Galway 2017 Day 1, or “Weren’t You Guys Just in Ireland?”

“Weren’t you just there 6 months ago?” was the question asked by a coworker when he found out Holly Kay and I were traveling to Ireland again.  

“…7.” was my response.

But hey, when one has a chance to spend time with family and amazing craft beer and whiskey friends, one jumps at the chance to go to Ireland again.

Also, there’s beauty everywhere you turn.

Like this…

And this…

Our home base was Galway, where you’ll find pubs like the Oslo Bar (former home of the Galway Bay Brewery), The Salt House (another of GBB’s flagship pubs) and Garavan’s, a world renowned Irish Whiskey bar.

Last time we were in Galway, we met Alan, manager at the Oslo Bar, and Darren, manager at Garavan’s.  (See my previous Galway posts HERE and HERE.). We were so happy to be able to meet up with them again, and bring some more craft beer for them to share as well.

But first, margaritas…

We had some DELICIOUS, PINT-SIZED margaritas at the airport (AKA GOODNIGHT!) and tried out our new fisheye lens clip for the iPhone (it was $10 but it got the job done, wouldn’t ya say?).

These were Blood Orange Margaritas.  I REPEAT. THESE WERE BLOOD ORANGE MARGS.  NIGHT NIGHT.

Shenanigans followed, of course…

Holly Kay’s just plane crazy!


I’m a huge James Carrey fan.

We landed in Shannon airport after an overnight flight having barely slept, and once we got our rental car, we stopped by one of our favorite places from our previous trip, Bunratty Castle and Folk Park.

We had a lovely few hours walking around, chatting with the groundskeepers and recalling our previous trip back in November.  

We had lunch at the Drumoland Castle, which was absolutely incredible….

Yeah.  This place.

It was absolutely unreal.

Yuh-huh…

We had a nice Cuppan Tae and some delicious sandwiches in the most beautiful room with the comfiest couches and chairs we’ve ever sat in.  

Having barely slept a wink, we were both nodding off.  But the chairs were so COMFYYYYY…

We stopped about halfway to Galway to get some beverages and gummy bears to keep us awake, and I was surprised to see that the latest, hazy, juice bomb, New England Style IPA trend had caught on even at gas stations in Ireland…


Because, aren’t all NE IPAs just Cloudy Lemon Sparkling Juice Drinks?  😘

We arrived in Galway and met up with my parents and our relatives, and went straight to our favorite pizza place, Dough Bros!  Alan had suggested this place to us the last time we were in Galway, and again, it did not disappoint.  We had 11 people with us at this point, and we all were able to snag tables around the restaurant, and everyone loved their pies.

Holly Kay and I shared a spicy Nduja sausage pie and a Margherita.  Both were great!  We were STARVING and also VERY tired.  Hi Mom and Dad!


Molly, Kelly and Gerard Powers.


I only know four people in this photograph (Ashleigh, Tim, Sean and Matt Powers) but zoom in on the dude in the background and you won’t be disappointed.

Hold on, isn’t this a beer blog?

This was new!  Dough Bros had Independent Brewing Company of Ireland create a session ale just for their restaurant!  This was a gorgeous, crisp, refreshing pale ale with biscuity malt, and juicy orange citrus hops.  What a perfect beer to compliment any of the Dough Bros pies.  Simple, clean, great stuff!

After dinner, we were all spent (the rest of the family traveled into Galway from Sligo, a few hour drive), so we stopped at the nearest convenience store to pick up some supplies for the week, and opted for a quick cab ride back to the AirB&B as it started to pour (as it does, in Ireland. 🇮🇪)


Makes for an amazing photo, though.  Galway’s so stinking beautiful!


I’m pretty sure Holly Kay and I conked out just after 9pm Ireland time (4pm New York Time) after having spent almost 40 hours without sleep, but this was the view from our bedroom, which was so special, so it was hard to go to bed even though we were so tired.  (Ok, I’m speaking for myself, Holly fell asleep on the chair in the living room 😜)

That’s it for Day 1!  Stay tuned for more fun!

Until next time,

Cheers!

Mothers Day Weekend, or, KanJam is a Lot Harder Playing One-Handed, But Losing is Easier When The Other Hand Has a Beer in it…

First off, I gotta say, if it weren’t for my Mom, you wouldn’t be reading the words on this page (or computer screen, iPhone, or Android device).  So, without Mom, there’d be no Benedict Beer Blog!  So, thanks, Mom!

Friday night, Holly Kay and I met up with Bradco (have you met Brad?  He’s great.). and our dear friend Dave at Dave’s place of employ for a few tasty beverages (Dave just had a baby, and thankfully was still able to pencil us in to his busy baby schedule).

