Yeah, it's been over a month...
An update on our little life is due I think. The house plan went to a town planning board appeal for some setback issues, we won our appeal which now gives us plenty of time to hurry up and wait for 6 more weeks to get the building permit. Meanwhile we've stripped the aluminum siding off of this 111 year old bungalow we currently live in. The caulk on the siding had asbestos that needed to be removed before we can demo it. It was quite a sobering moment to strip away decades of siding only to realize that portions of this relic, that again WE STILL LIVE IN, was literally held together by the siding! Derek and I drank some wonderful beers that evening...
In that same vein I have gotten into a de-cluttering and organizing frenzy as we gear up to move into an apartment for a few months while the home is built. I've been reading articles and watching a lot of YouTube on the subject and have altered my mind into the Zen of tossing crap I've held on to for 20 years for no good reason. It's exhilarating!
Derek understands, but he's a collector and his collections are truly the stuff for another post. Last night I went on a de-cluttering bender though. I ventured into the front porch which has become storage and sort of a catch all place for stuff we don't know what to do with. I was deep into boxes and bins and old luggage when I stumbled upon these gems!
They were purchased and tried by Derek. Apparently he had a full beer fridge at the time and didn't really like the Dr. Zaic very much so he left the rest of the bottles in the box and tucked them away on the porch to figure out what to do with at a later time. And then they were forgotten. Yep! These 4 bottles have been sitting in a box on a shelf in the front porch through icy winters and muggy summers for probably about 2 years! After showing Derek the bottles I went straight to the kitchen to dump them.
Yes, yes I did try them first.
Yes, yes they were as nasty as you can imagine!
Derek regrets the loss of the Flower Power...
This post is over a week in the making. As you know, the Other Half can release at The City Beer Hall turned into so much more! However, as usual, Derek took some of his Other Half cashe to make trades with friends. He was quite happy with his trades and took his time enjoying the beers.
Derek's Taste -
DDH All Citra double IPA. Fruity, dank, only slightly boozy for 8.7%. Another dangerous beer from them. Not quite the hazy tropical umbrella drink that Passiflora is, but very worthy. Definitely glad I have more in the fridge...
Single Hop IPA (Mosaic)
Burlington Beer Company
YYYYESSS! What you want Mosaic beers to taste like. So much flavor for 5.7% and that haze and satisfyingly chewy mouth feel the kids are craving these days. Burlington has always been solid but they continue to get better.
Single Hop IPA (Galaxy)
Burlington Beer Company
Another beautiful beer from Burlington Beer Co. Sloop fans might think this is a Pixie Dust clone. The nose, the haze, even the mouth feel are very similar. It's a little less tropical on the opening, but the slightly bitter finish also smacks of Pixie Dust. I dearly love Pixie Dust and I love this beer, too!
Lush Double IPA
Frost Beer Works
WOW! Mimosa! Sweet tropical breakfast juice slightly over carbonated like champagne... ZERO bitterness. I wish I had a case of this juice...
Frost Beer Works
Everything you want (and twice as much as you deserve) in a 5.5% beer.
Don't go to Vermont without picking up some Frost!
Frost Beer Works
Another amazing IPA from Frost. Brighter, but no less tropical than Lush. Tangerine and orange peel with a "tiny bubbles " champagne-like carbonation similar to Lush. Juice. Yum.
We kicked off with the Other Half can release at The City Beer Hall. I really enjoy attending can releases because they just ooze craft beer culture. Everyone is in a good mood, conversations with strangers flow easily, and the can trading while you wait can get exciting! If you were there Saturday, March 31st around 8:30am, you may have noticed a silver minivan roll backwards almost hitting the Other Half truck while a panicked Other Half employee ran towards them… that was me… driving the minivan. Embarrassing, but, Derek let me know that I entertained some people in line so, you’re welcome!
Now Monday April 2nd, the night of the Hudson Valley Brew Dinner, this is where craft beer culture truly shone. The owners of Sloop, Industrial Arts, West Kill, and Plan Bee Brewing each took time to discuss with us their brewery’s histories and their own personal relationship the Hudson Valley Region. I was captivated by the comradery and support between the four owners, and their passion for the art of brewing and sharing their creations with the rest of us. They each showcased a special beer that was paired with a delicious plate prepared by Chef Dimitrios. During the course of the evening there were many mentions made of the Hudson Valley being the Napa Valley of craft beer. With this in mind one might say that Chef Dimitrios’s plates were the Hudson River running thought it! His unexpected creations were carefully orchestrated to bring out the feature notes of the beers without upstaging their sometimes subtle hints. It was beautiful.
Derek’s Taste –
It started innocently enough. I was just excited to hit an Other Half can release that didn't involve a six hour round trip or $45 in tolls (stupid bridges)...
I was a little disappointed when I woke to find that they'd limited quantities of Double Citra Daydream to 3 4-packs but I just figured I'd buy more Green Down to the Socks instead. Having already grabbed a good amount of The Other Day at a previous release I figured that was the way to go. In retrospect I wish I'd grabbed more of the The Other Day, it’s even better than the last time.
