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.

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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.

 

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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!

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Run, Relax, Refresh: The Preserve

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.

Maybe.

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.

The Run:

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.

The Relax:

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?

Shiny and new and ready for visiting

The Preserve opened its doors officially earlier this month.  Our run club prez made arrangements with the place so they would set aside a table for us.

This place is really very pleasant and upscale.  I ran first and then headed in for a beer, and immediately felt like Rodney Dangerfield’s character from Caddyshack.

Cloth napkins?   Faux fireplaces?  People wearing pants?  I felt like some kind of fancy person.  Come on now.

They had a long, comfortable looking bar — so populated with people that I had to elbow my way in to look at the taps.

I’ll take one of those, please.

The bartender was pleasant in both appearance and disposition and she did that thing that girls do that makes me crazy.  She poured me a beer.  I love her!

The Refresh:

I had two beers today, the first of which was a nice, if not particularly memorable, IPA.  The second beer, however, was a revelation.

This bad boy, right here, the Good Nature Brewing American Brown Ale.

Ignore the branding on this pint glass

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am long partial to the brown ales.  The first post that I wrote for this blog, in fact, was a review of another brown ale.

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!).

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Run, Relax, Refresh: WT Brews

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?

  1.  Surely, running will build up a thirst in a man.
  2.  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.
  3.  Running creates a calorie deficit.  If you don’t fill that hole, you could get weak and/or hurt yourself.
  4.  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.

Since we ramped up this little slice of bloggery, I’ve been meaning to stop at WT Brews, in Baldwinsville, New York.  Like the previously reviewed Buried Acorn, it’s a tap room, a place brewing a number of local beers that I’ve yet to try.

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.

The Run:

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 Relax:

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.

Choices aplenty

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.

The Refresh:

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).

This beer “gose” with pretzels

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.

 

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Two Beers, One Lunch: Back to the Hops Spot (or, Good Things Come in Threes)

They say “good things come in threes.”

Three little pigs, for example.

Stooges.

Blind mice.

We Bare Bears.

Less than four bears and more than 2

And so on.

The reality is, I think, that good things come in quantities of X, and that the human brain is preconditioned to notice a pattern upon the third of three related events or outcomes.

In other words, one is an accident, two is a coincidence, but three is a PATTERN.

Does that make sense?

Of course, they also say “deaths come in threes.”  So, maybe, that means deaths are good things?  That’s some grim business there, it is.

Where am I going with this?  Let’s do some arithmetic, my fine readers.

Beer + lunch + beer = 3 things I stuffed in my face

So, that’s not a death.  That’s a good thing.

And when you know a good thing, you circle back to it.  We’ve been enamored of late with our newest local poutinery, the Hops Spot, on Walton Street in Syracuse.

Read my initial review here, and educate yourself on another fine triumverate, poutine!  (Ingredients: cheese curds, fries, gravy).

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.

Hazy shade of delicious

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.

If you had this right now you’d be eating it

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.

Carton of (liquid) smoke!

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.

And now you know!

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.

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Pair at the Fair

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.

Naked bear

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.

Reuben egg roll? What a country!

Beer 2:  Empire East Coast Amber.  To be truthful, I thought the first beer was going to be an American Pale Ale, not an amber, but also didn’t mind having a second one of that type.  I’ve been on an amber ale kick of late, having enjoyed the Session Amber at Buried Acorn most recently.

East Coast representin’

Pair with: A visit to the Sand Sculpture, normally backed by a beautiful large slide show of various New York landscapes and parks to visit.  Well, for most of the day, anyway…

Gave the IT guy some giggles

Beer 3: Lake Placid Ubu Ale, an English Ale (7.0% ABV) named after a dog, one of the many beers I first enjoyed from the Wegmans’ “Craft Your Own Six Pack” aisle.

Sit, Ubu, sit! Good dog.

Pair with: Naturally, a beer named after a dog is best paired with a watching of the New York State Police K-9 units that serve so intelligently and proudly.

Good dog! Have a beer shaped chew toy.

Beer 4:  Buried Acorn Hot Whip IPA, another one I had enjoyed at the Buried Acorn tap room and knew just what I was getting.

Orange whip? Three orange whips.

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.

Genius!

Beer 5: Galaxy Andromeda IPA, because, five beers in, I am seeing stars.  Due to the buzz, naturally.

Galaxy quest

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.

They rocked in 99 ways, one for each year of life they had each lived, or some quantity akin to it

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.

Lush slush

Pair with:  A big fan, pushing misty cool relief at a guy who’s had several drinks over the course of the day.

Ah, sweet relief

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.

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Review: The Hops Spot

There two kinds of people in the world.  There are those who eat poutine, and those who do not.

(Author’s note: there are actually several other kinds of people in the world.)

What’s poutine, you say?  I’ll pretend you’re asking me that, semi-imaginary reader, strictly for purposes of moving this write up along, and not out of ignorance.

