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January Beer Crawl

Starting this month and each month to follow this Gal will be making a Beer Crawl recommendation.

Looking for something to do? Try January’s Beer Crawl…

January’s Beer Crawl takes place in Bristol/Croydan, PA
Start at Newportville Inn with a bite to eat and some fine German beer, then it’s on too one of this Gal’s favorite spots Broken Goblet Brewing were you can enjoy a variety of brews including this Gal’s favorite Ying Yang Stout, next stop Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company where you can show off your pool playing skills while kicking back with a beer, then it’s on to the final stop Dog and Bull – Brew and Music House for snack, some beer and tunes. Enjoy!

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Jimmy’s No. 43

IMG_3982Jimmy’s No. 43
Facebook   Twitter @JimmysNo43

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!

IMG_3984You 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 soIMG_3983me 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.

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B.H. Coffee Milk Stout

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

0022nd Story Brewing Company
Facebook  Twitter @2ndStoryBrewing

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

Tilted Barn Farmhouse Burger
Tilted Barn Farmhouse Burger

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.

Falafel
Falafel

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.

005Who 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.

Great Pumpking Porter
Great Pumpkin Porter

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.

Gritty McDuff’s

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.IMG_2895Upon 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.

Sampler
Sampler

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.
Mushrooms
Mushrooms
Pork Fries
Pork Fries

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.

Kane Brewing Tap Takeover

Kane Brewing Tap Takeover

IMG_1797[2]Tough decision to make between a standing commitment and a Kane Brewing Tap Takeover just around the corner from work. Well never one to back out of a commitment this Gal found a way to fit them both in!

Kane had my favorite beer at the Garden State Brewers Festival (Morning Bell) back in June and since than I’ve tried their beer when ever given the chance – never being disappointed. It’s high on my list of breweries to visit but just haven’t made it yet…soon.

Left to Right
Left to Right

Civil Twilight Barrel Aged Imperial Stout 3.7% – Everything I wanted it to be and more. Same robust roasted malt flavors but in a lighter body stout.

Nom de Plom Saison 7.8% – More full body than expected, good sour quality, as well as the spices and fruits one associates with a saison. Ranks up their with Saisons the folks from Belgium brew.

Single Fin Belgian Ale 5% – Very good intro beer – easy drinking, underlying Belgium quality no one ingredient overpowers but rather blends and compliments one another.  Great for warmer weather and would pair nicely with fish and/or grilled veggies.

Overhead Imperial IPA 8% – The hops over powered the rest of the flavors, pretty much what I was anticipating from an Imperial IPA. For sure hop head heaven.

Ripple Session Ale 4.6%– Taken back at first, dissipates quickly as if melting in in your mouth but leaves strong after taste of hops – a weird strong watery constancy but with a full body flavorful taste. I found this beer strangely fascinating.

Head High IPA 6.5% – Strong hop nose, combo of  West Coast Hops with accented by grapefruit make for a very crisp, clean IPA. I have to say I really liked it and, as most know by now, I’m not a big hops fan.

Overall it was one hit after another. Kane Brewing is surely making it’s way up my list of favorite breweries. They are definitely in my top 10 and working towards the top 5. This Gal hopes to visit the brewery soon.

*Kane Brewing just one a medal at the 2014 GABF for A Night to End All Dawns Stout.

 

 

 

Maine Part 3 – Oxbow Brewing

135Oxbow Brewing – Newcastle, Main

The exploration to Boothbay Brewing went so well that two days later the group decided it was time to go beer sampling again. My bro researched and found Oxbow Brewery was just around the other side of the lake we were staying on. A mere 15 minutes away! Five of us piled into the vehicle, we lost one of non-beer drinkers for this exploration, and headed out.

Oxbow specializes in Belgian-style ales that are brewed in a small renovated barn located in a pretty rural area. One would never know its back there and can easily drive past it. The sign out front on the roadside is small and easy to miss but luckily we spotted it. The minute the vehicle turned on the path to get to the brewery I knew I was going to be one happy gal. I think most places small and hard to find turn out to be hidden gems. Oxbow is just that – a true gem! Their slogan perfectly describes them “Loud Beer from a quiet place”. It’s the kind of place I could seeing bringing a book to enjoy while hanging out relaxing with an Oxbow beer or two.

131As we pull up the excitement in the group was growing. Right away we noticed picnic tables and corn hole for outside enjoyment. Off to the left of the path is some sort of wood shed that looks like it might have some use during events. Straight ahead is the tasting room – cute rustic shed and behind that is the brewing barn. All surrounded by woods.

