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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time!

Cheers!

Ireland Day 4, or How Hospitality Makes Galway Feel Like Home…

Hello folks! Sorry for the delay in posting!

So, back to our amazing trip to Galway and the surrounding areas.

So, in the evening on Day 3, we finally met Will Avery, head brewer and absolute lunatic over at Galway Bay Brewery. We had attempted to meet up with him last November when we were in Galway, but he was sick and we were unable to come tour the brewery.

This time around, Holly Kay and I were able to coordinate with Will, and we took my parents and Uncle Gerard to the brewery the next morning. (We were visiting Ireland with 16 relatives, so I asked Will the night before what a reasonable number of people would be, so that we wouldn't overwhelm them while they were, you know, working… He said "Give me six." We ended up with five.)

Will gave us a tour of the massive warehouse space that the brewhouse occupies, and it's filled with absolutely gorgeous stainless steel fermenters and mash tuns, and a large bottling line, churning out palates full of their incredible lineup of beers, including Full Sail IPA, Of Foam and Fury IIPA, and Buried At Sea Milk Stout.

That bottling line tho… Hi Dad!

After the tour of the brewhouse, Will took us over to another massive area of the brewery, occupied by large oak barrels, filled with what one can only imagine are magical elixirs to delight future imbibers at Galway Bay Brewery's flagship bars in Galway, Salt House and Oslo Bar (home of the original brewery, now home to Micil Poitin, run by the Mad Scientist Padraic O'Griallas).

Here's Will, standing next to a giant stack of magic barrels.

Will asked if we wanted to try some of the science experiment aging in those whiskey barrels, acquired from Teeling Irish Whiskey. And who are we to say no to that?

I won't tell you what was in those barrels, because we were sworn to secrecy, but I can tell you that it was unbelievably tasty. All 5 of us were able to have a small taste, and the response was overwhelmingly positive.

I love whiskey barrel aged beers because they take on flavors of oak, vanilla, and caramel (the same flavors I love in whiskey itself) and make an already great beer more complex and interesting. This brew was no exception. Super jealous of those folks who live in Galway and will be able to check out this beer once it comes out of those barrels.

These, I believe, were wine barrels, just another vessel to house Galway Bay's already amazing liquids, and to impart the flavors of the spirit that lived inside that barrel.

We had a wonderful time touring the brewery and watching Will and his team passionately working to create a labor of love. Thanks for letting us come by and share your passion for beer with us!

Later in the day, we booked a ride on the Corrib Princess, which is a 90 minute cruise on the River and Lake Corrib. The ride gives you access to historical ruins and gorgeous Irish landscape. It was a rainy afternoon, so we stayed inside the boat (mostly), but we had a wonderful time sipping Guinness, Irish Whiskey, and Award Winning (seriously) Irish Coffee with homemade cream. No complaints here.

Click HERE to see a video of me being silly on the Corrib Princess. YOU DON'T WANT TO MISS THIS.

The River Corrib!

Loading Dock at the head of the River Corrib…

Guinness x Jameson

Beautiful, rainy ride.

After our rainy, rocky ride down the River Corrib to Lough Corrib, we all went back to rest for a bit, and decided to do dinner at Oslo Bar, as we had yet to see our favorite wildman Alan O'Reilly (who you'll remember from our November Galway post!)

The brewing process, outlined on the wall at Oslo Bar

Family portrait at Oslo Bar (Alan was able to make his way into this photo, positioning himself ever-so-sneakily under Gerard, although he blends in so you'd never know he wasn't one of us.)

Alan was so hospitable (as always) and set us up with giant appetizers and flights of Galway Bay Brewery beer. This was one of my favorite meals of the trip, simply because Alan treated us like family. Thanks again, Alan!

After dinner, we ended up at Crane Bar for an unbelievable traditional music experience. We were surrounded by sound, as people from all over the small room began to sing and join in on the session.

A beautiful moment, as one of the regulars from the Crane Bar began to sing a cappella, it was contemplative and quiet, and yet, everyone was focused on this one man as he sang. It was true magic, and one of our favorite moments from the trip. Please click the link to check it out.

