Sorry Our Cats Had A Problem…
Wowwie wow wow! It’s been a loooong time since we’ve posted anything. Sorry! :( And sorry to ourselves… that means we haven’t been recording our “beerventures”! Well… our cats have gotten in a bad way… we had to keep them away from the booze.
But then Tim gave Donut and Emo (yes… our cats are really named that) a much needed intervention.
But for real real, we’ve both been stupid busy (Tim’s been working hard at his job and his side projects, and Cindy with her work and finishing up her MBA at Rutgers). But besides being busy with our careers and school, we’ve also been busy getting down with beer. We just haven’t written about it. There’s so much we’ve done since Feb….. Beer Club NJ had a stout event and has been rating tons of beers, we went to Tap NY with a huge crew of friends, been doing tons of homebrewing for ourselves, friends and even weddings, visits to new beer bars in NYC and Jersey, Tim even took a trip to Victory in PA for a bachelor party! We’ve been tasting new beers, and even got a chance to experience the differences in tastes used in the beer taste training kits used by BJCP. We also met some new and awesome people that also love beer! Anyways, from now on we’re going to try harder to keep track of what we’re doing, for ourselves and for anyone that actually reads this blog :)
There’s also some fun stuff coming up that we’re involved in. Tim’s going to be leading a “tweet-up” on the Beer Sessions Radio Show hosted by Jimmy Carbone! They’re going to be talking about some Cigar City Brewing with the brewery’s co-founder, Joe Redner, Paul Dlugokencky from Blind Bat Brewing, and Tony Forder from Ale Street News. Check out the info here!
Then Tim’s also going to be doing a homebrewing demo at Village Voice’s Brooklyn Pour Beer Fest!
Hope people get to check these things out! Hit us up if you have questions! Cheers!
Oh Snap! You got iced!…By Mayor Bloomberg?
Mayor of NYC, Mayor Bloomberg, cut the ribbon at the Brooklyn Brewery’s opening of their huge expansion in Williamsburg this past Monday, and while he was there said something that probably equates to the sound of nails scratching on a chalkboard to beer drinkers…. He said “I actually put ice in my beer”. Ice in your beer!? Sacrilege. And he apparently got smack for it too from a lot of writers and bloggers (just look up “Mayor Bloomberg Beer”).
I’ll admit, when I first heard that I immediately thought, “Sweet, funky butt loving what?! What did he say?! How dare he?!”. But then I remembered I used to do weird stuff with beer too… I thought to myself, “hey, didn’t I used drink beer with a piece of gum in my mouth?”. Yes, I’ll admit, in college I used to drink the beers at parties while chewing a minty piece of gum. It just tasted better that way. Granted, I was drinking skunky “Beast” for the most part, but still, it was just something I did. Just like, I guess, this is just something Mayor Bloomberg does. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he doesn’t really know about beer. A lot of people don’t even though the craft brew industry is rapidly growing. Maybe he doesn’t know that putting ice in a great crafted brew can be an insult to a brewer like how putting ketchup on a filet mignon would be an insult to a chef. It was pretty bad timing on his part to admit that at a ribbon cutting ceremony for Brooklyn Brewery, but I guess it was…. ehhh ummm… relevant? But hey, the brewery got an $800,000 grant from the state for their expansion, so, eh what the heck, let the man ice his beer! But then teach him about the awesomeness of what that grant is going towards. :)
Snow and Suds, a Trip up to Mt. Snow and Back!
