Hey there, folks! It’s your old pal Maddy. You may remember me from less well written posts from like…a year ago…I know, I know…I’m the lazy sister. Anywho, we’re gathered here today to discuss a delish beer tasting held in honor of Rach!
There was a lot of this:
1.The gose is my most favorite style of Beer.
2.Prairie can do no wrong in my opinion.
The addition of orange results in a tart, pulpy, orange juice flavor that was both highly drinkable and very enjoyable. My Dad described it as zippy, and I think that’s spot on. It’s bright and slightly salty. Also, look at the little Kanye flare button. Adorbs!
Next, we sampled Evil Twin’s Food & Beer, an all brett pale ale brewed with peaches– Ed’s contribution to the tasting. Evil Twin brewed this beer to celebrate the release of their book, Food & Beer. The book is a shout out to the fact that beer can be the perfect complement to a meal. Probably going to order a copy; that’s my kinda book.
Mom immediately picked up on a bandaidy flavor that at first I didn’t taste. It’s so cool how our palates become accustomed to certain flavors over time! As the beer warmed a bit, I started to notice some of the more complex flavors like creamy peach, funky band aid, and mild, musty grain. Typing those descriptors, I feel like they sound like they would all be really potent, deep flavors, but they were light and balanced one another.
We moved onto a farmhouse saison called Brand New Eyes from Birds Fly South Ale Project. For me, Brand New Eyes wins the best packaging award. It is just damn dreamy! Do you ever see a gorgeous label and wonder “Who came up with that brilliant packaging?” I know I do, and I was delighted to see that the artist, Chris Koelle, was included on the label.
Brewed with Motueka hops and a house yeast, then bottle conditioned for a month with brett and wine yeast, Brand New Eyes is complex and superbly crafted. The New Zealand hops lend a tropical, sweet aroma that cuts the tartness of the sharp funk. The flavor developed from tangy vinegar, to sticky kumquat, and finished with a soft, champagne like yeastiness. This was a crowd favorite!
We ended the tasting with another Birds Fly South creation, The American Sour, brewed in collaboration with Thomas Creek Brewing Co. This delicious aperitif begins as a golden saison, then is aged and soured on various fruits for over a year. Our bottle had been aged over black currants, but there were also varieties featuring cherry, blackberry, and raspberry. The 6.8% wild ale had a hazy, ruby coloring and tasted like tangy sangria. It was super jammy, nicely complementing the funky backbone. I paired it with the chocolate cake of my cupcake, and it really took it to the next level.
So there you have it! Straight from the horse’s mouth! If I do say so myself, this was one of our best tastings yet.
Until next time….hopefully not a year from now,
The Chitwood family just got back from a lovely vacay in Folly Beach, South Carolina! While there we drank a lot of good beer (..and rosé..and prosecco..). The SC beer scene had definitely improved since our last trip. The highlight of the week was finally visiting Westbrook Brewing Company, a longtime favorite of the Barley Babes.
Westbrook only packages a handful of their beers, and we were excited to see a draft list filled with brews we’d never tried, or for that matter, heard of. Maddy ordered a flight of small pours for group, and we got a few pints as well. Two standouts from M’s flight were the Key Lime Pie Gose and Coconut Weisse Weisse Baby. The KLPG is loaded with tangy, sour lime and rounds out with a graham cracker finish. Maddy noted graham cracker on the nose too; Westbrook nailed this one! The table also enjoyed my pint of juicy Nelson Sauvin IPA. It’s the style of IPA I’ve come to expect from NYC breweries like Grimm and Other Half. Finally, we were excited to try the Mexican Cupcake, a session version of Westbrook’s hyped imperial stout brewed with habanero peppers. The cupcake didn’t quite live up to the cake, but it’s nice that you can experience almost the same flavor profile in a lighter, lower ABV beer. Great for summer!
For the past couple months I’ve been working part time for Tipsy Scoop, a NYC-based, liquor-infused ice cream company. Sounds like a dream job, right? I met the founder, Melissa Tavss, when she came into H&H to do a tasting about a year ago. We immediately bonded over our shared Virginia roots (she has family that went to UVA!), and usually spent most of her tasting hours chatting.
I had no idea that helping out at Tipsy Scoop would mean getting to work alongside a whole group of inspiring women. The TS team is all female and we share a kitchen space with Laurie & Sons, a chocolate company operated by two sisters. I’ve never been in an environment with a group of people this dedicated and hardworking; it’s incredibly rewarding.
Tipsy Scoop has 30+ flavors of booze-filled ice cream, and you guessed it, one of those features beer. Chocolate Stout and Pretzel is a chocolate ice cream base with Young’s Chocolate Stout and salted pretzels that we chop and add by hand.
