Beer Ice Cream

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.

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IMG_3385I 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.

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Laurie & Sons Dark Chocolate Toffee with Maine Sea Salt

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.

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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!

The ice cream machine in action
The ice cream machine in action

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.

Happy Saturday!

The Word on Beer Street

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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..

-R

Rhubarb Strawberry Margs

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.

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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.

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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.

-R

 

Potter’s Grapefruit Hibiscus

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.

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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.

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On Monday our grandmother treated the sisters to lunch at Radford’s new coffee shop. We were so impressed! The food at Radford Coffee Company is fresh and tasty, and the proceeds are used to educate children who live in rural communities alongside Nicaragua’s Ri Coco river.
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Tuesday morning we ventured out for a quick, foggy hike in Salem, followed by lunch at Grandin’s Local Roots. I had my only Get Bent of the trip over lunch and it was as delicious as always (the $2.50 price tag certainly didn’t hurt). Since Riley and I were dining with local celebs, the generous LR staff sent us a complimentary cheeseboard to start. Those pickled strawberries are something special!
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On my final night we celebrated Taco Tuesday–a Chitwood family staple. While chopping veggies and waiting for dad to get home from work, the gals split Potter’s Grapefruit Hibiscus Cider. This dry, tart beauty drinks more like rosé than cider. It has juicy grapefruit upfront, followed by subtle notes of hibiscus, sweet apple, and oak. My mouth is salivating just remembering the delicate, yet bright flavors. Potter’s launched this seasonal variety last summer; I hope to find more when I’m in Charlottesville in June.
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Taco Tuesday also featured Strawberry Rhubarb Margaritas by the Minimalist Baker. Cider is not beer, and margaritas are DEFINITELY not beer, but the world needs to know how good these are! Expect a full write up next week. After all, half the fun of having your own blog is getting to make the rules.
Cheers!
-R

Spring Saturday 

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.

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“I’m glad I didn’t know ahead of time that it was going to be this steep..” -All of us

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.

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Bear Mountain Bridge


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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.

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Practicing for my future career as a TMZ reporter

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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.

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Juices Flowin’ DIPA

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!

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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.

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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?

-R

Russian River Brewing Company

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.

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On tap at Russian River

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!

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Russian River’s Blind Pig IPA

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!

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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 😉

Did you read Amanda’s first guest post? What about our review of two of Russian River’s most-hyped sours?

Silly Cybies

I often feel that when I’m doing a beer tasting or enjoying a meal with several courses, the very first thing I try ends up being my favorite. That was definitely the case with the beers I put aside to share with Maddy last week. Moments after walking in from the airport we split Crooked Stave Silly Cybies, a Belgian-style dark ale aged in oak barrels with raspberries. I knew that this one-case-per-account, embarrassingly expensive, limited release was going to be good, but it exceeded my expectations.

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Silly Cybies pours deep cranberry with a tiny pink head, and has an oaky/berry nose. It isn’t heavy, but the body is full and velvety, much like red wine. Although we knew that it was pretty high ABV (9%), we were surprised by how little alcohol we detected. The dominant flavor is tart, juicy raspberry, followed by wood and red wine vinegar. We could have had an entire bottle to ourselves! We could have had two bottles each! We could have split a 6-pack (if it came in 6-packs), but we would have been smashed, so thank goodness I only had one! Silly Cybies sprinted to the top of our “What are you loving now?” list. So glad I saved it to share with my BB.

Tell us–what are you loving these days?  What’s your go-to brew for spring?

-R

Barley Babe Reunion

I’m writing to you from the J train, on my way to pick Maddy up from the airport! She’s visiting Brooklyn for a whole week, and I sprang out of bed this morning like a kid on Christmas. I’ve been stockpiling special beers since Maddy booked her flight a couple months ago. My tiny book shelf is now home to the biggest collection of beers I’ve ever had! This hoard of liquid treasures includes the two latest Grimm sours, some tasting-room-only releases from local breweries, a collab between Maine and the Bruery, and a can from the infamous Tree House!   We’re also planning to hit up some local breweries while Mad is in town. Finback and LIC Beer Project are at the top of my list because I think she’ll enjoy their menus the most, but I’m sure we’ll have time for a couple more. Can’t wait to be reunited with my Barley Babe!!! We’ll try to deliver at least one co-post while she’s in town. After all, it can’t be all play and no work..

-R

Woodstock Brewhouse

As I’ve mentioned, my roommate’s dad opened a brewery in Woodstock, Virginia last summer. This weekend we went down to Woodstock for their annual St. Patrick’s Day bash, and got to hang out at Woodstock Brewhouse on Saturday AND Sunday.

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Saturday afternoon we went to Woodstock for pre-party-set-up beers. We drove to the brewhouse because it was snowing, but it’s just a couple minutes walk from Kat’s house (I would never leave!).

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The interior of the brewhouse is both spacious and cozy. The building is an old clothing factory–Casey Jones Work Clothes, which explains the size. They retained the original 14-foot beadboard ceilings and uncovered gorgeous wood flooring that was tiled over by a previous occupant. There are a few seats at the bar and then tons of tables and couches to enjoy your beverages and snacks. Huge windows surround the space and drop down lighting provides an additional warm glow.

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For our first round I tried the Crow’s Provender, a 10.2% Double IPA that Kat’s dad raved about the previous night. It has a bold, citrusy hop flavor, but is entirely smooth considering the ABV. Kat ordered the Paysan Saison, which ended up being my second beer, and one of my favorites. The initial lemon flavor is nicely balanced by yeast and spice in the finish. Karl (Kat’s dad) mentioned he would like this one to be a bit more effervescent, but I enjoyed the fuller body since it was such a cold day. Allison, who’s really into dark beers lately, tried the vanilla porter, Casey Jones. As we learned on the tour, this one is brewed with bourbon soaked vanilla beans. Two thumbs WAY up.

