The trio trekked next door to Jack's Abby. They took no cans home as Jack's Abby is readily available here in Upstate, NY. They instead took some tastes of the brewery exclusives being offered in the Beer Hall. Particularly a Springdale's Good 'n You? Derek had been hoping to get cans of Good 'n You? At least it was on tap at Jack's Abby. But he brought home some of that Jack's Abby Beer Soap made with their house lager.
Jack's Abby on Tap:
Hoponius On Holiday - IPL, a cold lager fermentation combined with a West Coast IPA hop profile
Good Morning Granny - Tapioca, lactose, and coffee IPL
Springdale Tap Takeover at Jack's Abby:
Good 'n You?
Where Am I? - DIP, malty but good
Brigadeiro – Breakfast stout, Derek brought home cans, but is was nitro on tap that night
The Other Day
Other Half Brewing Company
This was a brand new can, just released on the 16th of December, when Derek and I took the trip over to Brooklyn. I liked it. I thought it tasted like juice.
Derek's Taste -
It's tropical hop juice like most Other Half's IPAs are. It has a somewhat creamy mouth feel, but not too creamy because I don't think they use lactose in it. It's a little dank. Actually, it mostly tastes like galaxy hops tropical, but I'm not certain it has galaxy hops... but it tastes like galaxy hops! It really reminds me of either Space Diamond or Space Daydream, which are other tropical beers of theirs. If you know galaxy hops then you know tropical beers.
It's tastes incredible!
For being 8% it's crazy easy to drink, like juice. Yeah, it tastes like breakfast juice, like something you'd have with eggs in the morning. I imagine it would be pretty awesome with eggs in the morning!
It was at this point I reminded Derek that he doesn't eat breakfast.
No, but if it did eat breakfast, this would be good to drink with it. I like breakfast food. It's delicious.
Derek is my husband and best friend. I get a lot of confused looks when I tell people about traveling with him to different breweries, mainly from wives. "Why?" they ask. The truth is, I like a good road trip. I always have fun and I like to balance good planning with fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants flexibility. Standing in an unmoving line for 2 hours before a brewery opens in freezing weather, and then still waiting in that line for 45 minutes does not sound like a fun plan. But we’ve done it, and I’ve had great times hanging with my best friend and talking to other beer enthusiasts in line. Though every so often there’s a time when a can release is NOT where I want be. We will not subject our children to the icy lines, that’s just cruel and impractical, mostly for us. So when we have the kids with us we plan much differently. We end up separated, but still together. And it generally works in MY favor as I am never the one in line, but I do get to reap the benefits!
Here’s a short story of one of those times:
This year Derek’s cousin, Emma, graciously opened her home in Brooklyn, a 3 hour drive for us, to have the family gather for the annual Christmas party. Emma a fabulous woman who runs the Brooklyn Herborium. Well the invitation just perked up Derek’s interest. Any chance to kill two birds with one stone is always an exciting notion to explore. Especially one one of those birds is a beer run! You see we discovered that Emma lives a mere 10 minutes from Other Half Brewing Company. This is Derek’s favorite brewery and always has its can release on Saturdays.
For weeks Derek pondered over how we could work out hitting Other Half and spend time with the family. He stalked the Other Half website looking to see what can release was happening on the Saturday the 16th and what would be on tap. So a plan was set. We’d put down the back seats and load up the Death Star (13 year old silver mini-van) with a couple large coolers and a cooler bag for the growlers. The kids will be snuggled in the middle captain chairs with blankets, and the Christmas presents will get Tetris stacked somewhere in all of this.
The day arrives. Other Half opens at 10am and the family Christmas feast will be served sometime around 2pm. Brooklyn is 2.5 to 3 hours away. Naturally we wake up at 4:30am, somehow dress the children and are on the road by 5:30am. This was strategy to beat the crowd. Derek wanted to be standing in line by 8am on this freezing Saturday morning. I drove since Derek had worked the evening before and gotten home at 11:45pm.
The drive was pleasant enough. We only had the one moment when our lives flashed before our eyes. On the Thruway, as we drove past Plattekill going about 75mph, we watched as a truck pulling tandem trailers drifted left, likely a sleeping driver, and jackknife less than 1/8 mile ahead of us! It happened so fast! I panicked over being able to safely stop before getting near this enormous hazard. The truck was now literally bouncing unnaturally across the road ahead of us. I also was figuring out in my head all the possible scenarios that may happen in the next 15 seconds. Can I stop safely? Would I soon be pulled over and trying to pull a man out of an overturned cab? And just as those thoughts flashed through my mind the truck righted itself and rolled on as if nothing had happened and we weren’t all about to change our plans for the day! Whew! Derek and I looked at each other, “Did that just happen!?! That just happened!!” Then Derek looked at me said, “Pass him, pass him NOW.” Did not have to say that twice!