The BBs obviously think beer and chocolate are a match made in heaven. Remember that incredible chocolate drizzle we made with Southern Tier Mokah a few years ago? What about our Valentine’s Day beer and chocolate pairing? However, we recognize that many beer novices aren’t down with the dark stuff. The good thing about this ice cream, considering it’s produced for a large, diverse audience, is the stout flavor is discernible in the roasty, malty aftertaste, but every bite doesn’t scream, “YOU’RE DRINKING A STOUT.” My favorite part is when I get a big chunk of salty pretzel—gotta love that salty/sweet combo!
I’m hoping Tipsy Scoop will produce more beer flavors in the future. A boozier imperial stout blend would be incredible, or what about a sour sorbet? We’ve already been talking about a shandy flavor for summer. If you want to try the Chocolate Stout and Pretzel, or one of the other tasty flavors (Cake Batter Vodka Martini! Raspberry Limoncello Sorbet! Spiked Hazelnut Coffee!), we ship anywhere in the US. Check out the website and pick your poison.
I hope you all had relaxing, fun, holiday weekends. The roomies and I were fortunate enough to spend a few days in Shelter Island with Ed, his girlfriend Andrea, and her friends from college. I sure am missing this view! It’s always hard to adjust to reality after vacation. Luckily, there’s a lot of interesting beer news this week to help you ease back in.
Just in time for summer, fruit beers are the next big thing!
Now you can make beer at home using the SodaStream Beer Bar. The author of the article likens it to microwaving a frozen dinner, but who doesn’t enjoy a good Lean Cuisine from time to time?
Budweiser –oops, I mean America made a non-alcoholic beer. The 0.0% ABV beer “is intended to taste precisely like Budweiser.” So…do with that what you will.
How many of these summer drinking spots have you tried, New Yorkers?
The economic crisis in Venezuela has citizens waiting in line for basic necessities for as long as five hours a day. With a shortage on bread, milk, diapers, and toilet paper, running out of beer seems like the least of their worries.
Can’t wait to try this non-alcoholic, chicken-flavored beer brewed with dandelion and flax! Just kidding, it’s for dogs.
“The Commonwealth of Virginia is quickly becoming the San Diego of the East.” Stone, Green Flash, Deschutes, and now Ballast Point are all opening locations in our home state.
No roundup would be complete without a beer-infused recipe. This Blackberry Peach Saison Galette looks incredible!
Happy Wednesday! Look at that, we’re halfway to the weekend already..
Do you need a Humpday treat? Or a festive bev for the upcoming holiday weekend? As promised, here’s our take on the Minimalist Baker’s Rhubarb Strawberry Margaritas. Minimalist Baker is a food blog with recipes that require 10 ingredients or less, only use one bowl, or take less than 30 minutes to prepare. Many of the recipes are vegan, so Riles has become a loyal follower.
The only intensive part of this recipe is making the rhubarb strawberry syrup and giving it time to chill– that’s why the prep time is so long. After chopping your fruit, add it to a saucepan with water and sugar and allow it to simmer for about 5 minutes. As the fruit cooks, mash with a wooden spoon so it gets soft and mushy; the MB describes the final product as looking like pie filling. Next, drain the syrup by putting the cooked fruit through a mesh strainer. We employed a reusable coffee filter for this step– very effective.
The recipe suggests allowing the syrup to cool for a couple of hours in the fridge, or popping it in the freezer for a quicker chill. We chose the freezer, and enjoyed our Potter’s Cider while we waited.
For each marg, combine 5 tbsp. of the syrup, one shot tequila, 1 tbsp. lime juice, and 2 tsp. agave nectar in a cocktail shaker, and give it a healthy shake. If you’re making these for a crowd, we hope you have a bigger cocktail shaker than the one at the Chitwood household. Our tiny shaker could only make one drink at a time, so it took a bit longer. (Can you tell we’re beer people?)
While Riley practiced her bar-tending skills, I worked on salting the rims of our glasses. The recipe suggested running a lime around the edge of the glass before dipping to make the salt stick better. In the past I’ve used water for this step, and lime juice worked a lot better. Although this beverage comes out pink and fruity, it truly isn’t sweet or sugary. Rhubarb and strawberry bring a refreshing tartness to this classic cocktail, and completely mask the tequila.
So there you have it! The Barley Babes drink tequila sometimes and we ain’t sorry ’bout it. Hope these quench your thirst on the first really hot day we’ve had this year! It’s supposed to be 88 in NY today. Praise him.
This time last week I was driving down to Virginia for a long weekend. Unfortunately, it rained most of the time I was there, just as it did at Christmas. It seems like I bring the bad weather! We certainly made the best of things, though.
Saturday’s main event was a cookout featuring plenty of beer and burgers. On Sunday we packed in brunch at home, a movie, a walk on the Huckleberry Trail, and dinner at Mellow Mushroom. I was excited that the draft list at the Blacksburg Mellow had improved since my last visit. I enjoyed one of my favorite southern IPAs, the Foothills Jade.
A couple weekends ago we had one of our favorite guests in town, Kat’s boyfriend Michael! On Saturday we took full advantage of his luxurious automobile and went upstate for a short hike.
