Ask Me (About) Another (Beer Blog Post), or, How Patrick Finally Learned How to Use Links

I was struggling to come up with what to write about this week.   You’re probably asking yourself…  “This is your 4th blog, and you’re already running out of material?”   Fear not, dear reader!  Having a background in Improvisation, I’m known to think on my toes…  Bicycle!  Mount Rainier!  French Onion Soup!  Horticulturist!  Grandfather holding a baby (or a baby gremlin)!  A banana as a hat!

…See?  That was all off the top of the dome.  Nothing to worry about.  Nothin’ at all…

I have plenty of experiences I want to write about, I just wasn’t sure which one to pick this week.  And then, on Tuesday night, my wife Holly Kay and I, and our friends Scott and Emily, went to see a live recording of one of our favorite podcasts, NPR’s Ask Me Another, at The Bell House in Gowanus, Brooklyn.  When we arrived there, we discovered it was being sponsored by Lagunitas Brewing Company, purveyors of some of my favorite libations (which I will talk about later in this post, of course!).  It was a sign from the heavens!  “Here’s your next blog post, my son.  Also, your posts make me thirsty.” -God.  Does God get thirsty?  He probably does.  OTHERWISE, THERE WOULD BE NO BEER.

I’ll preface this story by saying, my wife and I do not like to go to Brooklyn.  Nothing against anyone from Brooklyn, or against the borough itself (I mean, Three’s Brewing and Other Half Brewing are putting out some of the best beers in the Northeast), it’s just that, we live in Queens.  Those of you who have lived, or currently live in Queens, know that getting to Brooklyn is a living nightmare.  Unless you want to take the G train (not gonna take the G unless I’m going to Törst, a world class Beer Bar with a Michelin Star rated restaurant, called Luksus, in the back room), you have to go all the way through Manhattan to get there.  That means, it’s at least a 3,000 hour commitment each way to get there.  So, if we’ve come to visit you in Brooklyn, that means we really love you, or we dreaded the subway ride so much that I drove.  If you live in Brooklyn, and we haven’t come to visit you, it’s not you.  It’s just…  The farthest away.

So, I won four tickets to see Ask Me Another, which is an NPR podcast that features puzzles, trivia, word games, music, comedy, jokes, laughing, microphones, buzzers, and fun.  It’s hosted by Ophira Eisenberg, who is delightful, and very quick witted.  She did about 10 minutes of crowd work before they began recording, to get us warmed up for the show, and she was hilarious.  Their House Musician is Jonathan Coulton.  If you haven’t heard of him, go.  Go and do that.  I will wait here.

Here’s a picture.

IMG_2362Jonathan Coulton and Ophira Eisenberg, hosting one of the games during the recording of Ask Me Another!

JoCo (as he is sometimes referred) is an Ivy League graduate, composed the theme songs to both Portal video games, Still Alive and Want You Gone and, in 2006, wrote a song a week and compiled them into 4 different albums, Thing A Week 1 through Thing A Week 4.  Those albums produced such wonderful classics as Tom Cruise Crazy, Shop Vac, and Re: Your Brains (a song about zombie office coworkers).  Like I said, go check him out.  I sang one of his songs, Skullcrusher Mountain (about a Mad Scientist who falls in love) at my wedding.

We were all very excited to see the show.  We invited Scott and Emily, because they are just as big Jonathan Coulton fans as we are, and they introduced us to Ask Me Another.  Scott had no idea what we were doing. Emily decided she was going to surprise him, and told him they were going to an Awesome 80’s Dance Party (something Scott was less than thrilled about).  I was coming straight from work, so they all got there before I did (it took me nearly 3 days to get from Midtown Manhattan to The Bell House).  I learned that Scott had gone to help a young lady change her tire (possibly with the hopes of not having to endure Taco’s amazing cover of Puttin’ on the Ritz or Milli Vanilli’s lip-synctastical Girl, You Know It’s True).  When he discovered what we were actually doing, he was,  I can only describe it as, maniacally excited.

This is Scott.  Doesn’t he just look delightfully maniacal?  This is from a different event, but you get the picture.  Also, what does he need that pen for?

