Live from Il Bambino, Or I’m Literally Typing This With a Mouthfull of Smoked Tomato Bisque

See?

Hey all!  More Ireland blogs are coming shortly!  Tonight, Holly Kay had her dentist appointment right around the corner, so obviously, we stopped into Il Bambino on 8th St. in NYC for Happy Hour.  And it’s bustling!

Bustling!

Manager Ryan Keogh is always 100% about hospitality, even when multitasking and doing the job of 1,000.  I’ve called him King Keogh since we worked alongside each other in 2010, and I maintain that he’s the kindest, most hardest working person in the industry.  Just, pure gold.  It’s ok, Holly Kay knows my love for Ryan.


Il Bambino now has Greenport Harbor Brewing  Co. Black Duck Porter on tap.  And it’s only $5 for Happy Hour.  It’s roasty, with notes of coffee and chocolate, and tons of body for a 4.7%ABV porter.  This is an absolutely killer beer.

Holly Kay and I shared a Smoked Tomato Bisque Soup (Shoop) and a Fontina Panini with truffle oil, and I enjoyed a Bells Two Hearted Ale…

We finished our meal with a crostini with goat cheese and fig spread, and I’m so sorry, I annihilated it before I could take a picture…  But, here ya go…

I devouered this tasty morsel…
Go here.  Now.  If you get here soon, you might see us.

I love you all!

www.ilbambinonyc.com

Get here!

Highlands, Sea Bright, and Carton Brewing Company, or “Everything is Legal in New Jersey”, Part II

WHEN WE LAST LEFT OUR FEARLESS, ATTRACTIVE ADVENTURERS…

We had just finished up at Carton Brewing Company, and we were STARVING. The evening prior, we were headed to Tommy’s Tavern and Tap, as we’d heard great things about their tap list, brick oven pizza, and sushi (how can you go wrong across the street from the Atlantic Ocean?), but the power had gone out in the town of Sea Bright, and they, along with most of the other shops and restaurants in the neighborhood, had closed early. We decided we would go to Tommy’s to quench our powerful hunger (If you’ll recall Part I, we had only eaten 2 things of Auntie Anne’s pretzel nuggets and two Diet Cokes since breakfast…)

By this point, we were both exhausted, still trying to wind down from our day-to-day stresses, (I believe I’ve mentioned how stressful and wonderful it is living in this hectic, smelly, gross, beautiful, monster that is NYC), and I began to feel very emotional, and also a little bit guilty. I told Holly that I felt like I was dragging her around on all these beer vacations, and I was upset because I never wanted her to feel like we were doing something she didn’t want.

She cocked her head a little bit, and smiled, and said “I suggested we do these types of trips, so that you had things to write about for the Blog. Also, I love any vacation where we’re together. You’re not dragging me anywhere.” She also told me that she hates when other people take credit for her ideas. We both cried a little bit more (stress is weird, you guys) and ordered what any two grown adults would, chicken fingers and pizza, which were comforting and delicious.


But wait… Isn’t this a Beer Blog?

Yes it is!  It’s the BENEDICT Beer Blog, and Holly brought up an amazing point, (after I asked her if I should leave that last part in) that sometimes it’s good to get some insight into our lives, because my goal with this blog is to talk about our life, our love, and our adventures and how craft beer is involved.

So, now the beer!

Holly and I split a Kane Brewing Head High IPA. Kane Brewing is another brewery about 15 miles south of Highlands, which unfortunately wasn’t open during our stay. Thankfully, most of the bars with craft beer carry their selections on tap, and we were lucky to have tried this. Flavors of juicy pineapple, orange rind, and pine dominate, with some grassiness, and cracker. At 6.5% ABV, this is crushable.

New Jersey is literally inside this beer!

