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!

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!​

Hunting for Henry Hops, or, How The Mets Were Down by 5 Before We Even Found Our Seats…


#LGM

Holly Kay and I love Citi Field.  It’s 20 minutes from our apartment, has amazing food, cheap seats, a great, local craft beer selection, and, you know, sometimes (just, like, sometimes…) the Mets play some good baseball.

A few weeks ago, I saw an article by Mikkeller Beer, that said they would be brewing and canning two exclusive beers for Citi Field (I’m not sure what the connection is, or why they didn’t get an NYC brewer to do this).  

Mikkeller is a Danish brewery run by Mikkel Bjorg Bjergsø, who, like his brother Jeppe, owner of Evil Twin Brewing, contract brews his beer with different breweries all over the world.  

The two beers feature Mikkeller’s mascots, Henry and Sally, as “1980’s era baseball cards”.  Henry Hops is a malt-forward IPA, clocking in at 6.5% ABV and Say Hey Sally is a floral, crisp Pils, a great low ABV option at 4.6%.

We bought Holly a really cute Mets beanie outside of the stadium, and headed into the stadium for some amazing Mets baseball.  

I had heard that these Mikkeller beers were a bit hard to find, and Holly and I were very hungry, which complicates things (you wouldn’t like us when we’re Hangry…) 

We stopped at the first Craft Beer stand we came across as we tried to find the best route to our seats (we got some amazing tickets on the Coca-Cola Corner, the artist formerly known as the Pepsi Porch, which is a great decision for Citi Field because Pepsi is garbage and Coke is the truth), and both Henry Hops and Say Hey Sally were listed on their signage, but when I asked for one, the bartender said “Not today!”, which made me nervous, thinking perhaps the WHOLE STADIUM RAN OUT 😳😭😵…

As I settled on the fact that my trek to find Henry and Sally might not pan out, we looked at the scoreboard as our hunger pangs grew stronger, to find that the Mets pitcher Robert Gsellman (that’s got to be a fake name) gave up 5 runs in the first inning.  At this point, we knew what we were in for.

Citi Field is awesome because, when the Mets begin to lose (which tonight, happened almost immediately), there are many distractions!  Like the pretty planes flying out of Laguardia!  Look at that pretty plane!  Every time we see a plane, Holly says “I wish we were on that plane, and flying some place tropical!”

We decided to walk to find how to get up to our seats, and figure out what food we wanted to eat.  We passed by an Empire State Craft beer stand, and I saw a glimpse of Mets orange through the frosted glass of the refrigerator…  Sally, the ol’ girl, was nestled snugly between the LIC Beer Project Dutch Kills Kolsch and the Queens Brewery Lager.  We snagged it as quickly as we could, and I wondered if we’d ever reunite Sally with her beloved Henry…  (I’m turning this into a love story because I don’t know Sally and Henry’s relationship.  Also, it makes things more dramatic, right?)

Sally was feeling lonely…

Holly suggested I ask where to find Henry Hops (I’d heard Henry was a lot harder to locate than Sally), so I asked, and the bartender said “You’ll find Henry over there, right past the nachos.”  Any directions that include nachos are my favorite directions.  So we followed those directions…

By the by, we still haven’t eaten.  Does this highten the drama?  It does, doesn’t it?

We looked to our right, and saw the nachos stand, still not knowing if we were being led astray…  Our hunger growing deeper.  Should we stop and munch on some delicious, gooey, cheesy nachos?  No, we must push on…  With each step, the dream of Henry Hops seemed further and further away (is this heightening the drama?)

Just past the nachos stand was a beer stand with 4 Blue Point Brewery draft lines, and a lineup of cans…  I caught a glimpse of Mets blue in that lineup, and I knew we’d found him.  Henry Hops…


“Reunited, and it feels so good…”

We heard some commotion, and saw some Mets fans spinning a wheel to win merchandise.  We signed up, and Holly spun and won a Mets hand towel (HAND TOWEL!) and I won a magnetic Mets Calendar (MAGNETIC METS CALENDAR!)

Holly had claimed Sally as her own, because Say Hey Sally is the perfect baseball beer.  It’s an amazing crisp, light, refreshing pils with some beautiful floral hops, that will pair with any food, without having to think too much about it.  It was delicious.