As I walked into the Bell House, I saw Lagunitas paraphanelia and signage, and was handed two tokens for free Lagunitas Pilsner!  WHOA!


“Silly is the man who turns down a free Lagunitas.” -Abraham Lincoln

As it turns out, the featured guests on the show this week were Bob Boilen, host of NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts and All Songs Considered, and Gaelynn Lea, who won the 2016 Tiny Desk Contest, beating out nearly 6,000 other applicants.  Lagunitas is sponsoring the Tiny Desk contest, and subsequent tour.

Gaelynn Lea is an astonishing performer and composer.  She was born with Brittle Bone Disease, and is in a wheelchair.  She learned to play the violin in an upright position, like a cello, and she uses an electronic looping pedal, recording all the necessary pieces of the song and singing over them.  Her story is inspirational, as is her music (Americana and Old World Folk), and I highly recommend checking out her Tiny Desk Concert to see what she’s all about.  She’s an inspiration, and we were all very emotional seeing her perform live.

It was fun to see the behind the scenes of our favorite podcast.  The show ran about 2 hours, and they edit it down into about an hour long podcast.  I loved watching them do pick ups at the end, to re record lines they fumbled on during the recording.

Oh right, so, beer.  Yes, as I mentioned earlier, we each were given two tokens for Lagunitas Pils.  I’m not usually a Pilsner guy.  It is a very easy style to get wrong (most times, a bad Pilsner reminds me of Bud Light).  It’s a very difficult style to get right, because there’s no room for error.  Hoppy beers can hide easily behind their hops, so when you have a Pilsner, which should be crisp, grassy, and refreshing, it’s very easy to go wrong.  

Lagunitas does not go wrong.  My first sip (I hadn’t had it in probably about 5 years) had a gorgeous, citrus hop bite, followed by some grassiness, hay, and then was softened and smoothed out by the Czech Pilsner malts.  It may have been the environment, the company, or the fact that it was $FREE.99, but that beer was absolutely perfect for that moment, that night, that show.  We all agreed.  It reinvigorated my interest in Pilsners, and I’m very excited to pick some more up now that the weather is finally warmer.

The other beer that Scott and I had was the Sixpoint Bengali.  (The Artist Formerly Known as Sixpoint Bengali Tiger, RIP Prince.).  Another perfect beer for our live Ask Me Another experience!  This beer is all about balance, and at 6.5%, you can have a couple and still enjoy the show without falling asleep.  It’s bright and citrusy from the hops, and balanced out by the sweetness from the malts.  I drank it out of the can.  It was an amazing night.

Sixpoint Bengali in the can (tee hee), and Lagunitas Pils in the cup.  A thing of beauty!

I wish I could have kept these tokens!

Scott even made a new friend, and asked her to take a picture with us.  Check it out!

This is Lily (I think.  I’m terrible with names.), with Scott and I.  We gave her this polariod.  Also, there’s SWAG in my hand.  I felt like Michael Scott at the Paper Convention.  It was amazing.

All in all, it was a perfect night. Holly and I were in the perfect place (BROOKLYN!?!?!?) with the perfect friends, drinking the perfect beer (A PILSNER!?!?!?). There are times where you want the beer to compliment the experience, not outshine, or overpower it.  This was one of those nights, and it made everything just perfect.

…and don’t worry, I’ll be back to palate wrecking IPAs and Bourbon Barrel Stouts before you know it!

As for now, I’mma go grab some more Pilsners.  It’s Springtime.  Drink what you like!

See ya later, Alligators!

Website Update!


Hi everyone!  Just checking in with everyone quickly late on a Thursday night.  I just finished migrating my blog over to a self hosted domain, so you can now find me at !  Aren’t i FANCY?  I’m very excited to see where this blog will take me, and thanks to you, dear, sweet, sensual readers, for checking it out!

On each post, there will be an option to subscribe via email on the right hand side of the page.  Please do so, to be update with tasty, delicious nuggets of fun!

Tune in again on Saturday for my next post!

Please share this with your friends and family if you love it!

Thank you all again, so much.


