KCBC Tiger Thunder, or, Benedict Beer Blog’s Beer of the Week #2!  

“Such a blunder sometimes, it makes me wonder why I even bring the Thunder (Why he even brings the Thunder)…”

Daveed Diggs, as Thomas Jefferson, paying homage to Grandmaster Flash, in the hit Broadway smash musical Hamilton, invokes the essence of this beer…

Pow!  Bam!  Zap!  Zing!  Kings County Brewers Collective (KCBC) Tiger Thunder IIPA!

Thanks to Rick (check out his amazing food blog, Rickommended, right HERE!), for picking this up for me from Carmine Street Beers!

The smell is super dank, earthy, herbal with some citrus notes hiding behind.  The first sip lowers the electric BOOM!  A blast of pineapple 🍍 (ooh Mama!) , lemon 🍋 (hey now!), juicy melon 🍈 (watch out!), with bursts of strawberry 🍓 (hello!), bready 🍞 malt sweetness (sweet!) and sticky, oily resinous character (sticky!).  This beer is all about balance.  It clocks in at 8% ABV, so it’s a nice sipping beer while relaxing on our beautiful, comfy couch.

It pours a beautiful amber, with a pillowy, off-white foam.  It’s gorgeous to look at in between sips.

The can art is dope.  The bright, almost neon yellows, greens, blues, and reds in the folk-art inspired tiger mask are a nice compliment to the crisp, citrus hops in the beer.  It seems like a lot of care and consideration went into not only the beer itself, but also the art.  It’s amazing.

Beautifully balanced from start to finish, this beer’s great and you should definitely pick it up if you find it (aka those who live in the tri-state area).

Also, I can’t wait to open the other KCBC can that Rick picked up for me, Look Ma, No Hands, a gose with pineapple and lemon zest, to share with the lovely Holly Kay!  Look on our Instagram soon for that beautiful can art as well!

Thanks for checking us out!  You like beer?  Share this with all those you love!

Until next time!

Cheers!

Date Night! Or, “Is It Weird That This Beer Smells Like Sushi Rice?”

Holly Kay and I have been married for 5 years (!!!) now.  We’ve got a trip to Ireland planned for the first week in November (!!!) which we’re super excited for, but we’re always looking for ways to celebrate our love.

This past Friday, we were both done early from work, so I met Holly down in Soho so we could find a nice Happy Hour (who doesn’t love a good Happy Hour?).  As I waited for her to get out of work, I had a hankering to visit one of our favorite special places here in NYC.  It’s got great food, great beer, and great…  Arcade games?

Yeah.  You got that right, Jack (who is Jack anyways and how did he get that right?), I’m talking about Barcade.

Barcade!

The first Barcade opened in 2004 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, then in Jersey City and Philadelphia in 2011, two Manhattan locations in 2014, and New Haven in 2015.  

Our very special Barcade is located in Chelsea, on 24th street, equidistant from the E and the F trains, which both run express to our neighborhood of Jackson Heights, so, bonus.  We haven’t had a chance to visit the other locations, but we’ve spent numerous occasions here, including our 4th Wedding Anniversary (sandwiched between a massage and a Punch Brothers show at The Beacon Theater).

We all love nostalgia, and Barcade touches all the right, nostalgic-like parts of your brain cavity.  With arcade games such as Tapper, Rampage, and Donkey Kong, you’re transported back to your childhood, except it’s cooler because you’re an adult now and you can do what you want and what you want is an extensive craft beer selection and a menu that features Tetris-shaped tater tots.

In this picture: Grilled chicken sandwich with fried onions, Tetris Tots, and a short rib grilled cheese (!!!!) with spicy mayo, beer, water.

We took two stools at the bar when we arrived (it was just before 5pm), and began perusing the beer list.  We were greeted by Brian, (who we later learned was the beer manager for that location), who was amazingly friendly and helpful, and more than willing to answer any questions we had, or let us sample a few beers before deciding (a sign of a great beer bar).

Holly ordered a Kent Falls Lade Øl Saison.  This is a “toasted hay grisette”.  Saison?  Grisette?  They’re nearly the same thing.  While a saison was a low ABV beer brewed for farmers to enjoy after (or during) a long day in the fields, a grisette was brewed for miners (Because nothing prevents black lung like a farmhouse ale!).

