Why was the first player I thought of with number 3 Damien Easley? I digress..
Michael, Chris and Jason discuss the Mets so far, just after the LOB debacle Wednesday afternoon. There’s some mind-boggling at Luis Rojas, some discussion of Opening Day attendence rituals, and some Shea Stadium talk too.
It’s almost Opening Day, pending Nationals Covid contact tracing, so here’s a new podcast from your friends at Barley Prose. Today Michael, Chris, Jake and Jason discuss Opening Day, Irish Beers and Mikkeller NYC, baseball stadiums and our hopes and dreams for this baseball season.
Lindor signed his extension right after we recorded, so we were as of yet unaware of that, just like we were unaware that Opening Day was going to get canceled.
Jake: Second Street Brown Ale
Chris: WhichCraft Much Love: Strawberry Basil Lemonade Sour
Welcome to the first episode of Mets On Tap. Bear with us as we settle into a format, pick music and artwork, stretch out our arms to drink a whole game, and figure this stuff out. Please reach out with comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This episode we start out by talking about some beers we’re drinking, the Mets rotation going into the season, fans in the stands, Noah Syndergaard extensions and much more.
I mean, how could I not make this pairing? Thin mints and thick mints? Mints! I love mint.
These are fresh Thin Mints, courtesy of my daughter. The Thick Mint is from Southern Tier, and is technically a few years old, though it’s a mint stout so it’s fine. A little flatter perhaps, but it tastes fine.
I trust I don’t have to tell you what a thin mint tastes like, but just in case, it tastes like chocolate and mint. It’s pretty decently minty, on top of a chocolate crisp cookie, and enveloped in milk chocolate. It’s not the best cookie in the world, but if you’re as partial to chocolate mint as I am, it’s definitely up there among the non-homemade cookies out there.
The beer…is not that. And this isn’t one of those gimmicky pastry stouts ‘brewed’ with thin mints in it. But it’s enough to make you think ‘Thin Mint’. It’s definitely a stout, a strong stout, with lots of roasty flavors. It’s got some chocolate notes, but not sweet milk chocolate so much as roasty malt dark chocolate, and it’s all underlaid with a hint of mint. It’s a good beer, and 10%, so it hits you. It’s a little harsher when it’s fresh, 3 years old it’s got a nice mellow cohesiveness that fits it well.
Going TO the cookie from the beer is amazing, the cookie takes all those flavors, and just dials them up, with a crunchy YUM. A nice little punctuation at the end of the flavor.
Going FROM cookie to beer is less impressive. The sweetness of the cookie seems to mute some of the beer richness, and makes the mint stand out in a more medicinal way that isn’t as pleasant.
Was this an appropriate way to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day? Should I really have drinken a 10% beer and a half sleeve of Thin Mints before bed? Well, who am I to judge?
I think this was a fun pairing, and my beer is gone. I’m still eating the cookies though..
Ceetar can be found on Twitter and Untappd where he’s got literally a dozen boxes of Girl Scout cookies in his basement that need delivering. You can also email him at email@example.com.
Barley Prose is creating a new podcast! It’s called Mets On Tap, and will be a casual conversation type podcast about beer and the Mets, and anything else that crops up probably, between 2 or more of the BarleyProse writers, and who knows, maybe some guests too.
No other specific agenda or schedule at this time, probably short bite sized episodes. I imagine it as like, the twenty minutes of conversation you’d have with a friend you ran into at Citi Field just before the game started.
So stay tuned! I’m using this episode to push the feed to everywhere I can think of that it needs to go, but feel free to reach out with any suggestions, or predictions, or what not.
Had a bit of a back and forth with Will Gordon on Twitter about bars, particularly about random super sketchy type bars, like ones in grocery stores or here in NJ where there are some extremely suspect liquor stores that seem mostly empty and also have a bar that only seems to have one dusty tap and also seems to come pre-equipped with it’s own regular drinker. This is probably a weird artifact of New Jersey liquor license rules, which are real confusing and bad.
At this point, I’d be happy with just about any bar, and really in any format. Any port in the storm.