#gorgeous

Henry Hops is a malt forward IPA with some piny, bitter, citrus hops that changes as it warms.  When the beer is cold, the bready, biscuit malts dominate the palate, but as the game progressed, and the beer got warmer, and the Mets continued to lose (😩), the hops started to dance their mango, lemon, pineapple tango we all know and love.  


#handsome

The Mets were down by 5 runs in the first inning.  We’d found the exclusive Mikkeller beer.  We were starved.  Skies were gray.  We were at a baseball stadium.  We found the Coca-Cola Corner…


Come on, could my wife be any cuter?

We decided since we were so hungry, we’d stop at the food stand on the Coca-Cola corner.  Holly got a Nathan’s Hot Dog (NATHAN’S HOT DOG!) and fries, and I got Chicken Tenders (CHICKEN TENDERS!) and fries.

Our cousin Billy texted that he was at the game as well.  We found him using technology and celebrated.  It was very merry.  He had won a hand towel as well (HAND TOWEL!)

#love in the time of the Mets losing


#Holly and #Sally, when Circle of Life came on at the stadium

Bathed in the stadium lights…

We found our seats.  We ate our hot dog (HOT DOG!) and Chicken Tenders (CHICKEN TENDERS!). We drank a delicious Pils, and a malt forward IPA.  Sally and Henry.  Holly Kay and Patrick.  Billy from afar.  Mets baseball (who cares if they’re losing).  We ate, we drank, we chanted, we got loud when the megatron told us to get loud.  We kissed even though we never ended up on the kiss cam.  We spotted Mr. Met.  We didn’t get a tee shirt from the tee shirt cannon.  I dropped my phone.  It was a GREAT Wednesday night.


We’re in love (also how cute is that beanie??)!!

Until next time, y’all.

Cheers!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time…

Cheers!

Poconos Weekend Getaway, or, How Brad Has Eaten at Practically Every Restaurant within 10 miles of Camelback Mountain…

Sometimes, a two hour jaunt outside NYC for a few days can be the perfect getaway.

Sometimes, lighting a fire, staying up until 2am, and staying in your pajamas until Noon can be the perfect antidote to hectic NYC living.

This was just what we needed.

Also, this is a blog about beer.

Holly Kay and I last visited the Poconos in July (you can read about our adventure HERE), just the two of us, and had a WONDERFUL few days.  This time, we brought our dear friends Brad (of Bradco Beer!) and Kelsey and Pete!

My aunt Delia and uncle David have a condo (we call it “The Chalet”) at The Villages at Camelback, right next to the slopes of Camelback Mountain in Tannersville, PA.  It’s an awesome place for a weekend getaway.

It’s got a fireplace.

Fireplace.

And it’s got a VHS player.  With Mrs. Doubtfire and Liar, Liar on VHS.

Mrs. Doubtfire and Liar, Liar.  On VHS.

I picked up Brad from Astoria and Holly from her off-site work day in Hackensack, NJ, and we got to Tannersville around 8pm.  We stopped to get some groceries (also beer) and firewood.


A video of me yelling and Holly and I singing about firewood.

We dropped our things at The Chalet and headed to our absolute favorite haunt, Barley Creek Brewing Company.

Barley Creek!  So warm and welcoming, always.

Love!  In the Poconos!

Brad with Larry the Leprechaun!  (It was St. Patrick’s Day)

Larry the Legend

Kelsey and Pete joined us there, and we all shared some amazing soft pretzels with bier cheese and honey mustard, and some flights of Barley Creek beer.

Pete looking THRILLED with his #greenbeer


From L to R:

Citrabellum: A Double IPA brewed with Citra hops.  Nice juicy, grapefruit peel bitterness, with a sweet malt backbone.

Honey Chili Pepper Brown Ale (on Cask): This is their already awesome Antler Brown Ale put into a cask with honey and chili peppers.  The honey adds to the already vanilla, bready sweetness of the base beer, and the chili pepper gives it some 🌶🌶🌶 heat!  This was amazing.  Think of hot honey, in a beer!

Superhop: Triple IPA, with herbal, medicinal hop flavors and some sweet alcohol booziness.

Tommy’s Black IPA: Medicinal/citrus hops with some roasty malt flavors.