Tasting Room
Tasting Shed

Upon entering the tasting room I fell in love with the place even more and I hadn’t even tried their beer yet! For a small establishment they have nailed it. From everything to the logo, tasting glasses, swag for sale, great customer service and the overall inviting environment for their guest to enjoy. The tasting area is small with a mini bar to order at and then you can either take your beers out front, out back or step down to the small room off the entrance area with 3 or 4 barrel tables to sit at.

170One can purchase a sample round, individual full glass pours or growlers. During our visit several locals stopped in to refill growlers. Always a good sign.  Of course, this Gal went for the sample round as did the other beer drinkers in the group. The staff working the tasting shed was very pleasant and helpful which always helps the experience be that much better.

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Order L to R

Personally, I love farmhouse style Belgian beers but realize they aren’t for everyone. Each beer drinker in the group did find at least one beer they liked. This Gal enjoyed just about all of them.

Loretta – Oxbow Brewing 4%
Refreshing blonde ale that begs to be enjoyed sitting outside on a lake shore of Maine. No one flavor dominates it’s just a very easy drinking beer.

Freestyle 25 – Oxbow Brewing 4.5% (Freestyle is the breweries creative outlet featuring beers only brewed once) Czech Red Ale style done well with toasted malts, floral tones and an unique hop flavor.

Farmhouse Pale Ale – Oxbow Brewing 6%
Right away one can pick up the saison yeast followed up by the hops with a pleasant array of spices and citrus flavors going on. It’s their flagship beer and understandably so – nice job.

171Grizacca – Oxbow Brewing 5%
Ummm, no. Not for me but my Bro’s fav of the bunch so much so he had a full class after the taster. It has an earthy grass essence to it followed by a wallop of hops.

Oxtoberfest 2013 – Oxbow Brewing 6%
This Gal’s fav of the bunch and the one I chose to have a full glass of after the taster. This beer wasn’t a fav for the rest of the group. In fact, most didn’t care for it but I found it to be very interesting and enjoyable. Good dry body with a smoky tartness. The sourness complimented the malts without being overwhelming.

139It’s safe to say this group will be visiting Oxbow again. Heck, even the non-beer drinker liked the brewery so much she bought a t-shirt from it, as did this Gal. I have to say it’s one of the comfiest t-shirts I’ve ever worn. Even their swag is top notch quality!

Nice job Oxbow!

Update July 2015: We recently revisited Oxbow and once again thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. It was amazing to see how the groups beer taste has grown and changed. Last year the Grizacca wasn’t for me but this year loved it – amazing. Has was everything else. I especially loved the Bowie. Also, the group enjoyed all the beers including the ones they weren’t too fond of last year. Yup, taste grow and change.

Catch this Gal talking about Oxbow on What’s On Tap beer show.

 

 

Maine Part 2 – Boothbay Brewing at The Watershed Tavern

097Boothbay Brewery at The Watershed Tavern

After a few days of kayaking and boating this Gal felt it was time to explore some more of Maine’s other great offering – BEER! Next tasting stop Boothbay Brewery at The Watershed Tavern. This particular exploration involved six of us including both beer and non-beer drinkers alike.

095We piled into two vehicles and were on our way until we had no clue where we were. Not one to give up I called to only find out we were a mere minute down the road from the brewery. I feel safe in saying many folk get lost on their way and the brewery is use to explaining how to find them. They are not far off the main road to Boothbay but at the same time one would never expect a brewery to be where they are. Once we arrived none of us could believe what we found. The brewery and attached restaurant are really plopped down in the middle of a back road surrounded by the beauty that is Maine. Not only is there the brewery and restaurant but several small cute cabins scattered about the property for rent. It’s a little slice of Maine heaven that is beautiful and welcoming.

The brewery itself was closed by the time we arrived so we wondered into the restaurant, The Watershed. When one walks in you feel like you entered a good friend’s rustic cabin that they built by hand using their own trees which is pretty much the case here. It’s warm, cozy and invites one to stay and enjoy.

079We decided to plop ourselves down at the bar which meant we took up most of the bar. There are only 8 stool/chairs around the bar. These seats are a piece of carved art with very high backs and extremely sturdy. Around the bar is a small booth and game table ledge with a couple of stools around it. The bar top is a beautiful piece of milled wood. OK, there is beautiful wood everywhere, walls, ceilings, beams, tables, chairs, tasting trays – all of it gorgeous! There is also a handsome brick fireplace in the bar area that I can only imagine ads to the cozy environment in the winter time.

