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!

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

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

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

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

Alright, let’s start!

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

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

Oh right, this is a blog about beer…

Ok, my pairing!

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

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

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

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

Which led me to pick my beer…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final beer pairing…

Peak Organic – The Juice

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

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

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

Until next time,

Cheers!

 

 

 

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!

A Love Letter to Holly Kay, My Sweet Partner in Adventure, or, Here’s a Bunch of Gorgeous Pictures of my Wife!


This is a blog about beer…

But first, Birthday!

My dear sweet Holly Kay celebrated her birthday yesterday, so I figured this would be an appropriate place to gush and fawn over how special she is to me.  

Without her, I never would have started this blog, and, since starting this blog, we’ve gone on so many different adventures and short trips, which provide some much needed relaxation and a chance to get away and simply be together and enjoy our time together.  

We’re heading to Ireland in 3 weeks to celebrate our 5th (and a half-ish) Anniversary, and each getaway we’ve taken since staring this blog in April, and since booking our trip in late June, has only emphasized how amazing our 8-day, 6-night vacation will be.

So, I would like to celebrate my love, Holly Kay, by showing off how stunningly beautiful she is, with a ton of pictures, some from our adventures, some from our nights out on the town here in NYC.  She’s a special gal, y’all, and you all should let her know how beautiful she is!  I don’t know where I’d be without here!

So, without further ado, let’s get to some pictures…

Holly won this pint glass from Long Ireland Beer Company at a meeting for the Long Island Beer and Malt Enthusiasts, and, why yes, that is Matthew Spitz from Moustache Brewing Co. lurking behind her…  Spooky.

When one flies on a plane, one drinks Woodford Reserve…  It’s just plane delicious!  This is Holly’s go to drink when we’re 30,000 feet in the air.

This is from one of our first visits to Moustache Brewing Co., on July 4th, 2014, before we went to Chris and Caroline’s Wedding!

Our favorite neighborhood sushi restaurant, Happy Kitchen, has hot sake. In tiny cups.  Who wouldn’t want to drink out of a tiny cup?

I’m so sorry for the flash on this picture.  But HK looks super cute, and we’re at another neighborhood favorite, Unidentified Flying Chickens, a wonderful Korean Fried Chicken and Craft Beer Bar in gorgeous Jackson Heights.

If you’re in Midtown Manhattan for a show, and you’re in a rush, don’t go to Bareburger on Restaurant Row.  If you’re not in a rush, go to Bareburger on Restaurant Row.  Have a mimosa.

Holly loves drinking things out of tiny glassware (see: earlier picture of Holly drinking Sake at Happy Kitchen)…  Anyway, here’s a full sized beer mug and a giant.

Sometimes, in the dead of winter, you take a date night to Il Bambino in Astoria, and enjoy paninis, crostinis, beer and wine, and bask in the glow of Holly Kay’s smile.

My stunning wife with a slightly less stunning nitro pour of Keith SW4 Pale Ale from Singlecut Beersmiths…  Go to this brewery!!

Butterbeer!  Frozen is far superior to non-frozen.  Universal Studios, August 2015.

Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA at Pony Bar in Hell’s Kitchen.  This is one of Holly’s favorite beers.

Black and White, because we’re artsy.  We began our New Year (’15-’16) at Astoria Bier and Cheese on Ditmars.

Black & Tan, Singlecut 19-33 Pilsner and Singlecut Heavy Boots of Lead Imperial Stout.  Also, ;-).

Love, Love, Love (Love, Love)

Knee Deep Brewing Ole Molé Stout at Bondurants, NYC.  Sweet chocolate with some dry and spicy pepper notes.  Awesome!

Holly Kay rocking a Boat Beer by Carton Brewing Company in Atlantic Highlands, NJ.  That hair!!!

Tommy’s Tap and Tavern, Sea Bright, NJ.
Bahr’s Landing, Highlands, NJ

Two Roads Brewing, Stamford, CT.

Fat 10-er #37 at New England Brewing Co., a delicious, floral saison from this hop-forward brewery.

Two Roads Brewing Co. was the most massive brewery we’ve ever seen.  HK took home a growler of Espressway Stout and a sweet bandana.

Super cool VW Bus decked out in front of Two Roads!  A fantastic way to begin Autumn 2016!
Share the love, y’all!  Let Holly Kay know how beautiful she is!  Happy Birthday Holly!  

Cheers!

2016, The Year in Beer (So Far…) or Hey, Come Salivate Over These Pictures!

