Events

Welcome back from what we hope was a short work week and a holiday weekend full of sunshine, friends, and suds! Boulder County’s breweries haven’t slowed down in the days since the holiday and are continuing to spoil us local craft beer lovers with some unique beer releases and fun, educational events in the coming […]

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The Frothy Five: Beer in Boulder’s Weekly Craft Brewery Events

Welcome to the weekly Frothy Five presented by Beer in Boulder! We’re just about ready to kick off the biggest of the big summer holiday weekends here in Boulder, and we hope you all enjoy a wonderfully fun, relaxing, and safe Fourth of July weekend. With over 60 events, beer releases, and more happening at […]

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The Frothy Five: Beer in Boulder’s Weekly Craft Brewery Events

Cheers to the second edition of the Frothy Five presented by Beer in Boulder! We hope that you’ve been enjoying the summer weather and all the refreshing craft wheat beers, lagers, and saisons that have accompanied it. This week plays host to a variety of beer releases, street fairs, and live music to brighten your […]

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The Frothy Five: Beer in Boulder’s Weekly Craft Brewery Events

Welcome to the inaugural Frothy Five presented by Beer in Boulder! Boulder County is home to over 40 craft breweries that put on over 60 events each week, from beer festivals to live music to new beer releases and tappings to game nights and much more. Here are Beer in Boulder’s picks for the five […]

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4 CO breweries + East Coast IPA + Juicy goodness + Haze = Robot Librarian

It sounds extremely complicated but it isn’t. Four Colorado brewing aficionados of the sometimes hazy, always fruit-forward or tropical style of IPA that was popularized in New England are bracing themselves for a craft beer collab of epic awesomeness. Robot Librarian is the output of the brain activity of Lafayette’s Odd13 Brewing Company owner Ryan Scott, […]

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Over the Moon for Under the Sun

Incoming bombs shriek by, exploding with terrifying cracks and booms. You dive for cover in the gritty trench, gasping and wondering if you will live through the night, much less kiss your lover, or even drink another beer. And in that scary moment, your brain actually slows down and considers the seemingly arbitrary notion: Your […]

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Quick Buzz: Boulder County Craft Beer Pours May – June

Welcome to QUICK BUZZ – where we highlight upcoming craft beer releases throughout Boulder County. Note: We will continue to update this page, so please check periodically to receive the most current info.   Now Pouring (May 23, 2016) Liquid Mechanics, Lafayette: New England Sucka Punch (NE Style American IPA), Merica (Session IPA, gluten reduced) […]

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Left Hand Brewing – Not Just Another Beer Fest

Left Hand Brewing takes its beer events seriously. Check out the calendar of the Longmont, Colorado-based brewery and you will see a monthly schedule full of beer dinners, music, tap takeovers, beer release parties, and more. They also have their High Five series of events that have become so big they are all held in […]

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How to Boulder your way through BrüFrou: Craft Beer + Culinary Pairing Event

Want to navigate your way through BrüFrou, making sure you have time to enjoy everything Boulder County has to offer, whether a delicious craft beer or a gourmet small plate? We’ve put together a cheat sheet of craft beer + culinary pairings below that you won’t want to miss! What: BrüFrou: Craft Beer + Culinary Pairings […]

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Redstone Meadery delivers ‘Mead for the Masses’ for past 15 years

There is no denying that Boulder’s craft industry is thriving. People are willing to support local, specifically in regard to “craft” wines, beers and spirits, but what some aren’t discussing are the thriving cideries and meaderies who are gaining popularity in the arena, as more folks explore alternatives to beer in the modern craft movement. […]

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Boulder’s West End Tavern delivers big, bold flavors on BBQ & Bourbon

Spring is here and beer and bourbon are flowing at The West End Tavern, a great place to start if you’re looking for a stiff drink and a piece of meat in Boulder. With 25 taps and 75 whiskeys on the menu, ordering can be a bit overwhelming. Luckily for you, we’re here to walk you […]

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Countdown to Collaboration Fest

We can guarantee one thing: the beers of Collaboration Fest are sure to be some of the most unique, delicious and limited offerings you’ve ever tasted! Join us on Saturday March 19th in Denver! – Festival Organizers Tomorrow brewers from across the country and some 2,000 beer lovers will land in Denver for the third […]

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Hops + Handrails: Most Epic Beer Pairing Ever

Longmont’s Left Hand Brewing Company hosts the epic snowboard and beer festival featuring Bluegrass legend Sam Bush Thursday, March 12 at Roosevelt Park. Get ready to freestyle hardcore with this year’s Hops + Handrails, hosted by the wildly entertaining Left Hand Brewing of Longmont. The festival returns for its fourth year and features beer, snowboarding and bluegrass […]

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The relentlessly unpredictable world of barrel aging with Avery’s Andy Parker

This is the exhaustively intricate tale of Lunctis Viribus as told by the amazingly talented mad scientist Andy Parker of Avery Brewing Company. Avery’s reigning “barrel herder” explains the ups and downs of blind tastings, and what it takes to make the cut from barrel to bottle. It began 13 years ago when Parker, still a […]

