Habanero Blobfish

If you don’t know what “Habanero Blobfish” means you are not the only one *shrugs*. That is what craft beer is all about, new recipes, experimentation, pairing habanero peppers with Cascade, Chinook and Simcoe. Basically, Fifth Hammer took their new West Coast IPA and blended it with peppers to make it spicy. There is also a grapefruit blobfish which is, you already know, juicy and fruity.

New York State of Mind

I decided that I needed to spend less money at the breweries I was going to since I was having to pay to get there. With this in mind I went on Groupon and started searching. I found 2 brewery Groupons, one for Oyster Bay and one for Climax Brewery. The only problem was they both were for two people. I put the request out on Facebook and Em immediately said she would like to go to Oyster Bay. Part of me thinks she wanted to go since this is the birthplace of Billy Joel. Anyway, she came to the city and we boarded the train to Long Island. This was her first time. Oyster Bay Brewing Company is located at 36 Audrey Ave, Oyster Bay, NY 11771. Audrey Ave., get it? Here’s a hint: Sabrina. If you don’t want to click on the link, go to IMDb and search for Sabrina, the movie not the witch, the original.

They have a nice set up for their menu. The taproom is spacious with tables and artwork on the wall that you can purchase. Also nice tank tops if you are into that. Some snacks if you want to nosh and drink. I honestly can’t remember if they are family friendly or serve food, so I went on Google to check the reviews someone mentioned there were children and dogs there, so the chips are the only food they have. If they have a kitchen they can’t allow dogs in. Also, in the pictures in Google there are no paintings on the walls. That must have been a promotion while we were there. Some of their beer names are a play on the titles and lyrics to Billy Joel songs, such as Alexa IIPA, Simcoe State of Mind, Baymens Oyster Stout and Sagamore Dark Lager. Those last two could be references to Long Island, but I know them from listening to Billy Joel.

The groupon was for 2 flights, the beer in them was not up to our choice, but they were willing to substitute for health reasons. Em can’t have pumpkin or yams. Two pint glasses and one growler. The growler was 64 oz. I asked to get the 32 oz instead and they were agreeable. The tank top Em bought for me. Yay for Groupon and yay for best friends and yay for Brewery Swag. Check out the slideshow below for the rest of my pictures, also there are pictures on Google Maps you can check out along with reviews.

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Braven

Now is the time for all good bloggers to put down the beer and type some profound shit. Like how you got here at 8:10 and it was so fucking packed you only stayed for 15 minutes before you booked the hell out of there.

Kind of a testament to how good and popular and what a good customer following they had before they even had a brick and mortar taproom. Also a statement of how I dislike people. Even beer people when they are right on top of you. Not in a creepy stalker way, in a ‘there are so many people here they are breathing on me and I have to get out before somebody gets stabbed.’ Note: it would not be me that gets stabbed.

If you have been reading this blog for awhile, (that’s a joke, I know no one is reading this) you know that I am not very knowledgeable about beer, I mainly write about the experience at the brewery. What I can tell you about this beer is I like it. If it is on the tap list at a bar I will generally order it. Nice selection of styles and like most craft beer places are willing to pour you a half glass. Which is what happened the second time I went there. Of course I had to go back, going there opening night was just for bragging rights. The owners were there, so I had to go up and thank them for responding to my Instagram and show them that yes, I came back. Not sure if they cared.

Service was good, I had a half-pour of everything, even got some ‘on the house’. Overall a very pleasant experience. They have a kitchen, but it was so long ago I don’t remember if I got any food. Very narrow and hard to walk through since there is a row of tables next to the wall leaving a space of maybe 3 feet to walk through. Still, when I went there it was early days. I am sure as time has passed they have ironed out some of the kinks. All these pictures were taken opening night. Definitely would recommend.

Yes it’s this close to the subway. Convenient right?

Brooklyn Brewery

Brooklyn Brewery
79 N 11th St.
Brooklyn, NY 11249

It was supposed to be a “Happy Hour Knitting on the Roof” meetup. I should have guessed since it was pissing down rain, the roof would be closed. I was a little peeved that I kept posting and the organizer wasn’t answering me. Turns out, she was in Singapore because her grandmother died. She did refund our money. I think, I got an e-mail but never checked to see if the money actually came through. Back to my problem, I was in Brooklyn, it was raining, and after all this effort I didn’t want to just go back home, you know? The meetup was at Berry Park, located at 4 Berry Park in Brooklyn. On the way there I saw, painted on the side of a building, the Brooklyn Brewery Logo, so I checked Google maps, Brooklyn Brewery is around the corner.

