Run, Relax, Refresh: Full Boar Craft Brewery

You had me at “brewery”

Time for another installment of Run, Relax, Refresh, where our intrepid blogger combines a post-workday run with a stop at one of Syracuse’s fine local craft brewing establishments.

The Run:

This day’s journey took me along route 11 in North Syracuse, New York, to some residential side streets, and then spat me back out along the narrow shoulder of Taft Road, plus a couple of detours tacked on to get me to the 30 minute mark (my normal weekday exercise goal).

The route 11 portion of this run wasn’t bad, thanks to there being a sidewalk available set safely away from the road.  I was able to run past some of the town’s more quirky local businesses, such as Earthbound Metaphysical. I was hoping that this was a “Ray’s Occult Books” style shop of necromancy and paranormal resources, though it turns out they just sell fancy coffees and tees.

When I realized my route as originally designed was going to clock in at around 2.75 miles, I decided to tack on a couple of small detours.  One was to run down the access road at Hinerwadels, a famous local clambake joint that has sadly closed their doors this year (luckily, their gravel driveway remained accessible).  I also detoured over to the local junior high school and added a quarter mile by running a lap on their local track. These both had the added benefit of getting me off of Taft Road, where the shoulder is about as wide as Kate Moss’ torso.

The intermediate roads on this route, through residential North Syracuse neighborhoods, did have a nice display of foliage out for enjoyment.

A good workout, overall, not the most scenic path I ever traversed, but it conveniently started and ended at the Full Boar Brewery and Tap Room.

The Relax:

On to the Full Boar!

This awesome little joint opened in 2016 in a local shopping plaza — always a plus, ensuring that there’s plenty of parking and that it’s not too conspicuous to leave my vehicle in front for 30 minutes without shopping, while I get my run in.

This place has a lot to offer, first off — each table has a caddy of individual sized snacks, chips and pretzels.

I’ll have these

I personally went with the Dipsy Doodles, which are like Sun Chips’ sexy naked cousin in the snack world.

Lots of comfortable seating abound as well as snappy decorations, as you can see.

Oh good I was just thinking of trying beer for the first time

But now, let’s remember, this isn’t an HGTV decorating show. I’m not here to comment on the feng shui, I’m here to partake.

They have a great selection of brews, of all colors and flavors. Not to mention these tricked out growlers converted into hanging lights (OK WE GET IT DECORATOR-BOY).

SOOOO many choices

I sampled the peanut butter and jelly flavored blonde, which was just a bit too odd, and then had a sour mango, which was a refreshing enough beer (though I prefer my sour mango beers to be sourer and mangoier).

The real star of this “triple R” was the chocolate peanut butter stout.

The Refresh:

Look at this damned thing. LOOK AT IT!

It seems all too appropriate to enjoy one of these beers on the week of Halloween. After a couple of days spent “borrowing” from my kids’ trick or treating haul, this stout was scratching me right where I itched (not in the sweaty runner crotch kind of itch, more of the emotional yearning sort of way).  It’s basically a Reese’s peanut butter cup, only in beer form (which is candy for the liver).

As per the menu, this beer is a 6.6% ABV choice and ITBMCBB*, it’s “smooth and sweet with a deep roast flavor. Nice peanut butter nose balances well with the dark Chocolate.” At $5 for a 16 oz portion, it hits my wallet’s sweet tooth as well.

As for the flavor, well, it’s sweet without being “cloyingly sweet.” (Note: that phrase is borrowed from every single episode of the show Chopped ever to air on the Food Fatty network). And it’s a stout, with delicious roasted flavor. I enjoy many stouts and this one ranks very high on my list.  Shout out to the great pint glasses that the Full Boar uses, too.  That groove at the top is perfectly contoured to my fat beer loving lower lip.

The Prose-inator loved it too! No surprise there. How would you describe it, Prose-inator?

“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.”

Angry Erik’s Tongue-Tied Troll

A review of the decidedly not New England IPA, Tongue-Tied Troll

So, Angry Erik. Cool brewery name for sure. Sounds like a Viking.

