Hey Y’all, Check Out These Pictures, Or, Please Don’t Try to Drink This Blog Post…

It’s picture time! I realize I haven’t put up a picture-heavy blog post in a bit, so here’s one coming at’cha!

ALSO: I wrote an article for TigerLyfe Times about Sand City Brewing’s recent Oops! I _____ed My Pants! triple can release! Check that article out over HERE! Thanks for reading!

Radical One from the aforementioned Sand City Brewing. The hop hits keep coming and coming with these guys outta Northport!

#LGM! LIC Beer Project Dutch Kills Kölsch at Citifield! This is my kind of baseball beer! Crisp, malty, fruity and super refreshing!

From Salt House Bar in Galway Ireland! Brouwerij Boon Geuze Mariage Parfait, all the way from Belgium! This beer brought the house down. Tart, funky, dry, and delicious. Absolutely nothing wrong here!

Greenpoint Beer & Ale Co. Particle Pilsner. One of the more hoppy pils’ I’ve had. Bright, crisp citrus is balanced by sweet, cracker like malt. Love it!

A “candid” photograph at Samson’s Birthday party at Greenpoint! Cheers!

Greenpoint Beer & Ale Tremendous. Paired with an, *ahem*, appropriate movie (on VHS, no less!)

My favorite beer of summer, 2017. Carton Brewing Beach, a session Ale with (I believe) Citra hops and orange zest. Bright, beautiful grapefruit and bitter orange, a bit of dankness, but still clean and dry enough and low enough ABV to keep on drinkin’. So, keep on drinkin’!

Also, I’m getting a foot massage whilst I took this photo. So, your opinion is invalid.

Finback x Jacks Abby Spill The Tea IPL. The green tea is a cool addition to the citrus hops and citrus peel, adding a clean, grassy note that’s intriguing. And no need to boil water and risk burning your precious, precious skin. 😘

Singlecut Beersmiths strikes again! Some Cat From Japan Session IPA, and Charlie’s Good Tonight IPA. Both phenomenal beers, and I’m hoping they’ll release them again in the future.

I know, I know, this isn’t beer. But when Holly Kay and I found the Dingle Whiskey Bar tucked away inside Fraunces Tavern down in the Financial District of NYC, we had to stop in and have some Irish Whiskey (at triple the price we paid for it on the Emerald Isle, of course). And it was worth every penny.

Bradco brought this beer back from Michigan. Old Nation Brewing Co. M-43 New England Style IPA. These cats from Williamston, MI have nailed this style, which surprised me. Watch out, New England, Michigan’s coming for you. HARD.

Enjoyed this collaboration by Other Half Brewing and Cloudwater Brewing, Tremendous Ideas. The simple can design also lends this can to take beautiful pictures even when an amateur photographer (me) is behind the camera (iPhone). Also my bed looks super comfy and as I’m writing this, I’m minutes away from hopping into it and drifting into a blissful slumber so, that’s also cool.

This was at Paulie Gee’s in Greenpoint. The Hellboy pizza with soppressata picante and Mike’s Hot Honey (yo, MIKE’S HOT HONEY. Who’s this Mike guy? I want to raid his house and take all of his hot honey for my own.). This hot-ass pizza was paired with a Greenpoint Beer & Ale Milk & Honey, a sweet, creamy ale that paired perfectly with the spicy ‘zza, bro.

Threes Brewing SFY (the artist formerly known as SuperF*ckingYawn) IPA, as we prepared for the magical wonder that is the Binky Griptite Orchestra at Threes Greenpoint Location. Binky plays guitar with the Dap Kings, and brought his musician friends to play some amazing 1940s Jazz and R&B and it was absolutely incredible. It was the opposite of SuperF*ckingYawn, but so was this beer, so…

Sometimes, it’s nice to go back to basics. Allagash White, my first Belgian white beer I fell in love with. Simple, refreshing, with notes of orange peel, clove, banana. Sometimes simple is beautiful.

Again, let the hate flow through you. I will combat that hate with Polar Seltzer’s Unicorn Kisses Seltzer. Is it Strawberry Kiwi? We’ll never know. Polar’s been keeping these flavors as mysterious as the mythical beasts on the cans. Damn you, Polar.