Back at the Chalet, we all got into our pyjamas, and Holly and Brad treated us to some music (Holly brought her ukulele, and Brad brought his uke, a melodica, and a tambourine.  We lit our first fire, sang some songs, shared a few beers (and Brad made Rye Old Fashioneds, because why not?), and finished the evening (read: early morning) watching Mrs. Doubtfire.

Stay G-O-L-D from Interboro Spirits & Ales

From our dear friends at Moustache Brewing Co., the amazing Patsy Rides Again, a Coconut Milk Stout with sweet malt and tropical toasted coconut flavor.  Find this if you’re in NY, and drink a hundred of them.

Pete building our first fire 🔥😱👹!

Pete sexy posing in front of our first fire 🔥😱👹!

Grimm Candlepower, a farmhouse ale brewed with sage and pink peppercorns.  The peppercorns added a nice touch of spice to the banana from the Belgian yeast and citrus from the hops, and the sage adds a unique, herbal, savory note.  This stuff was FUN!  It was like a flavor experiment.


Mrs. DoubtFIRE!  🔥🔥🔥🤣  Hey now!!

Kelsey and Holly were in this position basically the entire weekend.  Cuddle Bugs, the two of ’em!

The morning brought a rousing game of Ticket to Ride, which Brad brought, and the rest of us fell in love with…

Holly and Kelsey made breakfast, which was really nice, eggs, bacon and toast.  We all had coffee, and…

Breakfast stout!  Terrapin Beer Co. W&B (Wake & Bake) Coffee Oatmeal Imperial Stout.  Roast coffee, oatmeal cookie sweetness, with some sweet cocoa.  What a way to wake!  Oh, this also went really well with all the cookies that Kelsey and Pete brought and baked while we played the game.

We knew Camelback was due for snow, so we weren’t surprised when we opened the shades and found…

Snow!

Hopefully, the Last Snow of the season.

Thanks Evan for the “My Family’s in Florida, I’m in New York” beer trade, so the above video would be possible.

Beautiful!  We drank this later in the evening, and all I can say is, it smells like you’ve stepped foot into a Dunkin Donuts (and I mean this in the best way possible).  Coconut and coffee dominate both the smell and taste.  Gorgeous brew.

We had plans to go to the Outlet Mall, but before we did, we headed down for a dip in the pool and the jacuzzi.

There’s something very magical about swimming/hot tubbing while it’s snowing outside.  This is one of our favorite places at the Village at Camelback.  The ceiling itself is stunning.

You know, we spent some time in the sauna after the pool and hot tub, but sometimes you just gotta step into the HOT ZONE!

This is how three handsomemen Outlet shop.  With WINE TASTINGS!  Speaking of HOT ZONE…

We did dinner again at Barley Creek, and I had a POT.  ROAST.  BURGER.

Another game of Ticket to Ride, with a glass of orange juice 🍊 AKA…

Other Half Brewing Double Dry Hopped Mylar Bags…  Straight up JUICE BABAAAY!

Thanks to Brad’s brother in Michigan, we got a fresh bottle of Founders Brewing Company KBS!  Dark roasted coffee and chocolate, with some delightful vanilla caramel sweetness.  A dream, and dangerous at nearly 13% ABV…  My oh my!

We slept in (did I mention that KBS is nearly 13%?) and lit a few more fires before heading to Breakfast(?  It was at noon, so that’s lunch) at Billy’s Pocono Diner, just a hop, skip, and a jump from the Red Lobster that Brad ate at, and stole firewood from (I think there’s a statute of limitations on wood stealing crimes in Pennsylvania, right?).

Me and a bear.  We cool.

We hit the outlets one more time, and then Barley Creek to bookend our awesome, relaxing weekend, before heading back into the city (and Kelsey and Pete to Long Island).

It was a truly incredible weekend with dear friends (WE LOVE YOU KELSEY AND PETE AND BRAD!), and we couldn’t have asked for more (except for, like, another week of the same thing.)

Can’t wait to go back to The Chalet!

Until next time!

Cheers!

 

Benson’s NYC, or Beer Plus Carolina Reaper Peppers Equals Patrick Drooling on Himself…

Friday night, nearly two weeks ago, just before 6pm, I was picking up Holly Kay from her new (!!!) job.  