The rest of the drive was uneventful. We actually pulled up to Other Half at about 8:05am. Derek was a little let down to see the line was already down the block and around the corner. I dropped him off in the 25 degree weather with a wave and we went on to have our separate Brooklyn mornings.
I had planned to meet Emma for breakfast with our kids at Angelica`s Coffee Shop. It’s a cozy corner café near her home. I drove around the block looking for parking and found a spot near a “no parking” sign that was no less confusing than all the other “no parking” signs around, but at least it looked less threatening. I parked a little after 8:30am.
At this time Derek reports that he was cold.
After ushering my groggy little ones into the café we freshened up and the kids were having their milk and I my much needed coffee. Emma was on her way. She walked in the cold with her 2 preschool age boys around 9am. This was a sight to see as they crossed the street. Watching the scene through the café window reminded me of a mother hen with her young chicks, still confused about how to walk in a straight line… or… herding cats.
Derek had by now struck up a conversation with a man from Maine who now lives in Manhattan. They talked about life and beers, mostly beers. Oh yeah… and he was friggin’ cold! And lost feeling in both his big toes by now.
At around 9:25am the 6 of us were in the middle of eating a delicious breakfast, omelets, pancakes, fruit cups, bacon, croissants… The 4 kids were being cute wacky kids, Emma and I chatted about the kids’ cute wackiness and sipped more coffee. It was altogether a cozy breakfast.
Derek was now in the middle of hour 2, waiting in freezing weather, and the loss of feeling was now in all his toes and his feet, up his legs, his face was numb… he persevered.
By 10:45 we had been back at Emma’s home to hang out and prep for the party. Derek finally called me to go get him and the 2 large coolers of beer and cooler bag of growlers. I made the quick 10 minute trip back to the brewery. Of course being in Brooklyn, during a can release, on a one way street, the “quick trip” involved passing by him 3 times, double parking, getting honked at, some ill placed traffic cones, and a final pass that had Derek finally in the car via the McDonald’s parking lot.
My poor man. Home from work at 11:45 the night before, up at 4:30am that morning, a near death experience on the road, and 2hrs and 45minutes standing outside in 25 degree weather. He looked like a mix of misery and elation. He had conquered an Other Half can release and was bringing home the spoils to share with his family and friends! As spent as he was, he still was excited about the experience. We had loaded up the Death Star with coolers full of DDH Oh…, DDH all Citra Everything, The Other Day…, Short Dark and Breakfast, and Hop Showers. A spectacular haul!
HenHouse Brewing Company
Santa Rosa, CA
Well, I thought the can was pretty! It honestly tasted like something I'd drink on a chilly fall evening around the fire pit, I could almost smell the crisp fallen leaves. Unfortunately it's winter in Upstate New York, 5 days before Christmas, and my sudden thoughts of inviting friends over for a marshmallow roast and beer were let go.
Derek's Taste -
There's tons of nice lacing on the glass and it has a buttery mouth feel that's nice. As an IPA it's not different or over the top; it's just a really good example of an excellent New England IPA. It's tropical, it has a bitter finish, but it's well balanced.
Roughtail Brewing Company
Oklahoma City, OK
E-Juice! is Roughtail's rotating fruit IPA, different berries and hops, always IPA! To me it looked like old dishwater after the kids dumped their juice and jelly in the sink. But the smell...mmmm, berries!
Derek's Taste -
That first smell is so fruity so you're expecting a fruit IPA like it's going to taste like a wild ale, a sour. But wow! It's hard to pick up the hops because there's so much fruit, very berry, but is was solid and drinkable, it was good.
I really love Roughtails other IPA's. In comparison this is a good beer, but personally I'd rather have one of Roughtails more hoppy beers live Everything Rhymes With Orange or their Adaptations.
Pliny the Elder
Russian River Brewing Company
Santa Rosa, CA
Excuse the Tree House glass it's in. Pliny the Elder is brewed with Amarillo, Centennial, CTZ, and Simcoe hops. The East Coast IPAs comment Derek made is one of the many reasons my friends call him a beer snob. Derek had a Yellow Rose prior to drinking this... it never stood a chance.
Derek's Taste -
This beer is actually the second beer of the night. The first was Yellow Rose, one of my favorite beers. This reminded me of a good Knee Deep beer, maybe Lupulin River, but not as tropical. It's very well balanced, but I'm spoiled by East Coast IPAs.