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Entries in Friday Froth (48)

Friday
May222015

Friday Froth: Connecticut On Craft Beer Week

American Craft Beer Week was last week, and my pants hate me. You'd think massive doses of beer paired with little to no sleep for long periods of time would do a body good, but no. Anyone would tell you that if you'd just listen, but then you'd also have to hear about "healthy decisions" and "getting out of that bulldozer this instant," and anyway I can always buy new pants.

So, I'm fat now and here are some of the beers which left me with a) no regrets in that regard, and b) this red line under my navel. 

Stony Creek Dock Time. For the past several years, the tasting room at Two Roads has reigned supreme in Connecticut. It is a massive, brightly lit space which fairly bubbles with history, it has an enormous central bar, and the stools have these bearings in them that let you spin around. Truly a top notch operation. Now, though, dare mention the Two Roads tasting room in any context and people will burst from out of nowhere shouting a chorus of "BUT HAVE YOU BEEN TO STONY CREEK" like it's the "fiiiiive gooold-en riiiiings" part in The Twelve Days of Christmas. 

You know what? That's fair.

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Friday
May082015

Friday Froth: Back To The Land With Kent Falls Brewery 


The drinking population, increasingly located in cities as we carve through the invisible gelatin of time's future, has been separated from the earth. Beer taps in brick buildings reflect the light of televisions, and fluorescent light sears our retinas as we grab a shiny cardboard package from metal coolers. We obtain beer from chrome. The paradox is that brewing culture in the extravagantly digital 21st century has begun to bring us a little closer to the farm, and to the inextricable link between agriculture and beer. 

Breweries were farms and farms were breweries, for most of human history. People fed themselves with what they grew and raised, but they also drank it, and the beers changed based on whatever crop was in season. We still drink the different styles of beer which resulted from these changes, but now we hardly ever see the farm. That's beginning to change, in food as well as beer.

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Friday
Apr172015

Friday Froth: Brewers' Collaboration Beers

Life is better when you're among friends, and people have been gathering together over a beer or a beer-like substance for thousands of years now. Everywhere there are humans, we gather in the sun, the shade of palm fronds, or under a warm tavern roof to enjoy a few drinks and catch up on what's new. We host bottle shares and beer festivals and, increasingly, brewers have been working together across brands to combine their experience, just to see what happens. 

This week, Friday Froth is going to drink a few of the beers resulting from these evanescent partnerships between breweries. The beers themselves are friendship in a glass.

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Tuesday
Apr072015

Celebrate National Beer Day w/ Three Floyds Zombie Dust...If You Can Find It

Apparently today is National Beer Day, so here are my notes from the first time I had Three Floyds Zombie Dust

*Yep - not a Friday at all, but Tuesdays could stand a bit of Fridayness, anyway.

I have a friend out in Indiana who floated the idea of doing a beer trade; he'd send me some of his state's beer, and I'd send him a few selections from Connecticut. I sent him Sea Hag from New England Brewing and Two Roads Lil Heaven, and made one request of him: "Whatever you send, please send me some Zombie Dust, too." He did not disappoint. What follows is the result, word for word:  

Grapefruit hop notes hit from two feet away as soon as it's poured. Barely cloudy amber, head forms and resolves into a thin ring. Big, juicy hops on nose, very fruity. It's hoppy on the tongue like a jungle is green - everywhere and all at once. Far cry from the punch of west coast IPAs. This is a smooth and flavorful pale ale. I want to turn back time and drink it again.

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Friday
Apr032015

Friday Froth: What's In A Name?

The waiter gave me a look that said "Dude - work with me here," because I was mumbling. It started like this: 

Him: "What'll you have?" A perfectly reasonable question, and not an unexpected one, given that I'd just sat down. So I replied:

"Nmm nmm."

"What?"

"Nmm nmm... ee."

And that's when I got the look. So I said it louder, biting off each word:

"Nummy Nummy, please." 

Dammit. 

Look, I get it - it's fun to name your beer something ridiculous like "Buttface" or "Even More Jesus," but please, I humbly beseech you, the brewers of the world: please don't make it something I'm embarrassed to order in public. That said...

