Tag Archives: brooklyn

BK Pour…a smashing success as usual

14 Oct

It’s 1:30pm, and already people are lined up 100 deep outside the old Williamsburg Bank building, tickets in hand, waiting eagerly for the doors to open. There’s a palpable excitement as friends meet up in line, waiting to taste offerings from some of their favorite craft breweries from around the country at the third annual BK Pour here at Skylight Hanson in Fort Greene.

As the doors open and thirsty festival goers begin to pour in for the VIP hour, they’re greeted with a pamphlet detailing all 66 breweries in attendance, as well as the 125+ beers they’ll be offering and a map to their booth’s location. The venue itself is tremendous, with soaring ceilings and subtle reminders of what used to be one of Brooklyn’s largest banks, including old-school teller windows, wrought iron bars, and massive vault doors separating the different areas of the venue. Some pause to plan a route to their favorite brewers, while many more simply settle for those closest to the door and ready to fill their 2oz. tasting glass.

Most head upstairs to the VIP lounge area, where they can sample complimentary food from brats to pretzels, as well as some rarer offerings from their favorite breweries including Stone, Cigar City, and Harpoon (the Stone 17th Anniversary IPA being a favorite among those who sampled). The lounge is perched in the mezzanine level of the building, overlooking the floor and booths below. For the initial VIP tasting hour the space is filled with a droning buzz of patrons enjoying the relaxed pace of tasting, but as the general admission doors open at 3pm that buzz grows into a roar.

Among the breweries represented, New York breweries made a strong showing at the festival, including established players like Brooklyn Brewery, Sixpoint, Ommegang, and Heartland, as well as up-and-coming NY State brewers like City Island Beer Company in the Bronx, Grimm Artisanal Ales from Brooklyn (technically a nomadic brewery creating one-offs brewed at fellow brewer’s facilities), Three Heads Brewery from Rochester, and 508 Gastrobrewery from downtown Manhattan. Chris Cuzme, head brewer at 508, noted of the festival “It’s not necessarily the beer fest for beer geeks…this is serving a bigger and more important role”. Other brewers seemed to echo that sentiment. Geoff Dale, from Three Heads Brewing, said “This is our first festival here, we’re enjoying it, I love Brooklyn Man…I love the vibe. What I love about Brooklyn, this is an inclusive society, they accept you for who you are, and a beer fest is the same vibe”.

Another NY State brewery in attendance was Barrier Brewing, which was hard hit during Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Representative Patrick said “It was tough. We were down for about 4 months, but we’ve recovered and we’re stronger than ever right now”. Despite the challenges of the last year, they were excited to be back out in front if the beer-loving public, saying “It’s a good turnout, it’s my first time at the Brooklyn Pour so this is awesome”. Barrier was arguably serving one of the more unique beers of the afternoon, their seasonal “Saazsquash Butternut Squash Ale”. By their own description “It gives you the pumpkin essence with a little more sweetness, it’s amazing”.

Other than excitement for the festival, a common theme among the NY State brewers (and all brewers in attendance) was plans for expansion moving into 2014. City Island Beer Company, out of the Bronx, opened in February of 2013 and is excited about plans to open a facility on their namesake City Island within the next 12 months. “Right now we have a small system where we do all of our development, and we do our production offsite” said Paul Sciara, president. “We’ve got a site that we’re really interested in…we’re looking for about a 20 barrel system…we’re hoping we can pull this off within the next year”. When asked about plans for 2014, Cuzme of 508 commented “It’s a very exciting week to ask that question. I do have new tanks coming in next week, and we did just get license to sell outside 508…you will start seeing 508 out a little bit…it will probably go to the beer bars that are by beer lovers for beer lovers”. Plans are equally as exciting at Rochester’s Three Heads Brewing. “We are actually going to be doubling up to 10,000 barrels this year, and we have four new beers coming out…baby steps to take over the world” laughed brewer Geoff Dale.