Fan favorites Moustache Brewing Co. made this delightful Saison brewed with Lavender, Honey, and Lemon Verbena. They knocked it out of the park, with floral, sweet, banana, and citrus dancing mischievously around the palate, this beer is simply a delight. Love you, Moustache Gang!

Thanks to my dear friend Will Russell, for asking me to be a part of his wedding party. As part of our Groomsmen’s gift, he got us these HEAVY DUTY USS Enterprise Bottle Openers. This is insanely dope and I will use it always. Make it so.

Treehouse Brewing Company, if you don’t know, now you know. Christopher Benedict, if you don’t know, now you know. Get with the times, y’all.

Interboro Spirits & Ales x Pipeworks Brewing Mad Fat! Unicorn. Thanks Bradco for sharing!! Mad Fat! Fluid plus Ninja Vs. Unicorn equals an amazing liquid combo. New York x Chicago, taking over the world.

If you’re not salivating by now, you need to let me know, and I’ll take you out and buy you a beer. So, if you’ve made it this far, and it’s had no effect on you, let me know. The next one’s on me.

Until next time!

Cheers!

Galway Pt. II, or, I’m Not a Creep But I Did Facebook Friend Our Waiter at Blakes Because He Was Awesome…

**HELLO!  Before we begin, you can still donate to Galway Hospice HERE (We talked about it last week), Alan and the Galway Bay Brewery boys have raised nearly 10,000 Euro total!!  Click the link and donate!**

When last we left you, dear, sweet readers, Holly Kay and I had just tapped out after our ___th Murphy’s Irish Stout, and headed back to our B&B for a long winter’s nap…  (See Galway Bay Brewery Pt. I if you haven’t read it, then head on back here!)

Our next morning, we had our full Irish Breakfast and drove into Galway on our quest for Irish Sweaters!  We’d been looking in each town for the perfect sweaters (because ya have to!!) and we stumbled upon the Galway Woollen Market, a quaint little shop with two floors of many different styles of Aran Islands Knitwear.  Holly ended up with two sweaters, one purple, and one green, which make her look really cute and Irish, and I ended up with a lovely navy blue sweater with big brown wooden buttons that, in my humble opinion, makes me look like Paddington Bear, which is also cute (but not Irish) (but still cute.  I’m cute.)img_2379This picture also made it into last week’s blog, but Holly’s too cute for me to just post it once, and also, it’s right in front of the Galway Woollen Market!!

img_2381HK Drinking a Latte at Coffeewerk + Press in Galway City!

img_2396Coffeewerk was such a cool space!

After our morning shopping in Galway, and because we were spending two nights, we planned an afternoon SPA DAY (!!!) at the Shore Island Spa at the Loughrea Hotel and Spa, just outside of Galway City.  We decided on a Couples Afternoon package, which included a massage, facial, the Rasul Mud Chamber (which is something I never need to do, ever again), and 90 minutes in the Thermal Relaxation Suite, which had saunas, steam rooms, a jacuzzi, and two relaxation rooms, one dark, with color lights all over the ceiling, and one light, overlooking the gorgeous Lough Rea.

It was a wonderful few hours, and a nice period where we could stop, breathe, and reflect on our beautiful vacation.

When we got back to Galway, we parked our car back at the B&B and walked the 10 minutes into Galway City.  Our new friend Darren (the Irish Whiskey aficionado) recommended we visit Garavan’s, the bar he manages.  We ran into our OTHER new friend Sjef, behind the bar, who recommended a few places to eat.  Both Sjef and the other bartender recommended a pub called Blakes Bar, a lovely little pub attached to a restaurant called Brasserie on the Corner, with a small, artisanal menu.  Holly and I shared everything, Chili and Sesame chicken wings (which came in a giant bowl and the wings were covered in the sweet, spicy chili and sesame sauce), an Irish Cheese Board (BECAUSE WHY NOT?) and a Beef Burger.  We figured if our night was going to be anything like the night before (beer emoji beer emoji beer emoji winking face emoji) we wanted to make sure our bellies were full.