Last summer when I made up the list for my ‘Summer Brewery Tour’, Brooklyn Brewery was on it. Not very high on it since I had been to it before and I was focusing on breweries that were new to me. The inevitable result was I never made it to Brooklyn Brewery. My coming here this was was, as noted above, kind of an accident. But I was here and determined to make the best of it. So I started tasting the sours. First was Rose de Ville, then London Gose, as I was chatting with the bartender, he (without me asking) then gave me Sour Cloud and Bel Air Sour. I wasn’t really sold on any of the sours, maybe cause it was a cold rainy night and had decided to get the Oktoberfest. Before I could order it, the man next to me ordered a Lager and a Pilsner, the bartender poured a Lager and an Oktoberfest. Before he could pour out the Oktoberfest I yelled, “I’ll take it!” Everyone was happy.

Next up was the “Defender IPA”, which I have only had in bottles. Much better on draft and fresh.

From the cellar: Brooklyn Brewery’s “High End” beers. The bartender gave me a taste (moral of the story, ALWAYS chat up your bartender, and BE NICE), Better Angels, Sour – Flanders Oud Bruin, Tart, vinuous & divine cuvée barrel vintage oud bruin, then, K Is For Kriek, American Wild Ale, “Kriek” means “cherry” in Belgian Flanders, aged in Bourbon barrels, unfortunately, I can’t read my notes so the rest of what I tasted is lost to history. And no, these aren’t my descriptions, I copied them from Beer Advocate.

More about the brewery, they are green, they reuse their cups for tastings and said cups are made from plants. I’m not sure how that works, but I think it means the cups degrade, they don’t last forever in a landfill. I would also say, from what I saw, not exactly family friendly. They have a lot of merchandise, they are also the oldest brewery in NYC. They have two types of tours. On Saturday is a general tour, first come first serve. During the week you need to make an appointment and pay a fee, but you get a tasting glass to take home and a private tasting. They even have a room for it! I thought I had a picture of it, but apparently not. It is in the video, which is not posted here because it is sideways. However, if you go to my Instagram (link in the sidebar) you can see it there.

My last taste of the night was Brown Ale and my last beer of the night was Black Chocolate Stout, one of my favorites. And as they say, Good-bye and Good-night.

City Swiggers and MeetUp

This is one of my go-to spots, when I have cash that is, and it is a craft beer store / beer bar. 12 taps and located on 86th St. between 2nd ave and 1st ave. The name is City Swiggers

While I have been at City Swiggers before, even making special trips there to give them my empty cardboard box holders (save the turtle!), this was a special occasion because it was the first meet-up for New York Craft Beer Crew. I have been to other meet-up but this was the first, “first” meet-up.

The organizer is Jake. I feel confidant writing that online since he posted it in the meet-up group and when I said I would write a blog post about the City Swiggers Meet-up he didn’t say: “OH NO DON’T DO THAT I’LL BE RUINED!” He seemed to think it was a good idea, of course I hadn’t written the blog post when he said that ….

City Swiggers, when you walk in to your left is a cooler with beer, to your right are shelves with beer and in front of you is an island with shelves underneath it with more beer. I found about these shelves when I asked for wheat-free beer and I was directed to these underground shelves with gluten-free beer. Since I had previously drank “Redbridge beer” (1/8 of one and then put the rest of the pack in my apartment’s garbage room, my super is still giving me dirty looks). I almost ran out of the store.

Uggg, back on track, the meet-up was pretty good, City Swiggers gave us complimentary beer for having the meet-up there. All praise goes to Jake! I couldn’t drink it since it had coconut in it (boo allergies!). And since I waited too long to write this, and didn’t take notes …. it was nice. People talked about: Is this your first meet-up? What beer do you like? What beer was the first craft beer you drank? I think Jake has a good thing going here. I am throwing my towel in his ring 100%.

P.S. When you walk past the bar with the taps, there are tables with chairs, low and hi-tops, past them the toilets and more shelves with imported beers, not-US, European beers.