In addition to the copious amounts of beer flowing from the taps (and perhaps to soak it up), attendees could head downstairs into what was formerly the bank’s vault for some bites from Cariño Cantina, Yayo’s of Brooklyn, Los Perros Locos, and Jarlsberg Cheeses. Later in the afternoon the vault played host to a series of discussions ranging from “Urban Homebrewing” (homebrewing within the frequently cramped confines of NYC spaces) to beer photography and apps.

 

By the third hour of the event it had become apparent that beer, even in two ounce increments, will catch up with even the most seasoned drinkers. Many had turned their attention to collecting beer SWAG, from Sam Adams Oktoberfest hats to mysterious fake moustaches that seemed to permeate the crowd. Attendees made their way towards the doors, having had their fill of excellent craft beers and food, and already planning their return trip to BK Pour in 2014.

 

 

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East vs West Coast Craft Beer Tour!

13 Mar

 

                                        Image

Many of the craft beer events in my life are built around tradition.  The monthly meetings I attend, like my local, Staten Island group of beer enthusiasts, The Richmond County Beer Club (RCBC) who meet the last Wednesday of every month for over 3 years now, my ‘ventures into home-brewing with the great crew of Pour Standards, our local home-brew club that meets the second Tuesday of every month.  Everything from local beer festivals (this will be third year attending Sixpoint’s Beers for Beasts) or beer events like our NYC Craft Beer Week that just went by—these have all become a big part of my life.  And now, this Wednesday night, I’m more than just excited about another tradition: East Coast VS. West Coast!!

This year’s event (this is the third year now) has doubled in capacity!  Where there were once only four breweries (Smuttynose and Victory representing the East, and Ballast Point and Lagunitas reppin’ the West), the event has now expanded to 8 breweries (with the addition of Sixpoint, Oskar Blues, and Sierra Nevada)!  Holy Sh**t!  I can’t wait!  Why?

            Because this is an event that brings the craft beer community together: From the brewers to the reps to the craft beer fans and enthusiasts (aka drinkers).  Plus it allows us to taste an amazing line-up of beers and compare/contrast styles.  For example, it was two years ago that I first tasted Ballast Point’s Sculpin.  My life was forever changed.  And what’s as fun as tasting all these great beers like Lagunita’s “Sucks,” Smuttynose’s “Finest Kind IPA,” and Sixpoint’s “3 Beans,” is the punk rock music that will be accompanying the tasting.  Beer + Punk Rock= A wonderful pairing.

            If you can’t make it to tonight’s event at 120 Bay Café, located just a few block from the Staten Island ferry, check out the East Coast Vs. West Coast Facebook page for more dates. 

This year the “tour” is hitting cities like Buffalo, Rochester, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and Providence.  If you live in NYC though you will have several chances to attend one of these tour dates as the ‘reps will be hitting places like Greenwood Park in Brooklyn, and the Bronx Ale House in where else, but the Bronx!  Not only will I be there tonight at my local watering hole, I hope to hit maybe 1 or 2 other tour dates along the way.  Obsessed?  Maybe—but this is one of the coolest beer events I’ve ever been to!  Hope to see you there and can’t wait to try all the great beer that will be poured this year.     

 

(cover art by Brian Profilio, artist, teacher and drummer for the Budos Band)

NYC Beer Week Continues: Part 2

5 Mar

Part 2

After a week of great beer events (including the amazing Brewer’s Choice at City Winery on Wednesday) it was time to complete our mission.  After all, it was the second-to-last day of craft beer week and therefore our time was limited. 

Our first stop was Queens, to collect the only stamp from that borough at Sunswick 35/35.  It’s a long train ride from lower Manhattan but we were ready.  Here, we had a White Aphro, a tasty and refreshing Witbier brewed with lavender and just the thing to kick off another long day of drinking Empire beers.  I would’ve loved to stay here all afternoon—it’s a great craft beer bar and we were surrounded by other beer enthusiasts who were stopping in from Queens craft beer crawls and visits to Singlecut Beersmiths, whose taproom and brewery are close by.

Back into the city via the Q and transferring to the L at 14th street so we could head into Williamsburg and visit Crown Victoria.