A love letter to Il Bambino, or, How I Became the Redheaded Tree Monster

On a sunny day in April, 2010 (it might have been late March, but that’s semantics), I put in my resume at a sandwich shop with an unassuming little storefront on 31st Avenue in Astoria.  I was out of a job, and had no other prospects lined up.  My wife (who was my girlfriend at the time) Holly Kay, and I, had been there once before.  We popped our heads in when we were taking a walk, exploring the neighborhood.  We ordered Crostinis to go, and they were unbelievable.  Having lived West of the Subway, near the East River, we never really ventured past 31st Street.

Astoria is very confusing.  As you go from North to South, the streets begin with a number, and end in Avenue, Drive, or Road.  The numbers go up from 1 as you walk South.  If you’re walking West to East, they go up from number 1, and all end in Street.  Why?  According to Internet (I googled “Why are streets numbered the way they are in Astoria?”), Astoria was made up of a number of different communities, who all had different names for the streets and avenues.  This means that the same avenue could change names every few blocks.  So, between 1910 and 1920, there was a massive overhaul, and they changed the names to numbers, going up from 1 starting in the Northwestern part of Queens.


Wow!  A History Lesson!  Not about beer! Yahoo for School!  Yahoo for me!  (This is my second Billy Madison reference in 3 Blog posts and I ain’t ashamed about it and I ain’t ashamed about my English neither.)

Anyway, I was out of a job, and in desperate need of one, so I walked into Il Bambino, on 31st Avenue in between 34th and 35th Streets.  As you walk in, you look straight ahead into the dining room and outdoor garden.  To your right are 6 stools, three underneath a banquette that looks out onto the street, and three underneath a small wooden bar that looks into the kitchen.  On the wall to the left, there is a giant pig, sectioned off and labeled with different types of cured meats that come from each section (i.e. the head is labeled Sopressatta).  Above the pig, are the words An Tard-Ri, which is Gaelic for “The Great King” (HOW AMAZING IS THAT?!?!?). Holly and I fell in love immediately, so I knew I had to give it a shot.

I spoke with Ryan Keogh, the manager, who said that there weren’t any server positions open, but he did possibly have a Counterperson position opening.  I handed him my resumé, and said I was absolutely interested, and left.

A few days or so went by, and that desperation turned into necessity.  I sincerely needed a job…  So, here’s my side of how this went down.  I decided to walk over to Il Bambino and pop my head in to see if they had made any progress in filling the Counterperson position.  I was unemployed.  I had nothing but time.  So I walked over, and happened to see Ryan, the very manager I had handed my resumé to, walking towards the restaurant.  So I said, “Hey man, remember me?  My name is Patrick, I gave you my resumé a few days ago.  Just wanted to follow up.”  He said that he hadn’t made any decisions yet, but would call me in a few days.

Ryan remembers this differently.  According to him, he was innocently walking to work one day, when an awkward redheaded monster jumped out FROM BEHIND A TREE and said “HEY REMEMBER ME?  YOU GONNA GIVE ME THAT JOB????”

…I’m 90% sure I was NOT behind a tree.


A reenactment of this incident in front of Il Bambino in 2014.

Needless to say, I nailed it.  I got that job.  I worked behind the Counter, learned the ins and outs of the restaurant, and kept asking if and when any server positions were going to open up.  Apparently I raised my hand like an eager schoolboy at one of our first staff meetings.  Again, I’m 90% sure I didn’t do that.  I’m an adult.

I made myself clear about what I wanted to do as I’d been stuck as a busboy in one of my previous restaurant jobs, with the promise of becoming a waiter.  That never came to fruition, as I was told later I would never be a waiter because I wasn’t a woman.  That was information that I wish they would have brought to my attention YESTERDAYYYY!  (Second Adam Sandler reference in a single blog.  Wordpress gives out badges, right?  I should get a badge for this.)  Also, I visited there about a year ago and there was a dude bartending.  Again, whatevs.  No bad blood, their food is amazing, wine list is on point, and as you’ll see in a few paragraphs, they had some beers that had an impact on me.

At Il Bambino, I became a server after about a month, and Ryan and I became friends pretty quickly.  We worked hard, knew how to talk to people, and had similar tastes in music (although his knowledge far exceeds mine, also you should see his vinyl collection).  Remember my first post about Kanye West’s Runaway?  That’s that dude.

