Game Of Thrones Beer Review: Mother Of Dragons

I need to get this post up before we run out of dragons!

As far as I can tell, Daenerys Stormborn is not the mother of Stuffy, the flightless stuffed dragon from Doc McStuffins

 Inspired by Daenerys Targaryen, this blend of a smoked porter and a Belgian kriek represents the smoke and fire that Daenerys has unleashed on her opponents during her ascent to conquer and rule the seven kingdoms.  The beer will be available nationwide on September 28.

So it was only 7 months or so old when I had it, which shouldn’t have adversely affected it much. I didn’t get the heat from it I was expecting, and I was worried age had played a factor.

I still enjoyed the beer.  I do like smoked beers, I like porters, I like Kriek, so there was really no doubt I would enjoy this one. It’s just more Kriek than smoke. The cherry is present on the nose, with sweet dark malt underneath, and just a hint of that smoke.

There’s some red tinges to this

It tastes great. It was mouth watering cherry flavor, and not in that overly medicinal way. Needs more char. I need to feel like I’m drinking this in the ashes of something the dragons just burned down, but there’s merely a whisper. Dracarys, gimme more heat. This probably could’ve done with a bit of cinnamon or chili to complement the dragon theme.

ITBMCBB* this beer should be as follows.

Mother of Dragons pours a deep ruby-tinted mahogany with a creamy tan head. Aromas of chocolate covered cherries intertwine with subtle smoke and roasted malt. The flavor is rich with tart cherry up front leading to a center palate of semi-sweet chocolate then resolving to subtle smoke and mild sweetness. The mouthfeel is luxuriously creamy and full, and the finish is semi-dry with lingering notes of smoke and cherry sweetness. Mother of Dragons is 6.5% ABV and pairs well with smoked gouda and charcuterie, braised meats, and rich desserts like flourless chocolate cake and cherry cheese cake.

So I guess the subtle nature of the smoke is intentional, but they missed the mark imo. Those pairing make sense though. Does mozzarella and pepperoni in pizza form count among them? I’d say so, even if I wasn’t particularly taking note of how they complemented each other as I consumed them.

Overall this beer was pretty good, and I enjoyed it, but I wanted more from it. You might say the same about these last few episodes of the show as well.

Life Advice with Dr. Carl Juengling

Welcome to the Barley Prose blog!

I’m the newest blog columnist, Dr. Carl Juengling, and I’m here to help.   I know you’ve carried great burdens with you all of your life and I want to get to the root of things and help you move forward and find contentment, and even perhaps happiness, in your lives.

Having said that, let’s get right to the reader-submitted questions.

Question 1, from James, in Roanoke, VA, who asks: “Dr. Carl, why can’t I find a partner?  I want more than anything to be able to find a woman with whom I feel a spark, so that I can achieve my long held dream of being a loving husband and father.”

James, thanks for writing in!  I’d suggest, honestly, that what you need is the Strawberry Peach Milkshake IPA currently on tap at the Full Boar!

You can’t achieve mental health if you’re thirsty

Clearly, your inability to find a life partner is probably due to a high amount of stress, and anxiety, and restlessness that manifests itself in your personality.  While some mental health professionals might suggest breathing exercises, or quiet introspection, or a deep delve into your formative years, I’m going to go out on a limb and offer up the option that you’re just not a happy or fun enough person to attract a mate.  And, of course, I can’t think of anything more conducive to happy fun than this delicious concoction pictured above.

I don’t mean to dismiss your problems out of hand, but, ITBMCBB*, this beer is “brewed with strawberries and peaches and madagscar vanilla beans and milk sugars, cascase and newport hops in the boil and then double dry hopped with Amarillo and Idaho 7.”  I mean, with that kind of byline, how is this not the magic ticket towards meaningful interpersonal growth?  You tell me!

Let’s get to another reader submission.  Francine, from Altoona, PA, writes, “Dr. Carl, can you please help me understand why my father has never approved of my life choices?  I feel like I’m living my best life but I can tell when he looks at me and talks to me that he’s wishing I was more like my older sister Beatrice.”

