Departed Soles #2

For stop number two on the great 2018 brew tour I have ventured out of state to New Jersey.
img_0260-1And the first stop was Departed Soles. It is “Jersey City’s First Brewery”. It might be their only brewery. Since it was not busy the night I was there, which I was told was not the norm, must have been the hella cold temps that night. I was able to chat up the workers. This brewery opened in 2015, my notes say February, started shipping in June and opened the tap room in October. If these dates are not right, any Departed Soles people are welcome to -comment- email- and I will correct. P.S. Doesn’t this sign look like a NYC subway sign?

img_0263-1This is the brewery dog, Bogen. He barked at me when I came in. Maybe he sensed I wasn’t a Jersey Girl? I mean, I am Short, Fat, and Ugly …. but he also, didn’t get up when he barked so …. maybe he was just grumpy.

They sell dog treats, made from spent grain and they add egg whites and peanut butter (I think, didn’t write it down), but I know for a fact, dogs love it them! The reason I know this, is I got a bag, and I took it to .(redacted). and donated it. While I was there, the bartender gave it to a pup, and he spent the rest of his time there looking at the bartender with the, ‘I want another one’ look.

img_0265-1They have flights, but they were so nice about samples that I didn’t get a flight, just kept sampling, and just got a full glass of beer. And such a pretty glass! So I just kept sampling and chatting up the bartender about the brewery and the alcohol laws, which vary state to state. For instance: in New Jersey, they can fill any growler, in Massachusetts the growler has to come from  the brewery. Also in New Jersey, breweries are only allowed to sell beer. They are not allowed to sell any human food (not even chips or popcorn) or other alcohol including cider. Brewpubs are allowed to sell food and other alcohol, it’s a different license, but the beer is not as good since they are focusing on the other aspects of their license. However, Departed Soles shares a store front with Bucket & Bay Craft Gelato Co, they have more than Gelato and they will bring your food into the brewery. I did not order from them while I was at the brewery, but I saw the server from there bring food in. So you can bring food into the brewery. They are also dog friendly (obviously), as long as the dog is not aggressive.

These are the skateboards the flights are served on. As stated previously I didn’t get a flight. I did observe Brant, (you can see part of him in this picture), writing on the skateboard the beers in the flight. As I mentioned before, if I’m wrong, I welcome corrections, just please be polite.

Just a few more thoughts, they have gluten-free beer (first brewery I’ve come across that does), they fill growlers and sell cans. Their Belgian Triple tasted like a Triple, but was more drinkable. Right now they only distribute in New Jersey. They have a giant Four Square game, they used to have a giant Jenga but one of the giant pieces fell on someone.

After my visit, I read on their Instagram they were having a “Tap Takeover” at the Prudential Center, where the Devils play on Jan 22, 2018. In a happy coincidence, I will be at that game. WOOT! Oh and I noticed owner was wearing a Boston College shirt, and there was a Boston College flag in the brewery. Huh, well the beer was certainly tasty, the next time I go to the Rock, I might stop here before/after.


2018 Summer Beer Tour

Yes I know it’s still winter 2017-18, I’m starting early. Last summer I had a plan to go to every brewery in NYC. Sadly I was not successful, when summer ended I was a few breweries short. While I was traveling around the city I hatched the plan for Summer 2018. Not being a backward looking person I am going forward with my plan, while I still have my list of NYC breweries and will be ticking the few remaining off my list.

My tour this year is breweries outside of the city that are easily accessible by train, light rail, or bus. By train I mean Metro North, NJ Transit, or LIRR. Light rail is whatever passes for what I would call the subway. The list of breweries I’m visiting this summer is much shorter which is a good thing since it’s costing me more to get to each one. Also this year I will be writing blog posts as I go along. Not reviews of the beer, those are plentiful and not what I’m good at. I don’t know what tasting notes and mouthfeel is, I say things like “Yummy beer” and “Meh”.

The tour starts in Yonkers at the Yonkers Brewing Company. The brewery is about 2 minutes by foot from the train station. While you can’t see the door from the platform you can see the building it is in. Exit the train station in the city side, where the taxis are, take a right, cross a four lane road. If you look right you will see this road goes under the train tracks toward the river, also looking right on the other side of this road is the brewery. Right now there is a big tree in front decorated with beer kegs. Yes I should have taken a picture.

First up was a flight, there are specific flights here, I got the Yonkers Ave Flight which was Squeaky Clean, Tilting Trolly, Descendant Cider, and Moral Turpitude. Except I asked to get the sour ale instead of the cider. Which they had no problem doing. I was not a fan of the sour ale and the imperial stout. The stout tasted like your typical stout and I guess I have gotten used to stouts with a little extra oomph to them, like milk stouts or Chipotle Porter. Still they were all rather drinkable, except the sour ale. I didn’t expect that. After the flight I had a glass of 914 which is their ‘flagship’ beer, a Viennese lager. Pretty good, then I got a growler (32 oz, so some would call it a crowler, filled with Squeaky Clean, which leads to why this brewery got 5 stars.

