Father’s Day Is The Best Drinking Holiday

Father’s Day is the best drinking holiday. At least for fathers of a certain age, meaning me.

 

New Years is a waste. It’s at the end of the holiday season and I know I’m often burnt out of overdoing it. Were you not drinking heavy stouts all month? Were you not gorging on Christmas cookies? Maybe you’re doing the end of the year wrong. Sure, I’ll have some champagne, enjoy a beer or two, but my heart’s not in it. 

 

St. Patrick’s Day is just culturally weird, and it’s also not a day off. It’s often in the middle of the week. I love Irish Soda Bread, and enjoy a good Guinness, but this is just not a good showcase for a drinking holiday.

 

The various summer holidays have a lot to say for them. You get together with friends and/or family, don’t really have a ton going on otherwise in terms of buying presents or decorating trees, and you’ve often got lawn games and pools and fireworks and a grill. Having a few beers while standing at a BBQ grill and haphazardly flipping burgers is a lot of fun, and I’m definitely looking to make up for all the missed ones from last year.  I even wrote about this recently, about how nice it can be having a summer weekend of drinking and friends and family.

July fourth isn’t much different than any other summer birthday or gathering though. There’s a lot of delicious summer beers out there nowadays, that’s super fun to have in the pool, under the trees, while playing cornhole, or whatever your favorite summer activity is, but it’s not quite a holiday really. It’s more of a summer mood, a summer aesthetic. You’re either driving somewhere, or you’ve got hosting duties that require a little more alertness and time.

I did the day before Thanksgiving thing when I was in my 20s, back when you were still kind of reunited with people from high school home for the holidays. Before Kids. That was fine, though truthfully it wasn’t much different than any other night out, except you’ve got all the amateurs and all those people from high school that maybe you don’t normally talk to for a reason.  Our go-to was Croxley’s Ale House on Long Island, home of (then) 10cent wing specials on Wednesdays that for some reason they didn’t waive on those Wednesdays. They also easily had the best craft beer menu on Long Island,I learned so much about what beers I like from Croxley’s.  We’d get there before the drunk rush, have some of the best wings you can get outside of Buffalo, and enjoy a few beers from the comfort of a seat before milling around in the bar area. Seated drinking is so underrated. 

 

So that brings us to Father’s Day. Generally, a stereotypical Father’s Day is about leisure and relaxing. Even if you’re a maniac like me who decided he wanted to make Baked Ziti, sfogliatelle, black russian sourdough bread, semolina italian bread, and tiramisu, a lot of the day is often just lounging around in an easy chair with a beer in your hand. 

 

As an aside, I ABSOLUTELY made that tiramisu with Alementary’s Arecibo, a coffee beer, instead of coffee and Kahlua. It was amazing.

a shot of tiramisu, dusted with cocoa and chocolate, and a tupperware container of homemade sfogliatelle pastries, sitting on a picnic table

I drank a lot of beer yesterday. My mother actually brought me a few 4-packs from Barrier Brewing on Long Island, an excellent brewery. I tried two of their Deadly Combination series, an IPA series with rotating hops. Motueka + Citra, and Idaho7 + Citra. Good beers, but not as good as Our Sour #12: Lupulin Lollies. 

 

Lupulin Lollies is a DDH Kettle Sour IPA with a hint of lactose. I loved this beer. It had a lot of sour fruit notes up front, that refreshing summer bite that’s so perfect in hot weather, but it faded to a normal IPA type bitterness and hoppiness. The lactose seemed to give it some balance. I need to try this one again alone, and really focus on it. I’m looking forward to doing that with the next three.

 

I drank a few other things too, with less and less focus on them. We had the little inflatable kids pool up, and I had my feet in that a lot, when I wasn’t just reclining in one of the outdoor chairs, munching on various snacks. I finished the day sipping on my own MAD Brewery Brown Ale, of which I have yet to name. Featured on a recent Mets On Tap episode, it’s just a fine, plain, brown ale. 

 

I didn’t have to go anywhere. I didn’t really HAVE to do anything. Except drink, and drink I did. It should be Father’s Day every day. 

 

 Ceetar can be found on Twitter and Untappd where he’s probably sitting in his backyard with a beer, on his new patio, watching the birds.  You can also email him at beer@ceetar.com.

A Nice Refreshing Weekend, And Beer

It was a good weekend. It was a good beer weekend. I drank a lot of beer.

 

The beer wasn’t why it was good, but it was certainly a happy companion. It started with a trip to Connecticut for my cousin’s, once removed, birthday party. There was some swimming, there were some snacks. There was a keg of beer.