Francine, let me set your mind at ease.  You’ve got to walk your own road here.  You can’t get hung up on what your father thinks you might need most.  You’re an adult now, over age 21, and honestly, your best bet towards winning your father’s love and respect would be to go enjoy a Strawberry Peach Milkshake IPA.

Same beer, different lighting

I can tell you, having had both a 16 and an 8 ounce serving of this, that this IPA is sweet, and fruity, and goes down as easy as anything.  While I’ve knocked back a number of milk stouts, this is the first beer that I’ve had that I’d recognize as having a milky smoothness to it.  I could drink these all summer, to be honest.  Perhaps you’d be best served if you and your dad were to drive up to the Full Boar and belly up to the bar for a couple of these strawberry delights, and really get into the source of the conflicts between you.  You don’t have to be Beatrice, you know.  You’re Francine, dammit, and you should be OK with that.

Thanks for submitting those questions, loyal readers, keep them coming!

A Game of Thrones Beer Review: For the Throne

I want to believe the best in people, in things, in the world around me.  I’m an optimistic man.  That’s my nature, really, has been for a long time.

Based on that, I wanted desperately for two of my favorite things to come together in a synergistic holistic fashion and be great together.  Those two things being a craft beer and Game of Thrones.

But sometimes I have to face the reality of the world.  Not everything can be great.

I’ve enjoyed season 8 of GoT so far, and the build up to the series finale.  I’ll be sad when it’s all said and done, but I hold out hope that some magical day, George R.R. Martin will finish the series and I’ll have new GoT content to absorb.

In the interim, well, there’s For the Throne.

For the Throne. To the sink.

 

Produced by Ommegang brewery in Cooperstown, just a few short hours down the road from me, I was hoping to give this beer a glowing review and offer it up as the perfect compliment to the home stretch of my favorite television show (I watch very little television besides Mets games).

But I can’t do that. Why?

Because this beer tastes like Renly Baratheon’s asshole.

I wish it weren’t so, but it is.

It’s touted as a “strong golden ale is co-fermented with Pinot Grigio and Viognier grape juices, then bottle conditioned with Champagne yeast.” It should sound like an odd amalgam of ingredients and process and it tasted that way to me. Too funky to be fruity, it wasn’t a beer or wine or champagne. It was just a yellowish alcoholic mess, like Barney from the Simpsons.

What, specifically, does it taste like? (Note, these jokes will ring hollow to those non followers of GoT).

It tastes like the underboob sweat of Robert Baratheon.

It tastes, well, I’d imagine, like what it would taste like if you wrung out Master Aemon’s diapers into a beer bottle.

It tastes, perhaps, like the gunk that got stuck in Cersei’s hair when she did the walk of shame.

It tastes, I think, the way I would think a hot pie tastes, if the hot pie was just a crust surrounding horse diarrhea.

It tastes like the goop underneath Ser Jorah’s grayscales when Samwell cleaned him up.

It tastes like the last thing Joffrey tasted before he bellyflopped and died at his own wedding reception.

It tastes, to me, like the bottom of the chest that Varys held his castrator in for all that time.

Maybe others might disagree, think it’s a great and unique and interesting flavored product. But I’m taking the black before I take another sip of this sucker.

Shimmering Shandy in the Southwest

We’ve found ourselves in a time where no happy hour can truly be happy without a photo to prove it. No libations can grace our lips—no meal can meet our mouths—until documentation occurs.

Enter the era of visually pleasing vices. From rainbow bagels to charcoal ice cream, people will purchase anything if they can post it to Instagram first. But… is it actually good? I haven’t tried a unicorn latte or a black burger or whatever else people are consuming for cool points, but that was before my all-time favorite brewery jumped on the glitter beer train.

Meet Re Re’s Shandy

As the unofficial ambassador of Bosque Brewing Co., I use any excuse to make it over to my favorite neighborhood public house to see what’s new on the beer wall. After a few friends and I wrapped up our oral arguments at the law school, I asked if they wanted to celebrate with a beer and lunch. They knew where I intended to go before I could say “celebrate.”