We had seen this cute little boutique wine and beer shop, Cork & Barrel Wine and Spirits (I’m still amazed in states that sell beer, wine and liquor in the same store). We were hurried into the store quite quickly, not really knowing what was going on, but the employee filled us in, saying one of their regulars had called to see if they were open, and they were turning off all the lights to play a prank on them. They told us to hide towards the back of the store, which we did. When the customer showed up, they pretended as if they were closing up shop and leaving, and I’m not sure they got the reaction they wanted, but Holly and I appreciated being a part of the joke.

We were recommended a bottle of wine from the 90+ cellars, a company that partners with respected wineries from around the world, puts their label on the wine and sells it for less. We ended up with a delicious Malbec for around $10. Not bad.

When we got back to our wonderful, luxurious AirB&B, I think we maybe had a sip or two of wine before falling asleep. We were so thrilled to still have a full day ahead of us (we’re not used to two-day weekends, yo.), and so exhausted from all our activities (Boardwalking, Apple Picking, Drinking, Eating, Crying), we fell asleep with no trouble.

The next morning we were met with another amazing breakfast, this time, a scrambled egg dish with tomato sauce, a side of fresh fruit, and a toasted English muffin with a sweet basalmic drizzle. Also, a fresh pot of coffee. We took our coffee to the porch to plan our 2nd (!!!) day off together, and this morning, unlike the last, was warm, and the sun was out in full force. Today. Today would be our day at the beach, our last “See Ya Later!” to summer.

But first, we explored the Twin Lights of Navesink, a historical site about a half mile from the AirB&B. This monument consists of two identical lighthouses (one of which offers a spiraling, multi story staircase leading to incredible views of Sandy Hook Bay, the Atlantic Ocean, and New York City). It was a bit hazy that morning, but we were still offered some stunning views.

One of the lighthouses!

The other lighthouse!

View from the top!

View of Sandy Hook Bay and the Atlantic Ocean!

We realized before we went to the beach that we didn’t have any towels, so we made a quick pit stop at Target, (which of course turns into a nearly $70 excursion, but we get 5% off with our Target card!) and walked out with towels, I forget what else, and a fresh copy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts I and II in Hardback.

We spent nearly 4 hours on the beach. Now, if you know what Holly Kay and I look like, basically take the palest thing you can think of, and multiply it by 856,462. That’s how pale we are. So we set up our awesome little beach umbrella and our Home Depot branded chairs, and Holly Kay read the Harry Potter play to me, and also we dipped our feet in the ocean as it was about -856,462 degrees. I also made a fun Facebook Live video with facts about the ocean and the Jersey Shore (which were 100% factual and not at all made up by me on the spot).

After we were sufficiently beached-out, we took a walk over to Tommy’s Tavern and Tap (which was open!), and made a new friend. I will not give his name, but he was in charge of his company purchasing another company that was going out of business, which I won’t name, but it makes really famous sweet treats and rhymes with Schmostess. He bought us two rounds of drinks, lamented to us about how his brother talked him out of purchasing a boat, his mansion down the road, etc. It was amazing. 

Kane and a Cocktail!

I started with a Kane Head High, and moved on to a Brooklyn Bel Air Sour, a nice, tart citrus refreshing brew from Brooklyn Brewery. I find I’m never blown away by anything from Brooklyn, but I’m never mad at them, either. Everything they do is solid and their six packs are usually super cheap and will do in a pinch. Don’t know what to bring to your friend’s party? Pick up a six pack of anything from Brooklyn. Can’t go wrong.

Cute little seaside town!

Before we headed back to the city, we wanted to take advantage of our proximity to the ocean and decided on a seafood feast at Bahr’s Landing. We had fresh oysters, grilled lobster, fried scallops, shrimp, and cod, and french fries. They had Carton Brewing Company’s Wit Whale on tap, it’s zesty orange notes playing off the probably 856,462mg of sodium we took in from all the food. What a way to end a vacation.

Carton Wit Whale and a view of the bay!

Love!

Sometimes it’s necessary to take little trips away, even for just a day or two, to reset and relax. I think Holly Kay and I squeezed every last drop of relaxation we could out of our time in Jersey, and because of the hospitality of our hosts Robin and Robert, will absolutely make our way back here to enjoy the seemingly innumerable restaurants and bars we’ve been recommended.