We wanted to celebrate her amazing accomplishments in her career, so I stood outside the corporate office at Burberry (which, by the way, is not pronounced Bur-Berry, but BBBBBBBBBHHHHUUUUU-BBBBHHHHHUUUUUUU-EEEEEEE) until Holly was finished, trying to find a place where we could have a celebration drink, before heading off to our friend Brian’s birthday party.

We had a few hours before it was slated to begin, so we decided to kill two birds with one stone, and head down to Benson’s NYC, on Essex St. on the Lower East Side, the venue chosen by our friend Tanya (who just so happens to be MARRIED to Brian), for some dinner and drinks before the official start of the bacchanal (as Tanya described it, “snacks and drinks”) .

We walked through Rockefeller Center, which is always magical, no matter what time of year, over to the downtown F train, and reminisced over her first few weeks on the job.  

One of the best things is, whenever anyone asks about her new job, she gets to tell them she works in Fashion.  It’s super great, you guys.  My wife works in Fashion!  Is there a magazine called In Fashion?  If there isn’t, there should be.

EDIT: There isn’t.  I used Google.  But I have a feeling that if you started a fashion magazine called In Fashion that In Style would be really cheesed off.  But, you know, you do you.

Oh wait…  This is a blog about beer.

Let’s talk about Benson’s NYC.

We arrived just before 7pm, and we were STARVING.  I’d read really good things about their burgers.  We sat down and glance at the drink menu, and lo and behold, Benson’s was having a Flying Dog tap takeover!

We were introduced to Annie, our bartender (also, as it turns out, Manager and Co-Owner of Benson’s!).  We ordered the Classic hamburger and the special Mac and Cheese with bacon.  The food was awesome, the burger was cooked perfectly, with oozing, melty cheese all up on top of it, with grilled onions, and the Mac and Cheese had big, thick chunks of smokey, succulent bacon.

Holly started off drinking the Jalapeño White, a refreshing, crisp white ale, with just a slight bit of heat from the Jalapeño peppers.  She said it got hotter as she drank it, but it still had really beautiful orange citrus, with a nice malt backbone, and the greenness you get from smelling and tasting a fresh Jalapeño.  It was really nicely balanced.

I decided to have a taste of the Carolina Reaper, a Peach 🍑 IPA with Carolina Reaper peppers.  I took one sip, and was completely overwhelmed by the heat.  It was so hot, in fact, as I was trying to chat romantically with my sweetheart, I literally drooled on myself!  Too hot!  Spicy fire bad!!  🔥🔥🔥👹☠️. I love spicy food, and I love pepper in beers, but the heat was completely overpowering, and I couldn’t taste any peach or citrus from the hops.  Straight up hot fire.

I went with one of my favorites from Flying Dog, the Raging Bitch Belgian IPA (excuse my language).

Nice doggy.  This is an old picture, but I love Flying Dog’s bottle art.

What I love about Belgian IPAs is the citrus from the hops does a sexy lil’ tango with the bubblegum, banana, floral esters from the Belgian yeast.  

Esters are the flavors described above that occur during fermentation of a beer.  “Ethanol combines with fatty acids and a molecule called acetyl coenzyme (ACOA) forming ethyl acetate.”  (Thanks for that, Beersmith.com!)

Brian, the birthday boy, arrived a short while later, as did Tanya, Jerry and Vidhya, Shane and Chi, and Arun and Diana.  

How did I capture a picture of Brian that looks like his mouth is in motion but the rest of him is still?  Well, there was candied bacon in that box, so, you do the math…

We chatted with our friends, enjoying the evening, and Holly ordered the Sea Salt Caramel Brown.  It was VERY sweet, with just a touch of salt.  It’s a nice beer to go alongside dessert, but I’d stick with just a few ounces to go along with, say, a chocolate cake with some ice cream (oh man, now I REALLY want chocolate cake and ice cream.)

Brian (left) and Shane!  

I reminisced with Jerry about our beer adventures this past March in Houston for Tanya and Brian’s wedding.  We went to Saint Arnold Brewing Co. and 8th Wonder Brewing.  At Saint Arnold, we won giant Jenga.  How is that possible, you ask?  Well, we removed literally every block without it toppling over.  So it was a win-win-win.

