Geyser Brewing Co.: Nitro Pilot Peak Pale Ale

13 Feb

I was sent off to Cody, WY in November. Reward for having survived about 9 months in New York. Cody only has 9,000 people, but like many Western towns, they have their priorities in order when it comes to beer. I picked up dinner at Geyser Brewing Co on the west end of town and ordered this Pale Ale on nitrogen which I’d never heard of before. I usually think of nitrogen with stouts and porters. In a typical keg, pressure is kept with carbon dioxide, but using nitrogen to pressure the keg alters the feel of the beer in your mouth. CO2 is tingly while N2 is smoooooooth. From Craft Beer:

“Nitrogen is largely insoluble in liquid, which is what contributes to the thick mouth feel. This effect is helped by a special piece of tap equipment known as a restrictor plate that forces the beer through tiny holes before it lands in the glass. That process causes the “rising” effect that is topped with the head. And it’s really only the bubbles on the sides of the glass that fall. Inside they are actually rising, as typically seen with a poured carbonated beverage.”GeyserCody

Back to Geyser’s Pilot Peak. A light gold color with a delicate hop flavour that jumps out a bit at the end of that sip. As expected it was very smooth with hardly any fizz, and that luscious creamy top. It could have been a bit more hoppy, but nitrogen does dull hop flavors. ABV was 6.5% Easy to drink.

Story Time!

I was in Cody on Roosevelt business, looking at old photos in the Buffalo Bill Center of the West’s archives. Admittedly, I arrived in town a little worried that it was going to be too quiet to be any fun. The road to Yellowstone is closed in winter, and the car I rented was not snow-worthy. I’ve been to Cody a few times before, but usually when it’s summer and packed with lumbering tourists.

My worries were completely blasted away. It all started at Geyser too….

I sat at the kind of quiet bar and ordered some food and the beer. The bartender asked for my ID and commented that it was from Connecticut. Low and behold, one of the waitresses was from Connecticut! Though in dramatic reveal she started out asking if I knew so and so- names I recognized from my high school. I was really confused as to why she would know folks from my rural CT town, and then she revealed that she’s a Nutmegger too and went to university with people from my hometown. I guess one benefit of living in a tiny state is that it’s grounds for instant conversation when you encounter other natives half way across the country.

Jackie was incredibly welcoming and I was introduced to Grace, a museum intern, at lunch the next day. These gals are so much fun. It’s such a shame that we live 1000+ miles away from each other. We took on the town the next night with some dancing at Cassie’s Super Club (cowboys, dead things, no NYC pretentiousness) where I learned to two-step. Then the next night (when Jackie ironically had to go to NYC) Grace and I had a blast and too much to drink at the Silver Dollar Bar (no body had their ear bit off during our visit) and Buffalo Bill’s original Irma saloon. Why not go to bed at 2 when you have to be up at 5am for your flight?

Best business trip ever.

 

Beer’d Brewing Co: Vegemite Sandwich DIPA

4 Feb

beerd

Now that I don’t live in that Colorado beervana of Fort Collins, where I can visit any of a dozen breweries by bicycle, it’s a real treat to go to a brewery. The latest visit was to Beer’d Brewing Co. in Stonington, CT. I’ll admit, I was kind of drawn to their hipster-ness, but the beer is just about as good as the logo.

Whale and I got there before the doors opened at 5pm on Friday, in an old factory that used to make velvets. Bring your coat, because it’s cold. Also, crowded! Free tasting as soon as we got in. I had an empty growler in tow, so once we picked out our favorite, we waited for a fill. Luckily, there’s bakery/cafe in the building too. Tasty way to kill some time.

beerdg

So. Vegemite Sandwich. I love the name. Though I’m more of a marmite gal, the beer is named for it’s New Zealand hops. It’s pretty strong at over 9% abv. Unfiltered, golden puma color, bubbly white head. The scent is strongly citrus right of the top, but sniff a bit deeper and get a sweeter, caramel scent. The taste is smooth, and not too bitter despite the hoppiness. A bit of that floral yeast comes through and I’m happy to say it’s a persistent taste, it doesn’t fade into watery forgetfullness.

Go get Beer’dy.

Story Time!!

Before going to the brewery, Whale and I went hiking in North Stonington, near Wyassup Lake on Pachaug State Forest land. I had read online that there was an off shoot of the Narragansett Trail that looped around the lake. We had some trouble finding it from the road, and apparently looked lost because a man in pick-up truck stopped by and asked us what we were looking for. After explaining, he said he would drive us over to the trailhead. He just had to drop off a load of wood at the neighbor’s. Or bodies. The man also assured us that he was on the conservation board. Because we environmentalist types are clearly the best sorts of people.

beerdhill

True to his word, he brought us to a very hidden trail head that I would have mistaken for private property. When I said I worked in Manhattan, he said, “Well, that’s unfortunate” and then told us where to look for a bear den. Low and behold, we did see a very bear-looking hole in the rocks. I think Whale could have fit down there, but I couldn’t convince him.

