Two Beers, One Lunch: RIP Sears

Two beers, one lunch. It’s fast becoming a theme around these parts. Kilgore Stout has enjoyed many, and it’s my term to regale you with the tale of my meal.

My favorite spot to grab a pint when I need one for lunch during the week is The Dog and Cask in Rochelle Park, New Jersey. It’s located on route 17, directly across from what used to be a Sears warehouse, and is now a pile of rubble.  It is what you might describe as a gastropub, though I’m not sure we still use that term. It’s got pretty good food, generally in the standard American Grill form–burgers and fries and the like. Good appetizers. Not too many menu items, but ones that were well thought out.

This was a Sears warehouse

And of course, beer. The Dog & Cask pushes local New Jersey beer pretty heavily, something I appreciate as I’m located in the north part of the state, in a county that seemingly frowns on breweries opening.  Most of them are farther away than I typically get to, and it’s nice to be able to try some of these beers fresh and on tap.

My typical approach to the two beers, one lunch format is to order the first beer to drink and enjoy on its own, and then order a second to drink with the meal. I started with the Carton Brewing Mexican Coffee. This is a pro move and I can’t recommend you try it at home. Well, I CAN recommend you try it at _HOME_, but for a lunch hour where you want to be productive afterwards, starting with a 12% imperial cream stout is not recommended.

The beer is recommended though. Highly. The original form of this beer is Carton Regular Coffee, which is meant to mimic coffee with ‘milk and 2 sugars’. This is apparently a Jersey-ism, though one I’m not familiar with having moved here when I was 25. I drink my coffee black anyway. Mexican Coffee is that same style of beer, only with coffee syrup and aged in tequila barrels. This one’s more meant to mimic an after-dinner drink. Or, in my case, a pre-lunch drink. Oops.

It nails it though. It’s strong obviously, and two sips in my shoulders and neck are aching, which is something that happens to me occasionally. I take it as a gentle reminder that I’m tense and need to relax, and I take another sip. It’s got that creamy lactose taste, and mouthfeel, to it at first. Quiet notes of tequila and Kahlua, and they linger and build as I drink. It’s that first taste of tequila, the one you get before the burn. There’s no burn beyond the richness of the alcohol, it’s a sweet coffee taste. The coffee sticks around, like when you drink a good latte and it feels like the foam is sticking to all corners of your mouth and hitting every taste bud. It’s that sweet coffee taste that comes through on the nose, hint of tequila and Kahlua but mostly just delicious coffee and sweetness. By the time my burger arrives and I finish the beer as my fries cool, the tequila has really built up to a very noticeable level and I’m digging it. It has me thinking of sticky tables after a good dinner at a Mexican restaurant, with salt and margarita splashed all over the table.

The burger arrives. Did I mention I ordered a burger? I usually order a burger at this joint, as they’re pretty delicious. This one is the Burning Love Burger, fried onions, jalapenos, guacamole, etc. It probably would’ve gone well with the Mexican Coffee, but to pair with it I go with a pretty standard NE IPA from Bolero Snort called Seeing Doubull. All their beers are cow puns, which is awesome.  The burger is, as I alluded to, excellent. It’s juicy and got all that crunch from the onions, and the jalapenos give a little flavor to cut through all the fat. The fries are well salted, which would’ve gone well with the tequila from the first beer, but that’s gone, deliciously warming my stomach with alcohol.

Burning Love Burger w/ Bolero Snort Doubull

The Seeing Doubull goes well, as the hop burn and crisp flavor cuts into the burger flavors in a pleasant way. It’s using a newer hop variety called Strata. I get all sorts of tropical notes, particularly pink grapefruit. It’s very drinkable, soft mouthfeel and all, and I continue to enjoy it after I finish the burger and still have a few ounces left.

I finish my beer, tip my server/bartender, and drive back to work to sit at a desk until five before I can enjoy a nightcap and some pizza at home. At least it’s Friday.

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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.

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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!

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