Drinking Outside The Box

Hey! It’s a beer post by a human being who’s not Ceetar!

Like many modern beer drinkers, I tend toward IPAs. But my wife and I decided to check out the new German-style Faircraft Brauhaus yesterday on the way to our weekly pub quiz night. Faircraft opened last year doing just to-go crowler and growler sales of their darker lagers and ales, and over the past few months, they’ve expanded into a full-scale operation, and we came away extremely impressed!

The menu is simple — some wursts, spaetzles, and whatnot — but was really fantastic. Even the pretzel & mustard combo, which is usually comically oversized, is a perfect side dish or appetizer. At a first glance, they’re mostly small plates, good for a snack, but we had the sausage plate, which came with half a loaf of sourdough and a scoop of the most incredible obatzda cheese spread you’ve ever had. We did *not* leave hungry.

a plate with sausage slices, cheese, and bread, next to a plate with a large pretzel, with a flight of four dark beers behind them
The sausage plate, “bretzel,” and a flight at the Brauhaus.

Nor did we leave thirsty, of course! They specialize in darker beers, so we went all in. From left to right in the photo above: Spinning Gold, a clean, easy-drinking Helles lager that my wife was bored by but I thought was good; Lucy’s Local, a Rye IPA that was heavy on the rye and light on the hops; Raven’s Ring, a fantastic Schwarzbier, and Low & Slow, their smoked porter.

Not pictured is the Bricklebock, a traditional single bock that I thought was the best of the bunch.

Faircraft is perfectly positioned in downtown Fairport in the former American Can Factory, just steps from the Erie Canal, with plenty of parking and a huge outdoor patio that will get a TON of use once the weather cooperates. They’ve got a ton of space inside as well, including a grand piano, so I’d anticipate some music nights there too. Really looking forward to seeing them continue to grow.

The five businesses in the Can Factory building — Faircraft, Compane Trattoria, Smokin Hot Chicks BBQ, Iron Smoke Distillery, and Triphammer Bierworks — make that whole space a real destination for us!

Oh Bars, How I Miss Thee

Man, I miss bars.

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.

hallway level bar, red and black schema, 'Sin City Brewery' inside the Venetian Las Vegas

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. 

Bland Club level bar at Citi Field

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?

Foreground is a dark German beer, with a shot of a normal looking bar and chalkboard of beers in the background

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 beer@ceetar.com.

Tardy Beer Resolutions And Thoughts

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 beer@ceetar.com.

Beer Review:  The Honey Green Lager (6.2%)

Welcome To Botty McBotface’s Weekly Column Of AI Beer Reviews. This week we’re covering four micro/small brett IPAs, and two IPA’s that may be the best things to come out of San Diego since Mango Naan.

 

Beer Name:Vas Deferens Ale
ABV 8.10
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Appearance: 3.5
Aroma: 3.5
Palate: 3
Taste: 3.5
Overall: 3.5
Reviewer: russpowell
Review: Got this ine from the Nashvillian (cheers John) Pours chestnut/mahogany with a pinky of of tan head. Average head retention & good lacing

S: Rich dark fruit, chocolate. All fade as this warms

T: Follows the nose, dryness, apricot, pears & cherries with a touch of oakyness up front. I start picking some candi orange notes as this warms, a touch of juicy fruit gum on the edges, along with apple skins. Finishes dry with some orange rind bitterness showing up, some cocoa powder as well

MF: Medium bodied, fairly firm carbonation, a bit too dry for my liking

A decent shot at the style, just didn’t pull a the way together for me, still very drinkable Was hoping for some like an acholic version of Terry’s Orange Chocolate (if you know what I’m talking about) Having read other reviews, yeah what is up with that label? Not sure what that demon is is grabbing…

 

Beer Name:Old Growth Imperial Stout
ABV 8.80
Style: Russian Imperial Stout
Appearance: 3.5
Aroma: 3
Palate: 4
Taste: 4
Overall: 3.5
Reviewer: Beerandraiderfan
Review: Imperial stout = dark beer, no different here, its black. Foam about 3/4″ deep, tan, light brown colored, hits the bricks right quick sucka. Coffee absent in the aroma, otherwise, chocolate malt, light boozy in a good way, warming, hides abv relatively well, no coffee to it still on the mouthfeel. Sticky, bitter, low carbonation. About 1/100th of the smoke they put in rauch ur bock. Plenty chewy. Maybe some licorice. Pretty good stuff. What a bummer mine followed a Mogli. Tough act to follow, but would not heitate to recommend this beer, just like 99% of the rest of Caldera’s stuff.

