Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Troegs’

Beer Journeys: The NYChronicles – Day 1

December 31, 2009 Leave a comment

New Beer Distributors on the inside. Amazing bottle selection within.

Well the trip to New York was everything we expected and more. A lot more, as in painful mornings and the worst headache of one man’s imbibing career (12/27 is a day that will live in infamy).

You could not be there, but we wish you could. So, lets take a peak inside the 3.5 days of NYC beer jaunting in a 3 part segment known simply as “The NYChronicles.”

DAY 1

Christmas is in the air – then its gone. This is a traditional and historically catastrophic comedown. A month long climax and subsequent deep descent stemming from childhood wishes and dreams. But, the cruel honesty of adulthood sets in and you recognize that you only get about 12 hours of real Christmas spirit, then its back to your mobile device, answering emails of customers, back to the bankbook to ensure your account is not overdrawn, and back to the reality that gifts are enjoyed by wearing them on your back and not by tearing open a box for 1 to 2 hours of technological amazement.

But ah ha! Christmas this year was a teaser for things to come. Christmas brought joy, happiness, a few beers (see article) and some curious thoughts of what might be ahead as we traipsed closer to beer jaunting madness. For this Christmas season, the Blotter crew slept well on Christmas Eve, hoping to shred through some gifts (thanks Mom and Linda for the beer gifts) and move on to a long awaited and epic journey to the depths of the NYC beer doldrums – hahahahaha!

OK OK  – its not scary. Its also not “doldrums” by any stretch of the word. Its a wondrous and beautiful community of swanky beer bars, old style beer warehouses, acclaimed breweries (though few) and cross-town competition. We had about 72 hours total. We had to sleep, eat, travel (Bay Ridge, Brooklyn is not close to Manhattan), attend events (hello Knicks game and Broadway) and work off hangovers with brisk runs which became shorter and shorter each day.

All in all – we did damn good. Here’s the story.

Mmmmm. Pastrami at Katz is unmatched!

Awake in Brooklyn.

We are staying in the Bay Ridge Neighborhood of Brooklyn. Here you will not find any acknowledgeable beer establishments (mini-shoutout to Kettle Black and Salty Dog for their great bar food though), but you will find Ben’s Pizzeria and Bagel Boy – both food leaders in their respective categories. Nothing primes the stomach for beer consumption like a Bagel Boy Everything bagel following a brisk 5K run. Bagel Boy is great, and worth the morning hike.

We are off for the big city. My companion has a date to see Wicked on Broadway with her amazing mother and rarely does a man get the opportunity to embark on the big city alone, during a family holiday. I relish in this chance.

Approach….Manhattan: New Beer Distributors and Bowery Beer Room

I am being dropped off in Lower Manhattan by the World Trade Center site. I used to work next door to the site in 2005 during my hiatus from Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans. Not amazingly, nothing has changed. The site remains largely undeveloped in over 9 years since cleanup began.

I am jumping on the JMZ (brown) line, going north, headed for Bowery and the Lower East Side. When we lived in Manhattan in 2005 we trounced this area nightly. The music scene is incredible, launching careers of the Ramones, Patti Smith and Interpol. I remember spending New Years 2005 in Hi Fi Lounge, up on Ave A, enjoying every last moment. Hi Fi is still kicking and still has the best assortment of music relics on the walls – along with a good beer or two.

But I am on a mission. A mission to find New Beer Distributors (NBD). NBD is a small warehouse on Chrystie and Rivington right below Houston and to the immediate east of Bowery off the Bowery J stop on the subway.

I had heard that NBD had an incredible selection, including several extremely rare items, as well as some vintage bottles. I heard right. They also showcase 4 or 5 taps for filling growlers. None of their offerings were run of the mill, ranging from Southern Tier Choklat to Ramstein Eisbock!

In pursuing the bottle collection I found that their most impressive collection was US beer. They had an equally impressive collection of East Coast and West Coast ales, as well as some excellent Midwest faves (hello Hoppin Frog and Kuhnhenn).

