Haymaker Bar NYC, or, (Spoiler Alert) This Post Contains a Picture of a Man Called Nelson Drinking a Beer Called Nelson

OK, the above title is misleading (#alternativefacts).  His SURNAME (last name) is Nelson.  His first name is Rick.  So, I present to you, dear readers, a photo of a man called (Rick) Nelson drinking a beer called (Other Half) Nelson, a single hopped, 7.5% ABV, crisp, refreshing IPA, to celebrate his birthday! 

Look at this guy!!

What a time to be a craft beer drinker.

I’ve been saying this a lot lately.  As craft beer drinkers, especially here in NYC and on Long Island, we have access to some of the world’s tastiest most mouth watering (mouth water-iest?) beverages.  I’ve written so much about C’est Cheese and Craft at C’est Cheese, who have provided myself and my family with so much hospitality and world renowned beer, I shed a tear just thinking about it.  They have great relationships throughout LI and NYC and have access to such amazing beer, it’s a blessing to be able to walk in there when Holly and I are out on Sundays, and pick up some world class beer, and spend time with some wonderful people (Joe, Chris, Erin, Lori, Britney and the rest of the staff).

I’m also very lucky to be here in NYC.  Thanks to Clint and Rick (SEE ABOVE PICTURE), we discovered the wonderful Haymaker Bar NYC on 28th Street, just east of 8th Avenue.  Haymaker had followed the Benedict Beer Blog Instagram Page a few months ago, but we hadn’t had a chance to visit (which is very disappointing because *we blew it* because this place is amazing.)

My bearded buddy Will…

*A Photo of Will*

and I had decided to meet here, as Will and his lovely fiancée Sarah had recently gotten engaged, and Will asked me to be one of his Groomsmen (!!!).  So, celebratory beers.  Also, Holly Kay recently got a new job, and brought her new work friends, Sedine and Massiel (!!!).  So, celebratory beers.  Also, our dear friend Rick (Nelson) (SEE ABOVE PHOTO) was celebrating his birthday (!!!).  SO, CELEBRATORY BEERS!!!

We were there on a Thursday evening at 7pm, just before a Rangers (the hockey sportsmen) game, so, when I arrived, it was PACKED.  Their tap list is beyond delightful, and Will and I ordered the insanely awesome Interboro Spirits and Ales Premiere, a juicy, refreshing Pale Ale that sits around 6% ABV, has a beautiful pineapple aroma and super smooth, creamy mouthfeel that transports you from a crowded NYC beer bar to a secluded beach, relaxing in a hammock stretched between two palm trees, sipping actual juice from an actual pineapple.  Yup, believe dat hype, yo.

We waited about 40 minutes for a table, which ain’t bad when you’re getting Tropical (see above paragraph), and once the Rangers fans headed to MSG (just a few blocks away) we were able to sit and order food and some more drinks.  We were joined by Rick’s boyfriend, Samson, and Rick shortly thereafter.

A photo of Samson and I, looking real cute!
Samson is enjoying a Prairie Artisan Ales 4th Anniversary, a 6.5% sour ale Aged on Ginger.  Bright, zippy citrus combined with a zing from the Ginger, this was a hit with the table!  Another amazing beer from Prairie!

I myself had a Prairie Christmas Bomb!  10% ABV, brewed with coffee, cocoa, vanilla, chili peppers 🌶 ❗️, and Christmas Spices.  This giant beverage explodes with flavors of Mexican hot chocolate, with just a hint of chili spice in the back of the throat.  AMAZING.

As we were winding down, after our delicious meal (I had a curried lamb Shepherd’s Pie, which I loved, Holly had the short rib sliders, which were also delightful), they tapped a fresh keg of Maine Beer Co. LUNCH!  When one sees that Maine Lunch has tapped, one does not pass up the opportunity to enjoy Maine Lunch.  Did I mention it was Rick’s Birthday?  Celebratory Beers!

We all had a wonderful time, and I want to extend my sincere thanks to Lou, our server, and the whole staff at Haymaker, for their hospitality and helping us celebrate all our various accomplishments!  

