I really need to get back on track with my blogging. This entry is another super late post about one of the four beer fests my lovely boyfriend got me for Christmas.
The last weekend of February, Jason and I went up to Saratoga Springs for Saratoga Cider Night. We have gone to a cider fest in the past and just like that one, three hours of cider is a lot! I wasn’t able to take a whole lot of pictures since we were having a good time drinking all of the cider we could swallow. There were some really nice offerings from breweries/cideries I either know and/or have previously tried as well as many I had never sampled before.
While we were at Cider Night, we saw cases of beer lined up against the back wall of the convention room and asked a worker about them. She told us there was a beer fest the next day, so we immediately bought tickets.
After leaving Cider Night, we headed over to Druther’s Brewing Company to have a beer before heading back to the hotel. It’s a cute place with a huge dog-friendly front patio and an interesting beer list. They serve food, but Jason and I weren’t hungry so I didn’t look at the menu. We ordered their Baltic Porter and Brown Sour and ended up sharing both since we loved the sour.
Saratoga Beer Summit was quite a bit more crowded than the event the night before. I was able to try a ton of beers from smaller local breweries such as Battle Hill Brewing Co.’s Orange U Passionate and Newburgh Brewing Co.’s Checkpoint Charlie Berliner Weisse- both of which I really enjoyed. There was also a little section with exclusive pours for people with the gotbeer.com app. After quickly downloading the app, we were granted access to Ballast Point Nitro Red Velvet bottles, Brown’s Brewing Company Cherry Razz poured through a randall with fudge brownies and Brooklyn Bel Air Sour poured through a randall with Sour Patch Kids, (Jason and I both really wished we could have eaten the beer soaked Sour Patch Kids).
Before heading back to Staten Island the next morning, we stopped at Country Corner Cafe which boasts about having ‘the best breakfast in town’. After waiting a long time for a table and perusing their wares, I had a hard time choosing between biscuits and sausage gravy, (my favourite breakfast meal ever!), and the eggs, pierogies, and kielbasa special. Since the special came with a biscuit, I ordered a side of gravy and had the most perfect breakfast. I was the happiest girl!
I’d love to go back and visit Saratoga Springs either when we have a less packed schedule or when we have more time to spend exploring. The buildings are gorgeous and I’d love to go on one of the walking tours around town to look at all the turn of the century architecture. I also really want to stroll around the state park, relax in the hot springs and take a look at the racetrack, (and maybe teach Jason how to bet on the races for nostalgia’s sake).
The second to last weekend of January marked beer fest number two of four that my lovely boyfriend got me for Christmas.
We stayed in the most visually patriotic hotel I’ve ever been in. There were stars, eagles, and portraits of locally relevant historical figures. There was a cute brew-pub type restaurant across the street from the hotel, so we grabbed dinner and a few beers. They were okay, but nothing super special. We had another beer in the hotel bar before heading to bed.
I have to say that Hibrewnation was by far my favourite beer fest I’ve ever been to and for that reason I took few pictures and drank LOTS of tasty brews. There were a ton of fantastic timed releases for VIP ticket holders, of which we were. I was in sour beer heaven. I met the wonderful Carson of Boneshire Brew Works who had a lovely porter and a Belgian strong ale that I actually liked! I’m not usually a fan of Belgian beers at all, but I could definitely drink Que Será again.
The highlight of the fest was being introduced to Highway Manor Brewing Company. Rodney was a pleasure to chat with while sampling the four beers, (all sours!), the brewery had to offer. Funky Prowler, a sour barrel aged dry Irish stout, is honestly one of the best beers I’ve ever had in my life. Jason and I are obsessed and keep asking the bars and the home distributor we frequent to stock Highway Manor products.
The next day we grabbed a quick brunch at Mason Dixon Distillery before heading home and stopping at any promising looking antique shops along the way. I found lots of Pyrex in great condition, but it was all far too expensive so I passed it up. Jason did find an awesome book of poetry written by soldiers from World War I for a couple bucks and had to bring it home.
Jason has this thing about eating at German restaurants when we go away. He says that he just wants to know how the food compares to the German restaurant where we work, but I feel like he just secretly loves it more than he lets on. We happened to pass such a place when we were finished antiquing, so we had to stop for dinner. The food was good and the decor reminded me of where we work.
I wish I had taken more pictures on this trip and I hope that we can go to both Gettysburg, (since Jason has never done all the historical stuff), and Hibrewnation again!
It’s been such a long time since I’ve written a post! I lost my drive towards the end of last year because I feel like no one is reading my blog and although I had enjoyed working on my writing, it is quite disheartening. My lovely boyfriend, seeing that I was kind of in a rut and wanting to write more about beer, got me tickets to a beerfest a month for five months as my Christmas gift.
The first beer fest was the 9th Annual Winter Beer Fest in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on December 26th.
I tend to like smaller beer fests because from experience they usually offer more local brews that I can’t find at home. This fest didn’t have as many local beers as I hoped and all of the offerings were poured from the bottle. which is great towards the beginning, but you’re getting warm beer as the event goes on.