 

Beer Name:Dry Hop Red
ABV 5.70
Style: American Amber / Red Ale
Appearance: 3.5
Aroma: 4.5
Palate: 4
Taste: 4
Overall: 4.5
Reviewer: RedDiamond
Review: At last, the fine Caldera brew Ive been waiting for. I first heard of this beer on the streets of Ashland where word of mouth about a good beer is a recognized sign of an enlightened populace. With high hopes I went to the Siskiyou Pub in pursuit of this craft beer and was rewarded with a fine drinking experience. Just as word about this beer reached me before I could drink it, so too, the fine aromatic fragrance of bright floral hops leapt out at me from the glass before I could take a sip. Its not surprising that a dry hopped beer should carry such a resounding hop fragrance. Still, the vitality of the aroma was compelling. And the hops were not limited to a mere fragrance. The bittering element was concise with a touch of spice and a protracted bitter finish comparable to an ESB. All this from a beer of lush crimson with a razor thin head.

 

 


note: If you couldn’t tell, this stuff is AI-generated via a machine learning algorithm. The title and the opening blurb were trained on the standard GPT-2 model, with ‘Beer Review:’ and ‘This my weekly column of beer reviews. ‘ given as prompts. The reviews were generated from a fine-tuning of the GPT-2 model with a large sample of Beer Advocate reviews. I selected from the saved samples of these and put this post together. 

Taking Advantage of Quarantine Beer Shipping Policies

The unexpected benefit of being quarantined and not being able to visit tap rooms is that breweries are empowered, by desperation and by the relaxing of strict rules against it, to deliver and ship beer. Even as some states have relaxed guidelines to allow us to visit and drink in certain situations, the ever-persistent pandemic has us drinking most of our beer at home. 

Early on I ordered either pick-up, delivery, or whatever I could get from local breweries to try to support them as they struggled. My locals make great beer, so this is not particularly onerous. Most recently I picked up two very interesting beers from the Alementary in Hackensack, NJ called Sweet Summa’ Child, and #Staycation. Sweet Summa’ is a ‘hot, honey wheat ale’. Honey, Cayenne, citrus, meant as an ode to summer cuisine. Amazing. #Staycation is a gose, slightly tart, with pineapple, coconut and ginger. The ginger really makes this next level, as it lends some spiciness but also a warming sweetness too. Couple that with the tart, and the fruit, and I’m starting to wonder if eight was enough.

There are other breweries out there of course, ones in a larger radius from my home that I either like to visit, or would like to visit when I have the time. Now that it’s somewhat irresponsible to just hang out in public with others, I’ve been taking advantage of delivery or shipping options. Most recently, Magnify Brewing in Fairfield, NJ. Fairfield is not far from me, in fact I used to work there, but it’s outside my usual routine and requires a special trip, but you better believe that when they started offering beers for delivery, I jumped. I’ve been a fan of Magnify since inception, I visited their brewery within a few weeks of opening, met the owner and both his parents, and enjoyed the first beers they produced. 

Magnify makes a lot of beer, especially a lot of New England IPA, and they do a good job of it. Specifically, they’re one of the breweries that are, and this is as of yet unverified by me, nailing the ‘fruited gose’ style. Fruited beers, due to the unfermented sugar in the can and therefore the potential for that can to ferment, create CO2, and explode, are the latest hot button issue in the craft beer world, if you don’t count the ongoing failure of the Brewers Association to adequately address racism, which is absolutely a thing that is happening, but also one I don’t feel fully versed in discussing, but still wanted to mention. 

Fruited Gose. Is it a good idea for breweries to sell a product that you HAVE to keep refrigerated or it will explode? That’s the debate. A lot of it comes down to how you think about beer–is it a fresh produce type thing, like milk, where the consumer is expected to keep it cold, be aware of it’s expiration, and take responsibility for that? Or is this a beer too far, and breweries should absolutely not be selling dangerous exploding cans to potentially un-aware consumers? I have some thoughts, but I’d like to taste one of these beers first, which brings me back to Magnify.