It was a great night with friends, and we’ll absolutely be back.

Until next time!

Cheers!

Other Half Double Dry Hopped Space Diamonds, Or, Here’s Something Pretty to Tide You Over Until the Next Blog Post (Tomorrow, Probably)

Yo, Fam, SMASH that m’f’in PLAY BUTTON to see a real pretty (I would almost say it’s perfect, but clearly, I spilled a drop, because I’m terrible) pour of the amazing Other Half Brewing Double Dry Hopped Space Diamonds…  


She’s gorgeous.

She pours a hazy, light golden color, and pine, Grapefruit, and berries rise from the glass upon first smell, taste follows, with super grapefruit and pineapple with a surprisingly dry, earthy finish, begging you to take another sip.  I obliged, because who am I to deny another sip of a #milkshake #hazy #northeaststyle #ipa #juicebomb #whale #hype


I shared the non-dry hopped Space Diamonds with my dear friend Ryan (manager at Il Bambino) a few months ago, and it was very special.

Yeah, this double dry Hopped version is ALSO VERY SPECIAL.  And I didn’t have to wait 8 hours in line.  Because Haymaker Bar and Grill has been selling Other Half, and other cans, to go (WHICH IS AMAZING AND SO SUPER CONVENIENT!). And that, folks, will be my next blog post, about our evening at Haymaker, which should be up in the next day or two!  So, check- ch- check- check- check- ch- check it out!

Until next time (TOMORROW PROBABLY)!

Cheers!

Beer Plus Music Vol. III, Or, How You Should Spend Your Next Four Nights…

I was chatting with my dear friend Pete (a funny, talented writer and human being, and his website is HERE!) yesterday about Sturgill Simpson.  If you haven’t yet, please check out his SNL Performances right HERE.  I had watched these earlier in the day and was so blown away, I downloaded the newest Sturgill Simpson album, A Sailor’s Guide to Earth, on Apple Music, and listened to it twice through before the end of the day.  It’s country, folk, funk, Joe Cocker, and David Bowie, all combined.  I played it for Holly Kay, and she was shocked.  She’d been a DJ at the Country Music station out on Long Island when we were living there (see her previous post HERE), and she was completely surprised by the genre-bending this multi talented musician pulls off with ease.

Listening to that album got me so excited, and I realize that, not too often anymore do I get excited about new music.  (Everybody’s also been doing this “Post 10 albums that shaped you as a Teenager” thing on Facebook, and that inspired me as well)

So this week, I decided to go through and pick out some new music that I DID get excited about this past year, and place each album with a different beer that I think pairs perfectly.  Maybe you’ll be inspired, and post some of your favorite beer and music pairing in the comments below!  Let me know what you all think!

Alright, let’s start!

Sturgill Simpson – A Sailor’s Guide to Earth (April 15, 2016)

I’m sad that it took me this long to discover this album.  It’s an ethereal (reminded me of a lot of David Bowie), beautiful, heartfelt alt-country-funk-classic rock album that clocks in at only 9 songs, and 39 minutes (which reads more like a punk rock album than a country album).  Pete told me that he themed the album as a letter to his son, (see Keep it Between The Lines), and he even fits a song in for his wife (Oh Sarah).  I’m loving it more with each listen, especially his mellowed-out cover of Nirvana’s In Bloom.

Oh right, this is a blog about beer…

Ok, my pairing!

I decided to pair this bad boy with another genre-bending (read: booze-bending) beer from Queens finest brewery Singlecut Beersmiths, their Rum-Barrel Aged Heavy Boots of Lead, aged for one year in oak barrels, and infused with whiskey-marinated maple syrup.

A heavy hitter, clocking in at around 12% ABV, this stout hits hard, but sneaks up on you, and is mellowed out with notes of sweet cocoa, coffee, and vanilla.  While Simpson blends funk with country and ages it in Bowie barrels, this combination of rum barrels and whiskey marinated maple syrup (Simpson is from Kentucky, so I had to pick something that had some kind of whisky involved, right?) is enough to make anyone’s head spin, but for some reason, it all comes together in boozy perfection, and when one finishes the album (or the beer), one wants to go back for more, y’all.

