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

Hey y’all!

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

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

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

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

This is my excited stance.

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

Look at this sweet angel! 😇 😇 😇 🙏🏻

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

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

Brotherchris hello.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

🍍 🍍 🍍

Until next time…

Cheers!

Hey Y’all, Check Out These Pictures, Or, Please Don’t Try to Drink This Blog Post…

It’s picture time! I realize I haven’t put up a picture-heavy blog post in a bit, so here’s one coming at’cha!

ALSO: I wrote an article for TigerLyfe Times about Sand City Brewing’s recent Oops! I _____ed My Pants! triple can release! Check that article out over HERE! Thanks for reading!

Radical One from the aforementioned Sand City Brewing. The hop hits keep coming and coming with these guys outta Northport!

#LGM! LIC Beer Project Dutch Kills Kölsch at Citifield! This is my kind of baseball beer! Crisp, malty, fruity and super refreshing!

From Salt House Bar in Galway Ireland! Brouwerij Boon Geuze Mariage Parfait, all the way from Belgium! This beer brought the house down. Tart, funky, dry, and delicious. Absolutely nothing wrong here!

Greenpoint Beer & Ale Co. Particle Pilsner. One of the more hoppy pils’ I’ve had. Bright, crisp citrus is balanced by sweet, cracker like malt. Love it!

A “candid” photograph at Samson’s Birthday party at Greenpoint! Cheers!

Greenpoint Beer & Ale Tremendous. Paired with an, *ahem*, appropriate movie (on VHS, no less!)

My favorite beer of summer, 2017. Carton Brewing Beach, a session Ale with (I believe) Citra hops and orange zest. Bright, beautiful grapefruit and bitter orange, a bit of dankness, but still clean and dry enough and low enough ABV to keep on drinkin’. So, keep on drinkin’!

Also, I’m getting a foot massage whilst I took this photo. So, your opinion is invalid.

Finback x Jacks Abby Spill The Tea IPL. The green tea is a cool addition to the citrus hops and citrus peel, adding a clean, grassy note that’s intriguing. And no need to boil water and risk burning your precious, precious skin. 😘

Singlecut Beersmiths strikes again! Some Cat From Japan Session IPA, and Charlie’s Good Tonight IPA. Both phenomenal beers, and I’m hoping they’ll release them again in the future.

I know, I know, this isn’t beer. But when Holly Kay and I found the Dingle Whiskey Bar tucked away inside Fraunces Tavern down in the Financial District of NYC, we had to stop in and have some Irish Whiskey (at triple the price we paid for it on the Emerald Isle, of course). And it was worth every penny.

Bradco brought this beer back from Michigan. Old Nation Brewing Co. M-43 New England Style IPA. These cats from Williamston, MI have nailed this style, which surprised me. Watch out, New England, Michigan’s coming for you. HARD.

Enjoyed this collaboration by Other Half Brewing and Cloudwater Brewing, Tremendous Ideas. The simple can design also lends this can to take beautiful pictures even when an amateur photographer (me) is behind the camera (iPhone). Also my bed looks super comfy and as I’m writing this, I’m minutes away from hopping into it and drifting into a blissful slumber so, that’s also cool.

This was at Paulie Gee’s in Greenpoint. The Hellboy pizza with soppressata picante and Mike’s Hot Honey (yo, MIKE’S HOT HONEY. Who’s this Mike guy? I want to raid his house and take all of his hot honey for my own.). This hot-ass pizza was paired with a Greenpoint Beer & Ale Milk & Honey, a sweet, creamy ale that paired perfectly with the spicy ‘zza, bro.

Threes Brewing SFY (the artist formerly known as SuperF*ckingYawn) IPA, as we prepared for the magical wonder that is the Binky Griptite Orchestra at Threes Greenpoint Location. Binky plays guitar with the Dap Kings, and brought his musician friends to play some amazing 1940s Jazz and R&B and it was absolutely incredible. It was the opposite of SuperF*ckingYawn, but so was this beer, so…

Sometimes, it’s nice to go back to basics. Allagash White, my first Belgian white beer I fell in love with. Simple, refreshing, with notes of orange peel, clove, banana. Sometimes simple is beautiful.

Again, let the hate flow through you. I will combat that hate with Polar Seltzer’s Unicorn Kisses Seltzer. Is it Strawberry Kiwi? We’ll never know. Polar’s been keeping these flavors as mysterious as the mythical beasts on the cans. Damn you, Polar.

Fan favorites Moustache Brewing Co. made this delightful Saison brewed with Lavender, Honey, and Lemon Verbena. They knocked it out of the park, with floral, sweet, banana, and citrus dancing mischievously around the palate, this beer is simply a delight. Love you, Moustache Gang!

