Grimm Pineapple Pop! Or, The Benedict Boiz Share Some Sourz and Watch Epicly Later’d, Brah… And Other Skateboarding Coloquialisms.

Hey y’all!

You know Dole Whip? That delicious, cold, creamy pineapple ice cream treat you can find at locations around Walt Disney World? You know, that stuff that begins to melt as soon as the cashier hands it to you simply because it’s always 1000 degrees celsius (approx.) in Orlando all the time basically?

Yeah, you’ve had it. And now you’re craving it.

Good news! I’ve found a beer that TASTES EXACTLY LIKE THAT COLD, MELTED DOLE WHIP YOU GET THAT BRINGS MAGIC TO EVERY SET OF LIPS THIS BEAUTIFUL ELIXER TOUCHES.

I’m sorry for yelling. I’m just, I’m so excited.

This is my excited stance.

I’m talkin’ about Grimm Artisanal Ales Pineapple Pop!

Look at this sweet angel! 😇 😇 😇 🙏🏻

This beer, a Berliner Weisse brewed with Vanilla Milk Sugar and Pineapple, explodes on the tongue with tart citrus, immediately rounded out with sweet creaminess and a bit of vanilla. Seriously, it’s like a liquid pineapple creamsicle. My apologies, I meant Dreamsicle. It’s like drinking the last bit of your Dole Whip out of the bottom of the cup. It’s wild.

I brought this to share with my BROTHERCHRIS (this is not a typo) and friends Rob and Vanessa.

Brotherchris hello.

I wrote about Chris just over a year ago, because I decided that some of his first ever beers to try should be 3 >100 IBU IPAs. (IBU = International Bittering Units). He did not like them. Over a year later, I think his palate is finally starting to become superior, or at least, succumb to the magic hop punch that sucker punches you in your face, and yet, you keep coming back for more.

Chris loves sours, so I brought Pineapple Pop!, along with Evil Twin Bushido, a Berliner Weisse with Yuzu and Chili 🌶, and Evil Twin Tropical ‘Itch, a Berliner with Passionfruit.

Bushido was lovely, with a little spice hitting the back of the throat, but not spicy enough to overwhelm the tart yuzu.

Tropical ‘Itch is a very straight forward Berliner Weiss, low ABV and super refreshing. The passionfruit adds a beautiful sweetness to the tart sour ale.

The Pineapple Pop! was the star of the evening, though. It stood out as one of the best beers I’ve drank in a long time. It was also a nice compliment to the Bam Margera episode of Epicly Later’d on Viceland.

At around $11 for a 22oz bottle, there’s no reason you shouldn’t pick this up next time you see it. Snatch it up before it’s all gone, ye fair pineapple lovers and Grimm fanpeople!

Brotherchris approves. I approve. You got the Benedict Beer Boiz (Triple B) Seal of Approval. Get with it. Get on it. Eat a pineapple for crying out loud.

🍍 🍍 🍍

Until next time…

Cheers!

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!

Mothers Day Weekend, or, KanJam is a Lot Harder Playing One-Handed, But Losing is Easier When The Other Hand Has a Beer in it…

First off, I gotta say, if it weren’t for my Mom, you wouldn’t be reading the words on this page (or computer screen, iPhone, or Android device).  So, without Mom, there’d be no Benedict Beer Blog!  So, thanks, Mom!

Friday night, Holly Kay and I met up with Bradco (have you met Brad?  He’s great.). and our dear friend Dave at Dave’s place of employ for a few tasty beverages (Dave just had a baby, and thankfully was still able to pencil us in to his busy baby schedule).

Brad picked me up at work, like a Big Boy should, and I tried to sneak some pictures of him coming down the escalator into Grand Central, but little did I know he had my number…




That Cheeky Lil’ Bugger was taking pictures of me!  (To be fair, a few weeks back, I was also creepily taking photos of him as he walked in to meet me at Barcade, so, he was prepared this time).

Brad and I walked over to Whole Foods to pick up some tasty tasties for our friend gathering, and we each picked up a 6-pack of Threes Brewing Categorical Error, a Whole Foods Exclusive Hoppy Pale Lager.

What I love about this beer is that it’s low ABV, packs a beautiful, bright, citrus hop punch, with a dry finish, to leave you yearning for another sip.  This is the perfect summer beer, and pretty easy to get if you’re in New York and have a Whole Foods near ya.  So go get it, ya sillies!


