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Entries in Beer (198)


Friday Froth: The Tale Of The Commodore from Ballast Point

Hello! Welcome back to Friday Froth, 2016 edition: the semi-weekly beer column eagerly awaited by literally tens of people. This week, as in most weeks, I will start off with discussion on a topic which has nothing at all to do with beer. Continue reading at your own peril. 

I have a friend who moved to Germany because of a girl. I think we can all agree emigrating from the country of your birth to one across a large ocean whose language you don't speak while relying on an intimate interpersonal relationship for success and happiness with no fall-back plan usually works out perfectly, and I'm sure you'll all be relieved to learn that has been precisely the case with him. If anything, he has more hair on his head than when he left - a fact about which we can all be magnanimous, and definitely not introduce small amounts of arsenic into the care packages of American peanut butter and bourbon whiskey we send him, because we are not envious monsters. 

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Friday Froth: Beer CONN Comes To Bridgeport

Two sessions, fifty breweries, and over a hundred different beers - the second annual Beer CONN poured all day and into the night in Bridgeport. Separate afternoon and evening sessions and a limit on the number of tickets sold maximized elbow room and kept things easy just over the ice in the arena.

Out of state breweries like Stone, Shiner, and Jack's Abbey were represented, but the focus of the one day beer fest was on beers from the Constitution State. I attended the second session, which was not without surprises, including Brewscuits: dog biscuits made from spent grain used in brewing, and the Growler Getter, from Woodbridge, Conn. - a hard plastic tote capable of holding two 64oz. growlers, or three 32oz. growlitos. 

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The Blind Rhino Sports Bar Opens in South Norwalk

When I hear “sports bar,” I think lots of big screen TVs, beers, burgers, wings, nachos, anything to go with my Jets or Giants jersey. The Blind Rhino, recently opened in South Norwalk on Main Street just north of Washington, is undoubtedly a sports bar, with 27 big screen TVs, shuffleboard, darts, and jerseys adorning the walls. At the same time, it has elevated the cuisine with impressive menu items, an array of craft beers and a variety of whiskeys.  Many sports bar staples are still on the menu, but with a twist!

Owner /Chef Jamie Pantanella oversees the cuisine.  He has worked in restaurants and catering all over New England for the past 22 years. His most recent restaurant experience includes The Brewhouse and Gingerman SoNo.  At The Blind Rhino, Pantanella hones his years of experience to offer his “highlight reel.”

The menu is not large, but each item is thoughtful and flavorful.  “While having sections like wings, appetizers, soups, and sandwiches seem to be par for the course, having items like Togareshi Dry Rub Wings, Cider Braised Pork Belly Sliders, and a Sliced Ribeye Cheese Steak is exactly how we want to take the dining experience to the next level,” says manager Casey Dohme.

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Friday Froth: It's Porter Season...Here's What To Drink

I won't be mad if you tell me you don't like porters, but I will be disappointed. This is mainly because it robs me of the opportunity to order taster samples of this imperial, and that oatmeal version, and - oh man, you have to try this sour Baltic one... until you are half drunk from slamming six two ounce servings of 9% alcohol beer in four minutes, and the bartender hates us both. I am enthusiastic in my love for porter beers, and I want to share that joy. Being a pasty Irish dude, I am a natural ally of the darker, colder months, and the necessary extra layers of clothing work well in disguising the extra layers of me which come from downing 500-calorie pints two at a time. 

You may notice something funny going on with the names of several of the beers we're looking at this week, after that intro so, first, a quick bit of knowledge: all stouts are porters, but not all porters are stouts. If you'd like to do a deep dive on the subject, you can do worse than this.

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9 Events to Check Out for CT Beer Week

Connecticut Beer Week has officially begun, and CTBites is here to bring you a sampling of events and other news of note. This week is a celebration of both beers made in Connecticut, and the restaurants and bars who help our small state be such a big part of the national beer scene. 

The hashtag for searching on social media is #CTBeerWeek, and a further list of events can be found here. Many links to further events and information are included below, and please let us know in the comments if there's anything we may have missed. 

1. Kent Falls Debuts Shruggie - Kent Falls will drop its brand-newest IPA, Shruggie (¯\_(ツ)_/¯) this week, starting in Litchfield on Nov. 18. Kent Falls calls this part of their "bartender interaction series." I may have agreed to order one through interpretive dance. Their next event will be at J. Timothy's.