Enjoy yourselves! Drink amazing beer! Holly Kay and Patrick love each and every one of you!

Thanks for reading.
Cheers!

Pucker Up, or Just Another Article About Sour Beers And Also This One is Funny, I Hope!

I came here this week on the advice of two of our followers (still waiting for inspiration to strike on what to call you!!), Shelbie and Rick (whose Blog, Rickommended, posted its second blog entry today, and is all about food!), to write a post about Sours.  

Proof!

Lo and Behold, a few hours before I start to write, I see this link pop up on my Facebook page…

When Tart, Pungent and Funky Mean It’s a Good Brew

Dammit.  The New York Times writes an article on sour beer the day before I decide to write an article on sour beer.

You know what, though?  Their article, while quite well written, is dry.  It’s nice to see beer, and in this case, specifically sour beer, getting press.  Sours are amazing beers, and quite difficult to get right (basically you rely on a bacteria to infect your beer to impart the tart, sour flavor).  I enjoy their rating system (one to four stars) and they’ve got some great beer on their list.  But there’s no wit!  There’s no snap!  There’s no pizzazz!  I’d like to think that Benedict Beer Blog is full of wit.  And what’s interesting is, as I’m writing this, I cracked open a half growler of what should have been a LIC Beer Project Higher Burnin’ IPA, a nicely balanced, juicy and sweet IPA, but was given the wrong beer, and I’m pretty sure it’s an Ommegang Witte.  So now, not only am I full of wit, I’m full of Witte.  Take that, New York Times!  Hahaaaa!  (That’s a triumphant Hahaaaa!)

Sour beers were first (purposely) brewed in Germany and Belgium.  Back in the early days of brewing, it was hard to find a beer that wasn’t sour, whether intentionally or unintentionally.  Brewers would reuse yeast from batch to batch, and sometimes the starter yeast would contain bacteria or wild yeast strains.  Now, Brewers intentionally use bacteria or wild yeast to give their beer an acidic flavor.  Three common bacterias used to intentionally sour beer are lactobacillus (mm…  Milky…), Brettanomyces (also, still not sure if I’m pronouncing this correctly.  I say “Brett-a-NAH-mih-seas”, but I think it’s actually “Brett-AAH-no-my-seas”. How U say it??), and Pediococcus (hehe, coccus).

Breweries sometimes have facilities away from their regular breweries so that their “regular” beers don’t get infected.  Even when these measures are followed, bacteria can still form (see the great Goose Island Bourbon County infection and recall of 2016).  I tasted an infected Goose Island Bourbon County Coffee Stout, which I reference in my first ever blog post!  Normal flavors of coffee, chocolate, vanilla, and booze, gave way to an almost raspberry chocolate cake because of the bacteria.  I liked it because I knew what I was in for, but I think a lot of people who paid a lot of money for that beer must’ve been pretty upset.  

Goose Island’s PR must be pretty fantastic (they got that AB-InBev money), they offered refunds and said they were learning from the new lactobacillus acetotolerans strain they discovered was causing the sour flavors.

One of the first sour beers I ever tasted was a Lambic, which is a spontaneously fermented sour (meaning they expose the beer to wild yeasts and bacteria found in the place it’s being brewed, mostly in Belgium).  The most famous, and sought after, brewery of these types of beer is Brasserie Cantillon, in Brussels.  I haven’t had a chance to try any Cantillon (my closest bet is to find it when it pops up at Tørst in Brooklyn), but it’s highly praised.  The first Lambics I tried were Lindemans Framboise (with raspberries added), and Brouwerij Boon Mariage Parfait Kriek (aged with cherries).  Another type of Lambic is Gueuze, a blend of new and aged Lambics.  These beers are sweet, tart, dry, and have a low ABV, so they’re great for summer (but drink them whenever you want because you’re an adult).