The food was great, but our experience was made perfect by our server, James.  He was just as knowledgeable as Darren (and had been to some whiskey conferences with him) and well versed in all the Irish Whiskeys on the menu.  He made some suggestions, and we ordered the Powers John’s Lane, a 12 year old Single Pot Still, aged in both bourbon and sherry casks which is named after the address of the original Powers distillery.  It was smooth, with dark fruits, caramel, vanilla and toffee.  Here’s how it went down…  Holly Kay: “I’d like that on the rocks.”  James: “Nooooooooo…”  So he brought them out neat, and we enjoyed them neat, and it was an absolutely lovely accompaniment to our full meal.

Our expectations on this trip were to experience some of the quintessential Irish hospitality, and James at Blake’s Bar went above and beyond our expectations, chatting with us about whiskey (as Darren had the night before), and what we’d done on our trip so far.  He turned what was an already good meal into a wonderful experience.  And now we’re friends on Facebook (I’m not creepy!!)  Cheers, James!

We then headed back to Garavan’s, and went with one of Darren and Alan’s suggestions from the night before, Green Spot, another Single Pot Still, with flavors of vanilla, citrus, and mint.  We caught the end of some live music, which was great Craic!

Live Music at Garavans! (apologies for the vertical video, it was a Facebook Live)

img_2385Christmas came early in Galway!

img_2384It was cold outside, but it was Nut Hot in here!

After Garavans, we went to the Salt House, Galway Bay Brewery‘s other pub in Galway City, and met up again with Alan…img_2394You all remember Alan from last week’s post…  This no-longer-bearded beauty and his GBB family raised nearly 10,000 Euro for Galway Hospice, and you can still donate HERE!

We met up with Alan and his wife Danielle, and Laurien (whose husband Will is the head brewer for GBB)…  Laurien and Will are transplants from Georgia, and it was fun that my Mississippi gal got to hang out with another southerner!

img_2393‘Allo Harvey!  This little gal belongs to Alan and Danielle!  What a face!!

Wait, so, this is a blog about beer?

Alright, let’s get to it…

As soon as we arrived, Alan greeted us, and said to Holly Kay, “I know more than anybody when you hit that wall…  And last night, at around 11pm, I noticed that you’d hit that wall.  And when I woke up this morning, I felt kind of bad for ya…”  Holly said “Don’t feel bad!  We had an amazing time!”  Apparently, Alan, Darren, and Sjef left Lonergan’s and headed to…  Where else?  The Casino!  These guys are professionals, and have way more stamina than I do…

I was handed a glass of Galway Bay Brewery’s Full Sail IPA (which I spoke about in last week’s post), which is a balanced, citrusy wonderland of Irish fun…

img_2387I drank x2 of these…  Trolltunga by Buxton Brewing from England, in collaboration with Lervig Brewery in Norway.  This was a sour IPA, with tart, tropical peach, grapefruit, and pine.  Absolutely unreal stuff.  Alan was so excited about it (he was drinking it when we got there) and it was wonderful.

img_2386My Dad’s favorite beer!  So nice to see some US craft on draught!

img_2388Holly ordered the Buxton Brewery Extra Porter, brewed with Guatemalan Coffee…  Super bitter, roasty chocolate, coffee, dark cherries, floral, smokey.  Another fantastic brew.  We’ve got to find our way to England to try more of their beer!

We were so happy to be able to spend time with our new friend, Alan, and to have met Danielle and Laurien.  Galway is a magical city, and that was only emphasized by all the hospitality we experienced while we were there.  We’ll absolutely be back (Alan, you got a spare room?)

Until next time!

Cheers!

Beer Plus Music Vol. II, or How Singlecut Saved Us From Our Ceiling Collapsing on Our Heads…

“Hey you!  Out there in the cold, getting lonely, getting old, can you feel me?

Hey you! Standing in the aisles, with itchy feet and fading smiles, can you feel me?”

If you can’t feel Pink Floyd, you can’t feel feelings.

So last week, I put together some beer and music pairings.  A few days ago, I thought to myself, “How did I make a beer and music post and not mention one of my favorite (and literally the closest to my apartment) breweries, that is as obsessed with music as they are with beer?”

Singlecut Beersmiths.  37th Avenue, Astoria, Queens.  This is a place you should go, definitely.

This is their entrance!

As far as beer and music collaborations are concerned, these guys are the (ZZ) tops!


They’ve taken a warehouse and made it home.