Brad picked up a 4 pack of Mikkeller Brewing Fruit Face Berliner Weisse, this one brewed with Green Tea, Tangerine, and Lemongrass.  Another low ABV, tart, refreshing beer with candied fruit and citrus notes, another beer that’s great for a hot summer afternoon.  Don’t sleep on this one, either!

The following day, I met up with Brad and Nathan (you know Nathan?  He’s great!) at LIC Beer Project for their Pile of Crowns release party, as Holly was performing in two shows, one at 3pm, and one at 8pm.  Nathan and I had tickets to the 8pm show, and decided to make a day of it.  I completely miscalculated the LIC release, though, as usually, I can pick up cans of their latest beer for about a week or so after they’re released…

They opened at noon, we arrived at around 2:45pm, and they were sold out of three out of four beers they released that day.  I heard later that there was a tour bus of folks from Upstate NY, who arrived just after noon, and visited a number of NYC Breweries, annihilating any chance for us to pick up that sweet, sweet nectar with amazing can art…

Thankfully, they still had it on draft, and we were all happy to snag a glass of it at the (extremely packed) bar.


Nathan and I with Pile of Crowns, an unbelievably juicy, sticky sweet IPA with notes of pineapple, grapefruit, and dank pine resin that sits up there with all the heavy-hitter NE-style IPAs, in my opinion.  It was lovely on draft, although it was sad we couldn’t pick up a 4-pack, as the can art was absolutely stunning.


We did, however, pick up this delightful collaboration from LIC Beer Project and Mikkeller Brewing, Platinum Plus.  Clocking in at 5.5% ABV, with lovely, bright stone fruit flavors, dry, cracker-like malt, I’d love to see this all summer long.  Great stuff!

​​

Also, DJ Stretch Armstrong is the truth.

Of course, we ended up at Big Alice Brewing, because When in Rome…  *AHEM* Long Island City…  One always visit’s one’s favorite haunt…

I enjoyed one of my favorite brews, the spicy Jalapeño Rye IPA, with the heat from the jalapeño peppers balancing nicely with citrus and floral notes from the hops, with a sweet malt base to balance everything out.  Nathan enjoyed his first visit here as well.

Annie, our wonderful friend and bartender, was kind enough to share her homebrew with us, a mixed fermentation beer with brettanomyces, making for a dry, tart, complex brew that’s again, good for summer (noticing a theme here?)

Brad had to leave us to host a Murder Mystery Dinner Party (have I mentioned how great Brad is?) so Nathan and I decided on dinner at John Brown Smokehouse in LIC before seeing Holly in her awesome one-act play!  The burnt ends are my smoked meat of choice, and you can’t go wrong with any of their side dishes…  Also…


Uhhhh they had a bottle of Jester King Brewery Noble King Saison, blending bright citrus notes with grass, sweet banana, and a little funk to kick things into full gear.  Perfectly paired with them burnt ends, boi!

I can’t praise Holly Kay enough, (if you’ve read any of my other posts, I’m absolutely head over heels for her), and she was absolutely wonderful in her show, Love in the Time of Layoffs, a one-act written by our friend Diana, and directed by the one and only Tanya!  It was fantastic!


Mothers Day was a beautiful celebration as well, I bought this Grimm Mango Pop! to share with my brother, Chris, and I’d love to tell you how it was, except…


The top of the bottle broke as I attempted to open it, and thought it wasn’t worth a stomach full of eeny-weeny shards of glass.  Hopefully, I can snag another bottle and write about it later on, because I’m sure it’s a delight.


This can of Barrier Brewing Co. Kapow got in the way of my brother, Chris!  This wasn’t my favorite of their IPAs, but it’s a nicely balanced IPA that was the perfect beer to accompany our game of KanJam, which, by the way, is much harder playing one-handed.  Not sure why we made that rule, but I at least had this can to cry into when we lost.


Hashtag Squad Goals.  My cousins were super excited to make it into the blog, so here ya go, all you handsome fellas!

We’ve gotta begin and end with Mom!  We had a weekend filled with friends, family, and love.  Thanks Mom, for making it all possible!  

Until next time!

Cheers!​

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!

Moustache Brewing Co. Blue Box, Or Benedict Beer Blog’s Beer of the Week! Also, Happy 3rd Anniversary, Moustache!

We here at Benedict Beer Blog would love to take a minute to wish a Happy 3rd Anniversary to our dear friends Lauri and Matt Spitz at Moustache Brewing Co.!