I whipped out a small backpack (remember, Im wandering the city all day) and started collecting. Of course, my eyes were too big for my backpack and I had to do the ole “exclude the least necessary” trick, counting down from #1 until the pack was full. Here is what I found:

Brooklyn Black Ops – dum da da da – she’s a beaut. This was our No. 1 goal for bringing something back. The label tells the tale – “Black Ops is not a beer.” Im fine with that. Whatever is inside is going to be worth the $19.00 price tag (which is cheaper than any other place by about 3-5 bucks).

Cigar City Improvisation (Oatmeal Rye Brown Ale – Yum)

Weyerbacher 13th Anniversary (this year WB did a finely crafted imperial stout, inspired by Belgian Quads – 13.6%!)

Two Brothers Heavier Handed Oak-Aged IPA (bulked up version of the original IPA)

Arcadia Imperial Stout

St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout (a Montreal favorite)

Weyerbacher Double Simcoe IPA

Troegs Flying Moulan (acclaimed barleywine – 99 Rate Beer)

Captain Lawrence Double IPA

I also noticed some amazing St. Somewhere beers (all three that are bottled) and a slew of Smuttynose limited IPAs. But alas, I accepted my bounty, thanked the amazingly kind shop owner and carried on up to  Houston to grab a sandwich at the famous Katz Delicatessen.

Katz is too good that its become a nightmare. The only way to truly enjoy this place is to come with one other friend, have that person snake a table quick and you weasel your way in at the counter. Once you get to the counter order a lot of different meats, as the sandwich artist will carve you slices to enjoy while you wait. You must get the pastrami – best in the world.

After scarfing down a hald corned beef and half pastrami on rye, I headed back west to take a stop in to the Whole Foods Bowery Beer Room on my way back to the subway. This is the only “beer-centric” Whole Foods that i have seen, harboring at least 1000 different beers and a half-dozen beers on tap, to fill your growler.

I am in quite a rush (behind schedule due to ogling that ensued at NBD), with a full backpack, so I do a lap of the place. Prices are bit heftier than NBD and the selection is a not as impressive. But, the beer room has excellent resources, a bountiful Belgian collection (better than NBD’s) and parking!

My excellent bartender at Rattle N Hum. What a tap list!

Heading North: Rattle N Hum

After finishing my lap – I head back west to the 4/6 green line. I am taking the 6 north up to 33rd Street and Madison. There I will seek out the establishment for which I had held highest hopes  – Rattle N Hum.

Rattle N Hum is owned by an Irish chap in his 30s, who often hangs about the bar with his golden retriever. You get the feeling that he is incredibly well-liked by his staff and the regular patrons.

The bar is laden with posters of amazing beer events my palette will not be afforded. Though I crave to be present for the Weyerbacher cask event on 12/29/09 – I cant make.

The bar has my favorite beer menu – and thanks for the copy goes to the wonderful bartender! The menu shows 42 taps, each of which includes the location of the brewery, BeerAdvocate.com rating, and the alcohol by volume. The beers are sorted by their styling for ease of location. One of the best things – you will be hard-pressed to find more than one offering from any one brewer. This ensures that 40 breweries are hitting the taps. (Plus: They have 4 cask beers!)

On the draft list and notable:

Cigar City Jai Alai IPA – I was amazed to see this. Us West Coasters often dream of getting to sample the wondrous nectar that is Cigar City beer, typically aged in amazing woods. Jai Alai does not disappoint – its incredibly sweet and malty, while having incredible pineapple and grapefruit flavor that overpowers any taste of alcohol (its 7.5%). One of our favorites from the trip, it seems to breath best from a wider-mouthed glass. So, stay away from the half pint pours.

Two Brothers Northwind Imperial Stout – Of the Russian varietal, this beer is not incredibly strong (8.5%) but packs a high-octane flavor. Hints of smoked woods and espresso beans fill the glass in both nose and taste. We were surprised to find that other raters were not as fond as we were (Ratebeer 80), but its surely worth a pint.