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Friday
Mar272015

Friday Froth: A Look At Beer'd Brewing

I like to let my face grow its own sweater for the colder months. Having a glossy layer of man-fur dulls the teeth of the winter wind, people seem to like my more avuncular look, and growing a beard takes slightly less work than shaving every day, so technically I'm conserving the planet's resources. You're welcome

I've noticed the delicate liquid measurements, tweezing of botanicals, and arguing over the perfect shape for a single unit of ice has lead many adherents of cocktail culture to treat their faces like overly manicured topiary. There will always be respect and, above that, love in my heart for those who create finely constructed, strong and delicious cocktails, but an enthusiastic ransacking of my home will never turn up a single tin of mustache wax. 

When I met Aaren Simoncini of Beer'd Brewing in Stonington, he was wearing a shirt that said "beer is art"and his beard didn't look like an aluminum foil swan full of lo mein. We nodded at each other and I approached.  

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Friday
Feb132015

Friday Froth: Notes From Big Brew NY Beer Festival

Session beers are popular now, but a single drinking session rarely includes 250 different beers. The Big Brew NY Beer Festival returned to White Plains on Feb. 7 with hundreds of kegged and bottled beers, plus a VIP area with almost 30 casks of special ales. It's tough to write with a beer in one hand and camera in the other, but I managed to record a few notes and observations from what has become a very good midsize beer festival.

First: it may look crowded in a few of these photos, but the crowd was never an issue. Beer fest attendees tend to be pretty easy going. Most seem happy just to be in a place where they can simply stick out their glass and have it filled, and it's exciting to try new brands and styles without running the risk of taking your first sip and realizing you're now stuck with a six pack of beer you wouldn't use to poison driveway weeds.

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Friday
Jan302015

Friday Froth: Snowed In With Barleywine

Deep snow requires strong booze. Our ancestors knew it, we know it, and every year around the winter solstice we can see a certain class of beer made specifically for snow days start to take up shelf space. Barleywine is beer better served at 55º than 35º, and best enjoyed when it's 25º outside. It's usually sold in large format bottles of the 22-26oz. variety, and will wrap you in an invisible sweater of at least 10% alcohol. Blizzards are a good thing when you're properly stocked. 

Barleywine has been deployed as a winter knock out drop by bored or insufficiently rowdy residents of the frostier climes for centuries. It is NyQuil by another name, and it is a blessed boon to those of us who seek to replace the lost hours of sunlight with - in order - hijinks and oblivion. 

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Friday
Oct102014

Friday Froth: Holy Schnitzengiggles

"I wish it was winter so we could freeze it into ice blocks and skate on it and melt it in the spring time and drink it!"

Beerfest is a movie by Broken Lizard (the Super Troopers guys), who take the "unlikely hero saves the rec center" trope and get it knee-walking drunk in front of horrified loved ones. I'm a big fan. 

The action centers on the proprietors of Schnitzengiggle Tavern, a family of German descendants on a quest to regain both a long lost lager recipe, and America's beer drinking honor. The movie is extravagantly crass, usually leaves me sore both from laughing and a hangover, and MAY have been the inspiration for New England Brewing Company's Schnitzengiggles Festbier. Allegedly.

Schnitzengiggles pours a distinctly brassy color, with a respectably sticky head. There are more hops to the nose than most märzens, and just a light whiff of malt. It is a beautifully smooth, slightly dry lager, and it has a very nice marbling of grainy richness. The hop character comes through in terms of a fruity flavor, rather than the more staid, traditional bitterness, and I'd say that's to be expected from the brewery that brought us Gandhi-Bot and Coriolis. I could and would drink this by the stein, liter, or glass boot.  

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Friday
Jul042014

Friday Froth: New Beers From Jack's Abbey And OEC Brewing

Few sensations enliven the mind like eye-catching novelty. Our minds have evolved such a predilection to find the next new thing, it's a compulsion. This is why slot machines are addictive even though they're so repetitive: there's something new every time. The new glass house is made of screens. Status, tweet, pin... tap, tap, tap.

It's easy to read about how this river of information which flows to us has made Americans indistinguishable from the couches which we permanently inhabit, but I think this is losing sight of the fact that rivers are also a means of transport. Ideas are hardly stationary. This week, let's take a look at a few novelties which have arrived on the Connecticut beer scene, and see if we can get some wheels turning. 

Jack's Abbey launched just three years ago up in Massachusetts and has seemingly been winning awards ever since. The company is run by Jack, Eric and Sam Hendler, scions of an ice manufacturing family, whose Hendler Farms supplies man of the ingredients found in their beers. The brand name comes from Jack (who earned a degree in brewing in '07) and his wife, Abbey - whose name worked out pretty well as a reference to monkish beer brewing traditions. I started off with their Mass Rising Imperial Pils

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