Ireland Day 3, or, How I Became An Unofficial Dough Bro By Proxy…

My goodness, Holly Kay and I are photogenic, aren't we?

It doesn't hurt to have the heart of Galway City as the background, though, to be honest.

We spent our third full day in Ireland in Galway City. Our day was filled with shopping, eating, and drinking.

We enjoyed lunch again at The Dough Bros, (you'll remember these guys from Day 1) and this time, we were able to meet and chat with Eugene, one of the owners (or should I say, one of the Bros) about their journey from Food Truck to Pop-Up to an amazing Wood-Fired Pizza restaurant in the heart of Galway City.

Myself and Eugene. Am I a Dough Bro by Proxy? Let's say yes. The ultimate decision will be up to the actual Dough Bros.

Also, I got this great picture of my cousin Molly enjoying her pizza…

This is a fantastic photograph. It belongs in the National Geographic of Pizza. You're welcome.

We did some more shopping and I met Chris Pine, as depicted by the above photo. Mm, he's handsome. We both told each other a joke and were laughing at each other's joke. I think that's clear.

Day 3 was sporadically rainy, but the sun came out a few times which made the roads glisten, which was pretty magical!

We had dinner at Rouge, on Dominick St., right near the beautiful Claddagh river, and this is a photo of a steak, topped with foie gras. I REPEAT. THIS IS A PHOTO OF A STEAK. COVERED IN FOIE GRAS. DO NOT PANIC.

Since we were merely a block away, we ended our evening again at The Salt House, and, along with the Galway Bay Brewery beer we enjoyed, I figured, since I was only 700 miles from Brouwerij Boon, I should take advantage.

Vat 109 is a Geuze (a blend of young and old Lambics) made of 10% new Lambic and 90% old Lambic. The old Lambic was brewed in April of 2014, and aged in a 100 year old oak cask used primarily for Cognac. It was blended with the new Lambic and bottled in April of 2016.

I picked up tart cherries and raspberries, with some funk, followed by some sweetness from the ANCIENT COGNAC BARREL. This was a real treat, shared among family and friends, and was very special. So happy we found it in the fridge at Salt House, singing its sweet siren song of sourful sourness and sweetness. With just a dash of (we want the) funk… (Gotta get dat funk.)

We ended the night with some Traditional Irish music and beer at Carroll's. Here's a video of the end of their wonderful set. Check it out, and let us know what you think!

Next time, you'll get to see our adventure at Galway Bay Brewery, and more!

Thanks for reading!

Cheers!

Ireland Day 2, or, “In The Midnight Hour, We Cried Moher, Moher, Moher.”

It’s not a bad thing to wake up with this view of Galway Bay…

Absolutely breathtaking.

I brought some beer over to Ireland for our Galway friends Alan and Darren, who we had met last November, and Will, who we were supposed to meet but it didn’t align on our last trip.  Why not do a photo shoot over Galway Bay with some amazing American Craft Beer?

Singlecut Beersmiths Heavy Boots of Lead (Rye Barrel Aged) and Jenny Said.

I haven’t had a chance to try the Rye Barrel version of the Heavy Boots, but this imperial stout boasts flavors of vanilla, toasted marshmallow, coffee, and chocolate.

Jenny Said is a beautifully hopped IIPA with notes of tropical and stone fruit, with some dank pine and some sweetness.

Interboro Spirits & Ales may be a newer brewery, but they’re pumping out some of the finest liquids in NYC.  I’ve written about these before, so I’ll spare you the details, but if you’ve had ’em, you know I’m spitting truth, and if you haven’t, you’ll just have to take my word for it.  Hopefully they’ll pump out another batch of Stay G-O-L-D, and I know they release Mad Fat! Fluid on the regz.  Get ’em.

Funky Buddha Last Snow, a coffee coconut Porter that smells like walking into a Dunkin Donuts, and tastes like a delicious cup of coconut coffee.  This is amazing stuff!

After a light breakfast, we headed out on the beautiful scenic drive up to the Cliffs of Moher.  We decided we would eat lunch before walking along the cliffs, so we stopped at Vaughans Anchor Inn, in Liscannor, for a bite and a pint.  

Quaint!

My first pint, and Holly’s first glass, of Guinness! What’s great about Ireland is that EVERY pub offers glasses of beer (half pints), which are perfectly sized for Miss Holly Kay!

I ordered mussels in white wine sauce, and we had some amazing soda bread.  As I went outside to take a photo, I noticed some local beer on the shelf and asked the barkeep about it.  