Coming today, to my house, is a shipment of Magnify beers that includes Pastry Proof, a variation of their Trade Proof series, because you can’t trade a beer that’s going to explode in an unrefrigerated USPS truck. Pastry Proof is a heavily fruited smoothie style Gose inspired by berry pancakes. Conditioned on blueberry, blackberry, boysenberry and maple syrup. Thick and fruit forward. Roll the can before cracking! Interesting. I mean, who can argue with that? That sounds delicious. I’ll let you know. 

New York is much better than New Jersey with the ordering beer for shipping. Luckily, my parents still live in New York and will happily, though I can’t say I gave them a choice, accept beer deliveries for me, as I did with a shipment from Plan Bee earlier this year. Recently, I was alerted to the fact that Threes Brewing, a great brewery in Brooklyn that typically has other locals on tap when you visit and was the host for at least one BeerGraphs meetup, would also ship other brewery beers along with theirs on their site. This was all I needed to hear, and I quickly ordered their Short Fuse, and Oak Aged Smoked Helles, their Thought Experiment, their Dare to Know, and then Greenpoint’s Please Stand By, Folksbier, who I’d never tried but wanted to, Cucumber Lime Glow Up (this is a pickle beer. I repeat, this beer tastes like pickles), and Wild East’s Temperance. 

Thanks to quarantine I’ve gotten to try a lot of breweries and beers that I would’ve had to put extra effort into getting to otherwise, so I guess you could call this a silver lining. Hopefully testing ramps up, vaccines and treatments emerge, and we can all hoist a pint in person with our favorite breweries and people soon, but until then, appreciate the less-local breweries that will ship you amazing beer, and encourage them to keep doing it. 

 Ceetar can be found on Twitter and Untappd where he’s finishing off a bottle of Japanese whiskey. You can also email him at beer@ceetar.com.

Brewery Review: Freight Yard Brewing, Clay, NY

I’m really the type of person to listen and pay attention to the signs out there.  Not street signs, although I pay attention to those too, best as I’m able.

I mean an omen.  A signal, telling me that I should go do something or go someplace.  This is the beer drinkers’ equivalent of Harry Potter drinking the liquid luck and then going to Hagrid’s.  You just have to go where you think you need to go and trust your instincts.

So, when you’re driving around your town, and you see a big fancy new sign on a building, on a stretch of road that is largely otherwise unoccupied, well, that’s a sign right there.

Especially a sign like this baby.

Blockin out the scenery breakin my mind

 

Turns out, as per their web site, this place has been making brews since 2016. Now there’s no way I missed a sign going up four years ago, 15 minutes from my house. No sir! Turns out, the tasting room just opened in the fall.

I finally made my way to this place the other night.  They’re only open on Fridays-Sundays, for now, so it’s a bit tougher to work that into my schedule, but when you get that sign, you follow it!

The building that houses this tasting room, as per a very personable bartender named Joe, has been many different things, as it sits near a train crossing or some other notable junction.  In any event, they’ve got some inventive decor and a real comfortable feel.

Not actually bouncy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s move on from the assfeel of those stools to talk about the merch that matters, the brewskis.

While their web site details quite a number of enticing sounding drinks, they had just four of their own beers on tap the night I was there.  The bartender apologized that he didn’t have any of their wheat beers or other varieties to offer me.  I started instead with their signature beer, the Hitch IPA.

This beer, ITBMCBB*, is best described as a “traditional IPA, hop forward, unfiltered.” I found it to be refreshing and hoppy. It’s a 7.2% IPA, which is a happy place for me to get my blur on.

Any local place should be putting their own best IPA forward as the first beer to start with, and the Hitch IPA gets the job done.  This was despite the misgivings of my adjacent stool mate, who after a sample asked if they had “any beers that tasted like beer.”  He was offered a Kolsch which I think he preferred (I thought less of him for saying so).

I moved from the IPA next to their brown ale. As per the bartender, the brewer was attempting to make her own take on a Newcastle. Now, why someone would want to do that is beyond me. Newcastle is some thin, watery slop.  This self described “English style” brown ale, the “Loucastle,” was far more enjoyable. I think, after the fine Brooklyn Brewery Brown Ale, this is probably my second favorite of this type that I’ve enjoyed personally.