Tongue-Tied Troll is the name of the DIPA. October and all, you know that I double-checked this wasn’t a pumpkin beer. It’s not. Comes in at a solid 8.1%, and you really can taste that burn.

Ordered this with my dinner one night, sight unseen which I never do but was with some non-beer friends and you know how it goes. Them plebes were drinking Merlot of all things. This came out not-hazy. It wasn’t clear at least, but I already had my hackles up.

The smell, it’s got aroma but like, almost no fruit. Maybe a whiff of something blackberry like, but it’s sickly sweet. Malt, honey, etc. Old-School I guess, lots of that dank 2000s hop bomb stuff.

Boom, that taste. Not cool, it really smacks you in the face with dank. I’m not trying to get high here man! I want a beer not a joint. This guy is hoppy and bitter, but you’ve got a ton of that bready malt sweetness and alcohol burn to it too! Even a fruit fly couldn’t leave the dang thing alone. The hops presented grapefruit and orange citrus type flavors, but in a muted balanced way and not in the juice bomb way that would elevate this thing to next level.

The mouthfeel was solid though. Full, slick and made me want to take another sip, which I am always wont to do.

Verdict: NEEDS MORE HAZE. Will do in a pinch, especially at 8.1%, but have to give this a C-. Don’t wait in line for this one. 

A Love Letter to Barleywine

How do I love thee?

 

Why is it so hard to write a love letter?

I’ve been married for a long time, 17 years, and I’ll confess that while my wife and I treat each other lovingly, and say and text each other nice things, that it’s also been a long time since I tried to express my love in the classic “love letter” format.

A long time ago, before the Internet, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, I wrote my share of love letters. Long distance relationships and potential relationships call for that kind of communication and courtship. With my love now living in my home, I don’t have to exercise these muscles as strenuously.

So, here is my attempt to convey my feelings of love and passion and devotion to you, sweet barleywine.

Dear Barleywine,

Damn, yo fine!  Back that sweet ass up over here girl!

Sincerely,

Kilgore

How’s that?

OK, so it needs work.

Maybe if I spell out the reasons for my heartfelt emotion towards this product, this attempt will come a bit more naturally.

Do you even know what barleywine is?

There’s no bad time for a Joseph Ducreux appearance

I didn’t until fairly recently. Well, it turns out, that it’s not wine at all. It’s called that because of the high alcohol content. And much like the nerds in “Office Space,” looking up “money laundering” in the dictionary, it’s a bit saddening that I have to look up barleywine before I write my ode to it. Barleywine is a type of strong ale, brewed from barley, natch, and then called “barleywine” to identify an ABV percentage akin to wine, ranging from 8-12% generally speaking.

Let’s focus here.

High alcohol content.

We know that’s going into the love letter. Let me take another swing at this.

Dear Barleywine,

Damn, yo fine!  Back that sweet ass up over here girl!  You got that high alcohol content that sets me a spinnin!  You put dizzy in my heart, girl!

Sincerely,

Kilgore

I think we’re getting closer.

This particular barleywine, like so many recently enjoyed brewed products, is brought to you by the Buried Acorn Brewing brewpub and tap room. Their particular elixir is known as “Sticky Lips.” I think we know that that’s going in the love letter!

ITBMCBB*, the Sticky Lips is described as possessing “Centennial, Cascade, and Lemondrop hops. Toffee, Caramel… BOOOOOOOZE! Dry and Tasty!”

This is a rare scenario where I can say I maybe, almost, taste toffee and caramel. I can tell you that, like Sade, this drink is brown and smooth and easy on the palate.

I will give the Prose-inator a crack at this thing as well.

“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.”

Now, maybe the kicker to this thing is that despite being smooth and luxurious, that the Sticky Lips barleywine has a fantastic 13% ABV (and a 60 IBU, for reference). Which means that it’s a high octane sumbitch. It’s served in a 12 oz glass, which is fine, because I think a couple of tall pours of this nectar and you’d be Uber-ring your own ass home.

And lest you think that all barleywines are created equal, I attempted to drink a more mainstream brewery’s barleywine that was 10% ABV and available as part of a Wegman’s “Craft Your Own Six Pack” and I was barely able to finish it. It was nothing like this Smooth Operator (double bonus Sade reference points).

