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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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:
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.
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.
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!
Rose: Why do men chase women?
Johnny: Well, there's a Bible story... God... God took a rib from Adam and made Eve. Now maybe men chase women to get the rib back. When God took the rib, he left a big hole there, where there used to be something. And the women have that. Now maybe, just maybe, a man isn't complete as a man without a woman.
Rose: [frustrated] But why would a man need more than one woman?
Johnny: I don't know. Maybe because he fears death.
[Rose looks up, eyes wide, suspicions confirmed]
Rose: That's it! That's the reason!
Johnny: I don't know!
Rose: No! That's it! Thank you! Thank you for answering my question!
What does this fantastic scene from Moonstruck have to do with running? Or beers? Or any damn thing?
Let me explain, or, as Inigo Montoya said, “no, there is too much, let me sum up.”
Men run because they fear death.
I should speak for myself here, and not my entire gender.
I don’t fear death. I recognize that it’s part of the circle of life. I saw the Lion King. You have to have someone die before they can hold the new cub up and sing “Nants ingonyama bagithi baba!” (actual Zulu lyrics, I looked them up) and so on. I get all that.
What I fear, instead, is a gradual, slow death, incapacitated by inactivity, lifeless, slumped over in a chair or a bed in some assisted living center, awake but not really awake. Overweight, and achey, and struggling to haul my big old ass up off the couch or up a flight of steps. I’ve seen too many other old folks go out that way.
I run because it restores a sense of vitality to my life. I run because it’s a way to remind myself that despite my advancing years, I can stare mortality in the face, let the Reaper know that even though he will eventually catch me, that I’m laced up and ready to make him WORK to catch me.
So, having said that, let’s take a foot tour through one of the many fine neighborhoods in my town.
Wednesdays are run club nights – my run club runs a (mostly) closed-to-traffic stretch of trails and city sidewalks marked off and known as the Creekwalk each Wednesday after work. The full route is 5.5 miles, though some of it was closed for construction. I modified the route today to shorten it up to a 5k (3.1 mile) route, as I have a marathon in a few days and didn’t want to overextend myself. This is a nice meandering path around a few different parts of downtown Syracuse, including a loop around our interactive museum, the MOST.
Of the 26 minutes I was running, I had about a ten minute stretch to start where the sky was dry, though gradually “purpling,” and then a 15 minute downpour, followed by (of course) a let up just as my run ended. Because that’s how these things go. Likely, my pace picked up due to the heavy rain, as I was inclined to get my miles in and move on to the second portion of my trifecta.
Historically, the run club has started and ended our Wednesday runs at a cafe, chosen primarily due to its proximity to the Creekwalk and ample parking.
While pleasant in a general sense, and containing some outdoor seating, I don’t need coffee at 5:30 PM. That’s a late hour for caffeine. I generally have something more refreshing in mind that late in the day, especially after a 30 minute run.
So, wouldn’t we be a happy-as-heck run club to find out that a brand new pub/tavern was opening up right along our route?
Today’s beer was brought to me (via the Reserve) from the Good Nature Brewing Company, based out of nearby Hamilton, New York. Their American Brown Ale (6.2% ABV, IBU 47) is described on the brewer’s web site, ITBMCBB*, as “rich with prominent chocolate & toffee notes. Dark & robust but smooth.”
I couldn’t agree more.
This thing had all kinds of depth of flavor. I’m partial to most craft beers’ version of a brown ale, but this was hands down the best of all that I have had. Sweet, and rich, and wonderful.
Perhaps I don’t have a sophisticated palette. If you challenged me to find the notes, or hints, in this beer, I’d just look at you like you were growing extra heads, or make a joke about your mama’s mouth feel, or some other dumbass snarky wisecrack.
This is where I grow frustrated by my own lack of innate poetic talent. (Yes, I do understand that prose, by definition, is a style of writing devoid of poetic flair, and that this is barleyprose.com, and, yet, I still strive to be more of a wordsmith here in this space, hence my desire to blog in the first place).
I’m going to work on a random beer superlatives phrase generator, that will pull from a few different sets of phrases to auto-magically build me poetic and beautiful descriptions of all the delicious beers I’m enjoying these days. So, for now, imagine that the blanks are replaced by words and phrases suggested in parentheses. Use technology to accomplish what my tired weeknight brain can’t do on its own.