Childish Gambino – Awaken, My Love (December 2nd, 2016)

I’ve only heard a few random songs from Donald Glover’s Childish Gambino, but my friend AJ (subscribe to Jorel Blu on YouTube for Movie Reviews, Music, and much more!) was playing Redbone (if you click that link, you WILL see Donald Glover shirtless), from his newest R&B-throwback-yet-still-fresh-sounding Awaken, My Love, and I was immediately hooked.  AJ (JOREL BLU) encouraged me to listen to the album from start to finish, and while it hearkens back to Jimi Hendrix, and Otis Redding, it fits in quite well as an album released in 2016.  Glover is multi-talented, as an actor, rapper, and singer, but his guttural screams on Me And Your Mama (“You know that I love you / So let me in to your heart”) with a full gospel choir singing behind him hooked me immediately.  I thought about Hendrix, but also the song Hard Times/Our Times by Portugal, The Man.  Glover seems, just like Sturgill Simpson, to blend genres together to create something new, yet, so familiar.

Which led me to pick my beer…

And how could I write an article without mentioning Matt and Lauri from Moustache Brewing Co.? I can’t.  So I picked their undeniably un-milkshake IPA, Awkward Conversations.

I picked this beer because, they’ve created something brand new, like Glover, that hearkens back to the pre-milkshake IPA days.  Now, if you read this blog, you know I LOVE unfiltered, orange juice looking, milkshake lookin’, pulpy-ass IPAs!  But this beer.  This beer is crystal clear, amber in color, super well balanced, sweet melon paired with bitter citrus.  It’s perfect.  This beer blew my mind (not surprisingly) and sits up there with my favorite New England style IPAs, as Childish Gambino sits at the top of my new music list.  Also, if someone walks in on you listening to Childish Gambino’s California, you might end up having an awkward conversation.

Here’s me, drinking an Awkward Conversations, and my brother Chris, drinking an Anderson Valley Blood Orange Gose, having what is more than likely an awkward conversation.  Smash that M’F’in like button on his Instagram page, @suckball.  Hello.

A Tribe Called Quest – We Got it From Here, Thank You 4 Your Service (November 11th, 2016)

I got into A Tribe Called Quest in college, starting with Midnight Marauders, and they were my first real foray into hip-hop (thanks to college friends Mike and Evan).  Their newest album, which showcases Q-Tip, Jarobi white, and the late Phife Dawg, with features from Busta Rhymes, André 3000, Kendrick Lamar, Talib Kweli, Elton John, Jack White, and a TON more, this whole album is a giant middle finger to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, (see We The People, and the final album track The Donald).  Q-Tip has spoken about how he had to take breaks while mastering the record, hearing Phife Dawg, and his emotion comes through in both his verses and his production of this album.  It’s a beautiful statement, but doesn’t take itself too seriously.

I paired this album with an old classic.  Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

With a lack of craft selection, one can always find Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.  Case in point, a hotel in Palm Coast, FL, June 20th, 2014.

Simply put, Sierra Nevada was one of my first introductions to craft beer.  Many of the world’s greatest brewers have attributed Sierra Nevada Pale Ale as an inspiration to start their own breweries, just as Tribe has influenced so many in hip hop.  (Sierra Nevada began in 1979, Tribe in 1985)  Sierra Nevada is still looked up to as one of the world’s best breweries, even after 37 years.  Each time I take a sip of Pale Ale, I taste a super balanced sweetness from the malt, and juicy orange, and orange peel bitterness (insert DJT orange joke here.).

