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.

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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.

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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.

Across from the Bushwick Inlet!

This is how Greenpoint serves its flights. The bartender, when I asked about getting a flight, handed me a card so I could write down the beer I wanted. How fuckin’ cool is that? If you look carefully at the picture you can see the brewing kettles. It was when I looked through the window and remembered a review and started to write one in my head that I realized, I should have been blogging about my ‘Summer Brewery Tour’ not just documenting it on Instagram. What an idiot I am.

Greenpoint is near my office, I could probably walk there, or maybe bike 🚲 there, but not home, I learned my lesson about biking after beer the hard way.

This brewery has a kitchen and I got mac-n-cheese (what is it about breweries and cheese?). It has been too long for a review. The fact that it was so forgettable speaks volumns.

However I will come back, the beer and service were good and it is family friendly.

La Birreria at Eataly

I was wondering if I should write a blog post about a new brewery when I hadn’t finished all the old ones. The obsessive side of me was voting for finishing all the old ones. The practical side of me said, “Write it! People don’t care what order they are in!” The pessimist side of me said, “Who gives a fuck no one is reading this.” So here goes.

After being told by someone whose opinion I respect that there are no breweries in Manhattan, I found one, possibly three. One is indeed at Eataly, on the top of the building where one of their restaurants is. After talking with a friend we decided to go together, since I didn’t know if we could just go for beer we got reservations for dinner. Now that I’ve been I know you can go up just for drinks.

At the time we went there was only one brew from Birreria on the menu. I didn’t inquire if they brewed more than one at a time since the waitress didn’t seem to be that knowledgeable, we even got the wrong beer, my friend got mine and I got hers. The beer was a wheat with watermelon, I looked for it on Untappd but couldn’t find it. I did find other beer from Birreria.

Overall I wasn’t that impressed with them. I was more impressed with the beer I bought in the store part and drank on the way home. Cheers!

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 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!