Posts Tagged ‘beer’

26th November
written by Arthur

After trying Brooklyn Local One, I knew I had to get my hands on a bottle of Brooklyn Local Two.  The Local Two, a Belgian Strong Dark Ale  with a 9.00% ABV, is a completely different beer from the Local One.

Appearance:  This beer is dark brown, like a well brewed coffee.  The head is extremely solid with a white/brown color.  Both the texture and appearance of head reminded me of a substantial foam on a cappuccino after its been stirred and taken on a slight coffee color.

(The coffee analogies end at appearance–there is no hint of it in the smell or flavor.)

Smell:  Yeasty, like fresh bread or bread dough.

Taste:  It’s like a cinnamon roll without the cinnamon.  There is some mild yeasty tartness balanced with caramel flavor and a little sweetness.

Overall:  It’s a good beer, but I’m just not head over heels for this style in general.  If you like the style I’m sure you’d love this beer, but I’ll be keeping my eyes open for the Local One.

6th November
written by Arthur

Sure, the temperature was hovering in the low 40s or high 30s, but Fayaz and I are Minnesotans, and knew it was perfect grilling weather.  And a fine beer is perfect match for the grilling prep work.  I’ve been meaning to try the Brooklyn Local One since I learned of its existence on a Brooklyn Brewery Tour a few years back.   After sampling more than my share of Brooklyn’s standard brews, I’ve learned to trust what they do.

The Details:

The Brooklyn Local One is in the Belgian Strong Pale Ale style packing a 9% ABV.  Part of Brooklyn Brewery’s process is an in bottle fermentation–similar to the method used to give champagne its sparkle.

Appearance: A bright, but cloudy, yellow gold with a solid head.

Smell:  A very weak nose, just mild yeast.

Taste:  Strong yeast and some malt flavor.  A bitterness balance with with an almost nutty savoriness and light honey—a little sweet but strong on whatever the non-sweet flavor of honey is.  The finish was short, savory, and yeasty.

Mouth:  Well carbonated with small velvety bubbles.

Overall:  A great freak’n beer at a reasonable price.  I could see this guy pairing well with a little spice, a savory cheese, or a salty game day snack.

Next up: the Brooklyn Local Two.


19th September
written by Arthur

If the crisp chill in the air didn’t full alert me to the coming of fall, this evening’s stroll past the beer cooler at the corner store confirmed that the season has changed.  I was looking for a cold one to sip while watching Monday Night Football and saw a pumpkin ale.  And, as sure as oktoberfests, the coming of the pumpkin ales warn of amber colored leaves.

This was the first I’ve seen of a Dogfish Head Punkin Ale, but I trust the Dogfish Head brewery to turn out a great brew. The ale was good.  It’s actually an ale with balanced pumpkin pie flavor and not just a nutmeg bomb.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I’m going to need find at least one nutmeg bomb before the season is over.

The Details:

ABV: 7.0 IBU: 28

Appearance:  It would be cliché to say that it has a pumpkin color–and somewhat untrue as it has an orangish rust color.

Smell:  Nutmeg, pumpkin pie, and molasses.  It’s smells like a kitchen the morning after baking a pumpkin pie–a lot of light balanced smells.

Taste:  To be sure, the flagship flavor is nutmeg, but it doesn’t dominate the drink as with most other pumpkin beers. Under the nutmeg is sweet and pumpkin with a hint of hops that builds as you sip.

Mouth: Creamy.  Light carbonation.

Overall:  A great fall drink.  Even if you aren’t normally a fan pumpkin of beers you should give this one a try and let it change your mind.


11th September
written by Loren

The NFL won't be the same without you, Randy.


Welcome, my friends, to the show that never ends! Well, actually it ends every spring. And this offseason it almost ended for a full year thanks to greedy owners. BUT IT’S BACK AND BETTER THAN EVER! I think every year I become more of a football fan. Back in the mid-90’s I followed the vikings very casually. In the late 90’s and early 2000’s I became a rabid Vikings fan (even after the gut wrenching 98 NFC championship and the 41-doughnut debacle against the giants just 3 years later). In the mid to late 2000’s I started to get interested in the other NFL games not featuring the Vikes and now that I started fantasy football last year I am an unabashed football addict. Between the months of September and January, nothing can get me down because I always have Sunday and Monday to look forward to. And in a couple of years, when the NFL starts selling Thursday night games to non-premium channels, we’ll have that too. And there will be much rejoicing.