Brad picked me up at work, like a Big Boy should, and I tried to sneak some pictures of him coming down the escalator into Grand Central, but little did I know he had my number…




That Cheeky Lil’ Bugger was taking pictures of me!  (To be fair, a few weeks back, I was also creepily taking photos of him as he walked in to meet me at Barcade, so, he was prepared this time).

Brad and I walked over to Whole Foods to pick up some tasty tasties for our friend gathering, and we each picked up a 6-pack of Threes Brewing Categorical Error, a Whole Foods Exclusive Hoppy Pale Lager.

What I love about this beer is that it’s low ABV, packs a beautiful, bright, citrus hop punch, with a dry finish, to leave you yearning for another sip.  This is the perfect summer beer, and pretty easy to get if you’re in New York and have a Whole Foods near ya.  So go get it, ya sillies!


Brad picked up a 4 pack of Mikkeller Brewing Fruit Face Berliner Weisse, this one brewed with Green Tea, Tangerine, and Lemongrass.  Another low ABV, tart, refreshing beer with candied fruit and citrus notes, another beer that’s great for a hot summer afternoon.  Don’t sleep on this one, either!

The following day, I met up with Brad and Nathan (you know Nathan?  He’s great!) at LIC Beer Project for their Pile of Crowns release party, as Holly was performing in two shows, one at 3pm, and one at 8pm.  Nathan and I had tickets to the 8pm show, and decided to make a day of it.  I completely miscalculated the LIC release, though, as usually, I can pick up cans of their latest beer for about a week or so after they’re released…

They opened at noon, we arrived at around 2:45pm, and they were sold out of three out of four beers they released that day.  I heard later that there was a tour bus of folks from Upstate NY, who arrived just after noon, and visited a number of NYC Breweries, annihilating any chance for us to pick up that sweet, sweet nectar with amazing can art…

Thankfully, they still had it on draft, and we were all happy to snag a glass of it at the (extremely packed) bar.


Nathan and I with Pile of Crowns, an unbelievably juicy, sticky sweet IPA with notes of pineapple, grapefruit, and dank pine resin that sits up there with all the heavy-hitter NE-style IPAs, in my opinion.  It was lovely on draft, although it was sad we couldn’t pick up a 4-pack, as the can art was absolutely stunning.


We did, however, pick up this delightful collaboration from LIC Beer Project and Mikkeller Brewing, Platinum Plus.  Clocking in at 5.5% ABV, with lovely, bright stone fruit flavors, dry, cracker-like malt, I’d love to see this all summer long.  Great stuff!

​​

Also, DJ Stretch Armstrong is the truth.

Of course, we ended up at Big Alice Brewing, because When in Rome…  *AHEM* Long Island City…  One always visit’s one’s favorite haunt…

I enjoyed one of my favorite brews, the spicy Jalapeño Rye IPA, with the heat from the jalapeño peppers balancing nicely with citrus and floral notes from the hops, with a sweet malt base to balance everything out.  Nathan enjoyed his first visit here as well.

Annie, our wonderful friend and bartender, was kind enough to share her homebrew with us, a mixed fermentation beer with brettanomyces, making for a dry, tart, complex brew that’s again, good for summer (noticing a theme here?)

Brad had to leave us to host a Murder Mystery Dinner Party (have I mentioned how great Brad is?) so Nathan and I decided on dinner at John Brown Smokehouse in LIC before seeing Holly in her awesome one-act play!  The burnt ends are my smoked meat of choice, and you can’t go wrong with any of their side dishes…  Also…


Uhhhh they had a bottle of Jester King Brewery Noble King Saison, blending bright citrus notes with grass, sweet banana, and a little funk to kick things into full gear.  Perfectly paired with them burnt ends, boi!

I can’t praise Holly Kay enough, (if you’ve read any of my other posts, I’m absolutely head over heels for her), and she was absolutely wonderful in her show, Love in the Time of Layoffs, a one-act written by our friend Diana, and directed by the one and only Tanya!  It was fantastic!


Mothers Day was a beautiful celebration as well, I bought this Grimm Mango Pop! to share with my brother, Chris, and I’d love to tell you how it was, except…


The top of the bottle broke as I attempted to open it, and thought it wasn’t worth a stomach full of eeny-weeny shards of glass.  Hopefully, I can snag another bottle and write about it later on, because I’m sure it’s a delight.


This can of Barrier Brewing Co. Kapow got in the way of my brother, Chris!  This wasn’t my favorite of their IPAs, but it’s a nicely balanced IPA that was the perfect beer to accompany our game of KanJam, which, by the way, is much harder playing one-handed.  Not sure why we made that rule, but I at least had this can to cry into when we lost.