But before that, this Yonkers has a lovely taproom, and a good food selection. The bar is not huge but the room is big with lots of tables. I don’t know if you can bring dogs, but it does appear to be family friendly, in fact they had a ‘Pictures with Santa’ event. Now on to the crowler …..

The crowler, which was glass ended up on the floor. I think I need to stop holding things with my left hand, there is definitely a weakness there. Anyway, someone ran out with a mop and then the bartender picked up my bag and started rinsing it out in the sink. So now it just to dry so I can take it apart and re-knit it. The glass cut some of the yarn.

So they get 5 stars because of how nice they were, I am not even taking points off for no longer having the 32 oz. bottles, they now only do 32 oz. can crowlers, which the environmentalist in me objects to, but the klutz in me approves.

Hell’s Detective

Hell's DetectiveHell’s Detective by Michael Logan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

For some reason I like reading non-fiction, primarily true crime and the grislier the better. My other genre is fantasy. Which can also be grisly.

This is definitely fantasy. Dark fantasy. A detective among the damned. A detective haunted by what she did to go to hell. And then she gets a job offer from someone not among the damned, who offers her a price she cannot refuse.

It’s not a simple case, the twist and turns could make you dizzy. Three stars because I wasn’t “in love”, don’t know if I recommend it, but was able to finish it.

View all my reviews

The Hidden Child

The Hidden Child (Patrik Hedström, #5)The Hidden Child by Camilla Läckberg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While I don’t normally read fiction mysteries, I have never been disappointed by a mystery translated from Swedish. I find them to be rather straight-forward and the people seem to be ‘real’. There don’t seem to be any outlandish scenarios. In short, I find them to be ‘believable’.

This book is no exception, and even though it switches between now and World War II, it does not get confusing.

View all my reviews

Chelsea in the Bronx

There is one more brewery in the Bronx. I actually found out about this from my snarky tweet about Gunhill. Chelsea Brewery’s social media game is on point and one of their beers is served at Yankee Stadium.

It was after a Saturday day game (I think Saturday) and I asked my friend Chris to come to the game(possibly), and to the brewery after. The brewery is about 2.5 miles from the stadium, the 4 train gets you close enough to walk. The first thing I noticed was there were more dark beers than anyplace else I’d been. This made me very happy. I ordered my usual flight of beers.

It is very interesting seeing how different places keep track of the beer you get in a flight. Greenpoint had a card to write the beer down on, here, the beertender stood by the taps, and as you picked a beer he set a glass under the tap. They had these wrought-iron holders to put the glass in. I asked how long they had been in the Bronx and in doing so got the answer to why Chelsea Brewery was in the Bronx. The brewery opened in Chelsea in 1995, a few a years ago they moved to the Bronx. Since they were already known as Chelsea Brewery, they kept their name.

Chris ordered ribs and said they were good. I ordered a pretzel, which the beertender said was ‘bigger than what you get at Yankee Stadium’. A woman came over to ask if I had just checked in on Untappd, she was their social media person. Like I said their social media game is on point.

From reading other reviews I realize my reviews are sadly lacking in content. For instance, are they kid friendly? Well that time of day sure. Dog friendly? They serve food so NO. Gender neutral bathrooms? No freaking clue. I can say it is well lit and clean. The brewing tanks are off to the side instead of in a seperate room. It’s a place I would go back to if I was in the neighborhood, as in after the game. Also if they were having a special event.

It was a long time coming

During the Queens Beer Week, one of the beers I had to have to get my ‘passport’ stamped was “Rock and Hammer”, it was being poured at Rockaway, but the stamp was for “Fifth Hammer”. At the time Fifth Hammer didn’t have a taproom or even a brick and mortar location. They did have an Instagram account which stated the brewery would be opening July or August 2017. I scouted out the location, found the address and the building, wasn’t impressive. I thought, well maybe it’s all closed up because they want to have a big reveal. So I waited, and waited, July ended, the end of August was coming, their Instagram still said, July or August. Then it was September and still nothing.

Somewhere along the way I noticed the door open and stooped down to take some pictures of the tap room and the brewing tanks. Unfortunately between then and now my phone broke and my backup crashed so I don’t have those pictures.

Finally they opened and I dragged C. along to the grand (or not) opening on October 6, 2017. Our server was Julio, who was as delightful as the beer, more so than some of them. **wink wink**. Another server was Zach, we renamed him since he didn’t look like a Zach, his new name is Caesar. We told him and he was cool with it. Their taproom is a decent size, they have hammers everywhere, I never found out why they call themselves Fifth Hammer.