Bear Mountain is only about 2.5 miles round trip, but the incline on the first half is quite steep. The trail was busy, but not crowded, and drizzle turned to clear blue skies as we leisurely made our way up the mountain.
The summit was filled with hikers having picnics and hanging out, but we were able to find a secluded spot to relax and take in the view. Our adventurous little Kitten almost gave me a heart attack in her quest for the perfect place to sunbathe.
After many a picture taken and Snapchat sent, we made our way back down the mountain. Carefully inching down the rocky incline might have been harder than climbing up! Safely back in the car, we decided we should reward ourselves. That, my friends, is where the beer comes in. Don’t worry, this hasn’t turned into a healthy lifestyle blog.
Peekskill Brewery is only 5 miles from Bear Mountain (we didn’t even plan this!) After a refueling lunch at La Cascada in downtown Peekskill, we headed to Water St. to check out one of my favorite NY breweries.
Peekskill Brewery is right on the Hudson and just a short walk from downtown. The two-floored facility features a full bar and restaurant in addition to a tasting room. The first floor was crowded with groups of friends drinking, snacking, and playing darts. A sign advertising a two-for-one happy hour deal Monday-Thursday had us wishing that Peekskill wasn’t so far away!
Allison ordered the Simple Sour, an easy-drinking, moderately sour ale that we’ve had many times. I tried Peekskill’s new double IPA, Juices Flowin.’ As promised in the tasting notes, it was juicy and dank–just how I like my IPAs these days. Michael and Kat shared a flight. Michael, a fellow hop head, enjoyed Juices Flowin’ as well, and also it’s lighter cousin, Shotgun Willie. Kat’s favorites were the Simple Sour and Moscow on the Hudson, an “Atlantic-style Porter.” The only letdown was the Uncommon Rye Lager; the happy couple reported that this one is actually quite common.
About a year ago Peekskill’s renowned brewmaster, Jeff O’Neil left to start a new brewery. Assistant brewer Matt Levy took over O’Neil’s position, and almost immediately won a silver medal at GABF. Before Peekskill Levy spent a year at Michigan’s Jolly Pumpkin, and produced small batch brews at Captain Lawrence. I haven’t had enough Peekskill beer over the years to evaluate whether this change in head brewer is an improvement, but I was extremely impressed with the beers I tried last Saturday. Peekskill is one to keep an eye on! If they scale up and start packaging, I hope Juices Flowin’ makes the cut.
Happy Friday! Any brewery visits in your weekend plans?
We have a special Thursday treat for you, readers! The lovely Amanda Stromecki has written another great Barley Babes guest post. Amanda is currently living on a wildlife refuge in CA, helping research an endangered bird called Yuma’s Ridgway Rail. She recently visited one of California’s most renowned breweries; read on for her review!
Hi, there! It’s Amanda—friend of the Barley Babes and fellow beer geek. For the past two years I have been rambling around the West coast and drinking beer along the way. I just spent six months living in Lagunitas, California, a small town about an hour north of San Francisco. Fun fact about Lagunitas: it is a tiny, tight-knit community that is home to the original Lagunitas brewery, when it was still just a homebrew operation. Owner Tony Magee was actually kicked out of town when he dumped his rejected beer down the drain and into the septic system, causing a yeast + human waste explosion! Oops!
While I have visited Lagunitas brewery in Petaluma, my most notable brewery trip in CA was definitely to Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa. This brewery is in beautiful Sonoma County, in the heart of wine country. Russian River is known for Pliny the Elder, a west coast style IPA that lives up to its reputation. Pliny has a gorgeous honey color, a citrusy hop resin nose, a powerful hoppy punch on the palate, and a clean finish. It is big and bold, yet light and refreshing. One of my favorite IPAs to date.
Another great RR IPA is Blind Pig. Seriously full hop bite, but a little mellower ABV. We tried a bunch of beers, including the STS Pils, which was light, crisp, and true to style. Damnation, a Belgian strong pale ale, was a well-balanced, bready, and woody. Compunction, an American wild ale brewed with pluots (a plum/apricot hybrid), was my favorite of the day. Great pucker factor and stone fruit flavor. Another sour was Supplication, another American wild ale aged in Pinot Noir barrels. The barrel aging imparted a rich mouthfeel, lovely red color, and complex flavor profile. While my sour beers turned most of my friends off, I was impressed by Russian River’s sour and Belgian offerings. If only Maddy and Rachel had been there!
Don’t be scared off by the long lines or crowds; a trip to Russian River Brewing Company is well worth the wait. The staff is efficient and handles the chaos well. The food, mostly pizzas and sandwiches, is tasty and well priced. The brewpub has a massive bar, which provides lots of opportunities to meet fellow hopheads. After enjoying RR beer for a few years, it was nice to finally give the brewery a visit. I think a Barley Babe fieldtrip there is a must. Cheers!
Thanks so much, Amanda! Although it’s wonderful to have a West Coast correspondent, we wish we could all be drinking beer together. One day😉