Hello, gorgeous Benedict Beer Blog readers!  Thanks for coming back, or, if this is your first time, welcome here!  Holly and I have had some amazing adventures this year, which you’ve read about, so I think it’s time to recap the first (a little more than) half of the year with some pictures.  Everyone loves pictures, and you wouldn’t be here unless you:

A. Love beer

B. Are related to me, or

C. Both.

Thanks for tuning in for these first couple of months.  Now, let’s look at some pretty pretty pictures of craft beer why not??!?!?

January 1st, 12:01am.  Singlecut Beersmiths Heavy Boots of Lead Imperial Stout.  I’ve gushed over this beer and brewery in numerous other posts.  This is liquid chocolate, so drink it if you ever see it.  He fills his victims full of happiness.  Ozzy approves.

January 3rd.  Hilton Garden Inn, Long Island City, NY.  Post-ceiling collapse, we stayed in this amazing hotel, where we drank beer and wine out of paper cups, because Holly Kay and I are Renaissance Men.  Southern Tier Brewing Company Crème Brûlée Imperial Stout.  Skip dessert, drink this instead.  Sweet, sugary, vanilla, chocolate, coffee.  You (dia)BET(ic) we loved it!

January started off with some stouts!  They warm ya up when it’s cooooold out there!  Chris “MusicDktr” Benedict, would approve, right, Dad?

January 8th.  Belated Christmas dinner at Brad (of Bradco Brew) and Alex’s Apartment!  This beer is out of control.  Barrier Brewing Company Money IPA.  Bursting with tropical citrus and pine, just put me on a hammock in between two palm trees and get me out of this New York City winter for crying out loud!

This is Brad, aka Bradco Brew.  He makes amazing brews.  Our favorites are the Blueberry Cream Ale (which I wish I could drink all summer), Citrus Saison, and his amazing Chocolate Stout.  Become friends with Brad and you can try these.  He’s nice!

January 23rd.  First major snowstorm of the year.  Holly Kay and I got off of work early, and spent the day watching movies, eating, and drinking.  This is Pipeworks Brewing Company Lizard King, a single hopped session IPA with Mosaic hops.  Mosaic, she’s a naughty, naughty girl…  Pineapple, pineapple, and more pineapple.  Another tropical dream to escape the 12″ + of snow building up outside our apartment window.  Also, this can art cannot be beat.

January 23rd…  Speaking of snowstorm…  Evil Twin and Two Roads Geyser Gose.  Gose (pronounced Gose-uhh) is a traditional German-style beer that is tart, herbal, and salty.  Geyser Gose is brewed with ingredients sourced from Iceland (a country I would absolutely love to visit), including Icelandic moss, rye, herbs, sea kelp, skyr (a tart, Icelandic yogurt) and birch smoked sea salt.  The kelp, sea salt, and moss, give this beer an earthy, umami saltiness to counteract the sour citrus.  It might not sound appealing in writing, but it’s unreal.  It’s great for summer, or, in this case, to counteract our Cabin Fever.

February 11th.  Sixpoint Brewery C.R.E.A.M., a Cream Ale brewed with coffee…  Beer + Coffee + Wu Tang Clan?  Dolla, dolla bills, y’all.  This blonde ale tastes like coffee with cream, bitter like green bell peppers (which is a flavor that I sometimes pick up from a really bitter black coffee), balanced by a sugary sweetness.  Craft Rules Everything Around Me.

February 26th.  Barrier Brewing Company and Other Half Brewing Half & Half.  This was shared at Threes Brewing.  In preparation for Brian and Tanya’s wedding in Houston, I met up with Brian and his coworkers Doug and Martin (I was at work, so I missed their excursion to Other Half Brewing), and we enjoyed some beer and food from BBD’s (Beers, Burgers, and Desserts) who had a pop up restaurant at the brewery.  I guess I inadvertently theme my beer drinking, as this tasted like coffee with half & half and sugar.

This one had less of a hip hop theme, but more of two of my favorite local breweries, so it’s a toss up which one I love more.  So we’ll leave it at I love them both the same.

March 4th.  Honeymoon Cafe.  These aren’t beer.  They’re beignets.  Because why wouldn’t I post a picture of these gorgeous monstrosities of culinary delight?  You’re welcome.

March 5th.  Our 5th Anniversary, and the day of Tanya and Brian’s wedding.  While our lovely wives were getting ready, Jerry, Scott and I decided to walk to a brewery on the outskirts of town.  As you’ve heard a million times before by the great Rob Thomas, “Man, it’s a hot one…”  And it truly was.  Houston, Texas clocked in at literally 7 inches from the midday sun.  This Rocket Fuel from 8th Wonder Brewing, made with Vietnamese Coffee and served on nitro, at a sessionable 4.8%ABV, was so Smooth.  It gave me its heart, and made it real, so I couldn’t forget about it…
March 12th.  “Guest Bartending” at the Grand Opening of Il Bambino’s new location on 8th Street in the West Village, NYC.  This man knows how to handle a tap…  Wink.