Thank you again to Will Avery and Alan O'Reilly for making us feel at home, and making Galway a place we can always come back to and feel comfortable and happy.

Cheers!

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

Hello!  

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

Didja miss me?  Huh?  Didja? 🤗

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

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

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

Look at that smile!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wait, isn’t this a blog about beer?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers!

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

After a brief hiatus, we’re back!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Heeeeeere piggy piggy piggy…

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

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

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

There’s a brewery/tap room in there!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s Max with his handsome smile!

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

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

Beer + Cheese + Pictures!

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

😍🧀🍻👌🏻

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

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

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

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

Squad.

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

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

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

Cheers!

Long Island City Brewery Tour, or “A Stranger’s Just a Friend You Haven’t Met.”

A rare Saturday afternoon off…  It’s 2pm.  I was sitting in my pajamas on my couch watching Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  (I wasn’t in my underwear, you sickos!  Stop thinking about me in my underwear!  Wink!). I get a text from Bradco asking if I had any plans for the evening…

Holly and I were going to a pizza party (with SANTA I KNOW HIM)  later in the evening, but my afternoon was free (see earlier comment about me not sitting around in my underwear YOU THOUGHT ABOUT IT AGAIN!  Sickos!) and Brad said he was wandering around Astoria aimlessly…

So I gave him some aim.  I hopped on Transmitter Brewing’s website, and just a second later, Brad texted asking if I’d ever been. We think alike, Brad and I… (read: We think about beer a lot, Brad and I…)

We decided that, since there are 4 breweries in walking distance of each other in Long Island City (Transmitter, Rockaway Brewing Co., Big Alice Brewing, and LIC Beer Project), we would hit all four!

CUT TO: Transmitter Brewing.  I arrived first, and was greeted by Lexi, who was running the tasting room.  She had a few large (750 mL) bottles in front of her (they don’t have draft lines at the brewery), so I asked how it works, and she told me I could taste from the three bottles they were offering that day, and order any of the 750 mL bottles they had for sale for consumption on premesis, or to take away.  Brad arrived mere seconds after Lexi handed me my first sample and told me, “Your friend can catch up.”  Brad also had two large (750 mL) slices of pizza with him, and asked if I could help him eat them.  Yes.  Yes I could.

Ok.  The beer!  Brad and I sampled their three tasting room offerings that day.

First was G2 Golden Ale.  This is a Belgian style Golden Ale, with aromas of citrus (it’s hopped with Azacca), and spice and bubble gum from the Belgian yeast.  

Next up was IB1 Citrus and Elder Flower Saison (a collaboration with Interboro Spirits and Ales).  This had less hop citrus, and had herbal notes from the elderflower and citrus on the backend. 

The Third taste was A4 Belgian Quad, brewed with Star Anise, Black Pepper, and Grains Of Paradise.  A classic Belgian Quad, with candied sugar sweetness, caramel, dark fruits, and a bit of citrus.  It hid the 10% ABV very well.  We would have gotten a full bottle of that, but opted for something lower in alcohol, as we were just starting our day.


We shared a bottle of S8, a Rice Saison.  The rice added some really interesting sweetness (think Sake), and dried out this delicious saison, with spice and citrus notes, leaving you wanting more.  This was a perfect table beer to compliment the pizza.  

The tasting room is right inside the brew house, which I assume would make it impossible to brew on days they’re open.  It’s small, but industrial, with tall ceilings and big barrels (a theme you’ll see in the pictures from the rest of the breweries).

Something is hibernating in here…

Gorgeous stainless steel tanks!

Bradco posing seriously with S8 Rice Saison in Transmitter’s brew house/tasting room.

LOL OUTTAKES FROM OUR MAN PHOTO SHOOT!

We left, and walked the 10 minutes north to Rockaway Brewing Co., which I had never visited before.  My favorite thing about this place was that they were rocking some magical Christmas songs, and one of the bartenders was belting them out from behind the bar, which only spread Christmas cheer throughout the tasting room and made the (already amazing) beer taste better.

Being my first time here, I ordered “The Other Flight”.