When you walk through the door of the giant warehouse, you’re welcomed in with large wooden tables, a gorgeous bar, complete with a record player and some unbelievable vinyl, beautiful, dark wood paneling, and gorgeous guitars hanging from the wall.  Lining the walls are framed bags of malt, tying in their passion for beer with their passion for music.

The tap handles?  All designed to look like guitar heads.  The beers?  Mostly named after the brewers’ favorite musicians, or song lyrics.

A video of me mouthing the line that Robert Plant shouted in the middle of “Stairway to Heaven” during a live recording for the 1976 concert movie The Song Remains the Same, which, apparently, still makes him cringe and inspired Singlecut’s IIPA of the same name.

Does Anybody Remember Laughter? IPA clocks in at 7.2% ABV, with aromas and flavors of dank, piney resin and citrus, tropical fruit (mango, pineapple) and pine.  The forests truly do echo with laughter.

If you’ll excuse me…  My hedgegrow is bustled, and frankly, I’m a little alarmed.  I’ll be right back…

Ok, much better.  Back to the beer.

Mo’Shuggie Soulbender IPA, found at Little Tibet, an unassuming, fun restaurant in our neighborhood of Jackson Heights, features Singlecut and other Queens breweries like Transmitter Brewing.

Mo’Shuggie weighs in at 7.4% ABV, and is brewed with both New Zealand and Australian hop varietals, and has aromas of tropical mango, pineapple, and orange citrus.  The taste follows, with flavors of grapefruit zest, and white peach, leaving it with a dry finish.  Simply, a world class IPA.  Bright, fruity, aromatic, picks you up and drops you on the beach, the ocean lapping at your toes.  Juice, juice, juice.

Singlecut helped Holly and I kick off our 2016. We were undecided on where we wanted to go to celebrate New Years Eve, but we discussed it with some friends, and decided to spend our evening there (not before a quick stop at the Ditmars location of Astoria Bier and Cheese)!

IMG_0606HK Benny looking super cute and wintery…

Holly started out with an Eric More Cowbell! Milk Stout.  This is a creamy, smooth stout at 6% ABV with bitter bakers cocoa and coffee notes with some sugary sweetness.  Great way to kick off the evening.

I had the Bon TNT Pale Ale, which is a hazy, unfiltered Pale Ale (see glass of orange juice in the picture above), a 5% ABV, juicy, citrus refresher and another great beer to kick off our evening.

Singlecut also has the Bon Bon 2XTNT IIPA, which, in my opinion, is as good as and easier to find than all the “New England Style” IPAs that are sought after and waited in line for.  It’s another juicy, citrus bomb that drinks super easy for its 8.2% ABV.  It’s packed with amazing New Zealand and Australian hops (which is appropriate, as Bon is a reference to the late Bon Scott, frontman for AC/DC).  OI! OI!  OI! OI! OI! OI!  He’s dynamite, and he will win the fight.

IMG_0485Boom!

We continued the evening as our friends trickled in, Ryan (manager of Il Bambino, see my love letter to Il Bambino from a few months ago) and Erica, Rafa, and Alex and Shelbie all came by to spend a relatively quiet New Years Eve chatting and celebrating.  The staff at Singlecut are always so welcoming and friendly, and they threw New Years confetti all over the tables, while we all listened to whatever records were spinning that night (I can’t remember exactly, but I think Rolling Stones and T-Rex were both a part of the night).  It was an awesome evening ( aside from getting home at 1am to find our ceiling collapsed in our kitchen, but you’ve probably already read that post.  If you haven’t, check it out here.)

IMG_0632Beer Plus Music Equals Love

IMG_0624Ryan and Erica.  So happy to have these two in our lives!

IMG_0623Alex and Shelbie having a blast!

A grainy picture of Holly, Rafa and I.  It’s grainy because of all the fun we were having.  Also, you know, artsy.  Beer is art.  Grainy selfies are art, too.

Holly and I decided we were going to start the new year with our favorite beer from Singlecut, a MONSTER Imperial Stout called Heavy Boots of Lead.


Is he live or dead?  Has he thoughts within his head?

