Tag Archives: beer

Evening IPA

An offering from the Fire Island Beer Company.


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Beer speaks.

People mumble.


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Pony Bar, Upper East Side, NYC



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Filed under and More, beer pick, pubs

Royal favour

The Prince of Wales enjoys a pint at the Olde Ship Inn, Seahouses, Northumberland.

Light beer, like the Germans, has never invaded these shores.

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Brewing is Back

As I mentioned in a previous post, graduate school is doing its best to take over my life.  Now that summer is here, though, I’m attempting to make the most of time and brew while I can, and hereby declare summer 2012 “The Summer of Brews.”

First up in the summer rotation, last month, was an English Best Bitter in the style of Oxfordshire’s Brakspear.  The recipe and ingredients were from Northern Brewer’s limited-release “Broken Spear” kit, to which I added 1/2 oz UK Pilgrim hops to the dry-hop bill.  In honor of Oxford’s finest, I named it Taverner’s Bitter.  Along with this brewing re-boot I’ve also given my labels something of a facelift as well.

Full disclosure: John Taverner is one of my favourite composers of all time.  It’s fitting, therefore, that he finally get his own label, and doubly fitting that it be for one of my favourite beer styles (and, fortuitously after the fact, one of my favourite homebrew recipes). And what an especially apt name for a beer.

Historical trivia:  Taverner, appointed by Wolsey as the first organist and master of the Choristers at Cardinal College (later renamed Christ Church), Oxford, was reprimanded in 1528 for heresy (consorting with Lutherans), but was spared punishment on account of his being “but a musician.”  He retired from musical life at the College in 1530, enjoying a comfortable 15-year retirement as a landowner in Lincolnshire.  An old legend states that he worked as a spy and agent for Thomas Cromwell, assisting in the dissolution of the monasteries, but this is most certainly not true.  He was, interestingly, one of the very first English composers to write for the viol consort, inventing and popularizing the form of the In nomine which was to remain a mainstay of English instrumental writing through the time of Henry Purcell.

While I’m still brewing extract (aside from the occasional partial-mash), I’m on the verge of moving to all-grain brewing. It’s a bit intimidating to ponder, but I know that in the long run it will be a good move, allowing not only cost savings but also more control and versatility.  Stay tuned for updates on this technique shift.

At the end of the day, after an 8-month hiatus in brewing, it’s good to know that I can still cook up a tasty brew.

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Filed under English Beer, Famous People, Homebrewing, St. Cecilia Brewery

Good things

This just opened in my neighborhood.

Bavaria Returns to the Upper East Side


Friends whose short memories did not register that the Yorkville section of Manhattan was once home to numerous German and Eastern European beer halls tried to discourage Pamela and Alan Rice from opening a beer store there. “They said that the Upper East Side is too upscale for beer, and people drink wine,” Ms. Rice said.

The Rices, both career-changers, went ahead anyway, with happy results. Since opening about two weeks ago, their shop and bar, City Swiggers, has been a magnet for beer-lovers — many of them locals, to be sure. “We have people coming in with strollers,” Mr. Rice said.

The growing inventory offers close to 400 choices. Refrigerated cases line one wall, shelves of domestic beers are opposite and imports reside in the back. A bar with 14 taps (including one for cider) is in the middle and provides growler service for those who bring in a jug.

They also sell empty 32-ounce growlers ($3) and empty 64-ounce growlers ($5) to take home and keep. There is a small selection of vegan snacks (the law requires that places serving alcoholic drinks offer food as well) and sandwiches made by the V Spot Cafe in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

City Swiggers, 320 East 86th Street (Second Avenue), (212) 570-2000; open 1 to 10 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 1 to 11 p.m. Friday, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. Prices range from about $2 to just under $30 (for a 750-milliliter bottle of ice cider from Normandy).

From The New York Times.

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From the Cellar: Unibroue 16

Here’s a real gem: one of Quebec brewery Unibroue’s Anniversary series; No.16 from 2007.

Purchased in 2008, and opened in August 2011.


In the glass, it displays a handsome dark cloudy apricot-copper colour. The foam is antique white, ample at first before settling down to a 2mm ring with largeish bubbles and nice lacing. 4.5/5

The aroma is predominately sweet: dessert-bread, raisins, apricots, clementines, caramel, rhubarb, and a faint hint  of licorice. The ghost of a hop aroma lies buried in the midst of the fruit. 4/5

The taste is quite nice. The fruit-tart dessert trope remains, but a nice tart-bitter snap at the end ties it together. I can only imagine that three years ago this brew possessed more hop bitterness as well as more prominent alcohol heat.  Even as time in the cellar has mellowed it out, the 10% ABV is still letting is presence be known. 4/5

The mouthfeel is slightly sweet and packs a punch; this will surely flex its muscles if you’re not careful.  The time in the cellar has not done harm to a wonderful scrubbing-bubbles carbonation.  3.5/5

Overall, this is an excellent cellarer and a noble brew. Fantastic on its own, if a bit daunting; it would also serve admirably as a champagne substitute, or with dessert — either cream-and-fruit based, or cheeses.  4.5/5

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Filed under beer pick, Belgium/Belgian Beer, review