Posts Tagged ‘beer tasting’

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Beer, Beasts, And Vegetarian Food

April 9, 2013

I may often paint my fellow Noblers as booze-fiending, loyal followers of the experiment but…Well that’s true. However, some of them can write…Here’s a Beer For Beasts Review by Dan Sicina!

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Spring time is here and with it comes blooming flowers, chirping birds, sundresses and the inevitable scheduling of beer festivals.  With all of this great stuff to look forward to the Noblers attended the first beer festival they could find: Beer For Beasts, put on by Sixpoint Brewery and held at the Bell House in Gowanus, Brooklyn.  There are several reasons why this beer festival stands out from the others that makes it by far the most interesting beer event of the year (in my opinion).  

First, a portion of the proceeds goes directly to the ASPCA to help all of our furry friends, which makes me feel better about tying on a good buzz during the daylight hours.  Second, the beers served are almost all uniquely brewed for this event by Sixpoint while some are brewed by other local brewers in partnership with Sixpoint. This event is a perfect microcosm of the culture that Sixpoint supports, which is one part local philanthropy and one part bad-ass beer experimentation, two things I particularly enjoy as well.  

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As for the beer itself, there was a dual focus on Sixpoint’s take on traditional styles (Farmhouse Ales, Saisons, Scotch Ales) with a bit of experimentation in the form of a few unique brews (Orange Chocolate Stout, Rosemary Infused Ale), which rounded to about 30-40 styles (I lost track after my 30th mini cup of beer).  The key to enjoying these beers was to not get hung up on the raw quality of them, since they were brewed specifically for this event, but to appreciate the diversity of flavors than can be created by a micro brewery found in Red Hook, Brooklyn and to generally revere the mad scientists that make Sixpoint such an excellent brewery.

Going beyond the beer, they also had food carts outside serving Indian, Mexican, British and Italian food, which were all vegetarian. which makes total sense since it’s a benefit for animals (had I known I would have packed a bag of beef jerky.)  In addition to satisfying our beer and food cravings (lets not talk about my meat cravings), they also had a full lineup of three professional stand up comedians.  Unfortunately, due to the nature of a beer festival, stand up comedy was not well received since people were milling about and talking. These guys still landed a number of pretty funny jokes for the people listening, but it was nonetheless a “tough crowd.”  Perhaps a band would have been a better entertainment option.

I would definitely attend this event again next year, because there is no losing when you are drinking good beer for a good cause.  Also, I am a believer in the fact that experimentation leads to innovation and greatness, which is why I’ll seek out these Sixpoint events.  I am happy to be a part of this local brewery’s culture of helping the community and also experiencing the cutting edge of brewing.

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Captain Lawrence Brewery Tour and Tasting

November 2, 2012

Now that the Sandy recovery is in full gear and the city is starting to get moving again, you are probably starting to look for some activities to get this past week off your mind. Well if  you like beer and you like a little adventure, you have to get up to Captain Lawrence Brewing Company in Elmsford  as soon as possible.

I’m not sure how I missed this, but these guys are within a mile of my office on Saw Mill River Rd and despite being a fairly young brewery the quality and variety coming out of their relatively small production facility is pretty inspiring. They offer an amazing 20 or so minute tour that I’ll get to later but it’s Friday, you probably want to hear about the beer first…

Well these guys have their tasting room down to a science. For a $2 fee, you receive a 3 oz tasting glass (which of course you get to keep) and a menu to their ten beers on tap. 5 of these being their standard year round offerings (Kolsch, Liquid Gold, Pale Ale (Freshchester), Brown Ale, and the Imperial IPA) and the other five being their pilot batches looking to test run and fine tune. The tasting room is quite open with a handful of high tables set up. We were there almost immediately upon opening (cause we are anxious) and found an awesome spot to get settled. It may be getting a bit chilly, but these guys also have an amazing outdoor set up with a bocce court and picnic tables. Just one more reason we’ll be heading back seasonally.

As for the beer itself, the tasting allows you to try each of those 10 beers twice. Yes, that’s 10 craft beers, at 3 oz a pop, twice. We didn’t even come close to finishing that as you can imagine but we did make it through the full list once with a few clear favorites leading the way. I have had the Captain Lawrence Liquid Gold before and it is indeed delicious. A crisp and full beer that tastes exceptional right out of their draft. Likewise their specialty pumpkin ale was an agreed upon favorite as the pumpkin flavor did not overpower or over-sweeten like so many of the bottled varieties out there today. My two personal favorites were their Dr. Brownski, a specialty brown ale that had great balance along with some serious complexity and the Imperial. I had expected the Imperial, being a high alcohol brew, to be heavy and more or less for show. So many breweries are making these alcohol bombs and it seems the flavor balance is an afterthought. But by using a very focused list of ingredients, the Imperial at Captain Lawrence manages to remain fresh and flavorful even with all that alcohol. Awesome stuff!