City Hops

When I can’t get to a brewery to drink craft beer I go to one of the many craft beer bars in the city. City Hops is one that is on the way home from work (kind of sort of). They are a craft beer store with a bar, so you can buy a can or bottle (or 2 or 3) to take home. You can get a draft beer to drink there, or you can have your can or bottle opened (for a slight fee, depending on the price of the beer). They also fill growlers, either your own or you can buy one there, they have 32 oz, 64 oz, and 128 oz(seriously! I think that one is kind of a joke). This is a rather small spot, with a decent selection, kind of dark and there is a column right in front of the bar. It also seems to have a lot of regulars.

They are by no means unique in offering cans and bottle to go, a quick look through Google I found at least 6 in various parts of the city and the other boroughs. Some serve food and some don’t. City Hops doesn’t, but Subway Inn across the street from them will deliver.

On this night I had KCBC/Barrier Crypto Currency, Grimm Artisanal Ales Sunroof, and Mikkeller Brewing San Diego Misty Elliott. Mikkeller does have an NYC brewery, I had already sampled the NYC ones. I couldn’t find a website, but they have Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Links are below. Enjoy the pictures below and check out City Hops!

City Hops (@CityHops) | Twitter
City Hops – New York, New York
CITY HOPS (@cityhopsnyc) • Instagram photos and videos

Pearl River part 2

img_1278When the group left Defiant because of the wedding we all trouped over to Gentle Giant because none of us wanted to go home. I had already eaten so didn’t order food. Since I had never been there before I decided on a flight. This is how Gentle Giant does their flights, all six beers on tap, obviously they do not fill the pint glasses to the top. I only got 5 because one of the brews had maple in it. Allergies suck. They did allow me to get two of one so I still got 6 mini-beers. Normally when I get a flight I have one or two beers I am undecided on. Not the case here, all were pretty amazing. I liked all the beers in the flight. I would like it better if I had remembered to take notes, but I get intimidated in a crowd.

This brewery serves food, you can see the list on the blackboard, speaking of blackboards, what is it with blackboards and breweries? Is it a nod to old school, like some also have record players and actual records that are played on them? Is it because they are relatively cost effective way to change the beer when a keg kicks and a new one is tapped? I don’t know, I have never asked, maybe it’s in the fine print, “If you want to call yourself a craft brewery, you must list your beer in chalk on a blackboard”, except not all breweries do it. I’m not saying I have an issue with it, I am just wondering.

It is family friendly, no dogs allowed, and while I didn’t ask about tours, you can see the tanks from the tap room. They also have a big screen and the game was on, the player is holding on to his belt, and on Football Sunday they have specials. I learned that from following their Instagram.

Not much else to say, check out the photos below and if you’re in Pearl River, check them out!

 

Defiant Brewery

Once a year my knitting club takes a trip to Pearl River in Rockland county to go to a little craft store there. Included in the trip is a visit to Defiant Brewing Co. which is right over the tracks from the train station. The day goes, meet at Penn Station, take NJ Transit to Pearl River, buy yarn, drink beer. For me this makes Defiant Brewing Co. today’s stop on Bella’s Fabulous Tri-State beer tour. Stick around, because today, there are two stops. Defiant is one of the breweries that serves food. As such dogs are not allowed. It is family friendly there. The food is mainly barbecue with just two vegetarian options, Mac-n-cheese and deviled eggs. Since I have discovered I am allergic to eggs and my system doesn’t tolerate mac-n-cheese anymore, unless it’s my own, and they were out of Brat, I got the chili. Which was not as spicy as I like it, a little too barbecue flavor, but made with shredded meat not hamburger so a win anyway.

From the picture you can tell they have a fairly large taproom with plenty of tables for eating and drinking and socializing with your mates. The day we went they were decorating for a wedding reception and were closing at 3:00 pm. If you are wondering, who has a wedding reception at a brewery? I think I would for one. This is where I tell you this picture to the right is only the front half of the brewery, in fact the tanks in the slide show below were behind me when I took this shot. The fact that they were closing early turned out to be fortuitous since on the way to The Stitchery we saw Gentle Giant. The second stop on today’s edition of Bella’s Fabulous Tri-State beer tour.

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img_1269And my growler bag was a hit, everybody loved it.

