Posts Tagged ‘beer’

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The First Sip is the Deepest

April 17, 2013

alcohol-brain

For years, the first sip has always been my favorite. So when I stumbled upon this study suggesting that the taste of beer alone may trigger a dopamine response even before the alcohol has a chance to take effect, I was pretty intrigued. The rest of this article goes on to suggest that this testing might be a way to determine an individual’s predisposition to alcoholism but even if this is true, I’m not so interested in that as a topic. But rather, I think this study supports a fairly common observation that we would all probably attest to: your own unwind and relaxation routine is only as good as the memories you’ve created using this same method before.

This is why the whiskey lovers out there, the Noblers included, spend time finding their favorite glassware, their moment-specific bottles of choice, and even their favorite ice cubes (shapes and sizes). I’d argue if the study was repeated on me, my dopamine levels would be off the charts before my bourbon even touched the glass. It’s the effect of the overall experience that makes the drink so relaxing: even more reason to slow down and enjoy your drink of choice!

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Bourbon in a Sea of Beer!

February 11, 2013

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One of my favorite parts of planning the Nobler Gatherings is just that: the planning. I love focusing on the liquor selection, planning a bit of a menu, or even organizing the specific activity. But when it comes to beer I know it’s best to sit back and hand the reins off to Dan and Doran. Back in the summer, these dudes put on one of the more memorable Nobler Gatherings as we went to town on some amazing Saisons and seriously good ribs. So when it was time to organize the winter addition, and I heard words like Smoked Porter, Chili, and Kluskis I was both excited and a bit confused.

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Let’s start with the confusion. “What the hell is a Kluski?” you might be asking? Well my friends, a Kluski is a gift from heaven. Almost a pierogi without the filling or a potato dumpling with a bit more character, these Kluskis were a recipe from Dan’s grandfather that he cranked up a bit with the addition of bacon. Paired with some pickled cucumbers, string beans, and okra, we were set to eat like Polish Kings. And that was before the chili arrived. Frank gets a special mention for his spicy and smoky chili that  cooked down with a porter style beer making this the perfect addition to the menu.

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But the main excitement came from the 14 or so big time beers that Dan and Doran picked out at one of the best distributors in town, New Beer. I joined them for the fun this time around and watched as they filled a cart and eventually our backpacks with a variety of winter favorites. Stouts, Imperial Stouts, and Porters were book ended by two slightly lighter offerings in Allagash’s Victor and Goose Island’s Juliet and the group systematically and methodically took them all down with some real highlights along the way.  Plus for those of us who enjoy our winter beer with a glass of whiskey, a bottle of Blanton’s brought by our second Nobler Dan hit the spot perfectly. 

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We used the BeerAdvocate scoring system to at least gauge our expectations and I was somewhat surprised how the ratings seemed off at times. But at the end of the day, we certainly didn’t drink a bad beer all night! My favorites were Rogue’s Chocolate Stout which shouldn’t surprise me since everything Rogue does, I love. Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout, a classic, was also at the top of our lists; so perfect in it’s execution! But lastly, it was another Goose Island in the Night Stalker Imperial Stout that really blew me away. I’ll be grabbing a few more bottles of the Night Stalker to store up for the next big winter storm and my next batch of Kluskis!

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A Shot and a Beer with Statler and Waldorf

May 10, 2012

While there are a myriad of moments where ordering a shot and a beer are appropriate, there is nothing like the solo stop off at the bar. It may sound weird to some, but one of the things I was most excited about when I hit the working world years ago, was dining alone on travel. I used to work at a French Restaurant connected to a boutique hotel in Wayne, PA and was always so intrigued by the solo guests, sitting at the bar, digging into a martini and a rib-eye. I’m not much of a martini drinker, but I certainly don’t mind a good rib-eye.

But as a replacement for the vodka or gin, a shot and a beer has always been my go-to. The back and forth, sip by sip, experience that the shot and a beer provides is like no other. Plus, when you are dining or drinking alone, there is something kind of inviting about the combination. Some of the most interesting (sure, and also some of the most bizarre) conversations can occur when you are the bar by yourself. So whether with the bartender, or with some other patrons, you’ll want to give off a vibe of normalcy. I’ve always found that the shot and the beer provides this.

This past Friday, for example, I hit up Tracks in Penn Station, before heading out to Long Island to prepare for our Derby party. Tracks is one of my favorite NY spots because it is always filled with characters. The extremely long bar is packed with folks waiting for their trains, and I’ve starting making a point to arrive about 25 minutes early for my take-off to make just enough time for one round. After my Guinness and Jameson arrived, almost immediately on cue, the two old ladies next to me got me engaged. While I’m sure my ridiculous good looks had something to do with it, they were more interested in chatting about their day visiting the big city. It may have only been 15 minutes or so but they were pretty hysterical. Like Statler and Waldorf, they had a great back and forth rapport that I couldn’t help but get a kick out of. As I sipped my drinks, timing my departure perfectly with six minutes to spare, I hoped that there was another shot and a beer waiting for me on that train. There wouldn’t be. So with one final slug of the Jameson and one final crack by Statler (or maybe it was Waldorf), I made a point to appreciate yet another great solo experience with a shot and a beer. It was a good train ride.

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