3rd Annual Saratoga Cider Night…wait…there’s a beer fest too?!

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.

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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).

 

Until next time,

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Fun Times in California

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.

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Flying over mountain ranges was pretty neat.

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.

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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!

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Chips and guac, craft beer, and fancy soda.

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.)

knott's berry farm boysenberry beer

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!

 

Until next time!

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Thirsty Thursday 6/9-6/15/16

Thursday, June 9

Jason was in a beer mood and opened a Best Damn Cherry Cola. He took one sip and pawned it off on me.

Appearance: drank from the bottle

Aroma: cherry Mr. Sketch scented marker

Taste: follows smell with artificial sugar and cough medicine aftertaste

Feel: light body, moderate carbonation

Overall: I really think that Best Damn Brewing Co. needs to change their name. I’ve tried two of their products now and they were both terrible.

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Friday, June 10

After a slow night at work, a couple of my co-workers and I decided to hang around for a drink or two. Jason concocted this White Peach Sangria with some sort of white wine, peach schnapps, and pineapple juice. I’m not a fan of peach anything, but this was pretty tasty.

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Still in the mood for something sweet, I ordered a Malibu Bay Breeze. It’s made with Malibu coconut rum, cranberry juice, and pineapple juice. I am a lover of simple fruity drinks.

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Continue reading

Thirsty Thursday 5/26-6/1/16

Thursday, May 26

I drank a good amount of Barrier Brewing Company Icculus Kölsch this week. (See my tasting notes from 5/20/16 here.) We’re trying to kill the keg so we can get new stuff on draft at work.icculus 5/26/16

While I was waiting for the bus to go hang out with two of my coworkers at a bar near work, I had a Schofferhofer Grapefruit, (tasting notes from 4/16/16). I actually had to run to catch the bus while drinking this beer, so I poured it in my aluminum water bottle and brought it with. Continue reading

Thirsty Thursday 5/12-5/18/16

As usual, I like to try new things when I go out or am in a drinking mood. I tend to fall back on old favourites when at parties, when I’m not feeling great, or when I’m simply relaxing. This week was a mix of both new and old.

Thursday, May 12

Nothing.


Friday, May 13

I had a pretty annoying night at work, but Jason wanted to go out when he came to pick me up.We were thinking about starting at Flagship Brewery, but they close early. Instead we walked the couple of blocks to Craft House.

Craft House is a really awesome bar/restaurant. They serve creative BBQ and have a fantastic beer selection. They have also started serving liquor since the last time I’ve been there. It was a super sticky/muggy night, so I opted to start the night with some ciders.

Crispin Blackberry Pear Cider is one of my favourite ciders. The first time I ever had it, it was on draft at Craft House. They no longer offer it on draft, but they do have it in bottles.

Appearance:  clear reddish purple

Aroma: blackberry, pear

Taste: tart, blackberry, pear

Feel: smooth, easy to drink, light body, low carbonation

Overall: I love this stuff. It’s very straight forward.

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Continue reading

Thirsty Thursday 4/21-4/27

Hello! I didn’t have too much to drink over the part week, but here’s what I had:

 

Thursday, April 21

While getting ready to go to the opera to see La Boheme with my mother I popped open a Rekorderlig Päron (Pear). This cider has been sitting in my fridge for a while. I’m a fan of pear ciders in general, however I usually find Rekorderlig to be very sweet.

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Continue reading

Thirsty Thursday: 4/14-4/20

When trying to figure out a better posting schedule and what kinds of content to post, I mentioned to my boyfriend that I was thinking about doing ‘New Brew Thursdays’. I know that it’s an Untappd badge and I’ve seen people talk about it so I thought it would be a good idea. Jason said that I should focus more on ‘Thirsty Thursday’ being a broader term and therefore giving me much more to write about.

This week’s Thirsty Thursday is about where and what I drank throughout the week.

Thursday April, 14

Jason was covering a bar shift at the restaurant where we work so I was on my own for dinner. I ate leftovers and finally finished the strawberry daiquiri/margarita mix I’ve had in the liquor cabinet. It’s not a product I think I’m going to buy again because it is so sweet and artificial tasting. I’d rather just blend some actual strawberries with my booze. I used Master of Mixes Strawberry Daiquiri/Margarita mix, Herradura Silver Tequila, Llord’s Triple Sec, and ice. (No photo because I’m lame and forgot.)