Goose Island Pere Jacques – I had been wanting to snag this guy for months now, after I mistakenly grabbed a bottle of Sofie (another one of GI’s Belgians) at a Chicago bottle shop. I now know what I missed. Pere Jacques is a 9.0% ABV Abbey ale, which carries a heavy dark rich fruit flavor and the nose of a dark sour ale. Very enjoyable.

Captain Lawrence DIPA – Another beer I had been hoping to snag (and I grabbed a bottle at New Beer) is this hop monster from NY’s Captain Lawrence. This beer has a rich syrupy body and smells almost of citrus and banana juices. In my rankings, I gave it a 97/100.

Others of Note:

Cigar City Maduro Espresso (they were out! but alas i caught up with it on Day 3)

SixPoint Otis (Oatmeal Stout at 6.1%)

Goose Island Bourbon County Stout (13.0% – incredible)

21st Amendment Monk’s Blood (Belgian Dark Ale)

Smuttynose Finest Kind IPA (well liked in public – A+ on BeerAdvocate.com – extremely bitter)

Nogne-O Winter Ale

Rodenbach Grand Cru

BrewDog/Stone Bashah

Rattle N Hum also boasts a nice food menu with many IPA-infused items. Their wings are impressive and during football games they are only .25 cents (YES!).

Rattle N Hum is a great place for beer snobs and newbies. Just a hop from the Midtown shopping areas, Rattle N Hum caters to tourists who just want a pint and locals who know where to find the best grog. Also, the back of the menu provides hints about how to taste beer from local beer expert Alex Hall.

All in all – its sitting pretty at No. 1 in the beer bar rankings.

The Pony Bar big board. Get Old Horizontal. Sit in Dark Corner Drink Excessively.

Subway West: Pony Bar

Im heading west. I am to meet my co-author at Divine Bar on West 51st for a quick bottle of Hitachino Classic Ale and then we are off to find the next great tap.

While at Rattle N Hum, I was told by the excellent bartender that newer beer bar had opened on 10th Avenue and 45th Street some time ago. The Pony Bar has about 20 taps and has been finding a way to keep the bartender from straying from her resident neighborhood nightly.

Pony Bar is nice, with excellent large wood tables and beer barrel seats well situated on the floor. The bartenders were very accommodating with my requests to sample some offerings – and they even charged my phone, which had been on RateBeer.com hyperdrive all day long.

The taplist, oh the taplist. I was worried when I only saw a few beers on the list. I was afraid when I saw that many were winter ales (not a huge fan of the typical winter ale). But, a closer look and………wow. Pony Bar was pouring some amazing beers that were on my “Have to drink” list. Here we go:

Captain Lawrence Nor’Easter – Of all the beers we tried here – this is the most complex. This beers has at least 3 levels of flavor and ends with such a great bang. The beer has a fruity, funky and almost sour nose and ends with a barrel-aged vanilla smoothness. Highly recommended. We gave her a 95/100.

Troeg’s Mad Elf – One of our authors (timperial stout) has raved about this beer in the past. We found it to be casual, but packing a nice christmas spice that makes up for the lack of other prevalent flavors.

Victory Old Horizonal – Really? that cant be Victory. Oh yes, its Victory. I have never been particularly excited about a Victory beer – but this one gave me a whole new respect for the PA brewer. A RateBeer 100, this beer has an amazing balance of caramel and butterscotch flavorings, melded with some prevailing hop flavor. It is very similar to RedHook’s Treblehook, but with a bit more smoothness. Again – get this beer (i did – bought a bottle to smuggle back on the place). 100/100.

Troeg’s Dead Reckoning Porter – We wanted to give Troegs one more chance to floor us. We were both glad we took this leap (ok, it was a minor step). This smokey porter has a welcoming hop bitterness, which does not sting your throat. Very impressive for a simple porter styling.

In all, Pony Bar is very impressive, even though they lack the sizable taplist a beer geek might want to see. I was very glad to see a quality grog shop show up on the west side, where it was so sorely lacking.

