Holly Kay and Patrick’s Brooklyn Beer Adventure with Bradco!  Or, OK, It Was Really Just Greenpoint Which is Basically Southern Queens and Then We Actually Ended Up Back in Queens But Hey, Beer is Awesome!

Holly Kay and Patrick live in Queens.  Our dear Bradco (You’ll remember meeting him HERE and HERE!) also lives in Queens.  Brooklyn is just miles south of Queens.  Yet, the MTA makes it nearly impossible to get to Brooklyn from Queens (or vice versa) without either:

A) Going all the way through Manhattan, or,

B) Taking the G Train (which, according to this New York Times article used to suck but is now cool).

Anyway, it takes nearly an hour to get there, unless you take a car, so we rarely, if ever, find ourselves in Brooklyn.  (Sorry, Brooklyn friends.  We still love you very much.).

We decided to be fancy and took a Gett, cuz we fancy, you know.  Our first stop was the incredible Tørst, in Greenpoint.

Tørst, (pronounced TERST, which is the Danish word for “Thirst”), is owned by Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø, owner of Evil Twin Brewing.  It’s a small, modern, dimly lit, clean, sleek space with a marble bar and dark wood tables.  Their beer menu goes from light to dark, and each beer is served at the perfect temperature and with optimal carbonation (which, if I had a craft beer-themed metal band, Optimal Carbonation would absolutely be the name.)

The beautiful taps behind the bar at Tørst.

Holly loves Tørst because when she drinks beer, she either doesn’t want to drink a full pint, or wants to taste a number of different beers.  Tørst offers 5oz, 12oz, and 14 (or perhaps 16)oz pours.  We usually order 5oz pours, so we can taste and share.


My first choice was Hill Farmstead Brewery Citra Single Hop Pale Ale.  If you could animate the aroma, picture giant cartoon pineapples and grapefruits dancing out of the glass and circling your nostrils.  This beer was the bomb, and I believe I had 3 5oz pours.

Holly started with Folksbier Brauerei Glow Up Berliner Weisse with Satsuma Mandarins.  Tart, crisp, refreshing, citrus, which is literally everything you could ever want.  This was a beautiful beer from this new brewery in Brooklyn.

Holly Kay and Bradco having what appears to be a VERY INTENSE conversation as I creepily take candid photos.  TMZ, u hiring?  (As an English major, I have to interject.  Can I interject in my own Blog?  Sure I can!  I know it’s spelled Y-O-U.  I wrote the letter u because I thought it would be funnier.  Ok, carry on.)

 Evil Twin Brewing Aún Más Todo Jésus, a Russian Imperial Stout with cinnamon, cocoa, chili peppers and coffee beans.  The cinnamon dominates, but is rounded by the bitter coffee and cocoa, with some heat from the chili.  My goodness, at 12% ABV this will knock your socks off.  Thank…  Well, thank Jesus for 5oz pours!

I highly recommend this Beer Bar.  The bartenders are super friendly and knowledgeable and will let you taste something before ordering, and they’re serious about beer.  They gave me a list of craft beer spots in and surrounding Greenpoint, which was much appreciated.

After tasting some fantastic beer, it was time to move on.  Bradco suggested we stop at Moe’s Doughs, because he’s a wise, handsome man with exquisite taste.  We each ordered a doughnut and split them up into three. (how do you split a doughnut into three?  Shut up!  That’s how.  I’m sorry.  That was mean.  Please ask Holly Kay.  She told me how to do it.  It’s kind of like a peace sign.)  We shared a salted caramel donut, classic glazed, and banana nut.  They were dope.  Everything is dope.

Like I said, DOPE!

Brad told us about this old movie theater in Greenpoint that turned into a Rite Aid (sad.), so we decided to stop there before heading north to our next stop (it’s like Queens is a magnet and it simply, pulls us back, slowly but surely…)

Behind Bradco and Holly Kay is the former balcony of the theater.  Sad!

Gorgeous dome in the middle of the room.  Sad!

Next stop was Greenpoint Beer & Ale!

Hello!

Greenpoint Beer & Ale occupies a large space in an industrial area of Greenpoint.  I’d tried a few beers from them, thanks to Craft at C’est Cheese (BLOG POST) and Rick Nelson (you’ll remember him from THIS BLOG POST! And check out his blog Rickommended!), and they were awesome, so I was looking forward to visiting the source.

Speaking of Rick Nelson, I texted asking if he wished to join us, but he wasn’t available, and sent me what I can only imagine is an Angry Rick Nelson Emoji…

Yup.