This place has much to offer. First, don’t underestimate the value of a friendly and engaging bartender. This guy was on his own impetus offering me samples of the guest taps he enjoyed the most, just as one beer enthusiast sharing his joys with customers. That’s a first for me.

Another thing is that their menu included eight beers from other local craft breweries, including both a couple of known favorites of mine from Buried Acorn as well as some others I had not tried prior.  This is a very welcoming and open brewing community and the best places all seem to enjoy serving each others’ beers.

They also have some complimentary snacks for the drinking set – always a nice perk.  As Ceetar would tell you, a hard crunchy pretzel is the perfect compliment to a cold hoppy beer.

All in all, the Freight Yard Brewery is a choice spot and I’ll be headed back there soon.  I’m looking forward to their soon to be expanded hours (hopefully, later in 2020, to include Wednesdays and Thursdays), and to perhaps plan a running route nearby so that I can add this as a Run, Relax & Refresh spot to add to my list.

So if you’re in the vicinity of Clay, New York, do stop in and check this place out, and better yet, call or text me first and I will meet you there for a brown ale and an IPA.

 

 

This Mets Fan Group Has It’s Own Beer At The Ballpark

Tasting the new United We Cheers beer from The 7 Line Army and MIkkeller NYC.

The 7 Line Army is an offshoot of the T-shirt company created by Darren Meenan that sells creative fan merchandise for Mets games. It’s a dedicated group of fans that have outings and tailgates at the park, and often travel to other parks as well, bringing a dedicated cheering section on the road is something that’s pretty neat, and something the ballplayers definitely notice and appreciate.

They recently teamed up with Mikkeller NYC, a brewery that’s actually attached to Citi Field, to create a special beer called United We Cheers, utilizing Mikkeller’s unique artwork style. It’s a 4.3% German Pilsner, which really makes it an excellent tailgating beer that’s pretty drinkable by most beer drinkers, perhaps even especially non-craft ones.

I stopped at Mikkeler before Opening Day and had a can of it. I also had a delicious Hill Farmstead IPA, but that’s not why we’re here.

The beer had that light sulfury smell many Pilsners do, and a bit of lightly warmed bread. The taste matched that well, crisp, a bit of light phenols from the hops and some of that sulfur taste from the water chemistry. The hop bitterness is present and accounted for, that spicy/peppery noble hop varieties that are typical of the style. It’s full flavored and not at all watery. If the hop varieties were different, you might even call it a session IPA, but noble hops are more crowd pleasing.

This is a beer I’d be happy to drink all day watching or playing sports. It’s a great drinking beer.

 

Moderatly Functional Alcoholism: My Year in Beer, 2018!

One of my favorite things about Spotify is their year-end “Spotify Wrapped”, a select summary of a user’s listening habits, the number of hours spent under the headphones and a breakdown of which styles and genres and buzzbands hooked us the deepest and hardest.  So apparently I listened to Wilco in 2018 for the equivalent of 2 straight days. Your bet your ass, I did! We spend (read: waste) so much time online and give so much personal information away on the internet, that it’s truly gross and weird how much I love such a tidy review of an entire year of my detailed activity with one company’s product.  I had no idea that Untappd used the data we freely allow them to mine to create a similar year-end summation until I read Ceetar’s My 2018 Beers in Review piece based on his Untapped “Year in Beer”.  So inspired by that, I cribbed his idea and decided to whip up a post detailing my own beer drinking in 2k18 and here’s what I learned, everybody:

I should drink less beer!

Ceets had said he reliably checks in about 98% of his beers and I do not, friends.  I check in only new beers and try to avoid repeats altogether, with a few exceptions.  Special or rare treats I’m lucky enough to get more than once (Modern Times offerings, for example) get the re-run treatment.  Same with Project Dank by La Cumbre, which is an ever-changing experimental IPA, but the name always remains the same. Beyond those special ones, if it’s a beer that’s clocked a previous check-in, this time it will be swallowed down in quiet anonymity. So while Ceetar reported 397 beers in 2018, this asshole over here counted 354 in new brews alone, with the memories of countless unreported repeat favorites relegated to history’s septic tank by way of the bottom of a stained and yellowed urinal.  Beer-drinking is glamorous!