Hashtag Squad Goals.  My cousins were super excited to make it into the blog, so here ya go, all you handsome fellas!

We’ve gotta begin and end with Mom!  We had a weekend filled with friends, family, and love.  Thanks Mom, for making it all possible!  

Until next time!

Cheers!​

Hunting for Henry Hops, or, How The Mets Were Down by 5 Before We Even Found Our Seats…


#LGM

Holly Kay and I love Citi Field.  It’s 20 minutes from our apartment, has amazing food, cheap seats, a great, local craft beer selection, and, you know, sometimes (just, like, sometimes…) the Mets play some good baseball.

A few weeks ago, I saw an article by Mikkeller Beer, that said they would be brewing and canning two exclusive beers for Citi Field (I’m not sure what the connection is, or why they didn’t get an NYC brewer to do this).  

Mikkeller is a Danish brewery run by Mikkel Bjorg Bjergsø, who, like his brother Jeppe, owner of Evil Twin Brewing, contract brews his beer with different breweries all over the world.  

The two beers feature Mikkeller’s mascots, Henry and Sally, as “1980’s era baseball cards”.  Henry Hops is a malt-forward IPA, clocking in at 6.5% ABV and Say Hey Sally is a floral, crisp Pils, a great low ABV option at 4.6%.

We bought Holly a really cute Mets beanie outside of the stadium, and headed into the stadium for some amazing Mets baseball.  

I had heard that these Mikkeller beers were a bit hard to find, and Holly and I were very hungry, which complicates things (you wouldn’t like us when we’re Hangry…) 

We stopped at the first Craft Beer stand we came across as we tried to find the best route to our seats (we got some amazing tickets on the Coca-Cola Corner, the artist formerly known as the Pepsi Porch, which is a great decision for Citi Field because Pepsi is garbage and Coke is the truth), and both Henry Hops and Say Hey Sally were listed on their signage, but when I asked for one, the bartender said “Not today!”, which made me nervous, thinking perhaps the WHOLE STADIUM RAN OUT 😳😭😵…

As I settled on the fact that my trek to find Henry and Sally might not pan out, we looked at the scoreboard as our hunger pangs grew stronger, to find that the Mets pitcher Robert Gsellman (that’s got to be a fake name) gave up 5 runs in the first inning.  At this point, we knew what we were in for.

Citi Field is awesome because, when the Mets begin to lose (which tonight, happened almost immediately), there are many distractions!  Like the pretty planes flying out of Laguardia!  Look at that pretty plane!  Every time we see a plane, Holly says “I wish we were on that plane, and flying some place tropical!”

We decided to walk to find how to get up to our seats, and figure out what food we wanted to eat.  We passed by an Empire State Craft beer stand, and I saw a glimpse of Mets orange through the frosted glass of the refrigerator…  Sally, the ol’ girl, was nestled snugly between the LIC Beer Project Dutch Kills Kolsch and the Queens Brewery Lager.  We snagged it as quickly as we could, and I wondered if we’d ever reunite Sally with her beloved Henry…  (I’m turning this into a love story because I don’t know Sally and Henry’s relationship.  Also, it makes things more dramatic, right?)

Sally was feeling lonely…

Holly suggested I ask where to find Henry Hops (I’d heard Henry was a lot harder to locate than Sally), so I asked, and the bartender said “You’ll find Henry over there, right past the nachos.”  Any directions that include nachos are my favorite directions.  So we followed those directions…

By the by, we still haven’t eaten.  Does this highten the drama?  It does, doesn’t it?

We looked to our right, and saw the nachos stand, still not knowing if we were being led astray…  Our hunger growing deeper.  Should we stop and munch on some delicious, gooey, cheesy nachos?  No, we must push on…  With each step, the dream of Henry Hops seemed further and further away (is this heightening the drama?)

Just past the nachos stand was a beer stand with 4 Blue Point Brewery draft lines, and a lineup of cans…  I caught a glimpse of Mets blue in that lineup, and I knew we’d found him.  Henry Hops…


“Reunited, and it feels so good…”

We heard some commotion, and saw some Mets fans spinning a wheel to win merchandise.  We signed up, and Holly spun and won a Mets hand towel (HAND TOWEL!) and I won a magnetic Mets Calendar (MAGNETIC METS CALENDAR!)

Holly had claimed Sally as her own, because Say Hey Sally is the perfect baseball beer.  It’s an amazing crisp, light, refreshing pils with some beautiful floral hops, that will pair with any food, without having to think too much about it.  It was delicious.