FifthHammer1 FifthHammer2 FifthHammer3 FifthHammer4 FifthHammer7 FifthHammer5 FifthHammer6

Murder of Innocence by Joel Kaplan

Murder of Innocence: The Tragic Life and Final Rampage of Laurie DannMurder of Innocence: The Tragic Life and Final Rampage of Laurie Dann by Joel Kaplan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is an account I am very familiar with, however this book was very enlightening. Laurie Dann’s whole life is brought forth, including her history of mental illness. It would be easy to say she slipped through the cracks, except the two people who could have got the ball rolling to help her failed miserably. One because of denial and the other because of disinterest or narcissism.

To say Laurie was bat-shit crazy is easy, and also rather dismissive of the very real problem of mental health. Besides the people who were shot and their families, and Laurie Dann’s family, there were other people whose lives were ruined by her actions.

A very well done account.

View all my reviews

And the after was Strongrope

If you read my “I have a plan” post, here was the plan Brewery, Knitting, Brewery. I was able to do this because of what I am starting to call ‘clusters’ of breweries. For instance in LIC there is Transmitter, Rockaway, Big aLICe, and LIC Beer Project. All in LIC and almost within walking distance of each other. In fact I can walk to Transmitter, Rockaway and Big aLICe from my office and LIC Beer Project is just a short subway ride.

In Brooklyn, Other Half, Folksbier, Three’s Brewing and Strong Rope are in two neighborhoods that touch, (see map). Also you can see Whole Foods Market, which is where my knitting group meets. On this particular night, the brewery after knitting was Strong Rope. I planned it this way because Strong Rope is closest to the subway train I need to go home. Also on this night they had live music, which I didn’t know before I showed up and per the bartender is not a planned thing. People just show up with their guitars.

Although I have been getting flights so I could try a variety of beer I abandoned this practice at Strong Rope because they had a “Wee Heavy”, which is one of my favorites. They also have a stout with the name “Loneliest Nomad”. It was busy the night I came, but not crazy. The taproom is pretty with a polished wood bar. Besides 8 to 9 taps, they also serve wine, cider and spirits. No food, outside food is allowed and the bartender will give your phone a charge if you ask nicely.

I had a plan

It’s written in a pretty notebook I bought when I realized if I wanted to get to all the breweries by the end of summer I had to get organized. My plan for this night was two breweries, one before knitting and one after. This is the before brewery, Folksbier Brewery.

My memory is a little hazy since it has been a while since I was there, but my impression is that the brewery is rather small. I do remember they had beer named Glow Up on the menu, their website describes them “A Berliner-style weisse with an ample wheat body and soured using Lactobacillus for a tart, sour finish. We then age the Glow Up base beer over seasonal fruit, adding a pleasant sweetness.” Since they are wheat beers I didn’t try any. The night I was there they had Strawberry, watermelon was on the list but not ready yet. A fact a couple of people were rather upset about. They don’t serve flights here, maybe because they don’t have a lot of beers (I seem to remember there were 6 taps), however you can get a taste of any beer you want. The brewery is actually next to the taproom, I didn’t ask for a tour or if I could see the tanks, I hadn’t gotten that bold by this point.

No kitchen but they have a light snack menu of pretzels and a few varieties of cheese. You tell the server what cheese you want, I think I also got mustard with the pretzel. If you don’t like French bulldogs you might want to steer clear of this place, there are two of them and they kind of run the place, kind of fitting since their humans are the owners.

Overall a nice low key place with good beer and friendly service. This brewery is in the Carroll Gardens section of Brooklyn. I took all these pictures because of how cute the neighborhood is.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Beer on the Beach

My friend came to visit and wanted to go to Coney Island. For some reason she wanted to come to the city and then go to Coney Island. It’s not like she hasn’t ever been there, in fact one year ago to the day we went to see Rob Thomas at the Ford Amphitheatre in Coney Island. So we got on the subway and headed to Coney Island and the beach.

It wasn’t a problem for me since I am doing a “Summer Brewery Tour” and there is a brewery in Coney Island, coincidentally named, Coney Island Brewing Co. The only problem I could see was convincing my friend to go there since she is not a big beer drinker.

So we get to Coney Island and walk along the beach. Eventually she wants food. We find this little place to get food, I think it was the same place we got food a year ago before the concert. She asks if I want to get a beer – so here goes.

“Well,” says I, “I wanted to get a beer at the brewery since they’ll have a bigger selection, and they might have my favorite summer beer, Tart Cherry Berliener.”

She thinks about this for a second and replies that she thinks that is a good idea. We ordered grilled cheese sandwiches and fries. They were O.K., nothing great and when finished we headed to the brewery. When we got there I got a little worried, it didn’t look like there was anything she would like, but the last item Lime Twist, she said sounded good. A woman at the bar turned around and said, “Oh it is, it tasted like cream soda.” She got that, I got my Tart Cherry and we headed outside.

It wasn’t our choice to sit outside, it was rather warm and inside was cool with the AC, however, the tap room at Coney Island is very small and all the seats were taken. Even though we were outside, there was a bit of a breeze and all the tables have these big umbrellas so it wasn’t unbearable.

The best thing for me was being able to spend the day with my best friend and check another brewery off the list.