At this point, I didn’t know much about craft beer.  I wasn’t really into IPAs (which, if you know me now, is very surprising) and I wasn’t above drinking a Bud Lite at the bar.  I had been doing Improv Comedy for the last two years or so, and we were able to drink them for free (or really cheap) so that was a thing we did often.  The beers I did know about were the ones served at the aforementioned restaurant where I was a busboy. Three that I remember specifically were:

  1. Reissdorf Kolsch, which is a traditional German Kolsch, with sweet, bready malts, and a grassy hop character.
  2. Rogue Brewing Dead Guy, a Maibock, which is a German-Style Amber Ale, a sweet, balanced beer with earthy hops.
  3. Schneider Weisse (try NOT saying that with a German accent.  You can’t do it.), a peppery, citrusy German Hefeweizen (wheat beer).

I wasn’t much of a beer guy.  I wasn’t picky.  Maybe times were simpler back in early 2010.  Maybe I never shoulda gotten that job at Il Bambino.  Maybe then, Ryan would have never turned me into the redheaded monster that hides behind trees and jumps out to grab the hoppiest IPA or the bourbon barrel-iest Stout he can find, just to scurry back behind his tree and take a sip.

Nah.  It was the best decision Ryan ever made, hiring me.  He knows it.  I know it.  We all know it.  We had fun working inside that little unassuming storefront on 31st Avenue, between 34th and 35th streets in Astoria.  Please go eat there.

My gateway into my love and passion for Craft Beer began here.  Ryan and I would taste these beers together, and I learned that the people who made these beers were not unlike Darren Lawless (Owner and Head Chef at Il Bambino), and Ryan.  They cultivated Il Bambino into the amazing restaurant it is today, and have expanded to a new location in the West Village.  They’ve been working together for years, and are insanely talented, both in their own right, and know what their audience wants.

Beer, at its core, is 4 ingredients: Water, Barley, Hops, and Yeast.  Craft brewers are all about quality ingredients, hard work, and community.  I think it’s this mindset that Darren and Ryan had helped fuel my passion for craft beer and the people who make it.  Sometimes, simpler is better.

Ryan was (and is) a whiz at ordering the right beer (and wine) for the food they serve at Il Bambino.  Darren’s menu of Crostinis, Paninis, Salads, and Tapas, consists of simple ingredients, simple concepts, executed impeccably.  I believe that Ryan has the same mindset when it comes to the beer menu.

The beers Ryan had on the menu when I started were:

  1. Sixpoint Sweet Action, a Cream Ale from Brooklyn, a crisp beer with grassy, citrusy hops, and a toffee-like malt profile.
  2. Smuttynose Finestkind IPA, a malt forward IPA with balanced, citrusy hops.
  3. Allagash White, which, in my opinion, this is the quintessential gateway into Craft Beer.  “You like Blue Moon?  Here, try this.  It’s much better.”
  4. Lagunitas Pils, a traditional, Czech-style Pilsner.  Clean, grassy hops with nice sweetness from the malts (give this to someone who asks for a Bud or Bud Light).
  5. Samuel Smith Nut Brown Ale, classic Brown Ale from the UK, with nutty, roasted malts.
  6. Ommegang Hennepin, a peppery, funky, tart lemon zest citrus Farmhouse Saison.
  7. Pacifico, a Mexican style Light Lager.  (Corona’s more awesome primo)


Chicken Mozzarella Panini accompanied by an Allagash White.

Ryan’s choice of beers listed above are amazing compliments to Darren’s menu.  Simple ingredients, elevated and complimented by the food they’re served with.  The beer menu has changed over the years, but it still contains amazing beers that pair perfectly with the food.

IMG_0133Founders Breakfast Stout, one of Ryan’s weekly specials.  Coffee and chocolate dominate this easily drinkable, 8% Stout.  Ask my Dad!  He loves them!


IMG_0256Boulevard Tank 7 Farmhouse Saison.  8.5%ABV, with aromas of citrus, and a little funk.  Taste is crisp, sweet, citrusy, peppery.  Another perfect beer to go with Crostinis.

IMG_0165Puu Puu Platter, a plate of six different Crostinis.