My first choice at Greenpoint Beer & Ale was Vert Mont Double IPA.  An homage to the hazy, Vermontian (is that a word?) IPAs we all know and love.  Balanced citrus, pine, and sweetness.  A solid brew, and, as the kids say, Hazy Ayy Eff.

I’ll have a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice, please.  With extra pulp!
 

Holly posing in front of the cozy fire place in the beautiful industrial tasting room!

Another stand out beer was Catalyst, a saison with Brettanomyces.  Beautiful lemon zest, dry, crisp, amazingly refreshing!

Holly’s favorite beer was Night and Day, a German style Schwarzbier (dark Lager) with roasty coffee notes, but still crisp enough and with a low ABV, this beer suits both cold winter days and hot summer nights, baby!

Please, no butts.  

Our bartenders at Tørst mentioned that Threes Brewing had a pop up shop in the neighborhood, with beer to stay and to go, and merchandise.  Apparently, they took over their friend’s lease after he had to close his restaurant, and were testing the waters to see if a full time restaurant and beer bar would be feasible.

Pop Up Beer Bars?  Where do I sign up??

Gorgeous bar at the Threes Pop Up Shop @ Franklin & Kent in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.  Cans and Growlers to go, as well as Merchandise, with draft lines.

Holly Kay and I are drinking Unreliable Narrator IPA, and Bradco is drinking I Hate Myself IPA.

It’s clear that Threes doesn’t take itself too seriously, making juicy, hazy IPAs with self deprecating names like Unreliable Narrator, I Hate Myself, SFY (the beer formerly known as Superf*ckingyawn), and Constant Disappointment.  (Greenpoint made what I can only imagine is a response beer, a juicy, low ABV Pale Ale with oats, called Constant Reassurance…).

The tap list was small, and IPA-heavy (hey, if you’re going to attract people in Brooklyn to an out of the way spot, the same people who line up overnight for Other Half’s hazy juice bombs, this is the way to do it), but I’ve never had a bad beer from Threes.  Their pils, Vliet (pronounced “VLEET”), is not to be missed, and they make some of the best saisons I’ve ever tasted.

Bradco checking his beer into Untappd probably.

As we’d already made our way north through Greenpoint, we figured we’d share a cab to our favorite Long Island City brewery, Big Alice Brewing.

Not sure who was more excited.  Holly Kay?  Bradco?  That lady?  (The correct answer is: That lady.)

Our awesome bartender friend Annie greeted us with a smile, even as the bar was packed!  

We didn’t get our usual spots at the bar, but we snagged a space around a barrel in the brew house and ordered a flight of 6 beers to share…

Look at all the pretty colors!

Highlights:

Smoked Saison!  Beautiful floral and lemon notes, with a nice smokiness.  Bradco said it reminded him of smoked salmon.  Loved the peaty, campfire smoke on the nose and taste.  It’s such a departure of what I usually gravitate towards, and it was a nice refreshing change.
Date Night, Bro?  A stout brewed with Donuts! Sweet, toasty, bitter.

Peppermint Stout.  It was like a liquid Thin Mint.  I ain’t mad.

Lemongrass Kolsch.  People need to make more Kolsch.  It’s so crisp, bright, and citrusy, with some beautiful fruity esters from the yeast.  Lemongrass adds just the right amount of tart.  It makes me want to drink one after I mow my lawn (?  I live in an apartment in Queens…  A man can pretend to have a lawn, can’t he?)

Everyone’s favorite.  Jalapeño Rye IPA.  I’ve written about this one before, but it’s surprising each time I sip it.  The pepper is a wonderful addition to the spice from the rye and citrus from the hops.  Drink this!!!
After Big Alice, we parted ways with Bradco, went and got massages in Astoria at our favorite place, and went home to watch Quantico before bed, because we like to pamper ourselves sometimes.  

We had a wonderful day with Brad, and felt so welcomed everywhere we visited (of course).

All in all, not a bad little Saturday.  Oh, also, watch Quantico.  It’s on Netflix…

Until next time…

Cheers!

Po’ Boy Brewery, or How Bobby Created a Bayou in an Industrial Park Behind Fun 4 All in Port Jefferson…

A couple of weeks ago, Holly Kay wrote the first guest blog post (you can read that over HERE!) about the beginning of her Craft Beer journey, which involved our friends at the Long Island Beer and Malt Enthusiasts (LIBME), and one particular instance where she ate spicy pork with ghost peppers.

