Decided to take the team out for a team builder/happy hour, and to do that, what’s better than a darts tournament? We discovered a relatively new brewery/winery in town, just south of the Brockport campus: RG Brewery and Five Sons Winery.
The setting was fantastic; a small tasting room with a porch overlooking a large yard. (Hard to set the outdoor scene, as we were in the middle of a snowstorm at the time. Also, bonus: we were greeted at the door by a couple of friendly dogs.) The tasting room has a back door, which leads through the kitchen into the production facility, which features a wall of dartboards and made for a nice relaxed office outing.
The list of beers is small, but complete and varied enough; I tried their Dragon’s Breath Stout, which had a little more heat than I like in my beer. I’ve tried a few “hot” beers now, and as much as I like my food spicy, I don’t want that stuff in my drinks.
Their Hopperhead IPA and All America DIPA however, were much better. The Hopperhead actually had a little more bite than I expected – it’s listed at 125 IBUs. The All America a little less, and it was definitely smoother.
Food is available as well. They have what can really be described as typical pub fare; burgers and quesadillas and whatnot, all fresh-made in their small kitchen in the back.
But what caught my eye was their ice cream! They use their own wine and beer to make fresh ice cream. And yes, it was snowing, but there was no way I was passing this up.
I tried a flight of four: the Scotch ale, an Apple Pie torte (which I believe was one of their wine offerings), a porter, and the Hopperhead. As anticipated, the apple one was the most traditional flavor. The porter didn’t seem to have much kick at all, and the bitterness of the Hopperhead overpowered any sweetness in the ice cream. But the Scotch ale ice cream was outstanding. Just enough kick, just enough sweetness.
All in all, a solid visit from me. Worth making a special trip? Probably if the weather is nice, yes, to sit outside on the porch. Looks like they’ve got some events planned, including an oyster night and a chocolate pairing night, coming in the next few weeks, so I’d anticipate keeping an eye on their site for future things that might make it worth a special trip.
Is late January too late for a 2018 year in review post? No?
Good. I was perusing Untappd’s “Your Year in Beer 2018” Which is an interesting new feature. I’d estimate I reliably check-in about 98% of my beers so this should be a pretty accurate picture of my year.
397 beers from 96 different breweries across 70 styles. 70 styles is pretty cool, even if you factor in that a couple dozen of them are probably IPA variations. That’s quite the distribution, and as you’d expect, I didn’t drink a single beer more than seven times. That honor was a tie between Wrench, a NEIPA from Industrial Arts, and Gourdless, a brown ale from The Alementary.
The Alementary Brewing Company is also the brewery I drank from the most, and also the one I visited the most. They’re basically my local brewery, as they’re between work and home and make great beer. 64 beers from there last year, and to date I’ve had 198!
222 of those beers were checked in at home, so I drink more at home than out. Guess who has two young children! My overall drinking map for 2018 isn’t super interesting, though there are some non-home spots.
Both Marzen and Brown Ale were among my very hoppy top-5 styles. True to form I think, as those are both excellent styles that I really enjoy.
If I have a ‘goal’ for drinking in 2019 I think it’d be to drink a little more of the same thing. To really appreciate some of those favorite beers more than once in a while. I think I’m off to a great start, as I bought a 12-pack of Troegs Nugget Nectar recently. With that in mind, #FlagshipFebruary is coming up, which perhaps will get it’s own post here shortly. Stephen Beaumont has launched this concept as a way to honor and enjoy the great beers that helped get craft beer to where it is today. https://flagshipfebruary.com/
Until not that long ago, I would have assumed that if you mentioned a “crowler” in front of me, that you were just making up words. I was not always the astute and seasoned blogger, admirer, criticizer and prose generating beer themed adult who sits here today.
I was just a boy, once.
It turns out that a number of these new craft beer tasting/tap rooms are also willing to sell a beer to go. The standard size is the growler, a 64 oz. portion.
Now, sadly, I am the only one in my household who tends to lean back in the chair for a beer. Which means that a to go serving with the equivalent of four 16 oz. glasses of beer is just an awful lot for me to bring home.
As awesome as it is to have your own jug of beer. A jug!
Well, this is where the crowler comes in.
The crowler is a 32 ounce serving of beer to go. This equates to two very tall, full pours into a 16 oz pint glass. My most prized piece of glassware, the Guinness glass, holds a bit more, making for a more comfortable drinking experience.
I am all about this! Two tall beers is a decent amount of drink, maybe it’s one with dinner and one later in the evening, or one while cooking and then the rest at the meal. It works either way.
This was the first crowler I ever purchased. It’s a rite of passage, for me, in a sense, in that it’s another step into a world of appreciation for the finer things. Like locally brewed and concocted beers and ales.
This crowler came courtesy of the fine folks at Full Boar Brewing in North Syracuse, New York. I have written about them before, in glowing phrases. They really do conjure up a great range of beers, from New England IPAs, to stouts and porters, American style pale ales, ambers, and so on.
This is their new “Imperial Cin,” an imperial oatmeal stout. This sucker clocks in at 10.7% ABV and 54 IBUs, and, IFBMCBB*, is “brewed with Cinnamon Sticks and Madagascar Vanilla Beans.” Fine choices, says I.
I do drink a lot of stouts, so I figured I’d put on my researcher’s cap and determine what the difference is between a stout and an imperial stout. It turns out that in most modern cases, an imperial stout is just made in a fashion where the hops and malts are doubled or tripled during brewing, leading to higher alcohol content and more pronounced flavors.