They celebrated this past Saturday, and we weren’t able to make it to their gorgeous space in Riverhead, I figured it would be fitting to feature them in our first EVER Beer of the Week Blog Post!

This beer is amazing.  Trust me, I’m a Doctor.  Wink!

Holly Kay asked me what beer we could share with our Eggplant Parmesan dinner the other night, so I pulled this out of the fridge for us (at 10.5% ABV, it’s a great beer to share with those you love!).  With powerful citrus and pine notes balanced by sweet malt, this beer packs quite the flavorful punch in a 16 oz can.  (Not unlike its namesake, its bigger on the inside…  Nyuk Nyuk Nuuk…). Be careful, though, it drinks super easy for a >10% beer.  It’s dangerously delicious.

Don’t Blink…  This angel will sneak up on you, real quick.

I’ve seen nothing but universal love for this well balanced, bombshell of a brew from our lovelies in Riverhead.  #drinklocal 🍺🤛🏻

Thanks for checking us out!  If you’ve been to Moustache, let us know about your experience in the comments!

Until next time…

Cheers!

Po’ Boy Brewery, or How Bobby Created a Bayou in an Industrial Park Behind Fun 4 All in Port Jefferson…

A couple of weeks ago, Holly Kay wrote the first guest blog post (you can read that over HERE!) about the beginning of her Craft Beer journey, which involved our friends at the Long Island Beer and Malt Enthusiasts (LIBME), and one particular instance where she ate spicy pork with ghost peppers.

In our time with LIBME, we got to know Bobby Rodriguez, the multi-talented beer lover, beer judge, pepperhead (who do you think gave Holly that pork with ghost peppers?), brewer and cider maker extraordinaire.  Two weekends ago, after years of homebrewing and hard work building the brewery and tasting room, Bobby opened up Po’ Boy Brewery, in Port Jefferson Station, which is Long Island’s only Farm Brewery and Cidery (meaning the beer and cider must come primarily from locally grown farm ingredients.), and one of the few spaces in the country that is legally allowed to both brew and serve cider and beer in the same location.

Bobby and his team worked long and hard, and built the space themselves, while still working full-time jobs, and you can feel the love and care that was put into the space (I’ll put up plenty of pictures).  They opened their doors to the public on January 27th.

I brought my whole family over to the brewery, located feet from the Port Jefferson LIRR station, on Sunday, January 29th (so all you NYC Folk, you can take the train out to Port Jeff, hit up Po’ Boy, and then a quick Uber ride down the hill to C’est Cheese and Port Jeff Brewing Company, and then stop at Port Jeff Beverage for a beer to take on the train with you!).

When you walk in, it’s like stepping out of an industrial park (behind Fun 4 All Port Jay), and into the bayous of Louisiana.

Vines hang from the ceiling, the wallpaper depicts scenes from a beautiful green forest, animal heads adorn the walls, the bar is made of gorgeous dark hardwood, with 8 tap handles that look like thick tree branches, that directly contrast the brilliant gold metal draft system attached to the wall.  All the signage looks like Tom Sawyer painted it on broken pieces of fence.  It’s simply magical.  You step out of Port Jefferson and into a magical world of enchanting elixirs!

Bobby had 4 beers and 4 ciders on draft (also, an alligator on duty).

Beers:

Days of Ray, a classic Golden Ale, crisp, with honey sweetness from the malt.

Old Kentuckian, a Kentucky Common, bold, malty, and sweet.

Hopalescence, an IPA, malt forward, with herbal hop character.

Darkel, a classic Dry Irish Stout, with roast coffee and chocolate flavors.

Ciders:

Straight Up, a common cider, sweet, dry, crisp and fruity.

Merry Moscato, a moscato flavored cider, reminiscent of the sweet wine.

Berry Blush, a mixed berry cider, with beautiful sweetness from the berries.

Sangria Sunset, a sangria flavored cider, with dark cherry and fresh, citrus fruit.

 

The beers are tasty, and in various malt-forward styles, a refreshing change from all the hop forward beers I usually gravitate towards, but Bobby’s ciders truly shine (or I guess I should say, sparkle).  

I think the consensus was that the Sangria Sunset was our favorite, as evidenced by this photograph:

Mom loves it!

Chris went for a Cider flight!

The entrance to the brew house, in the area behind the tasting room.