Lade Øl is Danish for “barn beer”.  The addition of toasted hay adds notes of grass, vanilla and spice to the funk and citrus of a traditional Farmhouse Ale.

I started with an Evil Twin Erase and Rewind #2 IPA.  Clocking in at 7% ABV, this is a punchy, citrusy IPA bursting with pineapple and orange, pine, and some malty sweetness.  Another hit from Jeppe and crew at Evil Twin.  

Evil Twin Erase and Rewind #2 IPA.  Also, a gorgeous array of taps.
Let’s talk food.  We decided to share a sandwich and some Tetris Tots.  We glanced up at the specials on the chalkboard, and I immediately drooled all over myself.  Why?  Check this monster out…

 Spicy chicken sandwich with shredded lettuce, chipotle aioli, and a pretzel bun.  Also, check out them crispy totz.  We were full.

Holly Kay’s next beer was from the always phenomenal Carton Brewing from Atlantic Highlands, NJ.  It’s called Sakura, and it’s a Gose brewed with sushi rice (!!!???) and cherry blossom.  Weird?  Yup!  But with Augie Carton, you always know he’s going to do you right.  

(Check out This Article about Augie’s philosophy, and you’ll see why I trust this dude with any beer he makes.)

As soon as Holly and I took a sniff of this beer, we glanced sideways at each other.  “Is it weird that this beer smells like sushi rice?”  I asked Holly.  “Yes.”  She responded.  “It’s brewed with sushi rice!”  I said.  She took another sniff…  “That definitely smells like sushi rice.”  The aroma was salty and sweet just like sushi rice, with lemon and floral notes.  Taste was tart lemon peel citrus, floral, and salty.  I’m hoping they have cans of this left when we visit the brewery next week, because this was out of this world.

My next pick was the Stone Farking Wheaton W00tstout.  This is a collaboration beer with everyone’s favorite need Wil Wheaton, and Drew Curtis (who runs the website fark.com).  This year’s iteration was brewed with rye, flaked wheat, and pecans (yummmm) and aged in bourbon barrels.  For a beer brewed by a bunch of nerds, this brew is a bully.  At 13%, it’s dangerous, because the smoothness of vanilla and caramel from the bourbon barrel plus the sweetness of the pecans make for a real easy drinker that’ll shove your head in a toilet and take your lunch money.  I want these dudes to continue making this every year.

Also, can we please all just look at this Star Wars-inspired label?  It’s unfair how cool this beer is.

W00tstout.  My sweet lord.

It was time for video games.  First was Holly Kay’s favorite…

Discs of Tron!  
My wife is amazing.  (Have I mentioned my wife is amazing?).  She always comes on top 10 on this game.  This time, she hit #7.  I thought I had a picture of it, but it turns out, when you get on the top 10, your initials blink on and off on the screen.  Of course, I took the picture when the initials weren’t on the screen.  So, you’ll just have to believe me, or come with us next time we’re at Barcade.

We then hit up Tapper, everyone’s favorite anxiety nightmare Bartending game.  We rock this one out all the damn time, although that probably has something to do with that we downloaded a free version (or was it 99¢?) of Root Beer Tapper for iPhone (the version inside Barcade is completely branded by Budweiser…) and we are now seasoned Tapper veterans.  I think we’re just naturally talented with our hand-eye coordination. 

In summary, you all should head to Barcade.  You’ll have an amazing time regardless, but if you have the pleasure of being served by Brian, prepare to have an elevated Craft Beer experience.  Thanks, Brian!

Until next time!

Cheers!

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is their entrance!

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


They’ve taken a warehouse and made it home.

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

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

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

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

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

Ok, much better.  Back to the beer.

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

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

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

IMG_0606HK Benny looking super cute and wintery…

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

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

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

IMG_0485Boom!

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

IMG_0632Beer Plus Music Equals Love

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

IMG_0623Alex and Shelbie having a blast!

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

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


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

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

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

Breathe…  Breathe in the air…

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

Thanks for reading.  Don’t sleep on Singlecut!

Cheers!