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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

Garden State Brewers Festival

Battleship New JerseyGarden State Brewers Festival 6/28/14
Aboard the Battleship New Jersey

This event was a ton of fun. It’s been several years since I’ve attended this festival and have never been since it started being held on the Battleship which let’s face it is a really cool setting for a beer festival.

This year I decided to volunteer and help out which was a great way to meet fellow beer folks. After my shift was done I had the pleasure of enjoying the festival itself. I have to say this particular festival is run nice and smooth and there is plenty of room for everyone with both seating on the open deck as well as coverage under tents and there is always a nice breeze on the deck even on real hot days. Bonus, the live band was really good as well! Great beer accompanied by Grateful Dead tunes is a win win for this Gal!

Too many beers to review but will highlight a few.

Most interested in trying – Village Idiot Brewing
I have to say their Tripel didn’t disappoint

IMG_1262Best Selection – Triumph Brewing
They were pouring 4 beers and had something for everyone. Pleasantly surprised by their Saison and their Porter was nice too.

Most Surprised by NJ Beer Company
I didn’t think I would see an Abbey on tap and was surprised they offered one – delish by the way. Keeping my eye on this brewery – this was only the 2nd time I’ve tried one of their beers and both times really enjoyed them.

Second Favorite Beer of the Day Cricket Hill Nocturne Chocolate Ale
I found myself at this tap a few times and directed others there as well

IMG_1261Favorite Beer of the Day – Kane Brewing Morning Bell
Just had this beer for the first time 2 days prior but it’s quickly becoming a favorite of this Gal’s!

 

Southern Tier Mokah

IMG_1157Southern Tier Mokah – Southern Tier Brewing Company 11.20%
A stout brewed with chocolate & coffee

To quote George Takei, “Oh my”. This little beauty pours a thick rich opaque black with a wonderful creamy toffee color head. With strong roasted chicory, mocha flavors and a subtle underlying taste of rich creamy chocolate with dark fruits and just a hint of vanilla and molasses. It’s a bit on the sweet side but not overly so and has that nice boozy quality to it. It’s full bodied without being too heavy, very smooth and overall a delight to drink. I plan on enjoying this little black beauty again.

Yards Brewing

 

Yards Brewing
Yards Brewing

Yards Brewing

Back in April I suddenly found myself with a free Saturday, which is rare occurrence in this Gal’s life as of late, so I decided to take full advantage of the day, a beauty at that, and get caught up on some overdue chores and errands. As a reward I treated myself with a jaunt to Philly. I had been feeling the pull to revisit Provenance Architecturals and see if anything inspired this Gal. Provenance is a great salvage place that inspires one to be creative. Oh and it also happens to be located right across the street from Yards Brewing.

IMG_0884
Love Stout

So once I had my fill of inspiration I walked, really ran for dear life after all its Delaware Avenue, across the street to Yards. It was later in afternoon and I had figured a nice beer or two would complete this wonderful day. I had planned that the brewery would be hopping but I did not expect the crowd that was there. Holy Cow the place was packed. At first I thought maybe there was some sort of event going on but I came to find out that every Saturday it’s a jumping. Even with the crowd I managed to make my way up to the bar pretty easily. Normally, I would prefer a taster round but didn’t feel like balancing a taster paddle while standing in my little corner of the world. Since the taster was out of the question I decided to go for a pint of one of my favorites…Love Stout. Yum! While enjoying my little piece of roasted malty goodness I noticed a free bar stool on the other side of the room and was able to weasel my way over. Score!

Tasting Room
Tasting Room

Since I had planted myself on a stool I figured I might as well stay and enjoy some more delish beer. I noticed they offered two different taster rounds/flights. Revolutionary Flight: George Washington Tavern Porter, Thomas Jefferson Tavern Ale, Poor Richards Tavern Spruce & Love Stout the other flight was the Signature Flight: Brawler (my go to beer for sitting out on my deck), Extra Special Ale, Philadelphia Pale Ale and IPA. Both nice flights but not really what I was in the mood for so I asked one of the many bartenders working if I could make up a flight – Sure Thing! Geeky Beer Gal Flight: Saison, La Colombe Corsica Coffee Love Stout, Swartzbier and the Special Belgian Triple.