2. Get Beer'd - J. Tim's will host a Beer'd Brewing tap takeover Nov. 17, including Elihue, This Side Of Paradise, and Midnight Oil.

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First Look: Rothbard Ale + Larder European Gastropub Opens in Westport 

Rothbard Ale + Larder European Gastropub quietly opened its doors last week in downtown Westport. The menu focuses on central European fare with dishes drawing inspiration from the cuisines of Alsace, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland. The beer and wine list mirror this sentiment, and a beautiful interior renovation transports diners to a cozy chalet in the depths of the Bavarian Alps. Chef Adam Roytman's commitment to both the cuisine and "larder" concept are tangible in every detail of this new speakeasy-esque venture with longtime partner Joseph Farrell (Walrus + Carpenter).  From the crispy schnitzel and rich hearty bratwurst (house-made) to the authentic absinthe fountain and German beer steins, Rothbard Ale + Larder is the real deal. 

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Friday Froth: Iceland And Sweetwater Come To Connecticut

Reykjavik and Atlanta usually don't have anything in common besides yours truly, but we've all come full circle this week. The daisy chain works like this: I love Iceland, and have done some work for the country here in the U.S. which allowed me to to visit the land of fire and ice, eat hákarl, and learn the correct pronunciation of Eyjafjallajökull. I also have a degree in history from the University of Georgia, where I became acquainted with Sweetwater Brewing Company. Just recently, Two Roads and Evil Twin conspired to produce Geyser Gose, using Icelandic ingredients, and Sweetwater made their Connecticut debut. Hell yes.

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Friday Froth: I Give You IPA...Firefly Hollow, Victory & Beer'd Brewing Co.

We're going to ignore the seasonal background noise this week, and focus on the always topical subject of IPAs. Two of the beers we taste in today's Froth are Connecticut originals, and I'm also taking the opportunity to introduce the newborn Vital IPA from Victory Brewing. A single can of this last made its way into my sinister grasp a few days before its official introduction to the world, and your first look is below the jump.

First, though, I have to geek out about some Firefly Hollow trivia...

Firefly is located in Bristol, and run by partners Rich Loomis, Bill Collins, and brewmaster Dana Bourque. Two out of three at UConn grads, and I've mentioned their beers here before. A while back I had the opportunity to try another one of their beers, Lil Troll session IPA. As the name suggests, this one is just under 5% abv, and pours golden with a big head. The hop aroma is earthy, and maybe even a bit sour on the nose.

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Friday Froth: Take Your Own Advice (Southern Tier, Two Roads & Victory Breweries)

Ernest Hemingway told us to always do sober what we said we'd do drunk. "That will teach you to keep your mouth shut," was his lesson. I don't get space here on Fridays for keeping my metaphorical mouth shut, and a few weeks ago I could be found pleading with you to hold off on All Pumpkin Errthang, and take the limited time we have at summer's end to enjoy the brief grunion-run of harvest ales. 

The same day Froth published, I went out, slapped my modest gains on a counter, and walked out, brown bottles with orange labels in my hands. I've found some good ones for you, so here's a sampler.  

Southern Tier Harvest special ale is an Extra Special Bitter, and pours with a golden ruby color. Decent head foams up at first and settles into thickish ring. The first whiff is bready malt, bouncing with hops. Rich and bitter, but mellow, Harvest is a hedge fund divorcee on xanax. It is also terrifically easy to drink, which means the robust 6.7%ABV tends to sneak up on you. The world is not exactly full of beers which aren't heavy, or beset with fruits or lactose, and still manage to feel like a treat, but Harvest is the exact recipe. It is decadent despite a deceptively simple formula, and a prototypical autumn beer.

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Friday Froth: Love The Harvest

Screw pumpkin beer and the sell sheet it rode in on. Screw it in September, and double-dog screw it in August, when I first start seeing it in stores. The fact I wasn't arrested for petty vandalism last month is a minor miracle. If you complain about summer being over to soon while ordering a late fall seasonal I hope you step in something wet while wearing socks. Such are the depths of my disdain. 

I say all this, even though I don't dislike pumpkin beers as such, because the end of summer and early fall are excellent times for beer. Hops and grain are both being harvested this time of year, and I encourage you to take full advantage of the brilliant little season between light, summer beers, and the heavy, spiced beers of winter, because that middleground is fertile, delicious,and short-lived. Let's do this.

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