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Bar Stool

Geeky Beer Gal’s Bro suggested we share a taster round since it include 6 large tastes and we were still pretty full from lunch. (there is also a 10 beer taster round) Two others in the party shared a flight as well. The two non-beer drinkers entertained themselves with tavern puzzles available at the bar for patrons to enjoy and drive themselves crazy with. The Watershed offers both beer and wine but no hard liquor. They do offer a few selections from other breweries, as well, such as Dogfish Head and Allagash.

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Order L to R

My being a malt person and my bro being a hop head made for a very interesting mix for our taster flight which consisted of:

633 Pale Ale – Boothbay Brewing 6.33%
A true pale ale and happens to be their flagship brew as well. This ale has some good quality malt tones that help counter balance the hops. Right away one can tell they are using American west coast hops which helps me to distinguish one pale ale from another. To me American West Coast hops are a breed unto themselves with a very distinct characteristics that sets these beers apart from the rest of the hop pack. The hop factor was a bit much for me so not a favorite but a very well done pale ale.

Ken Brown Tribute Ale – Boothbay Brewing 7%
Sweet malty goodness! This ale has a nice dark roasted coloring but the body is on the lighter side for a brown. Great mix of malts with accents of hops and a good nutty flavor. Enjoyable indeed.

Dexter “Rippa” Red IPA – Boothbay Brewing 6.5%
Hop overload for this Gal but the Bro enjoyed it. A hoppy red ale true to style with some caramel undertones making its way through the field of hops.

086
Nitro

Black Rocks Stout – Boothbay Brewing 6.7%
Yum! Wonderful roasted coffee, bitter chocolate and caramel flavors mixed with just a hint of those West Coast hops. A full pint of this black beauty would be most enjoyable. (Tried a small taste of this on nitro – AMAZING – the nitro helped to mellow out and blend the flavors together even more so.)

Devil’s Thumbprint Black IPA – Boothbay Brewing 6.6%
More and more I find myself enjoying the Black IPAs. I just find them to be a really nice balance of malt and hops and easy to drink. This certainly was the case with the Devil’s Thumbprint. It was so well balance that both myself and my bro enjoyed it!

Townsend – Boothbay Brewing 5.3%
A good medium body English style ale with a pleasant mix of fruitiness, hops and malts.

Fellow tasters shared the…
Flip Flop Kumquat – Boothbay Brewing 4.9%
Very light in body, nice wheat beer with hints of citrus. Good intro beer for someone just starting to get into craft beers.

Vanilla Porter – Boothbay Brewing 3.8%
First tried this after tasting the Black Rocks Stout and felt it was good with just hints of vanilla. I tried it again later on in the tasting and wow the vanilla really punched its way through. Nice porter body but the vanilla was bit overpowering.

092While enjoying the beer we all took notice of how delish the food looked and smelled. A nice touch was the chef retrieving some beer from the taps to cook with. The menu is true tavern fare with both meat and vegetarian offerings. On the way out we spotted fish and chips being served to a patron and none of us could believe the size of the dish. We all agreed we’ll have to pay another visit to Boothbay Brewing so we can try out the food and enjoy some more beer!

Maine Part 1 – Great Lost Bear and Allagash Brewing Company

The Great Lost Bear & Allagash Brewing Company
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This Gal recently had the pleasure of spending some much needed down town in the beautiful state of Maine. Maine also happens to be home of this Gal’s favorite beer bar – The Great Lost Bear! (Please see last year’s post for a full review). Why is The Great Lost Bear my fav? Three simple reasons: 1. Great beer, 2. Great Veggie food (meat friendly too), 3. Great Music – the perfect trifecta. I’m talking kick back and relax bar atmosphere, sipping on the best of Maine beer offerings while listening to the Dead or some other great classic rock band. For this Gal it just doesn’t get any better.

Veggie Burger
Veggie Burger

On this particular visit I opted for the much loved taster round. Five 5 oz pours for $6.25. Wanted to enjoy as many beers as possible but kept in mind still had a good hour and half drive to the final destination. To help balance the intake of alcohol I enjoyed a delish house-made veggie burger that was out of this world in size and goodness!

009
Order Right to Left

It perfectly complimented the Taster Round which consisted of:

Summer Weizen – Smuttynose Brewing, NH 5.6%
Well done weizen style, very refreshing with a bit of tang. Good wheat presence with hints of floral and pepper. A beer perfect for kicking back and relaxing with.

Black Fly Stout – Gritty McDuff’s 4.1%
Yes, I repeated a beer from last year’s visit to the Bear. Just goes to show how much I enjoy this particular stout. (last year’s review This stout was ridiculously smooth, light in body but packed with big roasty goodness. It runs in the Irish Stout family but enjoyed it more than the typical Irish Stout because of the full malty flavors.)