They were bottles from Western Herd Brewing Co., brewed only about 25 minutes from Liscannor.

I ordered the Blue Jumper IPA, which was nicely balanced, with more herbal, medicinal hop character than the citrus bombs here in the Northeastern US.  This is more of a traditionally styled IPA.  I shared this one with my Uncle Gerard!

And the Cliffs?  Well…

They were gorgeous…

And we’re not so bad ourselves!

Don’t push my Dad, ‘cuz he’s close to the…  EEEEDGE!

Oh, you want Moher?

I’ll give you Moher.  We spent nearly 2 hours walking along the cliffs (close enough to get some great pictures but far enough away that nobody fell off a Cliff of Moher), and stopped for some chocolate at Hazel Mountain Chocolate 🍫!

For dinner, we found ourselves (all 15 of us!) at The Brasserie on the Corner in Galway, which shares its space with Blake’s Bar (which you’ll remember from THIS post). I ate steak (because why wouldn’t you?) and paired it with…

Independent Brewing Connemara IPA.  Another well balanced beer with flavors of citrusy black tea!  Delightful!

And, when in Rome…  Drink Galway Bay Brewery beer!

This was a delightful milk stout with roasted coffee and chocolate.  Another amazing brew from Will and the gang!

After our amazing dinner we made our first visit to The Salt House, another Galway Bay Brewery bar right in Galway City, with views of the Claddagh river (see above photo), and boasting an amazing beer menu with fine liquids from all over the world.

I enjoyed the Hexed IPA, and it put a spell on me (🤣😉) with it’s dank, citrus hop notes and just a bit of sweetness.  This was AMAZING, and also not the last one I drank during our vacay.

What happened next was one of the greatest stumble (and I mean STUMBLE) upons EVER!  We found a pub with a 15-piece big band playing some AMAZING jazz.  It was stunning.

Click this for the amazing video (THANK YOU HOLLY KAY!)
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Sometimes, you gotta end your night with some JAAAAAAZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!  It was another absolutely wonderful day with my love, Holly and my family!

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!

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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!​

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!

New Years Eve, 2016, in Astoria, Or, How We Winced As We Crossed the Threshold Into Our Apartment to Make Sure Our Ceiling Hadn’t Collapsed Again…

Ok, so, December 31st, 2015, Holly Kay and I began our evening at Astoria Bier and Cheese on Ditmars Blvd., and walked over to Singlecut Beersmiths, and had an amazing evening with our dear friends, and fantastic beer.

Cheese.  Bread.  More cheese.  More bread.

Love.

My love, and a lovely stout!

Ryan and I in our Prom pose.

It was a fantastic evening.

At around 1am, January 1st, 2016, we walked into our apartment, and found our kitchen ceiling had an existential crisis and wanted to become one with the floor.

#partymode

We used an app to make this.  Also, Bowie, Prince, and Harambe were still alive when this picture was taken.

So, the hope for New Years Day, January 1st, 2017, was that we would come home, and our kitchen would be the way that we left it on December 31st, 2016.

So we decided to repeat our New Years Eve plans from the previous year.  Let’s call it a mulligan.

I had the day off, and Holly worked until 4pm, so we met at Astoria Bier and Cheese around 5.  I decided to try taking the bus(es), got on the wrong bus, got off a few stops later, and called a Lyft, like an adult.  I got into the cab, and immediately saw an LED sign on the dashboard that lit up with “HAPPY NEW YEAR, PATRICK!!”  What a time to be alive.  I knew I had made the right choice (aka I’m a dummy who can’t get on the right bus).  I was so excited.

I got to AB&C first, because the MTA is amazing and decided they weren’t going to run N trains between 42nd street and Queensboro Plaza.  So Holly ended up taking 3(?) different trains and eventually a cab (like an adult.)

A beautiful glass of Jack’s Abby Kiwi Rising

While I waited for my wonderful wife, I enjoyed a Kiwi Rising from Jack’s Abby, just outside of Boston.  Jack’s Abby only makes Lagers, something I haven’t seen in American craft brewing.

I LOVE IPLs.  America is obsessed with hops.  I’m obsessed with hops.  New Zealand is killing it with their hop production.  What I love about this beer is the sweetness of the malts balances out the bitter citrus from the massive hop presence in this beer.  The result is a delightful burst of citrus, rounded out with sweet strawberries.  Lovely.

Here’s what I did while I waited for Holly to get there…

If you like fun, and also my face, you should click on that link!  🤗

ICONYC Hib Hop, Saison with Hibiscus

Holly had a beautiful, floral, lemon citrus Saison, clocking in at over 8% ABV, which is odd for a saison, but there’s not a hint of booze on this one.