March 17th.  Saint Patrick’s Day.  Because you have to.  Also, this throwback artwork is incredible!
March 26th.  My first ever Trillium Brewing Company beer, their Farmhouse Ale.  Holly Kay stated, “this beer taps you on the shoulder and says, ‘Hello!'”  Dry, funky, grassy, with tart lemon citrus, it’s the perfect beer to accompany rich food, but also stay out of its way and act as a compliment to the salty, funky cheeses.

April 14th.  Picked up one of these Pipeworks Brewing Company Ninja Vs. Unicorn Double IPAs at a little store on the East Side called Miso Hoppy.  It poured hazy orange, with aroma of pineapple, orange, lemon.  Taste followed, with a little candy sweetness from the malt.  Pick it up if you see it.  This is right up there among the great IPAs out there.

April 14th.  Stillwater Artisinal Ales On Fleek Imperial Stout.   Pours black as night, tastes like dark chocolate, cherries and coffee.  And this can is out of control!!

April 20th.  The hits keep coming with Stillwater Artisinal Ales, this time they teamed up with Other Half Brewing to make Rockstar Farmer, a hoppy farmhouse saison, with notes of lemon, funk, and hay.  Another great compliment to our food that night, Gorgonzola and honey Crostinis with cured hot sausage.  Holly Kay and I treated ourselves royally!

April 22nd.  Shared this beer with Holly Kay and our favorite bartender, Derek at The Folly on Houston Street.  This was a great platform to let the Citra hop do its thing with floral and citrus notes.  Other Half always kills it.  This can was a gift from Rick Vath!  Thanks, Rick!

June 9th.  Carton Brewing Company and Barrier Brewing Co. collaborated on this SS-C.R.E.A.M.  A hoppy, imperial cream ale, with citrus notes from the hops, balanced with vanilla and cream.  This was enjoyed at Rattle ‘N’ Hum in NYC!

June 9th.  Westbrook Brewing Company Mexican Cake Imperial Stout brewed with cacao nibs, cinnamon, vanilla beans, and habanero peppers!  That’s a spicy meatball!  This was quite possibly the best stout I tasted this year.  Smooth, creamy mouthfeel with heaps of cocoa and cinnamon, and a slight heat from those pep peps!  Mama Mia, me so spicy!
June 16th.  Brought back reeeeeal fresh from Tree House Brewing in Monson, MA.  Another citrus bomb from these guys!  I love their can artwork as well!
Picture taken June 16th, beer shared  the night before with Ryan, Erica, and Holly Kay! Trillium Brewing Artaic Double IPA  I would say this is my favorite IPA I’ve had all year, but it got slightly edged out by another, which you’ll see in a minute.  This is brewed with honey, which just sets off and intensifies the citrus, juicy hop profile.  It’s drool-worthy.

July 13th.  National French Fry Day.  Paired with Troegs Brewing Company Nimble Giant.  This is a KILLER beer.  Another juicy, Northeast Style IPA, but the malts create a cherry-like sweetness that plays well with these hops.  Unreal.
July 21st.  The winner for my favorite IPA this year.  Singlecut Beersmiths Softly Spoken Magic Spells.  Absolutely gorgeous pineapple juice in a 16.9 fl oz bottle of wonder and amazement.  If Singlecut keeps making beer like this. I’mma keep drinking ’em.
July 24th.  This was yesterday!  This has certainly been a year filled with some juicy IPAs, and Tree House Brewing Company Bright fits right in.  Mom, Dad, and Holly Kay all loved it!  Lime is prevalent in this brew, but complimented by pineapple, orange, and pine.  Hops are an amazing creature, and I’m so excited to see what all these insane Brewers will do with them in years to come.
Thanks all for sharing in this half year (plus a little bit) in pictures!  The Benedicts will be back with more adventures!  Thanks again for reading!  Cheers!

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is their entrance!

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


They’ve taken a warehouse and made it home.

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

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

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

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

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

Ok, much better.  Back to the beer.

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

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

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

IMG_0606HK Benny looking super cute and wintery…

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

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

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

IMG_0485Boom!

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

IMG_0632Beer Plus Music Equals Love

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

IMG_0623Alex and Shelbie having a blast!

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

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


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

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

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

Breathe…  Breathe in the air…

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

Thanks for reading.  Don’t sleep on Singlecut!

Cheers!