Let’s hop from Belgium over to Germany, yah?  Ict bin ein Berliner Weisse.  This is a German Wheat beer (what did I say?  This blog is so Witty!  Tell your friends!), low ABV, super tart and refreshing.  Here are a couple of my favorites:

Evil Twin Justin Blåbær, a Berliner Weisse brewed with blueberries.  Owner/brewer Jeppe Jarnit-Bergsö used to be a hair model, so they made a Teen Beat-esque label.  Baby, baby, baby, ohhhh…  This is one of Holly Kay’s favorite beers!

Westbrook Brewing Co Lemon Coconut Weisse Weisse Baby.  The tartness from the lemon is balanced by the smooth, creamy flavor of the coconut.  Oh, so tropical.  I shared this with Ryan Keogh, manager at Benedict Beer Blog favorite Il Bambino.  It reminded me of my honeymoon, and all the tropical fruit-infused Rum people were selling outside their homes on the walk from our hotel into town.  Yeah, we tried it and survived, and it was gooood.  I think this is a great, lower ABV option if you want to imagine being surrounded by the clearest ocean you’ve ever seen.  Loved this beer!

Another German sour style is called Gose (pronounced “Gose-uhhhh”…  Or, as Hermione Granger would say, “Win-GAR-Di-um Le-vi-GOSE-uhhhh”…  Also, why has nobody named a beer Wingardium LeviGose?). These sours are brewed with salt and coriander (!!) which makes these beers both tart, savory and with a bit of spice.  May look weird on paper, but trust a recipe that’s been brewed consistently since the 16th century in Germany…  It’s a relatively new style brewed in the US, but breweries like Westbrook and Lost Nation have some classic examples of the style.

Sour, Salty, Delicious.

Evil Twin and Two Roads Geyser Gose, inspired by a trip the Brewers took to Iceland, and brewed with Icelandic moss,  rye, herbs, Skyr (an Icelandic yogurt) and birch-smoked sea salt.  Sounds weird?  Sure.  Tastes amazing?  Absolutely.  

Evil Twin makes another Gose, called Mission Gose, that features the addition of Eucalyptus, which upped the refreshment factor by adding an herbal, almost minty quality to the tart citrus.  Amazing.

Modern Times Fruitlands Gose with Apricot.  The base beer is already sour, salty, and funky, and the addition of apricot rounds out the sweet, fruity flavor and is absolutely devine.  Get this beer if you find it. 

Two other styles of Belgian sours are Flanders Red and Oud Bruin.  Flanders Red are usually blended with both fresh and mature beer to adjust the flavor.  If you’re interested, try to find Rodenbach, it’s a classic interpretation of the the style.  Oud Bruin is a sour brown ale.  Try Goose Island’s Madame Rose, or Mikkeler Juice Bag.  I’ve loved both of those!

Most sours brewed in the US get lumped into another category called American Wild Ales.  The bacteria in these beers are either cultured or spontaneously fermented.  Here are a few of my facorites:

Grimm Rainbow Dome.  Grimm has made some amazing hoppy beers, and what they’ve done here is dry hop a sour ale with El Dorado, Columbus, and Cascade hops.  This leaves an unfiltered, gorgeous glass of basically orange juice.  So tropical, fruity, and absolutely crushable.

Stillwater and Other Half Rockstar Farmer.  OK, technically, this is a Farmhouse Session IPA, but it is fermented with Brettanomyces, so I’m counting it.  What I love about this beer is that in addition to the citrus tartness, you get some dankness from the hops, and funk, hay, and earthiness from the Brett.  Soooooooo damnnnnnnn goooooooood.  Shared this bad boy with Holly Kay over some salame and gorgonzola Crostinis with honey.

Finback Starchild, a sour ale brewed with grapefruit peel, which adds a nice citrusy bitterness to the acidity of the beer.  Another amazing brew from these folks in Queens (Ridgewood, Queens, represent, represent-sent)!
Pucker up, folks, and go out and try some sour beer!!  Hope you all enjoyed this walk through of this style, and I’m hoping you’ll all find something you love!

