Saturday, August 22, 2015

Shore 2 the Pour




It's been a year since I started training to run Two Roads Brewing Company's annual Shore 2 the Pour 5K.

I started training diligently - walking and (sort of) running as often as possible. Hitting the gym. "Running" other 5Ks.

Here's what I learned along the way. I f'n hate running. I really and truly hate it. All you so-called runners who supposedly love to run, all I can say is what-the-f^ck-ever. Running sucks.

Throughout the year I ran several 5Ks - by "ran" I mean that I mostly walked. Most of those 5Ks were beer related. Will run for beer - that's my motto. There's no other thing that can motivate me to run.

What's worse than running? Running on sand, shells, and rocks.

Although the Shore 2 the Pour is pretty much a flat course, it is pretty much all sand, shells, and rocks. But there's beer. Lots and lots of beer. So, you know what? Bring it on!!

I did it! Along with several hundred other people.






And do you know what else? I didn't finish last. That was my goal - not to finish last. It's not a lofty goal but at least I met it. In fact, according to the official race results posted on the internet, I ran a 7-minute mile and finished in 21 minutes.

If it's on the internet it mus be true. Right?

Sadly, wrong. The official analog results posted after the race say something entirely different.



This is more like it. But, as you can clearly see, I did not finish last.








Whatever. There was beer. Lots and lots of beer. And sand. Lots and lots of sand.

Good times.





Friday, August 14, 2015

Bergamonster

Anyone who pays even the slightest attention to my beer drinking activities knows that, in the summertime, my go to brew is Road Jam. Two Roads brewery is practically stumbling distance from my house and I love relaxing in the beer garden with an nice cold brew and good friends.

Earlier this week Two Roads announced the latest release in their Road Less Traveled series - Bergamonster.

Of course, I popped in and tried as soon as I could. Then I had a Road Jam. :)

My understanding is that this monster of a beer is loosely based on Pilot Batch #3 that was released a few months back.






I can certainly taste the similarities, but this is very much it's own beer; kind of a distant cousin to #3.

Bergamonster is a American Pale Wheat Ale that weighs in at a heft 8.2% ABV.  It lives up to it;s name. It is bold but fairly drinkable.

You can really taste the mildly bitter orange peel and lots of spices. You can also feel the alcohol.

It's delicious but not a slam-down summer beer.

Get it while you can. It's not going to be around for long.



Sunday, August 2, 2015

Hopyard Music Series

A 21 and over crowd gathered to kick off Two Roads Brewing Company’s Hopyard Music Series on Sunday afternoon. The weather was summertime perfection. The atmosphere was that of a family get together (minus all the screaming children); complete with backyard games like cornhole, bocchi and even an occasional football or Frisbee flying through the air.

The tastes and smells delivered by Farmboys BBQ only served to add to the family picnic vibe. Those boys certainly do have some smokin’ barbecue.

From the newly inaugurated beer shed the beer was flowing. From the backdrop the hop vines were waving in the breeze. And from the stage itself the music was jammin’ – kind of like the Road Jam beer I was enjoying. I was in a very happy place.

The opening act was solo acoustic performer Tim Palmieri. He played an amazing set. Tim transitioned effortlessly from Johnny Cash to Frank Zappa to Ziggy Stardust and ended with the Beatles. He was fun and energetic and an amazing musician.

Tim was a tough act to follow but The Housatonic River Band picked up where he left off and played on. They rocked it out to the very end with songs from The Band, Tom Petty, Talking Heads, Creedence Clear Water Revival, the Beatles, and more.

Listening to music and relaxing in the Hopyard at Two Roads was a great way to spend the afternoon. Great music and cold beer shared with good friends both old and new. I can’t think of any place I’d rather have been. I can’t wait for the next concert in The Hopyard at Two Roads!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Craft Brew Races - New Haven


It’s been nearly a year since I made the decision to start training so that I would be able to run Two Roads Brewing’s 2015 Shore 2 the Pour 5K.

In that time I’ve learned a something about myself. I really freakin’ hate running.  Really I do. Really.

However, so long as there is beer at the finish. When it comes to these runs the beer is like the carrot put before the donkey. I, my friends, am that ass and beer is my crunchy orange root vegetable.

Pour to the Short 5K is coming up in a couple weeks and I still plan to do it. In an effort to continue my 5K training, I signed up for the Craft Brew Race in New Haven.

It was a perfectly lovely day – clear and sunny if not somewhat hot but not at all humid. I was ready(ish). Well, not really ready but whatever there was the carrot to consider.

Off we go . . . ugh. I actually got off to a running start. I managed to run a little while – a very short little while – before slowing to a walk and my hubby left me behind in his dusty wake.

52 minutes and 59 seconds later I floated across the finish line.


Now where the f^ck is the beer?

Ahhh, there! I was surrounded by it's cold, refreshing, malty, hoppy goodness. 

So many beers, so little time. Too much beer really after being all overheated and sweaty from the road race.

I decided to focus on brews and breweries I hadn't sampled before. It was awesome to try  several new-to-me brews. Of course, there were some old favorites I had to drink, as well.

