Beer of the Week 2/6 – 2/12
The past week was a close one between New Belgium Brewing Citradelic and Flying Dog Brewery Blood Orange Ale. If I had to choose…you know what I don’t have to choose. They were both fun beers that caught me by surprise.
New Belgium Brewing Citradelic 6% – The tangerine is up front and helps to calm down the hops while be ever so refreshing.
Flying Dog Brewery Blood Orange Ale 7% – The citrus is not as prominent in this one but still there with hints of pineapple, spices and malt that end with some bitterness from the hops.
I look forward to pairing them with some spicy Thai in the near future.
Beer of the Week 1/30 – 2/5 – This weeks top pick goes to a classic and one of this Gal’s favs Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue). Not only do I love this beer because of the dark fruits, caramel, and malts topped off with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg but also it’s sentimentally a favorite of mine.
This Gal names her fur babies after beer and it all started with my cat/dog Chimay. A dog stuck in a cats body and one of the coolest cats around. Cheers Chimay!
Between tap takeovers and visits to a couple different breweries this Gal had the opportunity to taste an array of wonderful beers this week but the one that stood out to me the most was Spellbound Brewing Palo Santo Porter. I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying this beer on a few occasions and each and every time it’s outstanding.
Pours a velvety black with a up front chocolate presence and hints of wood, rich malts and a ting of vanilla. (beer to far right)
Please join Geeky Beer Gal at UNO’s Hamilton for Drafts & Crafts featuring TROEGS beer. Everyone knows beer makes the holidays better and this year you can enjoy a variety of Troegs beers while shopping for hand crafted items for sale by local vendors at Drafts & Crafts. That’s right you get to enjoy beer and get your shopping done! So make your list, check it twice and get to UNO’s Hamilton Dec. 11. Admission is FREE.
Please contact Geeky Beer Gal at email@example.com for questions and vending opportunities.
Please join Beer for Babes & Geeky Beer Gal at Flying Fish Brewery for the Hoppy Holiday Bazaar 2. Everyone knows beer makes the holidays better and this year it can even help make holiday shopping more enjoyable. Enjoy a variety of Flying Fish beers while perusing the many fine craft items for sale by local vendors (all beer related) at the Hoppy Holiday Bazaar. That’s right you get to enjoy beer while getting your shopping done! So check your list for who’s been naughty or nice and get to Flying Fish Brewery December 4. Admission is FREE. Drink local, Shop local!
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Most of you have probably heard New Belgium Brewing beers will now be available in New Jersey. Some folks have wondered why I’ve been so quiet about this news when most in the beer world are clammering about it. Ummm, because I don’t think it’s that big a deal. There I said it. Boy does it feel good to get that off my chest.
Now don’t get me wrong I think New Belgium brews very good beer but so do numerous other breweries. Which leads me to ask is everyone really that excited or are they feeding off each other?
New Belgium has been available in Jersey’s neighboring state of Pennsylvania for several months now and since this Gal’s go-to-beer store, Trenton Road Takeout, is located in PA I’ve had access to New Belgium since the early fall and have tried various styles. I did enjoy them but not to the point that I understand why people are tripping over themselves in their quest to do the happy dance about the Jersey release. Mind you most of the folks doing the tripping have tried it before so I wonder do they really think it’s incredibly awesome or do they feel that they have to say that?
Let’s look at some of the Holy Grails of the beer world. You know the ones I’m referring to Pliny the Elder, Pliny the Younger and Heady Topper. I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying 2 out of the 3 – eventually I’ll try the Younger. Yes, Elder and Topper were both very good. No, I did not wait in line for hours, fight my way through throngs of humans nor did I pay some ridiculous price. I tried them for free via kind individuals. A bottle of Pliny the Elder was left on my desk by a client as a thank you for helping him with a project. I was excited to finally get to try it but thankful I didn’t knock myself out doing so. A good friend was given a can of Heady and chose to share it with me one night while enjoying dinner at a BYOB establishment. Very enjoyable indeed. BTW – if forced to pick I enjoyed the Heady more but both were wonderful. I would love to try the Younger and feel it will happen one day but nope I’m not going to great lengths to do so.