Now to the numbers for the advanced beer-alytics amongst us:

341 unique beers enjoyed over 85 distinct styles at 112 different breweries.  If you adjust for park factor (a technical calculation based on how many of these beers were enjoyed under a tree in a park), my Value Over Replacement Drunkard (VORD) is a career best for me, and challenges some of the best beer-drinking seasons on record.  And if I continue at this pace, I could be a first-ballot (if insurance approves) liver replacement recipient!

Now back to the minutiae.  The repeat beer I checked in the most (all of 4 check-ins) was the Sucker Punch Double IPA, brewed by local heavyweights Boxing Bear Brewing Co., an outfit that collects medals like Michael Phelps.

While I drank American IPAs more than any other varietal (86 check-ins), the style I rated the most highly was the Imperial Stout – the average overall rating for this type of dark and boozy dream was rewarded with a handsome 4.17 rating by yours truly.  

Gun to my head, I think I would pick La Cumbre Brewing Company as my favorite beer maker in my home state of New Mexico, but the brewery I frequented the most was Bosque Brewing Company (37 check-ins!).  It’s our neighborhood watering hole and the clear favorite establishment of my girlfriend, who is basically like a made guy there.  Back in the day, we’d walk in and be carded like all the other Janes and Joes, but now they shake our hands and greet us with reverence like we’re mobsters who invested in their joint to clean all our dirty money.  It’s awesome.

Back to the thing.  Maybe the coolest part of the Untappd Year in Beer, though, is the map:

A cross-country motorsickle trip last fall afforded me the opportunity to taste beers in a few locations in the south and southeast that I wouldn’t otherwise buy.  I’m talking to you, Lonestar.

via the Barley Prose Instagram account

I found a few decent offerings up in Colorado, and Washington state was solid, but now I’m just getting super excited to drop pins all over my 2k19 map.

I’m hoping for another stop at SoCal suds mecca San Diego, but at the very top of the list is a summer vacation to France and Spain, and while we’re that close, we’re gonna shoot very had to jump the straight and visit Morocco.  The idea of setting foot on African soil is this huge, bucketlist-y goal fueled by curiosity, adventure and a desire to meet other people and experience their culture. 

BUT ALSO to buy a beer I’ve never heard of somewhere in Tangier, post a picture of it to brag that I’m at a cool place that you’re not, and then check-in that beer on another stupid app to share with a bunch of far-away strangers on my goddamn cell phone.  A sadly authentic human experience in 2019!

Thank you for reading this post.  Please consider connecting with us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Untapped, Snapchat, Tumblr, Tinder, Reddit, MySpace, Grindr, Friendster, Google+, and/or Christian Mingle (dot) com. Real-life conversations with real-life human beings are so completely overrated.

A Nocturnal Storm for the Longest Night

I’m not usually a dark beer drinker – I like my beer hoppy – but on The Longest Night for the winter solstice, well, you have to put old feelings aside and try something new.

A beer in a fluted glass sits on a coffee table in front of a lit Christmas tree
Nocturnal Storm, a vanilla porter from Rising Storm in Avon, NY

Rising Storm is a fantastic new brewery just off Exit 9 on Route 390 in Avon, NY. It’s a quick half hour ride from downtown Rochester, and only a few minutes from Mortalis, another new local place that’s quickly developing a rabid following.

The brainchild of Bill Blake and Jeff Reidl, fraternity brothers from our college days at Geneseo (although I’ve got a good eight or so years on them), Rising Storm simply brews good beer. They’re not trying to reinvent the wheel; no crazy flavors, no gimmicks. Just a good variety of styles done right. (Their first NEIPA, called The What, earned my first 5 on Untappd.)

The rest of the Barley Prose team challenged me to blog a dark beer, though, so I figured this was the way to go. Nocturnal Storm is a vanilla porter that tastes pretty much exactly what I expected a vanilla porter to taste like: a little tinge of vanilla and coffee, but very smooth and very drinkable. I’ve downed an entire crowler this evening and I’ve enjoyed every sip. It’s only 5.8% ABV, so it’s not overwhelming either, but has enough kick to count.