First off was Hawaiian Pizza IPA.  At 6.5%, this had a really nice body and awesome pineapple hop profile, and I will absolutely come back and grab a growler of this stuff.

My second in the flight was the Hüllified Gangsta Lean, a 3.9%, summery, wheat ale with notes of melon and peach.  Super interesting beer to drink as it’s getting colder, but it was a nice reminder of summer in NYC.

Third was Black Gold, a lovely, lower ABV, toasty roasty Stout.

Last but not least was El Cuco, a Milk Stout, with bitter chocolate, coffee, and some milky sweetness.  Awesome stuff. 

Brad and I did the free tour, with an enthusiastic host, who told us about the brewery history (Why is it called Rockaway Brewing if it’s not in the Rockaways?  Well, it used to be!  And soon, they’ll have a brewery/tasting room there again!), let us smell some whole cone and hop pellets, and taste barley.  I LOVE TOURS.

Hops!  Barley!  Barrels!

We moved on up to Big Alice Brewing!  You remember my last post about them, right?  If not, here’s a refresher!

Brad and I sat down, and Annie and Cory were behind the bar (you’ll remember Annie from the previous blog post!), and we chatted with them for a bit, although they were quite busy on a Saturday night (Drink local!!). 

Holly joined us here as she got out of work, and we all had multiple tastes from their extensive (12 beers and 1 cider) tap list.  We each had two small pours of our favorite, Jalapeño Rye IPA, with just enough heat from the peppers to balance out the citrus from the hops and spicy sweetness of the rye malt.  It’s unreal stuff.  

Another favorite of ours was the Date Night, Bro?  This is a stout with coffee (OK) and DONUTS (OK!!!)!!!  Dessert.  Plain and simple.

Another highlight?  Sour One with Cranberries.  Super tart, with a lovely cranberry sweetness.  Could drink this stuff all day!

I.  Love.  Big Alice.

As we waited for our Uber to arrive, we each drank another taster of Jalapeño Rye, because that’s what ya do when your driver won’t arrive for 7 minutes.  Ya get spicy.

I don’t like walking out this door…

We could have walked to LIC Beer Project, but, it was cold, and, we were lazy.  And it got us there in like 4 minutes.  And then we were…

Here.

Brad and I ordered the Modern Aberration Double IPA with Brettanomyces (see my post on Sour Beer here!!), which was dank, tart, citrusy and amazing…

I forgot to take a picture of mine.  This one is Brad’s, and is half gone.  I’m so sorry.

Holly ordered the Gal Friday, a delightfully light, crisp, sour.  Pucker up!

Holly Kay (in her Big Alice SWAG) and Bradco!

Another beautiful, spacious, industrial space with barrels!!

So, as I was checking into my Modern Aberration on Untappd, I noticed that one of my Untappd friends had checked in moments earlier to the same beer AT LIC BEER PROJECT.  I swore aloud (I’m sorry) to Holly and Bradco, and said “HOLY SH**!  ONE OF MY UNTAPPD FRIENDS IS HERE AND I’VE NEVER MET HIM!!”  The internet is weird.  

So I walked around the bar, calling his name (BECAUSE I AM A TOTAL WEIRDO!). “JASON S.?  JASON S.?”  Eventually, I found him, and we laughed, along with his friends he had brought to the brewery, about how funny the internet is.  I told them about the blog, and asked for a selfie with him because, you know, Pics or It Didn’t Happen, right?  We became Facebook friends, and actual real life friends (or, he thinks that I’m a maniac, I hope not.)

Untappd, bringing Internet Friends together in actual real life.

So yeah, we hit all 4 LIC Breweries in one night, and then we met up with our friend Bryan and my wonderful family (Uncle Bill and Aunt Dolores, and my cousins Billy, Andrew, James, Aidan and Thomas) at Sokol, the gym where Holly does gymnastics, which just so happens to be attached to the Bohemian Beer Garden in Astoria.  We ate pizza, we drank a pitcher of Oktoberfest, we got our picture taken with Santa, and we did The Turkey Dance.
A Bunch of Turkeys!!
Brad with his empty glass of Spaten Oktoberfest!
James!
Bryan!
I love when an unexpected Saturday off leads to some amazing beer adventures with my sweet Holly Kay, my wonderful friends, and family.  2016 keeps throwing flaming tires at all of us, and all we can do is keep on dodging ’em.  Be kind to everyone.  Have fun.  Spread joy, spread love.  It’s not profound.  It’s just beer.