The Dear Hunter – Act V: Hymns With The Devil In Confessional (September 16th, 2016)

I’ve been listening to Casey Crescenzo’s insane, progressive rock, orchestral wonderland since 2006, when Act I: The Lake South, The River North was released.  Casey is a self-taught musical mastermind, and I finally had the chance to see The Dear Hunter live with Holly Kay back in October, and it was everything I could have hoped for.  This album, and Act IV: Rebirth in Reprise, were both recorded at the same time with the Awesöme Orchestra in San Francisco.  There’s a story arc throughout the Acts, and will culminate in some form or another with Act VI (Casey has said that Act V is the last “Rock Album” and Act VI will take on a different form altogether), but to have followed this story for 11 years, I’m anticipating whatever concept he comes up with.  Stand out tracks from this album include Gloria and The Revival.  It’s a lot darker than the rest of the Acts, but has moments of peace, beauty, followed by chaos.

Final beer pairing…

Peak Organic – The Juice

The first time I tried this beer was right after the album was released (can’t you see my nice pumpkin?)

Why pick such a lightly colored, low ABV, hoppy, pale ale, to pair with such a dark album?  Well, The Juice snuck up on me.  You take a sip, and it’s clean, bright, refreshing, and then, WHAM!  You’re smacked in the face with dank, citrus, and pine.  Can this really only be 5% ABV?  You keep sipping, and keep getting surprised with the flavor.  WHAP!  BAM!  BLAM!  POW!  With every musical surprise on Act V, you get another wave of flavor from The Juice.  In fact, I just finished a can of this while writing this article, it was canned on October 24th, nearly 3 months ago, and it’s got every ounce of hop bitterness, citrus, and pine as the first time I drank it.  And I’m listening to Act V as I write this, and it’s just as intense as when I first heard it in September.  The beer, like the album, is something I can return to when I can’t think of anything else to drink/listen to.  Unbelievably crafted, super thought out, and nearly perfect.  This combo makes more sense each time I think about it.  In fact, it makes me giggle.

That’s all I’ve got!  Again, write in the comments below if you’ve got any beer/music pairings for me, and I’ll check them out and maybe even feature them in another blog post!

Until next time,

Cheers!

 

 

 

::GASP:: A Guest Blog Post!  Or, The (Other) Benedict Beer Blog!

We’ve got a special treat this week!
I was texting with the lovely and vivacious Holly Kay (Benedict!!) on Sunday afternoon, and she gave me the most incredible description of the beer she was enjoying (because that’s what you DO on Sunday afternoons!).

What a cutie!!

So, without any further ado, I leave you in the hands of my smart, adventurous, beautiful wife!


2012: How the Beer Journey Began

By Holly Kay Benedict



It was 2012. Patrick and I had been married for a year. We were living on Long Island. I was working a dead end job DJing at a country radio station for pennies. The work itself, I loved. The listeners and the performance aspect of the position were amazing. The misogynists I worked for made the job a living hell for me and the other women working as talent there.

Me and the truck!

That first year was one of the very hardest. We lived with family. We had obnoxious amounts of credit card debt which we were paying down slowly, but surely. We had few friends, but we were able to make some lifelong friends in Moustache brewing’s Lauri and Matt Spitz. At the time, Matt was a coworker of Patrick’s at Fruit Stand.

Matt, and a pint glass I won at Long Ireland Brewing!

Lauri, his wife is one of the absolute coolest people I know. She is a take charge, no nonsense, “Put you big girl panties on and deal with it” kind of woman. I have the utmost respect for her, and have learned from her determination. It was she who invited me to the first LIBME meeting.

Lauri and I, being classy.

LIBME is the Long Island Beer and Malt Enthusiasts. Patrick and I had recently graduated from drinking PBR and Bud Light to drinking real beer. We had discovered local breweries like Blue Point, and that was the location of my first LIBME meeting. BBQ chicken was served with free pours at the meeting. We discussed the upcoming home brewers competition, and I was hooked.
Granted, I was not the real beer drinker. That was Patrick, of course, but I wanted to further the depth of our friendship with Matt and Lauri, meet new people who were like-beer minded and who could open our palates to something more. Honestly, I went to the LIBME meeting for Patrick. His interest in beer inspired me to want to invest time and energy in something other than endless conversations about Fruit Stand customers and bald, Woman-hating bosses (Bless their hearts).

I joined the club for both Patrick and I on the spot.