Cheers!

A Love Letter to Moustache Brewing Company, or “Hey, didn’t that guy used to be in a ska band?”

I’m back in New York!  We’ve taken a hard jump right into summer, it seems we’ve skipped right over spring, but I’m wearing shorts, and that’s ok by me.  My pale, white body is craving some Vitamin D that I don’t receive in the form of gummies that Holly and I bought at Target.  (Although I will still keep taking them because they’re basically candy.)

We’re going to go back in time to just about 5 years ago.

Holly and I had just gotten married, and had moved out to Long Island.  At this point, my knowledge of craft beer was still pretty limited.  I knew how to describe the flavor, and how it made me feel, but if I had the selection of beer available now (again, to my still semi-limited knowledge), five years ago, I think I might have been completely overwhelmed.  So, I think Holly and I met Matthew and Lauri Spitz at just the right time.


Look at these two friendlies!  And check out that SHAG tattoo!

I worked with Matt at “Fruitz R Us” (that’s not the actual name), and we became fast friends because A. He’s awesome.  B. I’m ok too, I guess.  C. We both love beer.  D. Shoeberry Jam.  E. Check out that sweet moustache. At this point, Matt had been homebrewing for a long time, and knew waaaaaaaaay (look at all those A’s!) more about Craft Beer than I did.  We started hanging out outside of work, and that’s how Holly and I got to meet Matt’s wife, Lauri.

We quickly became friends, and they were the reason Holly and I signed up for LIBME, or, The Long Island Beer and Malt Enthusiasts.  LIBME is a group that meets monthly at different restaurants and breweries on Long Island to socialize and talk about beer.  They are also a member of the American Homebrewers Association, and participate in homebrewing competitions throughout Long Island. We joined as Charter Members, which gave us discounts at local bottle shops and restaurants, and we attended multiple meetings and met some amazing people.

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A LIBME meeting at Long Ireland Brewing Company where Holly won a pint glass and Matt creeped on her like a big, moustachioed, handsome creep!

Along with Matt and Lauri, and among many great folks, (Tim Sal and Joshua Hawkins, I’m talking about you!) we met Phil Ebel, fellow Disney Nerd, formerly of Great South Bay Brewery, and now Beer Ranger at New Belgium Brewing (which just began distributing to New York!  Go grab some!), and his lovely wife Katie.  We also found out at the first meeting we attended that my family friends Lee Ann and Ed Hahne were also members!  Ed passed away, tragically, nearly two years ago.  Some of my fondest memories of him were, when I was younger, when he used to bring six packs of his homebrewed beer to my parents’ house for parties (he was a music teacher with my Mom), and also, being able to spend time with him and Lee Ann at our LIBME gatherings to talk about beer, and music.  If we hadn’t joined LIBME, we may not have reconnected with him, but I’m so glad we did, and so thankful for those memories.  I miss that dude, a lot!  (Matt and Lauri made an amazing beer in his memory, which you’ll see later in this post)

LIBME was like a giant, extended family, that reached all over Long Island.  The beer community on Long Island is so strong, and everyone is supportive of one another.  As I mentioned earlier, Matt and Lauri had been homebrewing for several years, and were able to start their amazing brewery, Moustache Brewing Co., in part because of a Kickstarter they ran, called “We’re Growing a Moustache!” that raised just over $31,000 to help them realize a dream they’d been…  Well, dreaming, for so many beers…  I mean, years (since 2005, when they brewed their very first beer!).

Before the brewery opened, we would spend time with Matt and Lauri, both at LIBME meetings and elsewhere.  One of my favorite evenings was a bottle share that we had at Andrew and Katherine’s (two more amazing LIBME members) house.  It was epic.  That night, I got to try Sam Adams Utopias for the first time.

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Some delicious selections at this particular bottle share…  Including Sam Adams Utopias (27% ABV) and Brewmeister Armageddon (65% ABV).