We met Nigel, the beverage manager at Astoria Bier and Cheese Ditmars, and Sean, bartender and all around awesome dude from Singlecut Beersmiths.  Nigel immediately poured us a few small pours of Perennial Artisinal Ales Abraxas, a stout brewed with vanilla beans, cocoa nibs, cinnamon, and ancho chili peppers.  Mexican. Hot.  Chocolate.  Thanks, Nigel, for sharing!  Cheers!

Next up was a ginormous 10% coffee stout from Catskill Brewery.  This was a new beer from a new brewery for me, and only $5 for a 12oz pour.  This tasted like a coffee with sugar and cocoa!  It was creamy as hell and I loved every sip!

Onward, Holly and I walked with Nigel over to Singlecut.  We were meeting up with our friends Bradco and Alex, Kate and Mikayla, and Bryan!  (You’ll remember Brad and Bryan from THIS POST about our adventure in LIC). Nigel was stopping by to have a beer before he headed home for a quiet New Years Eve.  

Singlecut’s beautiful tasting room
I started out with a Jim is Workin’ Hard Session IPA, which bursted with stone fruit and citrus and had a creamy mouthfeel for such a low ABV beer.  They just canned this beer for the first time, and I’ll absolutely be coming back to pick some up next time they can or bottle it.

Next up, Kinky Boots of Lead!  This is Singlecut’s wonderful Heavy Boots of Lead Imperial Stout that they infected with Brettanomyces and Lactobacilus, and let rest for 18 months.  The result is dark cherries and berries, on top of the already creamy cocoa and coffee notes from the original stout.  Absolutely fantastic!

This was the Workers Are Going Home IIPA (YEEEEEAH YEEEEEAH YEEEEEEAH!), named after a lyric from one of my favorite Weezer tunes, explosions of stone fruit, pine, grapefruit.  Crisp and delicious!  Also, LOOK AT BRAD’S FACE!

We played some card games, Exploding Kittens and Cards Against Humanity, and Sean and the rest of the staff at Singlecut played some awesome Rock Concert DVDs (The Band, and The Rolling Stones’ Rock and Roll Circus), which was a lot of fun.  We even threw in a Turkey Dance for good measure, which you can check out HERE!  🦃🦃🦃🦃🦃🦃🦃🦃🦃🦃

Brad and Bryan looking so dang cute!  Cutiez ’16-’17

Three Bearded Beauties!

Here I was enjoying a Heavy Boots of Lead!  Chocolate and coffee dominate, with a little roast and vanilla.  Lovely, lovely imperial stout.

By 11pm, Holly and I were tuckered out.  Holly’d been up since four, and I was still getting over a cold, so we ended up leaving Singlecut before midnight…  Maybe that’s what broke the curse…

We arrived home, and our ceiling was in tact!  Everything was where it was supposed to be!  The ceiling was on the ceiling!  The floor was on the floor!  We celebrated for a moment, before putting on pajamas, collapsing into bed, watching Times Square’s sound engineers drop the ball on Mariah Carey before the ball actually dropped at midnight.

So let’s be good to each other this year, folks.  Love everyone as hard as you can, be nice to people, celebrate and enjoy your time with your friends, family and loved ones.  2016 was a year of loss, hate, and fear.  This year, let’s try and make the good times outweigh the bad.  Combat hate with love!  

Oh, and enjoy a beer or two along the way… 

🤗🍺

Until next time!

Cheers!

2016, The Year In Beer Pt. II, Or, Hey!  Come Salivate Over These Pictures Before We Set This Past Year On Fire!!

A generic complaint about how terrible 2016 was.

This year had some pretty terrible moments.

But guess what?  Holly Kay and I also had so many wonderful, positive, beautiful experiences in 2016.  I started THIS BLOG (which I couldn’t have done without the support of my wonderful, loving wife, Holly Kay!!!), traveled for the first time to Houston, and to Ireland (see HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE), visited some amazing Breweries, and took fantastic beer adventures with Holly.

I also drank some beer.  Weird, right?

Let’s get to them pictures, shall we?

August 7th: I will drink Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout no matter what time of year it is.  The barrel gives it wonderful vanilla and caramel notes to compliment the smooth chocolate from the malts.  Don’t stare at this too long, you might start drooling…

August 11th: I found Jesus in my fridge…  And he tasted like chocolate fudge!  Sorry, that’s blasphemous, but it’s ok, the J-Man and I are cool like that.  Also, Hi, Matt and Lauri from Moustache Brewing Co.!

