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!

Galway 2017 Day 1, or “Weren’t You Guys Just in Ireland?”

“Weren’t you just there 6 months ago?” was the question asked by a coworker when he found out Holly Kay and I were traveling to Ireland again.  

“…7.” was my response.

But hey, when one has a chance to spend time with family and amazing craft beer and whiskey friends, one jumps at the chance to go to Ireland again.

Also, there’s beauty everywhere you turn.

Like this…

And this…

Our home base was Galway, where you’ll find pubs like the Oslo Bar (former home of the Galway Bay Brewery), The Salt House (another of GBB’s flagship pubs) and Garavan’s, a world renowned Irish Whiskey bar.

Last time we were in Galway, we met Alan, manager at the Oslo Bar, and Darren, manager at Garavan’s.  (See my previous Galway posts HERE and HERE.). We were so happy to be able to meet up with them again, and bring some more craft beer for them to share as well.

But first, margaritas…

We had some DELICIOUS, PINT-SIZED margaritas at the airport (AKA GOODNIGHT!) and tried out our new fisheye lens clip for the iPhone (it was $10 but it got the job done, wouldn’t ya say?).

These were Blood Orange Margaritas.  I REPEAT. THESE WERE BLOOD ORANGE MARGS.  NIGHT NIGHT.

Shenanigans followed, of course…

Holly Kay’s just plane crazy!


I’m a huge James Carrey fan.

We landed in Shannon airport after an overnight flight having barely slept, and once we got our rental car, we stopped by one of our favorite places from our previous trip, Bunratty Castle and Folk Park.

We had a lovely few hours walking around, chatting with the groundskeepers and recalling our previous trip back in November.  

We had lunch at the Drumoland Castle, which was absolutely incredible….

Yeah.  This place.

It was absolutely unreal.

Yuh-huh…

We had a nice Cuppan Tae and some delicious sandwiches in the most beautiful room with the comfiest couches and chairs we’ve ever sat in.  

Having barely slept a wink, we were both nodding off.  But the chairs were so COMFYYYYY…

We stopped about halfway to Galway to get some beverages and gummy bears to keep us awake, and I was surprised to see that the latest, hazy, juice bomb, New England Style IPA trend had caught on even at gas stations in Ireland…


Because, aren’t all NE IPAs just Cloudy Lemon Sparkling Juice Drinks?  😘

We arrived in Galway and met up with my parents and our relatives, and went straight to our favorite pizza place, Dough Bros!  Alan had suggested this place to us the last time we were in Galway, and again, it did not disappoint.  We had 11 people with us at this point, and we all were able to snag tables around the restaurant, and everyone loved their pies.

Holly Kay and I shared a spicy Nduja sausage pie and a Margherita.  Both were great!  We were STARVING and also VERY tired.  Hi Mom and Dad!


Molly, Kelly and Gerard Powers.


I only know four people in this photograph (Ashleigh, Tim, Sean and Matt Powers) but zoom in on the dude in the background and you won’t be disappointed.

Hold on, isn’t this a beer blog?

This was new!  Dough Bros had Independent Brewing Company of Ireland create a session ale just for their restaurant!  This was a gorgeous, crisp, refreshing pale ale with biscuity malt, and juicy orange citrus hops.  What a perfect beer to compliment any of the Dough Bros pies.  Simple, clean, great stuff!

After dinner, we were all spent (the rest of the family traveled into Galway from Sligo, a few hour drive), so we stopped at the nearest convenience store to pick up some supplies for the week, and opted for a quick cab ride back to the AirB&B as it started to pour (as it does, in Ireland. 🇮🇪)


Makes for an amazing photo, though.  Galway’s so stinking beautiful!


I’m pretty sure Holly Kay and I conked out just after 9pm Ireland time (4pm New York Time) after having spent almost 40 hours without sleep, but this was the view from our bedroom, which was so special, so it was hard to go to bed even though we were so tired.  (Ok, I’m speaking for myself, Holly fell asleep on the chair in the living room 😜)

That’s it for Day 1!  Stay tuned for more fun!

Until next time,

Cheers!

Beer Plus Music Vol. III, Or, How You Should Spend Your Next Four Nights…

I was chatting with my dear friend Pete (a funny, talented writer and human being, and his website is HERE!) yesterday about Sturgill Simpson.  If you haven’t yet, please check out his SNL Performances right HERE.  I had watched these earlier in the day and was so blown away, I downloaded the newest Sturgill Simpson album, A Sailor’s Guide to Earth, on Apple Music, and listened to it twice through before the end of the day.  It’s country, folk, funk, Joe Cocker, and David Bowie, all combined.  I played it for Holly Kay, and she was shocked.  She’d been a DJ at the Country Music station out on Long Island when we were living there (see her previous post HERE), and she was completely surprised by the genre-bending this multi talented musician pulls off with ease.