Lauri modeling one of the highest ABV beers ever made.
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Lauri’s Instagram Post from January, 2013 of Holly chugging a bottle of The Bruery Rugbrod and me making a normal face…

Hanging out with Matt and Lauri offered Holly and I so many amazing opportunities to taste some of Moustache’s many delicious libations in their early stages.  I had the opportunity to spend the day with Matt in his father’s backyard while he brewed Moustache Everyman’s Porter, a 4.5%, black as night, Porter, with intense coffee and chocolate, both on the nose and palate, something you can drink in the dead of winter by the fire, or in the intense, Long Island, summer heat.  Go to Riverhead, drink this beer.  It’s unreal.


A crushable Everyman’s Porter, straight from the source.

I believe it was around this time that they were also brewing their Mojito Pale Ale, which tastes just as insanely delicious as it sounds.  Brewed with fresh lime zest (HAND ZESTED!!) and mint (HAND…  MINTED?), it’s a lime citrus forward Pale Ale with refreshing mint, that will also ward off Scurvy.  I promise.  Give this to all of your pirate friends.  They’ll thank ya later.  (Also, if you have pirate friends, send them my way.  I want pirate friends.)

In April of 2014, we were able to attend the Kickstarter Backers preview at the new Moustache Brewing Company in Riverhead.  It was so special to see the outpouring of love from Matt and Lauri’s friends and family as they poured their beers, sort of officially, for the first time.  These two had been working their butts off for as long as I’d known them to get their business, their love, their baby, up and running.

Cheers!


Kickstarter Backers Board at Moustache Brewing Company in Riverhead, NY!

A few days later, we were at their official Grand Opening, where Matt shaved off his bushy winter beard, AKA his Rally Beard (after which they have named a once-a-year Rally Beard IIPA) revealing the eponymous Moustache, and beginning a tradition that has been replicated at both their first and second anniversary parties!

IMG_0900 Authentic barber’s chair for the shaving of the Rally Beard at the Grand Opening of Moustache Brewing Company, April 2014.

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Revealing that glorious, glorious Moustache that everyone knows and loves.  And Matty’s sweet cheeks!

Since they’ve opened two years ago, people have been asking for their amazing brews across Long Island, in New York City, and even stretching into Upstate New York.  They’ve already gotten larger fermenters so they can make more beer for your face.  They’ve released some special, barrel aged beers, like Snügg, an Old Ale aged in French Oak Bordeaux barrels, that is inspired by Glögg, a spiced, mulled wine, and most recently, a Bourbon Barrel-aged Blueberry and Ginger Tripel, that will be released next Saturday, June 4th.  (I’ve had the non-barrel-aged version of this beer, and it tastes like a Blueberry scone, it’s unbelievable.)
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Look at these gorgeous barrels…


“But I was just looking for the bung hole!” -Is something I probably said about 100 times.

They’ve also made beer for charity.  Buffalo Theory, a Double IPA, was made in memory of our friend Ed Hahne, was brewed with hops from his garden, and all proceeds from the beer were donated to the charity in his name at Stony Brook University.  They also participated in the Craft Cares IPA, with breweries from all over Long Island, which was given out in exchange for two non-perishable cans of food, for Long Island Craft Beer Week.

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They took a blank canvas inside of a warehouse and designed an amazing tasting room.
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Gorgeous bar at Moustache Brewing Company.
IMG_0212 Decorated for the Holidays!
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Holly and our dear friends Pete and Kelsey Shelly on Opening Day, 2014!

I wanted to write a post about Matt and Lauri, because they have worked so hard, and are so passionate, they have helped shape me into the sort-of knowledgable beer geek I am today.  It wasn’t an easy road for them (you can ask them), but they’re doing amazing things for the community.  Their dedication to their art is inspiring, and people are chomping at the bit for their beer to be in restaurants and bars all over New York.  So look out for these guys, because they’re going to be all over the place before you know it.