At this point, I feel like I finally have enough details to finish my love letter. Attempt #3:

Dear Barleywine,

Damn, yo fine!  Back that sweet ass up over here girl!  You got that high alcohol content that sets me a spinnin!  You put dizzy in my heart, girl!  You been 'round since the 18th century and how am I just finding you?  Aw, that don't matter none, just come by my way and sing me some of those sweet dulcet tones you got and we'll have ourselves a good time!  I'm gonna kiss them sticky ass lips!

Sincerely,

Kilgore

PS Bring money

That is romantic AF, right there.

Beer Review: Great Lakes Brewing Nosferatu Imperial Red Ale

Why yes, I did win an age group award, and yes, I’d love to tell you about it

I think most people know in a very cursory fashion who Nosferatu is. I asked my 13 year old son, a voracious reader and fan of the genre, and he was familiar enough with the name to make the connection between Nosferatu and Dracula. I will admit, I didn’t know much more about the story than that either.

But the story, like this red ale, goes deeper than that.

Nosferatu was a film of the silent film era, released in 1922. It was a blatant knock off of the Bram Stoker “Dracula” novel, with character names changed in order to avoid copyright infringement (spoiler alert: it didn’t work, they got sued, and the movie production company never made another film due to the lawsuit).

But, also, Nosferatu was way uglier and creepier than Dracula. Like Harvey Weinstein, without the nice suits.

Handsome devil

Contrast that with Dracula, whom, thanks to cinematic portrayals, has often been given a cinematic luster of romance and sensuality. From Bela Lugosi, to Christopher Lee, to Gary Oldman, Dracula in films was meant to be a monster, but, also, simultaneously, a suave, debonair, neck licking Lothario.

Hell, I think even Count Chocula has that same reputation in the cartoon world.

Admit it, you’re aroused

And don’t tell me that Count von Count (that’s his real name!  I checked) from Sesame Street isn’t smashing copious amounts of puppet on his own time.

Aroused by felt. Barely even weird

But I digress.

Back to the red ale.

The Great Lakes Brewery web site has all kinds of great information on this beer at their web site, as well as their other fine products.

Here are some of the pertinent details, I’ll let them do the talking.

I’m not new to beer drinking (I had my first beer in 1987) but I am new to beer blogging, and new to looking at my beers with a more critical eye. I’ve knocked back my share of red ales over the years, too, without giving much thought to what makes them red.

Going in to this post, I was like 87% sure that it’s not blood (though a Nosferatu beer isn’t helping tilt that number in the right direction).

So, let’s learn something today, kids! (Author’s note: Kids should not drink beer).

According to the very authoritative sounding Craft Beer Club web site, red ales are red due to “specialty roasted malts that create a unique complexity within the finished beer and gives it a sweeter, butterscotch or caramelized flavor. The use of American hops varieties gives the brew very bold hops characteristics and tends to leave a dry finish.”

In other words, not blood.

<sigh of sweet relief mixed with notes of disappointment>

The long and short of it is, I recommend this red ale. It’s devilishly delightful and it will suck the sobriety right out of you, neck-first.

Finally, I’ll add, this beer is too beautifully made to be associated with Dracula’s ugly copyright knock off! Its a fine piece of craftsmanship. I’ll let the Prose-inator drive from here:

“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.”

 

Reports from the Wild: Sloop Brewing Juice Bomb NEIPA

Another update from the big thirsty world! Our field correspondent Breezer Marieezer checks in with her latest favorite, the Sloop Brewing Juice Bomb New England IPA (follow her on Instagram, or follow the Barley Prose Instagram page to get the latest).

Sounds like a winner to me!

Lake George’s Brewery

One brewery dominates the beer scene in Lake George.

I spent Labor Day weekend in Lake George, which is a lake upstate New York that’s a popular getaway in the region. It’s a small summer town in the Adirondack Mountains, much like many lake or beach type communities across the country, and as such is prone to much of the same cliches and ‘Disneyified’ downtown featured elsewhere. Fudge, funny t-shirts, arcades, mini-golf, etc. At least it avoids the costumed characters begging for tips that litter places like Times Square and the Las Vegas Strip.