Let’s do it!

Until next time.

Cheers!

This Post Sucks!  Or, Does It?

Do you have a beer that constantly surprises you?

Do you have a beer that, with each taste, a smile creeps across that sweet mug of yours, and you chuckle to yourself about how damn good that last sip was?

Do you have a beer that inspires you?

I took a sip of beer a few nights ago and stopped in my tracks.  I was overwhelmed with thoughts of my (in retrospect, very short) craft beer journey.

This was the first IPA that blew me away.  Holly Kay and I were at Tap and Barrel in Smithtown to see our dear friend Matthew Spitz (from the absolutely unbelievable Moustache Brewing Co.) and his band Royal City Riot, whose sole mission was to groove our mind, body and spirit with their reggae/ska/dancehall jamz, and groove our mind, body and spirit they did.  My goodness.  (Please refer to my Love Letter to Moustache Brewing Co. to learn more about Matt and Lauri Spitz, their baby, Moustache, and how amazing they are.).

I saw they had Lagunitas Sucks IPA on tap, and I was drawn to it, of course, because of the name.  I was still naive about IPAs at that point (please refer to This Blog Post in which I have my brother Chris, who’s new to beer, try 3 >100 IBU IPAs, and the results are as expected!), and wanted to try something new.  

I took one sip, and thought “THIS is the reason I got into craft beer.”  I was overwhelmed with brown sugar (which is interesting when you hear the story about this beer), plum sweetness, and toasted caramel from the malts, balanced with a blast of lemon and orange zest citrus from the hops.  One of the most flavorful, balanced IPAs I had ever drank.


Lagunitas Sucks!  Also, my foot!

We could talk about how Heinekin purchased a 50% stake in Lagunitas, which would lead us down the wormhole to AB InBev and their acquisition of multiple Craft Breweries in an attempt to conquer the Craft Beer market.

But we’re not here to talk about that.

I want to talk about the time I didn’t get that promotion I had been working so hard for, and Holly came and picked me up from work (because she’s amazing) and surprised me with a 32oz bottle of Lagunitas Sucks (because she’s incredible.  Also, beautiful.  She has unbelievable brown eyes.  Have you seen those eyes?  My goodness.). She handed it to me, gave me a big old bear hug, and said “Honey, that sucks.” I drew myself a hot bath, popped open that bad boy, enjoyed the sweet, citrusy blend of magic, went to work the next day as cheery and chipper as ever, and got the promotion a week later.  Boom. 

Ok, so, the beer name.  Here’s the story.  Lagunitas has a beer called Brown Shugga.  Due to their capacity issues in 2010, that particular beer, a strong ale with tons and tons of, you guessed it, brown sugar, took a long time to make.  They were trying to expand, but the giant lauter tun (the vessel used to separate the liquid wort from the grain) they were going to used got damaged, so they couldn’t brew Brown Shugga.  They called the IPA they brewed instead Lagunitas Sucks, as a consolation to all the Brown Shugga fans, and a comical, self-deprecating nod to staying humble in the face of success, even when something goes wrong.  It used to be brewed only around Christmastime, but it’s become a year round brew for them, and for good reason.

Every time I come back to this beer, I’m blown away.  Periods of time will go by, and it will disappear from my grocery store, and will show up again months later, and remind me again why I love craft beer so much.  It reminds me of Spitzy, and Holly Kay, and all the adventures we’ve been on since I started getting into craft beer over 5 years ago.  

My Dad’s go-to, Founders Breakfast Stout, and mineD Lagunitas Sucks.

It’s all about love, friendship, and great beer.  And this is a great beer.

Until next time!

Cheers!

P.S. Huge shout out to my dude Brandon (@itsb_ran on the Instagramz) for helping me come up with the second half of my title this week!  Thanks, buddy!