Thanks to my dear friend Will Russell, for asking me to be a part of his wedding party. As part of our Groomsmen’s gift, he got us these HEAVY DUTY USS Enterprise Bottle Openers. This is insanely dope and I will use it always. Make it so.

Treehouse Brewing Company, if you don’t know, now you know. Christopher Benedict, if you don’t know, now you know. Get with the times, y’all.

Interboro Spirits & Ales x Pipeworks Brewing Mad Fat! Unicorn. Thanks Bradco for sharing!! Mad Fat! Fluid plus Ninja Vs. Unicorn equals an amazing liquid combo. New York x Chicago, taking over the world.

If you’re not salivating by now, you need to let me know, and I’ll take you out and buy you a beer. So, if you’ve made it this far, and it’s had no effect on you, let me know. The next one’s on me.

Until next time!

Cheers!

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!

Big Alice, or How I Managed to Get a GIF of Tim Curry Smiling Into a Blog Post

img_1842

I wanted to give a huge shout out this week to Big Alice Brewing in Long Island City.

Last week, I wrote about Craft at C’est Cheese in Port Jefferson, and spoke about their hospitality.  The Craft Beer industry is all about friendship, community, hospitality, and supporting each other.

I want to thank Larissa and Annie, our awesome bartenders on a rainy Saturday evening in early October.  Our experience at a brewery is as important as the taste of the beer, in my opinion.  I was joined by my wife, Holly Kay, who had a rehearsal nearby, and our friend Brad, of Bradco Brew (@itsbradco on Instagram!)

It was my first time visiting the brewery, although I’d tried a few Big Alice beers at Astoria Bier and Cheese (the most notable being Salted Caramel, a tart, salty, sweet brown ale which is pretty mind boggling to think about…), and at The Jeffrey (Queens Honey Brown, a sweet, malty, subtle brown ale that perfectly compliments the amazing, salty pretzels The Jeffrey serves).

img_1991LIC Native White Stout, at Olivers in Astoria

What I love about Big Alice is their ability to offer a beer for any type of palate.  (Insert diatribe about how the IPA market is saturated, how hops are ruining beer, whine, whine, whine, complain, complain, complain, etc.)  I love IPAs, I will seek out the juicy, 0 IBU milkshake beer, and the palate destroying, 100 IBU, dank, bitter IPA.  But I love variety every once in a while.  So, when I stepped foot out of the rain, soaking wet, and into the brewery and, out of 13 taps, only two were IPAs, my smile grew ear to ear.

giphy
Me, upon entering the Tap Room…

 

A White Stout?  A Jalapeño Rye?  Multiple different sours?  This place is cray cray (that’s what the kids say nowadays, yeah?)  I knew I was in for a trip around the beer world on the wings of a Malted Falcon (I just made that up, but it’s my new band name, so…) and I was ready to fly…  (Also I now just realize that Malted Falcon is also a pun on “Maltese Falcon” so I’m smart and funny don’t you think?  Anyone?  Anyone?  )

The first beer I tried was Peach Gose (pronounced Gose-uhhhhhh).  This was the perfect start to my flight, tart, dry, crisp, and salty.  Summertime in a glass.  Next, when Bradco arrived, I tried the Hibiskas Goes-uh.  The floral notes added a nice balance to this salty, tart Gose.  Another fantastic, wildly imaginative brew.

The tap room was nearly filled with large groups of people, which rotated about every 15 minutes.  I asked Larissa, the first bartender I met, if anyone ever stumbles upon the tap room (Big Alice is located deep in an industrial section of Long Island City, so for me, it seemed like a destination).  They said they get a lot of runners and bikers who see the large sign on Vernon Avenue, which runs along the East River.

img_1841The Brewhouse!

I then met the other bartender, Annie, who was just as friendly as Larissa.  I started talking about the blog, and how my last post was about Moustache Brewing Company and how I visited them when they canned their first beer.  Larissa said, “That’s funny, because my boyfriend helped them can as well!”  TURNS OUT, that JAY, from that very blog post, was Larissa’s boyfriend!  The Craft Beer world is smaller than you think!

432e77ba8d987b006f93d18a68edbd34IIIIIT’S A SMALL WORLD AAAAAFTER ALLLLLLL (I’m so, so sorry….)

Jay came by later in the evening for a beer.  And, since this is a beer blog, I will talk about that beer.