“This beer tastes like what it would taste like if a _________ (real life occupation) made love to a _________ (creature from any ancient society’s mythology or folklore) in the middle of a ________ (uncommon vehicle or domicile), and then together raised a baby with their shared feelings of ________ (semi-appropriate emotion), and, finally, that baby cried _________ (positive adjective) tears of __________ (cold liquid) into a pint glass.”
This idea has real potential!
Until that tool is ready, go out and visit the Preserve, if you’re in town, or head out to Hamilton and grab a nut (brown ale!).
This is the first in what I expect to be a series of posts with a common motif.
That theme is to write about two things that are dear to me. One of them, you might have guessed, is beer.
The other is a pursuit of mine that I feel goes hand in hand with beer, and, in the circles in which I travel, I think I’d be able to find a number of fine, sweaty folks who agree with me (no, the perspiring people I am referring to are not mob trial witnesses).
That second thing that is dear to me? Running.
However, let’s not jump to any rash conclusions. Not everyone who runs drinks beers. Delicious, craft beers, with fruit flavors and subtle hints of things. And, similarly, not everyone who drinks is a runner. In fact, I know plenty of thirsty Americans who don’t run farther than their own basement fridges.
But, and here’s the thing, if you Venn diagram’d this sumbitch, well, you’d find quite the nice intersection of runners and beer drinkers.
Why do you think this is?
Surely, running will build up a thirst in a man.
The “runner’s high,” for those of us who feel a certain euphoric bliss at the end of a strenuous period of exercise, is strikingly reminiscent of the buzz that two flavorful malts/stouts/IPAs will give a man.
Running creates a calorie deficit. If you don’t fill that hole, you could get weak and/or hurt yourself.
Beer is delicious (this is more of a universal truth)
The concept of this post, and likely subsequent ones, is to lay out a course and cover it at a brisk pace, near a local watering hole, and then follow said run with a cold brewski. In other words, the “run,” the “relax,” and the “refresh.” In that order.
So prior to driving over there, plotted out a very nice 3+ mile course that would start and end right at the brewery. And I ran it.
This course actually ran by two different cemeteries, both on Tappan Street. It set me a wondering — how many people die in this little town? Perhaps I should have altered the route to go past a third cemetery, on the basis of “good things come in threes” and “deaths come in threes,” either of which would be a suitable pattern to sustain.
It was, in other respects, a delightful, if not a bit warm, typical weekday run for me. Most nights, after work, I try to get a 30 minute or so workout in at a pace that is comfortable but not taxing, and at the same time work up a good sweat. This route surely qualified.
The run was followed by a pop in to the aforementioned WT Brews. Forgive my piss poor photo taking skills here, but I was goofy with sweat and weakness and a lack of hoppy delights.
This tap room boasts both a number of in house products, as well as several guest taps.
This is a really enjoyable little place, hitting on a number of details that make it a sweet spot. Complimentary pretzels, a dart board, and the A/C cranked up on an 80+ degree day, to name a few.
Not to mention chairs with an abundance of assfeel.
Given my predilection for fruity, tart, not-so-beery tasting beers, I naturally went with the passion fruit gose.
I can’t tell you what their brewmaster might tell you about this beer — it’s so new, it’s not even mentioned on their list of beers on their web site (though they do identify 13 other home cooked products there).
What I can tell you, though, is that this gose comes in a close second to the Brown’s Brewing Guava Gose written up here as my all time favorite beer of this style. Tons of tartness and flavor. It has “hints of yumminess” in it!
I would come back and slurp down more of these, without question.
It ended up being quite the nice capper to a weekday jaunt. I shall be back, probably to sample their blonde ale and IPA, on subsequent visits.
We returned to the Hops Spot recently, and, despite the confirmed and re-confirmed greatness of the poutine, I decided to veer off to another part of the menu for my lunch and beer choices.
First, the warm up beer, a beautiful hazy sumbitch (read “sumbitch” in your best internal Jackie Gleason as Buford T. Justice voice).
This, my friends, is an Industrial Arts Wrench New England IPA, or NEIPA as they are sometimes abbreviated. I know from Ceetar’s instagram posts that he’s had at least one of these in his fridge.
This yummy thing, ITBMCBB*, is “A pithy explosion of aroma and flavor, beyond hazy, and loaded with Mosaic and Citra to the point of stickiness.” So, for the record, I did not spill any of it on myself, so I will not venture a guess beyond assuming it’s not any stickier than any other beer that isn’t congealing on Ceetar’s floor.