IMG_0319Tröegs Mad Elf, an 11%ABV Ale made with Honey and Cherries.  I like to let this one sit a year, as the flavors mellow out a bit.

IMG_0318Just wanted to throw in this picture of my gorgeous wife enjoying her wine.  As you can see by the Poinsettias and Nutcracker, they decorate for Christmas!  It’s amazing!


This is not beer.  This is a Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Raspberry Syrup and Homemade Chocolate Frosted Flakes.  Please eat this.

IMG_2279Myself and Ryan at Arts and Crafts Beer Parlor with The Thin White Duke.

Again, I will mention that Il Bambino now has two locations, one in Astoria, and one on 8th Street in the West Village.  Please go eat there now, and I will wait here, so you can come back and finish this blog.

Il Bambino was my first foray into craft beer, and it got me excited to try something new.  I learned how beer and food complimented each other.  Also, I was shown the art of craftsmanship, whether it was Darren with his passion for elevated, simple ingredients, Ryan with his passion for experience (both for his employees and his customers), or craft brewers with their passion for quality, taste, and community.  Often times, you can find complexity in simplicity.

Anyways, until next time!


Saying Hello, By Saying Goodbye? Pt. Deux

Hey!  You came back!  Thanks for coming back.  That’s really sweet of you.  You’re a real pal.  This is a continuation of my first post, so please, if you haven’t read it, go back and check that one out, then come back and read this one.  I’m very patient.




Look how patient I am!

Ok!  Let’s continue with Part Deux…

So it was Hiten’s last shift at City Swiggers, a bottle shop on 86th, between 1st and 2nd Ave.  You should go there.  It has 14 draft beers and probably like 40,000 bottles and cans.  This is not an exaggeration.

It was 8pm, which is way past my bedtime.  I believe my wife, Holly Kay, had worked a 6:30am-3:30pm shift that day, and had met up with some friends in between.  I worked until around 7:30, we met up, and got on the 6 (where some guy named Drake ran through with his WOEs), and walked the long avenue blocks over to City Swiggers.  We were, frankly, exhausted.  But we wanted to stop in and make sure we were there to give Hiten a proper send off.

It was pretty crowded, and loud, as it was a Friday night, and a lot of people were there for Hiten.  My coworker David, a home brewer, was there with his girlfriend, and we said hello, and ordered our first two beers.  Thankfully, two seats opened up right at the end of the bar, so we were able to sit.  Our feet and legs thanked us, as we’d both been running around all day.

Holly ordered an Other Half Brewing Company Mosaic Dream (because she has impeccable taste).  This is a single hopped Imperial IPA, hopped only with Mosaic.  I’ve loved every beer I’ve tried from Other Half Brewing (they’re in Gowanus, Brooklyn).  Hiten has waited in line at the brewery, very early on Saturday mornings, for their can releases.  (See previous post for the awesome Make it Rain IIPA he gifted me…)

IMG_1916Other Half Mosaic Dream

I’ve heard of Mosaic referred to as a sexy hop.  And ooh my, she sure is.  She comes from the same family as Simcoe, another hop that I adore.  The aroma wafts into your nose like a tropical breeze.  One sip and you’re transported to a far off, white sandy beach (somewhere tropical, let’s say for this instance, Saint Martin), surrounded by freshly cut mangoes and pineapples.  You take a bite…  This must be the Dream that they’re referring to…

Snap back to reality (oh, there goes gravity!).

This beer is bright, citrusy, and perfect for a day on the beach, or by the pool, or wherever you damn want to, it’s your life, LIVE YOUR LIFE, DRINK BEER WHERE YOU LIKE!  (Is that going to be the Benedict Beer Blog’s first tee shirt?  Probably not.).

If you’re outside of New York and can’t get up here, and that picture I painted appeals to you, I would highly recommend picking up a Founders Mosaic Promise, or Pipeworks Lizard King.  These are both single hopped with Mosaic, so you too can be transported to paradise.  Check them out, and let me know what you think!