And now that football is back, we’re going to resurrect the on-again-off-again Football Food series. This week: Beer Cheese Dip. I tried this for the first time at a work potluck (love my job), and it was incredibly addictive. It’s a nice combination of tangy beer, sharp cheddar and onion flavor, and creamy cheesy goodness.

Combine in a bowl: 2 bricks of cream cheese, softened; 2 cups of shredded cheddar; 3/4 cup of beer, I used Summit EPA because a) it’s my Minnesota beer of choice and b) I wanted something with enough flavor to shine through all the cheesyness; 1 packet of ranch seasoning; 1 bunch of green onions, chopped. Reserve a bit of cheddar and green onions to sprinkle over the top when you’re done mixing.

Eventually I would like to work out a version of this dip that uses fresh garlic and herbs in place of the ranch seasoning packet, but in the meantime this is a tasty addition to your sunday football buffet. As for your dipping item, I think this would taste pretty good with plain ol’ potato chips but the dip is probably too thick to maintain chip integrity. Stick with pretzels or veggies. Also, this makes enough dip for 6-7 people. If it’s only you and Brundage watching football, you might want to cut the recipe in half.


Football Predictions:

I don’t know that we’re going to keep up the Vikings weekly football prediction segment we  had going last year, but here are some general predictions for the NFL season which we’ll re-visit at the end of the season.

  • Barring injury, Adrian Peterson will rush for 2,000 yards this year. While we don’t have the greatest O-line Minnesota has ever seen, the reports are that we have abandoned the zone-blocking crap which plagued us in the Childress era.
  • The Colts will be in contention for the first overall draft pick by the end of the season. This team is GARBAGE without Manning. He ran the whole offense and he elevated a team that has drafted crap the last several years. (Sub-prediction: this will create endless ESPN contaversy about whether Peyton will allow them to draft Andrew Luck) UPDATE: Houston leads Indy 34-0 at halftime. I like this prediction.
  • The Houston Texans will finally make the playoffs. I mean, they kind of have to. Jacksonville and Indianapolis will be terrible, and I just don’t think the Hasselbeck-led Titans will steal the division away from them.
  • The Lions will still fail to hit the .500 mark. I know everyone is in love with them and they have certainly created a monster d-line, but Stafford is made of porceline and I still think they need another season to wipe out the stink of 0-16.
  • Lastly, the GB Packers will fail to make the Superbowl this year. Because they’re evil. Superbowl pick: New England over Philly.
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23rd August
written by Arthur

Beer Table is another one of those place that I walked by a million times before finally stopping in.  Though in fairness, the streets are packed with more amazing look restaurants than I can hope to take on.  In the mile or so walk from my apartment to the gym there must be well over 50 restaurants.  But I’m not complaining.  There are far worse things in the world than finding a hidden gem just down the street after living in a place for almost a year.  Have I mention lately that I love Brooklyn?

In July, the final hours of the dark days that were studying for the bar, I stopped in for a little dinner and a beer break.  Recently, I stopped back for a second visit.  All in all, I love the beer menu, the food is good, but might cost more than I’m comfortable spending.

Let me start by talking about the beer.  To say that Beer Table has a good beer selection is an understatement.  The draft list is 6 beers long and rotates on a regular basis.  The bottled beer list, at 25 beers long, presents a wide range of styles.  Both the drafts and bottles are beers you’re unlikely to find at a normal bar.  It’s a place that will make a beer love feel like the proverbial kid in a candy store.

One of the perks of Beer Table is that you can either get a full glass of beer (not always a pint, some of the higher octane brews come in properly reduced glasses) or a smaller taster glass (maybe about 2 or 3 shoots worth).  The small glass is great way to try a few new beers and still be able to savor the third as much as the first, with the added benefit of being able to make it work the next day without a headache.

Both times I’ve made a visit the servers seemed excited to tell me about  their beers and help me find something delicious.