Atlantic Bar Harbor Brown 5.2%
I love Brown Ales and will tend to order one whenever I see the style represented on a beer menu which in my opinion is not often enough. This particular brown has a good roasty quality of nuts and malts while maintaining a light body. Not the best brown this Gal has had but enjoyable just the same.

Hampshire Special Ale – Geary’s 7%
Maine in a glass! Wonderfully toasted malts, caramel and toffee balanced perfectly by the hops with hints of ginger and coriander make this ale a real pleasure to sip on. The perfect ambassador for Maine beers.

Confluence – Allagash 7.5%
Wasn’t sure what to expect when I ordered this little delight but I was pleasantly surprised by how incredibly smooth this ale is. All sorts of wonderfulness going on that results in a sweet and spicy harmony. One can detect hints of pepper and apricot along with the hops and malt. However, there’s no mistaking that one is drinking a Belgian style strong ale.

That was the end of my wonderful New England Sampling but I couldn’t leave without a quick taste of a little treasure I spotted on tap for the Goose Island Tap Takeover happening later that night….

Bourbon County Stout – Goose Island 14.2% (ON TAP)
Liquid Gold – Strong Liquid Gold. This style isn’t for everyone but for those of us that like the style Goose Island nailed it. Once you get past the bourbon taste you can pick out hints of vanilla, chocolate and smoke.

011Sadly it was time to wrap up what is happily becoming my yearly pilgrimage to my personal Mecca, The Great Lost Bear.

Now as much as this Gal wanted to linger at the Bear there was another quick stop that just had to be made and was only a mere 8 minutes down the road from The Great Lost Bear.

017016Allagash Brewing Company

One of this Gal’s favorite Brewery’s, so much so I once had an amazing pet I named after the brewery – Allagash.

023I had the pleasure of visiting this brewery many moons ago when Allagash was in its infancy stage. It was just a small brewery with no real tasting area and I don’t think they even offered tours then. They seemed pretty surprised when my companion and I showed up to buy some beer that day.

024 Boy, how things have changed. My jaw hit the floor when I saw the brewery, it’s huge; as is the tasting room. It’s also, very welcoming. There is a lovely outside patio area to hang out and enjoy your beers with a rustic Maine feel to it. Inside has a much more contemporary industrial look and feel with a long tasting bar and several tables for relaxing at. There is Allagash swag for sale all around the tasting room without it having an obnoxious in your face buy me feel to it. It was just there if you wanted to check it out. There was also a cold case with beer for sale. Even the bathrooms are cool! The tasting room is really set up for relaxing and hanging out.

The staff is very friendly and knowledgeable and greeted us upon entering and couldn’t believe I had been there so long ago. The other surprise besides the growth of the brewery was that the tasting round was completely FREE!

026
L to R White, Saison, Dubbel, Fluxus

On this particular day the tasting round consisted of the:

White – Allagash 5%
The white has been a go to beer for me for some time. It’s just so refreshing and such a pleasure to drink. It’s a beautiful representation of a Belgian wheat beer with a good unity of wheat, coriander and orange.

Saison – Allagash 6.1%
This Gal loves a Saison! Great balance of rye, pepper and citrus with a lovely yeasty cloudy presence to it. (Four packs of the Saison and Black where purchased for later enjoyment.)

Dubbel – Allagash 7%
A classic – Hints of chocolate and nuts mixed with malty goodness that add up to a slice of Belgian heaven.

Fluxus – Allagash 8.8%
I don’t remember trying the Fluxus before and it continually changes. This year’s Fluxus is an interesting combination of malts with hints of honey and finishes with a slight earthy pine taste without any one flavor being overpowering but rather complimenting each other.

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Now it really was time to continue on thy way – great start to a great vacation. This Gal highly recommends a stop at Allagash Brewing Company next time you find yourself in Portland, Maine followed by some lunch at The Great Lost Bear.

Paying It Forward with Beer

Paying It Forward with Beer

Numerous craft beer breweries are taking upon themselves to give back to their local communities by helping out local charities.  Great beer + giving back is a winning combination in this Gal’s book. Want to know how you can contribute by just purchasing some fantastic craft beer? Following are a few suggestions:

New Belgium Brewing donates 1% of all sales to environmental stewardship and $1 for every barrel of beer sold to non-profit organizations in the communities where they sell their beers.
alaskan

Alaskan Brewing Company donates 1% of all proceeds from its Alaskan IPA to  Coastal CODE (Clean Oceans Depend on Everybody)last-chance-no-warning-300x258Weyerbacher donates a portion of the proceeds from the sale of every drop of Last Chance IPA to small, regional animal rescue operations.  These shelters offer dogs, cats and other pets their last chance to find a new home.
althea-final-outlines

Weyerbacher Althea – $1 per bottle is donated to The Breast Cancer Patient Assistance Fund of Lehigh Valley Health Network.