Our unanimous favorite beer of the night was the Jalapeño Rye.  Untappd classifies this as a Black IPA, or Cascadian Dark Ale.  The beautiful citrus from the hops is balanced by some spice from the rye, and Annie explained that they take all the seeds out of the jalapeño, so you get all the sweet, pepper flavor, without too much spice, but enough of a bite to intrigue you into another sip…  And then another.  And then another.  It leaves you wanting more, and at 6.3% ABV, you can have another and still be even keel to enjoy the rest of your evening.  Go to Big Alice right now (well, Wednesday through Sunday) and TRY THIS BEER!

Some other favorites from the evening were: the Sweet Potato Farmhouse Ale, a dry, sweet saison brewed with sweet potatoes, with bold sweetness from the potatoes, and some peppery notes from the saison yeast, and Sour One (named for it’s bitterness at 1 IBU).  At 5.2% ABV, it’s a little higher than the two Goses I had earlier in the evening, but I loved the tart, acidic, fruit, and a little bit of funk, baby!  I wanted to get all James Brown up in the tap room but it might have been too lit.  I apologize for that last sentence.

In summary, Larissa and Annie treated Holly Kay, Bradco and I like we were family, and we really appreciated chatting with them and spending the evening in the gorgeous brewery/tap room.  Holly picked up a tee shirt (she’s been collecting shirts from her favorite breweries we’ve visited throughout the year, so, Big Alice, you guys rank!)  We stayed as long as we could, right until 10pm as they were closing.  Thanks again for the great evening!  We’re definitely going back, and you should go too!

Follow Big Alice on Social Media!

Facebook: Big Alice Brewing

Instagram: @bigalicebrewing

Twitter: @BigAliceBrewing

Until next time, Cheers!

 

Pucker Up, or Just Another Article About Sour Beers And Also This One is Funny, I Hope!

I came here this week on the advice of two of our followers (still waiting for inspiration to strike on what to call you!!), Shelbie and Rick (whose Blog, Rickommended, posted its second blog entry today, and is all about food!), to write a post about Sours.  

Proof!

Lo and Behold, a few hours before I start to write, I see this link pop up on my Facebook page…

When Tart, Pungent and Funky Mean It’s a Good Brew

Dammit.  The New York Times writes an article on sour beer the day before I decide to write an article on sour beer.

You know what, though?  Their article, while quite well written, is dry.  It’s nice to see beer, and in this case, specifically sour beer, getting press.  Sours are amazing beers, and quite difficult to get right (basically you rely on a bacteria to infect your beer to impart the tart, sour flavor).  I enjoy their rating system (one to four stars) and they’ve got some great beer on their list.  But there’s no wit!  There’s no snap!  There’s no pizzazz!  I’d like to think that Benedict Beer Blog is full of wit.  And what’s interesting is, as I’m writing this, I cracked open a half growler of what should have been a LIC Beer Project Higher Burnin’ IPA, a nicely balanced, juicy and sweet IPA, but was given the wrong beer, and I’m pretty sure it’s an Ommegang Witte.  So now, not only am I full of wit, I’m full of Witte.  Take that, New York Times!  Hahaaaa!  (That’s a triumphant Hahaaaa!)

Sour beers were first (purposely) brewed in Germany and Belgium.  Back in the early days of brewing, it was hard to find a beer that wasn’t sour, whether intentionally or unintentionally.  Brewers would reuse yeast from batch to batch, and sometimes the starter yeast would contain bacteria or wild yeast strains.  Now, Brewers intentionally use bacteria or wild yeast to give their beer an acidic flavor.  Three common bacterias used to intentionally sour beer are lactobacillus (mm…  Milky…), Brettanomyces (also, still not sure if I’m pronouncing this correctly.  I say “Brett-a-NAH-mih-seas”, but I think it’s actually “Brett-AAH-no-my-seas”. How U say it??), and Pediococcus (hehe, coccus).

Breweries sometimes have facilities away from their regular breweries so that their “regular” beers don’t get infected.  Even when these measures are followed, bacteria can still form (see the great Goose Island Bourbon County infection and recall of 2016).  I tasted an infected Goose Island Bourbon County Coffee Stout, which I reference in my first ever blog post!  Normal flavors of coffee, chocolate, vanilla, and booze, gave way to an almost raspberry chocolate cake because of the bacteria.  I liked it because I knew what I was in for, but I think a lot of people who paid a lot of money for that beer must’ve been pretty upset.  

Goose Island’s PR must be pretty fantastic (they got that AB-InBev money), they offered refunds and said they were learning from the new lactobacillus acetotolerans strain they discovered was causing the sour flavors.

