New Brewery Alert: Gearblock Brewing Company in Waldwick, NJ

Praise be to the hop goddesses, I’ve finally got a local brewery. A _real_ local brewery. Previously the closest brewery to me was a good 15-20 minutes drive on a good day, something deeply troubling. Luckily, finally, there’s a brewery within 2 miles of my house, in a spot I’ve ridden my bike past, actually adjacent to my doctor’s office…called Gearblock Brewing Company


I managed to find my way over there, something way easier when it’s 4 minutes of side streets, on opening weekend to try out what they had. It’s in a little strip mall type place, but with wide sidewalks that affords them a little outdoor seating, which is always nice, even in a parking lot, but I sat at the bar and ordered a flight.

It’s a nice space, bar, ample seating, bathrooms, and you can see through to the brewery in the back. Typical stuff. There was a Japanese baseball game on, which immediately raised my opinion of the place. 


There’s something special about community watering holes, maybe something that’s no longer a dive bar thing. Breweries often fill that space. I didn’t see anyone I knew on this trip, but it’s inevitable that I will if and when I continue to visit. 

How was the beer? The beer was fine to good. I wasn’t wow’d by anything, but I wasn’t disappointed by anything either. As I write this a few days later, the Busted Barnacle, a gose that I got in a crowler to go, might be the one that’s hitting the memories the best, but I thought their hazy was pretty good, and so was the Märzen. It’s a good start, and gives me hope going forward. 


Most of all, I’m stoked that there’s a brewery so close. Something close enough that I can pop in for a beer when they’re open without having to make a special trip and plan. Gearblock has already added a beer or two since I was there, and I’ll definitely be back soon to check them out. Summer BBQ season is here, and you know I’m going to get a crowler or two to have on hand. 

Mets On Tap Episode 48 The Mascot Family Foodie Episode

You can email us questions, comments, and beer recs at

After a little noisy check-in with Michael from Citi Field, Jason, Jake and Chris discuss all manner of happy Mets stuff, from cats, to pools, to why Chip Ambres won’t return Chris’ calls.

They also discuss Dominic Smith’s demotion, the lingering injuries of some various Mets players, and try to find something to be grumpy about.

Here are some shots of the Citi Field scoreboard Michael was talking about.

Mark Canha’s instagram is awash with great food photos.

Which other mascots have families? I remember a “Billy the Kid” Marlin kid, but I can’t seem to find him, but it does appear that Mr. Redlegs has a wife named Rosie and dog named Gapper.

I also stumbled upon Francisco Lindor lightsaber dueling the Astro’s mascot Orbit, so obviously gotta share that.

If you want us to mention what YOU are drinking during next Tuesday Night’s Mets games, give us a tweet around 8:30 or so @BarleyProse and we’ll include you.

Michael: Radiant Pig Save The Robots IPA
Chris: Rusty Rail Strange Love
Jake: La Cumbre Elevated IPA
Jason: Middle Ages Swallow Wit
Botty McBotface: Goose Island Honkers Ale

Follow Us On Twitter: Jason, Michael,Chris, and Jake.

And check out Barley Prose on Instagram for more beer content.

Please rate (5 David Wright   ..or Davey Johnson..or Ed Charles.. Stars!) and review the podcast on Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts, your favorite nail salon, or just scribble the URL on a cocktail napkin at your local brewery.

Mets On Tap Episode 41 The One With The Statue And The Drinking Game

4You can email us questions, comments, and beer recs at

Jason and Michael talk, on this very special Seaver episode about decorating  Citi Field and the long over due Tom Seaver statue being unveiled finally.

We discuss an active baseball game, and the Mets seemingly too many guys for not enough spots and how we’re going to fit them all in, and if a trade is eminent. Michael again points out how unappreciated J.D. Davis is.

Then Botty chimes in with a complicated drinking game.

Michael: Alementary Vast and Terrible Magic Mango/Tajin
Jason: Southern Tier Blueberry Whirl
Botty McBotface: Shorts Sahti

Follow Us On Twitter: Jason, Michael,Chris, and Jake.

And check out Barley Prose on Instagram for more beer content.

Please rate (5 David Wright   ..or Davey Johnson..or Ed Charles.. Stars!) and review the podcast on Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts, your favorite nail salon, or just scribble the URL on a cocktail napkin at your local brewery.

Mets On Tap Episode 38 Zombie Runner Won’t Die

You can email us questions, comments, and beer recs at

Michael, Jason, Chris talk actual Spring Training games, a bit about NYC’s vaccine mandate for employers (that has been resolved since we chatted, as expected), and talk some roster machinations.

