Hellooo Brooklyn

img_6778The first brewery on my list for Brooklyn is Other Half. I checked in there on June 15. My next check in for Brooklyn was August. I don’t know what happened in July, other than going to Gun Hill and Bronx Brewery in da Bronx.

My first impression of Other Half was “I was not prepared!” The taproom is small, about the size of Transmitter, but with a lot more people. There was a line going out the door. Then when I got to the counter and didn’t know what I wanted “RIGHT THEN”, she left me to take someone else’s order. That doesn’t mean I didn’t get any beer, it just means “I was not prepared!” No one told me it was small with a mad crazy fan base. It is actually a regular stop for me now since it is on the way to my knitting meetup.com group at Whole Foods in Gowanus.

img_6970-1On August 3 I went to Kings County Brewers Collective (KCBC), I ordered a beer called “What We Don’t See” an American Double/Imperial Stout style beer, although this was my first time at KCBC it was not the first time I had this beer, I had it once before at the Pony Bar. I had not planned any other breweries for the night, then I mentioned I was doing a Summer Brewery Tour to the server.

img_6971“Oh,” she says, “Have you been to Interboro? It’s the next stop on the L train.” After quickly Googling it, I saw I could walk there so I grabbed my stuff and made my way to Interboro. It was rather dark and I was sitting at the end of the bar, I’ll try to describe it. At the back of the room are the taps, there is a bar in front of the taps, the bar makes a right angle turn down towards the front of the room, to the right of this part of the bar is the food preparation area. When the bar gets past this area it makes another right angle turn towards the right wall. This is where I was sitting. Most of the people were up near the taps.

img_6972-1.jpg I got some samples and then ducked into the bathroom. When I came back my glass was gone, so I sat back down to order my beer – and no one came. I started to get annoyed. After a while I decided, he probably thought I left, so I went up next to the food prep area and then I got some service. The beer that Capt Jack is keeping his eye on is Stay G-O-L-D. I decided I should get a little cheese and olive plate, which turned out to be so much food I had to take some of it home. I also got a 4-pack of the Stay G-O-L-D.

img_6979-1The next brewery on my list was Three’s Brewing. You can see by the picture I actually did have a list. When I got to the door of Three’s it looked oddly familiar, opening the door and looking to my right, I saw a window where you ordered your food, yes that looked familiar also, when I got to the bar I knew I had been here before. Well this is Summer Beer Tour 2017, so visits before this year don’t count. After drinking a The Collapse Is Real I was ready to head to Circa Brewing.

img_6981-1Circa Brewing is fairly new to Brooklyn, located in Brooklyn between the Heights and Fort Green. My memory is hazy, I remember it was well lit and the seats were comfy. I got a flight of beers, I got food that was vegetarian and quite tasty. I remember I was not impressed with all of the beer. I tweeted that and got a response from Circa. I always like it when my Instagram photos get liked by the breweries I go to. Since I always tag the breweries I think it’s only fair. 😉

It was about this time I had to take a break from my summer beer tour. I got an infection and was on antibiotics. I bet you are probably hoping I take a break from this post. I did warn you it was going to be long! Actually I only have one more brewery to write about in this post, the rest get their own posts because this was when I decided I wanted to blog about my beer tour.

When I recovered from my infection I went to Five Boroughs which is in Sunset Park, Brooklyn (I love it when googles tells me shit like this). Among the beer I had was Raspberry Gose, Industry Ale and their Pilsner. I got the Pilsner free so obviously I had a few more, or maybe I was just super charming! The lovely girl serving had a septum piercing and I was so jealous! I want one. I took a bunch of pictures and since this is the last brewery in this post, I put them all in. Enjoy!

Free beer is the best 🍻 – Drinking a Pilsner by @FiveBoroughs @ Five Boroughs Brewing Co. —

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The Bronx has good beer

IMG_6896[1]Gun Hill Brewing Company was next on my list, mainly because I found out they were having a “New York Homebrew Competition” on 15 July. So I bought my ticket, got the directions from MTA Trip Planner and heeded up there. When I got there I showed the lady my ticket, got a wristband and taster glass and got to tasting. And there was plenty to taste, I don’t have the list I was given when I went, but if I remember correctly there were over 20 beers to sample of all flavors. One porter, several IPA’s, a few sours, one very forgettable brown ale. A few I didn’t sample, wheat and the Key Lime Pie one (lactose), the Key Lime Pie won and will be brewed by Gun Hill. Everything was good, most of the brewers would give you more than one. One had two IPA’s, Batman and The Boy Wonder. I showed them my Batman Spinner and the girl squealed “Oh my god!” Everything was good.