For such a small venue, I was impressed by the number of beers offered. Most of the beer was super dark and heavy, (which makes sense being a winter beer festival), but Jason and I would have liked to see more of anything lighter in flavour. I loved they provided a program detailing all the beer at the event and a free buffet.My favourite beers I had were Delirium Nocturnum, (which why have I never had this beer before!), and Yards Chocolate Love Stout.
This beer fest was a great value for the price of the tickets. I don’t know if I’d opt to go again unless I develop a love for Russian Imperial Stouts and the like.
Jason likes to make dumb faces when I take his picture.
Jason told me that since the trip was my Christmas present, that it was up to me what we were going to do. I’ve wanted to visit the Mutter Museum for the longest time and convinced him to go with me. I highly enjoyed seeing all the different body parts in jars and learning about the human body and medical history. The skull wall was amazing, but the museum was so crowded that it was hard to read everything that I wanted to. I’d love to go back one day, hopefully when the Medicinal Plant Garden is in bloom!
Later that day, we visited Yards Brewing Company. The tap room was so crowded, but we were able to snag two chairs and enjoy some Philly beer. We started by splitting a flight including: Pynk, Golden Hop IPA, Belgian Thomas Jefferson, and Chocolate Love Stout. Pynk was our favourite of the flight because we both suckers for a good fruit beer and I adore anything even remotely tart or sour. We ordered a cheese plate and two more beers- Half Nelson Session IPA for Jay and Cookie Swap Weiss for me, both of which were lovely.
Since we really hadn’t eaten since before we went to the museum, we went back towards the hotel to grab a bite to eat. Last time I told people we went to Philly and had cheesesteaks, a debate started over which the best in Philly were and someone said we had to try Steve’s Prince of Steaks. I really enjoyed this steak. The meat was not chopped, which made for a much more manageable sandwich and there was they perfect amount of cheese. They also have an amazing cherry soda that tastes just like a melted icey! I’d definitely go back when I find myself in Philly.
Knowing we had a bathtub in the room caused me to drag Jason to Lush and buy him his first ever bath bomb. He usually takes advantage of hotel bathtubs since we don’t have our own and I wanted to help him enjoy his relaxation time properly. Since we were there, I obviously had to get one for myself as well. If you haven’t tried their Frozen bath bomb, you’re missing out on a good time. It smells so good and turns the water such a gorgeous shade of blue.
The next day we went to the Franklin Institute to see the Jurassic World Exhibition, which Jason also got me tickets to for Christmas. I was just was excited as all the little kids to see the animatronic dinosaurs and I’m not remotely embarrassed about it. It was a really fun and immersive exhibit. I’d highly recommend taking your dino loving friends/family to see it!
Before leaving to head back to New York, we grabbed food at Destination Dogs. Jason had been looking up interesting places to eat and stumbled upon this gem that serves hot dogs made with many different types of animal meat. We ordered deviled eggs and truffle fries as sides while Jason chose a wild boar dog and I went with One Bite in Bangkok- a python sausage with cucumber salad, pepper jelly, crushed peanuts, and cilantro. I paired my meal with a Founders Rubeaus My python dog was so tasty which I was happy about since I had never had snake before. I’d love to go back and try another exotic dog!
Tonight we’re heading off to Gettysburg for their Hibrewnation beer fest tomorrow afternoon! I’ll write about tomorrow’s fest sometime next week.
My boyfriend and I just got back from a lovely vacation to California. I had never been before and he was all excited to go back. We flew into Los Angeles and spent some time in that area, drove down to San Diego for a few days, and ended back in LA.
The day we landed, we didn’t go too crazy. We checked into our hotel in Koreatown and went off to explore. We grabbed lunch at this cute little Korean restaurant called The Bun Shop. I ordered the pork belly and spicy pig buns with a glass of Angel City Pilsner to start the trip off right. This beer is pretty consistent with the pilsner style. It was light and moderately grainy which went really nicely with the buns I chose.
After driving around for a bit, we ended up at Farmers Market. It’s a really cute shopping area. We mostly stayed around the food stalls. Jason saw this little bar area and ordered some local beer for us to split. I was stuck between Strand Brewing Co. Orange Wheat and Cismontane Brewing Co. Oxalis Sour Blonde Ale. Jason came back with a flight that included my two choices and Fireman’s Brew Brunette Beer and Honest Abe Farmhouse Apple Cider. The Fireman’s Brew was by far the best of the four, which is saying something for me since I’m not usually a fan of dopplebocks. He also bought a Santa Monica Brew Works Inclined IPA that I rather enjoyed even though I’ve been shying away from them. We also popped open a can of Golden State Mighty Dry Hard Cider that we had picked up at one of the shops nearby. That cider really does live up to it’s name!