It’s not a beer destination, but there is beer. The town isn’t big and while it’s not super far from Albany, it’s still pretty rural. There’s access to plenty of beer, and let’s not forget that Vermont is very very close, but one brewery dominates the landscape in Lake George and that’s Adirondack Brewery, brewed right there in town.

Seemingly every restaurant has a few Adirondack taps, and it’s one of the beers you can reliably find at Stewart’s, one of the gas station convenience store chains prevalent in upstate New York. It’s a nice experience to have a brewery well integrated into a town life. Like a cozy companion wherever you go.

It was late when we first arrived, as we’d all worked that day. Our first meal was at a BBQ joint a short five minute walk away that could seat us right away. The first beer of the vacation is a lot of pressure; can it deliver?  I opted for Adirondack Brewing’s Lake George IPA (Wave #5) to pair with a sampler of various forms of meat. It hit the spot.

photo by CeetarAs is proper for any vacation, we stopped at a convenience store on the way back for snacks and drinks, and beer, to have in the hotel room. We stopped at the aforementioned Stewart’s; Ice cream for the kids, beer for us. I picked up a six-pack of Adirondack Bear Naked Amber. A good, shareable, easy-drinking beer. I opened the first one sitting outside an electric fire the hotel has while sitting in, fittingly, an Adirondack chair.

photo by Ceetar

Later on that weekend we found ourselves at a themed restaurant that featured hats for the kids with Moose Antlers. We were downtown waiting to see the fireworks, it was the unofficial end to summer, looking forward to fall. What better beer to celebrate that with than the NYS Oktoberfest?

My favorite of the bunch was the Bear Naked Amber Ale. I’m glad that’s the one I had a six-pack of that made its way back home with me. My only regret was that we never actually made it to the Adirondack brewpub itself.

photo by Ceetar

It pours a beautiful copper color.

It’s got some nice caramel notes, but plenty of estery/fruity notes, specifically cherry.

It’s a scrumptious tasting beer, with some light biscuity notes. It’s on the sweeter side but it’s balanced nicely by hops with some nice spicy bite to them. Like you’d get if you made that biscuit was made with some rye or other non-wheat grain.

The mouth feel is slick; it coats the tongue and leaves that dry stickiness that has you begging for another sip.

Overall this is a well-done and delicious amber ale, on the malty end of the fairly wide spectrum, and a good companion to a wide variety of drinking circumstances.

Follow BarleyProse on Twitter and me on Untappd. You can email me at beer@ceetar.com. I’ve been drinking Oktoberfest almost non-stop since that first one. 

Beer Review Generator: Long Trail Harvest Vermont Maple Brown Ale

I poured one of these beautiful beers out to have with my dinner last night.

And then, instead of trying to piece together a literate, smart review of the reasons why I enjoyed this beer so much, I put my newly christened Beer Review Generator™ to work.

It’s going to use random choices from a series of lists to generate words beyond my own capability for expression.  The best part is that every time you refresh the page, you’ll get a brand new review.

Go ahead and give it a try!

“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.”

Two Beers, One Lunch: Tell Me Why?

Why do we do this?  I mean, any of it?

Why write a blog?  Is it just because I need something to do to focus my free time on?  Does it validate my need for creativity, being a guitar player who only plays other people’s music?  Is it because I seek fulfillment or a need for positive praise?

Why drink beer?  I mean, OK, that one’s a little more obvious, this one I can answer.  (For the record, beer is delicious and alcohol has the capability to give the consumer a feeling of euphoric bliss, relaxation, and contentment.  It’s also particularly useful at washing down food.)

Why eat lunch?  Is it as simple as “the time between breakfast and dinner is many hours and the body requires sustenance midday?”  Or is it an excuse to have a social interaction with friends, and then while there perhaps have a “two beers, one lunch” kind of moment?

With these questions in mind, I soldiered off to my favorite new local spot for a respite from the hustle and bustle of the day, to consume two ten ounce beverages nicely bookending a fine piece of cuisinery.