IMG_6908[1]Until I went to the bar to get some actual Gun Hill brews. First, my favorite brew is Void of Light (link goes to Beer Menu) and they were out of it. So I had to find something else, I settled on Kentucky Common a sour ale. It was dark and sour, so a win in my book. Things continued to go down hill from there however, first the only thing I could eat was a pretzel, and the server dropped it on the floor. Then when I couldn’t get a second beer although I did everything but stand up and yell. So while I will continue to drink their beer, I don’t think I will make that hella long trip to their brewery. 

img_6931-1After Gun Hill I went to Bronx Brewery, this was another event, a “Summer Done Right” party. Another event you needed to buy a ticket for, the price included one beer. For this event you had to buy vouchers to get beer. After showing my ticket and walking in the taproom and getting a Smoked Porter, I just love my dark beers, I walked through the brewery to the back where there was live entertainment and food trucks. Inside the brewery there were ‘vendor tables’. It was all very interesting and fun, until I fell asleep on the bus going home. Bronx Brewery is not as hard to get to as Gun Hill. In fact I just saw they are having another event and I am seriously considering making the trip.

What about Manhattan?

At times during my Summer Beer Tour I have been asked: “Are there any breweries in Manhattan?” My response has always been, No I don’t think so. This weekend I tried to find out for sure. So I started googling and found some names. So far I haven’t verified that any of them actually brew in Manhattan. 

Harlem Brewing Company – listed on Google Maps as permanently closed. 

La Birreria | Eataly – Their website states, “La Birreria is our rooftop restaurant and microbrewery that offers the highest quality craft beer and food under the stars and skyline.” I went there and it looked to me like they are more a place to buy craft beer. I didn’t go up to the roof, I also didn’t ask anyone because they were mad crazy busy. I’m planning another trip. 

Heartland Brewery does not brew in Manhattan. According to their website they used to, but the bartender told me that now their beer is brewed in Albany. The pictures in this post were taken at Heartland.

B’s Summer NYC Craft Beer Tour

In May I participated in “Queens Beer Week”, said participation consisted of getting a ‘beer passport’ and taking it around to all the Queens breweries and getting it stamped. There were a total of 10 but only 7 were needed to be entered to win the prize. I was determined to get all 10 stamps. And I did. This determination to get all 10 stamps morphed into an obsession to go to all the breweries in NYC before the end of summer. I’m almost there.

As I was sitting at Greenpoint Brewery recently, I looked past the bar at the windows in the back of the taproom that lead to the brewery, in my view were the tanks, I started composing a sentence in my head, it was then I realized that in addition to documenting my summer on Instagram I should have been writing about it as well. That way all the little events and my observations would be preserved, instead now I have to try and recreate them from my head. It also means that now I am going to have a very long blog post, at least there are pictures. If you click on the pictures a bigger image will open.

Rockaway was the first, and I had to go back there, two breweries had two stamps, Rockaway was one of them but I only got one stamp. When I went back the beertender said, “Well you have to drink …… (one of the details I’ve forgotten is the name of the beer, it was a collaboration between Rockaway and Fifth Hammer) to get both stamps.” Well he could have told me that the first time! I’ve been to Rockaway many times now, it is close to my office. It is dog friendly and there is an event room upstairs that I have been in for knitting meetups.

Next was Finback, another brewery I have knitting group meetups. It has a big tap room with big tables, good lighting and board games, it is family and dog friendly. From Finback I walked over to Bridge and Tunnel. The taproom guy at Finback said I should take an Uber, I ignored him (he was right). Bridge and Tunnel was having a comedy night. They have one the first Sunday of every month. The day I went was the first Sunday so I stayed for the show. This was my first time at Bridge and Tunnel. They are also dog friendly but I didn’t discover that until my second time there. It was also a Sunday, there was comedy and after the comedy show the taproom guy turned on Game of Thrones. That is apparently also a regular event. I don’t have pictures from either of these breweries.

 

img_6594Singlecut was next on the list, it was a brewery I had been to before and didn’t want to go back to. One because my ex took me there and two because Singlecut is heavy on IPAs which are not my favorite beer. I went on a Wednesday, I remember this because, since I had been there before I knew they served food, except on Wednesday. So I had to run across the street to get some food. Yes I know I could have gotten food delivered, this is fucking NYC even if I was in Queens, but what’s the fun in that(I have a flair for the dramatic bitches!) The beertender/tap room guy promised to save my seat. He did. There was a record player and they played music on vinyl records and showed movies on the wall (without sound). They also have a large taproom with big tables. I don’t know if it’s suitable for knitting because I didn’t break out the yarn and needles.