Named after a lyric from Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man”, this is a heavy hitter, at 11.2% ABV.  It tastes like liquid dark chocolate, with hints of vanilla and coffee.  One of my favorite non-barrel aged Imperial Stouts, whenever I see this around, I have to get it.  I could drink this in the middle of summer.

The moral of the story here is, you should absolutely make the trek up to Northern Astoria (don’t go too far, or you’ll end up on Riker’s Island).  They have amazing sour lagers (ahem, lagrrrs), also, try all of their Billy series IPAs, they range from about 5% ABV to 10%, and are all juicy and delicious.  Their newest juice bomb IPA that I love is…

Breathe…  Breathe in the air…

These guys are making absolute world class beers, and have only been around a few years, so I look forward to seeing what these mad scientists will put out next.  Right on the bottle, it says “Mastery knows no shortcut”.  And they’re not taking any.  You know Holly and I will be there, and you should be too.  Although, their traffic might explode after getting the Benedict Beer Blog Bump!  😉

Thanks for reading.  Don’t sleep on Singlecut!

Cheers!

SouvenBeer, or Beer Plus Music Equals Winking Smiley Face Emoji

Beer and music go together like…  Horseshoes and Apple Sauce!  Wait, hold on, that’s not right…  Let me try this again.

Beer and music go together like…  French Fries and Butter Lettuce!  Nope.

Teeny Tiny Trains and Horticulturalists?

Red Snapper and Winged Creatures of the Night?

Hot Sauce and Lemonade!

That’s it!

BEER AND MUSIC GO TOGETHER LIKE HOT SAUCE AND LEMONADE.

beyoncebat-e1461528854459This is a Beyoncé joke.  Hot sauce was her bat.  Swag.

The first thing I think of when I think of beer and music is Dogfish Head Brewery.  Sam Calagione, Founder of Dogfish Head, and one of the great pioneers of Craft Beer in America, created a line of beers called the Music Series (in addition to their already giant line up of amazing brews).  From their website, Sam says, “Music has been a part of Dogfish Head since before Dogfish Head.”  Their latest beer in this series, brewed for Record Store Day (back in February), is called Beer To Drink Music To.  This is a Belgian-style Tripel, brewed with sweet orange peel, green cardamom, peppercorns and vanilla.  Whoa, nelly.  It weighs in at 9% ABV, so be careful, and sip this one, but don’t forget to turn up that radio first.

I picked up aromas of banana, clove, and flavors of freshly baked banana bread, juicy citrus, herb with a dry finish.  I think I blew it and was watching TV while drinking this, but if I had to chose an album to spin while drinking it, I would suggest Harry Nilsson- Nilsson Schmillson, one of the most perfect Pop albums of all time, in my opinion.  This album is a genre-hopping tour de force (as I write this sentence, I’m belting out the chorus to “Without You”, famously covered by Mariah Carey on her 1993 album Music Box.), and I choose this album because, like a lot of Dogfish Head’s beers, they use such genre-hopping ingredients, I think it fits.  Find this beer, drink it, and listen to Nilsson.  Magic.

 Harry Nilsson- Gotta Get Up

Other notable beers to check out in Dogfish Head’s Music Series, Bitches Brew, an imperial stout with honey and gesho root, brewed for the 40th anniversary (in 2010) of Miles Davis’ album of the same name, American Beauty, an IPA brewed with granola, whose ingredients were chosen by Grateful Dead fans, and is inspired by 30 years (in 2013) of touring and recording, and Positive Contact, “a 9% ABV hybrid of beer and cider brewed with Fuji apples, roasted farro, a handful of cayenne peppers and a late dose of fresh cilantro.”  This was brewed in conjunction with Sam and Dan the Automator of Deltron 3030, which, in 2012, was released in a “Box Set” of 6 bottles with a Vinyl EP of remixes made specifically for this release.

Deltron 3030 – Positive Contact

Holly and I had a night of beer and music a few days ago, as well.  Continuing our adventures here in this great, smelly-in-the-summer city, we were invited to an EP Release show, hosted by our dear friend Mason Maggio, as he released his newest EP, Merit Badge Season, under the Monicker Souveneer.

Mason is the lead singer of The Republic of Wolves, an indie rock band influenced by bands such as Brand New, and As Tall As Lions (both bands y’all should check out), and Tigers on Trains, a folk duo with Christian Van Deurs, who have put out some gorgeous, Paul Simon-esque albums with beautiful harmonies that are perfect for any time of year.