We hiked for about 7 miles or so and saw a ton of tracks- bobcat, coyote, fisher, squirrel, man, dog. Also lots of stones. I think Stonington is well named. And cliffs.

bobcat

You should probably go hiking and then beering too. It was great fun.

Baxter Brewing Co.: Stowaway IPA

3 Jan

BaxterIPAWhile history-nerding out in Lexington, Massachusetts last month, Whale and I picked up a beer at a pub. This is Baxter Brewing Company’s Stowaway IPA. The brewery is in Lewiston, Maine and they’re New England’s first craft brewery to can their entire line of beers. Naturally, mine came from a tap, but at least the glass was can shaped.

It’s a beautiful orange glow beer, very clear with a persistent, thin head. The taste is pretty hop-forward, but not like other IPA’s which might bash you over the head with hoptasticness. It’s fizzy and has a warm ending. Pretty hard to tell it’s 6.9% abv too. A decent IPA, so check it out if you’re in Massachusetts or Maine.

Story Time!!

creepydeathDelightfully morbid inscriptions: Top: “As time doth fly, our death draws nigh” Bottom: “From Death arrest no age is free, My friend prepare to follow me.”

One of the things I pined for most when I was living away from my Connecticut home for the first time was the relatively rich history of New England. I was in Colorado, which is lacking in 1700′s colonial homes, references to where George Washington ate a biscuit, and creepy old tombstones which demand that you consider your mortality.

Whale and I got a big dose of history in Lexington, MA along the path that Paul Revere made his storied midnight ride, and where many classic literary giants lived. We visited the green in Lexington which witnessed the first shots of the American Revolution, and the cemetery in Concord which holds the bodies of Thoreau, Emerson, and Louisa May Alcott. I have a lot of fun trying to envision the events those places have withstood. What historical places get you excited?

Thoreau

Coddington Brewing Co.: Schwarzbier

29 Dec

CoddingtonS

One swell thing about having a beer blog is that now more folks realize that I like beer. And that meant a wonderful Christmas gift from my aunt, Colleen. A growler of Coddington Brewing Co.’s Schwarzbier. A beer style I had never tried from a brewery I have never visited! And she really picked well.

This ‘black lager’ pours like cola with a beige bubbly head. The smell is fragrantly malty, and the color is a crisp, garnet kind of velvet. Despite the scent, the maltiness isn’t too strong when you taste it. It’s fizzy and bright. A little sweet and would make for an easy session beer at 4.9% ABV. I would definitely recommend it if you’re in the Rhode Island area. It’s from Middletown, RI, but honestly Rhode Island is so small that everything is is ‘in the area’.

Story Time!!

When I was a wee kid,  I used to go to my Aunt’s on Christmas morning. Apparently there was a decadent breakfast to kick off the holiday, but I don’t remember that. All that my greedy little kid mind focused on was the mountain of presents that were for me. As a spoiled only grandkid-niece-child, it was quite a delight. Art sets, dolls, stuffed animals, oh so many toys. Probably shouldn’t have given me the art set because I later decided to be artistic with a rock and my aunt’s car door.

Beer Syrup! Waffle Buzz at Harpers Ferry, WV

27 Nov

beerwaffle

See the goop piled onto that Belgian waffle? Well guess what! It’s beer syrup, or as Eric says, Beerup. I went exploring in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia with my favorite couple on Monday. We hiked some Appalachian Trail and took a look at all the history things. As it was freezing out, hot dessert seemed in order. I got this waffle with CHIMAY BEER SYRUP. It’s Chimay’s Première, a dubbel style beer, boiled down into syrupy heaven. If you’re not a fan of beer, you might be a bit off put, but the flavour is just strong enough to remind you of the beer it came from without being overwhelming. This whole beast was dusted with malt sugar to boot. If you’re ever in Harper’s Ferry, you need to go to Waffle Buzz and get this beautiful beerfle.

Waffle Buzz

beerfletime

Cold Spring Brewing Co.: John Henry 3 Lick Spiker Ale

13 Nov

Didn’t get a chance to snap a pic. So here’s this prettier one.