Friday, April 15

I have so much beer sitting in my fridge that I usually forget what’s in there. I pulled a Bank’s Caribbean Lager out from the depths of a drawer to have with lunch. It tasted slightly off, but overall wasn’t bad.

Appearance: golden/straw, quickly disappearing white head

Aroma: grains

Taste: malty, grainy, clean

Feel: slightly bubbly

Overall: It’s fine. There’s not much more to say about it than that. It’s pretty straight-forward and adheres to the American Adjunct-Lager style. It’d be nice on a hot summer day.

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Saturday, April 16

I work weekends, so a majority of Friday-Monday drinking is at Killmeyer’s Old Bavaria Inn on Staten Island. It’s a lovely little family-owned and operated German restaurant. Before I starting working there, I would ask to eat at Killmeyer’s when my family had a lot of time or for special occasions since it was located on the opposite end of Staten Island from where we lived.

photo credit: Marielle Solan via TimeOut

This week after my Saturday night wait shift I changed it up a bit and had a mixed drink in addition to my usual “Surprise me” beer.

I started with Weihenstephaner 1516 Kellerbier. 1516 is a new offering from the world’s oldest brewery celebrating the 500 year anniversary of Reinheitsgebot, (the German beer purity laws).

Appearance: hazy, golden, honey coloured, has a thick white head

Aroma: grainy, yeasty, slightly spicy

Taste: malty, grainy, slightly hoppy, slightly floral

Feel: decently carbonated, clean finish

Overall: I was very happy with this beer. I’m not a huge German beer fan, but this limited edition brew is worth having before it’s gone!

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Pictured: great beer and Jason’s funfetti tie

I also had a lovely Dirty Figtini made with Feigling vodka. Feigling is a fig flavoured vodka from Germany and probably the best flavoured vodka I’ve ever had. Put this stuff in anything and I’ll give it a try.

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I hate stem glasses.

Finally, I finished off with a Schofferhofer Grapefruit. I simply adore this beer. It’s nothing overly fancy and it is VERY fruity, but it is a solid beer. Schofferhofer also hails from Germany. The brewery makes a regular hefewizen and a number of other fruit/hefewizen beers that I have yet to find in New York.

Appearance: hazy light orange

Aroma: grapefruit, yeast

Taste: I find the taste to be more grapefruit peel or a light pink/white grapefruit, yeasty

Feel: clean, refreshing, light/medium carbonation

Overall: This is one of my go-to beers for any occasion. It’s sweet, but not overly so. It’s nice a crisp on a hot summer’s day. Being only 2.5%, it’s a great beer for drinking all day or as a breather during a night of drinking heavier beers. I think I like it most on draft, but it’s just as wonderful canned or bottled.

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Monday, April 18

Jason and I went to Ho’ Brah for lunch before he drove me in to work. It’s a nice little restaurant that serves tacos and other Mexicali type dishes. They have a number of frozen drinks behind the bar in machines and based on the two times I’ve eaten there- a nice selection of rotating draft lines.

I chose a nice cider since I wasn’t feeling all that well. The tap handle indicated that it was Ciderboys Cranberry Road, but when the bartender placed it in front of me, it looked like orange juice. Jason thought that it might be their Mimosa cider and tasted it to be sure. It was and it was perfect.

Appearance:thick yellow orange

Aroma: It smells like a mimosa

Taste: citrus, apple, sweet, champagne

Feel: light carbonation, very smooth

Overall: Definitely something I’d have again. It might be the best Ciderboys I’ve had so far.

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Ciderboys Grand Mimosa. Jason got a Negra Modelo.

Tuesday, April 19

Tuesdays are the start of my weekend and I’ll often find myself having a drink with lunch. I wasn’t in much of a beer mood, so I pulled some wine out of the fridge.

I escorted my grandmother to her niece’s wedding in Michigan back in September. We stayed with one of my grandmother’s sisters. While there, my great aunt wanted to know what I do for fun so that she could plan things to keep me entertained for the week we were there. My grandmother told her that I really enjoy drinking. Aunt Marie then decided that I needed to drink on a daily basis and took us to breweries, brewpubs, and a winery.

Forgotten Fire Winery in Wisconsin has a nice little tasting room with all kinds of trinkets and things. I really enjoyed some of the wines I tasted and bought a few bottles to bring home. My last remaining bottle was their Ice Wine. It’s a very sweet, thick, syrupy wine made from grapes that were frozen while still on the vine. It comes in a very tall, skinny bottle and clocks in at 12% ABV.