Yards offers tours of the brewery, which I enjoyed on a past visit, and the tasting room has picnic and regular tables for hanging at, a nice size bar and pool tables plus a menu that is meat and vegetarian friendly. Also, every Saturday is Food Truck Saturday featuring a local food truck right outside the Tasting Room. Yards really is a place where a group of friends can chill for an afternoon or evening.

Tasting Room
Tasting Room

I have to give a shout out to the staff and their exceptional service. I can’t emphasis enough how busy this place was and yet they kept up with everyone’s drink and food orders, kept the place clean and things moving smoothly plus were accommodating to everyone. High fives all around!

Love Stout 5% – Sometimes I forget how much I enjoy this beer. This is a really smooth stout that has a nice balance of coffee, chocolate, roasted malts and just a tinge of earthy hops.

Saison 6.5% – Nice fruity presence with hints of pepper and coriander that pours a hazy golden color and finishes with just a touch of bitterness. Would go nicely with Indian or Thai cuisine.

La Colombe Corsica Coffee Love Stout 5.5% – Wow, wow, wow. Upon drinking this I felt like I stuck an IV of coffee in my body. Very nice but the coffee was a bit overpowering for me and usually I love a strong coffee taste to my stouts. Nice dark body but really couldn’t taste much but the coffee. This Gal is staying with the regular Love Stout.

Swartzbier 6% – Nice medium body German style beer that pours a nice reddish/brown color with a  slight roasted chicory taste and bittersweet tones that linger in the mouth.

Special Belgian Triple 8% – Oh how I love a Tripel! Not much of a nose by very smooth with a nice clear body. Not one particular over powering flavor, very balanced and easy to drink which could be a bit dangerous coming in at 8%.

Southern English Brown 5.3% (small taste) – nice nutty nose, very smooth and delish. Overall a very well down brown.

Taster Round
Taster Round

Beer Authority and The Ginger Man

Mini Beer Crawl, NYC  11/6/13

I decided to do a mini beer crawl in NYC, visiting one new spot, well new for me, plus an oldie but goody.

First up was the newbie – Beer Authority, NYC
http://www.beerauthoritynyc.com/
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This establishment has caught my eye on numerous occasions being I usually take the bus into NYC and the Beer Authority is located right next door to the Port Authority Bus Terminal. It’s taken me a while to check it out since it’s located only 3 blocks from my favorite  go to beer place in NYC, BXL Café. I’ve also been hesitant since it’s in the heart of the tourist area and rather large. I prefer smaller more intimate spaces. Upon entering there is a small bar on the first floor and if I was to go back that is where I could kick back. On this particular trip my companion and I headed up to the 2nd floor main bar/restaurant area. It was a pretty big room and the décor was welcoming with lots of wood and beer signs all around. A nice décor touch was all the door handles upstairs were tap handles. I thought that was fun.

Only a few other patrons were there at the time and I was very thankful for that since the room was a bit noisy and I can only imagine how noisy it would be full. Also, there is an outside roof bar area for the nicer days. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to check it out, that alone may be a reason for me to go back.

After being seated at a table, next to a window which made it ideal for people watching, I immediately started to peruse the beer menu. It was nicely laid out by style and the list really had something for everybody. I was hoping for a sample round but was informed by my waiter they didn’t do that. I found that strange for a beer establishment and realized I was certainly going to have to choose wisely since I would be having a full beer instead of a sample. I wanted to pair my beer selection with the food I would be having. I felt the Spider Bite Boris the Spider, NY 10% (8 oz serving) would complement my vegetarian Shepard’s Pie quite nicely. (note: the food menu is meatarian, vegetarian and gluten free friendly)

Boris the SpiderSpider Bite Boris the Spider, NY 10%
This isn’t just a beautiful beer there is the flavor to back it up as well. It’s rich dark colors and beautiful aroma lets you know you are in for a nice medium to full body beer chalk full with a  richness of flavors.  It has a roasted bitter coffee and rich cocoa flavor plus a hint of smokiness as well. Overall this a darkness of goodness glass of beer.

I felt I chose wisely as it did pair very well with the Shepard’s Pie. I debated about having a second but since I still had another beer stop to make I decided to pass.

Overall my experience at the Beer Authority was pleasant and am glad I finally stopped in to see what was happening there. It’s hard to imagine myself making it a regular stop when visiting the city, there are just too many other beer places to try. However, I do feel the need to check out the roof top bar at some point so come warmer weather another stop might just be required.