Ahhhhh VT. For us New Jersey kids, it’s such a treat to be able to walk into a gas station store or 7-11 and a bunch of choices of great VT microbrews to pick from for a quick run. And every winter we get this treat, along with a few of our friends on our annual snowboard/ski trip to a mountain in VT. This year we hit up Mt. Snow! Great mountain to hit up for a long weekend, not too far from NJ, and large enough to keep you busy checking out trails for a couple days. But on to what this blog is about…. the beer! So our first day of apres ski, we rounded up our crew at the main bar in the lodge called Cuzzins. Tables and bar can get easily packed towards the afternoon, but is great to come in to for a quick brew in the middle of the day. There they had a pretty good selection of Rock Art, Sierra Nevada, Magic Hat, Otter Creek, and some other standard beers you’d find at a bar. But there they made some mean hot drinks like hot toddys and spiked ciders! The second day, we ventured upstairs and went to the new bar that opened, The Station Tap Room. Holy jackpot Batman! This bar has 15 lines for microbrews! We found Allagash, Dogfish Head, Hills Farm Brewery, the micro brews they had available at the other bar, and a bunch of others that we can’t even remember with out taking a picture. We had no camera on us and our phones were dead from riding all day. :(
Also, we had a stock at our rental house. Our friend Karl had brought a sixtel keg of his homebrew dunklewiess, we had bottles and bottles of Otter Creek Imperials, Stoud’s, Breckenridge Brewery, a couple growlers from Madison Brewing Co., Magic Hat, Troegs, and a 30 pack of Miller Light just in case (thanks MJ!). Seems like a lot, but with a house with 12 beer drinkers, beers go real quick.
Sadly, our trip had to come to an end, and we all parted ways. We had decided to stop at what we thought was a brew pub on the way home for a quick bite and a brew called The Maple Leaf not even 15 min away from where we were coming from. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a “brew pub” but rather a “beer bar”. Still had some good beers and even had a beer that Long Trail brewed exclusively for them called Maple Leaf! According to the friendly bartender, it’s a brown similar to the regular Long Trail brown ale. Pretty effin delish. And along with that we tried their vegetarian chili. WOAH spice! Lots of cumin and hot spices, but not too overwhelming. Hearty and delicious.
After our fill of chili and a beer, we headed back southward toward NJ. And then a though…. wait… aren’t there a bunch of great breweries in upstate NY? Of course there is, we go to Tap NY! We know this for fact! So on Tim’s trusty Droid X, we bring up the Beer Mapping Project to look at a map of breweries along I-87. There’s a bunch! But we chose to go to Keegan Ales since they won the F.X. Matt Memorial Cup at Tap NY in 2009! Oh and also because according to their website we get to travel on the shortest Interstate in the U.S. (FACT! don’t blink, you might miss it!)
Keegan’s has a great atmosphere, very chill, friendly people, with simple decor and a few picnic tables to sit at. We had their Jo Mama’s Milk, which woah…. amazing. Brown sugar, chocolate, coffee…. it IS all of that. Intense in flavor and at 8% could get you in trouble if you’re not careful. So we had 1 and got a growler. We also had a pint of their Hurricane Kitty IPA and a pint of the 10 gallon batch they had on tap. They mess around with ingredients they have and they had left over Sorachi hops and made brew featuring it. Very Sorachi hoppy. Interesting, but wasn’t a fave, but def worth the try.
So after a couple great pints, and faces full of freshly made tortilla chips with guac, spinach and artichoke dip, and fresh pico de gallo (yes… we ate AGAIN), we set off one more time to our homeland of NJ and made it home just in time to watch the 2nd playoffs game and share our awesome growler with some other friends :)
- Posted 2 years ago
- 2 notes
- Apres Ski
- Mt. Snow
- Mount Snow
- Station Tap Room
- The Maple Leaf
- Long Trail
- Rock Art
- Dogfish Head
- Magic Hat
- Otter Creek
- Sierra Nevada
- Breckenridge Brewery
- Madison Brweing Co.
- Miller Light
- Keegan's Ales
- Jo Mama's Milk
- Hurricane Kitty
Après-Snowboarding At Blue Mountain
We know, we know, it’s technically “apres-ski”, but the both of us snowboard, and so do a bunch of our friends. Either way, it’s still going and having drinks after a day on the mountain, and as people that ski or ride know, it’s a great feeling to kick back with a drink after shredding all day. This past weekend we took a day (not D-A-I-Y-E) trip with a couple of our buddies, and went a little out west to PA to hit up Blue Mountain. It was the first day out this season so we were prepared for 2 things… 1. to get sore getting our “snow legs” back on 2. to get tired. But hey, getting tired early just means the earlier you hit the lodge for a brew! ;)
We did pretty well and lasted until about 1pm or so to go in to grab some eats and a drink. Now this is a critical part of the day (especially when you decide to imbibe). Some people can have some food, have a beer (or even 2) and be good to go feeling relaxed, refreshed and re-fueled ready to hit the slopes for the rest of the day. Orrrrr you can have food and a beer and it’s game over… you’ve crossed the threshold of comfort, and there’s no turning back. Both happened. Tim re-upped and went back out with our friend Darbrock, and Cindy and our friend Frank got hit with the lodge “warm and fuzzies”. But we’ll just say they stayed in to explore the good selection of beers they had at the bar. “Research” for this blog post if you will. It was actually a little surprising. They had a pretty good selection of craft beers from Dogfish Head, Harpoon, and Long Trail on draft and even more available in bottles! Price range was ooookkaaayy, but they did have $4 pint special on Warsteiner with some reps there who were giving out mugs, and Frank even ended up receiving a glass “das boot”! Why? No other reason besides being awesome.
