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!

In the Hudson Valley part 2

img_1004On the other end of main street from the train station is Hudson Valley Brewery. As you are driving away from the train station, take the last right turn, go down a little hill and there you are. It is near the water treatment plant and the waterfall. You can hear the waterfall when you are standing in the parking lot. The water treatment, well you know that if you have lived in Beacon. It looks like and probably is a warehouse. Outside there is a patio seating area, when I came people were sitting there with their dogs. I don’t remember any being inside.

It’s always nice to see a clearly marked sign for the facilities. If I was to give a name to the decor it would be “Micro Brewery Classic”, the tanks are visible and the wooden kegs are stacked nicely. There is one size glass, if you order a small pour they fill the glass half-way. I like that, very conservation minded. A rather small crowd of what appeared to be locals. I had the “Feel No Way” (Pilsner with Sterling and Hallertau Blanc) and “Magnolia” (Sour). Since I haven’t learned all the buzz words for judging beer I will just say, FNW got 3.75 stars on Untappd and Magnolia got 4 stars. This is not surprising as I have always preferred sours over pilsners. Since I had to walk to the train station I didn’t stay long. The brewery seems to have a nice group of regular patrons and while the building is large, the tap room area is not. Most of the space inside is taken up with tanks and brewing apparatus and the taproom is rather spartan, but not unpleasantly so.

Pride Beer

It’s Pride month, who knew? Not this girl – embarrassed laugh – and I certainly should! A big clue was Big aLICe released their Bière de Fierté, a Lemongrass, Ginger, Belgium, Tripel (get it? LGBT). It was released 31 May 2018. Then I learned June was Pride month. “Oh that makes perfect sense.” Says I before I hide my face in shame.

Got to the brewery when they opened and bought some, yesterday I gave two bottles to my nephew, he said it’s good. That’s high praise since he is not really a beer drinker.

2017 brew tour the sequel

It’s a Yankee jacket, I’m a Yankee fan, deal with it.

When I was at Lithology with Chris I told him I was not going to any new breweries in April. Yet here I am with my third new brewery review. I know Chris won’t be upset, but I feel I owe an explanation. The reason I gave for not checking out new breweries was my other plans for the month, like the Allentown Fiber Festival. 2 Way Brewing Company and Water Street Brewing Co. were both stops on that trip because I have the BEST best friend in the world. Tonight’s stop at Queens Brewery was on my way to Craft Culture for trivia. Which is every Thursday, even though I don’t get there every Thursday. However, Queens Brewery is a stone’s throw from the Halsey Street stop on the L train, which is where I get off the train to go to Craft Culture. Although I wouldn’t recommend throwing stones, seriously, I almost tripped over it, if you leave the subway at the Covert Street exit it is right there.

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Three taps for the win!

Queens Brewery
1539 Covert St.
Ridgewood, NY 11385
My memory is hazy on when I first learned about “Queens Brewery”, I think someone mentioned it, or I saw it on a list of NYC breweries and that is when I started Googling and found this:

Queens Brewery to Open First NYC Location in Ridgewood
By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | March 9, 2015 3:25pm

I then took to Google maps and found – nothing -. Not deterred I kept looking, searching and asking friends, bartenders and fellow patrons. However, things got busy and so I missed their ‘cold opening’, called that because they were having problems with their heat. But they opened, advised people to wear their coats and come drink beer. When I went, these three beers were were pouring, they do have other alcohol, mixed cocktails ‘on tap’. That’s what the small glasses are for (I know you can’t tell how small the glass is by the picture, maybe I should start carrying a ruler with me). The beer is sold in 1/2 liters and full liters in these lovely heavy glasses that remind me of the glasses from a beer garden, or that German pub on 42nd Street.

GRAND OPENING:  Queens Brewery’s Beer Hall Opens this Tuesday in Ridgewood!
Text and images from Queens Brewery

The moment you have been waiting for is upon our neighborhood! Queens Brewery’s new brew hall in Ridgewood, Queens is officially opening THIS Tuesday, March 13th 2018!

 

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Aww it’s so cute!

After having a taste of the Blau (from their website): Seasonal ale, fermented with premium highbush blueberries; which was not my style, I got a Lager, always go with the lager (from their website): American lager, dry-hopped with Summit, Chinook, and UK Pilgrim; then I had the Blvd (from their website): Session IPA, hopped with Mosaic, Mandarina Bavaria, and Topaz. The bartender (James) also gave me a taste of their Moscow Mule “on tap”. He got excited when he found out I had come there to ‘check out the brewery and write about it’. He even brought Nelson, the owner over to meet me. I was ridiculously flattered by that.