For me the most recent incarnations of this have been brewery tap rooms, but the standard bar works too. I’ve worked in New York City on and off over the years, and have probably interviewed for dozens of jobs during that time. Living in the suburbs and traveling to the city always is a process, you almost always have some time to spare before or after depending on the trains, and hell, you’re in NYC, might as well take advantage and see what you can see. For me I’d often find a good bar, one serving food, and try to arrange it so I’d have time to chill and have a beer or two in a new place. One thing to do, and a lot of time to kill around it.
There’s something pretty zen about just chilling out in a new place. These days it’s hard not to whittle away the time also on your phone, zoning out your surroundings, but it’s good to put the phone down and just absorb the atmosphere. Before smartphones, I remember a nice afternoon at McSorley’s with sawdust on the floor and only two types of beer. I ordered a burger, brought a book, and just read on and off in the dim light of the bar for hours.
Another vivid memory was a lunch I had at Reichenbach Hall in midtown. A German beer hall serving lots of standard German beer and food, just half a block from Penn Station, so it was a great location to kill some time if you got in early, or had a while until your train out. I recall one particular time just chilling at the bar post-lunch when a young man in a suit came in, to this German beer hall, and had three shots of Vodka in pretty quick succession and then left within 15 minutes. It just felt so at odds with the place that it stuck. Was he building up courage for an interview? For a date? For something else? Why this beer hall of all the places on the block?
A third story to leave you with today, this one featuring another person! Strange right? I’m no stranger to the solo bar act, but given quarantine the idea of going to a bar WITH someone, has a certain allure. I harken back to early 2000s, still living at my parents post-college, where my future wife had a job but I didn’t. She’d turned in, but I ended up at a standard irish dive bar with a friend. I don’t know if the craft beer movement has totally killed the “Irish bar” as some sort of default dive, or if I simply don’t notice them anymore, but this one, called the Dubliner, was typical. We’d been semi-regular there for a few months, so it was an easy “Let’s just go there and get a beer or two.”. They did bad pours of Guinness, crappy Half and Halfs, and had some weird bottled mead that wasn’t particularly good either. We had a few beers, chatted for a while, and went home.
Nothing particularly amazing or special about any of these stories, and yet, I’d love to repeat any of them soon. Let’s get on that.
Ceetar can be found on Twitter and Untappd where he’s waiting for new patio to be done so he can at least sit outside with a beer. You can also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
January just has that air of resolution about it. Bettering yourself, making plans, forging ahead. Like many, I probably could stand to drink less and exercise more. For me that mantra usually makes it until the first time I see Troegs Nugget Nectar in the store.
Which was last week. I picked up a case, and added a sixer of Bells Hopslam for good measure. I topped that off with a bottle of Allagash Bijoux, a sour ale barrel-aged on figs. I was going to grab a pack of Three Floyds Zombie Dust, but it was three months old and I held on to some thread of that healthy resolution and I didn’t buy beer I would end up pressuring myself to drink quickly before it wasn’t as fresh. Next batch.
So what does 2021 have in store for us, and for me, beer-wise? Well first off, look at that haul. Those are top-flight beers, hell, it’s a subset of top-flight beers available to me at a grocery store. (Wegmans in Montvale, NJ) Even five years ago that sort of availability would’ve been noteworthy, now I pick it up as part of my grocery run during a pandemic like it’s a box of Little Bites. Wegmans was actually out of Little Bites. It’s been harder to buy toilet paper this past year than it has been beers that previously were considered Whales.
One trend I’m noticing in my own beer drinking is that I’m definitely giving more chances to what I’d call “labors of love”, like that Bijoux. Beers that are brewery experiments, or projects, that aren’t necessarily larger volume brews. Last summer I had a beer called Thought Experiment (blueberry) from Threes Brewing. It’s a series of Saisons that they brew from leftover fruit that they use in other beers. I thought it was a pretty neat sustainability thing, and the beer was a nice refreshing and bubbly summer brew. This year I’m going to keep my eye out for fun single bottles like that.