A beautiful tribute to our late friend Ed Hahne.  Ed was a music teacher with my Mom for many years, and was also a member of LIBME with his amazing wife, Lee Ann.  I remember he used to bring his home brew to parties at my parents house when I was little.  My Dad found this photo in the entryway to the brew house as he walked around with my Nephew, Silas.  We love and miss you, Ed!

A glass of Sangria Sunset and an awesome burlap coaster!

I visited again the following weekend, and Bobby was selling a limited New England Tropic Cider, made with cranberries (New England) and pineapple (Tropic!). My brother Chris and I kicked the keg it was so damn good.

Thank you Bobby and Wesam for your hospitality!  You can tell how much love and hard work you put into the tasting room, and into the beer and ciders themselves.  We’ll absolutely be back!

Until next time!

Cheers!

::GASP:: A Guest Blog Post!  Or, The (Other) Benedict Beer Blog!

We’ve got a special treat this week!
I was texting with the lovely and vivacious Holly Kay (Benedict!!) on Sunday afternoon, and she gave me the most incredible description of the beer she was enjoying (because that’s what you DO on Sunday afternoons!).

What a cutie!!

So, without any further ado, I leave you in the hands of my smart, adventurous, beautiful wife!


2012: How the Beer Journey Began

By Holly Kay Benedict



It was 2012. Patrick and I had been married for a year. We were living on Long Island. I was working a dead end job DJing at a country radio station for pennies. The work itself, I loved. The listeners and the performance aspect of the position were amazing. The misogynists I worked for made the job a living hell for me and the other women working as talent there.

Me and the truck!

That first year was one of the very hardest. We lived with family. We had obnoxious amounts of credit card debt which we were paying down slowly, but surely. We had few friends, but we were able to make some lifelong friends in Moustache brewing’s Lauri and Matt Spitz. At the time, Matt was a coworker of Patrick’s at Fruit Stand.

Matt, and a pint glass I won at Long Ireland Brewing!

Lauri, his wife is one of the absolute coolest people I know. She is a take charge, no nonsense, “Put you big girl panties on and deal with it” kind of woman. I have the utmost respect for her, and have learned from her determination. It was she who invited me to the first LIBME meeting.

Lauri and I, being classy.

LIBME is the Long Island Beer and Malt Enthusiasts. Patrick and I had recently graduated from drinking PBR and Bud Light to drinking real beer. We had discovered local breweries like Blue Point, and that was the location of my first LIBME meeting. BBQ chicken was served with free pours at the meeting. We discussed the upcoming home brewers competition, and I was hooked.
Granted, I was not the real beer drinker. That was Patrick, of course, but I wanted to further the depth of our friendship with Matt and Lauri, meet new people who were like-beer minded and who could open our palates to something more. Honestly, I went to the LIBME meeting for Patrick. His interest in beer inspired me to want to invest time and energy in something other than endless conversations about Fruit Stand customers and bald, Woman-hating bosses (Bless their hearts).

I joined the club for both Patrick and I on the spot.

We were privy to some exclusive beer tastings. There was a bottle share where a rumor went around that I only enjoy high alcohol beers. That’s how the 65% Armageddon by Brewmeister ended up in my hands. Delicious, but dear GOD! 

Bottle share, January 19, 2013.

Lauri posing with Brewmeister Armageddon, the strongest beer in the world.

This same night I had pork with Ghost pepper because another rumor about me circulated which labeled me as a fellow pepper head. (All these rumors are true BTW). It was a pivotal night in our beer journey. We met amazing people like Phil, who works for New Belgium Brewing and previously worked for Great South Bay Brewery, and his wife Katie. I also encouraged Kelsey and Pete Shelly to join us for beer club, and I’ll never forget the meeting where we had Mead, and Kelsey was this close to buying a bee hive.

Kelsey, Pete and I at Moustache Brewing’s Friends and Family preview!  April 13, 2014.

The most exciting part of our Beer journey was seeing Matt and Lauri leave their jobs and pursue their home brewing full time. Matt and Lauri own and brew at Moustache Brewing Co. in Riverhead. They have now begun distributing to New York City and can be found at Alewife in Long Island City, which is one of my fav beer bars.

April 13th, 2014.  Moustache Brewing Friends and Family preview!

Bradco and I enjoying Moustache Brewing Co. Everyman’s Porter at Alewife NYC!  October, 2016.

I like all the tasting rooms I’ve been to, but for me I will always love the beer bars like Alewife, the Jeffery, Barcade, and C’est Cheese. Dedicated to craft beer, of course, but also dedicated to the foods that enhance and define why craft beer should be paired with amazing food.