In our time with LIBME, we got to know Bobby Rodriguez, the multi-talented beer lover, beer judge, pepperhead (who do you think gave Holly that pork with ghost peppers?), brewer and cider maker extraordinaire.  Two weekends ago, after years of homebrewing and hard work building the brewery and tasting room, Bobby opened up Po’ Boy Brewery, in Port Jefferson Station, which is Long Island’s only Farm Brewery and Cidery (meaning the beer and cider must come primarily from locally grown farm ingredients.), and one of the few spaces in the country that is legally allowed to both brew and serve cider and beer in the same location.

Bobby and his team worked long and hard, and built the space themselves, while still working full-time jobs, and you can feel the love and care that was put into the space (I’ll put up plenty of pictures).  They opened their doors to the public on January 27th.

I brought my whole family over to the brewery, located feet from the Port Jefferson LIRR station, on Sunday, January 29th (so all you NYC Folk, you can take the train out to Port Jeff, hit up Po’ Boy, and then a quick Uber ride down the hill to C’est Cheese and Port Jeff Brewing Company, and then stop at Port Jeff Beverage for a beer to take on the train with you!).

When you walk in, it’s like stepping out of an industrial park (behind Fun 4 All Port Jay), and into the bayous of Louisiana.

Vines hang from the ceiling, the wallpaper depicts scenes from a beautiful green forest, animal heads adorn the walls, the bar is made of gorgeous dark hardwood, with 8 tap handles that look like thick tree branches, that directly contrast the brilliant gold metal draft system attached to the wall.  All the signage looks like Tom Sawyer painted it on broken pieces of fence.  It’s simply magical.  You step out of Port Jefferson and into a magical world of enchanting elixirs!

Bobby had 4 beers and 4 ciders on draft (also, an alligator on duty).

Beers:

Days of Ray, a classic Golden Ale, crisp, with honey sweetness from the malt.

Old Kentuckian, a Kentucky Common, bold, malty, and sweet.

Hopalescence, an IPA, malt forward, with herbal hop character.

Darkel, a classic Dry Irish Stout, with roast coffee and chocolate flavors.

Ciders:

Straight Up, a common cider, sweet, dry, crisp and fruity.

Merry Moscato, a moscato flavored cider, reminiscent of the sweet wine.

Berry Blush, a mixed berry cider, with beautiful sweetness from the berries.

Sangria Sunset, a sangria flavored cider, with dark cherry and fresh, citrus fruit.

 

The beers are tasty, and in various malt-forward styles, a refreshing change from all the hop forward beers I usually gravitate towards, but Bobby’s ciders truly shine (or I guess I should say, sparkle).  

I think the consensus was that the Sangria Sunset was our favorite, as evidenced by this photograph:

Mom loves it!

Chris went for a Cider flight!

The entrance to the brew house, in the area behind the tasting room.

A beautiful tribute to our late friend Ed Hahne.  Ed was a music teacher with my Mom for many years, and was also a member of LIBME with his amazing wife, Lee Ann.  I remember he used to bring his home brew to parties at my parents house when I was little.  My Dad found this photo in the entryway to the brew house as he walked around with my Nephew, Silas.  We love and miss you, Ed!

A glass of Sangria Sunset and an awesome burlap coaster!

I visited again the following weekend, and Bobby was selling a limited New England Tropic Cider, made with cranberries (New England) and pineapple (Tropic!). My brother Chris and I kicked the keg it was so damn good.

Thank you Bobby and Wesam for your hospitality!  You can tell how much love and hard work you put into the tasting room, and into the beer and ciders themselves.  We’ll absolutely be back!

Until next time!

Cheers!

Benson’s NYC, or Beer Plus Carolina Reaper Peppers Equals Patrick Drooling on Himself…

Friday night, nearly two weeks ago, just before 6pm, I was picking up Holly Kay from her new (!!!) job.  

We wanted to celebrate her amazing accomplishments in her career, so I stood outside the corporate office at Burberry (which, by the way, is not pronounced Bur-Berry, but BBBBBBBBBHHHHUUUUU-BBBBHHHHHUUUUUUU-EEEEEEE) until Holly was finished, trying to find a place where we could have a celebration drink, before heading off to our friend Brian’s birthday party.

We had a few hours before it was slated to begin, so we decided to kill two birds with one stone, and head down to Benson’s NYC, on Essex St. on the Lower East Side, the venue chosen by our friend Tanya (who just so happens to be MARRIED to Brian), for some dinner and drinks before the official start of the bacchanal (as Tanya described it, “snacks and drinks”) .