 

Specifically, there was Norbrook Farm’s Mount Pisgah, a 6.8% American IPA. This was about as local as you get, clocking in at a mere 1.23 miles, as the crow flies, from where I drank it. Their website says they have a fire pit–with the right wind conditions I might even be able to smell that fire pit from where I was. 

top of a kegerator, one tap, with the label for Mount Pisgah IPA. Some Red solo cups and a glass boot of straws

Was the beer good though? I was drinking with family and friends, many of whom I had not seen in quite a while. So, low bar, but the beer was good. I don’t know if it was a pint I’d have a second of sitting at a bar somewhere, but a nice solid IPA while wandering around chatting with friends and family? Perfection. The American IPA style fits it pretty well, it had plenty of that caramel malt backbone that felt like a throwback, but plenty of friendly and tasty hop flavor too. I’ll be back on July 3rd, and hopefully the keg is tapped and I get to try something else next time, or else I’ll just have to help tap this one. 

 

The weekend continued the next day with some friends and their children. Everyone Is vaccinated and mostly safe, so we didn’t worry too much about the kids getting some much needed socialization, we even set up the bounce house. The LOL Surprise Doll themed bounce house.

 

As is my style, I had too much beer. We drank a rather nice Zwickel from Jack’s Abby, and finally tried Gumballhead from 3 Floyds, but you know those are great breweries and beers, the one I want to talk about is the Breadwinner by Upward Brewing Company. 

 

Upward Brewing Company is a relatively new brewery in the Catskills, Livingston Manor, NY.  They’ve got a large plot of land, something called Beer Mountain, and a hiking trail. And beer. A friend was up there this weekend and brought a growler of Breadwinner to the party, and we finished that growler. 

 

Breadwinner is a 5.5% American IPA, which appears to be the style of the weekend. At 5.5% it doesn’t hit as hard as many IPAs, which gives it a very crushable feel. Standard Citra & Mosaic hops, but not overdone and just enough malt backbone to fit the style and ‘balance’ it. I found myself happily topping off my glass as I grilled up some burgers and talked nonsense and chased the kids around. Then it was empty. How’d that happen? 

 

I’d put up a pop-up tent when we got a brief spattering of rain that didn’t really bother anyone. It was still rainy in the morning, so I took my coffee outside, sat under the tent in the comfortable morning, drank my coffee and watched the birds dodge a drizzle to eat at the birdfeeder, reflecting on what ended up being a nice refreshing weekend. 

Ceetar drinking coffee out of a blue and white 'Best Dad Ever' mug in front of a swingset and a bird feeder

 Ceetar can be found on Twitter and Untappd where he’s probably still sitting out in the rain drinking coffee.  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.

Stay Home, Drink That Giant Stout

We can’t have large Thanksgiving gatherings this year, since those potentially spread Covid far and wide, but we can still drink our Thanksgiving beers at home. I don’t usually have a large beer-drinking crowd, but enough that I can buy something new and interesting to try, or crack open a bottle of some rich aged stout to share among a few people. The lack of those people present in my house on Thursday is not going to stop me from opening something though.

Stick that turkey in the oven and break out that bourbon barrel-aged monster you’ve been aging. It’s strong, but the best thing about these beers is that they taste better approaching room temperature than fridge temperature, so even if you’re just sipping over a few hours, they’re still delicious. Drink them more like bourbon than like beer.

 

Alementary makes a beer called Figgy Pudding, which is typically described as an English Barleywine, though I’m not sure that really captures it. 

Big sweet bready malt, with a full range of supporting characters from light toffee to low chocolate. Fruit aromas of apricot, date, significant fig. Flavors of holiday fruitcake with massive malt structure. Figs for days, with supporting apricot. Date and Prune are secondary.

It’s a really neat beer, and I really love it. It’s also one of those that you can age. I’ve got a few bottles from previous years and I’m intending to open one up around noon on Thursday. At 9% it’s not as heavy hitting as some could be, but either way I”m looking forward to enjoying it slowly while I pull together appetizers/snacks or mashed potatoes or other such foods. 

So much of Thanksgiving drink media talks about pairing your beverage with the meal, but that just feels like clickbait to me. The meal is one small portion, and you’re probably snacking all day. You’re definitely DRINKING all day right? The drink for 1pm spinach artichoke dip is different than when you have your plate stacked high with various mashed tubers. Drink what you like!