#gorgeous

Henry Hops is a malt forward IPA with some piny, bitter, citrus hops that changes as it warms.  When the beer is cold, the bready, biscuit malts dominate the palate, but as the game progressed, and the beer got warmer, and the Mets continued to lose (😩), the hops started to dance their mango, lemon, pineapple tango we all know and love.  


#handsome

The Mets were down by 5 runs in the first inning.  We’d found the exclusive Mikkeller beer.  We were starved.  Skies were gray.  We were at a baseball stadium.  We found the Coca-Cola Corner…


Come on, could my wife be any cuter?

We decided since we were so hungry, we’d stop at the food stand on the Coca-Cola corner.  Holly got a Nathan’s Hot Dog (NATHAN’S HOT DOG!) and fries, and I got Chicken Tenders (CHICKEN TENDERS!) and fries.

Our cousin Billy texted that he was at the game as well.  We found him using technology and celebrated.  It was very merry.  He had won a hand towel as well (HAND TOWEL!)

#love in the time of the Mets losing


#Holly and #Sally, when Circle of Life came on at the stadium

Bathed in the stadium lights…

We found our seats.  We ate our hot dog (HOT DOG!) and Chicken Tenders (CHICKEN TENDERS!). We drank a delicious Pils, and a malt forward IPA.  Sally and Henry.  Holly Kay and Patrick.  Billy from afar.  Mets baseball (who cares if they’re losing).  We ate, we drank, we chanted, we got loud when the megatron told us to get loud.  We kissed even though we never ended up on the kiss cam.  We spotted Mr. Met.  We didn’t get a tee shirt from the tee shirt cannon.  I dropped my phone.  It was a GREAT Wednesday night.


We’re in love (also how cute is that beanie??)!!

Until next time, y’all.

Cheers!

Sundays With Nathan, or How to Make Friends With Beer (OK, Actually With Beer and a Winning Smile)

Hello!  

Sorry I’ve been away from the Blog for a bit.  

Didja miss me?  Huh?  Didja? 🤗

Well, we’re back and we’re here to talk about a man called Nathan.  A sweet, gentle, generous, good natured man with a heart of gold, who just so happens to have impeccable taste in beer.

I texted Nathan the other night before we hung out with him, because I needed to get a picture of him for this post.  The picture encapsulates everything about him, I believe.  Scholars have been known to say… “A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words”…  I’ve decided, after hours upon hours poring over this photograph, and doing all my maths, that this picture is worth exactly 13,764 words.

Ladies and gentleman, I present to you, our dear friend Nathan.

Look at that smile!!

We met Nathan at our favorite spot in Port Jefferson, C’est Cheese.  I’ve written about them plenty before, but if you need a refresher, check THIS out!

Holly Kay and I were sitting at the bar, enjoying the perks of our C’est Beer Club membership, and we look over at this smiling gentleman at the bar, and he’s got a large bottle of Oatmeal Stout that’s still half full.  He caught our eye, and said “Hey guys, I don’t think I can finish this on my own.  Want to share some?”  

…Luring strangers in with beer, huh, Nathan?  I see your game here, pal…  And I wanna play!

We had great conversation, and we followed each other on Untappd (I don’t think we got as far as friending each other on Facebook yet).  

A few weeks later, we spotted him again at a table at C’est Cheese, so we sneakily paid for his drink…

We started meeting up every couple of Sundays, to enjoy some beer, unbelievable sandwiches and cheese, and great conversation.  Nathan’s a musician as well (his main instrument is the Trumpet, but he’s well versed in many instruments.  He’s getting his doctorate in Music Composition), so he got along very well with my Mom and Dad (who are both retired Music Teachers) when we had lunch together.

Wait, isn’t this a blog about beer?

Nathan is all about sharing beer.  As mentioned earlier, the first time we met he shared a beer with us, two people who could presumably be murderers.  He opened himself up to us without hesitation, a tribute to his personality, and generosity.

Nathan hails from Georgia, and shared some Georgia beers with me back in November that made their way to Ireland, which is pretty cool.

We’ve spent many Sundays with Nathan since then, and I figured I’d showcase some of the beer he brought to share, and some of the beer we shared at his house this past Friday night (just pretend it was a Sunday, alright?)

So, this beer was absolutely mad.  Wicked Weed Silencio.  A Bourbon Barrel-aged black sour Ale with coffee and vanilla.  Ok, so, tart fruit, caramel, toasted marshmallow, bitter coffee and cocoa dance around the palate and play really well with each other to create what is probably the most interesting beer I’ve ever tasted.

Terrapin Brewing Moo-HooChiato, an Imperial Milk Stout brewed with Jittery Joe’s coffee and Olive and Sinclair chocolate.  Kind of like an adult Yoo-Hoo, y’all.  Chocolate, coffee, boozy sweetness.  