We were privy to some exclusive beer tastings. There was a bottle share where a rumor went around that I only enjoy high alcohol beers. That’s how the 65% Armageddon by Brewmeister ended up in my hands. Delicious, but dear GOD! 

Bottle share, January 19, 2013.

Lauri posing with Brewmeister Armageddon, the strongest beer in the world.

This same night I had pork with Ghost pepper because another rumor about me circulated which labeled me as a fellow pepper head. (All these rumors are true BTW). It was a pivotal night in our beer journey. We met amazing people like Phil, who works for New Belgium Brewing and previously worked for Great South Bay Brewery, and his wife Katie. I also encouraged Kelsey and Pete Shelly to join us for beer club, and I’ll never forget the meeting where we had Mead, and Kelsey was this close to buying a bee hive.

Kelsey, Pete and I at Moustache Brewing’s Friends and Family preview!  April 13, 2014.

The most exciting part of our Beer journey was seeing Matt and Lauri leave their jobs and pursue their home brewing full time. Matt and Lauri own and brew at Moustache Brewing Co. in Riverhead. They have now begun distributing to New York City and can be found at Alewife in Long Island City, which is one of my fav beer bars.

April 13th, 2014.  Moustache Brewing Friends and Family preview!

Bradco and I enjoying Moustache Brewing Co. Everyman’s Porter at Alewife NYC!  October, 2016.

I like all the tasting rooms I’ve been to, but for me I will always love the beer bars like Alewife, the Jeffery, Barcade, and C’est Cheese. Dedicated to craft beer, of course, but also dedicated to the foods that enhance and define why craft beer should be paired with amazing food.

Speaking of C’est Cheese. About a year ago, they began their Beer Club program. I encouraged Patrick to join, of course, but said I would wait for the next time, thinking I could join the next week. Sadly, I missed the opportunity since they limited the club to 200 people.

A new year is upon us, and I am happy to announce that I am finally a member of the C’est Beer club. The beer journey continues, and I love being a part of it with my amazing writer, beer connoisseur husband.

New Years Eve, 2016, in Astoria, Or, How We Winced As We Crossed the Threshold Into Our Apartment to Make Sure Our Ceiling Hadn’t Collapsed Again…

Ok, so, December 31st, 2015, Holly Kay and I began our evening at Astoria Bier and Cheese on Ditmars Blvd., and walked over to Singlecut Beersmiths, and had an amazing evening with our dear friends, and fantastic beer.

Cheese.  Bread.  More cheese.  More bread.

Love.

My love, and a lovely stout!

Ryan and I in our Prom pose.

It was a fantastic evening.

At around 1am, January 1st, 2016, we walked into our apartment, and found our kitchen ceiling had an existential crisis and wanted to become one with the floor.

#partymode

We used an app to make this.  Also, Bowie, Prince, and Harambe were still alive when this picture was taken.

So, the hope for New Years Day, January 1st, 2017, was that we would come home, and our kitchen would be the way that we left it on December 31st, 2016.

So we decided to repeat our New Years Eve plans from the previous year.  Let’s call it a mulligan.

I had the day off, and Holly worked until 4pm, so we met at Astoria Bier and Cheese around 5.  I decided to try taking the bus(es), got on the wrong bus, got off a few stops later, and called a Lyft, like an adult.  I got into the cab, and immediately saw an LED sign on the dashboard that lit up with “HAPPY NEW YEAR, PATRICK!!”  What a time to be alive.  I knew I had made the right choice (aka I’m a dummy who can’t get on the right bus).  I was so excited.

I got to AB&C first, because the MTA is amazing and decided they weren’t going to run N trains between 42nd street and Queensboro Plaza.  So Holly ended up taking 3(?) different trains and eventually a cab (like an adult.)

A beautiful glass of Jack’s Abby Kiwi Rising

While I waited for my wonderful wife, I enjoyed a Kiwi Rising from Jack’s Abby, just outside of Boston.  Jack’s Abby only makes Lagers, something I haven’t seen in American craft brewing.