A photo of Jerry and I, faces swapped.

Shane ordered a bottle of Freshie Salt & Pepper Gose from an Nomad Brewing Co. in Australia.  This was a really nice treat, as we don’t see a lot of Australian beer here in the US.  It was bright, tart, salty, with just a hint of smokiness from the black pepper.  Lovely!

And check out the squid on that bottle!!

I was telling Annie about the blog, and she pulled out this fresh Finback IPA from the fridge to share with me!  Thanks, Annie!

Annie was asking me what local breweries Holly Kay and I love, and of course I mentioned Singlecut Beersmiths (They saved our life, REMEMBER??).  Sure enough, about 15 minutes later, they tapped Singlecut Dean Pacific Northwest Mahogany Ale, a delicious amber ale with notes of fresh pine and freshly squeezed oranges.  A delight!

We had a wonderful night with friends, celebrating Holly’s new job, Brian’s birthday, and simply enjoying the company of our dear friends.

Thank you again to Annie and Benson’s NYC for the awesome hospitality, definitely check them out next time you’re in Manhattan!

New Years Eve, 2016, in Astoria, Or, How We Winced As We Crossed the Threshold Into Our Apartment to Make Sure Our Ceiling Hadn’t Collapsed Again…

Ok, so, December 31st, 2015, Holly Kay and I began our evening at Astoria Bier and Cheese on Ditmars Blvd., and walked over to Singlecut Beersmiths, and had an amazing evening with our dear friends, and fantastic beer.

Cheese.  Bread.  More cheese.  More bread.

Love.

My love, and a lovely stout!

Ryan and I in our Prom pose.

It was a fantastic evening.

At around 1am, January 1st, 2016, we walked into our apartment, and found our kitchen ceiling had an existential crisis and wanted to become one with the floor.

#partymode

We used an app to make this.  Also, Bowie, Prince, and Harambe were still alive when this picture was taken.

So, the hope for New Years Day, January 1st, 2017, was that we would come home, and our kitchen would be the way that we left it on December 31st, 2016.

So we decided to repeat our New Years Eve plans from the previous year.  Let’s call it a mulligan.

I had the day off, and Holly worked until 4pm, so we met at Astoria Bier and Cheese around 5.  I decided to try taking the bus(es), got on the wrong bus, got off a few stops later, and called a Lyft, like an adult.  I got into the cab, and immediately saw an LED sign on the dashboard that lit up with “HAPPY NEW YEAR, PATRICK!!”  What a time to be alive.  I knew I had made the right choice (aka I’m a dummy who can’t get on the right bus).  I was so excited.

I got to AB&C first, because the MTA is amazing and decided they weren’t going to run N trains between 42nd street and Queensboro Plaza.  So Holly ended up taking 3(?) different trains and eventually a cab (like an adult.)

A beautiful glass of Jack’s Abby Kiwi Rising

While I waited for my wonderful wife, I enjoyed a Kiwi Rising from Jack’s Abby, just outside of Boston.  Jack’s Abby only makes Lagers, something I haven’t seen in American craft brewing.

I LOVE IPLs.  America is obsessed with hops.  I’m obsessed with hops.  New Zealand is killing it with their hop production.  What I love about this beer is the sweetness of the malts balances out the bitter citrus from the massive hop presence in this beer.  The result is a delightful burst of citrus, rounded out with sweet strawberries.  Lovely.

Here’s what I did while I waited for Holly to get there…

If you like fun, and also my face, you should click on that link!  🤗

ICONYC Hib Hop, Saison with Hibiscus

Holly had a beautiful, floral, lemon citrus Saison, clocking in at over 8% ABV, which is odd for a saison, but there’s not a hint of booze on this one.

We met Nigel, the beverage manager at Astoria Bier and Cheese Ditmars, and Sean, bartender and all around awesome dude from Singlecut Beersmiths.  Nigel immediately poured us a few small pours of Perennial Artisinal Ales Abraxas, a stout brewed with vanilla beans, cocoa nibs, cinnamon, and ancho chili peppers.  Mexican. Hot.  Chocolate.  Thanks, Nigel, for sharing!  Cheers!