For Barley Prose, my goal is to redesign the site a little bit. I’d like to keep doing some fun Botty McBotface AI beer stuff, but I’d like it to be a sidebar, and not make you scroll through a bunch of bot stuff to get to the individual writers content. Look for that soon.
I’d also like to _brew_ beer more. I’ve been slacking. My goal for 2021 is small–just two batches.
So that’s my early 2021 thoughts on beer and blogging. I’m now going to crack open a nugget nectar for my 85th Untappd check-in of that beer. I’ve got 10 more after than, and there’s no way I’ve checked-in every one I’ve had. 100 Nugget Nectars? That might be worth a post in it of itself.
Ceetar can be found on Twitter and Untappd where he’s probably almost to 100 Nugget Nectars by the time this posts. You can also email him at email@example.com.
Beer flavored packaged food items are everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Especially as we approach the Super Bowl, but in general ‘beer’ is being used as an adjective more and more, and I’m the sucker that always falls for it. Sometimes they even say ‘craft beer’, like these pretzels that I did end up enjoying.
Enjoying a product, and it being a ‘beer’ product are two different things though. Take Lays Beer Cheese Kettle Chips that I bought recently. All those words are good! Beer, Cheese, Kettle, Chip! How could it not be good mashed together?
Well, they are. But it’s mostly cheese and crunch. You get some gooey cheddar flavor, the crunch of the kettle chip, and maybe just a hint of malt and hops on the back end there? Or perhaps that’s just more cheese. But that’s not unique to anything, and they’re not particularly beer flavored. They’re just cheesy potatoes, which are awesome. They’re good chips, but there are a lot of good chips, that’s not why I bought them.
I want to be pounded with the beer flavor. I want chips absolutely drenched in rich brown ale flavor. I want a chocolate bar that’s half porter. Gimme a salad dressing that’s been steeped with actual hop cones.
Overall, Lays Beer Cheese Kettle Chips? Pretty good! Just not really a beer snack. Just take a look at the ingredients. Halfway down you get Beer Solids, Barley, corn syrup, hops and yeast. No specifics.
Next up? These naturally flavored Guinness chips. They proclaim ‘Guinness® Flavor’–We’ll see.
We can’t have large Thanksgiving gatherings this year, since those potentially spread Covid far and wide, but we can still drink our Thanksgiving beers at home. I don’t usually have a large beer-drinking crowd, but enough that I can buy something new and interesting to try, or crack open a bottle of some rich aged stout to share among a few people. The lack of those people present in my house on Thursday is not going to stop me from opening something though.
Stick that turkey in the oven and break out that bourbon barrel-aged monster you’ve been aging. It’s strong, but the best thing about these beers is that they taste better approaching room temperature than fridge temperature, so even if you’re just sipping over a few hours, they’re still delicious. Drink them more like bourbon than like beer.
Alementary makes a beer called Figgy Pudding, which is typically described as an English Barleywine, though I’m not sure that really captures it.
Big sweet bready malt, with a full range of supporting characters from light toffee to low chocolate. Fruit aromas of apricot, date, significant fig. Flavors of holiday fruitcake with massive malt structure. Figs for days, with supporting apricot. Date and Prune are secondary.
It’s a really neat beer, and I really love it. It’s also one of those that you can age. I’ve got a few bottles from previous years and I’m intending to open one up around noon on Thursday. At 9% it’s not as heavy hitting as some could be, but either way I”m looking forward to enjoying it slowly while I pull together appetizers/snacks or mashed potatoes or other such foods.
So much of Thanksgiving drink media talks about pairing your beverage with the meal, but that just feels like clickbait to me. The meal is one small portion, and you’re probably snacking all day. You’re definitely DRINKING all day right? The drink for 1pm spinach artichoke dip is different than when you have your plate stacked high with various mashed tubers. Drink what you like!
I was in NY briefly earlier this month and went to a bottle shop in Valley Stream that I usually go to, but hadn’t been since the pandemic started. They’re pretty good with having some more of the local Long Island breweries that don’t distribute to me in New Jersey, and other various breweries distributed to NY but not NJ. Mayflower brewing company is one, and I saw they had a Thanksgiving Ale. I picked up a 4-pack of that, to be my ‘drinking with dinner’ beer.