The brewery itself is nice sized, with a stage for live music and karaoke. Couple of easy chairs, big tables perfect for crafting and it’s well lit. They have a projector (I’m guessing) so you can watch baseball, or hockey, or whatever is on. Pretty sure they will have all the Met’s games showing. They serve hot dogs, brats, kielbasa and sauerkraut; but at the moment will let you bring food in, or when I was there they did. They also have snack size bags of chips and pretzels. Kid friendly, they have the requisite board games, including a really big jenga game. No pets, only service animals. I asked about 32-oz can crowlers, glass growlers, regular cans and Citifield. James wasn’t sure about the 32-oz cans, said they are planning on getting growlers, they will have cans when they get their canning line up and yes, you will be able to get Queens Beer at Citifield. I think that covers it.

Check out their website, much better pictures. Also follow them on Instagram to learn about the cool events they have going on.

Water Street

img_0772Water Street Brewing Co.
168 Water St.
Binghamton, NY 13901

On our way to the Allentown Fiber Festival, well not exactly on the way, we had to make a slight 2-hour detour. My girlfriend and I picked up our friend Z, who used to date my girlfriend’s son. She refers to us and her mommy and auntie. We spoil her terribly. On Sunday when we were bringing her home we decided to stop for lunch. Since I have the BEST best friend we stopped at a brewery. For context, my friend does not like beer. She will drink it but prefers other beverages. She also was wanting food; this brewery has a kitchen and serves wine and cider in addition to beer. She ordered wine and Z ordered cider. They also both ordered the same burger, which I don’t remember what it was, just that it came with guac, which my friend asked to have it made without. The burger came without guac like she requested but was cooked a little too well done and a little charred on the outside. I got Cajun chicken pieces and they were hand breaded and real chicken and perfectly seasoned.

Of course I got a flight, their flights are 5 glasses, each 5 ounces. My choices are written on the back of the coaster as you can see. 1. Zombie Eater – a stout; 2. Thousand Year Porter – a porter (duh); 3. Red Ryerson Double IPA; 4. Lock It In – New England style IPA; 5. B-Girl – golden pale ale w/ Vienna malt. They were all amazing. I told the bartender that, including the sentence: “Normally I get a flight and there is usually one or two that are ‘meh’, not this time. They were all pretty good.”

Now I don’t know who does their decorating ….. Every brewery has its own individual style. Fifth Hammer has hammers hanging everywhere (I still haven’t asked why /how they came up with the name, or maybe I did and just forgot, they also have a very large stuffed pig on top of one of their tanks. I don’t mean stuffed in the taxidermy way, stuffed as in toy. Something else I never asked anyone about. This brewery is about the average size for most micro-breweries. In the front are some tables, bar in the middle of the room on the left hand side wall; brewing tanks to the left. In the back are the bathrooms, table with requisite board games and a table with bags of malt or grain, you know, beer stuff. Hopefully the pictures can give you a better idea of the size.

As for parking, I am not familiar with the area so I can’t speak to that. Z works near there so we parked in her work parking lot. It’s not open to the public, but it was Sunday and we parked in the middle where she told us to.

 

2 Way Brewing Company

2 Way Brewing Company
18 W Main St.
Beacon, NY 12508

13 April 2018

While on my way to the Allentown Fiber Festival, I spent the night in Beacon at my friend’s place. Her son brought me here. This is his go to spot for beer. Small and crowded with the requisite assorted board games and giant Connect Four game, tucked away into a little building on the way to the train station.

P got Revolution Red, an Irish Red Ale, the beer that “made me decide to give beer another chance”. I got a taste of Wild Ale, a sour ale. When the bartender asked me if I liked it, my answer was Yes, but I don’t think I’ll get it, it’s too sour for a full pint and here is where my mind got blown. She told me she could dilute it. As in mix it with another beer. I looked at P, he grinned at me and said, yeah, they are very accommodating here. So, I got the Wild Ale mixed with Confusion, a Saison, a style I don’t normally drink, but mixed with the sour it was just about perfect. She mixed it half and half, then said she could top it off either way if I preferred. I drank it just the way it was. I have had beer cocktails, but never have had two styles of beer mixed together. I think I might do some more experimenting on my own. They serve food, but since I had already eaten I didn’t look at the menu and free popcorn, which she never brought but in her defense it was rather jammed. It was Friday night and it is right next to the train station.