On my last trip I sampled the Rogue John Juniper Ale.  As the name suggests, it has some strong Juniper elements.  (Juniper is a berry that gives gin it’s characteristic flavor.)  I was informed by the server that the beer is actually aged in barrels formerly used for gin.  And the taste?  Imagine a light and delicate gin (think Hendrick’s Gin) becoming effervescent, gaining some beer color, and not without a flavor reminiscent of beer.  It’s light and refreshing.  I wish had a few of these when the mercury was pushing its way past 100 degrees.

I also tried a small glass of Barrier Spelunker a Saison with all kinds of crazy coffee and malty flavors in the mix.  This beer convinced me that Saison’s are my current under-explored corner of beer and that I should focus these over the next few months.

The food is good.  Actually it’s really good.  The menu is small, but seems to change regularly.  One wall of the bar is lined with jars of dehydrated vegetables.  On my last visit, dehydrated tomatoes were prominent in both the “BLT” (dehydrated tomato, mustard-glazed bacon, pickled bok choy) and the spicy pork and beef meatloaf (with Tickle Sauce, potatoes, kale, and red onion).  The BLT was small, two little sandwiches with two tomatoes slices holding the pork, each about 2 or 4 bites, but packed a solid punch of flavor (with the dehydrated tomatoes lending a concentrated, almost savory addition).

And looking at the prices objectively, they are reasonable.  But I’m tempted by so many things on the menu: an entrée, a “snack”, some spicy pickled vegetables (they don’t pull punches on the spicy), and of course some great cheese.  I just need a little self restraint on my inevitable next visit and I’ll be fine.

Beer Table
427B 7th Ave. 
Brooklyn, NY 11215

22nd August
written by Arthur

The past few days have been an amazing food and beer fueled whirlwind.  So much awesomeness and so little time to write.  I’m going to focus on the Minnesota State Fair Day (MNSFD) and try not to stray into other topics that deserve their own post including Beer Table (a good restaurant with great beer), Fonda (the best Mexican food I’ve ever eaten), an insane Latvian bar in the Lower East Side (LSE), and Bento Burger (a Japanese styled burger place).  Yeah, like said, it’s been busy, but pretty awesome.  And, as much as I hate to admit it, it’s been great to leave the comfort of Brooklyn and find some adventures in the city.

MNSFD – “The Great Minnesota Get-Together [in New York].”

The 2011 MNSFD, held on Saturday August 20, was a great success.  Over 120 Minnesotans and Minnesota-lovers took to the streets of Manhattan to recreate the Minnesota State Fair.

Before I go on, since people not from Minnesota seem to get confused, I should explain the Fair.  If you’re Minnesotan, just skip this paragraph, you’ve been going to the Fair at least once a year since before you could walk.   First and foremost, there is the food.  On these 12 days leading-up and including labor day, you can find corn dogs, fried cheese on a stick, fried cheese curds, pork chop on a stick, corn on the cob, Sweet Martha’s Cookies, deep fried candy bars, deep fried pickles, mini doughnuts…. you get the idea: if you can deep fry it and/or put it on a stick  you can find it at the fair.  (Eating food of a stick is kind of a big part of the experience.)  And while, for many of us, the Fair is about walking from food stand to food stand there are actually are things to see and do.  The animal barns showcase every barnyard animal imaginable.   Scattered throughout the Fairgrounds are various stages with a range of music playing.  There are the arts and crafts buildings displaying Minnesota made seed art, jams, quilts, and paintings.  The Midway has all the games-you-can-never win and brightly lit death trap looking rides you could hope for.  And, of course, there are the horticultural displays showcasing some really big fruits and vegetables born out Minnesota’s fertile soil–many a blue ribbon is handed out.

Okay, back to MNSFD.  In 2008, a few Minnesota ex-pats put on their fanny packs and set out into the city to recreate the food of the Fair.  Each year since, the project has grown and evolved.  This year’s set-up took a pub crawl meets choose your adventure book approach, with 5 main bars and various optional side-trips including corn dogs, funnel cakes, and corn on the cob.  (See map and details below.)