August 19th: Holly Kay found a mysterious source to get me Other Half beer without having to wait in line at the brewery…  So this won’t be the last OH you’ll see here.  I drank this while watching Money Monster, so I thought it was appropriate.  This ish was LIQUID PINEAPPLE. 💵💵💵

August 29th: We met up with our dear friends Rafa and Stefanie at Bondurants on the Upper East Side.  It was wonderful to catch up with them, and have some tasty food and bevvies as well!  Highlights: Sloop Brewing Simcoe Bomb, a citrusy, juicy, hazy wonderland, and Olé Molé from Knee Deep, chocolate with just a hint of chili on the end to keep you interested.

September 4th: A gorgeous poolside Beverage, Almanac Beer Co. Saison Dolores, clocks in at 5.5%, floral, spice, citrus, and a clean finish.  Dive in!

September 10th: Holly Kay and I won tickets to see Holiday Inn on Broadway (which was absolutely spectacular), and had dinner at Bareburger!  I drank a Billy 18-Watt IPA from Singlecut Beersmiths, a sessionable, hazy, hoppy beauty that, even with a low ABV, packs in a ton of flavor.

September 15th: I know I have a whole post dedicated to this beer, but it was so incredible and Lauri and Matt worked so hard to can it, and now they’re cranking out cans like crazy.  I’m just so full of love for them and for Moustache!  MANGOOOOOOO!! (There’s no mango emoji or that would go right here.

September 16th: Citra Ass Down from Against the Grain Brewery in Lexington, KY.  I love citra hops, and this is a superbly balanced IPA, with lovely sweetness from the malt and juicy orange and bitter orange zest from the hop.  Nice stuff.  Also, these dudes can’t be beat with their labeling (see the can art for The Brown Note, but not while you’re eating.)

September 16th: Samson and “his” beers at our bottle share.  Two Roads Brewing Workers Comp. Saison, and Perennial Suburban Beverage, a beautiful, tart Gose.

September 20th: My first visit to LIC Beer Project.  I picked up a 4 pack of cans of their Backjump IPA, and had to try it on draft!  Beautiful citrus, melon, a little pine.  The hops shine.  Never had a bad beer from these guys.

October 5th: Holly Kay and I had the day off together, did some shopping at the Danbury Fair Mall for waterproof boots for our upcoming Ireland trip, and headed down through Connecticut, first to New England Brewing, then to Two Roads, where they have these awesome flight paddles!  Holly got a tee shirt and I got a hoodie from these guys, and the highlights of this flight were the Espressway Stout, brewed with Espresso beans, and the Jalapeño Pils, a refreshing pilsner, clean, with grass, hay, and a little sweetness, and a jalapeño bite to make it extra caliente, baby!

October 10th: Happy Birthday Holly Kay!!  This Kolsch was an amazing way to start off the evening, low ABV, with bready and cracker malts, some spice and citrus from the Bavarian hops, and the addition of Mosaic hops (oh myyyy) gave this a floral, crisp citrus kick.  Loved loved loved this beer!  Thanks to our friend Joe for giving me this!

October 12: Hoppy Halloween!  I’d heard amazing things about Other Half Brewing Mylar Bags, and it did not disappoint.  Deep orange in color, with bursting with citrus (orange, mango, grapefruit).  IF A MYLAR BAG WAS FILLED WITH HOPS I WOULD WANT IT TO BE MY HOME.  SHRINK ME DOWN AND PUT ME INSIDE DAT BAG, BABY!

October 21st: WELCOME MOUSTACHE BREWING TO NYC!  Bradco, Holly Kay and I finished off our evening at Alewife NYC with some Everyman’s Porter.  A toasty, roasty, dark as night porter with notes of roasted coffee and chocolate.  Delicious, and another win for Lauri and Matt!

October 24th: Beer share with Will and Sarah!  We shared a wide array of delightful brews, including Barrier Daddy Warbucks 💰 IPA, Stone Xocoveza (pronounced Shock-oh-veza, because when you drink it you get a shock to your veza 😘), Stillwater Artisinal Whole-icious Sour Mango IPA (yowza!), a Whole Foods exclusive beer, and a few Other Half brews, including the lovely Mosaic single hop IPA.

November 1st: Time to open Moustache Brewing Co. Seasonal Creep!  This beer is the definition of fall.  On a crisp evening, the pumpkin, spice, and notes of caramel with some boozy heat, warm your mind, body, and soul.  This helped Holly and I ease our travel stress while we packed for IRELAND!!!