Poutine is a dish of french fries, mixed with cheese curds (known in some parts as “squeaky cheese”), and then topped with gravy.  The same kind of gravy you’d normally be ladling over stuffing and mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving, that is to say.

It looks like this, in its simplest and most delightful form.

Poutine!

Now, you might think that a person would have to travel to the great white north, AKA Canada (sometimes affectionately known as “America’s Hat” or “America Jr.”) to find a proper plate of poutine.

But if you thought that, you’d be wrong, and, possibly, oblivious.  I can forgive you.  Let’s not let it ruin this fantastic thing that we have going here.

No, the dish of poutine pictured above was served up right here in one of Syracuse’s newest eateries, The HopsSpot.

I visited this place with a few buddies recently and had me a big ol plate of poutine.  I washed it down with a couple of delightful beers from their excellent beer list, in another installment of my running “two beers, one lunch” motif.

The beer list can be found on their web site and when dining there in person, on paper menus (they run 4+ pages long), with over 40 choices of draft and can/bottle beer to choose from.

I started my day with a Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale.

Hair of the dog, ayuk nyuk

Those who’ve read this blog before will know that I have a penchant for a brown ale.  They speak to me, in fact, I can think of very few brown ales that I have not enjoyed.

There’s something comforting about them, smooth and inviting, like wearing my granddad’s sweater.  Except, in this case, I’m stuffing that sweater into a pint glass and then wrapping it around some poutine that’s landed in my gut.

This particular brown ale (6.5% ABV, 29.5 IBU) is particularly tasty.  The web site doesn’t provide the usual floral descriptions, or mention hints of any particular flavors, so I will describe it as being the resultant product of a love affair between a Canadian lumberjack and an Egyptian belly dancer, sprinkled liberally with pixie dust and magic brown slurpiness.

I moved on from the Dog to an IPA, this time going with the Troegs Independent Perpetual IPA (7.5% ABV, 85 IBU).  I do pick my drinks out often based on the “maximum punch” process, preferring higher ABV choices to lower ones and 16 oz. servings to the 10 oz “specialty” sizes.  So this bad boy fit the bill on both counts.

This IPA, ITBMCBB*, “emerges rife with sticky citrus rind, pine balm and tropical fruit.”  Now, pine balm would be a hard flavor to identify on my best days.  I have pine trees growing behind my house, though I’ve never balmed them or sought balm from them.

Nor can I claim to taste tropical fruit, or sticky citrus rind.

That doesn’t mean that it’s not still a fine, fine choice.  It’s hoppy, sure, but in a fun, delightful way, like when the neighbor’s kid gets too many pixie sticks in him and starts hopping up and down the street like he’s on a pogo.  You don’t care, it’s someone else’s child, let him get all hopped up.

The Hops Spot has a menu full of good looking choices – burgers, salads, and several other varieties of poutine, all of which I hope to sample in the upcoming weeks and months.   Not to mention another 38 or so beers, most of which are new to me (though I was pleased to see them carrying choices from the Buried Acorn on their list, among others).

For those not local to Syracuse, go out and find yourself some equivalent poutinerie (yes, that’s a real word, it’s on the Hops Spot web site after all) and dig in to this northern delicacy.

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Review: Boulevard Brewing Company Jam Band Berry Ale

It’s back for another go at one of Syracuse’s finest lunch spots, to sit down and have a meal and a cold libation.

That place being the Dinosaur Bar-b-que.

As a regular diner at this establishment, I can tell you that you can’t really go wrong on the lunch ordering.  On my most recent visit I partook of a cheeseburger and fries, pretty standard fare, but I can tell you that their brisket and pulled pork sandwiches are also top drawer.   I’m not much of a wings or ribs guy but those are also well spoken of.

And what do all of these things have in common?  Savory barbecue flavoring?  The ability to make the middle of your body look like a bean bag chair?  Yes, that too.  But that’s not what I’m going for here.

They all go down delightfully with a pint of ale.

This is the Barley Prose blog, after all, not an ode to bean bags.

On to the beer.

This beautiful reddish concoction, pictured above, is one of the regular beers served on tap at the Dino.

It is the Jam Band Berry Ale, made by Boulevard Brewing.  Sold nationally but based out of Kansas City, MO.  I have a friend who goes way back on this beer, her being from Kansas, and I saw her slurping one down as we tailgated before a concert this past summer at the Lakeview Amphitheater and made a mental note to go try one.

I am also partial to the fruity beers, having reviewed a delightful guava gose, among others.

So, on to this one (IBU 6, ABV 5.9%).  For the record, ITBMCBB*, this beer is marketed as featuring  “…blueberry, raspberry and tart cherry play in perfect harmony to create a slightly tart ale that sings with ripe, bursting fruit flavor. Aromas of dark berries, citrus and melon open the show, bridging to zippy fruit flavors that meld into an easy-drinking summer beer worthy of an encore.”

And doesn’t that sound nice?  I personally missed the comedic duo of Cirtus and Melon, and their stylings, but, you know what?  I have the palate of a barely evolved chimp.

