This past week of drinking was a bit crazy. I started off going hard and decided to taper off rather quickly due to the sheer amount of alcohol consumed.
Thursday, April 28
New York City public schools were on their spring break this week, so Jason had off from work. He still a lot of work to do for grad school, but made time for a date day on Thursday. We dubbed it to be the Thirstiest Thursday because we’re degenerates. He decided that we should go to Brooklyn and try a bunch of places we’ve never been before.
Our first stop was Brooklyn Crab for lunch. Jason’s brother, Mitch, recommended it and it’s a place I’ve been wanting to visit for a while. It was chilly and the downstairs outside area wasn’t open for the season ye, so we opted to sit upstairs on the second floor. It was very cute with wooden chairs and tables and garage door style windows. There were even little holes in the dividers filled with different types of hot sauce. (I regret not taking pictures. I was embarrassed to because there weren’t many customers and the staff kinda just hung out in the dining room.) The space has a lovely view of NY Harbor.
They have a creative food and drink menu. Jason opted to play it safe with a Bloody Mary and Shrimp Po’boy, (both of which were great), while I ordered the Maalstroom Margarita, New England Clam Chowder and a Snow Crab Grilled Cheese. The Maalstroom Margarita was made with a habanero infused tequila, ruby red grapefruit juice, and orange liqueur. The menu warned that it was spicy, but I didn’t find it to be so. I though the fruit flavours balanced out the spice well.
The next stop on our adventure we kind of stumbled upon. Jason has been wanting to go to Widow Jane Distillery and knew it was in the area, but wasn’t sure where exactly it was. We actually drove past it before Jason noticed and excitedly parked the car. Widow Jane makes artisan and small batch whiskey right in Red Hook, Brooklyn using water from the Widow Jane Mine, (formerly known as Rosendale Limestone Mine, where natural cement was mined to help make some of NYC’s most famous landmarks.) They also sell artisan chocolate from the nearby Cacao Prieto Distillery.
Jason automatically fell in love with the tiny bottles of whiskey and purchased two. We also tried their tasting flight which included: Widow Jane 10 Year Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Widow Jane Small Batch 10 Year Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Widow Jane From a Rye Mash American Oak Aged, Widow From A Rye Mash Oak and Apple Wood Aged, Cacao Prieto Don Esteban Cacao Liqueur, Brooklyn Roasting Company Colombian Coffee Liqueur.
I don’t know much about how to describe the flavour profiles of whiskey, but I really enjoyed all these offerings. The bourbons were light and smooth and perfect for drinking straight. The ryes were the first rye whiskeys I’ve ever liked and something I would definitely drink again. The cacao liqueur had a nice balance between the alcohol and chocolate flavours. The coffee liqueur reminded me very much of Kahlua, but a million times better.
During our tasting we mentioned going to Red Hook Winery and were given directions from the very kind and knowledgeable tasting room worker. We walked the couple of blocks down to the renovated warehouses on Pier 41 to the winery.
Red Hook Winery was founded in 2008 and locally sources a good deal of their ingredients. They have a decent size tasting room with barrels for tables and a bar area. They have a great selection of wines to choose from and offer tastings. They also have a snack menu which offers different cheeses, Cacao Prieto chocolates, fancy chips, and artisan meats. Jason and I decided to split two reserve tastings and try all the wines they had on the tasting menu:
The day we visited they weren’t offering one of the whites, (I believe it was one of the last two), and they replaced it with a selection called 2009 One Woman Vineyard Reserve which was my favourite of the whites. I was surprised how much I liked the reds, considering I usually drink white wines. Black and Blue and Triumph of the Farmer were my favourites. Jason was amused by the fact I was taking so many pictures and took some of his own.
In order to hit the trifecta of alcohol consumption, we headed to Other Half Brewing Company. Other Half is a tiny little hole-in-the-wall brewery with attached tasting room under the Gowanus Expressway. There were a surprising number of people, (and a cat!), in the tasting room when we got there, so we had to stand. They had these awesome vintage looking/possibly vintage numbered coat hooks on the wall and many beers to choose from. Other Half offers their products in many sizes from 4oz pours to 64oz growlers.
My first beer was Lime Green Galaxies. I’m in a fruity light beer phase right now, so from the description it sounded like it was right up my alley. Lime Green Galaxies is a kölsch style brewed in collaboration with Finback Brewery made with Galaxy and Hallertau Blanc hops and kaffir lime leaves
Appearance: hazy yellow
Aroma: lime, floral hops
Taste: light lime, grain, bitter, earthy
Feel: clean, medium/high carbonation
Overall: I didn’t love this beer. It was hoppier than I was looking for. I’d be willing to give it another shot once I get back into more of an IPA/hop heavy beer mood.