After scoring a couple cases, half of which was allocated for trades (a story for a later post...) Statia and I and the kids headed in to have a pour. Mylar Bags was on tap, and I was not to be denied! (This had become a white whale beer for me - always a day late or a day early to get any in Brooklyn for a couple years now).
The Mylar Bags did not disappoint, but was just possibly overshadowed by the Yeah From the Chairlift collab with Hoof Hearted that blew me away. In any case, the real story of the day happened when we all realized how hungry we were. Of course that might have had something to do with the aromas wafting in from Dimitrios' breakfast sandwich station he had set up while we waited in line for cans
In the course of gushing embarrassingly over one of the best breakfast sandwiches I've ever had. (The El Camino - eggs, cheese, Dimitrios's own refried beans, and jalapeno peppers,) Dimitrios encouraged is to stop by on Monday for the Hudson Valley Beer Dinner. Didn't take a lot of arm twisting...
Fast forward to Monday night, or how this became City Beer Hall weekend:
I ran into all the usual suspects from the Albany Craft Beer Scene, not the least of which was my friend and yours, Jeremy Hosier, who was instrumental in composing both the dinner and Albany Craft Beer Week in general. Colin and Lauren, now of Delaware Supply, were on hand, as was Drew of the Brew Crew (sorry, Drew, couldn't resist...)
Before dinner, I availed myself of a few more Other Half beers I hadn't had. The Citra Azacca was excellent, and the collab with Alvarado Street, Shred Stick Annihilation was very worthy as well. Nothing could have prepared me for just how well thought out the dinner pairings were, though.
You can read the details of the pairings on the menu, rather than my heavy handed descriptions, but I guess you had to be there to understand the sublime pairings of beer and food, each bringing out the flavors in the other. To that end, let me just say: Bravo, Dimitrios Menagias, Bravo! Sloop's Bourbon Bean Baked Stout was a perfect complement to the (ABSURD) zucchini bread French toast, which could have easily doubled as dessert.
My palate half destroyed, only the BLT could help me taste the Weights and Measures, which was everything I hoped it would be. For those of you who don't know, I am a confirmed hophead. As much as I can appreciate different beers, I mostly seek out pale ales and IPAs.
All the more satisfying (and surprising) was how much I appreciated the West Kill Sap House brown ale, as well as Mike Barcone's tale of its origin. And the Pretzel Trout Schnitzel was sublime. SUBLIME.
Even more surprising (for me, the hops lover) was the beer that stole the show, Plan Bee's Tulsi Blue wild ale, and, again, Evan Watson's prosaic explanation of how it came to be.
If you appreciate beer and the processes of brewing, or if you want to see just how amazing well-crafted beer and superb food can complement each other, put this dinner on your calendar next year, and by all means stop down and see Dimitrios at City Beer Hall!
I had originally thought I would start this post with a short discussion on the history and symbolic significance of passionflowers. You see, I've been listening to a lot of Indie Folk Revival Radio on Pandora and I amuse myself by saying it helps me wax philosophical, but then I realize it probably just makes me "wordy." Hmm, maybe I should ponder that...
Anyway, I decided tonight I didn't run away with my own contemplations on a blog that's supposed to be about beer, so here you go:
Derek's taste -
Are you kidding me? This isn't beer is it? It's boozy tropical breakfast juice. It needs an umbrella in it... Creamy mouth feel, a tad on the sweet side, no bitterness to speak of.
Decadence is known for gambling with some strange ingredients and combinations to arrive at some ridiculously good beers, but this is just a straight hops and malts bill... and the results are ABSURD.
There used to always be Julius in our home and Derek always has a lot to say about it. He took some time last night to write down a brief description of his relationship with this old favorite...
Read below and you'll understand more of why I encouraged him to start a blog.
There's a telltale giggle that starts deep inside and finds its way to the open air each time I crack a Julius...but I've gotten ahead of myself...
Back when Tree House was located in Monson, MA, my friend Eric and I had a regular appointment with what came to be known as Wednesday Can Day. We live about an hour and a half from there in upstate New York and every Wednesday morning around the time we hit the Mass border, Tree House would post the beer they were canning that day in addition to what was canned Tuesday. I guess you never know how good you have it - or - you can get used to anything...
I remember celebrating when they would post a new Curiosity or - that ONE time when we scored 6 cans apiece of Juice Machine (to this day still probably the best beer I've ever had)... but I had this strange relationship with Julius. It was always in my fridge. So when Julius was posted as the second beer on Wednesday, I would sigh or even groan with disappointment.
I hear you gasping as I say this - especially if you've had it a few times. It takes beer snobbery to new heights (depths?)
Fast forward to today. I no longer make weekly trips to Tree House. In fact, the last two times I've gotten a small cache of Julius, it's been through the efforts of others. Thanks, Todd! Thanks, Sean!
Now each time I enjoy a Julius, it's like coming home...
I guess you could say less frequent trips is How I Got My Giggle Back...
I haven't posted in almost a month, I apologize to our eager readers, all four of you...