I happened to drink one of these with my burger and fries just the other day, served up by one of the Dino’s very lovely servers.  She brought me a beer, so, of course, I love her!

And, boy oh boy, what a treat of a beer this is.  Tart, and sweet, and fruity, but, unmistakably still a beer.  Sweet, and delightful.  Goes with all kinds of things.  It’s like if an ice cold beer made love to a peanut butter sandwich, and birthed a 16 oz love baby into a pint glass and found a buxom Asian gal to bring it to me in a bar-b-cue joint.

I see from public web sites that these bad boys go for a very affordable $10.99 for a 12 pack of 12 oz cans.  That’s a solid price point.

I’ll be back to the Dino, of course, and this one now goes into my regular rotation, along with the similarly sweet and delicious Juicy Haze IPA also served on tap there.

Check out Boulevard Brewing Company on Twitter, and Instagram, and probably Facebook (I don’t roll with the Face.)

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Review: Buried Acorn Brewery

I’m a man with many ideas.  Some of them are more practical than others.

One idea I had recently was a line of greeting cards where every message, happy or sad, was followed by the phrase “ya jackass” or “ya big idiot.”  Because the juxtaposition of emotions is, of course, wildly funny.

“Happy 25th Wedding Anniversary, Ya Jackass!”

“Condolences on your Family’s Loss, Ya Big Idiot.”

I’ll let the reader judge the value inherent in that concept.

Another idea I had was for a brewery to open here in Syracuse where I live, only, instead of being downtown, where parking is at a premium, and requiring more driving time to get to, instead, that brewery would open in the northern suburbs, perhaps even adjacent to one of my regular running routes, and serve up all kinds of delicious local beers.

Well, lo and behold, this second idea has come to pass!  In the form of the brand new Buried Acorn Brewery and tap room.  The tap room features “16 draft lines pouring Barrel-Aged mixed-fermentation sour Ales, classic and long-forgotten Farmhouse styles, as well as some monogamous hopped up offerings.”

Sixteen draft lines.  That’s a respectable set of choices!

Open since July 13th, I meandered down to the new joint after work and after a humid four mile run, thirst buds locked and loaded for a sudsy replenishment.   The initial beers available at the time (a few more have since been added) is shown below.

I decided to start my de-thirsting by ordering a pint of the Oatmeal Stout.  They have both a regular and Nitro-charged version on tap; I went with the regular only because I failed to notice the Nitro until after my order was in.

The bartender was prompt and friendly and, of course, I love her!  She gave me this!  (Reasonably priced $5.50 pints, by the way, not too much of a crotch kick to the wallet…)

I have had a few other oatmeal stouts and they all speak to me.  I’m an oatmeal guy, it’s one of my go to breakfasts, and the mellow sweetness of the other oatmeal stouts I have had (Ommegang’s, for one, and also a cappuccino oatmeal stout by the Blue Moon folks) have all been a treat.

I think of it as a “breakfast beer.”  Not that I’m drinking beer with my breakfast, I mean, I have things to do!  However, on nights where my family and I are having the ever popular “breakfast dinner,” scrambled eggs, pancakes, bacon, etc., then the oatmeal stout is a winning choice.

This particular oatmeal stout (5.5% ABV, 23 IBU) is excellent.  Rich and creamy and cold and frothy.  It also contains, ITBMCBB*, “notes of chocolate and coffee,” though, I mostly just taste the deliciousness.   If it were any more oatmealy, I’d be topping this with maple syrup and a pat of butter.

I then moved on to the Alpha Bender IPA (7.3% ABV, 23 IBU).

It’s a golden, delightful treat, much like a Disney princess’ hair.  This particular IPA is described by the Buried Acorn site itself as being full of  “soft bitterness with ripe tropical fruit on the nose and a crisp dry finish. Crafted with NY State grown hops and barley while employing revolving hop editions from around the world.”  Doesn’t that sound pleasant?

To me, and perhaps this is why I’m not writing copy for breweries full time, the IPA tastes like “what it must taste like if a mythical dragon pee’d a rejuvenative cold mythical magic dragon pee drink into a pint glass.”

The bar is also hosting other local brewery products on some of their 16 taps.

I am likely to try the Critz Farms Pig City Porter on my next visit, as I’ve had that one in cans before but not in draft, and know it to be a treat as well.

The Buried Acorn is also now selling cans of some of their beers, to go, as well as growlers.  I’ve not ever purchased a growler of beer in my life but those branded ones are pretty slick.

The tap room itself is also a very pleasant joint in which to sit down and beer up.  They have bar and table seating, and board games, and the service was prompt despite there being a good sized weekday crowd present.

And the chairs have a delightful “assfeel” to them.

I’m looking forward to returning to the Buried Acorn and sampling some of their newer choices (the Ghoster Blanc and Hot Whip were not ready at the time of my initial visit, but now show on the company’s web site).

These folks also do have an active Facebook page and Instagram account, announcing specials and new offerings.

So, come bury your liver at the Buried Acorn.  I’ll meet you there.

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