Speaking of C’est Cheese. About a year ago, they began their Beer Club program. I encouraged Patrick to join, of course, but said I would wait for the next time, thinking I could join the next week. Sadly, I missed the opportunity since they limited the club to 200 people.

A new year is upon us, and I am happy to announce that I am finally a member of the C’est Beer club. The beer journey continues, and I love being a part of it with my amazing writer, beer connoisseur husband.

Craft at C’est Cheese, or, How Holly Kay and I Belted Out Maria Muldaur’s Midnight at the Oasis Because of the Name of a Beer…


My first visit to C’est Cheese in Port Jefferson was about 5 and a half (!!!) years ago, and in fact, it was before they even opened. I applied for a job there, as they were set to open in the upcoming few weeks, and Holly Kay and I had just gotten married, and moved back to Long Island. I put in my application, and, less than a week later, before their hiring even began, I was offered a job at Unnamed Fruit Themed Technology Company. My journey with Unnamed Fruit Themed Technology Company eventually led Holly Kay and I back to the city, but I always look back and wonder what our lives would have been like if I had gotten hired at C’est Cheese. Joe (Ciardullo, the owner) is so kind and passionate about Cheese, Wine, and (you KNOW this is a blog about) Beer. I would have loved to have worked alongside him and his amazing staff, but I think NYC was singing her siren call from the moment we left.


Thankfully, we’ve been no strangers to C’est Cheese, as, each Sunday, I sing at Infant Jesus Church, which just so happens to be less than a mile down the road (bummer, right?). Now, I wouldn’t say we’re there EVERY Sunday, but I make it a point to say hello to Joe, Brittany, True, Faith and the rest of the gang as often as we can, whether we stop in for a drink or bring our entire (large) family and friends by for a meal. The space is industrial, with large, exposed ceilings, poured concrete countertops, with smaller tables up front with some banquettes where you can people watch, looking out onto Main Street, and large, farmhouse-style wooden tables in the back.


My Dad has enjoyed many a Founders Breakfast Stout here.  My Mom has fallen in love with Framboise here.  Holly Kay had the first Sip of one of her favorite beers here (I won’t say the name because it was exclusive, or, as I like to say, ‘sclusie…).  It’s been a place where we’ve created so many amazing memories over the past 5 and a half years.  I can’t imagine what life was like before Holly and I were married, and I can’t imagine what our lives would be like without C’est Cheese in them (right, Holl?).


When I first saw a Social Media post from C’est Cheese saying “Coming Soon: Craft at C’est Cheese“, my interest was piqued.  WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?  I pictured Ron Howard directing some sort of Da Vinci Code-esque mystery film about it.  BUT GUESS WHAT, GUYS, I FIGURED OUT THE MYSTERY.  Joe partnered with Chris Roche, who was (and is) running C’est Beer, the exclusive Craft Beer Membership Club (of which I am a proud member!), and opened a bar and bottle shop in the storage space behind the restaurant.  It’s an amazing concept, you can get a pint or growler (32oz. or 64oz.) of some amazing (very locally focused) Craft Beer, and pick out beer from their more than 200 bottle and can selection.  I’ve seen beer from our dear friends at Moustache Brewing Co., Finback Brewing, Grimm Artisinal Ales, and LIC Beer Project (THESE GUYS ARE AMAZING).

Last Sunday, Holly and I enjoyed some Sand City Mofosaic (holy shnikes, bursting with citrus and floral notes with just a touch of sweetness), and had a beer and cheese tasting of Other Half Brewing Co. Sunrise at the Oasis Saison (now, just try NOT to sing “Midnight at the Oasis“, because you just can’t, and Holly and I sang it out loud and proud as soon as Chris mentioned the name) and an aged manchego.  The citrus, stone fruit and spice from the amazing saison contrasted perfectly the earthiness and nuttiness from the manchego.  We’ve also gotten to know Chris’ wife Erin Roche, who helps run Craft, and loves it as much as Joe and Chris do.  The passion that everyone we’ve met at C’est Cheese and Craft over the years is so exciting.  It keeps us coming back to watch these folks do what they love, and chat about it.

Beer comes out of the tap, beer goes directly in mouth…
I love that the beers are organized by style, to make things just a little easier…

You want cold beer?  They’ve got a fridge, baby.  You got it.