But days have been busy as of late as we scramble to get our new home built and I've put off writing this post until tonight. Life is a funny thing and we are complex creatures. I figured out a while ago that in life you never really have a moment you "arrive" and become and live who you truly are. It comes and goes in waves. Sometimes dreams come true, sometimes they don't... but that's when you pull yourself together and make a new dream. As individuals and as a couple Derek and I have had our share of dreams made and dreams shattered. This new home has been a dream of ours for years. The ideas and plans have been evolving and changing as we developed our vision to fit into our reality. Now here we are mere months from completing the project and my mind is on fire. Beer is great... but you can't live in a beer... well, some might argue to the contrary...
So now in the past few weeks there hasn't been a lack of good beer, merely a lack of new beer. Derek has developed a passionate love affair with Wrench and we've been letting it run it's course. We've also had a few old favorites peppered in there as well like Galaxy and Good'n'You.
Fortunately for the blog, Derek and I tried some Fascination Street about a week ago and we were delighted. So without further ado...
Derek's taste -
Foreign Objects Beer Company
New Paltz, NY
Dank, tropical, delicious...I have yet to have a beer from Foreign Objects that hasn't been excellent. This has their usual bitter finish, maybe a little more bitter than most palates will like, but SO worth getting there!! If the finish were a little less bitter, this might supplant Wet Gravity as my favorite of theirs. Dank from the Citra and very tropical from the Vic Secret. INCREDIBLE nose, spot on mouthfeel. Another fantastic beer from these guys. They've developed quite a following upstate. I hope when they inevitably open their own facility downstate we still get distribution. Nudge nudge wink wink...
Trades happened this past weekend. Exciting ones too! But I did not feel like a very good beer wife by Sunday night...
I honestly had no idea what was going on... There were several texts, to several friends, they were trading several different beers. Derek kept filling me in every time his phone beeped, but it was really all just a blur. There was even mention of a brewery in Florida! Who went to Florida?
All I know is that we somehow landed some beer from Foam and Derek was VERY happy. So well done all you beer-trading friends out there!
Oh, and Experimental Jet Set tasted as glorious as a white tiger in a spacesuit!
See Derek's taste below -
So my husband's cousin's wife's sister is also into craft beer... who knew! We saw Becca at a family party recently and the two of them conspired a fine trade. Derek sent a box of Treehouse down to Becca in NYC. In turn she sent up Finback's Caviar, as well Greenpoint cans that he's been want to try for a while, and, as an added bonus, Grimm's Lambo Door, one of Derek's favorites!
We ended up having a very happy weekend!
See below for Derek's Taste -
Derek wanted to talk about his favorite hops and the importance of having friends at your local beverage center while enjoying a glass of Wrench IPA.
Citra and Mosaic are my favorite hops. Galaxy is a close second but Citra and Mosaic are by far my favorite hops. I would say that the best Citra only beer that I’ve had is In the Steep by Outer Range. The best Mosaic only beer is Yellow Rose by Lone Pint in Magnolia TX. Although, a close second would be Adaptation 10.3 by Roughtail brewery in OK, which is their Mosaic, single hop variant.
But this Citra and Mosaic combination here, Industrial Arts, Wrench, is straight up tropical juice. Tropical, hop soda, is what I would call it. Wrench, is on my top 10 list, possibly in my top 5! And we’re gonna start getting cans of it regularly. This is why it’s a good idea to have friends at your local beer distributer or beverage center. I didn’t buy enough cans last weekend when Westmere had cans of Wrench IPA available, so I waited all week for them to tap a keg. When they finally tapped a keg it was a Friday evening. So I called down and I’m like, “Hey, I can’t get away from work right now and I know you guys just tapped the keg of Wrench.” We knew the keg was gonna go fast so they set aside crowlers for me. They filled four 32oz crowlers and stuck them in the fridge for me for when I got down there. Of course I got down there and the keg was still going so I grabbed a couple more and ended up with six crowlers total. The extra two I grabbed to give to a couple friends. I share the wealth! You know, I’m like Johnny Appleseed! Anyway, this crowler is actually bursting it’s so full, it’s actually above the fill line. But that’s what I’m talking about. They do a fantastic job with their pours at Westmere. They are really the only place I go to. They are 15 minutes away and there are closer stores. But even their beer knowledge alone is worth the extra 10 minute drive rather than going to the beverage center near my home. Eventually I’m hoping they get Torque Wrench. It’s the Imperial version of this beer. Torque Wrench is Citra and Mosaic hops but just amped up, it’s like 8% instead of 6.8%.
Foreign Objects Beer Company
New Paltz, NY
I feel so blessed to live in Upstate NY. Others may disagree, but I really believe that we live in the epicenter of an amazing array of breweries delivering a superb class of beer. Also, how awesome is it to have family scattered about the state and northeast region? Any family visit, that we may or may not want to travel for, is always enhanced with a quick run to a local brewery. I am thrilled that Foreign Objects Beer Company is just a road trip away. Ulster county cousins, I'm coming to see you!
Derek's Taste -
Does not disappoint. Slightly bitter finish but worth every bit of it. Better with each sip. There's more grape than I would have thought from Galaxy and Mosaic, but it works!