It’s official, my favorite part of working at Hops & Hocks is getting to meet so many interesting, inspiring NYC brewers. Last Saturday, Juan Camilo of Dyckman Beer Co. was in the shop sampling his Café Con Leche, a light, smooth, milk stout with a huge coffee flavor and notes of cocoa.
Four years ago, while working a less-than-stimulating job as an investment banker, Juan started homebrewing as a hobby. Shortly thereafter, while looking at a list of NYC breweries sorted by borough, he noticed a significant gap in his neighborhood of Uptown Manhattan. The wheels started turning. Juan threw all his energy into a business plan for what is now Dyckman Beer Co., a brewery inspired by the people and spirit of Uptown. The Café Con Leche exemplifies this inspiration. It’s made with Café Bustelo, a Cuban-style coffee and bodega standard in NYC. Juan decided to use Café Bustelo because he grew up seeing it in his local bodega and drinking it at home.
Unfortunately, the weather was gray and bleak on Saturday, so it wasn’t as busy in the shop as it’s been during past tastings. This gave me more time to talk to Juan about Dyckman’s plans for the future, though. They’ve been brewing at Thomas Hooker in Connecticut, but are in the process of purchasing an old bread factory in Uptown that will serve as a brewing facility, tasting room, and restaurant! Juan also told me a little bit about the beers he currently has in the works. Those in the NYC area should be on the lookout for Dyckman’s cherry red saison, passion fruit wit, and Suave IPA, a session IPA (love the name!). If those beers are as tasty as the Café Con Leche, Dyckman’s future is very bright. 🙂
HELLO! Happy spring! Happy Thursday! Tuesday was a good day for beer. First and foremost, the new batch of Boulevard’s Love Child has finally landed in Blacksburg! AND GUESS WHO SCORED A BOTTLE? Me, bitches. While I want to drink this Goddess of a beer tonight all by myself, I’ve decided to save it for my graduation in May. Do ya hear that, Rach? Big fun ahead!
Want to know another reason that Tuesday was a great beer day?
Barrel Chest is a beer and wine store in Roanoke with one of the best tap lists in the area, in my opinion. Tuesday I stopped by with my friend Cindy to shop and drink. My favorite thing about Barrel Chest is that you can get reasonably priced 4 oz pours of all the beers on draft. With so many good options, this is a must! We sampled 5 awesome beers, starting with the Founders Rubaeus.
The Rubaeus poured a sweet pink hue, with just enough sweetness and flavor from the addition of the raspberries. Light bodied at 5.7% and slightly tart, this brew had us dreaming of summer dresses and garden parties. This is a warm weather beer if I’ve ever had one!
Next up, Terrapin’s Hop Selection Ella Double IPA. Personally, I’m a Terrapin fan in general, so this DIPA was a must try! Their Hop Selection program features their favorite hop variety of the season; in this case it was Ella, an Australian variety known for it’s floral, spicy aroma. We found the Hop Selection insanely juicy and packed with flavor. Cindy equated it to a Peach Mamba. We both decided Ella hops are straight up de-li-cious as we downed this brew in what seemed like moments.
We moved onto AleWerks Bitter Valentine…and wow.
“How do they make it taste so much like weed smells?”
That sums it up best for us on this one.
I guess it’s something about things grown in the Northwest? 😉
I had long awaited the moment I got to try our next sample: Stone’s Chai Spiced Russian Imperial Stout. I’m about that chai life. The nose was heavy spice, mainly cinnamon, and rich dark grain. It smelled HEAVENLY, YOU GUYS. This RIS was supa smooth and dark chocolatey, with ginger and cinnamon all up in there. I really wanted a bigger pour of this one.
After the heavy stout we were both craving something with a bite, so we went ahead and ordered one more sample. We chose the BFM Square Root 225, a barrel aged saison. For me, this beer stole the show. It was so funky and had the perfect amount of lip puckering. We both decided that sour beers would forever be our favorite style of beer. I honestly can’t get enough sour in my life.
Not too shabby for National Beer Day!
Hey, guys! I’m in Connecticut right now visiting my friend Amanda (you might remember her from my Birreria post). Amanda and her dad have shown me such a great time so far! Her dad stocked the fridge with TONS of beer, including several bottles from, Berkshire Brewing Company, a Massachusetts brewery I had never tried before.
I just wanted to shoot off a quick post to tell you about an awesome new brewery that came into Hops and Hocks to do a tasting on Saturday. Secret Engine is a NYC-based brewery gypsy brewing creative, small-batched beers. Their head brewer, Mike Mare, wants to focus on brewing styles OTHER than IPAs, because let’s face it, while I love IPAs, they are a dime a dozen these days.
Mike and his Secret Engine co-owner, David Monaghan, generously brought growlers of their pilsner and red saison into H&H, and we also have their imperial brown and Cactus Pear Saison on draft, so patrons could sample those as well. Yeah, you read that right, a Cactus Pear Saison. Cactus Pears grow wild on Long Island, and in an effort to make a beer using super local ingredients, the SE brewers were inspired by these prickly, fig-shaped wild pears. Because the fruit on the inside of the pears is pink, Mike said that the mash looked like Pepto-Bismol! The end result, though, was a golden, slightly cloudy saison with a crisp mouth feel and tart flavor. It’s as refreshing and springy as their imperial brown is roasty, chocolatey, and complex. I’m so impressed with these guys! Can’t wait to try their next concoction.