After dinner, which is typically earlier in the day than ‘real’ dinner time, I suspect I’ll need something crisper and bubbly. This might be the time for a bottle of champagne, or a nice pale Ale. We’ve got a nice bottle of Pinot Noir sparking wine from Sparkling Pointe that might be right, or I did buy a 4-pack of Alementary’s Random Placement Of Things which would fit the bill too.
Finishing beer? Probably something small and smooth. A better person might say water here, but I’m thinking of a few light and fruity ales I have in the basement, or something like a dark mild. Plenty of taste, but nothing overpowering. Something to coast to the finish line with.
Whatever you enjoy, stay safe and go ahead and tag @BarleyProse with what you’re drinking. Cheers!
I’m enormously privileged, as far as COVID-19 and quarantine goes. I already worked from home, so the only thing that changed was the presence of my family, and granted a three year old and a six year old entering first grade that needs teaching all while attempting to work is no cakewalk, all things considered, it’s fine. My wife is still working as well, remotely every other week, so things move along.
That’s not to say I’m not struggling, depressed, and concerned both with the mundane ‘Is my kid ever going to learn to write and is it even safe to have her back at school in any capacity?’ and the more abstract ‘Is this the dying gasp of the United States?’. Beer helps, and I’m not even going to pretend I’m waiting for 5 o’clock. That’s an arbitrary time. Our lives here were just ramping up to the chaos that is typical of a family in a suburban town–basketball, ballet, gymnastics, school, after-school events, etc. Extended family is not that close, but close enough to make a day of it on the weekends, which we frequently did. Now doing anything but staying home requires specific and focused planning.
Suddenly, there’s time. It’s weird, because cooped up kids and teaching and working is like having no time, but you also have all the time. Yes, there are a billion things to get done, but it’s pretty easy to get any one of them done when you decide to. Throw in a load of laundry, feed the sourdough starter, vacuum, feed the kombucha, do a load of laundry, bottle the homebrew, pick up the rapidly growing pile of toys, have a beer on the deck staring at the trees…
Ahh, yes, having a beer on the deck staring at the trees. This is when I’m happiest. Maybe the kids are running around, going down the slide, fake-planting Pink-a-Bloom flowers from the PInkilicious book/tv series, or playing in the sandbox, or maybe it’s just me. One day in early spring when we had the windows open and the kids were just watching TV on the other side of the screen, it was just me and the wife, two beers, and the cool spring air.
Maybe I would’ve found more time working from home, I’d only been doing that for four months when everyone else started doing it, but the normal hectic schedule of finishing work, getting kids from school/daycare, figuring out dinner and/or if there was gymnastics or ballet or something in the evening, then getting the kids through bedtime routines and into bed and asleep and then finishing any other chores, mostly cleaning up after the whirlwind, before climbing into bed myself didn’t leave much time for beers on the deck.
Mostly I’ve been drinking various beers from local breweries that I’ve been buying pretty much exclusively. I bought some beer styles that’ll last all summer, but definitely picked up some IPAs, NE IPAs and other styles that are better consumed fresh along the way. Not necessarily looking for anything super intense while I’m in my happy place, just a tasty beer that is a good companion. I’ve even started drinking it from the can, something I rarely did before. One less glass to wash, and sometimes even the can doesn’t come in, it just sits in a bucket outside until that bucket is full.
This is a good beer. This is a comfortable backyard. The trees are tall, and there are birds flying around and chipmunks zipping around the rock wall. Even in the heat of summer, there are enough trees that by evening the worst heat is gone, and if I’m lucky there’s a breeze to keep away the bugs. For a few moments, it’s soothing and relaxing. Then someone asks me to push them on the swings, and I get up. That’s a less relaxing happiness, but I can push with one hand and drink my beer with the other. The world outside is scary right now, but here under the trees, things might be alright.
Ceetar can be found on Twitter and Untappd where he’s salivating over Oktoberfests and how many he’s going to drink outside this fall. Can his backyard fit a small fire pit? You can also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.