This particular stout was delicious. I went in on a busy night just before Xmas and had a tiny sample of it to get a sense of the flavor, and then immediately decided to get a crowler to go.
This was, for me, my “gift wrapping” crowler, as I very deliberately knocked back two servings of it while wrapping all of the gifts that went under the tree for the family. A perfect mid-wrap quench, it was (they were).
I will let the Prose-inator bring this one home. Happy crowlering, y’all!
“This beer tastes like what it would taste like if a
made love to a
in the middle of a
while listening to the Greatest Hits Album of the world’s greatest band, ever, that being of course
and then together raised a baby with their shared feelings of
Tasting these Craft Beer Candy I Love Brew Barrels
Malt. I’ve had candies and flavors before that bill themselves as ‘malt’ and this is basically that flavor, though a lot more toned down than a lot of those more old-timey candies. It’s got that grainy sweetness to it. Earthy, a bit like root beer but with a little less bite to it. A mild caramel/sugar type flavor. It’s pleasant, but it’s mostly uninteresting.
I let this post marinate a few days, and now as I’m sucking on my third barrel I’m still underwhelmed. If you let a bit of it dissolve in your mouth a bit before swallowing to get a bigger taste, you get a little more of a warm caramel sauce flavor that you might find decorating a plate of ice cream sundae in an Applebees, but then it’s gone.
They’re not bad. They’re also from Target’s Valentine’s Day section which could mean you, reader who almost definitely is classified by your friends as a ‘beer lover’, could very well get them as a gift in the near future.
A belated Happy New Year to the tens of people who loyally read the Barley Prose Blog and follow our various social media accounts! And Happy New Year to my fellow BP blogger homies! Grateful for you dudes (and our intrepid Instagram dudette who needs to post more, btw), and our friendship forged over our challenging and occasionally rewarding love of the stupid and beautiful New York Metropolitans Baseball Club™! To bigger and brighter things for all of us in 2k19!
The festive period for me was a real slog. A mixture of family, friends, too much food, lots of seasonal beverages, slothy days off of work, and slothy days ‘working’ while not accomplishing anything work-related at all.
The mundanity of those normal work days leads us to enjoy our everyday, go-to alcoholic bevvies the majority of the year, but hoard our rarities for occasions we deem ‘special’, a line of demarcation that likely means something different to all of us.
If I’d been saving any of my special bottles for a New York Mets championship, for example, I would likely die thirsty with those dusty-topped bottles sitting lonely and craving precious oxygen. So while ‘the weekend’ may not be a special occasion necessarily, the capital N, capital Y New Year definitely is. My girlfriend’s birthday is also December 31, so the reasons to celebrate uniquely and in a grand fashion were especially fertile.
We first cracked the out-of-production Trip in the Woods: Barrel Aged Narwhal (with currants!) by Sierra Nevada. It’s a dark beer whose puckery profile (the tartiest stout I’ve ever tasted) did not taste like what the beer hinted at by its color. Enjoyable, but a bit summery with the slightly acidic currants. But it’s the New Year and it’s beer, so it was still better than good.
Not my photo, but the holiday tie-in is perfectly apropos. (photo cred –> http://www.betterondraft.com/beer-reviews/sierra-nevada-trip-woods-narwhal-review)
We also had a bomber of the Double Sunshine Stout by Bosque Brewing from here in Albuquerque. An outrageously tasty golden stout powered by cacao nibs! It’s as contradictory as Trip in the Woods, as the color in no way matches the flavor profile which made me grateful for 1) the risk taken by the brewers, and 2) a wonderful outcome that doesn’t always accompany a great risk.
Sometimes overcoming fear and just taking the leap is rightly more important than the result for us thick-skulled humans, so it’s nice to celebrate both the risk and end result instead of searching for growth and value in a worthy, but ultimately unsuccessful chance taken. So good on ya, Bosque.
Enjoyable as both these beers were, we bought them at the liquor store a block away, the undisputed local champ, Jubilation Wine & Spirits. But special occasions tend to call for that rarity that you can’t get at even the best liquor store, and that’s where our good friends and next-door neighbors came into play. The sweet gift of booze!
Being the birthday/New Year double celebration as it were, our friends gifted us an incredibly rare, nearly 10-year old Scottish ale, which was peaking like 2000 Mike Piazza. Behold the Traquair 2020. From the label:
“An ale brewed to celebrate the first decade of the 21st century and to be consumed before the end of the second decade. Traquair Brewery – tiny, historic, and rooted with deep traditions – is situated in Scotland’s oldest inhabited house. Savour this authentic taste of Scotland.”
As stated, it was brewed in 2k10 and the bottle, in another corner of the label, encourages the drinker to “enjoy before 2020”. Exceptional timing, I’d say.
A single 10% ABV, 11.2-ounce bottle to share between the two of us. The sticklers on Beer Advocate were a little bullish (4.18 out of 5 in 145 ratings), but the less refined and more forgiving crowd on Untappd liked it a bit more, with one asshole in particular raving:
“Dark fruits abound, fig, raisins, plums.”
Nice words, bro. But his girlfriend liked the beer, too, and it was her birthday, so we’ll give him a pass for the lackluster review.
A beer from another continent, sitting patiently in a cooler for 8 full years, then sipped happily to celebrate the flipping of a calendar to a new year, and another trip around the sun for one birthday girl.
Capital S, capital O, Special Occasion.
Enjoy all of yours. And sometimes regular days are special ones, too.