Next up was a ginormous 10% coffee stout from Catskill Brewery.  This was a new beer from a new brewery for me, and only $5 for a 12oz pour.  This tasted like a coffee with sugar and cocoa!  It was creamy as hell and I loved every sip!

Onward, Holly and I walked with Nigel over to Singlecut.  We were meeting up with our friends Bradco and Alex, Kate and Mikayla, and Bryan!  (You’ll remember Brad and Bryan from THIS POST about our adventure in LIC). Nigel was stopping by to have a beer before he headed home for a quiet New Years Eve.  

Singlecut’s beautiful tasting room
I started out with a Jim is Workin’ Hard Session IPA, which bursted with stone fruit and citrus and had a creamy mouthfeel for such a low ABV beer.  They just canned this beer for the first time, and I’ll absolutely be coming back to pick some up next time they can or bottle it.

Next up, Kinky Boots of Lead!  This is Singlecut’s wonderful Heavy Boots of Lead Imperial Stout that they infected with Brettanomyces and Lactobacilus, and let rest for 18 months.  The result is dark cherries and berries, on top of the already creamy cocoa and coffee notes from the original stout.  Absolutely fantastic!

This was the Workers Are Going Home IIPA (YEEEEEAH YEEEEEAH YEEEEEEAH!), named after a lyric from one of my favorite Weezer tunes, explosions of stone fruit, pine, grapefruit.  Crisp and delicious!  Also, LOOK AT BRAD’S FACE!

We played some card games, Exploding Kittens and Cards Against Humanity, and Sean and the rest of the staff at Singlecut played some awesome Rock Concert DVDs (The Band, and The Rolling Stones’ Rock and Roll Circus), which was a lot of fun.  We even threw in a Turkey Dance for good measure, which you can check out HERE!  🦃🦃🦃🦃🦃🦃🦃🦃🦃🦃

Brad and Bryan looking so dang cute!  Cutiez ’16-’17

Three Bearded Beauties!

Here I was enjoying a Heavy Boots of Lead!  Chocolate and coffee dominate, with a little roast and vanilla.  Lovely, lovely imperial stout.

By 11pm, Holly and I were tuckered out.  Holly’d been up since four, and I was still getting over a cold, so we ended up leaving Singlecut before midnight…  Maybe that’s what broke the curse…

We arrived home, and our ceiling was in tact!  Everything was where it was supposed to be!  The ceiling was on the ceiling!  The floor was on the floor!  We celebrated for a moment, before putting on pajamas, collapsing into bed, watching Times Square’s sound engineers drop the ball on Mariah Carey before the ball actually dropped at midnight.

So let’s be good to each other this year, folks.  Love everyone as hard as you can, be nice to people, celebrate and enjoy your time with your friends, family and loved ones.  2016 was a year of loss, hate, and fear.  This year, let’s try and make the good times outweigh the bad.  Combat hate with love!  

Oh, and enjoy a beer or two along the way… 

🤗🍺

Until next time!

Cheers!

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!

Irish Whiskey Experience, or The Events That Lead Patrick and Holly Kay to a Denjoe’s at Nearly Midnight

Another from my Sexy Posing in Front of Breweries, Pubs, and Historic Sites series…  Kilkenny Castle.

After spending our afternoon exploring Kilkenny and Kilkenny Castle, we drove nearly 3 hours to check into our first B&B in Killarney, the quaint Windway House.

It was a 7 minute walk to the Downtown area of Killarney, which, even when not decorated for Christmas, looks and feels like it.  We were exhausted, and starving, but we wanted to relax for a few minutes, and had a cup of tea in the shared lobby area, and our host Frank greeted us warmly and recanted stories about his daughter who had moved to New York.  He was the sweetest man, and had exactly the Irish hospitality we were hoping for when we chose to do a B&B heavy vacation.

We took the quick walk into the city, and had read about a restaurant called the Irish Whiskey Experience and Celtic Whiskey Bar and Larder in our research on Trip Advisor.

The entryway to Irish Whiskey Experience, adorned with barrel bottoms!

Irish Whiskey Experience has 5 stars on Trip Advisor, and all the reviews we read said that even without the whiskey, the food is incredible.  So…  Good food?  Check.  Good Whiskey?  Check.  And oh yeah, this is a blog about Beer.  Good craft beer.  Check.