We dig into the new rules a little bit, including the dumb zombie runner, talk about new breweries we like, and have a grand ole time.

Michael: Bolero Snort OVB
Jason: Lagunitas Hazy Wonder
Chris: Strange Bird Scarlett Johopsson hoppy amber
Botty McBotface: Vodka-Tinted H20

Follow Us On Twitter: Jason, Michael,Chris, and Jake.

And check out Barley Prose on Instagram for more beer content.

Please rate (5 David Wright   ..or Davey Johnson..or Ed Charles.. Stars!) and review the podcast on Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts, your favorite nail salon, or just scribble the URL on a cocktail napkin at your local brewery.

BotBeerTuesday: Shelf Life Series

Welcome To Botty McBotface’s Weekly Column Of AI Beer Reviews

Every week Botty McBotface will select a beer from his extensive collection of AI beers and review it to let everyone know if it’s worth the money. 

For those new to the Shelf Life series, please read the following introduction:

The Shelf Life series is an ongoing feature of the site. The writers of Team Liquor have decided that, since we have such [a] large selection of ales, lagers, and other beers, we should start reviewing some of them. These reviews will be written by our team members, and will hopefully provide you with some insight into the different types of beers that are available. This feature is not meant to offend any beer or style of beer, and is not meant to promote any particular beer. The reviews are intended to be informative, and therefore may use “code words” to get around any incorrect or misleading terminology that might be associated with a particular beer or style of beer. In no way should these reviews be taken as a “shill” for any particular beer or brewery. We hope that you enjoy these reviews and find them useful!


This week’s review: 

Nightmare on Elm Street Imperial Stout by New Holland Brewing Company in Holland, Michigan

Style: Imperial Stout ABV: 9.7% (of course)


The Basics: Okay, so I’m not sure how many people actually wanted an imperial stout for their review this week. I have to admit, I had my doubts about reviewing this one. I wasn’t sure it would be a good fit for this column. But in the end I thought I would just give it a shot and see what happens. So I guess the question here is…if it was a bad choice, did I just waste my time on an imperial stout? Or did I waste my time and have a good time drinking a good imperial stout? Only time will tell…but we’ll get to that in a bit.


Let’s start off with a little background information on this imperial stout. It was released in late October 2006, and is part of New Holland’s year round line-up of beers. It has taken me quite a while to get around to drinking this one, but as soon as I saw it on the shelf at World Market I knew it was time. As you can see from my picture below, this was actually one of the last bottles (and one of the last two left) that World Market had on the shelf in the “big bottles” section (the ones that are over 16 oz). On the label you can see that it looks like a movie poster with a picture of Freddy Krueger on it (or more accurately a picture of Robert Englund who plays Freddy Krueger in the Nightmare on Elm Street films). It also says “Imperial Stout” at the top, and has some nice artwork at the bottom alluding to Freddy Krueger’s infamous glove. It also says “A Nightmare On Elm Street”, and at the bottom says “Imperial Stout: 9.7%”. Also at the bottom there is small print which says “NEW HOLLAND BREWING CO.: HOGAHOLICS ONLY !!!” which is kind of an awesome call-out to the fact that this is an “imperial stout”. I’m not sure what I think about the name of the beer, but I guess I’ll get to that in a bit. On the back of the bottle information is given about the brewery and the beer. This particular bottle is a 750ml bottle that was bottled on 11/13/2006 and has a best before date of 3/11/2007. I’m not sure why it says best after 3/11/2007, but I guess it doesn’t really matter. I may be thinking about this too much, but I can’t help but wonder if the people who came up with the name “Imperial Stout” were thinking about the movie industry and how they always try to make us think we’re getting more for our money but really aren’t. I don’t know why, but that always kind of bugs me when they do that. Maybe it’s just a pet peeve of mine…


Tasting Notes: Okay, so one of the things that makes a good imperial stout is a thick, rich, chocolaty head…which this one has! It’s pretty thick and creamy and dissipates slowly. It leaves a nice lacing on the glass that holds on for quite a while. The color of this beer is black as night. It’s almost like looking into an abyss when you look at this beer!


The smell is surprisingly strong! The first thing that hits you when you smell this beer is the smell of chocolate. It’s like a chocolate factory exploded in your face. It smells like you’re eating chocolate bars and chocolate covered raisins and raisinettes. Although it’s not super sweet, it smells sweet in that way that really chocolaty food does. The smell is pretty strong, but there are also some other smells that come out as well…there’s a hint of coffee, some malted barley, and maybe even a hint of vanilla (I’m not sure about that). If you’re looking for a super balanced smell, this ain’t it. It’s more like a bunch of smells just smooshed together into a swirling mess. But since this is an imperial stout, I guess it works!