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Earning Your Beer: Fitness & Craft Beer in Boulder County

New Year’s resolutions, especially of the fitness variety, can be difficult to kick start after a holiday season filled with sugar cookies, toasts, champagne, and homemade gravy the likes of which you can only get at Mom or Grandma’s house. They can likewise be difficult to maintain through the winter months at the beginning of […]

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Ball Aerospace engineer fights the battle of the fizz so you don’t have to

How many aerospace engineers does it take to keep a beer from spilling? This question is answered by one microbrew-loving Ball Aerospace engineer, who took his frustrations with flat beer and developed a product that is saving countless beers with his product, Pop&Stop. Pop&Stop is a handy 2-in-1 beer opener and sealer that CEO Joe Hackel […]

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Next Stop: Roadhouse Boulder Depot

Roadhouse Boulder Depot recently opened, and last weekend I stopped in to have some lunch and check it out. I was very excited to visit the restaurant for multiple reasons. First, the historical aspect of it–the building itself used to serve as the Boulder Train Depot, from 1890-1957. Secondly, there were several items on the […]

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GoodBird Kitchen serves “Supreme Casual” at Longmont location

Restaurateur Dave Query has another victory to add to his ever-growing quest to dominate the restaurant – and the fried chicken – scene in Boulder County. The newest feat for the Big Red F founder includes trademarking the concept “Supreme Casual” – which is being executed at the first standalone location of GoodBird Kitchen outside […]

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Boulder County Year in Beer Review

It has been one for the books as craft beer continued to get bigger and better in Boulder County in 2015. As January 1 nears, we decided to take a look back on what has proven to show all the markings for an amazing Year in Beer. In 2015, we saw the opening of the $30 […]

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Wild Woods Brewery: A Nature-Inspired Craft Beer Story

Two of the most quintessential things about Boulder are the area’s love and appreciation for the outdoors and its love and appreciation for creative and imaginative craft beer. Wild Woods Brewery combines these two loves into a host of delicious nature-inspired beers, making it a uniquely Boulder craft brewery and entrepreneurial story. Wisconsin natives who […]

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BRU Boulder Beer Dinner pushes all boundaries with ‘Brewed Food’ meal

Chefs Ian Clark of BRU Handbuilt Ales & Eats and Jensen Cummings, an experimental chef who founded “Brewed Food”, performed a balancing act of epic proportions as the pair collaborated on a six-course paired menu exhibiting “fermentation at its finest”, where beer meets food at the most recent Beer Dinner at BRU Boulder. Beer Chef Clark, who oversees […]

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Second Time’s a Charm: Lafayette’s Front Range Brewing improves beers, food menu

Here are two rules to running a great microbrewery: 1) Make it great to begin with, and 2) make it better. Front Range Brewing Company in Lafayette has followed these rules to a Tee. Front Range Brewing Company (FRBC) first opened its doors two years ago, in the Coal Creak Village Shopping Center, on S. […]

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Breckenridge Christmas Ale Gift

Merry and Bright in Boulder: Holiday Ales Galore

Just as the taps rotate and draft menus shift with the seasons here in Boulder, so do the tastes that Boulderites crave in their beer. Here in Boulder, a large indicator of the changing seasons is the shift in what beer we have available to us and what beer we crave. Just as a pint […]

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Finkel & Garf (Gunbarrel) teach us how to ‘Play’ with our beer

“Play Often.” This is the motto or modus operandi for the Gunbarrel brewery Finkel & Garf established by father-and-son duo Eric and Dan Garfinkel. Drawing on themes from his childhood in the D.C. area, where his father ran a toy company, Dan and his father Eric set out to create beers they enjoy drinking – […]

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A conversation with Crystal Springs’ Doc Shredder in Louisville

Every brewmaster has a story, and so do the beers they create. Adopting this philosophy of community and storytelling, I spoke to Tom Horst, who has become a new type of local celebrity – small town boy turned Ph.D. symphony percussionist turned high school band instructor turned brewmaster and founder of Crystal Springs Brewing Co. […]

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EDB Spirit Awards of GABF 2015 – Now with BEER GEEKS!

The Great American Beer Festival (GABF) wasn’t just about the beer, it was about the festival. In the process of copious amounts of beer tasting, I came to a few conclusions of my own and would like to share them with our Eat Drink Boulder readers for entertainment purposes only. Here are the unofficial Eat […]

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Boulder breweries dominate at GABF Pro-Am Competition

Boulder County breweries took home 2 of 3 medals awarded to this year’s Pro-Am competition at the Great American Beer Festival this past weekend. Lafayette’s Odd13 Brewing took home the silver, and Boulder’s FATE Brewing Company took home the bronze in the competition, beating out the other 93 entrants. The GABF Pro-Am competition pairs established […]

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Lafayette’s Liquid Mechanics’ CEO talks GABF medal and more

The magic of the Great American Beer Festival may be over, but a few lucky brewers in Lafayette are just beginning to relish in the glory that comes with being a GABF medalist. Lafayette’s Liquid Mechanics has proven that it can compete with the country’s best, making that trek to the East County brewery even […]