For the first time, tickets were sold for the event with the funds purchasing 40 lbs of Sweet Martha’s Cookie dough and real cheese curds from the same dairy the actual Fair draws on.  The City Tavern served-up the famous chocolate chip cookies with an endless supply of cold milk.  While it might never be the same as grabbing a bucket of Sweet Martha’s and getting a glass of unlimited milk from the Dairy Barn it was a delicious approximation.  Woody McHale‘s opened their hearts, deep fries, and beer kegs to the group.  In addition to deep frying the cheese curds, Woody’s had Leinenkugel (a Wisconsin beer) on tap and gave each ticket holder a glass on the house.  While delicious, my one source of sadness was that I couldn’t enjoy my cheese curds with a cold Summit beer–I’m waiting with baited breath for the day this great Minnesota brewery starts distributing in New York.  On the route, the planned culinary detours warmed my Minnesotan soul (while raising my cholesterol and increasing my waistline).

But more than the food, it was a blast to meet an endless stream of fellow MN-ex pats.  Some who have lived in New York for years, others for only a few weeks.  I’m looking forward to seeing some of these faces again at the next MN happy hour here in the Big Apple.


Finally a shout-out to the event organizers who pulled it all together:  Laura Carter, Nina Panda, Jen Wise, Kieley Taylor, Sam Willems, and Shannon Robinson. Thanks guys for making this another awesome State Fair Day!

28th February
written by Arthur

Toby's Public House

Some of you Manhattanites are believers.  Others have heard the stories and aren’t sure what to think.  Well I’m here to tell you the rumors are true: amazing food can be found just a subway ride outside of the island of Manhattan.

Down in South Park Slope, just off the N train, is a gem of pizza places.  Toby’s Public House manages to fit the best of a pub, a sports bar, and small Italian restaurant all into one place.  When I first moved to the Slope at the beginning of the school year, a neighbor told me I had to go for the great beer selection.  Upon arrival, I found a beer list that, while not vast, is varied and regularly updated and includes some uncommon brews.

Toby’s is in three story brick building with tall narrow windows and heavy wooden shudders.  The “faded” painted name on the brick exterior above the door suggests a timeless establishment, despite its 2008 opening.  The old style character continues as you walk through the door with dark woods, exposed brick, and a hammered tin ceiling.  Once inside, you find yourself looking down the length of the one room bar at the large bell-shaped wood fired brick oven that is truly at the heart of Toby’s.

Out of the wood burning oven come some of the best pizza I’ve found in New York.   I know that’s a huge statement, but Toby’s backs me up.  (And for the Minnesotans out there: this pie beats Punch Pizza.) The pizzas are seemingly Naples-styled (or at least influenced, given it’s a little larger than a true Neapolitan pizza), in that the high temperature of the wood burning oven yields a wonderful crispy thin crust.  My biggest disappointment with this style of pizza at too many New York restaurants is a soggy middle.  A good Neapolitan pizza should have a crispy under crust from the edge to the center—end of story—and Toby’s delivers, without fear of piling on amazing topping combinations.

Nice'n Crisp

The only drawback to Toby’s is that, despite its Brooklyn location, it has Manhattan prices.  Pizza prices range from $13 for the classic margherita to $18 for the tartufata (complete with black truffle cream sauce, mozzarella, crimini mushrooms, prosciutto cotto, truffle oil).  One of Toby’s pizzas can satisfy a single ravenous person or be split between two less eager diners.  The real danger comes off the pizza menu.  Though tempting and, yes, delicious, the antipasti can quickly make your bill spiral out of control.  If you venture off the pizza menu, mussels in a spicy marinara sauce (on the list to be made cheaply at home), served with focaccia to soak up the extra sauce, is sure to be a hit.

A favorable departure from the ol’time feel of Toby’s are the three flat screen TVs playing everything from soccer to college football.  I can’t think of a more tempting bar at which to watch “the game.”  And though the football season may be over, with its outdoor patio seating, Toby’s is sure to be a favorite summertime destination.

Toby’s Public House
686 6th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215

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18th August
written by Arthur

The Country Club

The Bushwick Country Club is Classy. That’s right: “classy” with a capital C.