For now, head over to their gorgeous brewery and tasting room in Riverhead, and follow them on Facebook here to see what’s on tap!  (I suggest the Franco ‘Murica, a pale ale brewed with French Saison yeast!)

Until next time, Cheers!

Counting my Blessings

This is a blog about beer.

But first…  Love.

I’ll start off by saying, I really miss my wife, Holly.  I’m in California for three weeks for work, and I’ve met some cool people, I also have had the opportunity to travel here with some awesome Coworkers, and all around good sons, Alex and Daniel.  I am their Dad.  Not even their Work Dad.  I am their actual Father.  You can ask them.

But, being away from the one person you love most in this world is really hard.  Yes, she’s coming to visit next weekend (which I’m over the moon about!!), but we haven’t been apart this long in… Ever.  The most we’ve been apart is about a week, and even that was difficult. (Although, last time we were apart she was in Mexico, and she got to hang glide off of a boat and also they have Tequila in Mexico so…  She won that round.). The time difference also doesn’t help.  I’ve been waking up at 7am PST, and she’s already at work.  When I get out at 6pm, it’s 9pm on the East Coast.  So, it’s not ideal, but it definitely makes me appreciate all the time we’ve been able to spend together over the last 7 years.  (I love you, Holl!!)

My Gorgeous Lady.

This is a blog about beer.

But first, food.

I’ve finally gotten used to the time difference, aka I’m not exhausted and trying to keep my eyes open at 10pm.  I’ve had some amazing food since we’ve gotten here.  I ate Korean BBQ at a restaurant called Gooyi Gooyi, (which you’ll now find yourself shouting out loud to yourself, ya weirdo), and had beef tongue for the first time, as well as all the other meat you could possibly imagine.  

GOOYI GOOYICooking up some of that beef tongue, baby!

Kimchi Fried Rice and Pork Belly

My suitemate, Ali, is from Iran.  He took us to a Persian restaurant called Arya, and he lit up like a Christmas tree when he saw the menu.  He looked at the waitress, smiled, and said “This reminds me of my childhood.”  It’s amazing how food and drink can transport someone to another time and place.  We all decided what we wanted, and he insisted he order for us.  He was so thrilled, because where he lives now (Charlotte, North Carolina), he’s unable to get good Persian Food.  And Cupertino, I’ve learned, has one of the largest Persian populations in America.  He even bought fresh Persian sour fruit (he can’t ever find it fresh in North Carolina) and mailed it to his wife and 2-year-old son in Charlotte.

From L to R, Myself, Alex, Ali, and Daniel.

But yeah, this is a blog about beer!

I haven’t gone on any beer adventures yet (I’m hoping to get to Lagunitas, in Petaluma, and Russian River, in Santa Rosa.  I owe Justin “Panda” Mendes a Pliny the Elder.  I’d also love to hit up 21st Amendment in San Francisco.

Let’s talk about what I HAVE had.

Because, I don’t know if you’ve heard…  This is a blog about beer.


This. Is a sexy beer.  Green Flash West Coast IPA.  Because, when one is on the West Coast, even if one has had this beer before, and one can find a bottle that is fresh to death (as the kids say), one does not pass up this opportunity.  

This beer is 8.1% ABV, Made with Simcoe, Columbus, Cascade, Centennial, and Citra Hops, and a British Crystal Malt. Comes in at a whopping 95 IBU (emphasis on the WHOP)!!

I’m immediately smacked in the face by grapefruit, lemon zest, tropical citrus, sweet mango, pine, and floral notes.  Grapefruit and pine dominate the palate, with lingering caramel sweetness from the malt.
This beer grabs you, picks you up from wherever your lazy, near-lifeless body sits (warning: this beer gives ya the Jelly Legs), and drops you in a hammock in paradise with a good book and a tropical breeze.  Drink this beer.
My first time with this beer.  Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA.  Comes in at 6.5% ABV, so I was able to enjoy it and still cook a damn amazing burger.  I’ve heard a lot of great things, so my expectations were high.