The taste is pretty much what you’d expect from the smell! It’s got a nice balance between bitter and sweet…not too bitter though, which is good! It’s got a great chocolate taste going on with some hints of coffee and vanilla. There’s also some malted barley and maybe even some caramel or burnt sugar taste going on as well. There are some other flavors in here as well (such as earthy flavors), but it’s hard to tell what they are because they’re all kind of going in and out as you take each sip. Overall though, it’s pretty good!


The mouthfeel on this beer is pretty great! It’s almost velvety in texture and it kind of coats your tongue nicely…but not too much so! As you take each sip you feel it coat your tongue and slide down your throat. It’s pretty thick but not too thick…and there is no real aftertaste at all! The carbonation level is pretty good…not too much, but not too little either. It’s just right!


Overall: If you like imperial stouts and are looking for a good one, this one is a good choice! It’s got a great color and a nice thick texture. It has a nice balance of bitter and sweet, but there’s still some bitterness in there for those who like that! It has a nice chocolatey, coffee-like taste with some hints of vanilla and malted barley in there as well. The only thing I would change about this beer is the name. I’m not really sure what they were thinking when they came up with it…but I’m sure it wasn’t anything bad! So if you’re a fan of imperial stouts and you see this on the shelf…pick it up! You should like it!

The Liquid Bread Scale (Rating System):

1 Bottle – Do not waste your time or money!
2 Bottles – Could drink it if you must…if nothing else is available.
3 Bottles – Decent beer that’s worth trying for the experience.
4 Bottles – Definitely worth buying again!
5 Bottles – Buy this! It’s awesome!
Botty McBotface’s Rating: 4 Bottles.


Summary: This beer is pretty good! If you like imperial stouts, this one is a pretty good choice. It has a nice balance of bitter and sweet, and it has a nice thick texture as well. The chocolatey taste is great, but there are some other earthy flavors that come out as well. Overall, it‘s pretty good!

For more information on this beer and others from New Holland Brewing Company, check out their website:

Buy it! Drink it! Enjoy it! Metal it! \m/ \m/



note: If you couldn’t tell, this stuff is AI-generated via a machine learning algorithm. The first sentence was the prompt, and besides some formatting and bolding, Botty took it from there. The images were generated on Ceetar wrote the title after reading the post.

Darkest Beers For The Darkest Days: Happy Winter Solstice!

Happy Winter Solstice everybody!

It’s the day with the least amount of sunlight, or as they say, the darkest day of the year.  With apologies to the southern hemisphere, let’s talk about some of the darkest beers we should be drinking on this dark day. 

I’ve mentioned Brooklyn Black Ops before, specifically in the solstice post from 2018, but it’s still an amazing beer. This year, Brooklyn has released Black Ops in 16oz cans, and a Four Roses Small Batch version, which is what I purchased. This beer is just superb all around. It’s smooth and rich and just freaking EXPLODING with flavor. Chocolate and some coffee and rich bourbon  and roasty notes.  It blows my mind how smooth it is too, beers that come in at 12.4% ABV usually burn a little, especially when they haven’t been aged. And this beer is dark for sure, but keep in mind that drinking 16oz of 12.4% beer is roughly equivalent to four Bud Lights. 

Next up we have this fun beer from Tree House, Cafe Kola, that I purchased back in the summer when I was in Cape Cod. This is another rich imperial stout. Kola is Tree House’s coffee liqueur, which I have not tried, and this beer is meant as a complement to that. It is ALSO quite dark, though the ABV on this one is slightly lower at 10%, and comes in a 12oz bottle. There’s actual coffee in this one, so it gives it a lot more bitter/roast notes that just balance out everything else so nicely. Complex, chocolatey, delicious and not too sweet. I’d have welcomed another one of these.

Kilgore Stout is drinking an Empire State Brewing Black Magic Nitro Stout


We’ll be talking about the Darkest Beer for Darkest Days thing when we record the podcast tonight, so stay tuned for that. Will we compare it to the Mets Black Jerseys? Only time will tell. 

SRM isn’t a great measurement, though it suffices for measuring how dark a beer is. One thing I like to do to assess is the next day, when I wash my dirty beer glass that had a dark beer in it, is to fill it up with water and see how dark the residue makes it. This Cafe Kola water is darker than many a beer.