We picked a table, grabbed some seats and started perusing. The beer wall didn’t have any new additions (since I had been there the day before), but a blank spot was getting filled in. A new beer had arrived. Hillary came up to the end of the table to grab our orders and before I could even ask, she said, “Oh, you’ll want the Lemon Shandy. It’s shiny.”

Sold, Hillary.

Swirling, magical and indeed shiny, I couldn’t help but take a picture as soon as it arrived. Perhaps I’m a product of my generation, but this was the best-looking pint ever put before me. I couldn’t catch the nature of its beauty except with Instagram’s Boomerang, as the 14 people who watch my story can confirm.

Glitter Beer, Beer Blog, Brewery

After the swirls settled, I realized… I have to drink this thing. What will it taste like? What happened to Harry Potter after he drank this? Is this how you get mercury poisoning?

The questions were answered with a single sip. Re Re’s Shandy was not here just to be photographed, but to welcome summer 2k19 in style. At 5.7% and only 10 IBUs, this little lemon number is a perfect addition to the patio sittin’ I have planned for these next few weeks. It was brewed as a part of Bosque’s Co-Op Series, which involves a Bosque staff member getting to show off their creativity in the kettles. The brewery team zested and juiced whole lemons to start, then added lemon puree and lemonade syrup. Crystal hops were added for bittering, bringing out notes of citrus pith. The last enchanting step was mixing silver lustre in the brite tank to make this beer “shimmer and glimmer like golden rays of sun shining on the Bosque.” Thank you, Untappd description, for the scientific poetry behind this shandy.

Sadly, my tongue did not shine after two pints. But I would certainly drink this luminous liquid again, even if I don’t post it to social media. Now to find a black burger to pair with it…

A Game Of Thrones Beer Review: Take The Black Stout

A quick review of Take The Black Stout.

photo by Ceetar

I unintentionally paired Ommegang’s Take The Black Stout with some Game of Thrones Oreo cookies, which was a pretty nice pairing. Stout, chocolate, cookie, all good things.  I paired both with episode one of season eight.

This beer came out originally in June of 2013, it was the second beer in the series. I was still under some illusions to the idea of having them all.  I had a taste of this at a beer festival that same year, and ended up not drinking the bottle I had, until now.

I enjoyed it a lot more than I enjoyed most of the Game of Thrones beers from the earlier runs. The age definitely smoothed out the flavors, with the roasty malts really being intertwined with the star anise and the licorice. Those were a lot more muted than I suspect they were originally, they were an added twist of depth to the beer rather than hitting you in the face with what’s typically a rather strong flavor. Lots of chocolate flavors in there, that’s what really shone through to me. I drank this pretty warm, especially by the time I got through the bottle.

It’ll come to no surprise that Game of Thrones beers did pretty well on Untappd last night. Pictured below, a tweet from Untappd founder Greg Avola.

Two Beers, One Lunch: Back to the Hops Spot, Again, Some More

So, it’s been a while since I’ve posted a “Two Beers, One Lunch” post, and there’s actually a good reason for that.

In December of 2018 I changed employers.  My new job is located further from the downtown eateries, and, also, because I am newer and still learning, it’s a tougher situation to drink two beers and then go back for an afternoon at work without risk being branded as “unprofessional.”  Or “a big lush.”

But this past week, after taking my first turn in an on call rotation, I had accumulated enough hours worked to be able to take a half day on Friday, which meant lunch out followed by a trip home to nap.

This meant a prime opportunity to return to the Hops Spot.

You may recall, dear reader, my previous trips to the Hops Spot, saved for posterity here, and then also here, and finally, also here!

Yes, there’s a pattern.  This is my preferred spot to go grab some delicious grub while also having a couple of brews.  I’ve yet to have a bad meal there, and they routinely keep a list of 40+ beers on tap from all over the northeast U.S. of A.

This meal started out with the Fat Orange Cat Brew “All Cats are Gray in the Dark” white stout.  This is a brewing company based out of East Hampton, CT, and they make a fine ass beer right here.

Pictured in the background, in blur, is one of my regular two companions, whom I will refer to as “the Imbiber.”