Although, I tried to limit myself, I did sample quite a few different beers.

Overall, the event was well organized, the route was nice, the run was . . . well, it was what it was . . . and the beer. BEER! An awesome day!





Monday, July 13, 2015

Briar Nation Meet-up



I attended a fun and interesting peripherally beer related event this past weekend. The gathering was for a pipe smoking group I'm a member of on Facebook - Briar Nation. And, of course, there was beer involved.

I've been an occasional cigar smoker for years, but recently my husband introduced me to the pleasures of pipe smoking. I find it often compliments and enhances the whole beer drinking experience. Smoking a pipe is not a thing to be rushed through. For me it's about sitting back to relax and reflect and simply savor the moment.

It was interesting to meet up with these folks that I interact with almost daily online. Over the course of the weekend, we enjoyed stimulating conversation, fine smokes, and a few brews. All-in-all, a good time!

We started out at Cigars International Super-Store in Bethlehem PA. CI has a couple of smoking areas equipped with plush comfy chairs. They are BYOB and I came well prepared.  As I situated myself in one of the cozy chairs I busted into a tasty honey flavored John Hay Swagger cigar and one of my favorite summer beers - Road Jam. The pairing was near perfection - the mild sweet flavor of the cigar went deliciously well with the cool refreshing taste of the raspberry wheat brew.

I had a second cigar . . . I can't say that a particularly enjoyed that one. I can't even say that I finished it. Blech!

As the afternoon progressed, I smoked several different pipes packed with wonderful aromatic tobaccos and drank several more Road Jams. An afternoon well spent.


That evening we ended up at The Wooden Match restaurant in Bethlehem, PA. Their sign reads "beer, meat, cigars". The restaurant and bar are housed in a re-purposed railroad station and the atmosphere is extremely cool. They have a wide selection of craft beer, amazing food, and an atmosphere where cigar and pipe smoking is not only permitted but encouraged. In fact, they have several cigar stuffed humidors on the premises. Very cool, indeed.

The group of us sat in the basement area. There we engaged in colorful conversation, imbibed frosty beverages, gorged on copious quantities of food, and puffed to our hearts content.. Coming from Connecticut where smoking of any sort is outlawed in public establishments, the experience was both liberating and wicked awesome.

BTW - I had a BLT with a whole freakin' pound of bacon on it. OMG! So good.

Funky Citrus (7% ABV) by Red Beard Brewing, Mango Wheat (4.5% ABV) by Free Will Brewing, Sweet Baby Jesus ( 6.5% ABV) by DuClaw Brewing

The next day a few of us hooked up for brunch at Leaf Restaurant / Cigar Bar, which is adjacent to and a part of Famous Smokes Cigar Shop in Easton, PA.

The atmosphere was comfortable and totally smoke friendly. It was refreshing to sit down and enjoy a cigar while sipping a delicious local craft beer before and after a meal.

The beer list was extensive. They had a huge selection of craft beer on draft and in bottles. And the food was fabulous.

It was a great way to end a great weekend. I met some awesome people, sampled a bunch of new tobaccos, and drank quite a few new brews.

Kölsch (4.8% ABV) by Lancaster Brewing, Dark Dungeon (9% ABV) by Red Castle Brewery & Distillery


The Briar Nation rules!


Friday, June 12, 2015

Blueberry Pie





What's better than blueberries? More blueberries. Duh!

One of my favorite fruit beers is Violet B's Blueberry brewed by Moat Mountain.   Moat Mountain uses 30 to 60 pounds of fresh blueberries per batch.  That's a lot of blueberries!

I decided to add a few more.

To this already yummy brew I added fresh blueberries, vanilla rum, and bit of gingerale. It's a burst of awesomeness. Super yummy!

It's like Blueberry pie and ice cream!





Blueberry Pie
makes 1 cocktail

Fresh Blueberries
1 Tsp Brown Sugar
1 Oz Vanilla Rum
4 Oz Ginger Ale
4 - 6 Oz Violet B (other blueberry beer not Shipyard Smashed Blueberry!)

Place a small handful of blueberries into the bottom of a tall glass. I used a Moat Mountain shaker pint, but any tall glass will do.

Sprinkle the berries with brown sugar.

Gently smush the berries and muddle with the sugar.  Leave the berries somewhat intact, don't mash them.

Fill the glass with crushed ice and then add the rum.

Pour in the ginger ale and top off with the beer.

Stir gently and enjoy!



Monday, May 25, 2015

Strawberry IPA Infusion





I had a remnant from a six-pack of Brutal IPA from Rogue and a pint of fresh strawberries hanging around in the fridge. They were all lonely like, so I decided to bring them together.

The result was surprisingly delicious.

The sweet strawberries compliment the hoppy bitterness making the Brutal be not so, well, brutal.

Cheers!

Strawberry IPA Infusion

Place several cut up strawberry into the bottom of a French press and smoosh with the back of a spoon.Then pour 12 ounces of IPA in with the fruit. Let the beer soak into the berries for 4 to 5 minutes. Finally, press the filter down slowly and pour into a glass.

Delish!