Then on the way home we decided to stop to meet up with our friend Donnie, and grab some dinner at The Ship Inn, right near where he lives, which is apparently NJ’s first brew pub! Fo real 1995 wasn’t even that long ago and on a side note Jerz needs more breweries asap (Sorry Tim here just venting ;). It’s a British brew pub, and they have some traditional British food, like Shepard’s pie and Scotch eggs, but also some very non-traditional like Indian Curry and vegan selections. And they def have some good brews, particularly their ESB and Best Bitter that’s served from the hand pump, both which they always have on tap, along with either a porter or brown and some seasonal stuff. If you walk through the dining area, you can see their beer process area behind a glass window where they bang out 7 barrel batches using the Peter Austin system with handmade brick, copper and open fermenters in the old English tradition. Would have been cool if they were brewing!
Anyways a good place, low key, relaxing, and a little off Rt. 78 so it’s not too far “middle of nowhere”.
With bellies full of food, some good brew, and some tired muscles, we conclude all in all what was a good first day of riding.
Cheers to hopes of hitting some freshy pow this winter!
Hoppy New Beers in the New Year!
Happy new year everyone! Tim and some of our friends got gifted some new brewing gear, so we decided to spend some time on the first weekend of the year being ambitious with said friends, with attempting to rock out brewing 4 batches of beer. Two extract recipes and two all grain! We had an imperial IPA and a black IPA to try out with the all grains, and a Chinook IPA (all bought from Norther Brewer) and something called “Dragon’s Brew” for the extract recipes. (The “Dragon’s Brew” recipe kit was bought at Gaslight Brewery, but unfortunately did not have names for the malt and the hops used) And like we said we were being ambitious and somehow lost track while attempting the imperial IPA because of unforeseen temperature control issues (ahem, b.s.ing and drinking beer) so we ended up having to scrap that batch :( Although, it was something we had not tried before… the grain to water ratio was way larger than anything we had tried before and took us by surprise. And now we know! Ya live and ya learn. Check out our kettle setups and the duuuudes doing it up.
Sadly, because of the snow starting to come down and since we had a fail with the first grain batch, we decided to just re-try the grain recipes another time. Gave us more time to drink the beers in the snow (some Dogfish Head, Ommegang, and some other homebrews) and some some cigars. A little snow, some beers to share, and chilling with some friends is a great way to kick off the new year.
Cheers to beers for the new year!
Hoppy Holidays from Beer Club NJ!
Our new article on www.Beerclubnj.com!
Season’s greetings from Beer Club NJ! This is a crazy time of year, and I’m sure a lot of people are out there running around grabbing gifts last minute for the holidays. (We know we are!) But let us help you out a little with our 2 cents. Beer is becoming more widely thought of as gifts like wine lately, so why not think of cutting down your running around for presents and picking up a couple brews to gift out? You know you’ll probably be picking some up for yourself anyway ;) There is an overwhelming choice of beers out there, but we’re here to help you out! The Beer Club NJ Idiots all have different palates, different personalities, and basically different views on everything (awesome and terrible at the same time) but 1 thing in common…. We loves us some good beer. So some of us have written some blurbs out on beers we’d gift this holiday season and why. Hopefully our tidbits can help you out match up what you might want to pick out for certain people!