Since this is a blog about beer, I’ve had the idea to pair a beer to each of Mason’s bands.  Let’s go!

For The Republic of Wolves, I would pair a Founders Brewing Company Dark Penance.  This is a Black IPA, made with Crystal Malt and Midnight Wheat (which makes it black), and hopped with Chinook and Centennial hops.  I chose this because this is a dark, brooding beer with bursts of beautiful crisp citrus and pine from the hops.  The Republic of Wolves lyrics and music are darker and heavier than Mason’s other bands, but they’re peppered with moments of beautiful, clean guitars and gorgeous melodies.

The Republic of Wolves – Spare Key

For Tigers on Trains, I would pair Allagash Brewing Company White.  As mentioned earlier, I could listen to these albums any time and they make me so happy.  With Allagash White, a traditional belgian wheat, you always know it’s going to be a good time.  Crisp, orange citrus is balanced out with beautiful honey sweetness and a little bit of spice.  Refreshing no matter when, no matter where.  I could hand this beer (or share these albums) with anyone, and I guarantee they’d find something they loved.

Tigers on Trains – Long Sleeves

Holly and I started our evening at The Folly, our favorite Pirate-themed haunt, with our favorite bartender, Derek, on Houston Street.

Arrrgh!  (Pirate growl)
Holly was already enjoying a glass of sparkling Rosé when I arrived, (which tasted DELICIOUS after coming out of the sun and was PINK), and I picked a Coney Island Brewing Mermaid Pilsner.  As a craft beer drinker, I don’t pay enough attention to Pilsners.  It’s very easy to get them wrong, because there’s nothing to hide behind.  Pilsners are traditional German-style crisp lagers, with grassy, citrus hops and light, sweet malts.  What an awesome beer for the summer.  They’re low ABV, so you can have a few at a barbecue or on the beach and still be able to go out at night.  This one didn’t disappoint (Coney Island makes some great brews.  I miss their Seas The Day IPL, but that’s another story.), and was clean, bright, with some citrus and grassy notes, and a smooth, sweet finish.  I can’t wait to head down to their new brewery space in Coney Island!


We walked east on Houston street towards the venue, The Cake Shop, on Ludlow Street.  We stopped in for dinner at Sweet Chick, a Southern Inspired restaurant just a block or so away from the venue.  Holly and I shared fried chicken biscuit sliders, with pickles and hot honey.  We now want to put hot honey on everything, all the time.  HOT.  HONEY.  GIT IT, GURL.  We also got Mac & Cheese that was breaded with crumbled Ritz Crackers, which, in my humble opinion, can never be bad, and Mashed Potatoes and Gravy.

A Sweet Chick, in front of a Sweet Chick!

Oh right, this is a blog about beer.

Sorry.

Holly ordered Victory Brewing Company Donnybrook Stout, a dry Irish Stout, a low ABV, black as night stout, with flavors of coffee and bitter bakers’ chocolate.

Preparing for our trip to Ireland!
I ordered the Bronx Brewery Rye Pale Ale.  These guys make such consistent beer, and this is no exception.  The rye added a little spice, just right at the end of the sip, to the lemon peel citrus from the hops, balanced nicely with a malt sweetness.  Another great beer for summer.  Our friend Bryan joined us and ordered an amazing mango lemonade, which, while not beer, still tasted sweet, citrusy and refreshing.  Summah, summah, summah, summahtime.

Well, hello, summer.
IMG_0843Bronx, meet Pennsylvania.

We arrived at the Cake Shop and gave hugs to Mason, and mingled and chit chatted as the first three bands played, all friends of Mason’s, and all very pleasant, folky, indie rock.  But we were there for our son!  (Actually, he’s Rich Maggio’s son.  But we can pretend, can’t we?)

Thanks to Bryan for picking up our first round of drinks.  Holly chose a Youngs Brewing Double Chocolate Stout.  HK was on a stout kick tonight, and this is another winner, packing in a ton of chocolate flavor for such a low ABV stout.  Milky, smooth, sweet, chocolate and coffee.  If they’ll keep makin’ em, we’ll keep drinkin’ em.