Next stop on my mini beer crawl….The Ginger Man
http://www.gingerman-ny.com/

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It’s been a least 8 or 9 years since I’ve been to The Ginger Man and not much has changed in that time. It’s still has 70 beers on tap, plus numerous bottles and an extensive whiskey list as well. The atmosphere is warm and cozy with long tables to gather at or you can curl up in a comfy oversized chair to enjoy your beer. For this visit my companion and I sat at the bar and I was happy when I noticed they offered sample rounds. I was in the mood to experiment and sample rounds are perfect for that. All the beer on tap is available for the sample round and it’s 4 5oz pours for $13. I was also in the mood for some big beers and they had plenty on tap. My first round consisted of:

Barrier Hot Burning Love, Barrier Brewing Company, NY  5.4%
This is an amber ale brewed with jalapenos and scorpion ghost peppers. The pepper taste is subtle, at least to me but I like things hot. There is a slight musty taste to the beer  but overall is a pleasant drinking beer. I think it would be better paired with food rather than drinking it on it’s on. I found 5oz pour to be plenty. 

Allagash James Bean, Allagash Brewing, Maine 10.3%
WOW….let me say that again….WOW! That was my first, second and third response after trying this beer. I’m not a bourbon drinker but this beer made me rethink that. Right away you can taste the bourbon but it’s not at all overpowering just very subtle. It pours a nice golden hue with a pure white head. Besides the bourbon there is a slight aged in wood flavor to the beer that is very complementary to the overall taste that consists of oak, whiskey and hints of coffee with low carbonation and a creamy body. This is a very nice sit by the fire place sipping beer.

Cask Mendocino Oatmeal Stout, Mendocino Brewing Company, CA 6%
I went for this beer because it was on Cask. This stout is super smooth with a rich mocha color and a strong roasted malt taste with undertones of cherry and chocolate. I enjoyed this beer immensely. Very easy to drink.

Cask Pumking, Southern Teir Brewing Company, NY 8.6%
Pumking is one of my favorite pumpkin beers and I was excited to finally get to try on cask. Being on cask really allows the flavors to come through full throttle and the pumpkin flavor was really enhanced without the carbonation. It pours a nice golden color and has the full flavors of pumpkin, nutmeg and caramel with a touch of vanilla.

135Burning Love, Allagash, Mendocino, Pumking

For my second taster round (my companion insisted) I enjoyed the following:

Stone Farking Wheaton W00t Stout, Stone Brewing Company, CA, 13%
My oh my! This beer pours a very dark brown with a nice beige/cream head. Right off the bat you can taste the alcohol in this beer along with some California hops, chocolate, whiskey and perhaps a bit of licorice. This is a big beer in many ways alcohol, flavor and aromas. Not my favorite of the day but appreciated being able to try it.

Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale, Stone Brewing Company, CA, 12%
It’s been a while since I had this ale so I decided to go for it. Right off the bat you can smell and taste the California hops that leaves the mouth feeling a bit dry. Along with the hops there’s a maltiness to it as well along with earthy undertones and a tinge of caramel. This reminded me more of an Imperial IPA than a barley wine. If you are into hops I recommend it.

Carton BDG Brown, Carton Brewing Company, NJ 6%
Apparently, this second sampler round was going to be about hops without my knowing it. I’m more a malt gal but it’s always good to try new/different things. I chose it because I like browns and rarely see them on menus. I think it’s one of the most under brewed styles. I felt this particular brown was more of an IPA with a brown color to it. It’s a bit yeasty and does have the slight nutty flavor to it that I associate with brown ales. Not a go to beer for me but enjoyable.

My final selection of the day was an oldie but goodie…

St Louis Framboise, Brouwerij Van Honesbrough, Belgium 4.5%
It’s been ages since I’ve enjoyed a Framboise and this was a delight. It was a beautiful hue of pink with amber highlights and pinkish head to it. As soon as you bring it up to your lips you can smell the sweet berry goodness of this beer. It’s full of raspberry flavor with the wonderful balance of sweet and tart that lamics are known for. This was the one and only beer my companion decided to try and it was a hit all around. I decided to play a bit an mix a wee bit of the lambic with a wee bit of the W00t Stout – chocolate covered goodness in a glass.

After the second sampler round it was time to head back out into the streets of the City and enjoy a nice leisurely walk with my companion .

