The Bitters Avatar
In honor of Kublai Khan’s rise to power, I’m eating an open face bacon egg and Romano cheese.

In honor of Kublai Khan’s rise to power, I’m eating an open face bacon egg and Romano cheese.

I was bouncing around the US last week, and right before I got on the plane to leave home I bought a couple of Six Point Hi-Res. When I got back home, I opened one to celebrate. Now, as someone who’s had some “interesting” experiences pounding a few too many Resins on a Brooklyn roof (don’t ask me how I descended the ladder to the ground), I was somewhat afraid of Hi-Res’s boozy powers and hopped wiles. But I feared for nothing. Six Point’s crafted a balanced, if gigantic, imperial triple quad mega IPA that is more of a hopped malt wine than a beer. Noted some creamscicle hints in the nose, too, which was interesting. 

I was bouncing around the US last week, and right before I got on the plane to leave home I bought a couple of Six Point Hi-Res. When I got back home, I opened one to celebrate. Now, as someone who’s had some “interesting” experiences pounding a few too many Resins on a Brooklyn roof (don’t ask me how I descended the ladder to the ground), I was somewhat afraid of Hi-Res’s boozy powers and hopped wiles. But I feared for nothing. Six Point’s crafted a balanced, if gigantic, imperial triple quad mega IPA that is more of a hopped malt wine than a beer. Noted some creamscicle hints in the nose, too, which was interesting. 

This weekend, I was one of the suckers lucky ones who paid for got the privilege of a sneak peek at Brooklyn Brewery’s inaugural (B)rooklyn (Q)uarterly (E)xperiment brew, Wild Streak. The bourbon barrel–aged Belgian amber started, apparently, as one of the brewery’s “ghost bottles’” which were limited release beers that were distributed at whim and to friends, but now you can get a bottle for yourself. It’s worth the price of admission, but it definitely ain’t cheap. I found myself very much enjoying the interplay between the rounded effervescence provided by champagne yeast, and the more prickly assault that the wild yeasts’ carbonation gave the mouthfeel.—JD

This weekend, I was one of the suckers lucky ones who paid for got the privilege of a sneak peek at Brooklyn Brewery’s inaugural (B)rooklyn (Q)uarterly (E)xperiment brew, Wild Streak. The bourbon barrel–aged Belgian amber started, apparently, as one of the brewery’s “ghost bottles’” which were limited release beers that were distributed at whim and to friends, but now you can get a bottle for yourself. It’s worth the price of admission, but it definitely ain’t cheap. I found myself very much enjoying the interplay between the rounded effervescence provided by champagne yeast, and the more prickly assault that the wild yeasts’ carbonation gave the mouthfeel.
—JD

The other day when I went to Dough Loco, I braved taste disaster and bit into this raspberry sriracha donut. Good god: a contrapuntal melding of sweet and savory atop a massive ring of fried dough? “Holy shit,” I said, “this is awesome.” I wasn’t incorrect.

The other day when I went to Dough Loco, I braved taste disaster and bit into this raspberry sriracha donut. Good god: a contrapuntal melding of sweet and savory atop a massive ring of fried dough? “Holy shit,” I said, “this is awesome.” I wasn’t incorrect.

An anonymous colleague gave me a vial of homemade orange bitters, adapted from the recipe here: bit.ly/KEkdaW. She added a star anise to the mix. We’ll see how it sparks up a martini later.

An anonymous colleague gave me a vial of homemade orange bitters, adapted from the recipe here: bit.ly/KEkdaW. She added a star anise to the mix. We’ll see how it sparks up a martini later.

It’s cold as the balls that make up a snowman here in NYC, and while some lucky folks took the day off as a snow day, you can improve any snowy workday with a pint of oaked beer. Or a half pint, if that’s what on offer.
Had this lovely specimen at lunch: Captain Lawrence’s apple brandy–barrel Smoke from the Oak, which was surprisingly apple-y and sparkly for being a barrel aged smoked porter. As you can see from this highly saturated photo-graph, it’s a dark beer with not so much of a head; you can’t taste the apple, malt, almonds, brandy-heat, or wood. But it’s all there. Or was. Until I drank it.

