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!

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!

SouvenBeer, or Beer Plus Music Equals Winking Smiley Face Emoji

Beer and music go together like…  Horseshoes and Apple Sauce!  Wait, hold on, that’s not right…  Let me try this again.

Beer and music go together like…  French Fries and Butter Lettuce!  Nope.

Teeny Tiny Trains and Horticulturalists?

Red Snapper and Winged Creatures of the Night?

Hot Sauce and Lemonade!

That’s it!

BEER AND MUSIC GO TOGETHER LIKE HOT SAUCE AND LEMONADE.

beyoncebat-e1461528854459This is a Beyoncé joke.  Hot sauce was her bat.  Swag.

The first thing I think of when I think of beer and music is Dogfish Head Brewery.  Sam Calagione, Founder of Dogfish Head, and one of the great pioneers of Craft Beer in America, created a line of beers called the Music Series (in addition to their already giant line up of amazing brews).  From their website, Sam says, “Music has been a part of Dogfish Head since before Dogfish Head.”  Their latest beer in this series, brewed for Record Store Day (back in February), is called Beer To Drink Music To.  This is a Belgian-style Tripel, brewed with sweet orange peel, green cardamom, peppercorns and vanilla.  Whoa, nelly.  It weighs in at 9% ABV, so be careful, and sip this one, but don’t forget to turn up that radio first.

I picked up aromas of banana, clove, and flavors of freshly baked banana bread, juicy citrus, herb with a dry finish.  I think I blew it and was watching TV while drinking this, but if I had to chose an album to spin while drinking it, I would suggest Harry Nilsson- Nilsson Schmillson, one of the most perfect Pop albums of all time, in my opinion.  This album is a genre-hopping tour de force (as I write this sentence, I’m belting out the chorus to “Without You”, famously covered by Mariah Carey on her 1993 album Music Box.), and I choose this album because, like a lot of Dogfish Head’s beers, they use such genre-hopping ingredients, I think it fits.  Find this beer, drink it, and listen to Nilsson.  Magic.

 Harry Nilsson- Gotta Get Up

Other notable beers to check out in Dogfish Head’s Music Series, Bitches Brew, an imperial stout with honey and gesho root, brewed for the 40th anniversary (in 2010) of Miles Davis’ album of the same name, American Beauty, an IPA brewed with granola, whose ingredients were chosen by Grateful Dead fans, and is inspired by 30 years (in 2013) of touring and recording, and Positive Contact, “a 9% ABV hybrid of beer and cider brewed with Fuji apples, roasted farro, a handful of cayenne peppers and a late dose of fresh cilantro.”  This was brewed in conjunction with Sam and Dan the Automator of Deltron 3030, which, in 2012, was released in a “Box Set” of 6 bottles with a Vinyl EP of remixes made specifically for this release.

Deltron 3030 – Positive Contact

Holly and I had a night of beer and music a few days ago, as well.  Continuing our adventures here in this great, smelly-in-the-summer city, we were invited to an EP Release show, hosted by our dear friend Mason Maggio, as he released his newest EP, Merit Badge Season, under the Monicker Souveneer.

Mason is the lead singer of The Republic of Wolves, an indie rock band influenced by bands such as Brand New, and As Tall As Lions (both bands y’all should check out), and Tigers on Trains, a folk duo with Christian Van Deurs, who have put out some gorgeous, Paul Simon-esque albums with beautiful harmonies that are perfect for any time of year.

Since this is a blog about beer, I’ve had the idea to pair a beer to each of Mason’s bands.  Let’s go!

For The Republic of Wolves, I would pair a Founders Brewing Company Dark Penance.  This is a Black IPA, made with Crystal Malt and Midnight Wheat (which makes it black), and hopped with Chinook and Centennial hops.  I chose this because this is a dark, brooding beer with bursts of beautiful crisp citrus and pine from the hops.  The Republic of Wolves lyrics and music are darker and heavier than Mason’s other bands, but they’re peppered with moments of beautiful, clean guitars and gorgeous melodies.

The Republic of Wolves – Spare Key

For Tigers on Trains, I would pair Allagash Brewing Company White.  As mentioned earlier, I could listen to these albums any time and they make me so happy.  With Allagash White, a traditional belgian wheat, you always know it’s going to be a good time.  Crisp, orange citrus is balanced out with beautiful honey sweetness and a little bit of spice.  Refreshing no matter when, no matter where.  I could hand this beer (or share these albums) with anyone, and I guarantee they’d find something they loved.

Tigers on Trains – Long Sleeves

Holly and I started our evening at The Folly, our favorite Pirate-themed haunt, with our favorite bartender, Derek, on Houston Street.

