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!

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