November 1st: One of the best beers of the year.  From Peak Organic Brewing Company, The Juice is a superb hoppy Pale Ale, with zesty citrus hops accentuated by a cracker-like malt, with a dry finish that leaves you wanting another sip.  Seriously, stop drooling! 🤤 

November 6th: I had to throw some pictures in here from Ireland!  I enjoyed a Franciscan Well IPA with Holly Kay at P-Mac’s Bar at the Bunratty Castle and Folk Park.  This location was absolutely gorgeous, and we sat next to a fireplace and chatted about our favorite parts of the Ireland trip so far, and looked at pictures from the Dingle Peninsula.  One of the highlights of our trip, and one of my favorite moments spent with Holly Kay this year.

November 20th: Happy Birthday, Patrick!  I celebrated with a Singlecut Bon Bon 2x TNT IPA, which, as expected, was Dy-no-MITE!!

November 23rd:  Unfortunately, my Grandfather passed away the day after my birthday.  Thanks to our work benefits, Holly and I were able to take time off and spend a week on Long Island with my family, celebrating my Grandfather, Deacon William J. Powers, the only way we knew how.  We ate, drank, cried, laughed, sang, and celebrated.  His light shone in each and every one of us that week, and it was as joyful a celebration as it could have been.  We miss you, Gramp!

November 23rd: My brother Chris found a taste for Sours (yahoo!), and this Grimm Cube Cuveé #2 was tart, with orange citrus flavors from its time spent in Orange Bitters Barrels.  This was superb.

November 24th: Thanksgiving Day!  A new Moustache Brewing Co. can!  A beautifully balanced 6.0% ABV IPA.  Nice, crisp citrus, balanced with a nice bready malt backbone.  They’re just cranking out the hits.  🎶💯

November 24th: Half Acre Goneaway IPA.  Bright, floral, citrus, with beautiful colorful 8-bit looking can art.  I love when a gorgeous beer comes in a beautiful can!

November 25th-26th: Sand City Brewing Co. Mofosaic and Even Mo Mofo.  Both are hopped only with Mosaic.  Mofosaic bursts with grapefruit, mango, floral notes, and caramel, the Even Mo dominates with liquid pineapple 🍍 and beautiful sweetness.  I like to CHEW on my IPAs, and the mouthfeel on both of these was incredible.
November 29th: Dinner at Kelsey and Pete’s, drinking Holly Kay’s favorite, Anchor Brewing Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2016.  Notes of caramel, plum, and spice, makes for a wonderful little Christmas treat!
December 2nd: Other Half Mosaic Dream IIPA at As Is, NYC.  Everybody Loves Raym…  errr…  Mosaic!  Juicy, juicy, juicy Lucy!  Passionfruit, mango, grapefruit, creamy mouthfeel!
December 9th: Singlecut Beersmith’s first can release!  Softly Spoken Magic Spells, a world class IIPA bursting with citrus and pine, and Workers Are Going Home, IIPA with flavors of stone fruit and lovely sweetness.  I also got some tastes while at the brewery, and the highlight was Kinky Boots of Lead, a sour version of their Heavy Boots of Lead Imperial Stout.  

December 11th: Sand City Brewing Co. Oops!  I Mangoed My Pants IIPA!  They took the recipe from their Oops!  I Hopped My Pants IPA, and added 450 pounds of mangoes to it, because why wouldn’t you?  These are the guys to watch for in 2017.

December 22nd: Back out on Long Island for Christmas!  If you thought Oskar Blues Ten Fidy was amazing, the Barrel brought out some boozy vanilla, and caramel to this already heavy hitter.  My Dad, the Stout Monster, certainly approved!
December 23rd: Awkward Conversations.  Appropriate for the Holidays, eh?  Another amazing IIPA from our dear friends at Moustache Brewing Co., pours a clear, amber color, and bursts with melon and citrus!  Keep it up, friends!!

December 24th: As Chris put it, “Benedict Beer Bloods.  I’m drinking an Awkward Conversations and Chris is drinking an Anderson Valley Briney Melon Gose.  (Autocorrect always tries to change Briney to Britney, maybe next time I’ll leave it.)
December 25th: Christmas!  Drinking a budweiser.  It’s the king of beers, I’ve heard.  Actually, it’s just a lil’ Goose Island Bourbon County for fun for your mouth.
That’s a lot of pictures.  

This year has had its ups and downs, for certain, but let’s celebrate the ups, let’s all be kind and caring and love one another, let’s get together, let’s spend time with those we love. 
Keep loving, keep living!
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!