img_6596img_6605The next two were LIC Beer Project and Big aLICe. I went to both on the same day. Hey! I had to get stamps from 8 breweries in a week! I was on a mission. It was trivia night at LIC Beer Project but I was just there for a beer and my stamp, at Big aLICe Tucker licked the back of my leg. I screamed. No one was alarmed, apparently, that is what he is known for. That’s Tucker in the picture to the right. I have been to Big aLICe before, I had the Jalapeno Rye, so good. Big aLICe is also the other brewery with two stamps the other stamp is for Descendant Cider, every time I see that I think “Decadent Cider”. The taproom guy was nice and stamped my passport after I had just a taste not a full glass.

img_6625ICONYC is another Queens brewery I went to. It was hard to get to. For one thing, it is NOT is LIC it is in Astoria. Also it was fucking pouring the day I planned to go there. Just pissing down rain. But I made the trek, I drank the beer. I even bought a bottle to bring home.

img_6824The last brewery on the Queens portion of the beer tour is a tiny brewery named Transmitter Brewing. I don’t have documented what day I went there but it had to be a Friday. They are only open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It is kind of my favorite. They do not have a taproom. They open 3 beers and when you come in you get a small glass (ounce or two) of each. The beers are bottle conditioned* so they are cloudy. If you buy a bottle you can take it home or drink it there. There is a table and chairs near the entrance or you can walk through (next to) the brewery to the back where there are picnic tables and a chain link fence with vines on it. They have a skinny old brown spaniel there. If you google the brewery there is a picture. There is no bathroom at the brewery, however there is one in the abandoned building next to the brewery.

* Transmitter says their beers are bottle conditioned, however, The Pony Bar sometimes has their beer on tap, I don’t know how that works.

All the links in this post were typed in by me. They go to the breweries websites and the bars website.

I was not paid for my opinions about any of these breweries. However if anyone wants to, I can be bribed with good craft beer.

Next post will be the Bronx and Brooklyn. Cheers!

Alice + Freda Forever by Alexis Coe

AliceFredaMy rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book got three stars, for me, three stars is a decent rating, it means I liked it, I just don’t know if I can recommend it.

There is virtually no investigation, the murder was witnessed and the perp arrested that same day. There is also almost no trial covered.

(view spoiler)

The ending of this whole case is tragic. There are no easy answers.

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Times Square Torso Ripper by Peter Vronsky

timessauareMy rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book starts out slow with Dr. Vronsky stating how on a cold, grey, overcast Sunday morning in NYC he bumps into a man coming out of the elevator in a seedy hotel in Times Square. The man was carrying a bag with hard round objects in them that felt like bowling balls. He later learns the man is Richard Cottingham and the hard round objects were his victims heads.

He then goes on to discuss the term ‘serial killer’ for another chapter, then Richard Cottingham’s conviction, like I said the book starts out slow, but as long as he takes to get to the “point” so to say, his prolonged introduction is not boring. He writes a lot about how Times Square was in those years, making the city a character in the book, but then it is New York City.

There is a lot of information in this book, what I like is the information is not repetitive, the trial is covered briefly.

Vronsky spends a lot of time on the psychology of killer using the phrase “reptilian brain”, not as an excuse, but as an explanation.

Overall I found this to be a very readable book and I recommend it to True Crime Fans.

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Kentucky Bloodbath by Kevin Sullivan

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Ten Bizarre Tales of Murder from the Bluegrass State

KentuckyBloodbath

Format: eBook, Kindle
Pub. Date: 2015
Type: Non-Fiction, True Crime
Pages: 109
Read: Jul 05, 2016
Rating: Liked it ♥♡

DEATH BY SWORD ~ museum worker murdered ~ Carol Frances Mudd

BLOOD IN THE MOONLIGHT ~ Albert & Mabel Bauer ~ him beaten and strangled, her stabbed multiple times

RAMPAGE ~ Escapee from jail with life sentences

THE BOXHILL MURDERS ~ Kirk Ellington Tiff

JEALOUSY IS FOREVER ~ Mary F Byron killed by ex on her 21st birthday

THE ICE MAN ~ Todd Ice ~ 15 years old murdered Donna Knox 7 years old

A WORM IN THE NOSE ~ James Becker ~ Thomas A Rankin (step-father) shot with an arrow

CLOSING TIME ~ Barbel Poore ~ raped and murdered

THE BEST OF FRIENDS ~ Scott Nelson & Richard David Stephenson by George Ellis Wade & Victor DeWayne Taylor

A VOICE FROM ABOVE ~ Monica Berger killed her two year old son Joey ‘because God told her to’

These are the cases in this compilation, I have to agree with another reviewer that these weren’t all that bizarre. A few were, stabbed with a sword and shot with an arrow. Basically these are crimes that you would find committed anywhere. The fact that they were all committed in Kentucky could be considered bizarre if you think Kentucky is all horse farms and mint juleps. Those of us who read true crime can tell you, crime happens everywhere, and mentally ill people are everywhere. That being said this is what I thought of the book.