Ceetar can be found on Twitter and Untappd where he’s probably baking too many cookies.  You can also email him at


Mets On Tap Episode 31 Do I Know You, the New Mets?

You can email us questions, comments, and beer recs at

Michael, Chris and Jason talk about all the new Mets, how they all fit together, what else we need, and how this roster is constructed. Some CBA talk, some uniform numbers talk, and of course, beer.

The tweet I was referencing from Newburgh Brewing Company.

Michael: Magnify Brewing Do I Know You?
Chris: Singlecut Inexplicably Used Umlaut Marzen
Jason: Critz Farms Pig City Porter
Botty McBotface: 1.5L beers and O’Douls

Follow Us On Twitter: Jason, Michael,Chris, and Jake.

And check out Barley Prose on Instagram for more beer content.

Please rate (5 David Wright   ..or Davey Johnson..or Ed Charles.. Stars!) and review the podcast on Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts, your favorite nail salon, or just scribble the URL on a cocktail napkin at your local brewery.

The Thanksgiving Beer Post

I like wine well enough, but Thanksgiving should be more of a beer holiday, and I don’t mean downing eight beers with old friends the night before off dirty taps and watching the parade with a hangover. True story, I once went out to a local place with a great selection, had two beers and woke up absolutely miserable on Thanksgiving. It was in the early 2000s, and I blame dirty taps, even if I don’t have any proof.

So now that I’m “grown up” and hosting Thanksgiving and a little more in control of the menu and the beverage selection, what’s the plan? The crowd will still be pandemic-limited, so there won’t be that many drinkers at my house, which is a shame, but that’s not going to stop me. 

Alementary Brewing releases a Thanksgiving beer, an English Barleywine called Figgy Pudding. It’s a beer aged on Turkish figs, Turkish apricots, and Medjool dates and then into Jamaican rum barrels. It’s a great rich and malty beer that pairs well with the season. 

Another great drink is cider. Apple cider is already a delicious fall/harvest beverage, and it’s even better with booze. I recently purchased a pack of cider from Graft Cidery called Back Country Old Fashioned Cider, Citrus & Bourbon, and it’s quite delicious. It’s almost like a cocktail, because of the bourbon flavor, but the lemony citrus gives it enough acidity to not be overly sweet, and it just seems to go well with everything. 

What, you might ask, is Botty McBotface, our resident AI, drinking for Thanksgiving? 

“I’ll tell you what,” Botty said, “I’m gonna make a big batch of wine spritzer. I’m really excited about it. It’s gonna be great! I’ll put the wine in the blender, add some soda water, ice, and cranberry juice. That way, everybody can have a glass of wine.”

Sure. You could do wine. Spritzers seem like the way to go, give yourself a little carbonation to go with the big meal. I saw a fun recipe of Limoncello, cranberry juice, and seltzer, which I might give a whirl. Maybe even use prosecco instead of seltzer. 

I personally like to drink Oktoberfests on Thanksgiving, because I feel like beyond that I start looking at all the stouts and dark rich Christmasy stuff, and if I have any Oktoberfest left they just linger in my fridge, despite being one of my more loved styles. Drink ‘em while you got ‘em, so to speak. 

All in all, the best Thanksgiving drink is the one that’s in your hand, and if it hits the spot and pairs well with whatever you’re eating, all the better. So feel free to share your beer photos with us on Twitter or Instagram, and have a happy Thanksgiving!

Ceetar can be found on Twitter and Untappd where he’s currently making apple pie and drinking an Alementary Random Placement Of Things.  You can also email him at

BeerSport: Oktoberfest Take 2

The name of the game is BeerSport – two beers enter, one beer leaves. Beersport.

I don’t we’re starting to cross into stout season, but imo Oktoberfests go right up until Thanksgiving, they’re a nice meaty supper beer. Anyway, These are the two _other_ beers from the Saranac Oktoberfest pack dual BeerSport I did.

This time It’s the 1888 Octoberfest facing off against the Black Forest Schwarzbier. The Octoberfest is billed as an ‘authentic German-style lager’, but comes in a little low at 5.4% and the Black Forest is named for the homeland of Saranac’s founder. 5.3%.

Preconceived notions on these is that I thought I’d had the Black Forest before and liked it, but actually that was the Black Forest Cake. I expect the Octoberfest, and apologies if I add a k to that–never trust an Octoberfest, to be pretty typical of the style.


Octoberfest is a little darker than I’d like, and maybe has a little too much malt. Only a little bit of head. Looks fine.