Our friend Lori from Craft at C’est Cheese invited us back after she picked up some Patsy Rides Again from Matt and Lauri over at Moustache Brewing Co., a Milk Stout brewed with toasted coconut, a beer rife with Monty Python references, the coconut takes an already delicious sweet milk stout and gives it a little tropical flare.  Unbelievable.

Lost Abbey Track #10 (Bat Out of Hell) Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout with coffee and cacao nibs.  Come for the Meatloaf reference, stay for the roasty, toasty, coffee, chocolate bounty that awaits…  “Oh baby, you’re the only thing in this whole world/That’s pure and good and right…”

Funky Buddha Maple Bacon Coffee Porter.  Thanks to Evan for bringing this up from Florida in our “My family’s in Florida, and I’m in New York” beer trade.  When Holly, Nathan and I took our first sip, it evoked the feeling of breakfast.  There’s no bacon in this beer, but they use salt and smoke, and real maple syrup, to bring out the essence of fresh pancakes, coffee, and crispy bacon.  It’s.  So.  Damn.  Good.

**Disclaimer** The rest of these beers were shared on a Friday.  Just pretend they were shared on a Sunday, ok?  Carry on.

We started off with this delicious can filled with orange juice, aka Trillium Brewing Stillings Street.

Sand City Brewing Co. Even Mo’ Mofo, a mosaic hopped double IPA from these amazing dudes from Northport, Long Island.  If you know mosaic, you already know what this tastes like.  Pineapple, Mango, floral flavors dance around ya mouf and leave you wanting more!

Another from our boys at Sand City Brewing, Promises Pale Ale, lower in ABV, but still juicy, crisp, tropical, and refreshing as hell.  Don’t skip on this one.

Thanks, Nathan for saving this one.  Singlecut Beersmiths Jenny Said, super bright, tropical, stone fruit and citrus.  Whatchu know about juice?  Queens knows about juice, baby.

We finished the evening with Finback Brewery Faster Than Light.  Another from Nathan’s seemingly endless collection of Bourbon Barrel-aged beers.  Another top notch Stout with bitter coffee and chocolate, rounded out with some caramel sweetness and boozy heat from that Bourbon Barrel.

Sometimes, a chance encounter in an amazing local haunt (over beer) might lead to a really cool friendship with a super passionate, awesome dude.  

Nathan, buddy, Holly Kay and I are glad to know ya, and look forward to all our Sunday shares, no matter what day they fall on.

Cheers!

Moustache Brewing Co. Blue Box, Or Benedict Beer Blog’s Beer of the Week! Also, Happy 3rd Anniversary, Moustache!

We here at Benedict Beer Blog would love to take a minute to wish a Happy 3rd Anniversary to our dear friends Lauri and Matt Spitz at Moustache Brewing Co.!

They celebrated this past Saturday, and we weren’t able to make it to their gorgeous space in Riverhead, I figured it would be fitting to feature them in our first EVER Beer of the Week Blog Post!

This beer is amazing.  Trust me, I’m a Doctor.  Wink!

Holly Kay asked me what beer we could share with our Eggplant Parmesan dinner the other night, so I pulled this out of the fridge for us (at 10.5% ABV, it’s a great beer to share with those you love!).  With powerful citrus and pine notes balanced by sweet malt, this beer packs quite the flavorful punch in a 16 oz can.  (Not unlike its namesake, its bigger on the inside…  Nyuk Nyuk Nuuk…). Be careful, though, it drinks super easy for a >10% beer.  It’s dangerously delicious.

Don’t Blink…  This angel will sneak up on you, real quick.

I’ve seen nothing but universal love for this well balanced, bombshell of a brew from our lovelies in Riverhead.  #drinklocal 🍺🤛🏻

Thanks for checking us out!  If you’ve been to Moustache, let us know about your experience in the comments!

Until next time…

Cheers!

Poconos Weekend Getaway, or, How Brad Has Eaten at Practically Every Restaurant within 10 miles of Camelback Mountain…

Sometimes, a two hour jaunt outside NYC for a few days can be the perfect getaway.

Sometimes, lighting a fire, staying up until 2am, and staying in your pajamas until Noon can be the perfect antidote to hectic NYC living.

This was just what we needed.

Also, this is a blog about beer.

Holly Kay and I last visited the Poconos in July (you can read about our adventure HERE), just the two of us, and had a WONDERFUL few days.  This time, we brought our dear friends Brad (of Bradco Beer!) and Kelsey and Pete!

My aunt Delia and uncle David have a condo (we call it “The Chalet”) at The Villages at Camelback, right next to the slopes of Camelback Mountain in Tannersville, PA.  It’s an awesome place for a weekend getaway.