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Longmont’s Left Hand claims 3 of 8 GABF medals in Boulder County

Saturday was a great day for Colorado, but an even better day for Boulder as Boulder County breweries took home 8 medals at the 2015 Great American Beer Festival in Denver this past weekend. While Colorado took home 36 medals, Boulder County dominated the Pro-Am competition, with Odd13 Brewing taking the silver and FATE Brewing […]

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Upslope announces plans for S’PARK brewery and restaurant in Boulder

Boulder-based Upslope Brewing Company announced today that the brewery plans to open an all-new experimental facility in east Boulder in conjunction with central Boulder’s S’PARK development. The 11,000 square foot brewpub at 34th Street and Valmont is scheduled for completion Fall 2017. The new facility will be home to all of Upslope’s experimental brewing and […]

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Longmont Oktoberfest

Hoppy Happenings around Boulder

The biggest weekend in beer is coming up right after Labor Day. Aside from the upcoming Great American Beer Festival in Denver Sept. 24-26, this weekend is going to be one of the busiest for beer yet. If you are looking to get out and enjoy some great Boulder County beers, this is a perfect […]

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City Star Brewing brings Flap Jack Day Back to Life

City Star Brewing Company in Berthoud, Colorado is good at bringing things back to life.  Owners John and Whitney Way resurrected the main drag (Mountain Ave.) storefront that houses the brewery and taproom (its previous iterations were a barn and livery), and on September 7, they’ll put a beer-centric twist on an another Berthoud tradition. In […]

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Say “Howdy” to the new Post cans

The Post Brewing Co. has been a local favorite since it opened its doors in January 2014. Guests enjoy the ambiance, made from scratch meals, community feel and of course–the beers. The Post’s Brewmaster, Bryan Selders, has created several award-winning beers over the last year and a half. Both the Meathooks Session Ale and Townie […]

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5 Reasons You Gotta Have “FATE”

Boulder’s FATE Brewing Company hits all the high notes The story behind the name FATE is essentially the same story told across many cultures. According to Wikipedia, Moirai is a name of the 3 sisters – or fates – who in Greek Mythology were said to have the power used to control the destiny of […]

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Boulder Craft Beer Fest returns Saturday

It’s that time of year in Boulder – a time when craft beer enthusiasts (present company included) will gather in Boulder for the second year of the Boulder Craft Beer Festival. With some 26 breweries in attendance, as well as plenty of food, games and music, this year is sure to be even better than […]

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Best of Boulder County IPA 2015

Who made US the judge of the American-style IPA? You might be asking yourself this question, as we asked ourselves when we set out for the first-ever blind tasting to see who we at Eat Drink Boulder would pick as Best of Boulder County IPA 2015. ‘How do we judge so many great beers?’…’I’m giving […]

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Unicorns, rainbows and rarities expected at Avery’s 22nd Anniversary party

Avery Brewing Company is brewing up quite a celebration in honor of their 22nd Anniversary at their new facility this Saturday, and CEO Adam Avery is pulling out some 50+ beers from the past to celebrate this new venture in Gunbarrel. After 21 years of piecing together 6- and 8-car-garages in an industrial alley off […]

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Liquid Libations in Lafayette

As I travel to breweries in the Boulder area, I come across three primary taproom styles. The first is industrial – breweries that are located in out-of-the-way industrial parks, with ample brewing rooms and usually small tasting rooms. The second style is residential/commercial properties; often houses or small stand-alone buildings with larger taprooms and more […]

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Old Town is about to ‘Funk’ you up at Odd13’s ‘Funk’-y anniversary

Who? All sorts of funky homosapians who enjoy great tasting funk-ti-fied sour beers in the company of other fun cats who also enjoy the wonderful beers created at Odd13 Brewing in Lafayette.   When? Next Saturday, August 8 from noon to 11 p.m. What? “It’s All Funk and Games” at the highly anticipated block party […]

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Sugarbeet Restaurant – Eclectic New American Cuisine

Neatly tucked in just shy of southwest Old Town Longmont, The Sugarbeet Restaurant is an eclectic blend of chef-prepared New American Cuisine, cocktails and fine wines in a destination which will entice and attract even the most selective foodie away from Boulder. Downtown parking issues and congestion are replaced with a high quality, small town […]

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Tickets on sale now for 4th Annual Jack’s Benevolent Bash

It is a gathering of friends and family over food and drinks to benefit the Autism Society of Boulder County. Not only are some of the best chefs from around the country all going to get together in one place, and for a good cause, but anyone in the country has an opportunity to win […]

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Music in the Yard: Friends, food, brews at The Post

“Sarah-bbean Queen, now we’re sharing the same dream…and our hearts they beat as one.” No, this isn’t Billy Ocean’s “Caribbean Queen,” it’s a parody that’s been stuck in my head ever since I heard it sung from the ever-so-entertaining group, Jethro Codeine & The Stool Pigeons, who put on a spectacular show last Sunday at […]

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