My dear sweet Lord…  Am I in heaven?

We sat at a table for two, with a large collection of Irish Whiskeys behind a glass partition lining one side of the restaurant, across from the bar.  We were told by our server that the Whiskey behind that glass wasn’t for sale, but more of a collection, and there were some pretty rare bottles.  We were handed menus, and greeted by some delicious looking Gastropub style food, and an extensive drinks list.

Holly Kay in front of a drinkable (well, not for us) museum!

Holly had the Dubliner Cocktail, with Powers Three Swallow Whiskey, Carpano Antica, Thyme-infused Grand Marnier (holy lord) and Orange Bitters.  It was out of this world!

I knew that Holly would be ordering Whiskey (because she’s amazing) so I ordered a fantastic India Pale Lager (a massively hopped lager) called Remix, from Trouble Brewing in Kill (yup, real place), Ireland.

India Pale Lagers are growing in popularity here in the US, so I was surprised to see one in Ireland, and this stands up to some of the Northeast style, hopped up beers I’m so lucky to have here in NY (I compared it to an IPL I had recently tried from Singlecut Beersmiths in Astoria).  The fact that it’s a lager makes it a bit smoother around the edges, the sweetness from the malt balances out the amazing citrus (grapefruit, mango, pineapple) from the hops.

Let’s talk food.  First, we shared the Artisinal Cheese Board (because OF COURSE WE DID!).  Didn’t get a picture of this.  We’d been driving for several hours before this and basically inhaled it.

You’re not seeing things.  Pork Belly, garlic-roasted spinach, baked potatoes, apple sauce, and brown gravy.

Holly had an 8oz Fillet Steak (because, I failed to mention, I married a beautiful, female version of Ron Swanson, and I couldn’t be happier), with green beans in a whiskey cream sauce, and frites (that’s french fries.  Eat ’em.)

I was too busy inhaling my pork belly to get a picture of the steak, but it melted in my mouth when I bit into it.  We were told by several people before we left that the food isn’t great in Ireland.  Restaurants like the Celtic Whiskey Bar and Larder are changing this stereotype.  So, get here.

I DID take a picture of the beer I had with my meal…  So, hold up whilst I insert this amazingness into your mind grapes…

img_2236Brouwerij Boon Oude Geuze Boon (2013-2014).  See here for the description, but this is a blend of young and aged sour ales, creating a funky, tart, sour with notes of red wine, citrus, and wood.  This is the closest I’ve ever been to Belgium (hopefully not for long), but it was a perfect compliment to the salty pork belly.  (And you can see Holly’s steak!)

Also, please refer to my post about Sour Beers and pucker up for more fun!

After dinner, we decided to explore more of Killarney, and ended up in a Dunnes, which is like a hybrid Target and Macy’s, with a grocery store.  And, surprise, surprise, Patrick found the beer section!

img_2238Ireland is stepping up its craft beer game!

img_2241

After galavanting around Dunnes, we went to Sheehan’s Bar, on the recommendation from Frank, as they have live traditional Irish Music, followed by Danny Mann’s, which had modern Folk music playing.

img_2242Because we couldn’t stay away, we finished off our evening in gorgeous Killarney with a nightcap back at the Irish Whiskey Experience!

Our legs were jelly at this point (you know, Irish Whiskey….), and we hadn’t eaten in a few hours, so, like real adults, we found ourselves at a DenJoes, which is a hybrid pizza and fried chicken joint, and ordered a two piece fried chicken meal with chips, and enjoyed seeing all the late-night locals who had probably more than we’d had to drink, especially the one lad who was sitting at a table and kept gesturing to us and saying “These are reservvvvvved,” and giggling.  He must have said it five times.  When his friends joined him, one of them took one bite of chicken and promptly fell asleep.  We walked the short block back to our awesome B&B and had one hell of a night’s sleep.

YO, IRELAND IS AMAZING.  IF YOU HAVEN’T, Y’ALL SHOULD GO.

And if you go, go to Killarney, and go to Irish Whiskey Experience and Celtic Whiskey Bar and Larder.

Christmas in Killarney.  Irish Whiskey.  Craft Beer.  AMAZING Food.  Adventure.  Love.  This was absolutely the trip of a lifetime.

Until next time, I love you all!

Cheers!