Cindope : “I’ll have to admit, I’m a sucker for packaging and something about the cartoony mad elf with googly eyes, the fun font and red and green holiday colors on this beer label tickles my fancy. The beer’s red color matches the theme as well! All reasons I would give this beer as a gift to someone for the holidays. The taste and strength on the other hand should be thought out before handing it over to just anyone as a present. At 11% AVB, it’s a “consumer beware” brew and strength is apparent in the taste, but not overwhelming that an 11%er might. It does make a good belly warmer for the cold weather though. With that said, I would pick to gift this beer to people that generally appreciate beer. It’s a creative, “not the norm” beer of any style that can pose as a good conversation piece. The mixed taste from the sweetness of honey and tart fruitiness of the cherry, and spices comes through and mingles in your mouth. Holiday mouth party! If you don’t want the recipient to be “the person with the lamp shade on their head” by the end of the night, make sure you let them know how strong it is!”
Chefmungus: “As you gather with your family this year around the good ole Yule log after opening all your presents and feasting on your figgy pudding I recommend you share with them a bottle of Southern Tier’s Old Man Winter Ale. This beer is a lot like myself very stoic sort of the Mahayana or “Middle Way” lineage of Buddhism beer representation. It isn’t the best beer you’ll ever have even for this style (Old Ale) and it is definitely not the worst. A very solid beer that is perfect for the holidays because with everything else going and your focus rightfully being elsewhere you don’t want your beverage to be a distraction positive or negative. This beer pours dark brown with very little head retention and nose that consists of malt and some fruitiness perhaps raisins or plums. Just like the fire you are sitting in front of the finish of this beer makes you feel all toasty from the warming 7.6% ABV and the strong toasted malt & pine flavor profile. In fact instead of cookies on the mantle this year I’m thinking the original “Old Man” good old St. Nick deserves a nice sixer of Souther Tier’s Winter Ale. Cheers and Feliz Navidad my beer drinking friends.”
The General: “My close friends and family will be getting their dose of Christmas spirit from me in the form of SlyFox’s Christmas Ale 2010. A 25-ounce christened with a festively blue and white snow flake label, slap a bow on the cap and say Feliz Navidad- your wrapping is done. This “winter warmer” style beer earns it’s stripes early on as you pour out a garnet colored brew into your glass. Do you smell what I smell? Your grandmother’s homemade ginger snaps? It only gets more exciting from here. Filtered and medium bodied, your mother (who says she’ll try any beers you want her to drink but always says that they taste “beery”) won’t be scared away, but it still has a lot to offer. Tasting of ginger, nutmeg, and other Christmas spices that warm you from the inside out. Not absurdly spicy or alcoholic this gift is accessible to most all beer drinkers, and it’s not so heavy that it will fill you up so you can’t have your figgy pudding. Perfect for one person or for two people to split- this bottle won’t drain your wallet like the spoils you got for your underage non-drinkers. It’s also the perfect size to fit in a stocking! Merry Christmas and to all, and to all a good beer.”
Crobo: “When the cold weather comes rolling in every November, I begin to anticipate one of my favorite things: Sam Adams Winter Classics sampler pack. Coming in a case of 12, this sampler has two bottles each of six different brews. The beers contained within often vary from year to year, but 2010’s edition includes Boston Lager, Winter Lager, White Ale, Old Fezziwig Ale, Chocolate Bock, and Holiday Porter. Detailed reviews for each beer will have to wait for another place and time (although you can see reviews for some of them already by clicking “The Beers” tab at the top of the page), but suffice to say this sample pack has a little something for everybody.
All Sam Adams fans (and most craft beer fans in general) are probably familiar with their Boston Lager and Winter Ale, but the other four brews may be foreign to most. The White Ale and Chocolate Bock are currently only available in this sampler, although that may only be temporary (2009’s case included a Cranberry Lambic, a then-exclusive brew now available in six packs). The Old Fezziwig Ale is a pretty standard but spicy amber ale. The Holiday Porter and the White Ale are acceptable but safe representations of their respective styles. The Chocolate Bock is the real standout in this pack. Very dark but not super heavy, this one is EXTREMELY rich with milk chocolate sweetness. May be too rich for some, but right up my alley. Here’s to hoping that the Chocolate Bock can go the way of the Cranberry Lambic and be sold on its own next year.