Another reason that the day was so well spent is the tour and the interaction with the Captain Lawrence employees. Everyone seems genuinely excited about what it is they are doing and this really comes through in the tour. As opposed to a quick and boring walk-through, they are happy to have you up close and personal with their batching equipment and answer all the questions you can imagine. With a beer in hand, it’s still informal (the way a brewery tour should be) but seeing the scale-up a small brewery goes through as they expand production is pretty fascinating. Captain Lawrence has made its way into more and more restaurants and bars in the area and with more Northeast expansion coming, their supply is barely keeping up with demand. This of course is not the worst problem in the world to have for a young company!

I’m thrilled we’ve discovered these guys because I’m already clamoring to bring other friends back for a try; who knows, maybe even a Nobler gathering. We were lucky enough to be there on the same day they had a local artisan sausage cart who made the visit even better. I get the sense the Captain Lawrence team is always scheduling fun days like this one so keep tabs on their website here:

Captain Lawrence Brewing Company

Otherwise, they run tastings based on the following schedule and for those folks in NYC without a car, the Metro North runs very close by and in fact that might be your best bet. Who needs to be worrying about driving when you have a tasting like this one available!

Tasting Room Hours for Samples: Tuesday-Friday 4pm-7pm, Saturday 12pm-6pm

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Tickets on Sale for The Night Cap NYC!

October 18, 2012

I am so pumped to share with you all the news of our newest endeavor, The Night Cap: Liquor, Wine, and Beer tasting series. In collaboration with Nobler Adam, and Keith Beavers from the Alphabet City Wine Co. we have created a late night event series that will be unlike your typical tasting experience. For us, it’s truly about curiosity. We simply enjoy the discovery, the interpretation, and the invention that comes with pursuing great alcohol. And now we get to share this all with you!

Tickets are available for the first Night Cap to be held at 12:30 AM, Sunday 11/4. This of course is actually Saturday night, in case there was any confusion. There is a limited number of tickets so make sure you buy yours soon!

Click here for your tickets!

I hope you will be able to join us for what will be a truly special night. But just in case you are unable to make it this time, send us an email at nightcapnyc@gmail.com or leave a comment on this posting to be added to our mailing list. In addition, don’t forget to follow us at @NightCapNYC for updates and musings.

Special thanks to Adam and Keith for all the hard work in turning our inspired idea into reality!

 

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Birthday Tasting at Idle Hands

April 19, 2012

If you’ll remember back a few weeks, I posted about celebrating World Whiskey Day at Idle Hands in the east village. At that time, I was enamored by their unbelievable bourbon list and their straightforward approach summarized nicely by their motto: Bourbon. Beer. Rock. But it was the conversation I had with the owner that night, that made me sure this was the place I wanted to spend my birthday.

Every Wednesday night these guys are offering up one of the most ridiculous and worthwhile tasting experiences I’ve found in New York. Every week a brewery (last night was Sierra Nevada) and a whiskey (last night was McKenzie) send a representative to walk you through a tasting. Three 8 oz beer tastes (although I think we ended up with more like  five 5 oz pours) and two full pours from the brewery (although I think we ended up with one strong ass torpedo) and one solid tasting of the whiskey goes along just perfectly with an order of tater tots. But here comes the ridiculous part. It costs $10! Yes, I said $10!

Even more in line with my notion of a proper night out, these tastings occur in a truly informal manner. We had a fairly large crowd and managed to stake out a bit of a claim. Sitting back as the beer and whiskey came to us makes for an extended experience. It was almost like they read my last blog post!

As for the specifics, the Sierra tasting was pretty delicious. By the time we got to the 10% torpedo, I was heading upstairs to re-fuel with some extra food. Those tots were amazing but needed some company to help absorb all that 10% was offering. Even more interesting however was our McKenzie tasting. The rep Steven, walked us through the uniqueness of this Finger Lakes distillery sourcing their ingredients from NY state. Next week Steven’s coming back with their Rye which has me intrigued but at this point, I think it’s safe to say, you know where to find me on Wednesdays!

Thanks to everyone who made it out making for one of the more memorable birthdays I’ve ever had. And thanks to the folks at Idle Hands for being brilliant!

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