It’s got a fireplace.

Fireplace.

And it’s got a VHS player.  With Mrs. Doubtfire and Liar, Liar on VHS.

Mrs. Doubtfire and Liar, Liar.  On VHS.

I picked up Brad from Astoria and Holly from her off-site work day in Hackensack, NJ, and we got to Tannersville around 8pm.  We stopped to get some groceries (also beer) and firewood.


A video of me yelling and Holly and I singing about firewood.

We dropped our things at The Chalet and headed to our absolute favorite haunt, Barley Creek Brewing Company.

Barley Creek!  So warm and welcoming, always.

Love!  In the Poconos!

Brad with Larry the Leprechaun!  (It was St. Patrick’s Day)

Larry the Legend

Kelsey and Pete joined us there, and we all shared some amazing soft pretzels with bier cheese and honey mustard, and some flights of Barley Creek beer.

Pete looking THRILLED with his #greenbeer


From L to R:

Citrabellum: A Double IPA brewed with Citra hops.  Nice juicy, grapefruit peel bitterness, with a sweet malt backbone.

Honey Chili Pepper Brown Ale (on Cask): This is their already awesome Antler Brown Ale put into a cask with honey and chili peppers.  The honey adds to the already vanilla, bready sweetness of the base beer, and the chili pepper gives it some 🌶🌶🌶 heat!  This was amazing.  Think of hot honey, in a beer!

Superhop: Triple IPA, with herbal, medicinal hop flavors and some sweet alcohol booziness.

Tommy’s Black IPA: Medicinal/citrus hops with some roasty malt flavors.

Back at the Chalet, we all got into our pyjamas, and Holly and Brad treated us to some music (Holly brought her ukulele, and Brad brought his uke, a melodica, and a tambourine.  We lit our first fire, sang some songs, shared a few beers (and Brad made Rye Old Fashioneds, because why not?), and finished the evening (read: early morning) watching Mrs. Doubtfire.

Stay G-O-L-D from Interboro Spirits & Ales

From our dear friends at Moustache Brewing Co., the amazing Patsy Rides Again, a Coconut Milk Stout with sweet malt and tropical toasted coconut flavor.  Find this if you’re in NY, and drink a hundred of them.

Pete building our first fire 🔥😱👹!

Pete sexy posing in front of our first fire 🔥😱👹!

Grimm Candlepower, a farmhouse ale brewed with sage and pink peppercorns.  The peppercorns added a nice touch of spice to the banana from the Belgian yeast and citrus from the hops, and the sage adds a unique, herbal, savory note.  This stuff was FUN!  It was like a flavor experiment.


Mrs. DoubtFIRE!  🔥🔥🔥🤣  Hey now!!

Kelsey and Holly were in this position basically the entire weekend.  Cuddle Bugs, the two of ’em!

The morning brought a rousing game of Ticket to Ride, which Brad brought, and the rest of us fell in love with…

Holly and Kelsey made breakfast, which was really nice, eggs, bacon and toast.  We all had coffee, and…

Breakfast stout!  Terrapin Beer Co. W&B (Wake & Bake) Coffee Oatmeal Imperial Stout.  Roast coffee, oatmeal cookie sweetness, with some sweet cocoa.  What a way to wake!  Oh, this also went really well with all the cookies that Kelsey and Pete brought and baked while we played the game.

We knew Camelback was due for snow, so we weren’t surprised when we opened the shades and found…

Snow!

Hopefully, the Last Snow of the season.

Thanks Evan for the “My Family’s in Florida, I’m in New York” beer trade, so the above video would be possible.

Beautiful!  We drank this later in the evening, and all I can say is, it smells like you’ve stepped foot into a Dunkin Donuts (and I mean this in the best way possible).  Coconut and coffee dominate both the smell and taste.  Gorgeous brew.

We had plans to go to the Outlet Mall, but before we did, we headed down for a dip in the pool and the jacuzzi.

There’s something very magical about swimming/hot tubbing while it’s snowing outside.  This is one of our favorite places at the Village at Camelback.  The ceiling itself is stunning.

You know, we spent some time in the sauna after the pool and hot tub, but sometimes you just gotta step into the HOT ZONE!

This is how three handsomemen Outlet shop.  With WINE TASTINGS!  Speaking of HOT ZONE…

We did dinner again at Barley Creek, and I had a POT.  ROAST.  BURGER.

Another game of Ticket to Ride, with a glass of orange juice 🍊 AKA…

Other Half Brewing Double Dry Hopped Mylar Bags…  Straight up JUICE BABAAAY!