Made with Citra and Mosaic (there she is again!  See earlier blog posts for my love letter to Mosaic).  Smell is Pineapple, grapefruit, orange.  Taste follows, but the malts balance the bitter citrus with a delicious, caramel sweetness.  I’m sad they don’t distribute to NY.


Stone Enjoy By 5.30.16 Tangerine IPA.  9.5%ABV.  90 IBU.  Ok.  Listen to these hops.  They just sing. Nugget.  Super Galena (COME ON HOW AM I NOT A HOP NAMER?).  Simcoe.  Delta (fly me to the moon).  Target (also mine and Holly’s favorite Department Store).  Amarillo.  Cascade (a waterfall of flavor).  Galaxy.  Citra.  Nelson Sauvin (The “Rico Suave” of hops).  Motueka.  Helga.

Helga.

Stone has been putting out this Enjoy By IPA for a few years.  As with all IPAs, as soon as it’s bottled, the hops begin to fade.  Stone’s goal was to brew a beer designed to be drank…  Real quick.  Within 37 days.  This batch was brewed with puréed tangerines, as if the citrus from the hops wasn’t enough.  I shared this beer with a bunch of people at the cookout, and my classmate Doug threatened to walk away with my glass.  Thankfully, he’s a classy gentleman and would never walk away with another man’s beer.  This is the best variant from this series that I’ve tasted.  Speaking of classy, this beer is just that.  I wowed multiple people with a taste of this bad boy, beer lovers and non-beer lovers alike.  These dudes at Stone know what’s up.

Tonight, Daniel and I met up with some former Coworkers, Chrissy and Steve.  We met up at BJ’s Brewhouse, which is a chain restaurant that brews their own beer.


From L to R, Daniel, Steve, Myself, Ram (hiding) and Chrissy

The beer was ordinary.  The company was amazing.  California has gained some amazing people over the past year, and I was so glad to be able to spend a bit of time with them.  

So, to recap, I miss my gorgeous wife, I’ve met some wonderful people, spent time with old friends, and had both ordinary and extraordinary brews.  

I look forward to the rest of my time here in California, and, as it’s nearly 2am PST, will fall asleep, counting my blessings.

Welcome to California!

I made it! I’m here in Cupertino for a work trip, and today was my travel day. I was on a six hour flight from New York, in which a young boy (read: Monster) was running up and down the aisles (all the while being lazily watched by his seemingly uncaring mother), and he was hitting everyone in an aisle seat, including myself. Remember the movie Clifford? With Martin Short? Think of that.

Definitely an image of the boy who kept smacking me and all of the other people on the aisle with his bacteria laden stickyfingers, and definitely not a picture of Martin Short as Clifford in the movie Clifford.

It’s 9:15pm PST, which means it’s 12:15am EST. I’ve been traveling since 9am EST, and I ate a Country Fried Steak and my buddy Alexander’s extra Oreo Shake at Denny’s. So, basically I’m ready to hibernate, like a full bellied, exhausted bear. But, at the end of a long travel day, comes a sweet, sweet, luxurious California reward! 

Sierra Nevada Five Hop Experimental IPA

5.8%ABV, made with “Experimental Hops”. Sierra Nevada’s website does not say what hops they use. Comes in at 60 IBUs. (IBU = International Bitterness Units)
This was bottled on 02/02/2016. I love my IPAs super fresh, as the older they get, the more the hops fade. When I opened this one, it smelled like fresh grapefruit, orange, and even some coconut and vanilla. It had a two finger, bright white, fluffy head, that stuck around for days, seemingly. Sierra Nevada makes such amazing quality beers, the age didn’t do much, although you can tell the hops faded a bit, especially on the nose. Taste is candied orange (less grapefruit than the nose), and dry. Another great beer from these dudes. I rated it a 3.75/5 on Untappd, only because it’s not super fresh. I bet I would bump it up if it were fresher.  
I wanted to post a quick beer review for my first beer in California! Stay tuned for more stories, I’ll be here for the next three weeks! Cheers!