#drinklocal

“SWAG.  STUFF.  WE.  ALL.  GET.” -Michael Scott


I don’t want to ramble on and on, because I think both C’est Cheese and Craft speak for themselves, but do yourselves a favor, and pay a visit to these fine folks, drink some amazing beer and wine, enjoy delicious cheese, sandwiches, and appetizers (YO, THOSE SPICY GOAT BITES) and just have a great time, because that’s what life’s all about.  And do it while listening to “Midnight at the Oasis” because now I’m on my second listen to it on YouTube because I’ve mentioned it and it’s an amazing tune.

Anyway, head over to 216B Main Street, Port Jefferson, NY 11777 to check out C’est Cheese and Craft!  In fact, just text me when you’re going and I’ll meet you there.  😉 winky face.

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!

Happy Fathers Day! Or, How I Turned My Dad Into a Stout Monster!

Happy Father’s Day!  I’m temporarily changing the name of this blog to the Benedict DAD Blog, so I can talk about my DAD.

10517553_846067222815_7651413625099699257_nLook at these handsome fellas!

11885195_966783616195_6710537173623158056_nSilliness on Journey Into Imagination in Epcot, Walt Disney World

11927488_10153666328678793_3504356497854311776_oDad and Holly intensely trying to defeat the evil Emperor Zurg on Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin in Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World.

My Dad, Chris “MusicDktr” Benedict, is simply a fantastic human being.  He’s a quiet guy, until you get to know him.  He’s funny as hell, and sometimes you’ll only hear it if you’re sitting right next to him.  My Uncle Rod says he’s the funniest person he knows, and I can’t dispute that.  

My Grandma Dottie, on the left, Uncle Rod in the middle, and my Dad, with a Walkman, on the right.

He’s a natural comedian (I believe that having taught music to elementary school-aged children for 35 years sort of forces you to be a comedian), and I think I wouldn’t have been half as good at Improv if I didn’t get my humor from my parents.

Sometimes, I’ll walk around my apartment making strange noises with my mouth, and I’ll wonder to myself how I got so…  Special (read: Weird).  Then, I think back to when I was a child, and my sister Jessica and I would have back to back music lessons, Jess was learning the violin and I was learning to play cello (it never panned out for me, unfortunately, because Little Cello Boy Patrick had tiny hands, not unlike Presidential Candidate Donald Trump.  Ooh, check it out!  I just used topical, political humor!).  We would sit with my Dad while we waited for the other to be done with their lesson, and my Dad brought this notebook with him and would doodle all over it, and if I recall correctly, on most pages, would write “EKI EKI EKI EKI EKI ZUM PANG!  ZOO WOMB PANG NIWOOMB!!”  This is his favorite nonsensical phrase from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, his favorite movie.

(I texted my Dad to make sure that I was correct about Monty Python and the Holy Grail being his favorite movie, and this was our exchange…)

IMG_0599What can I say, we’re students of comedy.

So yeah, I get my weird humor from my Dad (My Mom, Eileen absolutely contributes to this, as well!). 

But, this is a blog about beer, right?

My Dad’s been a wine drinker, for as long as I’ve known him (which, if my calculations are correct, is forever).  My parents used to host wine tastings at our house, they have a wine club, Wine By Joe, where they order wine in bulk at a discount from their friend (the aforementioned Joe), so their wine rack is always stocked up.  Holly and I always try and find wine-specific gifts for them for Anniversaries, Birthdays, etc. and I think the present that gets the most use is a small wine fridge we bought that they keep in their living room, which they keep stocked with delicious white wines.

So, for all the time I’ve known him, my Dad had always been a wine drinker.  The first instance I remember seeing the little “stout sparkle” in his eyes was at the Third Avenue Ale House, about two years or so ago.  We were out with my Uncle Rod (you know, that shirtless guy in the picture above?), who lives right around the corner (sucks to live around the corner from a delicious craft beer bar with amazing food, doesn’t it, Rod?).  Dad ordered a Founders Brewing Company Breakfast Stout, 8.3% ABV, brewed with flaked oats, bitter chocolate, and coffee.  He was hooked!  The monster was growing inside him…  A chocolate-y, coffee-y, roasty, sweet, delicious monster.

I don’t think any of us thought Dad would turn into a beer man, but he got a taste for the Breakfast Stout, and found out that his local Beer Distributer, Port Jeff Beverage, thanks to owner Bruce Bezner, had enough stocked away to last for quite a while (Founders releases Breakfast Stout only from September-December, but I still see it on shelves around NYC and on Long Island).  He now enjoys a Breakfast Stout (or similar) instead of a glass of wine.