Sampler packs make good gifts for the beer drinker in your life in general, as they provide a wide variety of styles and flavors. They can open one’s eyes to new brews without requiring the commitment of purchasing an entire six or twelve pack of one style. Sam Adams’ Winter Classics sampler is one of the best ones out there, and it shows: I have been to many liquor stores this holiday season that are simply unable to keep cases on the shelf. As soon as shipments arrive, they are sold. The only possible complaint against this pack is that there is really nothing for the hop heads, but it’s really hard to complain given the selection that Sam Adams decided on. Grab a case (or two!) if you can, and enjoy these brews responsibly this winter.”
Hope that helps out a bit! If none of these seem to fit exactly what you’re looking for, or you don’t happen to see them readily available in your nearby liquor/beer store, here’s a short list of some of our go-to, holiday season beers that are sometimes easier to find:
1. Anchor Steam – Christmas Ale
2. Harpoon – Winter Warmer
Si Sierra Nevada – Celebration Ale
4. Southern Tier – Krampus
5. Weyerbacher – Christmas Ale
Happy holidays everyone! Cheers!
Naptown Beer Scene on the Up & Up
A couple of weeks ago I had a chance to hit up the great city of Indianapolis for a work conference (Exact Target’s Connections 2010). Always good to get away from the office for a couple of days to explore a city, especially when it’s one you have never rolled out to. Personally, my favorite part about these trips is the opportunity to seek out the absolute best local beers, breweries, and brewpubs.
So my flight leaves at the ass crack of dawn dropping me in Naptown way before my colleagues will ever even sniff the Newark Airport. Of course I check into my room and immediately begin researching where I am going to get my day drunk on. Most often I prefer the quaint down home breweries over the big downtown brewpubs so I dropped the 20 bucks for the 8 mile cab ride out to the Broad Ripple Brewpub.
100 percent made the right decision traveling out the what I found out is the oldest operating microbrewery in the state but in the grand scheme of things very young opening in 1990. This really goes to show you that the state of Indiana is extremely young in the beer scene, but I came to find out during my lunch and sampler that they are starting to make some serious noise.
The decor inside was very rustic & down home and the food was amazing with a great vegetarian selection for grass eaters like myself. I feasted on the artichoke and mozzarella pasta, basket of thick potato chips, and the soup of the day (can’t remember what it was but know it was delicious).
As far as the beer goes across the board all styles were solid, but the ESB on cask and the 10 year strong ale stood out the most. During my lunch a couple of locals strolled in wearing a Stone button down and a Dogfish Head t-shirt pontificating about the beer scene. Of course I was amped for the opportunity to talk brews with some locals and I come to find out they work for Cavalier Distributing the biggest local distributor. They continued to explain how Indy was young to the craft beer game but that now they are making moves giving young 1 year old start-up brewery Sun King mad props. After trying their Sunlight Cream Ale at a wonderful downtown beer bar Scotty’s Brewhouse later in my trip, I would have to agree. Just as a side note this bar was also able to offer up a 3 Floyds stuff which I had never had on tap and secretively crave on the regular.
Of I had to check out the big downtown chain breweries while I was in town as well. So we ate at Ram’s Restaurant & Brewery and did happy hour at had happy hour Alcatraz Brewing Company. Food at Ram was decent beer soup and IPA fries, but the beer at Alcatraz was definitely better highlighted by their Bock.
All in all a great city with a lot beer scene to offer up and great people to share it with. I would recommend this as a stop on anybody’s beer travels.
Baking With Beer!
After a brew session with Tim and Scotty a while ago, I saved some spent grain and froze it with hopes I’d find something to do with it baking wise. This past weekend our good friend Karl (aka Hungus, Papa K, Nice guy extraordinaire) had his annual “Hungusfest” party. It’s a great, huge party he goes all out for, but we’ll write about that in another post since there is a great gathering of “beer heads” at this party. Being Karl is seasoned homebrewer, and a lot of people coming love craft beer and are brewers themselves, I decided to put the spent grain to use for something different everyone would appreciate. Soooo I found a recipe online for BEER CUPCAKES! Helllooooo Nurse! It sounded delish so I threw the apron on, turned on the oven, and off to work I went.
I used a bunch of this spent grain, which was still a little moist because I froze it right after the brew session.