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Beers in hand, we followed Karl on a tour of the brewhouse. One of the coolest accents is a couple rows of seats from baseball stadiums from around the country. As you watch your favorite team on the brewhouse TV, you can recline in a seat from Fenway Park or Wrigley Field. Dad, I knew you’d love that!

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Karl walked us through the whole brewing process and showed us Woodstock’s high tech brewing system. The equipment he first used to home brew in his garage is now used by the brewing team for small batch experimentation with new recipes.

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After our tour we returned to the tasting room for more beers and delicious pizza prepared by Kat’s sisters (it really is a family affair! ). Usually 1752 Barbecue serves food on Saturdays, but since they couldn’t be there last weekend, Woodstock’s weekday menu was available. They make Bavarian pretzels and a variety of flatbread pizzas; I highly recommend the white and margherita!

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Before leaving to catch our train on Sunday we returned to the brewhouse for one more beer. I couldn’t stop myself from ordering the Crow’s Provender again; it’s just so good! Kat and Allison stuck to their favorite too, Casey Jones. Luckily Kat’s mom helped us branch out and brought over a sample of the new honey wheat. It’s crisp and fruity—a great summer beer.

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Also, being VIPs and everything, we got to sample a couple of brews that aren’t on the menu yet. Hunter, one of the brewers, brought over tasters of their brand new Black IPA and Belgian-style tripel. The tripel was tasty, but the Black IPA blew us away. As I’ve mentioned, Black IPAs have grown on me recently, but I prefer them to be pretty hop forward. Black Powder has the creamy mouth feel and roasted malt and dark chocolate flavors of a stout, but still has a big, fruity hop presence. Again, we used our connections to score a growler of this baby to take back to NY.

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Allison and I were SO impressed with Woodstock Brewhouse, and haven’t stopped raving about it since we left. Virginians—I urge you to make a day trip soon! In addition to the brewhouse (though you really don’t need another reason) there are plenty of other things to do in this charming town!

Thanks so much to the Roulston family for a spectacular weeekend, and to all of the brewhouse employees who showed us such hospitality. We can’t wait to return to Woodstock!

Bridge and Tunnel Brewery

Now it’s time for some NYC brewery action! I found out about Bridge and Tunnel and Rich Castagna when I first started working at Hops and Hocks. One of our draft lines was occupied by a brewer that brewed in his garage in Queens, and who was currently working on building out a tasting room entirely on his own?? That’s pretty neat. Fast forward one year and the Bridge and Tunnel tasting room is officially open in Ridgewood!

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Our trek was slightly rainy..oh wait, my walking companions already told you?

Since opening at the end of November, B&T has expanded their tasting room hours from Saturdays only to Friday-Sunday. Last Sunday evening we took a pleasant walk to the cozy tasting room for some pints and coloring.

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B&T has more of a neighborhood vibe than any other NYC brewery I’ve visited. Those sitting at the bar were clearly regulars, and excitedly answered questions about the beers and tasting room. The space is industrial, yet homey, with colored lights hanging above the bar, long wooden tables, and a decent selection of board games. We easily found a table and sipped our beers while working on illustrations for B&T’s “Tank Fund Color Off.” The color off is to raise awareness about the small crowdfund campaign they’re launching in March to raise money for a unitank fermenter and chiller. Rich’s daughters are choosing the winner of the color off!

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Kat and Cooke Cooke took their submissions very seriously

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I started with a super flavorful rye DIPA, while Matt and Kitty Kat chose two of the darker selections on the menu (Rich’s specialty), and Allison tried a blackberry kombucha. Kat analyzed the differences between B&T’s vanilla porter (Bone Orchard) and that of Woodstock Brew House (Casey Joes); we’re always working, I tell ya!

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Mitch is deep in thought about which beer to choose next..
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‘Bucha Baby!

For my second beer I picked Tank Fund Saison, the SMASH beer Rich brewed for NYC Beer Week. In honor of this annual event, every brewer creates a SMASH (State Malts and State Hops) beer that emphasizes the same three hops and grains. It’s really cool to see the wide range of styles that result. Tank Fund is now one of my favorite B&T beers. It’s medium-bodied with flavors of lemon and honey, and has a closing bitterness that keeps it from being too sweet.

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They serve popcorn and pretzels in the tasting room, and you can also order from Houdini, the wood fire pizza place next door. I see your wheels spinning, Pammy! We can definitely put B&T on the itinerary during your next visit. Like many NYC spots, B&T is cash only, but if you forget dat paper, just bop into Houdini and use their ATM.

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Rich explains the 1642 Maspeatches, a gruit brewed with local honey and spruce.

Rich was at H&H for a tasting last night and we chatted about how NYC Beer week is going. He confessed that he was a bit tired of the events, and couldn’t wait to get back to the tasting room this weekend. If you read the reviews on Yelp, or any other press about B&T, it’s so clear that B&T is Rich and his family. He’s so passionate about the tasting room and his beer, and he loves to tell the backstory behind each brew. Customers will return to B&T for the delicious beer, welcoming atmosphere, and amazing prices, yes, but most of all, because of the faces behind the bar.

Happy Friday! Cheers to passion.

p.s. Want to know more about about Rich and the Bridge and Tunnel story? Of course you do! Check out these beer reads:

Building a Brewery From Scratch
Bridge & Tunnel Brewery Taproom Opens in Ridgewood, Queens
Bridge & Tunel Brewery Set to Open Ridgewood Location This Saturday
Bridge and Tunnel Microbrewery in Ridgewood, Queens: The Definition of DIY