The next day we started our endless line of California theme parks. Two years ago I went to Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida and tried a Duff beer, so I knew I had to have a Duff Dry this time around. This beer was actually really nice and light considering how dark it is and the heat of the day. I also learned that no amount of sunscreen could save me from the tan lines I got from wearing my super cute Pinup Girl Clothing Voodoo Vixen Top in the Cali sun all day.
That night we drove down to Knott’s Berry Farm. A few of Jason’s regular customers told him that we HAD to eat at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant while we were there. We both ordered a boysenberry beer and the fried chicken dinner. The beer was refreshing and not too fruity. The meal starts off with bread and butter and a delicious boysenberry jam, a choice of two soups and a salad. Then the main course, which had to have been half a chicken plus sides! For dessert there were a few options to choose from, but we both ordered pie. Jason played it safe and got apple, while I got the boysenberry. (If you’re curious about the amount of boysenberry items like I was, the history section of the Knott’s Berry Farm Wikipedia page is an enlightening read.)
We spent the next day at Disneyland. There was no drinking, but we did have a lot of fun. Like idiots, we waited on line for what we assumed was a Star Wars ride for 40 minutes, but it was actually a photo op with Chewbacca. That was a fantastic and funny way to start the day. It was really cool to see the differences between the rides that are at both Disneyland and Disney World and I enjoyed going on the ones exclusive to California. I got a number of compliments, (and stains!), on my Pinup Girl Clothing Mary Blair Trains Dress. It made that tiny hipster part of my heart happy to be Disneybounding in such an obscure way that no one knew I was!
After Disney, we drove down to San Diego and went to bed. Our first stop the next day was the Ballast Point which was a few blocks away from our hotel in Little Italy. They had so many options too choose from. I started with a Cinnamon & Raisin Commodore Stout, (which was amazing), and Jason got a Red Velvet Cake. They have a really awesome food menu in addition to their beer list. We ordered truffle fries and and by far the most interesting cheese plate we’ve ever had. I learned that I’m not against duck pâté and we confirmed that Jason only likes soft blue cheeses. We also got a flight with Orange Vanilla Fathom, Pumpkin Down, Navigator, and Longfin Lager. The Fathom was by far my favourite of the four and tasted like a beer Creamsicle.
After doing some touristy things, like riding a double bike, (in a skirt!), on the boardwalk and walking through the shops, we out to dinner and did some drinking. I don’t remember the name of the Mexican restaurant we went to, but I had the most delicious one pound surf and turf burrito and an award winning spicy margarita that I neglected to photograph. We went to a bar afterwards that had super cheap Coronas, so I had a few of those until the promotion expired. While sitting at the bar, Jason noticed a purple can and I discovered was a sour beer and of course had to have. I enjoyed Saint Archer Blackberry Gose enough that I purchased a six pack of it from a liquor store before we flew home.
The next day I made Jason go to the San Diego Zoo. I really enjoyed it! The zoo is set up in themes more so than continents like the Bronx Zoo. It also has a nice historical area near the elephants with information on Ice Age animals. Since he was so kind as to humor me, Jason got to pick dinner. We went to a German restaurant called Kaiserhof, because even when on vacation our job follows us. We both ordered a Kaiserhof Kolsch which is brewed for the restaurant by Ballast Point. It tasted like a pretty basic kolsch style. The food was good, but very different in taste and presentation from the dishes at the German restaurant where we work. After dinner, we went to the beach so that I could say that I’ve been in the ocean on both coasts of the United States and in the Pacific on two continents.
Our last full day in California was another non-drinking day in Los Angeles. There were a number of touristy things I wanted to do and Jason once again humored me. I’m very happy I was able to see La Brea Tar Pits, the Walk of Fame, the Hollywood Sign and TCL Chinese Theatre. Jason also thought it would be fun to go to Madame Tussauds since it was an attraction included on our City Go Passes, (which are super cool and get you into a number of different places for one fee).
I had a really nice time on our trip. I don’t think I could ever live in California, but I’d definitely go back for a visit. We also played a lot of Pokemon Go while we were there and caught Pokemon that are harder to find in New York and we took over a bunch of gyms!
I think this is going to be the last week I’m going to do Thirsty Thursday in this current format. I’m going to be switching it over to reviews on specific beers or breweries and possibly cocktail recipes. Exciting stuff!
Thursday, June 30
I covered a bar shift in the beer garden of the restaurant where I work. It was a really slow night and it was quite hot and muggy. While I was cleaning and closing up the bar, I had two Schöfferhofer Grapefruits. I love when I get to have this beer on draft.
While cathing up on season three of Orange Is The New Black and painting my nails, I decided to finally open the growler of Harpoon Vanilla Porter my boyfriend brought me back from Boston in April. Surprisingly it still had carbonation.
Appearance: dark brown, lasting off white head
Aroma: dark chocolate, vanilla bean, slightly roasty
Taste: follows smell, good amount of chocolate and vanilla, slightly sweet
Feel: slick, moderate carbonation
Overall: I really enjoyed this beer. It’s not the best vanilla porter I’ve had, but it’s definitely up there for me. I want to visit the brewery and try this fresh.