We walked through Rockefeller Center, which is always magical, no matter what time of year, over to the downtown F train, and reminisced over her first few weeks on the job.  

One of the best things is, whenever anyone asks about her new job, she gets to tell them she works in Fashion.  It’s super great, you guys.  My wife works in Fashion!  Is there a magazine called In Fashion?  If there isn’t, there should be.

EDIT: There isn’t.  I used Google.  But I have a feeling that if you started a fashion magazine called In Fashion that In Style would be really cheesed off.  But, you know, you do you.

Oh wait…  This is a blog about beer.

Let’s talk about Benson’s NYC.

We arrived just before 7pm, and we were STARVING.  I’d read really good things about their burgers.  We sat down and glance at the drink menu, and lo and behold, Benson’s was having a Flying Dog tap takeover!

We were introduced to Annie, our bartender (also, as it turns out, Manager and Co-Owner of Benson’s!).  We ordered the Classic hamburger and the special Mac and Cheese with bacon.  The food was awesome, the burger was cooked perfectly, with oozing, melty cheese all up on top of it, with grilled onions, and the Mac and Cheese had big, thick chunks of smokey, succulent bacon.

Holly started off drinking the Jalapeño White, a refreshing, crisp white ale, with just a slight bit of heat from the Jalapeño peppers.  She said it got hotter as she drank it, but it still had really beautiful orange citrus, with a nice malt backbone, and the greenness you get from smelling and tasting a fresh Jalapeño.  It was really nicely balanced.

I decided to have a taste of the Carolina Reaper, a Peach 🍑 IPA with Carolina Reaper peppers.  I took one sip, and was completely overwhelmed by the heat.  It was so hot, in fact, as I was trying to chat romantically with my sweetheart, I literally drooled on myself!  Too hot!  Spicy fire bad!!  🔥🔥🔥👹☠️. I love spicy food, and I love pepper in beers, but the heat was completely overpowering, and I couldn’t taste any peach or citrus from the hops.  Straight up hot fire.

I went with one of my favorites from Flying Dog, the Raging Bitch Belgian IPA (excuse my language).

Nice doggy.  This is an old picture, but I love Flying Dog’s bottle art.

What I love about Belgian IPAs is the citrus from the hops does a sexy lil’ tango with the bubblegum, banana, floral esters from the Belgian yeast.  

Esters are the flavors described above that occur during fermentation of a beer.  “Ethanol combines with fatty acids and a molecule called acetyl coenzyme (ACOA) forming ethyl acetate.”  (Thanks for that, Beersmith.com!)

Brian, the birthday boy, arrived a short while later, as did Tanya, Jerry and Vidhya, Shane and Chi, and Arun and Diana.  

How did I capture a picture of Brian that looks like his mouth is in motion but the rest of him is still?  Well, there was candied bacon in that box, so, you do the math…

We chatted with our friends, enjoying the evening, and Holly ordered the Sea Salt Caramel Brown.  It was VERY sweet, with just a touch of salt.  It’s a nice beer to go alongside dessert, but I’d stick with just a few ounces to go along with, say, a chocolate cake with some ice cream (oh man, now I REALLY want chocolate cake and ice cream.)

Brian (left) and Shane!  

I reminisced with Jerry about our beer adventures this past March in Houston for Tanya and Brian’s wedding.  We went to Saint Arnold Brewing Co. and 8th Wonder Brewing.  At Saint Arnold, we won giant Jenga.  How is that possible, you ask?  Well, we removed literally every block without it toppling over.  So it was a win-win-win.

A photo of Jerry and I, faces swapped.

Shane ordered a bottle of Freshie Salt & Pepper Gose from an Nomad Brewing Co. in Australia.  This was a really nice treat, as we don’t see a lot of Australian beer here in the US.  It was bright, tart, salty, with just a hint of smokiness from the black pepper.  Lovely!

And check out the squid on that bottle!!

I was telling Annie about the blog, and she pulled out this fresh Finback IPA from the fridge to share with me!  Thanks, Annie!

Annie was asking me what local breweries Holly Kay and I love, and of course I mentioned Singlecut Beersmiths (They saved our life, REMEMBER??).  Sure enough, about 15 minutes later, they tapped Singlecut Dean Pacific Northwest Mahogany Ale, a delicious amber ale with notes of fresh pine and freshly squeezed oranges.  A delight!

We had a wonderful night with friends, celebrating Holly’s new job, Brian’s birthday, and simply enjoying the company of our dear friends.

Thank you again to Annie and Benson’s NYC for the awesome hospitality, definitely check them out next time you’re in Manhattan!