Some don’t like the ‘short story’ aspect of true crime. I like them if they are well done. I found all these to be well done. The author made a point to research the crimes, not relying on newspaper accounts but digging into the original case files to tell us what really happened.

These crimes were all new to me and I found this author’s relating of them to be compelling. At 109 pages it is a rather quick read but very informative and fascinating.

The Lost Girls by John Glatt

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The True Story of the Cleveland Abductions and the Incredible Rescue of Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry, and Gina DeJesus
TheLostGirlsFormat: eBook
Pub. Date: April 14, 2015
Type: Non-Fiction, True Crime ~ Library Book, 3M Cloud Library
Pages: 352
Read: 6/19/2016
Rating: Liked it ♥♡

New York Times bestselling crime writer John Glatt tells the true story behind the kidnappings and long-overdue rescue of three women found in a Cleveland basement.

On May 6, 2013 the neighbors of Ariel Castro were surprised to see a woman trying to get out of his house, their disbelief deepened when the woman revealed she was Amanda Berry who had been missing for 10 years. When she revealed that Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were also in the house, they realized that Castro was not the man they thought he was.

The book opens with the dramatic escape and rescue of the three kidnap victims. We go on to learn about their lives and the life of their abductor who, before imprisoning these three women had terrorized his wife and children. He beat his wife so badly her health was permanently damaged. His good neighbor image was just that, an image, a façade. What he wanted people to believe so he could keep his little captives.

It has been so long since I read this book that I can’t remember many details, except that I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads which means I recommend it.

The Blood on My Hands: An Autobiography by Shannon O’Leary

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bloodonmyhandsFormat: eBook
Pub. Date: Feb 2016
Type: Non-Fiction, True Crime, Autobiography ~ Free from author for honest review.
Pages: 258
Read: 6/10/2016
Rating: Was O.K.

This book was sent to me free in exchange for an honest review. I struggled to finish it, I wrestled with writing a review, I gave this book 2 stars on Goodreads and made the comment I was so bored with this book.

There are a few reasons it has taken me so long to write this review. 1) I didn’t really want to write it. I got the book free and so I wanted to like the book and write a nice review. Unfortunately I didn’t like the book. 2) Shannon O’Leary suffered a horrific childhood and from things I have read online still suffers from the abuse she experienced as a child. I worry that a bad review will add to her pain. 3) Shannon’s father was possibly mentally ill in addition to being a serial murderer, serial rapist, serial child abuser, and wife beater. However he was never taken to account for his crimes and the families of his victims will never know what happened to their loved ones. I am not blaming Shannon or her mother for this, they were all victims also. This fact just irks me. 4) There are things written in first person view that Shannon could not have possible remembered, obviously she relied on accounts from others. The fact that she does not acknowledge this irks me a little. 5) I read that Shannon write this from “the viewpoint of a child”, and I wonder why? This is certainly not a book one would encourage a child to read. I also believe that Shannon writes children’s books and poetry, maybe this format is comfortable to use.

Autobiography best sums up this book, there is great detail on what is was like growing up in New South Wales, how her parents met, the poor conditions they lived under, their life in general. She talks about the different ‘men’ her father would become, his abuse of her and the efforts her mother made to get away from him. Much of the abuse is written with how it felt to her, “attempted to fend off the sticky stuff that covered my face” … “Then sticky stuff, all over my nightdress.” …

While I didn’t like this book, as you can see from the reviews on Goodreads and Amazon many did. I am not going to recommend for or against reading it, I am leaving it at this. I hope my review gives you an idea of whether or not you will like it.

First an apology

For breaking two promises, one to myself to write reviews quickly and not let them pile up, and the second to the person who sent me a free book in return for an honest review. It’s actually that review that has held up all the others, since I like to write my reviews in order but more on that in a minute.

There are about eight reviews I need to write. I know, FOR SHAME! It all started with The Blood on My Hands: An Autobiography by Shannon O’Leary , which was sent to me free for an honest review. I finished the book on June 10, 2016. I struggled to finish it, I wrestled with writing a review, to summarize, I gave this book 2 stars on Goodreads. Then I looked at the other reviews and everybody LOVED this book. This of course compounded my dilemma, since I didn’t like the book and couldn’t write a glowing complementary review. I could say more, I believe I will save it for the review I am about to write.

All past due reviews will be written today. That is my promise and determination. Some will probably be very brief since it has been a long time since I read the books and I don’t take notes. I will also be relying of the provided synopsis of most of the books. So here goes.