Listening to that album got me so excited, and I realize that, not too often anymore do I get excited about new music.  (Everybody’s also been doing this “Post 10 albums that shaped you as a Teenager” thing on Facebook, and that inspired me as well)

So this week, I decided to go through and pick out some new music that I DID get excited about this past year, and place each album with a different beer that I think pairs perfectly.  Maybe you’ll be inspired, and post some of your favorite beer and music pairing in the comments below!  Let me know what you all think!

Alright, let’s start!

Sturgill Simpson – A Sailor’s Guide to Earth (April 15, 2016)

I’m sad that it took me this long to discover this album.  It’s an ethereal (reminded me of a lot of David Bowie), beautiful, heartfelt alt-country-funk-classic rock album that clocks in at only 9 songs, and 39 minutes (which reads more like a punk rock album than a country album).  Pete told me that he themed the album as a letter to his son, (see Keep it Between The Lines), and he even fits a song in for his wife (Oh Sarah).  I’m loving it more with each listen, especially his mellowed-out cover of Nirvana’s In Bloom.

Oh right, this is a blog about beer…

Ok, my pairing!

I decided to pair this bad boy with another genre-bending (read: booze-bending) beer from Queens finest brewery Singlecut Beersmiths, their Rum-Barrel Aged Heavy Boots of Lead, aged for one year in oak barrels, and infused with whiskey-marinated maple syrup.

A heavy hitter, clocking in at around 12% ABV, this stout hits hard, but sneaks up on you, and is mellowed out with notes of sweet cocoa, coffee, and vanilla.  While Simpson blends funk with country and ages it in Bowie barrels, this combination of rum barrels and whiskey marinated maple syrup (Simpson is from Kentucky, so I had to pick something that had some kind of whisky involved, right?) is enough to make anyone’s head spin, but for some reason, it all comes together in boozy perfection, and when one finishes the album (or the beer), one wants to go back for more, y’all.

Childish Gambino – Awaken, My Love (December 2nd, 2016)

I’ve only heard a few random songs from Donald Glover’s Childish Gambino, but my friend AJ (subscribe to Jorel Blu on YouTube for Movie Reviews, Music, and much more!) was playing Redbone (if you click that link, you WILL see Donald Glover shirtless), from his newest R&B-throwback-yet-still-fresh-sounding Awaken, My Love, and I was immediately hooked.  AJ (JOREL BLU) encouraged me to listen to the album from start to finish, and while it hearkens back to Jimi Hendrix, and Otis Redding, it fits in quite well as an album released in 2016.  Glover is multi-talented, as an actor, rapper, and singer, but his guttural screams on Me And Your Mama (“You know that I love you / So let me in to your heart”) with a full gospel choir singing behind him hooked me immediately.  I thought about Hendrix, but also the song Hard Times/Our Times by Portugal, The Man.  Glover seems, just like Sturgill Simpson, to blend genres together to create something new, yet, so familiar.

Which led me to pick my beer…

And how could I write an article without mentioning Matt and Lauri from Moustache Brewing Co.? I can’t.  So I picked their undeniably un-milkshake IPA, Awkward Conversations.

I picked this beer because, they’ve created something brand new, like Glover, that hearkens back to the pre-milkshake IPA days.  Now, if you read this blog, you know I LOVE unfiltered, orange juice looking, milkshake lookin’, pulpy-ass IPAs!  But this beer.  This beer is crystal clear, amber in color, super well balanced, sweet melon paired with bitter citrus.  It’s perfect.  This beer blew my mind (not surprisingly) and sits up there with my favorite New England style IPAs, as Childish Gambino sits at the top of my new music list.  Also, if someone walks in on you listening to Childish Gambino’s California, you might end up having an awkward conversation.

Here’s me, drinking an Awkward Conversations, and my brother Chris, drinking an Anderson Valley Blood Orange Gose, having what is more than likely an awkward conversation.  Smash that M’F’in like button on his Instagram page, @suckball.  Hello.

A Tribe Called Quest – We Got it From Here, Thank You 4 Your Service (November 11th, 2016)

I got into A Tribe Called Quest in college, starting with Midnight Marauders, and they were my first real foray into hip-hop (thanks to college friends Mike and Evan).  Their newest album, which showcases Q-Tip, Jarobi white, and the late Phife Dawg, with features from Busta Rhymes, André 3000, Kendrick Lamar, Talib Kweli, Elton John, Jack White, and a TON more, this whole album is a giant middle finger to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, (see We The People, and the final album track The Donald).  Q-Tip has spoken about how he had to take breaks while mastering the record, hearing Phife Dawg, and his emotion comes through in both his verses and his production of this album.  It’s a beautiful statement, but doesn’t take itself too seriously.