Bill and Jeff are adding live music in the next couple of weeks, and they’ve worked hard to develop a strong local following. Keep an eye on this little place in Livingston County that’s going to make some noise in 2019. (Tell Sully or Doupe at the bar that Chris sent you.)

 

Run, Relax, Refresh: Full Boar Craft Brewery

You had me at “brewery”

Time for another installment of Run, Relax, Refresh, where our intrepid blogger combines a post-workday run with a stop at one of Syracuse’s fine local craft brewing establishments.

The Run:

This day’s journey took me along route 11 in North Syracuse, New York, to some residential side streets, and then spat me back out along the narrow shoulder of Taft Road, plus a couple of detours tacked on to get me to the 30 minute mark (my normal weekday exercise goal).

The route 11 portion of this run wasn’t bad, thanks to there being a sidewalk available set safely away from the road.  I was able to run past some of the town’s more quirky local businesses, such as Earthbound Metaphysical. I was hoping that this was a “Ray’s Occult Books” style shop of necromancy and paranormal resources, though it turns out they just sell fancy coffees and tees.

When I realized my route as originally designed was going to clock in at around 2.75 miles, I decided to tack on a couple of small detours.  One was to run down the access road at Hinerwadels, a famous local clambake joint that has sadly closed their doors this year (luckily, their gravel driveway remained accessible).  I also detoured over to the local junior high school and added a quarter mile by running a lap on their local track. These both had the added benefit of getting me off of Taft Road, where the shoulder is about as wide as Kate Moss’ torso.

The intermediate roads on this route, through residential North Syracuse neighborhoods, did have a nice display of foliage out for enjoyment.

A good workout, overall, not the most scenic path I ever traversed, but it conveniently started and ended at the Full Boar Brewery and Tap Room.

The Relax:

On to the Full Boar!

This awesome little joint opened in 2016 in a local shopping plaza — always a plus, ensuring that there’s plenty of parking and that it’s not too conspicuous to leave my vehicle in front for 30 minutes without shopping, while I get my run in.

This place has a lot to offer, first off — each table has a caddy of individual sized snacks, chips and pretzels.

I’ll have these

I personally went with the Dipsy Doodles, which are like Sun Chips’ sexy naked cousin in the snack world.

Lots of comfortable seating abound as well as snappy decorations, as you can see.

Oh good I was just thinking of trying beer for the first time

But now, let’s remember, this isn’t an HGTV decorating show. I’m not here to comment on the feng shui, I’m here to partake.

They have a great selection of brews, of all colors and flavors. Not to mention these tricked out growlers converted into hanging lights (OK WE GET IT DECORATOR-BOY).

SOOOO many choices

I sampled the peanut butter and jelly flavored blonde, which was just a bit too odd, and then had a sour mango, which was a refreshing enough beer (though I prefer my sour mango beers to be sourer and mangoier).

The real star of this “triple R” was the chocolate peanut butter stout.

The Refresh:

Look at this damned thing. LOOK AT IT!

It seems all too appropriate to enjoy one of these beers on the week of Halloween. After a couple of days spent “borrowing” from my kids’ trick or treating haul, this stout was scratching me right where I itched (not in the sweaty runner crotch kind of itch, more of the emotional yearning sort of way).  It’s basically a Reese’s peanut butter cup, only in beer form (which is candy for the liver).

As per the menu, this beer is a 6.6% ABV choice and ITBMCBB*, it’s “smooth and sweet with a deep roast flavor. Nice peanut butter nose balances well with the dark Chocolate.” At $5 for a 16 oz portion, it hits my wallet’s sweet tooth as well.

As for the flavor, well, it’s sweet without being “cloyingly sweet.” (Note: that phrase is borrowed from every single episode of the show Chopped ever to air on the Food Fatty network). And it’s a stout, with delicious roasted flavor. I enjoy many stouts and this one ranks very high on my list.  Shout out to the great pint glasses that the Full Boar uses, too.  That groove at the top is perfectly contoured to my fat beer loving lower lip.

The Prose-inator loved it too! No surprise there. How would you describe it, Prose-inator?

“This beer tastes like what it would taste like if a

made love to a

in the middle of a

while listening to the Greatest Hits Album of the world’s greatest band, ever, that being of course

and then together raised a baby with their shared feelings of

and, finally, that baby cried

tears of

into a frosty pint glass.”