For those you of you unfamiliar with Bushwick, it’s a Brooklyn neighborhood southeast of hipster Williamsburg. Bushwick is famous for a lot of things, with safety and high incomes probably rounding out the bottom of the list. Still, the Bushwick Country Club name doesn’t disappoint.

True to its name, the Bushwick Country Club even has a small golf course—a miniature golf course if you will. The mini-golf course is complete with a windmill made out of old PBR cans! As you might guess from the PBR cans, this fine establishment is near the Williamsburg border.

But the fun doesn’t stop with the golf. Specials drinks included two slushie machines, one always filled with Jim Beam & Coke slushies and one currently pumping out homemade Sweet Tea Vodka slushies.


The Pickle Back

The Pickle Back

The real novel drink at the Bushwick Country Club  is the Pickle Back: a PBR tall boy, a shot of whiskey, and a shot of garlicky pickle brine. It sounds disgusting, at first, but that’s only before you realize the secret. You don’t shoot the whiskey and brine; they need to be sipped with the beer. If you like pickles and salty things, you’ll love this combination.

(I know, I know. In my Dale’s Ale post I knocked PBR, but sometimes glorified mineral water is the right beer—the Pickle Back is one of those times.)

After trying the Pickle Back at the Country Club, I decided it was time to make it at home. Tall boy PBRs are cheap enough and they give you rail whiskey at the Country Club, so no need to spend the big bucks on the brown for the home version. For the pickle brine you can buy a jar of pickles. Or just ask if you can get some at the deli counter – my local grocery store was happy to give me a bunch for free (it turns out they just throw it out anyway)!

However you get your hands on it, this unique drink is a must try.


The Bushwick Country Club
618 Grand Street (between Leonard & Lorimer)
New York, NY 11211
(718) 388-2114

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13th August
written by Arthur

Ok, so the official name is Dale’s Pale Ale, but I like to keep it simple with Dale’s Ale.  I know what you’re thinking when you see the picture: but Arthur, this comes in a can so it must be swill?  All I can say you’ve got to try it!  This is hands down the best beer I’ve ever had out of a can and definitely in the top 10% of beers overall.

To be fair, when I first saw it when I moved to New York two years ago I had the same thought.  But Matt, the bartender at my favorite watering hole, the City Tavern, made me see the light.

The beer is an awesome IPA—a truly hoppy but really well-balanced IPA.  The great part is that the sweet balances the hops almost without letting you know it’s there; like a magic invisible fairy it just makes everything right with the world.

And for the hipsters, there is the added benefit of being able to drink out of a “cool” looking can without having to drink the glorified mineral water found in PBR cans (though I still recommend a glass).

10th August
written by Arthur

Mentioning beer in four out of six of my first posts might not have given it away, but I like beer. I mean I could be a doctor in a 50s television ad when it comes to the stuff: it relaxes you when you are overworked, picks you up when you’re down, cools you in the heat of summer, and warms you in the cold of winter. So when I found out the Brooklyn Brewery was walking distance from my front door and that it has FREE tours I had to go.

The tour is short but informative. There are some funny anecdotes about the brewery getting started in 1987 and an overview on the brewing process.

After the tour there is $4 beer. Yeah, that’s only about a buck or two off the Brooklyn Lager you can get at the bar. But, what makes it great is you can get some hard to find beers. This summer I’ve been experimenting with this concept called “moderation” so I only tried two brews. My first was the Brooklyn Blast. Dark gold in appearance with a light white head, the Brooklyn Blast is hop forward but balanced with malty caramel. My second beverage was the Brooklyn Buzz Bomb. The light bodied taste has a nice amount of sweet malts and honey with enough hops for balance. The Buzz Bomb is actually a braggott (a blend of beer and mead). True to the best of the braggots the Buzz Bomb ferments both the grains and honey together to make a must try summer brew. Clocking in at 8.2 and 8 ABV respectively, both pack a refreshing zing. Though don’t look for these at your corner store, as part of the draft-only Brewmaster’s Reserve Series they won’t be found in bottles.

79 North 11th Street
Brooklyn, NY

(For those in Minnesota I recommend the Summit Brewing tour. Not only do you get a great tour, but you get a free beer at the end!)