Yes, you read that right. Stout.

 

I’ve never had a white stout before, but having recently enjoyed a black lager, and after a ringing endorsement of this drink by our server (who swore that if you drank it with your eyes closed you’d never know it wasn’t a dark beer in color), I took the plunge.

Magnificent!

Hints of coffee, chocolate and vanilla, as per the menu, and I could say that I wasn’t really feeling the vanilla, but I was all about the coffee and chocolate flavors here.  My other companion, “the Sampler,” used the word “witchcraft” to describe this concoction, light in color but dark in taste, and I agreed that that was the best way to describe it. You could legitimately close your eyes and imagine it going down as a dark, rich stout.

The meal?  Well, after a number of visits enjoying the classique poutine, this trip I went with the very Indian flavored Chicken Tikka Masala poutine.

This is some shit right here!

 

Made up of fries, chicken tikka masala (Indian spiced) curry style gravy, chicken, cheese curds and fresh cilantro, it scratched me right where I itch. No, not the butthole. What I mean by that is, no one else in my family enjoys Indian food. Therefore, I look for opportunities to indulge in that style of cooking where I can.

Next up, beer number two, and I went with the full pint here.  Because I had the afternoon off and was headed right to bed after this, I figured, why not?

This second beer was the Stoneyard Progressive Adult v1 sour farmhouse IPA.

Big and sour and magical, and featuring “the Sampler” in the background

 

This was another winner! The sour, ITBMCBB*, is described officially as a “juicy, sweet/tart IPA. Brewed with lactose, oats, natural peach and orange flavors, lots and lots of Citra hops, lactic acid. Mmmmmmm.”

I agree with each of these things! Noticed the peach flavor specifically, but honestly, it was just a refreshingly tart and tasty sour beer. I’d buy another one of these, for sure.

So, let’s review. What have we learned here today?

1. This blogger keeps going back to the Hops Spot to try new menu items and also pick fresh choices from an always changing selection of delicious beers!

2. This blogger has two companions, “the Imbiber” and “the Sampler,” who make for pleasant company and co-enjoyment of beers and poutine.

3. I’m just dreaming about Indian food while eating American fare with my family.

4. Sours and stouts are great! (OK, if you’ve read any of my other posts, you knew that already)

 

This Mets Fan Group Has It’s Own Beer At The Ballpark

Tasting the new United We Cheers beer from The 7 Line Army and MIkkeller NYC.

The 7 Line Army is an offshoot of the T-shirt company created by Darren Meenan that sells creative fan merchandise for Mets games. It’s a dedicated group of fans that have outings and tailgates at the park, and often travel to other parks as well, bringing a dedicated cheering section on the road is something that’s pretty neat, and something the ballplayers definitely notice and appreciate.

They recently teamed up with Mikkeller NYC, a brewery that’s actually attached to Citi Field, to create a special beer called United We Cheers, utilizing Mikkeller’s unique artwork style. It’s a 4.3% German Pilsner, which really makes it an excellent tailgating beer that’s pretty drinkable by most beer drinkers, perhaps even especially non-craft ones.

I stopped at Mikkeler before Opening Day and had a can of it. I also had a delicious Hill Farmstead IPA, but that’s not why we’re here.

The beer had that light sulfury smell many Pilsners do, and a bit of lightly warmed bread. The taste matched that well, crisp, a bit of light phenols from the hops and some of that sulfur taste from the water chemistry. The hop bitterness is present and accounted for, that spicy/peppery noble hop varieties that are typical of the style. It’s full flavored and not at all watery. If the hop varieties were different, you might even call it a session IPA, but noble hops are more crowd pleasing.

This is a beer I’d be happy to drink all day watching or playing sports. It’s a great drinking beer.

 

Old, Bad, Beer And Drinking It Anyway

I was in a unique situation recently; I’d saved a special bottle of beer and was looking forward to opening it–and I knew it wasn’t going to be good.

 

I was somewhat less aware of every ‘big’ beer or brand in 2010. There were a lot less of them of course, but there were still a ton, and unless you’re making an extraordinary effort, well, some slip your awareness.