Yards-PYNK-Tart-Berry-Ale
Yards PYNK For each case of PYNK sold, Yards will donate $1 to the Tyanna Foundation, which provides support for the care and treatment of breast cancer patients.
label-fu_sand.eace9fb63ac74c6bcfe9aa8d804e63cf193
Flying Fish FU Sandy – sales from this beer benefit grassroots NJ-based charitable organization dedicated to Superstorm Sandy relief
Hangar 24 Craft Brewery donates to various local organizations in their community and even as a form on their website for local charities to apply to become a recipient.
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant participates locally in civic and community service including brewing a  signature beer with the Eagles’ Jon Runyan, with the proceeds going to Cystic Fibrosis.
Stone Brewing Co. has contributed over $2 million to charitable and community non-profit organizations.


Summit Brewing Company
believes in giving back to the community in many ways such as donations, use of their community room for free to local charities, food collections, supporting local artists and adopt-a-highway.

This is just a small sample of how the craft beer industry is paying it forward.

 
 

NJ 350th Birthday Party

NJ 350 Birthday Party at Blend Bar & Bistro

Blend Bar & Bistro recently hosted a party to celebrate New Jersey’s 350th Birthday. It was quite the celebration showcasing New Jersey Brews and some classic Jersey food, think  pork roll. Around 12 to 14 New Jersey Brewers participated and several of the breweries had reps at the event as well. With both indoor and out door seating there was plenty of space for the large crowd which the staff did a great job handling. There were door prizes too but in the 3 1/2 hours this Gal was at the event I never heard ticket numbers being called out so not sure how that worked but the prizes were pretty cool looking. Mostly swag from the Brewers.

The evening started off with a beer from a company I hadn’t had the pleasure of trying before – NJ Beer Company.

LBIPA - Was enjoying it so much forgot to take a pic of it until it was almost gone!
LBIPA

LBIPA – NJ Beer Company 7%
By now most know this Gal is not much for IPAs, although, they are growing on me. I do believe it’s always good to try new things so went for a full pint and was glad to have a pint worth’s of this beer. This beer is perfect for kicking back and enjoying the summer with. It’s has nice crisp citrus tones with hints of floral and just the right amount of hops. It’s a very refreshing and a pleasing drinking beer that would be a great addition to any picnic menu. I look forward to trying more selections from this brewery in the near future especially their stout. (Was enjoying the LBIPA so much forgot to take a pic of it until it was almost gone, whoops.)

 

IMG_1246Next up was a taster round…

Trinity Smoked Scottish – Rinn Duin Brewing Company 4.%
I was really looking forward to trying this beer. It’s been a while since I’ve had a smoked brew. Unfortunately, this one really didn’t hit the mark for me. I don’t want the smokiness to overwhelm the beer or knock my taste buds over but I do want to at least enjoy some smokiness and there really wasn’t much to this beer. This beer is on the light end of medium body with some malty sweetness and just a faint hint of smoke.

Boaks Abbey Brown Ale – Boak Beverage 7%
This Gal was really excited about this ale. I love me a Belgian Strong Dark Ale and this didn’t disappoint. Nice rich brown color with nice roasted malts, dark cherries and just a hint of chocolate that finishes nicely. Well done!

Happy Buck’n Anniversary – Bolero Snort Brewery 7.7%
Between this being a porter and the brewery having a fun name I had to get this beer. I loved how dark this beer pours such a deep rich black color with a nice cocoa taste accompanied by roasted coffee. This is a good medium body porter that can be enjoyed year round.

Morning Bell – Kane Brewing Company 9.2%
Oh mother love this beer is tasty. It’s got the wake me up in the morning coffee punch that I love in porters and stouts. One can smell, as well as taste, the coffee in this little black beauty. Along with the chicory it has a nice amount of dark chocolate bitterness, roasted malts and slight hints of vanilla. Finishes solid and is a very well balanced porter that I look forward to having again and again.

I finished the night with a firkin offering from Pinelands Brewing Company.

Pinelands Saison
Pinelands Saison

Pinelands Farmhouse Ale – Pinelands Brewing Company 6%
What’s better than a Saison? Well, a firkin of Saison. This beer has the true hazy golden color associated with the Saison style. One can immediately smell the yeast, lemons and wheat and this beer offers a good balance of both citrus and spice.

This was only this Gal’s 2nd visit to Blend Bar & Bistro but each time I’ve been impressed. #blendnj350