Thanks to Brad’s brother in Michigan, we got a fresh bottle of Founders Brewing Company KBS!  Dark roasted coffee and chocolate, with some delightful vanilla caramel sweetness.  A dream, and dangerous at nearly 13% ABV…  My oh my!

We slept in (did I mention that KBS is nearly 13%?) and lit a few more fires before heading to Breakfast(?  It was at noon, so that’s lunch) at Billy’s Pocono Diner, just a hop, skip, and a jump from the Red Lobster that Brad ate at, and stole firewood from (I think there’s a statute of limitations on wood stealing crimes in Pennsylvania, right?).

Me and a bear.  We cool.

We hit the outlets one more time, and then Barley Creek to bookend our awesome, relaxing weekend, before heading back into the city (and Kelsey and Pete to Long Island).

It was a truly incredible weekend with dear friends (WE LOVE YOU KELSEY AND PETE AND BRAD!), and we couldn’t have asked for more (except for, like, another week of the same thing.)

Can’t wait to go back to The Chalet!

Until next time!

Cheers!

 

NYC Craft Beer Week, or, I’m a Hard-Hitting Journalist Who Squeezed All His NYC Craft Beer Week Fun Into One Day and Also Rick Almost Got Attacked/Pooped on by a Pigeon LOL! 🐦💩

After a brief hiatus, we’re back!


I’ve got a ton of pictures from our adventure during NYC Craft Beer Week!  

I didn’t have a chance to participate in many of the events around NYC, so I used my day off and tried to squeeze in as many fun beer events as I could in one day.

Thanks to Ryan, Chris, Brad, Rick, Samson, Annie, and the one and only Holly Kay for being a part of last Thursday’s adventure!

The main goal for the day was to pick up the newest Interboro NYC release, their collaboration with and for the hip hop group Run the Jewels 👉🏻🤛🏻, a 6% ABV juicy IPA called Stay G-O-L-D…

👉🏻🤛🏻 👉🏻🤛🏻 👉🏻🤛🏻 👉🏻🤛🏻 G-O-L-D, G-O-L-D it’s Gold!

My day of adventure started out at Il Bambino‘s 8th street location in the West Village, visiting my dear friend Ryan, the manager, for lunch.  (You’ll remember Il Bambino from THIS POST and THIS POST!). I also met up with Chris, a friend and former coworker, who’s relatively new and super excited about all the amazing beers coming out of the Northeast.  He was at Other Half Brewing the week before, and had picked me up some of their Nummy Nug Nug Imperial IPA, a collaboration with Industrial Arts Brewing, and Citra + Motueka a duel hopped Imperial IPA.

True statement.  Darren Lawless (owner and chef at Il Bambino) got that panini game on LOCK.

Heeeeeere piggy piggy piggy…

Just a few Craft Beer selections, but that’s a fresh keg of Bell’s Two Hearted, which ain’t never bad…  

Smoked Tomato Bisque (not pictured, toasted bread with pesto and toasted bread with spicy mayo…  Also not pictured, Truffle Egg Salad with Speck crostini…  Excuse me, you’re drooling.)

After a nice chat and a walk around Whole Foods with Chris, I was off to Brooklyn to get ready for Interboro’s 5pm opening for their can release.  I got there just after 3, and walked over to the brewery, because, knowing how other can releases go, specifically in Brooklyn (::COUGHHIPSTERSCOUGH::)  I thought there may be a line.  I walked the 5 or so blocks from the train and found the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it warehouse that houses Interboro Brewing.

There’s a brewery/tap room in there!

I walked about 10 minutes from Interboro and found a sports bar that had some decent selection, and hung out there while waiting for Brad and Rick to join me.  We walked back towards Interboro at just about 5pm…

AND ENDED UP IN A GD CRAFT BEER LINEEEEEEEEE!!!!!

If you know me, you know I don’t like waiting in line for things (“Why do you live in New York City, where there’s literally the most people in the smallest amount of space all the time probably?” You may be asking yourself.  “Shut up!  That’s why!” would be my response.). 

We waited about 40 minutes before actually getting our cans.  It was quite chilly outside, and the sun was setting, and about 25-30 minutes of our time was spent outside.  They only had 1 register, and weren’t prepared for the amount of people that would be there, I assume.  

I would have loved to have stayed for a pint or a flight in the tasting room, but it was simply too busy, and we wanted to be able to meet up with Holly Kay after she got out of work at 6pm.  So at 5:40, we got our cans, and had her meet up with us at the Threes Pop Up location in Greenpoint.

Finally at the front door after nearly 30 minutes in the cold.