The whole thing of making customers jump through hoops to get these Holy Grails has become increasingly annoying. “Watch for our post of when it goes on tap so you can rush like a mad person to get here and wait in line for hours for the golden ticket”. Have fun and I’m sure some wonderful beerships will be formed from the experience but this Gal will be chilling with a good beer elsewhere.
But seriously do folks really think the beers are worth all the hoopla, is it bragging rights to say you had them or does one feel pressure to says it’s good? Would one dare say they didn’t think Pliny was all that?!
So yes, New Belgium is now available in Jersey. I’m happy for the brewery expanding their market and for my fellow beer lovers who can’t wait to try it but I’m not jumping on the band wagon doing the happy dance because I don’t feel it’s dance worthy.
Backward Flag Brewing is a much welcomed addition to Forked River, NJ and I for one am thrilled that it’s located a mere 4 minutes from this Gal’s parent’s home. The owners are active military personal who decided to follow their dream and open a brewery. I honestly don’t know how they do it all but they do it well.
Torie, one of the owners, was kind enough to allow me stop in one week night even though they technically weren’t open. She took a chuck of time out of her crazy schedule to chat with me about the brewery, beer in general, and their beer. One can learn a lot from her about beer and I truly appreciated the time and knowledge she shared with me. I also greatly appreciated be given the opportunity to tastes all the beers they currently had on tap. I have to say they brew great beer! Everything I tasted was top notch. This isn’t a fluke they have worked hard to get their brewing to where it is today. They’ve only been open for a few months and yet the beer didn’t have the new brewery beer – still needs tweaking – taste to it. It’s clear they really have taken the time, effort and energy to brew the beers how they were meant to be brewed. Sure they have mis fires but they recognize them and dump rather than serve them it to their customers.
The brewery is small but they already have plans to increase the brewing capacity and, sit down for this one, plan on brewing sours in the near future! Woohoo! The brewery offers a family friendly environment with a laid back atmosphere with a beautiful handcrafted bar to hang out at and I admires the clever use of pallets for seating and decor. While there feel free to pick up a piece of chalk and do your best Picasso impersation on the floor.
As you might have guess it’s also community oriented and very military friendly. If you have a patch from your unit bring it in for their wall of patches.
Backward Flag Brewing should be placed near the top of your New Jersey Breweries to Visit List and a brewery to keep your eye on. I suspect we’ll be hearing and drinking a lot more from them.
Xmas Edoris Porter 8.5%
brewed with 25lbs candy cane because of the candy cane I was a bit leery since I’m not a fan of peppermint but this beer was amazingly good and refreshing
Forked River Mountain Stout 5.2%
cocoa nibs & vanilla – smooth rich nose, overall a lovely beer
Bamber Brown 5.1%
English Style Brown – old school
loved that they had a brown on tap and this one had hints of caramel & earthy toasted bread.
Belgian Style Pale Ale 5.3%
True to style – citrus, floral and yeasty goodness with a hint of banana.
Something you should know about this Gal, if you already haven’t figured it out, I can be stubborn when I want to be. Although, I like to think of it as more determination that stubbornness. That being said way back in the late spring/early summer a friend and I ventured into the city for a self made pub crawl. One of the places I wanted to try the most was Jimmy’s No. 43. I kept hearing how great the beer selection is and it has appeared on many top beer places in NYC lists. Needless to say I was beyond disappointed when I arrived to find them closed. Ever so determined to check out Jimmy’s No. 43 for myself I once again trekked back to the city and voilà found myself at Jimmy’s No. 43 and it was open!
You have to go down a flight to enter Jimmy’s and when you do you feel you’ve been transported back in time to the catacombs of Old World Europe either that or a vampires lair. Jimmy’s is small and cozy with arched brick ceilings, lots of wood and carved cathedral style openings. Over all a very inmate setting. The bar is in front of you when you first walk in and is smaller than I thought it be maybe seating 9 or 10 people. I loved the marble bar top and all the old wooden barrels around the ceiling perimeter.
Besides wanting a beer my friend and I were in need of some food too. Jimmy’s offers a small but interesting menu so we were looking forward to enjoying something different. That being said as we scoped out the joint I asked the bartender if they were serving food. Normally they would be but since things seemed pretty darn quiet I figured I better ask. Sadly they were not, the kitchen wasn’t ready yet. Ummm, OK. So we took a seat at the bar and scanned the area for the tap list. Not spotting one I asked the bartender what was available. She pointed to the clipboards near the entrance said the tap list was on that but she hadn’t had time to update it. Alrighty then.