One of the first sour beers I ever tasted was a Lambic, which is a spontaneously fermented sour (meaning they expose the beer to wild yeasts and bacteria found in the place it’s being brewed, mostly in Belgium).  The most famous, and sought after, brewery of these types of beer is Brasserie Cantillon, in Brussels.  I haven’t had a chance to try any Cantillon (my closest bet is to find it when it pops up at Tørst in Brooklyn), but it’s highly praised.  The first Lambics I tried were Lindemans Framboise (with raspberries added), and Brouwerij Boon Mariage Parfait Kriek (aged with cherries).  Another type of Lambic is Gueuze, a blend of new and aged Lambics.  These beers are sweet, tart, dry, and have a low ABV, so they’re great for summer (but drink them whenever you want because you’re an adult).

Let’s hop from Belgium over to Germany, yah?  Ict bin ein Berliner Weisse.  This is a German Wheat beer (what did I say?  This blog is so Witty!  Tell your friends!), low ABV, super tart and refreshing.  Here are a couple of my favorites:

Evil Twin Justin Blåbær, a Berliner Weisse brewed with blueberries.  Owner/brewer Jeppe Jarnit-Bergsö used to be a hair model, so they made a Teen Beat-esque label.  Baby, baby, baby, ohhhh…  This is one of Holly Kay’s favorite beers!

Westbrook Brewing Co Lemon Coconut Weisse Weisse Baby.  The tartness from the lemon is balanced by the smooth, creamy flavor of the coconut.  Oh, so tropical.  I shared this with Ryan Keogh, manager at Benedict Beer Blog favorite Il Bambino.  It reminded me of my honeymoon, and all the tropical fruit-infused Rum people were selling outside their homes on the walk from our hotel into town.  Yeah, we tried it and survived, and it was gooood.  I think this is a great, lower ABV option if you want to imagine being surrounded by the clearest ocean you’ve ever seen.  Loved this beer!

Another German sour style is called Gose (pronounced “Gose-uhhhh”…  Or, as Hermione Granger would say, “Win-GAR-Di-um Le-vi-GOSE-uhhhh”…  Also, why has nobody named a beer Wingardium LeviGose?). These sours are brewed with salt and coriander (!!) which makes these beers both tart, savory and with a bit of spice.  May look weird on paper, but trust a recipe that’s been brewed consistently since the 16th century in Germany…  It’s a relatively new style brewed in the US, but breweries like Westbrook and Lost Nation have some classic examples of the style.

Sour, Salty, Delicious.

Evil Twin and Two Roads Geyser Gose, inspired by a trip the Brewers took to Iceland, and brewed with Icelandic moss,  rye, herbs, Skyr (an Icelandic yogurt) and birch-smoked sea salt.  Sounds weird?  Sure.  Tastes amazing?  Absolutely.  

Evil Twin makes another Gose, called Mission Gose, that features the addition of Eucalyptus, which upped the refreshment factor by adding an herbal, almost minty quality to the tart citrus.  Amazing.

Modern Times Fruitlands Gose with Apricot.  The base beer is already sour, salty, and funky, and the addition of apricot rounds out the sweet, fruity flavor and is absolutely devine.  Get this beer if you find it. 

Two other styles of Belgian sours are Flanders Red and Oud Bruin.  Flanders Red are usually blended with both fresh and mature beer to adjust the flavor.  If you’re interested, try to find Rodenbach, it’s a classic interpretation of the the style.  Oud Bruin is a sour brown ale.  Try Goose Island’s Madame Rose, or Mikkeler Juice Bag.  I’ve loved both of those!

Most sours brewed in the US get lumped into another category called American Wild Ales.  The bacteria in these beers are either cultured or spontaneously fermented.  Here are a few of my facorites:

Grimm Rainbow Dome.  Grimm has made some amazing hoppy beers, and what they’ve done here is dry hop a sour ale with El Dorado, Columbus, and Cascade hops.  This leaves an unfiltered, gorgeous glass of basically orange juice.  So tropical, fruity, and absolutely crushable.

Stillwater and Other Half Rockstar Farmer.  OK, technically, this is a Farmhouse Session IPA, but it is fermented with Brettanomyces, so I’m counting it.  What I love about this beer is that in addition to the citrus tartness, you get some dankness from the hops, and funk, hay, and earthiness from the Brett.  Soooooooo damnnnnnnn goooooooood.  Shared this bad boy with Holly Kay over some salame and gorgonzola Crostinis with honey.

Finback Starchild, a sour ale brewed with grapefruit peel, which adds a nice citrusy bitterness to the acidity of the beer.  Another amazing brew from these folks in Queens (Ridgewood, Queens, represent, represent-sent)!
Pucker up, folks, and go out and try some sour beer!!  Hope you all enjoyed this walk through of this style, and I’m hoping you’ll all find something you love!

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!