Whale picked up a bomber of John Henry 3 Lick Spiker Ale a couple weeks ago and it was a pretty fortuitous whim. It’s an ale aged on bourbon oak spirals and clocks in at 9.1%. Poured into a pint glass, it is shockingly opaque. Chalk board black opaque. When I first smelled it, it had a strongly malty, metallic scent going on. I was nervous that is was going to be in that strong-beer syrup taste club, but it wasn’t! The flavor is super complex and just keeps developing flavour. You easily get the bourbon notes, and the sip ends with a warm vanilla hug. Really! So smooth. And comforting. Definitely think you need to try this beer.

Story Time!

Trains I suppose… I grew up near the Airline Trail, an old rail line that used to connect New York city with Boston in the late 1800′s up until the mid 1900′s. It is now a great running/biking gravel trail that is flanked by thick forests- except where it crosses over valleys and offers grand views of rolling Connecticut hills. On these ‘viaducts’, the nearly 100ft drop to the valley floor is a steep bank of gravel and rocks and bits of old coal and track. Not that interesting, until one day when I believed I had seen a corpse lying about.

It was my 16th birthday party. And I was super awkward. And so was everyone else. Sorry guys. But we all know it to be true. My parents planned a surprise party and we ended up going for a walk on the Airline Trail. We’re walking on the viaduct when my Dad shouts out that there’s someone lying at the bottom of the valley. I peer downward at this crumpled person. Who is surrounded in something red. We all hurry downward to investigate the dead thing.

It was my ‘aunt’. And it was ketchup. And I was awkward.

 

Samuel Adams: Fat Jack Double Pumpkin Ale + Shipyard: Pumpkinhead

9 Nov

Source: Uncrate.com. My picture was no good.

In the spirit of pumpkin-mania, I was overtaken by the intense need to have pumpkin everything. Fat Jack was highly recommended on SeriousEats.com so when I saw a beautiful bomber of it, of course it had to happen. And I’m very glad it did.

Brewed with 28 pounds of pumpkin per batch, this is a serious pumpkiny beer. Poured into a glass it comes out a muddy, ruby red orange color. Just smelling it I am immediately brought into a pie-reverie. It’s pure pumpkin pie and sweetness and cinnamon! And the taste…. JUST LIKE PUMPKIN PIE! It’s so rich. And at 8% it’s got a silkiness that makes it seem like your having dessert and not beer. Absolutely best pumpkin beer I have ever had. Go find one. Now.

And… I will contrast this with the worst pumpkin beer ever. Shipyard’s Pumpkinhead. Avoid. Avoid.

From the Shipyard blog.

Well if it does come alive once a year, someone should be ready and waiting to beat it back into the ground as soon as it pops up. It may look pretty and golden when it’s just sitting in your glass. It may smell like apples and cinnamon and nutmeg. But here’ the flavor progression:

1st note: Nutmeg

2nd note: Nutmeg

Finish: Nutmeg

Aftertaste: Nutmeg

Essentially there is no beer flavor. If you want to save yourself a couple bucks, just add some nutmeg to water and drink that. My friend had the exact same reaction as well. So sample size of 2 says this pumpkin beer is to be avoided, especially when you can drink Fat Jack and have the warm fuzzies.

Story Time!

IMG_0938

Pre-Thanksgiving hike in the Lakes District in England.

Pumpkins. Pumpkins! So for a time, I was living in Cambridge in England and while the Brits honestly have some great food, they are lacking in pumpkin. Severely. Stack the paucity of pumpkins on top of my homesickness, and you have a recipe for disaster. Or rather a recipe for doing nearly nothing but holing up in my room and typing away at a master’s thesis. I didn’t go home for Thanksgiving, but I was determined to have a Thanksgiving dinner. There was no canned pumpkin to be found in the grocery stores. I didn’t even see any pumpkins at the market (though I’ve heard they appear occasionally). So I contacted My People and a pumpkin delivery was obtained. I can’t tell you how though. It’s very secret.

So, once the orange stuff was secured, I knew I wanted to share the ultimately American experience with the Brits. I was up ‘hill-walking’ in the Lakes District for TG weekend and we were staying at a mountain hostelhut. I had a few other takers for my Thanksgiving Dinner and my friend and I managed to prepare turkey (breast only), stuffing (unfortunately UK-syle because I didn’t have time to cube bread), green beans and onions, sweet potatoes, and of course pumpkin pie! It was fun to cook for them and they asked me about what the whole Thanksgiving holiday was about because they had only heard about it on Family Guy. I love Thanksgiving and it was a pleasure to share the holiday with them.

One gal was astounded that the pumpkin pie was for “pudding” and not a savory main dish. There was much confusion. But ultimately, everyone enjoyed it. I was also asked if I was married yet. Because the food was so good.

Pumpkin Pie Virgins

Pumpkin Pie Virgins

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