Give Up, Just Give Up

After geeking out on a nice 14oz pour of 10.5% Old Horizontal – its time to not push it. We actually still have to head to Brooklyn for a night of “catch up” with some old friends. Luckily, we will live through this night. But, not without repercussions.

Day 2 is on its way.

Let us know below if you have any comments or questions about any of the places or beers mentioned herein!

Events for the Week of December 14, 2009

December 14, 2009 1 comment

Check out Beachwood BBQ this week in celebration of their 3rd Anniversary. Great beers on tap!

Another weekend has wizzed by leaving us lost and alone on a Monday evening. But do not fret, Beer Blotter is here to liven up your week with some great beer and beer events.  So lets take a gander at what is “goin’ down” this week.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Swift Hibernian Lounge 14th Anniversary: New York, New York

5:00 PM until close @Swift Hibernation Lounge

Featuring beers such as Troegs Mad Elf, a cherry/honey infused ale, Goose Island Boubon County Stout, (need we say more?) Sierra/Dogfish Life and Limb, a strong beer brewed in collaboration by head brewers Ken Grossman and Sam Calagione , Dogfishead Chicory Stout and Ommegang Adoration, a strong, dark Belgium beer. What a line up!  Located in the East Village, Swift Hibernation Lounge has an old world pub atmosphere which is great for a relaxing Monday night!

Jolly Pumpkin Maraciabo Especial Release Party: Ann Arbor, Michigan

4:00- 6:00 PM @ Jolly Pumpkin Brewery

Get it while its hot and off the market! Come taste Jolly Pumpkin’s Maraciabo Especial, a rich brown ale inspired by the monastic brews in Belgium and the flavors of the tropics. With a complex palate and an overall sour quality, www.ratebeer.com gives Maraciabo Especial an A-.  This beer sounds amazing and please report back to Beer Blotter if you get the chance to try it!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bell’s Two Hearted Cask Night: Raleigh, North Carolina

6:00 PM- 12:00 AM @ Busy Bee Cafe

This IPA by Bell’s Brewery is sweet and floral as opposed to bitter. The crisp finish and hop presence is smoothed over when served at room temperature. This beer is well balanced and available year round! Tonight is Busy Bee Cafe’s inaugural cask night.

He’brew Brewery Night: Brooklyn, New York

Starts at 6:00 PM @ Bar Great Harry

The beers are priced as usual, meats and cheeses will be free and the line up for goes something like this:

  • Bittersweet Lenny’s R.I.P.A. / NY / 10% / 12oz
  • Genesis / NY / 5.6% / 16oz
  • Jewbelation 12 / NY / 12% / 12oz
  • Jewbelation 13 / NY / 13% / 12oz
  • Messiah Bold / NY / 5.6% / 16oz
  • Origin (Barrel-aged) / NY / 8% / 12oz
  • Rejewvenator / NY / 7.8% / 16oz

Made under the Schmaltz Brewing Company, He’brew, “the Chosen beer” makes quality products and a wide range of styles.  People from the great borough of Brooklyn, come support a once Western, but now local brewery!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Extreme Winter Beers: New York, New York

5:00PM until December 22, 2009 @ Rattle N’ Hum

Today marks the day that Rattle N’ Hum unveils their winter beer tap list and man is it a list! Just to name a few, like 1/3 of the list (click on each beer for a description): 21st Amendment ‘Monks Blood’, Allagash Grand cru, Dupont Avec le bon vouex, Rogue Yellow snow, Lagunitas Cappuccino, Southern Tier Old Man Winter and Scaldis Noel.

Tasting of Harpoon’s limited edition Harpoon 100 Barrel Series, Ginger Wheat Ale.: East Hampton, Massachusetts

7:00 PM- 9:00 PM @ Amy’s Place

Come warm these cold winter nights with a pint of Harpoon Brewery’s Ginger Wheat Ale.  The Harpoon 100 Barrel Series Ginger Wheat Ale is an ode to brewer Scott Shirley’s favorite spice, ginger. The earthy, warming flavor of this golden-hued ale is derived from fresh ginger.

