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: Brown’s Brewing Company Guava Gose

If I were a poet, I would say that this concoction was the color of a sunrise, at Acadia National Park in Maine on the Atlantic coast, with schooners off in the distance, and fishing boats headed out for the day, and so on and so forth.

But that ain’t me, son.

I’m a man. A thirsty man, who enjoys a beer and a sandwich.

In this case, the location of the sandwich was the very recently opened Syracuse Press Room Pub, off of Clinton Square in Syracuse. This is a very hip new restaurant and tavern filled with Syracuse themes bric-a-brac and cool tables made out of cut down portions of actual basketball flooring. And some tasty vittles. In this case, the special of the day was a chicken teriyaki sandwich, topped with booze soaked salsa (see a theme yet?) and a side of their fantastically delightful homemade potato chips.

If you’re not getting the chips at this place, well, that means you blew it. YOU BLEW IT!

So, back to the Press Room. Their web site does tout the fine list of New York breweries featured among their beer selections, including “Ommegang, Brooklyn, Middle Ages, Browns, Ithaca, LIC, Single-Cut, Thin-Man, Rohrbach, Common Roots, Lake Placid, Empire, 1911, Critz Farms, Southern Tier” and promising that the list goes on from there.

(Which explains why my beer was served in a Southern Tier pint glass, despite not being a Southern Tier product.)

Today’s beverage is a Brown’s Brewing Company product known as the Guava Gose.

A gose, for those of you not in the “knows,” is a specific kind of beer. And I had to look so that I could say something more sophisticated than “goses are so good!” Which doesn’t really help anyone.

According to the Wikipedia, a gose is “a top-fermented beer that originated in Goslar, Germany. It is brewed with at least 50% of the grain bill being malted wheat. Dominant flavours in gose include a lemon sourness, a herbal characteristic, and a strong saltiness (the result of either local water sources or added salt). Gose beers typically do not have prominent hop bitterness, flavours, or aroma. The beers typically have a moderate alcohol content of 4 to 5% ABV.”

This particular gose is brought to you by Brown’s Brewing Company. They are based out of Troy, New York, near Albany, and I have been to their taproom. I attended a wedding and reception there a few years ago, and in fact am in the proud possession of a Brown’s Brewing Company bottle opener that has served me well.

Anyhoo, the Brown’s folks have so many beers that their web site gives only very short shrift to this particular brew.

“Tart German wheat beer brewed with sea salt, coriander, and almost 400 pounds of guava puree! 4.75% ABV, 0 IBU”

That’s all you’re getting out of the Brown’s on this. So, allow me to supplement that with details.

This beer is tremendous! It is tart and sweet at the same time. It’s fruity as all get out and it’s got a wonderful aroma. I would best describe it as the by-product of a love affair between a mermaid and a fat clown that was taking a break from scaring little kids at birthday parties. Like John Wayne Gacy, if he hadn’t killed all of those people.

I’ve yet to find this one in the stores, which keeps me going back to the Press Room to enjoy them, and as long as it’s on tap there at a reasonable $6 per pint, I shall continue to return and partake.

I couldn’t even find an image of the product itself, but I think this one, shown in a Brown’s glass, is pretty close.

So head over to the Press Room, or, if you’re in the Troy area, to the brewing room, and suck down one of these bad boys. Or, you know, start stomping on the guavas yourself (writer’s note: stomping on a guava may or may not produce a delicious gose beer, when combined with several other steps and several weeks of waiting. I cannot confirm or deny this).

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Review: New Belgium Voodoo Ranger Juicy Haze IPA

You know what’s good? Barbecue.

You know what’s better? Barbecue, washed down with the sweet nectar of life.

Out for lunch with a couple of my friends at Syracuse’s best local barbecue joint, the well renowned Dinosaur Barbecue, to enjoy their sublime Chicken Deluxe sandwich. Listen to this description!

“Mojito marinated chicken breast, melted American, lettuce, tomato, pickled onion & jalapeno relish, BBQ mayo, BBQ sauce”

I’m not exaggerating when I say that I’d punch my mama in the ear to get to one of these sammiches.

(Minus tomatoes, which I don’t dig on, due to their textural similarity to what a human heart must be like if you were to pull it out of a man’s chest and then place it on a mojito themed chicken).

The choice for this particular day was to wash it down with a New Belgium Voodoo Ranger Juicy Haze IPA.

Well, this beer is murky and delightful, with hints of deliciousness!

Honestly, as I find my voice writing beer reviews, I will admit, that many of the nuances of beer descriptions are just lost on me. It may be that this beer contains all of the wide variety of spices, aromas and flavors as described on the site’s own media.

ITBMCBB*, the Juicy Haze has a “very strong hop aroma of citrus (lemon, some orange, lime and grapefruit) and tropical (guava and pineapple), with light grassy and caramel-like malt aroma.”

And how’s the mouthfeel?  Well, hell, my mouth is full of beer and chicken, so it feels great!

This is a delicious tart beer and with an ABV of 7.5% it also packs a nice little wallop to it.  And that’s always a good quality by my own measure.

If I were writing copy for this product, I would describe it as the taste of “two sexy leprechaun ladies making out with each other in a rainstorm.”

This beer was served draft style but it’s also packaged in a pretty slick design by the fine folks at New Belgium. 

Go out and have one!

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Review: Brooklyn Brown Ale

Well, let’s get one thing clear, right out of the gate.

And if we can’t agree to this basic premise, then, well, I’d suggest you go off in search of a blog about knitting, or dressing up tiny dogs to look like celebrities, or dressing up stuffed animals to look like tiny dogs.

The premise is: beer is delicious.

Having said that, I am privileged enough to live near a Wegmans.  And one of the great joys of Wegmans is the “Craft Your Own Six Pack.”  For $10.99, a shopper can choose from over one hundred various porters, stouts, sours, ales, lagers, IPAs, hard lemonades and ciders, and so on, and get six new beers to try.  Many of my reviews will be obtained in this fashion.

(And, don’t tell anyone, but, theoretically, a shopper could just grab a beer from a united four/six pack and place it gently in their own “crafted six pack” and add to their possible choices.  I wouldn’t do that, due to the Judeo-Christian ethic and Big Brother and such.)

So, a number of the Brooklyn Brewery beers are available and made available via this fine program.  This is how I came across the Brooklyn Brown Ale.

This ale, if the brewmasters can be believed, (or ITBMCBB for short, as I intend to use this acronym again, hey, Ceetar, let’s get a glossary going!), is a “blend of six malts, some of them roasted, [that] give this beer its deep russet-brown color and complex malt flavor, fruity, smooth and rich, with a caramel, chocolate and coffee background.”

Now, that’s just fancy brewer speak, to me.  I can tell you is that it’s dark brown and sweet and delicious.  I tend to pair this with beef dishes, when serving it up at the ol’ KilgoreStout residence.

I would describe this as what it would taste like if you were to make out with a unicorn that ate nothing but pancakes and maple syrup.

Perhaps the greater joy is that a six pack of these beauties goes for just $8.99 at my local food jobber, a good $2 less than the sampler sixer.  Which means that, when I am pressed for time or energy and don’t feel like I can find six new, interesting beers to try, I’ll grab a 6 of this and a six pack of another Brooklyn Brewery beer, one that pairs better with fish and chicken, and which I shall review at another time.

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