I ordered a Peak Organic Fresh Cut Pilsner.  I preferred the Mermaid Pilsner, but it could have something to do with the draft lines at this place.  I’ll pick this up in a bottle and save my thoughts on it for another time.

IMG_0859 Our friend Kevin joined us, and started with Narragansett Lager.  He and Bryan moved on to Red Stripe (HOORAY BEER!).

Kevin.

Bryan.

HK Benny.

We said hello to Mason’s (actual) parents, Rich and Debra, who brought what seemed like a horde of relatives, which is super supportive and awesome.  There was a ton of love in that basement bar on Thursday night, and well deserved.  Rich, the proud Dad that he is, showed off that he bought the first ever Souveneer tee shirt.  Debra, the proud Mom (and Grandma!!) that she is, showed us pictures and videos of Amelia, Evan (Mason’s brother and one of my dearest friends) and Missy’s daughter.

I was wary of the draft lines after the Fresh Cut, so I ordered a can of Double Chocolate Stout as well, and began enjoying it just as Mason took the stage, for the first time playing songs as Souveneer.  He sang and played guitar, and was accompanied a violinist and a bassist, who also played bass for one of the previous bands, Hotel of the Laughing Tree.  It’s fun to watch friends doing what they love, and receiving so much love and energy from the crowd of family and friends.  The highlight of the night for me was his cover of The Talking Heads- Road to Nowhere, slowed down and performed just by Mason and his guitar.  Every one of Mason’s show’s I’ve been to, his parents have been there, singing along and encouraging others to join in on the fun, and this was no exception.

Souveneer- Empathy (Clip)

Souveneer- Road to Nowhere (Clip)
So, in one evening, I got to:

A. Have a date night with my wife

B. Spend time with my buddies Bryan and Kevin

C. See Mason doing what he loves and continuing to put out amazing music

D. See Christian and Billy, band members of The Republic of Wolves and Tigers on Trains, who I haven’t seen in a while

E. See Rich and Debra Maggio and see them gush over their sons

F. Share stories, beer, sing along, and experience Mason’s newest venture with friends and family

Not bad for a Thursday.

Until next time.

Cheers!

Surprise, Surprise, or, Patrick Uses the Same Hulk Hogan Picture Twice in One Blog…

I’m starting off a Benedict Beer Blog post talking about beer.

I know.  I’m surprised too, brother!

I drank a few good beers today.

I was at C’est Cheese in Port Jefferson this afternoon.  I ordered a glass of Grimm Artisinal Ales Rainbow Dome.

Just look at it.  Rainbow Dome is a hazy, golden, juicy, gorgeous looking beer.  This is a dry-hopped, oak aged wild/sour beer, brewed with apricots.  I can’t stop looking at this picture.  It’s unbelievably CRUSHABLE at 5%ABV.

One sniff and you’re smacked in the face by fruit and citrus (this is dry-hopped with El Dorado, Cascade, and Columbus).  Taste is tart, lemon zest, mango, peach, apricot.  It’s not too acidic and the mouthfeel is creamy.  If it wasn’t too hard to come by, I would make this my summer go-to brew.  Throw me poolside, on a shaded recliner (is that a thing?  I think I could be a millionaire), with a glass of this.  Heaven.

I sat down at C’est Cheese to write today, but that went out the window.  A minute or two after I ordered, Bryan, a fellow C’est Beer member (it’s $20 for the membership and you get discounts on draft beer, and special bottles and cans), who we had met a few weeks back, sat down, and we chatted about our mutual Long Island beer friends, Matt and Lauri from Moustache Brewing Company (go back and read my love letter to these two cuties, if you haven’t!). 

What’s amazing is that everyone who meet Matt and Lauri talk about how passionate they are, and what amazing beer they’re making.  What’s interesting is, in every conversation I have about them, their passion is always mentioned first.  I think that’s why Holly and I gravitated towards them when we lived out here, because they are hard working people who laid it all on the line to do what they’re passionate about, and that is so admirable.  Ok, I’m gushing again.

Bryan and I also discussed my trip to Boston with Holly, and the amazing, juicy IPAs coming out of the Northeast.  He often travels to Tree House Brewing Company to pick up their insanely out of control juice bomb IPAs (as well as their top of the heap stouts).  This dude is all about beer, and all about community, so I’m so glad we got to spend an hour or so chatting.