Cask Alert: Renton, Washington

4:00 PM@ Black Raven Brewery

Enjoy a glass of the brewery’s sold out Wisdom Seeker Double IPA, the only cask of it made. Get there early and drink up!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Puget Soundkeepers Alliance Event: Seattle, Washington

7:00PM- close @ The Beveridge Place Pub

Featuring Fish Brewing Co.’s Soundkeeper Pale Ale, a cask of Winterfish and Mudshark Porter.  A portion of the proceeds will go toward the Puget Soundkeepers Alliance, an organization dedicated to reducing the pollution of the Puget Sound by making polluters accountable to the law and promotiong education and cooperation in the effort to protect the Sound. Drink some beer for a good cause. Save the Sound!

Brooklyn Invades Staten Island: Staten Island, New York

8:00 PM – until close @ The Wild Goose

Brooklyn Brewery takes a trip across the Verazzano bridge into the neighboring borough of Staten Island.  Brooklyn Brewery will be featuring seasonal favorite Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, the latest Brewmasters Reserve, Backbreaker, another secret vintage Brewmasters Reserve no longer available, and more! In addition, look for new Brooklyn bottles never before seen here including Brooklyner-Schneider Hopfen-Weisse, Monster Ale, their barley wine, Brooklyn Weisse, and of course both Local 1 and Local 2.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Heavy Seas Firkin Friday: Ellicott City, Maryland

5:00PM-8:00PM @ Judge’s Bench

Join the founder of Clipper City Brewing Co.’s Heavy Seas, Hugh Sisson, and have a very special one-of-a-kind Heavy Seas firkin. Maryland grown hops have been added to the Loose Cannon, a hop monster with over 3 pounds of hops along with a few secret ingredients. Other Heavy Seas beers on tap too! Great beer & free stuff!

Yoga Holiday Happy Hour: Philadlphia, Pennsylvania

6:00 PM- 8:00 PM @ Yoga on the Ridge

Yoga + Beer: It’s two of your favorite relaxations combined in a one-of-a-kind evening of holiday cheer. Join owner, Teresa for a Vinyasa Yoga Class.  After class, attendees will gather for a tutored tasting of unusual, richly flavored holiday beers and winter warmers. Good for the mind and the soul!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Free Brewery Tours of Chelsea Brewing Co.: New York, New York

2:00 PM, 3:00 PM, 4:00 PM, 5:00 PM and 6:00 PM @ Chelsea Brewing Company

Come take a tour of the brewery located on Pier 59 in Manhattan, receive FREE samples and discounted pints after the tour. The brewery consists of a copper and brass 30 barrel brewhouse, six 60 barrel uni-tanks, four 30 uni-tanks, two 60 barrel bright beer tanks and six 15 barrel servers.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Closing Day of Beachwood BBQ’s 3rd Anniversary: Seal Beach, California

All day @ Beachwood BBQ

Beachwood BBQ, local barbecue joint boast craft beers on a daily basis.  Today is the last day to get beers featured for the restaurant’s 3rd anniversary. The tap list for the week of their anniversary includes: Hair of The Dog Fred 06, Port Brewing Santa’s Little Helper, Lost Abbey Barrel Aged Gift of The Magi 08 and Mikkeler Santa’s Little Helper.  We highly recommend ordering Fred by Hair of the Dog, an amazing beer with a caramel flavor that coats your mouth.

Specialty Bottle Sale: Seattle, Washington

1:00 PM- 5:oo PM @ The Beveridge Place Pub

Stop by Beveridge Place Pub and check out the inventory being sold at retail prices. We don’t know exactly what will be up for grabs, so get there early and stake your claim!

And that’s that, the week of December 14, 2009. Stay merry during the days leading up to Christmas and if you go to one of these events or have an event suggestion, leave a comment or email us at beerblotter@gmail.com!  Cheers!