Arrrgh!  (Pirate growl)
Holly was already enjoying a glass of sparkling Rosé when I arrived, (which tasted DELICIOUS after coming out of the sun and was PINK), and I picked a Coney Island Brewing Mermaid Pilsner.  As a craft beer drinker, I don’t pay enough attention to Pilsners.  It’s very easy to get them wrong, because there’s nothing to hide behind.  Pilsners are traditional German-style crisp lagers, with grassy, citrus hops and light, sweet malts.  What an awesome beer for the summer.  They’re low ABV, so you can have a few at a barbecue or on the beach and still be able to go out at night.  This one didn’t disappoint (Coney Island makes some great brews.  I miss their Seas The Day IPL, but that’s another story.), and was clean, bright, with some citrus and grassy notes, and a smooth, sweet finish.  I can’t wait to head down to their new brewery space in Coney Island!


We walked east on Houston street towards the venue, The Cake Shop, on Ludlow Street.  We stopped in for dinner at Sweet Chick, a Southern Inspired restaurant just a block or so away from the venue.  Holly and I shared fried chicken biscuit sliders, with pickles and hot honey.  We now want to put hot honey on everything, all the time.  HOT.  HONEY.  GIT IT, GURL.  We also got Mac & Cheese that was breaded with crumbled Ritz Crackers, which, in my humble opinion, can never be bad, and Mashed Potatoes and Gravy.

A Sweet Chick, in front of a Sweet Chick!

Oh right, this is a blog about beer.

Sorry.

Holly ordered Victory Brewing Company Donnybrook Stout, a dry Irish Stout, a low ABV, black as night stout, with flavors of coffee and bitter bakers’ chocolate.

Preparing for our trip to Ireland!
I ordered the Bronx Brewery Rye Pale Ale.  These guys make such consistent beer, and this is no exception.  The rye added a little spice, just right at the end of the sip, to the lemon peel citrus from the hops, balanced nicely with a malt sweetness.  Another great beer for summer.  Our friend Bryan joined us and ordered an amazing mango lemonade, which, while not beer, still tasted sweet, citrusy and refreshing.  Summah, summah, summah, summahtime.

Well, hello, summer.
IMG_0843Bronx, meet Pennsylvania.

We arrived at the Cake Shop and gave hugs to Mason, and mingled and chit chatted as the first three bands played, all friends of Mason’s, and all very pleasant, folky, indie rock.  But we were there for our son!  (Actually, he’s Rich Maggio’s son.  But we can pretend, can’t we?)

Thanks to Bryan for picking up our first round of drinks.  Holly chose a Youngs Brewing Double Chocolate Stout.  HK was on a stout kick tonight, and this is another winner, packing in a ton of chocolate flavor for such a low ABV stout.  Milky, smooth, sweet, chocolate and coffee.  If they’ll keep makin’ em, we’ll keep drinkin’ em.

I ordered a Peak Organic Fresh Cut Pilsner.  I preferred the Mermaid Pilsner, but it could have something to do with the draft lines at this place.  I’ll pick this up in a bottle and save my thoughts on it for another time.

IMG_0859 Our friend Kevin joined us, and started with Narragansett Lager.  He and Bryan moved on to Red Stripe (HOORAY BEER!).

Kevin.

Bryan.

HK Benny.

We said hello to Mason’s (actual) parents, Rich and Debra, who brought what seemed like a horde of relatives, which is super supportive and awesome.  There was a ton of love in that basement bar on Thursday night, and well deserved.  Rich, the proud Dad that he is, showed off that he bought the first ever Souveneer tee shirt.  Debra, the proud Mom (and Grandma!!) that she is, showed us pictures and videos of Amelia, Evan (Mason’s brother and one of my dearest friends) and Missy’s daughter.

I was wary of the draft lines after the Fresh Cut, so I ordered a can of Double Chocolate Stout as well, and began enjoying it just as Mason took the stage, for the first time playing songs as Souveneer.  He sang and played guitar, and was accompanied a violinist and a bassist, who also played bass for one of the previous bands, Hotel of the Laughing Tree.  It’s fun to watch friends doing what they love, and receiving so much love and energy from the crowd of family and friends.  The highlight of the night for me was his cover of The Talking Heads- Road to Nowhere, slowed down and performed just by Mason and his guitar.  Every one of Mason’s show’s I’ve been to, his parents have been there, singing along and encouraging others to join in on the fun, and this was no exception.

Souveneer- Empathy (Clip)

Souveneer- Road to Nowhere (Clip)
So, in one evening, I got to:

A. Have a date night with my wife

B. Spend time with my buddies Bryan and Kevin

C. See Mason doing what he loves and continuing to put out amazing music

D. See Christian and Billy, band members of The Republic of Wolves and Tigers on Trains, who I haven’t seen in a while

E. See Rich and Debra Maggio and see them gush over their sons

F. Share stories, beer, sing along, and experience Mason’s newest venture with friends and family

Not bad for a Thursday.

Until next time.

Cheers!