Since it was moist, I decided to throw it in the oven on some baking sheets for a little while at a lower temp., around 200 deg. It dried the grains out more, and then I “magic bulleted” them to get them to a finer grain texture. I would have used a food processor, but we lack one in our kitchen :(
I followed the recipe, and used Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale for the beer since the recipe called for a good amount of cinnamon I figured the pumpkin ale would have good flavors for that. And also since it’s fall! For the frosting, it called for an IPA, and I decided to go with Dogfish Head’s Indian Brown Ale since I knew it had the very hoppy characteristics of an IPA, but also the sweet malty, caramel tones of a brown that I hope might come out and be complimented by the sweetness of the frosting.
They came out quick and smelling awesome. Dark, spicy and sweet! You could see it’s not the normal smoothness of cupcakes, even looks more “muffinish”. But believe me, it was sweet, moist and cakey.
Then frosting the cupcakes…. I didn’t want to add too much sugar to stiffen the frosting since there was so much liquid from the beer. I felt the more sugar I added the less of the beer flavors would be present. The frosting came out pretty runny, although delicious, but I have thought up of a couple ways to remedy this issue for next time. But since it was runny, it poured over the cupcakes and ran off to the sides and left bald spots in some of the middle of them.
I personally did not like the way this looked. I felt the neeeeeeed to add something. So in honor of what we call Karl’s brewery, “Bent Twig Brewery” after the street a bunch of us lived on in college, I made mini chocolate bent twigs!
They did the job of distracting from the “bald spots” and adding a little garnish from the heart ;)
Despite its messiness, everyone seemed to love them! Yummers! I’ll definitely rock these cupcakes again. If anyone has any suggestions of other beers to try for these guys, or any other suggestions or comments for ways to handle the grain or malt, hit me up at email@example.com or on Facebook or Twitter @beerclubnj! Also check out and rate the beers used on www.BeerClubNJ.com!
With our powers combined, we are… BEER CLUB NJ!
So while grabbing a drink and a friendly game of boccie ball with buddies James and Murph at The Tap Room, we got into talking about the beer club they are founding member of and how they have been talking more and more about how to blow it up. Tim, being a marketing nerd, and Cindy being an aspiring marketing nerd, we all realized a great, fun, opportunity for us! We love social media, we love marketing, we love beer! Winner winner chicken dinner! So after that, we attended a meeting with most of the Beer Club NJ crew. After discussions of their expectations, and how we could help them, we became official members of the club. So as part of the “combining of powers” we will begin to blog on their site in addition to our own personal blog here. One great pros of this is they are consistently rating & trying out new beers, taking trips to breweries & brewpubs so it will always give us good stuff to write about. And then with more people, it’ll be easier to hear about beer events, new beer news, and more “beer ventures”! So keep checking the site and we’ll be blogging under the “articles” sections, along with other interesting content by the other “idiots”.
So “With our powers combined, we are…. BEER CLUB NJ!”
Beer me please!
We haven’t really been able to sit and drink a new beer or review it lately because of 4th of July weekend bbqs, bike riding and taco trucks! But here’s a quick rundown of some of our beer happenings int he past week or so….
- The most awesomess thing was one of our favorite places to drink great beer, The Stirling Hotel, added a taco truck to their facitlities! Awesome!
This made Tim as giddy as a school girl. Yes this is true I love tacos and let me tell you the lump crab taco they whip up is well worth the trip. Great beer, good atmosphere, and now they added TACOS?! AND they’re staying open until 1:30am on weekends now!? yay! We’ve decided that are mission in life is to try every weekend to ride our bikes to and from this establishment at least once. It’s about 6 miles but definitely seems a little longer on the way back after some heady brews and good eats.
- We also recently stumbled upon a bottle of Dogfish Head Namaste which is Belgium style with citrus, lemongrass and some other spices. We made the poor decision to not sit down with it and enjoy the tasting and instead brought it to a bbq. So in the EXTREME hot heat we popped it open… good thing was it is such a refreshing session beer we threw it back like it was Gatorade… bad thing was we drank it so quickly we didn’t really take great tasting notes on the beer :( Looks like we’ll have to try that one again!
- Finally, since Cindope is such a big fan of the Brown Ale style we placed her order with Northern Brewer for the ingredients to make her Slobbernocker Brown a few days ago and it came in! So then it was time to brew!!! :)
Sharing our beerings and rants. Cheers to beers.