Have a great Monday!
Last night I went to a free beer tasting at a beer shop on the Upper East Side, City Swiggers. The featured brewery was Two Brothers Brewing Company, which is located in Warrenville, IL, right outside of Chicago. It’s kind of funny that there’s a Three Brothers Brewing in VA, and a Four Sons Brewing in CA! Now we need some sisters up in there..dontcha think?
I really liked all of Two Brothers’ beers, even their gluten-free option. The standouts for me were Revelry (an imperial red), Ebel’s Weiss (a hefeweizen), and Sidekick (an extra pale ale). Despite having 120+ IBUS, Revelry is extremely balanced and drinkable. The weiss has a strong, but pleasant banana aroma and flavor, and Sidekick is the kind of light, juicy beer that would be a real crowd-pleaser at a cookout.
I also want to mention their Peppermint Bark Porter; I had never heard of a peppermint flavored beer! When I smelled my tasting cup I was a little nervous, because it has a lot of mint on the nose, but the peppermint flavor is actually quite subtle. The brewey rep said he was hesitant when the brewers decided to attempt this, but was pleased with the result. It’s basically just a delicious, chocolatey porter with a smidge of Christmas.
Swigger City is really cool shop. At the front there’s a huge wooden bar surrounded by shelves and refrigerators of assorted bottles. This is where the tasting was held, and it was nice that there was actually room for everyone to stand around the bar! I didn’t have to fight my way through a crowd of people for each sample, or feel like I was blocking others from getting to the beer.
In the back there’s a bar with 14 taps and plenty of tables to sit and enjoy a pint. I didn’t stay for a full beer because I’m trying to be responsible and save money (groan), but I’ll definitely go back with friends on the weekend. Thanks to the generous pours of the Two Brothers rep, I got my buzz on fo’ free last night. 😉
On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, eight monks a brewing…
Our mom is all about Trappist beer (beer brewed by monks within the walls of a monastery in order to cover their living expenses). This weekend, she picked up the St. Bernardus Christmas Ale at a cool little beer shop in Charlotte called Salud. When I had a sip of hers on Sunday night, I knew we had to write about it.
The Christmas Ale is a Quadrupel, a strong, full-bodied, Belgian-style ale that typically features dark fruit flavors and a malty sweetness. Quads can be a bit heavy, but the St. Bernardus is remarkably drinkable. Yeastiness and carbonation keep it light despite the slight booziness and strong dark fruit and molasses flavors.
We decided to incorporate the Christmas Ale in the beer dinner that we made to celebrate our brother’s arrival. For the first course we served Fig & Olive crisps topped with onion jam and a sliver of aged cheddar. The dark fruit flavors in the St. Bernardus brought out the subtle fig notes in the crackers, and the funky cheese and strong onion jam helped to balance the beer’s sweetness. You could call it a perfect pairing…if I do say so myself. 😉
Welcome home, Ed! We can’t wait to spend a whole week celebrating the season with you. And drinking LOTS of beer, of course.
In our last hours in the city, we ventured to Top Hops Beer Shop, a place that had been on our itinerary since we began planning the trip. Top Hops offers 600+ bottle and can selections, a 20 beer tap list, and beer drinking classes. Although it was hardly noon, we decided it was high time for a beer flight.
Between the three of us, we tried 10 beers and particularly enjoyed the Inbev Cidre, Goose Island’s Matilda, and Singlecut’s Imperial IPA.
The owner/bartender was incredibly friendly and entertaining, which could explain why the shop was so busy within an hour of opening. Top Hops was the cherry on top of a perfect vacation.
A couple of Wednesdays ago I went to Market Street Wine Shop’s weekly beer tasting featuring Wild Wolf Brewing Company. I knew that two of my favorite Wild Wolf selections, the Blonde Hunny and Alpha Ale, were on the tasting list, but I was mostly there to try the White Wolf, their wheat based IPA. The Wild Wolf website describes the White Wolf as having, “Strong citrus notes on the nose leading into a slightly sweet taste, then finishing with the hop bitterness characteristic of an American IPA.” Say whaaaaat??? I couldn’t wait to try.
Does that look like 70 IBUs to you? Can’t judge a book by its cover! The White Wolf is refreshing, yet flavorful, light, but hoppy. It’s the kind of beer that you could easily drink a few of during happy hour on a warm fall afternoon, and at 5% ABV it wouldn’t even be that dangerous. I’m a fan of witbiers and a diehard lover of IPAs so this baby was right up my alley, but my friend Karen liked it as well, despite initially being intimidated by the emphasis on hops in the description. In addition to the White Wolf we also enjoyed the Blonde Hunny (duh), and the Area 151, a Belgian style Blonde Ale brewed with raspberries. If only my partner in all things beer (Maddy) had been there too!