Jason’s first choice was Boogie Board Stuntz, a kölsch style brewed with Maine oats, and Mandarina Bavaria and Mosaic hops.
Appearance: bright, slightly hazy pale yellow
Aroma: grassy, slightly bready
Taste: wheaty, lightly hoppy
Feel: clean, low carbonation
Overall: Jason chose better than me. I enjoyed this beer. It doesn’t really fit in the kölsch profile to me, but I’d drink it again. My favourite of the Other Half beers we tried.
My second beer was City Slickers, an IPA brewed in collaboration with Arizona Wilderness Brewing Company made with Arizona prickly pear, lemon zest, Citra, Galaxy, and Equinox hops.
Appearance: hazy orange pink
Aroma: citrus, grapefruit rind
Taste: I want to say prickly pear, but I’ve never had the fruit itself. I have had Shiner Prickly Pear and it reminds me a bit of that. Sweet and slightly bitter at the same time.
Feel: medium bodied, carbonated
Overall: This beer was okay. I really wanted to love it more than I did. I don’t think the hops killed it for me this time, it just wasn’t what it wanted. Pretty solid beer regardless.
Jason’s second choice was Crush It! Motueka, a session pale ale made with Motueka hops.
Appearance: dingy yellow
Aroma: citrus, fruit, maybe some peach
Taste: similar to aroma
Feel: light and refreshing
Overall: Jason beat me again. This is a pretty solid session. I’d drink this again.
We were still in a drinking mood, but wanted to head back to Staten Island so if we could leave the car and take the train home if we needed to. Our first stop back on the Island was #Hashtag Bar. This location has gone by a number of different names since I moved to Staten Island as a child. I had friends who used to frequent it when it was the Muddy Cup, a coffeehouse/performance space from what I was told. Since then it’s changed it’s name and, I assume, hands many times before becoming the bar/performance space it is today. My first experience at #Hashtag Bar was seeing Hawthorne Heights play a concert on their 10th Anniversary tour with Jason’s friend Jessica last year. The owners have done some renovations since I was there last and it looks really nice and has a great draft beer selection.
I started with #Hastag Beer, which from his days working as a beer sales representative, Jason was convince is a product he used to sell and was told to push as a “house beer”.
Appearance: clear golden yellow
Aroma: malty, bready
Taste: similar to aroma, seems like a basic lager
Feel: light and refreshing
Overall: There’s nothing fancy here.This is a drinkable beer. I assume that it’s their draft lager.
Jason decided on a Magic Hat Low Key, a session IPA.
Appearance: light straw
Aroma: grassy, grapefruit, citrus
Taste: grapefruit, lemon peel, slightly earthy, grainy
Feel: smooth, medium carbonation
Overall: This is not as hoppy as other sessions I’ve tried. I really enjoyed this beer. Great starter IPA.
I also had a Ballast Point Pineapple Sculpin. I’m really loving this beer and I find myself reaching for it over trying new things.
While talking with bartender, one of the owners came over and offered us a few samples: Almanac Barbary Coast, Bronx Summer Pale Ale, and Bronx APA.I’ve previously had the two Bronx beers and was very excited to try the Barbary Coast, an Imperial stout with with cocoa nibs, vanilla, chili flakes and oak staves.
Appearance: dark brown
Aroma: dark chocolate, roasty, light alcohol
Taste: roasty, dark chocolate, slightly woody, vanilla
Feel: light/medium carbonation, thin
Overall: I didn’t really get any of the chili which was slightly upsetting. There was more of an alcohol smell than taste, which I really enjoyed.
We then moved on to The Hop Shoppe down the street. Hop Shoppe is a new bar/restaurant owned by the same man that owns Play, the bar closest to our house. It’s really a great looking place with moody lighting, an obscene amount of beer, creative drink specials, interesting food menu, skee-ball in the back, and action figures on the tap handles!
Timmy, one of our favourite bartenders from Play, was working which made the experience that much better. He starting telling me about the specialty cocktails and I told him to make his favourite. Hop Shoppe Garden is such a perfect drink for summer. It’s made with Tito’s vodka, lemon juice, house made pickles, celery, cucumber, cracked black pepper, and Hawaiian black lava salt.
Jason opted for a Founders Sumatra Mountain Brown and I stole a taste.
Appearance: dark brown
Aroma: roasty coffee, slightly sweet
Taste: coffee, alcohol, chocolate, slightly nutty
Feel: full bodied, slick
Overall: Not my personal preference, but not bad.