I LOVE IPLs.  America is obsessed with hops.  I’m obsessed with hops.  New Zealand is killing it with their hop production.  What I love about this beer is the sweetness of the malts balances out the bitter citrus from the massive hop presence in this beer.  The result is a delightful burst of citrus, rounded out with sweet strawberries.  Lovely.

Here’s what I did while I waited for Holly to get there…

If you like fun, and also my face, you should click on that link!  🤗

ICONYC Hib Hop, Saison with Hibiscus

Holly had a beautiful, floral, lemon citrus Saison, clocking in at over 8% ABV, which is odd for a saison, but there’s not a hint of booze on this one.

We met Nigel, the beverage manager at Astoria Bier and Cheese Ditmars, and Sean, bartender and all around awesome dude from Singlecut Beersmiths.  Nigel immediately poured us a few small pours of Perennial Artisinal Ales Abraxas, a stout brewed with vanilla beans, cocoa nibs, cinnamon, and ancho chili peppers.  Mexican. Hot.  Chocolate.  Thanks, Nigel, for sharing!  Cheers!

Next up was a ginormous 10% coffee stout from Catskill Brewery.  This was a new beer from a new brewery for me, and only $5 for a 12oz pour.  This tasted like a coffee with sugar and cocoa!  It was creamy as hell and I loved every sip!

Onward, Holly and I walked with Nigel over to Singlecut.  We were meeting up with our friends Bradco and Alex, Kate and Mikayla, and Bryan!  (You’ll remember Brad and Bryan from THIS POST about our adventure in LIC). Nigel was stopping by to have a beer before he headed home for a quiet New Years Eve.  

Singlecut’s beautiful tasting room
I started out with a Jim is Workin’ Hard Session IPA, which bursted with stone fruit and citrus and had a creamy mouthfeel for such a low ABV beer.  They just canned this beer for the first time, and I’ll absolutely be coming back to pick some up next time they can or bottle it.

Next up, Kinky Boots of Lead!  This is Singlecut’s wonderful Heavy Boots of Lead Imperial Stout that they infected with Brettanomyces and Lactobacilus, and let rest for 18 months.  The result is dark cherries and berries, on top of the already creamy cocoa and coffee notes from the original stout.  Absolutely fantastic!

This was the Workers Are Going Home IIPA (YEEEEEAH YEEEEEAH YEEEEEEAH!), named after a lyric from one of my favorite Weezer tunes, explosions of stone fruit, pine, grapefruit.  Crisp and delicious!  Also, LOOK AT BRAD’S FACE!

We played some card games, Exploding Kittens and Cards Against Humanity, and Sean and the rest of the staff at Singlecut played some awesome Rock Concert DVDs (The Band, and The Rolling Stones’ Rock and Roll Circus), which was a lot of fun.  We even threw in a Turkey Dance for good measure, which you can check out HERE!  🦃🦃🦃🦃🦃🦃🦃🦃🦃🦃

Brad and Bryan looking so dang cute!  Cutiez ’16-’17

Three Bearded Beauties!

Here I was enjoying a Heavy Boots of Lead!  Chocolate and coffee dominate, with a little roast and vanilla.  Lovely, lovely imperial stout.

By 11pm, Holly and I were tuckered out.  Holly’d been up since four, and I was still getting over a cold, so we ended up leaving Singlecut before midnight…  Maybe that’s what broke the curse…

We arrived home, and our ceiling was in tact!  Everything was where it was supposed to be!  The ceiling was on the ceiling!  The floor was on the floor!  We celebrated for a moment, before putting on pajamas, collapsing into bed, watching Times Square’s sound engineers drop the ball on Mariah Carey before the ball actually dropped at midnight.

So let’s be good to each other this year, folks.  Love everyone as hard as you can, be nice to people, celebrate and enjoy your time with your friends, family and loved ones.  2016 was a year of loss, hate, and fear.  This year, let’s try and make the good times outweigh the bad.  Combat hate with love!  

Oh, and enjoy a beer or two along the way… 

🤗🍺

Until next time!

Cheers!