 

I was in NY briefly earlier this month and went to a bottle shop in Valley Stream that I usually go to, but hadn’t been since the pandemic started. They’re pretty good with having some more of the local Long Island breweries that don’t distribute to me in New Jersey, and other various breweries distributed to NY but not NJ. Mayflower brewing company is one, and I saw they had a Thanksgiving Ale. I picked up a 4-pack of that, to be my ‘drinking with dinner’ beer. 

 

After dinner, which is typically earlier in the day than ‘real’ dinner time, I suspect I’ll need something crisper and bubbly. This might be the time for a bottle of champagne, or a nice pale Ale. We’ve got a nice bottle of Pinot Noir sparking wine from Sparkling Pointe that might be right, or I did buy a 4-pack of Alementary’s Random Placement Of Things which would fit the bill too.

Finishing beer? Probably something small and smooth. A better person might say water here, but I’m thinking of a few light and fruity ales I have in the basement, or something like a dark mild. Plenty of taste, but nothing overpowering. Something to coast to the finish line with.

Whatever you enjoy, stay safe and go ahead and tag @BarleyProse with what you’re drinking. Cheers!

Drinking Beer And Staring At Trees

I’m enormously privileged, as far as COVID-19 and quarantine goes. I already worked from home, so the only thing that changed was the presence of my family, and granted a three year old and a six year old entering first grade that needs teaching all while attempting to work is no cakewalk, all things considered, it’s fine. My wife is still working as well, remotely every other week, so things move along. 

 

That’s not to say I’m not struggling, depressed, and concerned both with the mundane ‘Is my kid ever going to learn to write and is it even safe to have her back at school in any capacity?’ and the more abstract ‘Is this the dying gasp of the United States?’. Beer helps, and I’m not even going to pretend I’m waiting for 5 o’clock. That’s an arbitrary time. Our lives here were just ramping up to the chaos that is typical of a family in a suburban town–basketball, ballet, gymnastics, school, after-school events, etc. Extended family is not that close, but close enough to make a day of it on the weekends, which we frequently did. Now doing anything but staying home requires specific and focused planning. 

 

Suddenly, there’s time. It’s weird, because cooped up kids and teaching and working is like having no time, but you also have all the time. Yes, there are a billion things to get done, but it’s pretty easy to get any one of them done when you decide to. Throw in a load of laundry, feed the sourdough starter, vacuum, feed the kombucha, do a load of laundry, bottle the homebrew, pick up the rapidly growing pile of toys, have a beer on the deck staring at the trees…

Ahh, yes, having a beer on the deck staring at the trees. This is when I’m happiest. Maybe the kids are running around, going down the slide, fake-planting Pink-a-Bloom flowers from the PInkilicious book/tv series, or playing in the sandbox, or maybe it’s just me. One day in early spring when we had the windows open and the kids were just watching TV on the other side of the screen, it was just me and the wife, two beers, and the cool spring air. 

Maybe I would’ve found more time working from home, I’d only been doing that for four months when everyone else started doing it, but the normal hectic schedule of finishing work, getting kids from school/daycare, figuring out dinner and/or if there was gymnastics or ballet or something in the evening, then getting the kids through bedtime routines and into bed and asleep and then finishing any other chores, mostly cleaning up after the whirlwind, before climbing into bed myself didn’t leave much time for beers on the deck. 

Mostly I’ve been drinking various beers from local breweries that I’ve been buying pretty much exclusively. I bought some beer styles that’ll last all summer, but definitely picked up some IPAs, NE IPAs and other styles that are better consumed fresh along the way. Not necessarily looking for anything super intense while I’m in my happy place, just a tasty beer that is a good companion. I’ve even started drinking it from the can, something I rarely did before. One less glass to wash, and sometimes  even the can doesn’t come in, it just sits in a bucket outside until that bucket is full. 

This is a good beer. This is a comfortable backyard. The trees are tall, and there are birds flying around and chipmunks zipping around the rock wall. Even in the heat of summer, there are enough trees that by evening the worst heat is gone, and if I’m lucky there’s a breeze to keep away the bugs. For a few moments, it’s soothing and relaxing. Then someone asks me to push them on the swings, and I get up. That’s a less relaxing happiness, but I can push with one hand and drink my beer with the other. The world outside is scary right now, but here under the trees, things might be alright. 

 

 Ceetar can be found on Twitter and Untappd where he’s salivating over Oktoberfests and how many he’s going to drink outside this fall. Can his backyard fit a small fire pit? You can also email him at beer@ceetar.com.