136W00t Stout, Old Guardian, Carton BDG, Framboise

Pumpkin Fest

UNO’s Pumpkin Fest 10/19/13
https://www.facebook.com/unohamiltonnj

I recently had the pleasure of attending UNO’s Pumpkin Beer Festival with a good friend of mine; who also happens to appreciate good beer. The festival was set up as a scaled down Beer Festival. On either side of the main building they had outside beer tasting tables set up on patios. Between the two patio areas there were 24 Pumpkin and Oktoberfest beers to try and inside at the main bar there were another 9 beers available. All areas also had water stations set up for the patrons – smart move. The main patio also had three different games people could participate in. (bag toss, washers, corn hole).

We arrived at the festival mid afternoon and upon paying for our tickets received a pretzel necklace for munching on during the tasting. There was was small crown outside but the main bar was full. There might have been some sort of sporting event on but, ummm, who cares. We made our way to the main patio and made our choices. I purposely stayed away from the beers I had tried before even though some of my favorites were available.  However, I was there to try some NEW beers, well new to me, have fun and catch up on solving the world’s problems with my dear friend.

I started with the 21st Amend Pumpkin Triple 8.2%. This was a delightful beer with a nice golden to amber color that had hints of banana and mild citrus flavors. There was not an overwhelming flavor of pumpkin or spices they were more background notes. Over all this was a very enjoyable beer.

My friend enjoyed Ommegang Seythe & Sickle 5.8%. I took a small sip and it was a bit hoppy for me but not overwhelmingly so. One can smell the spices and it was a delightful orange color.

Next up for myself was the Cape Ann Pumpkin Stout 7.0%This beer pour a dark rich black with a nice creamy head and was so pretty to look at. One could smell the roasted malts right away. True roasty malts with chocolate, pumpkin and coffee and blended perfectly together. It ended with that nice stout bitterness I’ve come to love.

Being a true beer friend my companion for the day allowed me to try her Flying Dog Dogtoberfest 5.3%. This was a nice amber color and had sweet malty earthiness to it. It was crisp and perfect for a nice fall day. I consider this beer a true Oktoberfest beer.

At this point we decided to make our way over to the other outside area and some fun was had here. I wanted to choose wisely and not pick 8 oz. of beer that I didn’t like or did not want that much of. The staff was very willing to pour tasters so one could choose wisely.

My tastes were of Neshaminy Creek Punkel Dunkel 8.8%. Last time I tried one of Neshaminy beers I came away feeling that with time this new brewery would grow into it’s own and produce some nice beers. They did just that with the Punkel Dunkel. In early September I tried their Dunks Ferry and although it was enjoyable I felt it had brewed by someone with not a lot of experience taste. This current selection was the opposite and was very nice…a good Dunkel. However, I was looking for something with a bit more flavor so I moved on.

Next I tasted the Cisco Pumpkin 6%  (reminder the tastes are 3 sips worth so I wasn’t drinking as much as it seems) Something about this beer just did not taste right to me. I wasn’t crazy about the overly abundant carbonation level, no pumpkin what so ever and just an over all weird taste.

For my full (8 oz.) pour I went with the Round Guys Pumpkin Porter 4.5%.  Yes, I have to admit I was drawn in by the name. This beer had a nice mild smoky quality to it with roasted chocolate malts and a mild pumpkin flavoring that I found to be enjoyable but was happy it was only 8 oz. pour instead of 16 oz.

My friend enjoyed a Great Lakes Oktoberfest 5.6%. I’m going to go on record and say that I feel Great Lakes Brewing is one of my favorite breweries and several years ago had the pleasure of visiting the brewery. This was a delight Oktoberfest with hints of caramel, malt and some nice toffee undertones. There was a slight hit of hops but very complimentary and not overpowering. As far as I’m concerned another success from Great Lakes!

Next up my friend had the Left Hand Oktoberfest 5.6%. Overall this was a very enjoyable beer with some nice malt, nut and slight citrus tones to it. A delightful medium body beer and perfect for the season.

My final selection was Lancaster Pumpkin Pie 7.7%. This was what I had been waiting for a pumpkin pie on tap. Right away you can smell the cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, brown sugar, caramel and cloves along with a wonderful roasted pumpkin pie cooking in the oven aroma. Heavenly! This beer much darker than I expected which quite frankly made me very happy as well. It’s a wonderful sipper beer that has a creamy quality to it and low carbonation level, which I love. Overall a very delightful pumpkin pie, I mean beer.

All in all and very fun fall afternoon with a very dear friend who I’m so happy also enjoys tasting different beers.