Happy Father’s Day! I’m temporarily changing the name of this blog to the Benedict DAD Blog, so I can talk about my DAD.
Look at these handsome fellas!
Silliness on Journey Into Imagination in Epcot, Walt Disney World
Dad and Holly intensely trying to defeat the evil Emperor Zurg on Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin in Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World.
My Dad, Chris “MusicDktr” Benedict, is simply a fantastic human being. He’s a quiet guy, until you get to know him. He’s funny as hell, and sometimes you’ll only hear it if you’re sitting right next to him. My Uncle Rod says he’s the funniest person he knows, and I can’t dispute that.
He’s a natural comedian (I believe that having taught music to elementary school-aged children for 35 years sort of forces you to be a comedian), and I think I wouldn’t have been half as good at Improv if I didn’t get my humor from my parents.
Sometimes, I’ll walk around my apartment making strange noises with my mouth, and I’ll wonder to myself how I got so… Special (read: Weird). Then, I think back to when I was a child, and my sister Jessica and I would have back to back music lessons, Jess was learning the violin and I was learning to play cello (it never panned out for me, unfortunately, because Little Cello Boy Patrick had tiny hands, not unlike Presidential Candidate Donald Trump. Ooh, check it out! I just used topical, political humor!). We would sit with my Dad while we waited for the other to be done with their lesson, and my Dad brought this notebook with him and would doodle all over it, and if I recall correctly, on most pages, would write “EKI EKI EKI EKI EKI ZUM PANG! ZOO WOMB PANG NIWOOMB!!” This is his favorite nonsensical phrase from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, his favorite movie.
(I texted my Dad to make sure that I was correct about Monty Python and the Holy Grail being his favorite movie, and this was our exchange…)
What can I say, we’re students of comedy.
So yeah, I get my weird humor from my Dad (My Mom, Eileen absolutely contributes to this, as well!).
But, this is a blog about beer, right?
My Dad’s been a wine drinker, for as long as I’ve known him (which, if my calculations are correct, is forever). My parents used to host wine tastings at our house, they have a wine club, Wine By Joe, where they order wine in bulk at a discount from their friend (the aforementioned Joe), so their wine rack is always stocked up. Holly and I always try and find wine-specific gifts for them for Anniversaries, Birthdays, etc. and I think the present that gets the most use is a small wine fridge we bought that they keep in their living room, which they keep stocked with delicious white wines.
So, for all the time I’ve known him, my Dad had always been a wine drinker. The first instance I remember seeing the little “stout sparkle” in his eyes was at the Third Avenue Ale House, about two years or so ago. We were out with my Uncle Rod (you know, that shirtless guy in the picture above?), who lives right around the corner (sucks to live around the corner from a delicious craft beer bar with amazing food, doesn’t it, Rod?). Dad ordered a Founders Brewing Company Breakfast Stout, 8.3% ABV, brewed with flaked oats, bitter chocolate, and coffee. He was hooked! The monster was growing inside him… A chocolate-y, coffee-y, roasty, sweet, delicious monster.
I don’t think any of us thought Dad would turn into a beer man, but he got a taste for the Breakfast Stout, and found out that his local Beer Distributer, Port Jeff Beverage, thanks to owner Bruce Bezner, had enough stocked away to last for quite a while (Founders releases Breakfast Stout only from September-December, but I still see it on shelves around NYC and on Long Island). He now enjoys a Breakfast Stout (or similar) instead of a glass of wine.
He sends pictures, too, like this:
And if I happen to be enjoying a stout, I’ll text him back…
Evil Twin Brewing Imperial Biscotti Break, in my top 2 Non-Barrel-Aged Imperial Stouts (Alesmith Speedway Stout is my #1). This is bursting with flavors of chocolate, coffee, but also vanilla, and almond. It’s like drinking coffee after you’ve dunked a biscotti into it. Unreal.
One night, I was over at Uncle Rod’s (on the rare occasion I visit him on the Upper East Side and we DON’T go to the Third Avenue Ale House) and, we just so happened to be drinking some Breakfast Stout, so I texted him this.
I’m actually thrilled. I’m thrilled because, I started this blog to write about my experiences with beer. Sometimes, the beer itself steps aside and you focus on what’s in front of you; where you are, who you’re with, and you’re living in the experience. I’m so glad that this simple, amazing tasting brew brought my Dad into the world of Craft Beer.
I look forward to our Lunches and Dinners at C’est Cheese in Port Jefferson, because Joe Ciardullo (who is also a Dad! Look at me, keeping with the theme!) has such a passion for not only cheese (which is absolutely our favorite food), but for Craft Beer. Joe’s always got Breakfast Stout on the menu (thanks, Joe!), but Dad’s branching out and will often try something new. He loves dark beers. He’ll always try a sip of whatever IPA, Saison, or Sour Holly and I are drinking, but he’s got a taste for the coffee and chocolate bitterness offered by Porters or Stouts. My Mom, too, will try a sip of any beer I give her, and share in the experience. From what she’s tasted, she loves the flavors of Saisons, Lambics and sour Goses, or anything with fruit in it! I’m so glad to be able to share these beer experiences with my family and friends.
I never really knew the difference between a Porter and a Stout. I looked it up a few months ago, and found this article.
Most people say it’s the type of barley used, but this is a fascinating read into why it’s more complicated than that. From the article, “All stouts are types of porter. But not all porters are stouts. Only the stronger ones.”
When I was out in California, I stopped in a little unassuming liquor store on the way to dinner with my roommate Ali. We were browsing the shelves and fridges, when I saw two bottles of Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout with a shiny beacon of light behind them, as if sent down from the heavens above. This is a Bourbon Barrel Aged version of their Breakfast Stout. At 12% ABV, it picks up flavors from the bourbon barrel, like oak, caramel, and vanilla. It’s smooth as hell, with not a lot of heat even though the ABV is so high.
My friend Justin had requested I bring back a Russian River Brewing Pliny the Elder back with me, as he had done when he went to California. I didn’t have the chance to make it up to Russian River, and missed out on the bottles distributed near the hotel I stayed in. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to pick up one for Justin, and one for my Dad.
Long story short, Dad’s hooked on Bourbon Barrel Aged Stouts now! As rare as the KBS was, I couldn’t find any more here in NY. I suggested New Holland Brewing Company Dragon’s Milk Stout, as it’s one of the best readily available Bourbon Barrel Stouts, and Port Jeff Beverage is stocked up on them.
Last weekend, we brought him two cans of the Awake Coffee Porter we picked up from Night Shift Brewing Company in Everett, Massachusetts. A lower ABV porter packed with unbelievable coffee, chocolate, and malt sweetness. This is an unbelievable beer.
It’s so cool to see my Dad so into craft beer, and I’m so happy he likes to share his experiences with me even when we’re not together. I’m glad I was able to be a part of his craft beer story, and look forward to what beer he’s going to fall in love with next!
Happy Fathers Day, to The Stout Monster himself, Chris “MusicDktr” Benedict, and all the other Fathers out there!