I ordered the Grimm Afterimage.  This is an amazing unfiltered Double IPA, with citrusy, dank hops.  According to the Brewers, they used Mosaic (there’s that pretty lady again!!), El Dorado, Falconer’s Flight, Columbus, and Simcoe.  (I want to be a Hop Namer.  Is that a thing?  Can I make that my life’s work?  I mean, come on…  Falconer’ Flight?  Give that man a Nobel Prize!). The hops are balanced out by a burnt caramel, bready malt sweetness.  This was my second time having this beer, and it’s just as good as I remember it.  I rated it 4.5 out of 5 caps on Untappd, which is an awesome Beer Social Networking App that you should absolutely check out.  This comes around in cans from time to time (at least twice, from what I know), so grab it if you can.  This is a gorgeous beer.  If you can’t find it, try to see if you can get Grimm Tesseract, Grimm Lambo Door, Other Half Green Diamonds, or Singlecut Billy Full Stack.  These are some of the best Double IPA’s released in NY.


Grimm Afterimage Double IPA

My palate needed a change after all those delicious, delicious hops…  And I looked across the bar, and saw some nice gentleman sharing a bottle of 2015 Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout.  This is a variant of the regular Bourbon County Brand Stout, with Intelligentsia’s Los Delirios Nicaraguan coffee beans added.  For those of you who may not know, Goose Island admitted to some Varients of their Bourbon County Brand (specifically Coffee and Barleywine) having what they referred to as “off-flavors”.  I was interested to try it, after reading countless reviews about how the beer was infected.

I have had the Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout once before, about 5 years ago, with my dear friends Matthew and Lauri Spitz, who went on to open Moustache Brewing Company, and it was amazing.

This bottle was certainly off.  It tasted boozy, with sour raspberry and chocolate, but no coffee.  It wasn’t bad, as I enjoy sour beers, but this was unintentional.  I’m glad I didn’t wait on line to pick this up, but was happy I got to try it.  Thank you strangers at the bar, and thank you Hiten for pouring me a taste!


Looking down into the abyss of an “off flavored”  Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout

At this point, a number of our friends had showed up.  We hadn’t really eaten anything at this point, so we ordered some snacks.  Hiten also had a bunch of pizzas ordered, so Holly grabbed us two slices, and by that point, we wanted to slink back into our cave and hibernate like the tired bears we were.  But we were having such a great time with our friends, and Hiten was having a blast pouring and sharing beers with his friends.

The last beer I tasted, and shared, was the Stone Xocoveza (pronounced “shocko-veza”) Stout.  In stark contrast to being transported to the beach, this beer picks you up and drops you in a rocking chair in front of a roaring fireplace, with untouched, glistening white flakes of snow flittering by the window, family singing Christmas Carols while visions of cinnamon, coffee, and spice dance all over your tongue.  Holly and I shared a 5 ounce pour of this from our friend Sean’s flight (he doesn’t like stouts that taste like coffee), and it was so good (as I remembered) Holly and I ordered and shared another.

IMG_1922Our friend Sean’s Stone Xocoveza Stout.  He promptly ordered “A stout that doesn’t taste like coffee.”

IMG_1927Our second Stone Xocoveza Stout

By this point, we paid our check, and prepared to make our long journey home to Jackson Heights.  We were both exhausted, but really happy that we showed up, and spent time with some amazing friends.  And, as we went down into the Subway station, we saw a group of people doing QUIET CLUBBING!  Have you ever heard of this?  There’s two different stations, and you get to choose which you want to (quietly) rock out to.  It was really cool, and we actually considered doing this.

As memorable as the beers were, I simply loved our whole experience.  I got to share stories and beers with my beautiful wife and our amazing friends, and we were all able to be together and celebrate Hiten’s last night at City Swiggers.  The bar was filled with he and his fiancee’s friends and family.  Hiten, whether he knew it or not, made an impact on people around him, and will continue to do so in Arizona.

I got a few texts after my first post, saying “Great blog!  When are you going to talk about beer?” I hope this post has answered that question.  For me, it’s not just about the beer.  What I love about beer is that every sip, every different beer you try, comes with an experience.  The appearance, aroma, taste, even the environment you’re drinking in and the people you are with, will bring you somewhere.  Sometimes, it brings you somewhere you never want to go again.  Sometimes it brings you somewhere you’ll want to visit over and over again (responsibly, of course).