The list consisted of 12 beers on tap and a rather extensive bottle list. The tap list was indeed good but not as impressive as I thought it be giving all the hoopla I’ve heard about Jimmy’s. Although, I feel spoiled with the wonderful tap selections in such close proximity to home. Heck, this Gal is just 30 minutes from some the best tap lists the City of Brother Beer (Philly) has to offer.
I had finally decided on my beer request but the bartender was busy behind the bar doing I’m not sure what. So I waiting patiently for her to take my beer order. Instead she announced she had to go check on her food, grabbed her purse and left. I looked at my companion and said,”did she really just leave?” She sure did. So we sat and waited because no matter what I was having a beer at Jimmy’s No. 43 . Upon her return I requested the Greenport Harbor Black Duck Porter but unfortunately, that was one of the beers they were out of. Instead I opted for the Black Hog Coffee Milk Stout (Nitro). It was lovely how it cascaded into the glass and I was looking so forward drinking it but it sat and sat and sat and then sat some more while, once again, the bartender did – God knows what behind the bar. Seriously, we were sitting at the bar and I do not for the love of anything sane understand what she was occupying her time with but it certainly wasn’t attending to her customers. I was to the point that I was ready to reach over and grab the beer when she finally served it to me. I will say it was worth the wait.
Coffee Milk Stout, Black Hog, CT (Nitro) – 5.5%
This pours beautifully leaving gorgeous rings on the glass as you sip it. Rich roasted coffee, bitter on the backside with the silky smooth creaminess of a milk stout. Velvet silk in a glass.
By the time I had been served the Black Hog I pretty much figured I would only be having the one beer and moving on. I don’t have a whole lot of patience for bad service and the service or lack there of at Jimmy’s was getting increasingly bad. Wait…it gets worse.
The beer was $8 and I put on $10 on the bar next to my glass. As the glass became empty I figured at some point the bartender would acknowledge the empty glass and I could settle up my tab. Yeah, that wasn’t to be the case. It really became very clear that she didn’t care about her customers. So my companion and I got up to leave with the $10 clearly sitting next to my empty glass. I was first up the stairs when I realized my companion was still inside. Turns out our leaving FINALLY got the bartenders attention and she yelled at him about leaving without paying. I find it curious that her first reaction would be to accuse a customer of not paying instead of perhaps nicely saying something to them or looking on the bar first to see if they left money. She was informed the money was indeed on the bar next to the EMPTY glass and her response – “oh”. Not ok, thank you or sorry about that – just Oh.
As a former bartender I completely understand one can have an off day but by the end of our visit I really just got the feeling that this type of service was the norm at least for this bartender. As someone who lives on a budget and carefully chooses when and where to spend my money I much rather spend it somewhere that truly appreciates ones customers. That being said there are plenty of bars in NYC with great tap list and good service that appreciates the business their customers bring. Sadly this was not the case on this visit.
2nd Story Brewing Company is a welcome addition to the Philadelphia beer scene and with so many great beer options in the city of Brotherly Beer to choose from you might skip over one of the newer kids but I recommend you stop and check them out.
2nd Story has a rustic industrial feel to it with a long bar that takes up most of the wall to the right and multiple sitting areas throughout the downstairs. Something I absolutely loved (besides the beer) is the space between tables. Yes, the owners could have fit in several more tables but instead chose to leave lots of breathing room between tables which gives each group/table a sense of privacy. Such a welcomed retreat from overcrowded dining areas.
There’s also an upstairs which is where the brewing takes place hence the name 2nd
Story. ; ) There’s also a smaller bar and some dining table upstairs which makes for a perfect spot for a private party. On this particular night the area was empty and all the action was taking place on the main floor including a birthday celebration for a special someone – my awesome nephew! So happy my brother chose 2nd Story to celebrate his son’s 23rd birthday at.
2nd Story is a full service restaurant/bar with a diverse and tasty food menu and excellent service provided by Kelly. The beer selections are diverse as well and really offer something for everyone’s beer taste. During this Gal’s visit there were 10 beers on tap and one can do a flight of 4 5 oz pours for $8.50 (pints and growlers are also available) Naturally, this Gal chose to go with a taster round.