I also ordered a Jack’s Abby Hoponius Union, an India Pale Lager from this Lager-only brewery in Framingham, Massachusetts.  This is a lager brewed with “classic American hops” (it doesn’t list which ones, but I’m sure the C hops, like Cascade and Columbus, are in there).  What I love about India Pale Lagers, or IPLs, is that the malt balances out the hops, so it finishes with a smooth malty sweetness that you find in a great lager.  I’m sad Holly and I didn’t make it to this brewery, because I don’t believe I give lagers enough credit (Brooklyn Brewery and Sam Adams Brewery are really the only two lagers I will see on a regular basis), and from reviews I’ve read and hearing them talk on podcasts, these guys have perfected the style and are taking it to the next level.  Cheers to them!

Last weekend, for Fathers Day, we bought my Dad a few beers, one was Central Waters Brewing Company Rye Barrel Aged Chocolate Porter, and the other, a Great Divide Brewing Company Chocolate Oak-Aged Yeti Imperial Stout.  Dad had a little left over of the Yeti (he has yet to open the Porter), so I poured an ounce or two into a wine glass to try it.  

It poured out viscous and jet-black.  Smells like you’ve just walked into a chocolate shop, like sweet oak and bakers chocolate.  Taste is similar, it envelops your mouth and evokes flavors of bitter chocolate, dark roasted coffee, with a little heat on the back end from the addition of cayenne pepper.  What a fantastic beer.  Be careful, all you out there in Internetland, this baby clocks in at 9.5%, so, as rapper Iced Cube would say, “prior to wrecking yourself, please check yourself.” (I’m 99% sure that’s right.)

Later in the evening, we went to my Grandparents’ house in Port Jeff Station, and I drank…  A Bud Light.  Yup.  

“One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn’t belong…”

Choicest hops (sure…), Best Barley Malt (you know it ain’t the best because they’re telling you it’s the best) and RICE?

I’m just as surprised as you, brother.
Why rice?  I’m still not really sure.  What I’ve heard forever is that it’s cheaper, and you don’t become a multi-billion dollar company by using expensive ingredients, I guess.  But, Anheuser-Busch’s website says it’s more expensive, and helps give the beer a lighter, crisper taste.  So who knows.

So yeah, I drank one of these tonight.  I drank one of these because, when your 87 year old Grandpa, who’s dealing with a particularly nasty bout of skin cancer, says “Beer man!  Have a beer with your Grandpa!”, you pop open that ice cold brew and drink it with a couple of slices of pizza.  I could say that this was the best beer of the day (it wasn’t), but pizza, a cold beer, and conversation with family always makes for an amazing experience.  Also, it was like 72 degrees outside, so that didn’t hurt, either.

Poolside dinner with a…  Beer?

Yeah I threw cold cheese on that slice because TREAT YO’SELF!
My Aunt Mary said to me at dinner, “Patrick, you’re going to be so mad at me.  All I drink is Coors Light.”  I prepared in my head some pilsners she could drink instead (Victory Brewing Prima Pils and Sixpoint The Crisp stick out), and I said “I can give you a few alternatives.” And she responded “But I don’t want any!” And I said “That’s ok.  That’s the whole point of my blog, is you should drink what you like.  Beer should be fun.”

I don’t like that Anheuser-Busch, Miller-Coors, etc. are trying to run smaller breweries, like our dear ones at Moustache, out of town, and are buying up Craft Breweries like crazy, but I’m not going to pontificate or force my Aunt to change her beer choice at an awesome dinner with family.  I might pick up a six pack of Prima Pils at the next party, and have her try it, but I’m certainly not going to spoil anyone else’s experience if they’re not interested.  I drink Goose Island.  I drink Lagunitas (who are in partnership with Heinekin), and I drink Ballast Point (who are in partnership with Constellation Beer, who produce Corona).   I don’t think, if you’re having fun with it, you should have to apologize for what you like to drink.  If you can change someone’s mind with an experience, it’s much better than telling them what NOT to drink.

Anheuser-Busch needs to apologize if they change their name to America, though.  That’s for sure.  Because that’s absolute nonsense.

Till next week!  Cheers!