We ended up splitting a Cisco Sankaty Light with General Tso’s Cauliflower for dinner. This is honestly best cauliflower dish I’ve ever had. Do yourself a favour and order it if you’re ever at Hop Shoppe.
Appearance: We drank it from the can, but probably a light, clear yellow/straw based on the style of beer
Aroma: cracker, grainy, slighty earthy,
Taste: grain, malt, cracker, minimal fruit
Feel: light, refreshing, crisp, smooth
Overall: There is nothing special about this beer. That said, it’s really good and perfect for a hot day. Might buy some of these to have on hand this summer.
Our last beer of the night, we split with the other bartender who Jason happened to know from his former beer sales rep job. Maine Beer III is a black IPA that was recommended to me by a coworker when I used to work at a beer distribution store. I’ve had a few beers by Maine Beer Company and they’ve all been really good.
Appearance: dark brown
Aroma: roasty, burnt, ash, charcoal
Taste: roasted malts, chocolate, hops, bitter
Feel: full bodied, medium/high carbonation
Overall: A really nice beer. Not something I’d normally drink especially with the way it smells.
Friday, April 29
Not gonna lie, but I felt slightly hungover after all the drinking from the night before. Jason and I spent most of the day asleep before going to the diner for a late lunch before work.
After my shift, I did opt to have a drink and told Jason to surprise me with something light. The owner lets us try samples that the sales reps drop off and there was a can 21st Amendment El Sully sitting in the fridge. Jason even set it up nice so I could take a picture.
Appearance: pale yellow, slightly hazy
Aroma: very light malt, very light grain
Taste: pretty much same as aroma, subtle corn and fruit
Feel: very light, crispy, dry finish
Overall: Reminds me of a Corona. Exactly what I was looking for.
Saturday, April 30
Jason took the night off work in order to spend the day working on a presentation and some papers for grad school. We split a couple of samples when he came to pick me up.
Bronx Session IPA
Appearance: hazy golden/honey, had unexpected sediment that settled to bottom
Aroma: fruity hops, grassy
Taste: earthy, dank, fruity (apricot?), tropical fruit
Feel: I think it’s slightly heavier than other sessions I’ve had
Overall: Not impressed. I feel like there shouldn’t be sediment at the bottom.Bad can?
Saranac Summer Pils
Appearance: clear gold
Aroma: biscuit, cracker, floral hops
Taste: similar to aroma, slight grain
Feel: light, dry finish
Overall: It’s okay. It has a slightly off taste to it.
Sunday, May 1
Monday, May 2
Joe, one of the bartenders at work, was gifted a beer of the month club late last year. He brought in some of the beers he’s received to share with me and Greg, one of the kitchen guys.
Penn Gold is a Munich Helles Lager from Pennsylvania Brewing Company.
Appearance: clear gold
Aroma: bready, malty, slightly yeasty
Taste: starts bready, finishes sweeter
Feel: light/medium body, effervescent
Overall: Really characteristic of the style. I highly enjoyed this beer.
Penn Weizen is another offering from Pennsylvania Brewing Company. It’s styled after German Hefeweizens.
Appearance: hazy honey
Aroma: banana, slightly spicy, yeasty
Taste: lots of banana, (similar to banana Runts), yeast, mild cloves, doughy
Feel: medium bodied, effervescent
Overall: Too Belgian-yeasty for me. I get so much of the banana flavour from the yeast and it overpowers the beer in my opinion. Not a bad beer ig you like that profile.
I had never heard of Blue Pants Brewery before Joe brought in their Dry Hopped Pale Ale. Based on the brewery’s name alone, I would like to try more of their products.
Appearance: cloudy amber
Aroma: citrus hops, some bready malt
Taste: very hoppy, citrus, bitter, slightly spicy
Feel: medium body, medium/high carbonation
Overall: Closer to an IPA in flavour. Not bad, but very hoppy.
Boulder Shake Chocolate Porter might be my favourite Boulder beer. I’ve had this many times before and I still really enjoy it.It’s a really good beer to mix with other beers. I really like it combined with a spicy pumpkin beer.
Appearance: clear, dark brown
Aroma: very dark chocolate, slight coffee, underlying sweet chocolate
Taste: very similar to aroma, lots of dark chocolate with a slight creaminess
Feel: medium bodied, smooth
Overall: This is such a nice beer. It’s a good all year-round.
Tuesday, May 3
Nothing. I finished Outlander book 7: An Echo in the Bone and we went food shopping. Productive day.
Wednesday, May 4
Nothing. Spent most of the day writing upcoming blog posts and drinking tea.