He sends pictures, too, like this:


Or this

Check out that Cantaloupe!

And if I happen to be enjoying a stout, I’ll text him back…

Evil Twin Brewing Imperial Biscotti Break, in my top 2 Non-Barrel-Aged Imperial Stouts (Alesmith Speedway Stout is my #1).  This is bursting with flavors of chocolate, coffee, but also vanilla, and almond.  It’s like drinking coffee after you’ve dunked a biscotti into it.  Unreal.

One night, I was over at Uncle Rod’s (on the rare occasion I visit him on the Upper East Side and we DON’T go to the Third Avenue Ale House) and, we just so happened to be drinking some Breakfast Stout, so I texted him this.

A glorious sight!

What have I created??!?!?!!  A monster!

I’m actually thrilled.  I’m thrilled because, I started this blog to write about my experiences with beer.  Sometimes, the beer itself steps aside and you focus on what’s in front of you; where you are, who you’re with, and you’re living in the experience.  I’m so glad that this simple, amazing tasting brew brought my Dad into the world of Craft Beer.

I look forward to our Lunches and Dinners at C’est Cheese in Port Jefferson, because Joe Ciardullo (who is also a Dad!  Look at me, keeping with the theme!)  has such a passion for not only cheese (which is absolutely our favorite food), but for Craft Beer.  Joe’s always got Breakfast Stout on the menu (thanks, Joe!), but Dad’s branching out and will often try something new.  He loves dark beers.  He’ll always try a sip of whatever IPA, Saison, or Sour  Holly and I are drinking, but he’s got a taste for the coffee and chocolate bitterness offered by Porters or Stouts.  My Mom, too, will try a sip of any beer I give her, and share in the experience.  From what she’s tasted, she loves the flavors of Saisons, Lambics and sour Goses, or anything with fruit in it!  I’m so glad to be able to share these beer experiences with my family and friends.

I never really knew the difference between a Porter and a Stout.  I looked it up a few months ago, and found this article.

http://allaboutbeer.com/whats-the-difference-between-porter-and-stout/

Most people say it’s the type of barley used, but this is a fascinating read into why it’s more complicated than that.  From the article, “All stouts are types of porter.  But not all porters are stouts.  Only the stronger ones.”

When I was out in California, I stopped in a little unassuming liquor store on the way to dinner with my roommate Ali.  We were browsing the shelves and fridges, when I saw two bottles of Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout with a shiny beacon of light behind them, as if sent down from the heavens above.  This is a Bourbon Barrel Aged version of their Breakfast Stout.  At 12% ABV, it picks up flavors from the bourbon barrel, like oak, caramel, and vanilla.  It’s smooth as hell, with not a lot of heat even though the ABV is so high.

My friend Justin had requested I bring back a Russian River Brewing Pliny the Elder back with me, as he had done when he went to California.  I didn’t have the chance to make it up to Russian River, and missed out on the bottles distributed near the hotel I stayed in.  I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to pick up one for Justin, and one for my Dad.

Gorgeous!

Long story short, Dad’s hooked on Bourbon Barrel Aged Stouts now!  As rare as the KBS was, I couldn’t find any more here in NY.  I suggested New Holland Brewing Company Dragon’s Milk Stout, as it’s one of the best readily available Bourbon Barrel Stouts, and Port Jeff Beverage is stocked up on them.

What my parents’ fridge looks like now…

Look at this guy!  Boulder Brewing Company Shake Chocolate Porter.  Like father, like son!

I texted him this a couple of weeks ago.  Cheers to Moustache Brewing Company for the awesome teku glass!

Last weekend, we brought him two cans of the Awake Coffee Porter we picked up from Night Shift Brewing Company in Everett, Massachusetts.  A lower ABV porter packed with unbelievable coffee, chocolate, and malt sweetness.  This is an unbelievable beer.

The label art is gorgeous, as well.

What Sunday dinners usually look like now.

It’s so cool to see my Dad so into craft beer, and I’m so happy he likes to share his experiences with me even when we’re not together.  I’m glad I was able to be a part of his craft beer story, and look forward to what beer he’s going to fall in love with next!

Happy Fathers Day, to The Stout Monster himself, Chris “MusicDktr” Benedict, and all the other Fathers out there!


Cheers!