I paired this album with an old classic.  Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

With a lack of craft selection, one can always find Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.  Case in point, a hotel in Palm Coast, FL, June 20th, 2014.

Simply put, Sierra Nevada was one of my first introductions to craft beer.  Many of the world’s greatest brewers have attributed Sierra Nevada Pale Ale as an inspiration to start their own breweries, just as Tribe has influenced so many in hip hop.  (Sierra Nevada began in 1979, Tribe in 1985)  Sierra Nevada is still looked up to as one of the world’s best breweries, even after 37 years.  Each time I take a sip of Pale Ale, I taste a super balanced sweetness from the malt, and juicy orange, and orange peel bitterness (insert DJT orange joke here.).

The Dear Hunter – Act V: Hymns With The Devil In Confessional (September 16th, 2016)

I’ve been listening to Casey Crescenzo’s insane, progressive rock, orchestral wonderland since 2006, when Act I: The Lake South, The River North was released.  Casey is a self-taught musical mastermind, and I finally had the chance to see The Dear Hunter live with Holly Kay back in October, and it was everything I could have hoped for.  This album, and Act IV: Rebirth in Reprise, were both recorded at the same time with the Awesöme Orchestra in San Francisco.  There’s a story arc throughout the Acts, and will culminate in some form or another with Act VI (Casey has said that Act V is the last “Rock Album” and Act VI will take on a different form altogether), but to have followed this story for 11 years, I’m anticipating whatever concept he comes up with.  Stand out tracks from this album include Gloria and The Revival.  It’s a lot darker than the rest of the Acts, but has moments of peace, beauty, followed by chaos.

Final beer pairing…

Peak Organic – The Juice

The first time I tried this beer was right after the album was released (can’t you see my nice pumpkin?)

Why pick such a lightly colored, low ABV, hoppy, pale ale, to pair with such a dark album?  Well, The Juice snuck up on me.  You take a sip, and it’s clean, bright, refreshing, and then, WHAM!  You’re smacked in the face with dank, citrus, and pine.  Can this really only be 5% ABV?  You keep sipping, and keep getting surprised with the flavor.  WHAP!  BAM!  BLAM!  POW!  With every musical surprise on Act V, you get another wave of flavor from The Juice.  In fact, I just finished a can of this while writing this article, it was canned on October 24th, nearly 3 months ago, and it’s got every ounce of hop bitterness, citrus, and pine as the first time I drank it.  And I’m listening to Act V as I write this, and it’s just as intense as when I first heard it in September.  The beer, like the album, is something I can return to when I can’t think of anything else to drink/listen to.  Unbelievably crafted, super thought out, and nearly perfect.  This combo makes more sense each time I think about it.  In fact, it makes me giggle.

That’s all I’ve got!  Again, write in the comments below if you’ve got any beer/music pairings for me, and I’ll check them out and maybe even feature them in another blog post!

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!

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!

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

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

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

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

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

img_2396Coffeewerk was such a cool space!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

img_2385Christmas came early in Galway!

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

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

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

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

Wait, so, this is a blog about beer?

Alright, let’s get to it…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time!

Cheers!

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!

Business Cards Are Here!  Or, I’m Officially Official!

These came out absolutely SEXY!  And YOU ALREADY KNOOOOOW I went glossy, because you want that amazing looking brew to “Shine like the top o’ tha Chryslaah Building!”  (Yup, I just referenced Ms. Hannigan from Broadway’s Annie in a Blog Post.) 

So, now YOU can spread the word as well!  If you read this and want some to distribute, send me an email at patrickbenedict@benedictbeerblog.com and I can give you a stack for your business, home, or just to give out to friends, etc.  Let me know!  Thank you all for your support!

And as always, thanks to Holly Kay for motivating, encouraging, and inspiring me!  These wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for her!  


😉

Until next time!

Cheers!

Brewery Corner, or, This Was the First Time We Ate Pizza in Ireland, and it Wouldn’t be the Last…

Holly Kay and I arrived at the Aspect Hotel in Kilkenny after barely sleeping on the overnight flight into Dublin, and spending the whole day in Dublin City, followed by an hour and 30 minute drive.  We were basically zombies, but decided to go to a place we had looked at on Trip Advisor called Brewery Corner.  It seemed fitting.  Winky face.