It is, however, tart and fruity and delightful. Much like the sours and goses I’ve been enjoying of late, it’s just got a nice bite to it.
Served in a 10 oz. glass, but with a 6.8% ABV, it’s got a decent amount of punch and I would partake of it again.
(I’ve decided, of late, that when having two beers and lunch all in one shot, to try and reach out into more of the 10 ounce portions, just because it makes for a long afternoon otherwise. Life strategy, courtesy of the Barley Prose).
And now, a hiatus, from the beer talk, to turn Barley Prose into Burger Prose. This is the Hops Spot’s Smokehouse Turkey Burger, served with bacon, provolone, aioli mayo and a side salad of mixed greens and grapeseed oil vinagrette dressing. You’ll note that the tiny red puply objects in the lower right of my tray, banished there due to their being disgusting and vulgar.
New glossary term alert! In the “Two Beers, One Lunch” theme, the two beers will be referred to as the ____ and the ____. Readers, please, I need input in the comments section on a good duo to use as aliases for these bookends.
Back to our review!
The second beer of the meal was the Carton Brewing Company East Coast Double IPA (7.8% ABV, 80 IBU).So, to my chagrin, a double IPA is not an IPA twice as large as a regular IPA. That would be the shit, were it so. But it ain’t.
What is a double IPA?
A double IPA, loyal reader, is an American style of beer where double the hops are used, and then additional malts are added to balance out the flavor.
This was my first double IPA, and, so, I was surprised that it was not hoppy in the way that a normal IPA is. Still delicious, but more of a balanced flavor, to be sure. Again, ITBMCBB*, this drink will take the imbiber on a journey, where they shall “find dank green resinous hops popping over orange, mango and papaya aromas, with just enough sweetness of body to make the long finish a pleasure to have around.”
Um, yep! Abso-damn-lutely! I know, from my own end, that’s more “barely prose” than “barley prose,” but that’s my style. I appreciate you’re continued reading, clicking, commenting and co-beveraging.
There’s more goodness still to come. The Hops Spot routinely has 40+ beers on tap, plus tons of other menu choices (though, to be honest, I yearned and still yearn for more of the classique poutine). We will be back.
This blogger thought, on a recent trip to the Great New York State Fair, that each beer and drink consumed was worthy of a pairing. Not necessarily pairing beers with the exact right culinary treat, but, rather, all of the various things that a drink might be paired with at the fair.
Note: These were taken over the course of many hours, by a trained professional beer blogger.
Beer 1: The Adirondack Bear Naked Ale, served up courtesy of the Shamrock Pub adjacent to the Midway. A fine, refreshing American amber ale. Lighting below is due to the author hiding in the shade of a vendor tent on a very bright and summery August day.
Pair with: a Reuben Egg Roll — corned beef, sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese, wrapped in a jumbo sized egg roll wrapper, deep fried and served with Thousand Islands’ dressing for dipping. I would punch my momma in the ear to eat one of these.
Pair with: Chicken, in a waffle, on a stick, served with a side of maple syrup. The innovator who came up with this deserves every penny he or she makes. What else can we jam conveniently inside of waffles? The possibilities are endless, when you think about it. I’m even thinking of replacing my wallet with a waffle stuffed full of credit cards and cash.
Beer 5: Galaxy Andromeda IPA, because, five beers in, I am seeing stars. Due to the buzz, naturally.
Pair with: Stars, my friends! The New York State Fair brings in quality musical entertainment, and multiple free concerts every day from established new and classic musical acts. This year included Smokey Robinson, Live, Collective Soul, and a bunch of country/pop acts I wouldn’t recognize if you had a gun to my head. How about a free concert from ZZ Freakin Top? There’s your stars, sir/madam.
Beer 6: Not a beer at all, but, rather, a hard cider flavored wine slushie. I generally don’t drink a lot of the slush because of the brain freeze, but this is like a jacked up cup full of applesauce. It’s what fairs are all about. The black and white straw accents it nicely, I find.
Pair with: A big fan, pushing misty cool relief at a guy who’s had several drinks over the course of the day.
Also, while not pictured, this wine slush and the subsequent second one “for the road” pair, sadly, with a wipe out on the author’s bike ride home, causing a bent chain, skinned knee, chin, and a bruised hand and wrist. All in the name of a good time. This is the price we pay, kids.