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!​

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!

 

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!

Galway Bay Brewery and the Beard Off Fundraiser, or, How We Made New Beer Friends Across the Atlantic Sea!!

Hello, friends!

***I wanted to FIRST start off this post by saying, Thursday, December 1st, Galway Bay Brewery in association with The Oslo, Salthouse and Gallagher Galway are hosting a BEARD-OFF Fundraiser to raise money for Galway Hospice.  If your means allow, please donate HERE and we will watch all of these grown men’s glorious beards be shaved off for an amazing cause.  Head to the Galway Beard-Off Fundraiser Facebook Page to see videos of the boys talking about how life will be without beards… Now, back to your regularly scheduled Blog Post….***

We have a very special post today, as I will recant the tale of how Holly Kay and I met some of the coolest people in Ireland…  WITH BEER!

The last post I wrote about Ireland left off with us getting a great night’s sleep after a wonderful night out in Killarney.  From there, we drove the unbelievably GORGEOUS Dingle Peninsula, whose vistas are stunning, every way you turn.

img_2298 Come on!img_2263 Come on!img_2314I mean, COME ON!!

giphy

From there, we drove and stayed in Gallow’s View Bed & Breakfast in Bunratty, where we were warmly welcomed by our host.  I’ll write about this part of our trip in a later blog post, so stay tuned.

Our next B&B was St. Judes, in Upper Salthill, just across the river from Galway City.  St. Judes was a lovely, French-style home just about a 10 minute walk into Galway proper, and, if you walk in the opposite direction, about 10 minutes from Lower Salthill, with bars, restaurants, an aquarium, and some casinos.

img_2378Galway City

img_2379Holly Kay in the Latin Quarter, Galway.

Before we left the US, I posted a message on a beer group that I’m a part of on Facebook, asking for recommendations for awesome craft beer in Ireland.  I received a response from Alan O’Reilly, manager of Oslo Bar in Lower Salthill, which is the flagship pub of the Galway Bay Brewery.

Alan wrote, “If you bring me American Craft Beer, I will give you beer.  Galway Bay Brewery beer!”  Holly immediately bought two large wine bottle sized ziplock bags on Amazon (which triple zip, so if anything breaks or leaks, it won’t get all over your clothes), and we brought 4 different American beers over with us.

We arrived at Oslo Bar around 6:30pm, and were on the lookout for Alan, who we found out back, inside what seemed to be Galway Bay Brewery’s brew house.  We soon discovered that GBB had expanded, and the brew house in the back of Oslo Bar is now used as a Distillery for Micil Poitín, an Irish sprit (think of it as Irish moonshine), made from Irish Grain and bogbean, a plant that grows in bogs throughout Europe.  We met Padraic O’Griallais, who quit his job as an Irish Speaking Schoolteacher, to take over his family’s business.  Micil is named after his Great-Great-Great Grandfather, Micil Mac Chearra.  Of course, Holly Kay and I were poured a sample, and it was spicy, herbal, and warmed our hearts and souls with the spirit of Ireland.  Man, it was so cool.

After that amazing introduction, it was time to show Alan the beers we brought!

img_2398

We brought two Gose-style sours, Westbrook Brewing Gose, and Stillwater Artisinal Gose Gone Wild, an IPA that our buddy Nathan had brought us from Georgia, Orpheus Brewing Life.Death.Life.Truth, and Peak Organic The Juice, an amazing new beer from this brewery, a hoppy pale ale.

To say Alan was thrilled would be an understatement.  I mean, just look at our faces in the photo above.  It was so cool to make new friends halfway across the world, simply with craft beer!  Alan was giddily showing his coworkers the beer we brought him, and told us to follow him back down to the bar.

img_2368Alan giving us his best smile, and showing some bar patrons some amazing stouts that are NOT Guinness.  (I sent this to my Dad, of course, please refer to my blog post about the Stout Monster)

We sat down at the bar and Alan poured me one of GBB’s newest beers, a collaboration with Cigar City Brewing (!!!), Ceasefire Rhubarb Sloe Sour.  Some lemon and lime pucker, with nice bitterness from the rhubarb.  These guys aren’t messing around with their beers.  They recently hired Will Avery, all the way from Georgia (the United State, not the country) to be their Brewmaster, and expanded their brew house to a location just outside of Galway City.

We were going to visit the brew house itself, but the timing didn’t work out, so that just means we’ll have to go back to Galway soon so I can write another blog post!  Ok, Holly?  😉

Alan poured Holly a Harvest Altar, a delightful brown ale with sweet, nutty caramel from the malts, with some nice hop spice and bitterness.

Next up for me was Full Sail, GBB’s flagship IPA, really well balanced, with some juicy hops (El Dorado and Cascade) and a sweet malt backbone.  This guy clocks in at 5.8%, so, it would be cool to have a few of these and see how the flavors develop.  Again, that’ll be another trip back to Galway!