Brad with Stay G-O-L-D, and Rick with Mad Fat! Fluid

I can tell you, though, that both cans I picked up (pictured above) are phenomenal.  Stay G-O-L-D had beautiful bright citrus hops, with flavors of peach and pineapple, and supa dank hops, with a lovely crisp malty, cracker base.  Mad Fat! Fluid bursts with tropical fruit as well, with a sweeter malt base.  Both dope as hell, though.  

Mad Fat!
Rick’s boyfriend Samson also joined us as we headed to Threes Brewing Pop Up (you’ll remember this place from my LAST POST!)

Holly arrived shortly thereafter, and we all tried a beer that has, quite possibly, the longest name I’ve ever seen.

Two men contemplating life/checking into Untappd/probably still reading the title of the beer I’ve yet to reveal…

We all flipped over the Threes/Evil Twin collaboration, 10% ABV Triple IPA called…  Hold up, this is getting its own paragraph…

“Are We There Yet?  Or Did It Even Start Or Did It End A Long Time Ago, And Where Is There, And Doesn’t Yet Assume A Linear Progression Of Time?  And What’s So Bad About Here, Anyway?”

That’s a mouthful…  But for a beer that packs a 10% punch and smacks you in the face with tropical fruits, strawberry and papaya, and dirty dankZ, it’s fitting.  This beer was 💯🔥🔥🔥.

I also picked up a 4 pack of Threes collaboration with Burial Brewing, a Hoppy Pale Lager called Neither Way, which I hope is available in the summer because it’s literally the perfect beer to drink at the beach.

Next stop, Big Alice Brewing!  Because why wouldn’t we end up with our favorite LIC Beer crew for NYC Craft Beer Week??  (BIG ALICE POST HERE)

From our Sexy Posing in Front of Breweries Series…  Rick, Samson, Brad, and Holly Kay.

As we were walking in, someone shouted out “PATRICK BENEDICT!”  I thought, “Oh hey, cool, people love my Blog and are starting to recognize me at breweries!” And William Joel’s “Big Shot” started playing in my head.  But no!  It was my HIGH SCHOOL CLASSMATE (I graduated in 2001 which is like, 16 years ago or whatever) Max Romer!

Here’s Max with his handsome smile!

Big Alice was having a Beer and Cheese pairing  with Slates & Plates, a MOBILE CHEESE PAIRING BUSINESS WHICH IS PERHAPS THE GREATEST BUSINESS EVER!!  Maxine and Nicole were super friendly, and paired some exquisite cheeses 🧀 with Big Alice’s wonderful beer 🍻.  A match made in heaven.  (Follow Slates & Plates on Facebook and Instagram!)
Patrick: Big Unknown, Big Alice x Destination Unknown collab, 5.4% ABV IPA with Citra and Equinox hops.  Super well balanced IPA with citrus bitterness and beautiful malt sweetness.  Holly Kay and Samson: BIGGIE, a 12% Barleywine monster of a beer, sweet, malty, fruity, gorgeous.  Exclusively for NYC Beer Week.

Rick being a maniac and taking a picture of a maniac (me) taking a picture of him.  Confused?  Me too.

Beer + Cheese + Pictures!

Benedict Beer Blog x Slates & Plates!  Thanks for the awesome Cheese!

😍🧀🍻👌🏻

Our favorite beer, Jalapeño Rye IPA, was not on tap, but it was in the fermenters, so here’s Holly Kay giving a lil’ kiss to her/our favorite bevvie.

Of course our dear friend Annie (see previous Big Alice post linked above!) was slinging beer/being super awesome (we saw Larissa from afar, but we didn’t get to catch up) and she encouraged Holly to talk/sing to the beer because yeast is alive and can hear/feel sound. I’m no scientist, but I think that this will be the best batch of Jalapeño Rye IPA yet.  Holly and I sang and spake (spake?  That’s the past tense of spoke, yeah?) to the beer.  So…  yeah. Science!

Shouts out to Annie, Larissa, Maxine, Nicole, all the Big Alice and Slates &I Plates Crew for all of your hospitality!!  We sincerely appreciate it.

Fun fact: When you spend all day drinking beer, and haven’t had food in hours, you will get the jelly legs quicker than you expect.  So our final stop for the evening was Alewife NYC to nourish our growly tummies/buzzing minds.

Squad.

Brad and I switched hats. 
Two of the most adorable people on this planet, Samson and HK.

Two of the most adorable people on this planet, Patrick and Brad.  Spoiler alert: Brad fell asleep shortly after this photo was taken.

I didn’t get to spend a lot of time out celebrating NYC Craft Beer Week, but this past Thursday was spent with some of the most special people.  Holly and I are so grateful to be able to be where we are and to spend our time with friends, both new and old.

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!

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!