It’s cold as the balls that make up a snowman here in NYC, and while some lucky folks took the day off as a snow day, you can improve any snowy workday with a pint of oaked beer. Or a half pint, if that’s what on offer.

Had this lovely specimen at lunch: Captain Lawrence’s apple brandybarrel Smoke from the Oak, which was surprisingly apple-y and sparkly for being a barrel aged smoked porter. As you can see from this highly saturated photo-graph, it’s a dark beer with not so much of a head; you can’t taste the apple, malt, almonds, brandy-heat, or wood. But it’s all there. Or was. Until I drank it.

Seattle’s Elysian Brewing Company makes some mighty fine product. In addition to their staple IPA, they teamed up with Sub Pop in 2007 to commemorate the label’s 20th anniversary, releasing the aptly named Loser—still a successful brew six years on. But it’s their Bifrost Winter Ale that’s the best this time of year: spiced apple, orange, and grapefruit sticks out at the nose, with a caramel maltiness that goes down light and smooth. Rock on, Elysian, rock on.

'Tis the Season: the Holidaze are upon us! 

Likely, you’ve made it to whatever remote suburb your family (or s.o.’s fam) lives, be it by train, bus, rail, or car. Likely, too, you’ve planned for ways to combat the doldrums: a good book, a stack of DVDs, board games, work (why?), Game Boys, recipes or cocktails. 

Or if you’re like some, you haven’t planned at all. What you’ve planned on is to do absolutely nothing—simple, unfocused and relaxed time with family/friends, filled with food, conversation, and whatever can be bought on a whim at the local farmer’s market and craft ale shop.

Here are a few picked up in suburban Western PA:

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Mission Brewery IPA
Tastes like what I would consider a typical, above-average American beer: strong smell of hops with a thick, bitter, malty taste. It’s pretty no-frills and might be great on draft… but, eh… to be honest there’s not a lot to say bad about this beer, but not a lot to rave about, either. Mission seems to be playing it a little too safe, and might have benefitted from a little more experimentation, a little more kick. 

Great Divide Rumble Oak Aged IPA
The oak aging works really well with the caramel and vanilla maltiness, with a lovely aroma of pine and hops. Great Divide have turned the IPA on its head with this—in a good way—but I feel that some IPA purists (ie, assholes) will be disappointed.

Buffalo Bill’s Blueberry Oatmeal Stout
I was expecting to be disappointed with this one, but found it to be a welcomed surprise: the blueberry hits your nose at first crack, but after pouring it’s full-on cocoa, coffee, oatmeal and yes, blueberries. It’s not so much a stout as it’s a fruity porter, and if it wasn’t for the carbonation I’d be drinking another.

Stoudts Revel Red Hoppy Ale
Damn, what a malty stink! Not super hoppy, so the name is a lie. (Note to label designer: you made it look like a Christmas/Winter Ale.) Caramel malt and buttery notes. An OK beer I doubt I’d try again.

Bell’s Oarsman
A traditional sour mash that starts strong (a flavorful tart kick) but ends on a lackluster malty note. It feels only half there, like there should have been more character to the hops. Worth a try, and probably something I’d revisit.


Other beers were purchased and consumed, but it’s the holidays, so what am I doing on the interwebs? More importantly, what are you doing on the interwebs, reading this blog? Don’t you have better things to do? Read this shit at work like the rest of the world!

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!

Magic Hat outdoes fortune cookies because they give you the advice upfront and because they soften the blow by following wisdom with a bit of beer.

Magic Hat outdoes fortune cookies because they give you the advice upfront and because they soften the blow by following wisdom with a bit of beer.

The only thing better than starting your day with coffee is starting your day with coffee and Kentucky cream.

The only thing better than starting your day with coffee is starting your day with coffee and Kentucky cream.