Irish Craft Beer in the heart of Kilkenny!
We were hoping to find somewhere that wasn’t too loud or crowded, and were relieved when it was relatively quiet, with a young Irish lassie, called Bad Poster Girl, singing folk covers near the fireplace in the front of the Pub.

Holly and I were warmly greeted by the bartender, who pointed out the food menu (three or four different types of pizza) and explained the Irish Craft Beer-heavy menu.   There were about 5 or 6 O’Hara’s (brewed by Carlow Brewing Company, who also own the pub), and a handful of other brews…  I remember seeing a Pumpkin Brew from Trouble Brewing, located in Kill, Ireland (yup, that’s a real place), and a few others.

I ordered from their extensive bottle menu, featuring craft beer from all over the world.

First up for myself was YellowBelly Beer Gose to Leipzig, a salty sour ale from this Wexford, Ireland Brewery.  

When I ordered it, the bartender responded, “The Gose?  Braaaave man.  I think it’s the only beer that makes a man thirstier!”  

It was pale golden in color, 4.5% alcohol, and actually a lot saltier than most Gose’s I’ve had.  After a wave of salt, beautiful orange and lemon zest citrus came through, leaving you wanting another sip!  Great stuff!

Holly had an O’Hara’s Irish Stout, which had a heartier mouthfeel and more defined chocolate and coffee than, you know, that other beer I wrote about here

Holly Kay and I shared a 12″ pizza, which was just enough to satisfy us after the long day.  It was a fine pizza, but we’re spoiled New Yorkers, but also, we’ll eat any junky food if we’re hungry enough, and also also, we love all pizza no matter what.  So it was perfect for where we were at that very moment in time, listening to covers of Death Cab For Cutie and The Decemberists.

Next up was Brown Paper Bag Project Aul Bruin Bagger, a 6.4% Sour Brown Ale.  It hits you with delicious berry and apple, makes you pucker just a little bit, with enough malt backbone to balance out the tartness.  Great stuff, and, while both this and the Gose are sour, they’re two wildly different brews, and delicious in their own right.
If you ever find yourself in Kilkenny (and you should and I’ll tell you why…  Two Words.  Butter Slip.) you need to head over to Brewery Corner and tell them Benedict Beer Blog sent ya!

It’s quite like something out of Harry Potter.  And look how cute Holly Kay is!

Butter Slip is, as advertised, VERY slippy.
And remember to love one another.  Let’s love each other harder through the difficult times.  That’s all I’ll say.

Until next time, Cheers!

Guinness Storehouse, or, How Holly Kay and Patrick Showed Off Their Former Bartending Skills (And Received the Certificates to Prove It!)

From my Sexy Posing in Front of Breweries series…

Hi all!  Update #1 from beautiful, sunny then suddenly rainy Ireland!  We are safely in Kilkenny, about to have our second breakfast on this unbelievably green island, and today, we’re going Full Irish (get your mind outta the gutter…)!  I wanted to share some photos from our trip to the Guinness Storehouse yesterday!  

Holly and I opted to pour our own Perfect Pints, as the Gravity Bar (with a 360 degree view of the city of Dublin) was filled with loud, obnoxious Americans, “I’M FINE ON THE STAIAHS (stairs)!  I DON’T NEED TO WAIT FAH (for) YEW (you)!!”  A grandmother yelled to her family members.  

This was the only photo I could get without a bunch of strangers in it.  But check out the top of that guy’s head!

There’s a lot of money in the Guinness Storehouse, its kind of like Walt Disney World, (it’s even got a whole section dedicated to how important water is to beer, and the waterfall smells like Disney water!).

  Don’t go chasing waterfalls, please stick to the barley and hops that you’re used to…

A lot of the different videos were outdated, and whatever was supposed to be projected inside the simulated mash tun wasn’t working.  

We saw some great exhibits, though, specifically the advertising section, and the shop was beautifully decorated for Christmas (WE LOVE CHRISTMAS, FA LA LA LA LA, LA LA LA LA!)
Anyway, I won’t blather on.  Here’s some pictures from our experience!  Enjoy!

My gorgeous wife!

Here’s a normal pose!

My lovely!

2 Zombies in Dublin!  (I slept a total of 2.32 hours on the overnight flight…)

Looking up into the barrel!

God’s flower…
For the love of barrels!

Someone left the remains of their Perfect Pint in the bathroom!

My Goodness!

My Guinness!

Holly’s feeling Hoppy!

🙂

This guy looks like all the exit signs in Ireland…

Hiding…

Sipping off the shell of a turtle!

Holly Kay befriending a horse!

The store!  All decorated for Christmas! (FA LA LA LA LA…)

Our Perfect Pints!  Poured ourselves, and with the Certificates to prove it!