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!​

KCBC Tiger Thunder, or, Benedict Beer Blog’s Beer of the Week #2!  

“Such a blunder sometimes, it makes me wonder why I even bring the Thunder (Why he even brings the Thunder)…”

Daveed Diggs, as Thomas Jefferson, paying homage to Grandmaster Flash, in the hit Broadway smash musical Hamilton, invokes the essence of this beer…

Pow!  Bam!  Zap!  Zing!  Kings County Brewers Collective (KCBC) Tiger Thunder IIPA!

Thanks to Rick (check out his amazing food blog, Rickommended, right HERE!), for picking this up for me from Carmine Street Beers!

The smell is super dank, earthy, herbal with some citrus notes hiding behind.  The first sip lowers the electric BOOM!  A blast of pineapple 🍍 (ooh Mama!) , lemon 🍋 (hey now!), juicy melon 🍈 (watch out!), with bursts of strawberry 🍓 (hello!), bready 🍞 malt sweetness (sweet!) and sticky, oily resinous character (sticky!).  This beer is all about balance.  It clocks in at 8% ABV, so it’s a nice sipping beer while relaxing on our beautiful, comfy couch.

It pours a beautiful amber, with a pillowy, off-white foam.  It’s gorgeous to look at in between sips.

The can art is dope.  The bright, almost neon yellows, greens, blues, and reds in the folk-art inspired tiger mask are a nice compliment to the crisp, citrus hops in the beer.  It seems like a lot of care and consideration went into not only the beer itself, but also the art.  It’s amazing.

Beautifully balanced from start to finish, this beer’s great and you should definitely pick it up if you find it (aka those who live in the tri-state area).

Also, I can’t wait to open the other KCBC can that Rick picked up for me, Look Ma, No Hands, a gose with pineapple and lemon zest, to share with the lovely Holly Kay!  Look on our Instagram soon for that beautiful can art as well!

Thanks for checking us out!  You like beer?  Share this with all those you love!

Until next time!

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!

 

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!

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

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

Look at this guy!!

What a time to be a craft beer drinker.

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

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

My bearded buddy Will…

*A Photo of Will*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time!

Cheers!