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Wednesday, April 20

I had a beer with lunch while catching up on season two of Outlander. Harpoon UFO White is another one of the go-to beers. It’s a nice, light witbier. If you like Blue Moon or Shocktop, I highly recommend drinking this.

Appearance: hazy gold, quickly disappearing head

Aroma: orange, coriander, grain, fruit

Taste: pretty much the same as aroma

Feel: medium carbonation, light and easy to drink

Overall: I really like this beer in comparison to other witbiers I’ve tasted. I think the spice really pops in UFO White instead of getting lost behind all the orange.

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For dinner, Jason took me to Big Ed’s BBQ in Matawan, NJ. They have all-you-can-eat ribs. It’s like heaven in a barn shaped eatery.

To accompany my BBQ baby back ribs and half a chicken, I ordered a Shiner Bock. I am fairly certain I’ve had a Shiner Bock before, but I wasn’t sure and it sounded the most appealing at the time.

Appearance: clear reddish brown

Aroma: malt, barley, bread

Taste: malty, a touch of sweetness

Feel: refreshing, crisp, lightly carbonated

Overall:  I’ve had many other bocks much more aggressively flavoured than Shiner Bock, so this is a really nice introduction into the style.

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-Kyra Lynn

 

Atlantic City Beer Fest

Last Sunday was the 11th Annual Atlantic City Beer and Music Festival. This year marks my third time attending and I think it was the best year so far. There were an obscene number of breweries to choose from and so many new-to-me beers to try.

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AC Beer Fest Tasting Glass

After the mess that was trying to get our group’s matching shirts from UPS, my boyfriend, Jason, and I drove down to Atlantic City. After checking in and bringing everything to our room, we met up with the rest of our Beer Fest group at the Wild West Mountain Bar in the Wild West Casino between Bally’s and Caesar’s.

As tacky as I feel casinos to be, the Mountain Bar is pretty cool. They have cheap draft beers and what seems to look like a decent liquor selection. The decor is fun and the bar is nice and dark, (I’m a sucker for moody lighting).

Between the Mountain Bar and drinking while Jason was gambling after everyone else went to bed or elsewhere, I wasn’t drinking anything crafty or interesting. At the bar I was drinking Miller High Life and it was probably the first time I had ever had more than a sip of one. I would definitely drink it again. It was nice and crisp and refreshing. I also had a Smith and Forge Hard Cider, which I believe to be one of the best ciders offered by one of the major American beer companies, and I stole Jason’s Miller Lite. There aren’t very many beer options on the slot machine ordering menu, so I settled for my go-to limited option brew- Corona.

The next morning we all made our way to the convention center ready to drink. I was extraordinarily happy with the options at this year’s Beer Fest. I got to try some of the new beers I’ve been waiting for, ( Ballast Point Pineapple Sculpin, Founder’s Mango Magnifico, and Ommegang Game of Thrones- Seven Kingdoms), a lot of beers I’ve never heard of, (Lunacy Admiral Vickers Baltic Porter, Saint Benjamin Wit or Witout, Double Nickel Marbled Rye),  some new or new-to-me options from breweries/cideries I’m familiar with, (Goose Island Matilda, Sam Adams Rebel Grapefruit IPA, Strongbow Cherry Blossom), and a good number of beers I’ve had before, (Stone Arrogant Bastard, Speakeasy Baby Daddy, Blue Point Blueberry).

One beer that’s new this season, which I’ve tried previous to this beer fest and really enjoy is Harpoon Brewery’s Camp Wannamango. It’s a light golden colour with a very mango aroma. It’s both malty and hoppy with a lingering mango flavour at the end. This might be one of my always in the fridge beers this summer. Harpoon had a cute little campground set up next to their jockey boxes and my boyfriend’s brother Mitch requested I take a picture of him to put on my blog.

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Jason and Mitch in our San Jose Marks jerseys

The people working the booths were kind and knowledgeable which makes the event even better. I’ve been to some beer fests in the past where the staff/volunteers know next to nothing about the product and it’s not nearly as fun. I really enjoyed talking to these two ladies from Big Muddy Brewing and Schöfferhofer.

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I asked to take his photo and he said I had to be in it too.

I didn’t dress in pinup for this event since I’m still learning about the style and don’t have very many clothing options. Hopefully next year I’ll be in a super cute outfit and people will ask me for my picture!

-Kyra Lynn