The “alpha” beer: Clown Shoes Pecan Pie Porter (2018)

A beer that tastes like pecan pie?  Yeah, you read that right.  I’ll tell you, this beer is perhaps my most favorite porter since the protagonist of the movie Payback (an underrated Mel Gibson vehicle that I enjoyed, back before he revealed himself to be a racist misogynistic shit-ass and I decided his films were beyond enjoyment).

Until I get my previously mentioned “beer review mad lib generator” working, suffice it to say, that if you enjoy a sweet, rich, dark beer, with a decent amount of punch (as per the menu, clocking in at 8.5%), then this makes a fine choice.

It tastes, to put a fine point on it, like a sweet good morning kiss, delivered by a beautiful Latina princess, saturated full of alcoholic goodness, and then having that moment captured on canvas, in oil, surrounded by an aura of  Lucky Charms shapes and little naked cherubs shooting me with pecan tipped arrows.

My biggest faux pas was to order this as the first beer, I would say, and not the dessert/second beer, for which I have now derived a new moniker.  Because it drank much more like an after dinner beer than a before lunch beer.  I still sucked it down, have no fear.

The “main course,” courtesy of the Hops Spot, was a BMP with a side salad.

What is a BMP, you might ask?  No, this sandwich does not represent my basic metabolic profile, not best management practice, nor a bitmap image.

I might, however, consider eating this at Brunswick Memorial Park (Brunswick, Georgia) or analyzing its broad market potential.

In this case, the BMP is:

Bacon.

Mushroom.

Provolone.

I couldn’t be happier about this.  I’m not a BLT guy — consuming raw tomatoes is, to me, the culinary equivalent of yelling “Kali ma!” and eating a live, beating heart, pulled fresh out of the chest of an innocent Hindu unfortunate enough to have been captured in the Temple of Doom.

So, swapping out lettuce and tomato with mushroom and provolone?  Well, duh.

The mushroom is the star of this particular choice, a big round sucker, breaded and fried and presented as a hamburger style central point of this meal, topped with melted cheese and a hearty layer of bacon.  Served topped with garlic aioli, and presented with some fresh greens.

The best, Jerry, the best.

The “omega” beer:  Sloop Liquid Sorcery New England IPA

This is a fine New England style IPA, not overpoweringly hoppy, with a decent kick (6.5% ABV) and good flavor.

I was kind of hoping for something more tart, more gose-like, more sour, than what this beer delivered, but it did make for a fine second half of the two beer combo.

Well, now, in hindsight, I answered very few of the questions I set out to at the start of this post, and perhaps that’s fine.

Reports from the Wild: Peach Buzz Wheat Ale

Another dispatch from the front lines, courtesy of our intrepid western New York correspondent Breezer Marieezer.

breezerm@barleyproseblog I took one sip of this @empirebrew Peach Buzz and immediately uttered “Wooooo! That’s peach AF!” The peach is super forward, and tart, but it balances out with a sweat and smooth spoon full of honey – both together kind of mask the wheat flavor, which I’m pretty happy about. Lip smackingly good. I’m a big peach lover, but wheat beers are not traditionally my go-to. This just happened to catch my eye while making a mix-pack on the fly at @wegmans tonight, and although it’s a little out of season (in fact last one in the cooler), it’s so luscious that I’m not even mad about its summery vibe. 🍑 🍺 🌞 🍯 And just LOOK at that gorgeous color! 😍 I probably should have saved it for tomorrow since it’ll be 80 degrees outside, but I couldnt resist cracking it open tonight. 7/10 for a fruit beer. Yum.

 

Reports from the Wild: The Astounding She-Monster Mango IPA

Pleased to present the first review from our newly appointed “reporter in the wild,” Breezer Marieezer, on a mango IPA for which she has a complicated relationship.

I’ve been attempting to lure her, one of my run club homies, here to Barley Prose to write longer form pieces, but, in the interim, I’ll be reposting these on her behalf, and with her blessing, as well as any other beers of which she might be persuaded to share her opinions.

Thanks Bree!  Keep those reviews coming in from the big bad world!