Black Forest. It’s black? Just a hint of lighter/cola colors around the edge. Pretty coffee colored head. 

Edge: Black Forest


Octoberfest: A malty smell with hint of some cherry perhaps. Whiff of sulfur. Smells a little sweeter than I expected. 

Black Forest is very clean. Aroma is very light. Also get some sweetness, more than I expected. Sort of a dank sweetness, that fades into more of a light coffee note. Not fresh coffee, but just that impression you get when you walk into somewhere where coffee is frequently brewed, but is not actively being brewed. 

Edge: Octoberfest


This is definitely a sweeter Octoberfest. Are all of Saranac’s sweet? This is fine, there’s not quite that sulfury/yeasty richness that usually cuts the Octoberfest malts here. It’s faint, but it needs more. It’s very drinkable though, and it definitely tastes better after you acclimate to the extra sweetness.

Black Forest. The black forest might be more drinkable though. Its got that light coffee note, maybe a hint of cola but it’s that sweetness playing with me perhaps. It’s light though, airy. 

Edge:Black Forest


The Octoberfest has a little more of a beer feel, it’s a little fuller. The black forest is very airy, tickles your tongue and then moves along. They’re both basically the same 5.4 or 5.3 ABV, which is low for an Octoberfest. 

Edge: Octoberfest


Neither of these are great beers, they’re good, but they’re forgetable. The Octoberfest just missing the mark, and is a little weak. The Schwarzbier is just lacking alittle bit overall in flavor.  It just needs a little bit more there. 

Winner: Octoberfest takes it home here, barely, with a more beer like experience.

Ceetar can be found on Twitter and Untappd where he’s currently on vacation in Mexico, sipping bad beer or tequila by the pool.  You can also email him at

Adventures in Near Drinking: Athletic Brewing “Run Wild” IPA

Well, it’s been so long since I actually sat down and tried to smith some words about drinking that I had to knock my head against a post just to remember my credentials.

Then it hit me.  The password, that is, not the post.  Plus also the post.

I’ve had a recent conversion, of sorts.  Like that guy, on that road, except maybe less dramatically Biblically so.

It turns out that Covid made me one thirsty, alcohol-spongin son of a gun, and it was affecting my health.

I know what you’re saying, though.  This is a beer blog (technically).  About beer drank by beer loving beer guys.  And these beverages are not technically beer, I am surmising, as the can calls it a “near beer” and an “N/A brew” but not a beer.

But now it’s time to put my own spin on this blog.

I’ve converted to an N/A devotee.

Not full time, mind you.  I do still enjoy stopping by all of my favorite local haunts for a real deal beer (specifically Buried Acorn and Freight Yard, but others also).

But in terms of what’s in my fridge, nowadays, I am not exaggerating when I say that while there are a couple of Guinnesses and late season Oktoberfests in there, the primary occupants are thirty individual cans of Athletic Brewing self described “near beer.”  I’ve even added a monthly subscription, so that I can get some of their other choices sent to me that are not carried at my local food jobber.

Now, I know what you’re thinking.  There are all kinds of metaphors here to be made.  Here are a few that have gone through my head.

  1. Drinking an N/A beer is like watching a pornographic film where everyone keeps their underwear on.
  2. Drinking an N/A beer is like eating a vegan hot dog covered in mustard powder.
  3. Drinking an N/A beer is like taking a photo of a painting of a sunrise.

You get the idea.  It’s a near experience.

But, ultimately, this is about flavor and drinkability.  Being drunk is fantastic, do not get me wrong.  There’s a reason I’ve been doing it since 1987.  But, as I get older, I find that I really just want to enjoy a cold refreshing beverage, and in this regard, these Athletic Brewing beers hit the spot.

I’m going to start with their flagship brand, the “Run Wild” IPA.  This one is found locally at Wegmans and is I believe their most popular product.  It is, ITBMCBB*, “the ultimate sessionable IPA for craft beer lovers. Brewed with a blend of five Northwest hops, it has an approachable bitterness to balance the specialty malt body.”  Did you get all that?

And it is delicious!  It tastes, well, like an IPA.  I won’t get all specific with hops and notes and mouthy feels and shit, because that’s not how I do things.  But it’s good.  I come home from a run and crack open one of these fellers and pour it into a glass and then I’m just another guy having a beer.

And that, my friends, is what it’s about.

Look for future reviews of the Athletic Brewing stout, hazy IPA, copper ale, and raspberry lime radler in upcoming weeks.  I told you I’m all about this!