Until next time, dear, sweet, sexy (I assume) reader.  Keep having and enjoying wonderful experiences, and share any thoughts you have in the comments below!


Saying Hello, By Saying Goodbye? Part I

Saying goodbye is never easy.  Saying goodbye with beer makes things…  A little bit easier?

At my job, we see people come and go all the time.  It’s the nature of the business, and also of living in New York City.  People get promoted, move to different stores, or get jobs outside of the company, or they get sick of the subway, the crowds, the smells, etc.  This is an almost daily occurrence, so it doesn’t usually throw me off.  Then, one person you thought would always be at work to chat with, or share a laugh with, says he’s leaving.


Another one bites the dust.

What does this have to do with beer?  Isn’t this a beer blog?  Why am I still reading this?  Are there any horse socks?  Is anybody listening to me?


These are all valid questions, reader.  Oh, and believe me, we’ll get to them…

Beer brings people together.  I started getting into craft beer only about 5 years ago, and since then, and perhaps even before then, the industry has exploded.

I got into craft beer working at a restaurant in Astoria, Queens called Il Bambino.  We would have weekly beer specials, in addition to the beer on the menu, which included Allagash White, Smuttynose Finestkind IPA, and Sixpoint Sweet Action.  What I loved to do, still being new to craft beer, was describe beers by how they made me feel.  One night, it was probably in September (seasonal creep was way less of a thing than it is now, where we see pumpkin beers in June and Spring Seasonals in December), our special of the week was Weyerbacher’s Imperial Pumpkin Ale.  This is an unbelievable pumpkin beer brewed with cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and clove.  I would describe it to customers, saying “It tastes like Fall in a glass.”  One of my fellow servers misheard me, and described it, saying “It tastes like fall in your mouth…”  I think she probably sold more of that beer than I did.

Each week brought a different special.  My manager (who is now my dear friend) Ryan, would order a different beer every week or two, and we would have a chance to try it, usually after our shifts, when we locked the doors and put on Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.  (We usually started with “Runaway”, which starts out with a high E played over and over again on a piano, and usually the bottle would be open and poured before the first “LOOK ATCHA!”

While I could credit Kanye with getting me into craft beer, (Yeezy taught me), it was really all Ryan’s doing.  Ryan is very smart.  He knows what people want.  He has really accessible, delicious beer on Il Bambino’s menu, and is knowledgable enough to know what specials to put on that will compliment owner Darren Lawless’ (F)lawless menu of Paninis, Crostinis, and tapas.

I will talk much, Muchmore about Il Bambino in other posts, but this is where the foundation for my love of craft beer began.  They just opened their new location on 8th street in the West Village.  You really should go there, and their Astoria location, because they’re the best.

So, my buddy Hiten is leaving New York.  This sucks.  Saying goodbye sucks.  But, New York City is a monster, and he’s going to be amazing wherever he goes, which, in this instance, is Tucson, Arizona.  I’ve never been there or thought of visiting there.  Now, I will strongly consider it.

A month or so ago, he got engaged (!!!) and I texted him to congratulate him on said Engagement.  He thanked me, and offered a can of Other Half Brewing and Barrier Brewing Company’s collaboration, called Make It Rain.  I thanked him and told him to get back to celebrating his engagement.  I just wanted to reiterate how selfless Hiten is.

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 11.03.25 PM


Hiten also worked at City Swiggers, an amazing bottle shop and bar on the Upper Eest Side of Manhattan.  My wife and I joined some of our friends for Hiten’s last shift here, and we had an amazing time, celebrating Hiten’s last night of work doing what he loved, sharing amazing beer with everyone.

Stay tuned for Part Deux of this blog where I promise I will talk about the beer we drank.  If anyone listens to the “U Talkin’ U2 to Me?” Podcast, with Adam Scott and Scott Aukerman, they started out wanting to cover two U2 albums per episode, and ended up getting to maybe one per episode (and one episode called Staind Glass, which is an episode about the band Staind featuring Comedian Todd Glass).  Anyway, I hope I don’t get as tangential as they do…  But I already have, and hey!  You’re still reading!  So this works!  Right?

Anyways, see you next time.