There were sharpie markers on the bar, and after seeing some others signing the bar, I decided to do a little self-promotion. Hey, advertising is good right?

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Lithology

Lithology Brewing Co.
211A, Main St.
Farmingdale, NY 11735

That Meetball Place Farmingdale
206 Main St
Farmingdale, NY 11735

28 March 2018

Another stop on Bella’s Fabulous Brewery tour and another ride on the famous (or infamous) LIRR. This time to Farmingdale, NY. Chris was with me on this trip, and this time we left from Penn Station. This brewery is a very short walk from the train station and this time we did not get lost! I planned this trip to get to Farmingdale before Lithology opened so we could get some food first. We stopped at “Croxley Ale House” on the corner, Cynthia had recommended it, but there was a sign that said you needed two forms of ID to enter. We passed on it and went to “That Meetball Place”. After thinking about it for a while, I decided the sign must be there in case college students try to use their student ID. That Meetball Place was a good choice, service was good and the meatballs were delicious.

We got to Lithology just as they were opening and were greeted by an adorable little pupper. Said pupper (I have forgot the name and whether pup was girl or boy), was wearing a very colorful handmade sweater that looked more like a poncho. I ordered a flight, it is pictured to the left and is the only picture I took.

Small place, dog friendly, no kitchen but they have an arrangement with “That Meetball Place” to deliver food. If we had only known! The bartender was friendly and knowledgeable. Since we got there when it opened it was not busy at all and we had a nice time chatting with the bartender.

They sell cans and will fill growlers, while filling mine she chipped the lip of the bottle. I was a little peeved at that since I can’t get it replaced. Le sigh. Except for that one snafu we had an enjoyable time.

Brix City Tap Room

Brix City Brewing
4 Alsan Way
Little Ferry, NJ 07643

Is small and crowded, and I had to take a freaking bus to get here! That being said, the bus ride was not traumatizing, kind of like best of Bolt Bus and the best of MTA. Not expensive, $9 round trip on Saturday. Not a far walk from the bus stop, of course for a Manhattanite anything less than five miles is ‘not a far walk’. No food – we already had this convo about NJ and food at breweries (hope the taco truck is still there when I get home).

It’s a pretty new brewery, only about 3 years old and the cans have the coolest labels! OK, most craft breweries have uber cool labels, but still ….

If I come back here I definitely have to make it an earlier trip or when there is 18 hours of daylight.

As is my custom, I ordered a flight. At this brewery you pick what beer you want in your flight.  As I was trying to decide which beers I wanted, I realized that I really didn’t care, since I had never been here before, this was just the next stop on Bella’s Fabulous Brewery Tour, and I was just here to soak up the experience of a new brewery and try their beer, so I said. “You know what? Let’s just make it easy on everybody and give me the four beers on the left side.” And that is what they did, and I was happy. Here as is the case at other breweries in NJ, the name of the beer is written on the tray the glasses are placed in. You can see this in the slide show below.

Then as I was sitting at the bar, trying to figure out when I needed to catch the bus to go home. I saw the sunset outside the window and decided I HAD to get a picture of it. Sadly, the picture I took does not look anywhere as pretty as the real thing. The end of my day was, frustration and drama queen! Cause the bus was late, and then – YAY – taco truck is still there when I got home.

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Keg & Lantern

Keg & Lantern Brewing Company
97 Nassau Ave,
Brooklyn, NY 11222

My intent was to check out War Flag, I was pretty sure there was no tasting room since there were no hours on Google. It was a very nondescript building with no signs, just a keypad. It looked rather scary and spooky so I ran away.

On the way there I passed Keg & Lantern, which was on my list for last years Brew Tour and I never made it. If I had known how close it was to the G train I would have come sooner.

It looks very much like a bar/pub/tavern. Besides beer they have wine and a full bar. I got a Schwarzbier and a Belgian Golden Strong Ale. Both were very good. They have a full menu with average pub prices but the beer is more brewery prices and you can purchase 4, 10, 20, or 60 (wow) oz beers. You can also get Crowlers (32 oz) to go.

All the signs say ‘brewed on premises’ and there are pictures of the tanks on Google. Considering the location I could see me coming back.