While at Oslo Bar, we also met Darren Green, Alan’s dear friend, whiskey expert, and manager of Garavan’s in Galway, which won Whiskey Bar of the Year in 2014 and 2015.  As soon as he heard Holly Kay mention the word whiskey, he perked up, and immediately rattled off nearly the entire history of Irish Whiskey, to our surprise, and also to our DELIGHT

Alan was finishing work at 7pm, and told us to meet he and Darren later at Lonergan’s Bar, just a short walk from Oslo Bar, which, as he described it, is unlike any other bar we’d see in Ireland…  “We’re the youngest people there by 50 YEARS…)  But first, we asked for dinner recommendations, and Alan suggested Dough Bros, in Galway City.  We had to go, because you can’t just have one pizza in Ireland…

img_2371It’s Dough Bros, Bro!

img_2372Holly and I shared a Limeburner Pale Ale from Kinnegar Brewing in Donegal.  As Alan put it, these guys don’t make a bad beer.  This bottle was about 6 months from its bottling date, but the citrus of the hops stuck around just enough to balance the malts.  Crisp, and super refreshing, this was a perfect pairing to our pizza…  Bros.

Alright, so…  Lonergan’s.  We took a cab back down to Salthill, and walked into the pub, and, as Alan had described, the place was full of elderly Irish men (and one dog).  The only other lady in the pub was our sweet Barmaid.  She poured us two pints of Murphy’s Irish Stout, and we sipped them as we waited for our new friends to join us…

img_2375Proper Glassware…  Also, can you call this a perfect pour?  Or is that trademarked?

A few minutes later, Alan, Darren, and Sjef (a bartender and another whiskey connoisseur from Garavan’s) came in.  Suffice to say, Alan made good on his promise, (but not before signing up for, and encouraging Holly Kay and I, to donate funds to Galway Hospice for GBB’s BEARD-OFF Fundraiser), as we were chatting with the fellas about The Circus American Politics, Irish television show Father Ted, Craft Beer, Whiskey, and everything else under the sun, every few minutes, another pint of Murphy’s would magically appear in our hands.  By about 11pm, Holly Kay and I looked at each other, and said “We’ve GOT to go.”  We’d been up since around 7am, and had driven several hours that day, and although Murphy’s is less than 5% ABV, when you’ve drank 6 or 7 of them, you start to get a little bit of the jelly leg, if ya know what I mean.  So we drank what we could of that last pint, bid our goodnights, and went back to St. Jude for a gooooood night’s sleep.

I’m going to stop here, and will continue our Galway tale in my next blog post.

I’ll finish by reiterating that TOMORROW NIGHT is Galway Bay Brewery’s BEARD-OFF Fundraiser to raise money for Galway Hospice, and you can donate HERE if your means allow!

Thanks for reading, and until next time!

Cheers!

As Is NYC, or, How to Stumble Upon a Modern Times Tap Takeover…

Hello, Handsome and Beautiful Creatures of Earth!

I wanted to do a quick shout out this week to As Is, a cool new Craft Beer bar on 50th St. and 10th Ave. in Hell’s Kitchen, NYC.

I was invited here by my awesome (also craft beer fanatic) friends, led by Brandon, who had been telling me about this place for a while and texting pictures of their beer menu each time he showed up there, as a reminder that he was cooler than I was because he was at a new Craft Beer bar and I wasn’t (how dare he?).

I got there a little earlier than Brandon, Clint, Rick, and Samson, who all came in a cab from Brooklyn (plus it was raining), and I ordered an Other Half Equinox/Topaz, a bright, citrusy Double IPA, dried off from the stormy weather outside (I didn’t have an umbrella) and made a Facebook Live video talking about beer and general silliness.

Thinking of tropical islands while watching seas of umbrellas and glistening city streets…

Facebook Live From As Is NYC!

Someone had their eyes closed in nearly every picture I took of humans this evening…

Clint flipped because they still had a keg of Tröegs Brewing Company Nimble Giant, a super nicely balanced Double IPA, with notes of pine, orange citrus, and cherry sweetness from the malt.  I’ve dubbed this beer the “Heady Topper of Pennsylvania” (please don’t be triggered by this.  I’m silly.)

Brandon flipped because they had a Modern Times takeover, featuring some awesome hop-forward IPAs and Pale Ales, and a few roasty, toasty Imperial Stouts.  The highlight for me was the Orderville IPA, hopped with Mosaic (I WILL SING MOSAIC’S SWEET, SWEET SONG FROM ON MOUNTAIN HIGH!) and Simcoe (DITTO!).  It was like sipping on tropical punch.  Also try: Blazing World, a Red IPA, and Fruitlands Gose (my favorite one is the Apricot variant!).

The boys!

I did one more Facebook Live video (THE FUTURE) interviewing the boys and again, being generally silly…  Check that out HERE!

Brandon, one of the owners, was behind the bar that evening, and was super hospitable, and very excited about what a great fit they were for Hell’s Kitchen (they’re practically neighbors with Pony Bar, and just a few blocks from Beer Culture, two heavy hitters in Hell’s Kitchen and in the NYC Craft Beer scene).  I think these guys will do just fine.

I didn’t have a chance to eat anything on my first visit, but I’ll absolutely come back and eat   from their menu of small plates and sandwiches (if the words “Burrata with 18 month Prosciutto” don’t make you salivate, then you’re a robot).

Brandon brought us some Modern Times SWAG, and Samson decided he should make it rain…

Absolutely check this place out (great for stopping by for amazing craft beer, food, and cocktails after a Broadway show!)

I’ll leave you with a really cool photo that Clint took, check him out, he’s @bktexan on Instagram!

Cheers!

As Is on Instagram: @asisnyc

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!