Who Dunnit American Pale Ale 4.5% Hops, with odd after taste, sort of a dank funkiness mixed with herbs.
Pickers Pride Wet Hopped Ale 5%
One can taste the cascade hops in this nicely brewed ale. More and more this Gal is enjoying wet hopped beers.
Berliner Weisse 3.8%
Sour German wheat beer with a good amount of tartness that is counterbalanced by a saltiness. You have a choice of it being served with raspberry or pomegranate syrup.
Fest Beer Oktoberfest 6.4%
A true classic Oktoberfest beer with earthy and sweet malts, hints of toffee and hops.
After the taster round was drained and the dinner consumed the group chose their dessert choices. Dessert for this Gal was a full goblet of Great Pumpkin Porter.
Great Pumpkin Porter 7.3%
This is a great combo of pumpkin spices, malt, vanilla and hints of a rum flavoring. Very clean, smooth and subtle pumpkin. The house-made doughnut dessert is served with a small taster of the this porter and compliments the dessert nicely.
Small taste of Adsultium IIPA American Double IPA 8%
Yup, lots of hops and rightly so. Although, the honey helps to balance the hops.
Overall 2nd Story Brewing Company is a great addition to the Philly Beer Scene. Located in Old City one could easily make it a stop on a beer crawl since it’s located across the street from Eulogy and around the corner from Khyber Pass.
Last time this Gal visited Gritty’s was August 1998. It was one of many stops along the way to Lemonwheel. Gritty’s is a classic after all they’ve been brewing beer since 1988. Years ago they only had the one location in Portland, Maine which was small, welcoming and just a great overall hangout. They’ve grown and now have 3 locations in Maine – Portland, Auburn and Freeport. On this visit I was checking out the Freeport location.It’s extremely easy to access as it’s located on Route 1 and just a mere half mile from Maine Beer Company. By know you know I recommend making it a mini beer crawl sort of day.Upon arrival I couldn’t believe how big the Freeport location is. The Portland location reminds me of an old English pub but this one has more of a Maine lodge feel to it. With large rooms, wood beams and accents and lots of windows allowing the natural beauty that is Maine to shine through. Upon entry there is a dining room to the right, back patio straight in front of you and the bar area with tables to the left. Naturally, I wanted to sit in the bar area. Although, after having just spent 6 hours in a car bar stools were not going to cut it so we opted for a table. However, I will say the tables in the bar area seemed oddly short. Still trying to figure that out.
Upon perusing the beer menu I immediately knew I needed to do a taster flight. However, I had another beer stop after Gritty’s plus a bit of a drive a head (although my companion was doing the rest of the driving) so I didn’t do the full flight (10 4oz beers) and opted for making my own size up. Yup, they are super accommodating. This Gal’s flight consisted of 5 Gritty McDuff’s beers.
Best Bitter 4.8% – Of course, I had to include their flag ship beer and truth be told I do enjoy a bitter. I was happy it was served at the right temperature so the malts and hop bitterness could truly be enjoyed the way the beer gods intended. A classic bitter.
Original Pub Style 4.5%
Over all it was good beer a bit light with not much to back it up but enjoyable to drink. The hops were extremely subtle.
Black Fly Stout 4.7% – You guessed it – this Gal’s favorite of the taster flight. This stout scored a perfect 100 from Beer Advocate Magazine and I understand why. Beautiful creamy head with a rich dark body. Overall it’s a lighter body dry stout that makes for easy, smooth, and enjoyable drinking.
English Wheat – Not much going on with this beer flavor wise but would be good on a hot day after mowing the lawn.
Dark IPA – Yum, malts & hops originally thought it was going to be a Black IPA so this Gal was confused by the medium chestnut coloring. I was happy to find out it’s Dark IPA which seems to be a popular style in Maine.
My companion enjoyed a mixed drink and we opted to just have appetizers since we had a grilled dinner waiting for us upon our arrival at the Cabin later. This Gal enjoyed Mushrooms with horseradish and my companion enjoyed the Pork Fries. The food menu is both meat and vegetarian friendly offering pub food as well as the local Maine cuisine.
Gritty’s is Maine institution and with 3 locations it’s worth trying to fit in a visit to at least one of them.