 

Stone Brewery, like many people, noticed that the new millenium lent itself to dates like 1/1/1 , 2/2/2, etc. They started a series called Vertical Epic 2.2.2 that released on that date in 2002, nominally designed to age until 12.12.12. The craft beer movement, and Stone itself, was pretty tiny at the time, so the batch was pretty small, but each year everything got bigger.

 

I didn’t become aware of the series on the east coast until roughly two weeks after 10.10.10, which just so happens to be my wedding date. I don’t need to tell you that I bought a few bottles of a beer with a unique name and date released on the day of my wedding. This one was meant to age until 12.12.12, the culmination of the series. Taking advantage of the coincidental timing with the wine grape harvest, this beer is a Belgian Strong Ale with fresh Muscat, Gewurztraminer, and Sauvignon Blanc grapes.

Alewife Queens Stone Vertical Tasting Event, now a brewpub!
I believe this is 8-12 going right to left. 10.10.10 right in the middle.

The next question would typically be, “How did it taste?”, but that’s a tricky question. How did it taste in 2010? I honestly don’t recall. On 12.12.12 when me and my wife went to a Stone event in NYC? It was pretty good then, though mostly overpowered by some of the stronger, and older, beers in that lineup. I remember thinking it was very wine-y but still with malt, hops and yeast characters that defined it as a beer. That was a great event, Alewife had all but the very limited 02.02.02 on tap and we got a sample of all of them.

 

How did it taste on 2.10.19, exactly 100 months from 10.10.10? Less good. Perhaps even bad. It was basically flat, and tasted a lot like old white grape juice. The wine notes were prominent, with maybe even more sweetness from the malt with no bitterness. I drank a few ounces of it, but that was enough. Even nostalgia didn’t get me to finish it. Neither did my wife, nor either of my parents who tried it.

Even my Grandmother was willing to try the 10.10.10 for Christmas 2012.

I’ve written about accidentally aging beers before, and while I’d like to tell you I intentionally saved this one for the mathematically appropriate 100 months, it’s not true. I purchased three bottles–We had the first at Christmas time in 2012, tried the other one 2 years later when I noted ‘Not as good as two years ago’, and the third got packed away during a move and forgotten about until recently.

 

Your beers are probably at their best _right now_ so go drink them!

Ceetar, You Ignorant Slut (or, “Guinness is, in fact, the Perfect Beer”)

With all apologies to my esteemed coblogger, Ceetar, no, “Nugget Nectar” is not the perfect beer.

(Author’s note: Hat tip to, of course, SNL, for providing the inspiration for the title of this post.)

(Author’s additional note: I have not in fact ever tried a Nugget Nectar beer, so it is premature for me to not declare it to be the perfect beer, but I do hope to try one sometime in the near future.)

The perfect beer is, of course, a Guinness.

Not Guinness blonde, or extra stout, which are in fact fine choices.  I’m talking about the original Guinness Irish Dry Stout.

Let’s review.

Why is Guinness the perfect beer?

First of all, it’s the beer that got me off of the “yellow lager at the ballpark” mentality, and out into the great big world of beers that are out there, to see what else tastes different, and enjoyable.

Second of all, it’s available everywhere.  Lots of places have it on draft (more on this in a moment).  It’s generally pretty reasonably priced.

Third of all, it’s got a distinct flavor.  I’ve drank probably 200 different beers in the last two years, but if you put a blindfold on me and put a Guinness in front of me, I’d know it.

Fourth of all, it’s got just 125 calories per 12 oz serving.  Now, any respectable Guinness drinker is either getting a 16 oz pint at a bar or alternately popping open a 16 oz can at home, but, still, even at that ratio, you’re still getting far fewer calories from a Guinness than you are from most craft beers and IPAs.  While that may not matter to everyone, for those of us who are attentive to not being ginormous gastropods, every little bit counts.

Fifth of all, and perhaps best, when you get those beautiful 16 oz cans to drink at home (do not buy the bottles, while they taste like a Guinness, they don’t do this), and you crack one open, nitrogen from a “widget” is released, simulating the draft beers that are charged with nitrogen, and you get this fantastic and wonderful visual effect (forgive the shakiness here, I am squatting after a long day of work, exercise, drinking, etc.).  Not to mention, that very comparable draft beer taste and feel.