More in the city

Grimm Artisanal Ales had their ‘grand opening’ Saturday June 30. My friend Em, who doesn’t really drink beer was coming to the city. When I said I want to go to Grimm she said she would come with me. So after she got here we headed to Brooklyn. I have had Grimm before and since I know what she likes, I was sure she would find something to drink she would like. On that Saturday they were pouring 3 sour beers, an American pale ale, a double IPA and a saison de Copage.

It was mad crazy packed. There was a line to buy cans and bottles that went down the side to the back, across the back, down to the front and out the door. People were lined up 3 deep at the bar and they weren’t accepting cash, only cards which Em didn’t like, she prefers to use cash. I told Em she would probably like a sour, since she likes beer with grapefruit and orange in it. She ordered the “Super You” a Sour Gose with Pineapple. As expected she liked it, mainly because it tasted like “A fruity cocktail, not beer”. I had “Air & Light” a dry hopped sour with cherries. I didn’t take any pictures that day partly because Em was with me and also because is was so packed! I bought the growler on my second trip on July 9th.

On that trip I had “Icing on the Cake” and “Double Negative” both stouts. I got the growler filled with “Zero Anniversary”.

Grimm Artisanal Ales is a Brooklyn-based brewery founded in 2013 by Joe and Lauren Grimm after nearly a decade of tinkering with fermentation. Grimm specializes in concise, elegant ales epitomizing the creative, experimental spirit of the American artisanal beer revolution. With each limited edition release, we seek to push the boundaries of style and flavor in order to create beers with the utmost depth and complexity.

When I started researching breweries for my 2017 Brewery Tour I discovered breweries that claim to be NYC breweries that don’t actually brew in the city. These are contract breweries. Most of them actually bring all their ingredients, except water, to another brewery and use their equipment. As part of my ‘brewery tour’, I was going to track down as many of these brewery’s beers as I could. Some are easy, you can find them at places like Whole Foods and the Pony Bar, Six Point, KelSo, Evil Twin, and the above mentioned Grimm. Some are not so easy. One of the not so easy ones is Harlem Blue. I have to be honest and say I wasn’t exactly searching very hard, after all there is so much beer to drink! But I was keeping my eyes open for any mention of them. The Museum of the City of New York had an event, I thought Harlem Blue was going to be there, thought that was what I read but instead the alcohol was Prosecco, not to be deterred I kept the museum on my watch list. Then it happened. I don’t remember if it was e-mail or Facebook but they started a series of events, the one that interested me was, “Unexpected Pairings: Beer & Chocolate” featuring Harlem Blue and Harlem Chocolate Factory, on July 19, 2018. You know which one I was interested in! Julian Riley founded Harlem Blue in 2014, he described himself as a ‘recovering attorney’, specializing in contracts, he stated he wanted to “represent crafting from a Harlem point of view”. Currently brewing in Harrisburg, PA, but stated plans are in the works to open a brewery in NYC. When I asked him, he couldn’t give me a firm date. You can be sure I will set a Google alert for this! There were two beers to sample, “1658 Ale” Pale Wheat Ale, the name comes from the fact the 1658 is when Harlem was founded. I didn’t try it (allergies) but it is ‘approachable’, I can’t explain that, for all the beer I drink I am woefully uneducated about what the terms mean. The other beer was “Hectic IPA” also drinkable. The chocolate was good too.

Another brewery I had my eye on was a brewery named “Radiant Pig, according to Google it was located in Manhattan, but the address looking like a apartment. In a rather weird coincidence, if you believe in them, I stumbled upon some Radiant Pig beer on July 22, 2018. I went to a different grocery store to get my lunch. Most of the grocery stores in Queens have awesome beer selections. I stopped to look at what they had, like I always do and saw “Save the Robots” by Radiant Pig, an American Pale Ale, so I bought a six-pack. Now I can add Radiant Pig to my brewery tour list.

Foiled again!

image_556454751411322I thought I had found a tap room for KelSo Beer. Turns out it is a bar that features them. They have a nice sign though. I had the “Mosaic India Pale Ale”, “Stone Barns Lemon Verbena Pilsner”, and a pilsner that was just just called “Pilsner”. They also have a ‘small but very good kitchen’, which was not over-hyped, food was delicious!