Last of all, and, maybe the best reason, Guinness is delicious.  Drink one, you’ll see.  You will feel like Arnold does in “Predator” when he gives the flamethrower battle cry from the trees.

Run, Relax, Refresh: Now and Later

Lest the reader think that the default state of the Barley Prose blogger is in full repose, drink in hand, perhaps being fanned by palm fronds or fed grapes by bikini clad servant girls, I’m here to inform you that there’s actually a very active side of the spectrum on the Barley Prose writing staff.

That’s right, it’s another installment of Run, Relax, Refresh!

Run!

First, the run. This is the very well known “Tipp Hill Shamrock Run” 4 mile race course.

This “spring” race (spring in quotes, because, in Syracuse, a March race usually features temperatures very un-springlike) is an annual tradition, being run for the 14th time in 2019, and most years attracting upwards of a couple of thousand runners. Getting people to come out and run a hilly four miles in weather best described as “balls-ass cold” is no small feat, but this historic neighborhood is just the draw to get people to shake off their late winter doldrums. There is live music along the course, people in wacky costumes, and tons of free booze (mimosas, Jameson, etc.) being handed out to the less speed-inclined. It’s a fine morning workout and I’ll be running it myself for the ninth consecutive year.

My local run club gets out on this course a couple of times each winter, with the cooperative efforts of local pubs, for a course preview followed by morning refreshment. Here we are.

Coffee? Uh, no, I’ll find something frothier

NOTE: many of the runners in my club opted for coffee and breakfast pizza post-run, not everyone is so inclined to cracking into a draft beer at 9:30 in the morning, but, then again, not all of them write for such a prestigious publication as the Barley Prose blog.

I held back a bit on pace, knowing that I had a 14 mile training run (technically a half marathon being raced at training pace, plus a 1 mile cooldown) on tap for the following morning. Plus it was my first day back after a week in Cancun and I was feeling the briskness of a Syracuse February morn.

Here’s my Strava of the course.  Because, of course, unless it shows up there, it almost certainly didn’t happen.

Relax!

We started and ended our run at the Now and Later Bottle Shop and Tap Room, placed conveniently right around mile 1.3 of the race course. This is a concept that I am a big fan of – while these folks don’t brew their own beers, they keep a well stocked set of beers on tap for convivial moments, such as after a group run for example.  The bar is complete with funky taps and a nice range of semi-local micro brews.

Choices! But, just you wait…

The other half of this facility is a place where the buyer can go select a four, six or twelve pack of a wide assortment of beers to take home with them. It’s a good concept, have one in the tap room and get more to go! They have a number of their choices stocked in the cooler adjacent to the bar. This is really the kind of wall I can get behind, politically and spiritually.

Wall of beers <sniff>
Refresh!

My beverage of choice this morning was the Kings Country Brewers’ Collective offering of a “Morbid Hour” Black Pilsner.

Bonus points for the glasses with the tap room name on them, for the forgetful sort

There’s a nice interview here with the folks at KCBC, a Brooklyn brewery located in Bushwick. Both the brewers and their clientele count themselves as fans of “metal” and brewed this beer specifically for a series on the “most metal breweries” and for a music and drinking fest entitled the “Decibel Metal and Beer Fest.” This beer, despite being called a pilsner, is in fact a black lager or “Schwarzbier,” but was named as a pilsner so as to be more appealing to the masses.

I enjoyed the crud out of this beer!  It was smooth and had a nice finish.  Dark, but not as heavy as a porter or a stout.  Not sure what it is about a dark beer, it could be that I started out as a Guinness man and the dark beers just all appeal to me.  I’ll be digging into this thought in an upcoming post.

As usual, I will let the prose-inator carry this post to the finish line…

“This beer tastes like what it would taste like if a

made love to a

in the middle of a

and then together raised a baby with their shared feelings of

and, finally, that baby cried

tears of

into a frosty pint glass.”