This bar is a bit of a hike from the Bedford stop but totally worth it.  Our bartender, Erin, was great and poured us the Empire’s IPA and stamped our card.  The bar has picnic benches outside and must be a great place to hang out during the summer.  We’ll definitely be back.  It was here that we ran into some Empire people, Mike and John, who wished us luck on the rest of our journey.  We were in it to win it!

We were able to catch an elusive yellow cab and headed to Park Slope and 4th Ave Pub, located a couple of blocks from the Barclays Center.  Crazy town!  Another bachelorette party and friendly bartenders who were eager to stamp our card and pour us an Empire Amber Ale

Just a quick walk to Bierkraft as light flurries continues to fall from the sky.  While tempted to stock up on some great craft bottles and a growler or two, it would only slow us down at this point.  Three more bars to go and our mission would be complete! 

On to Washington Commons, a beautiful bar with great taps and a nice, mellow atmosphere.  Here we had our first Cream Ale of the day.  Not too far from the park in Prospect Heights, this would be a good place to grab a beer with a date in this area.  From here we walked a little north to Woodwork (and right past Bitter & Esters on our way which was thankfully closed or we would’ve spent an hour there picking up homebrew supplies).

This seems to be a sports-focused bar with a small food menu and some great brews on tap.  We had an Empire IPA and a quick sandwich and maybe a pickleback shot.  What?  We were almost done and it was time to celebrate.  Thanks to the dudes at Woodwork for just being cool guys—we had a great time.    

So back on to the 2 train and into Manhattan’s Upper West Side.  When you get off at the 72nd street stop you just have to get a Papaya Dog so that’s exactly what we did.  Into packed Dive Bar 75 for our last Cream Ale of the night and our last stamp to complete out journey.  Victory was ours!

So thanks to Empire for making my NYC Beer Week more interesting and of course, challenging.  I visited bars I’d never heard of and walked around neighborhoods I never get to visit.  Those postcards are going in the mail today and hopefully, I’ll be declared a winner.  I already feel like one. 

 
Video

Our Newest Two Girls One Pint Video featuring the guys from Bitter and Esters

25 Feb

Szoke from Two Girls One Pint brews an English Style IPA with the guys from Bitter and Esters

Not sure what to do this year for V-day? How about incorporate BEER into the plan!?

7 Feb

I don’t know about you but there’s something about a heart-shaped Russell Stover’s box of chocolates that makes me cringe a little bit.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a “Valentine-hater,” though I’ve had my share of single girl V-days where I had to drown my sorrows in a craft brew…or two.  No, it’s just that in particular, RS chocolate isn’t very GOOD (sorry Grandma—I know you love that stuff!).  The strawberry nougats and marshmallow crèmes…eh not really my thing.  But chocolate in my beer?  Well, I can get down with that. 

            So maybe for Valentine’s Day this year try something a little different.  We have some ideas for those of you with someone special in their life and for those of you who are hoping to find someone special..at least for the night.  For the beer lov-ahs: 

 

❤ On Tuesday, February 12th, Erica and Stephen of “The Brooklyn Brewshop,” aka purveyors of those great little self-contained 1 gallon beer-making kits you see at “Smorgasburg” and various holiday markets, are hosting a Valentine’s Beer Making Class in Dumbo.  What a fun activity for you and your loved one to take part in.  The $100 ticket includes a class for two and one “Everyday IPA,” beer-making kit.  Don’t fret singles—for $70 you can get the same deal and also possibly meet the man/woman of your dreams.  Who said beer-making isn’t sexy?  Not us.  Check out http://brooklynbrewshop.com/beer-making-class for tix before they sell out!

 

❤ Hop Plants vs. Flowers.  Hmmm, this may be a hard sell, but consider this: Flowers die.  Sorry girls (and guys), but how about something that flowers and has a more practical purpose?!  AKA get your loved one a rhizome, which will sprout roots once planted and then soon take off into a wonderful, winding hop plant.

 So, this may be hard to get away with in a NYC apartment but maybe you have access to a backyard or stoop.  Sure, right now is not the time to plant but spring is coming soon.  This is seriously a gift that will keep on giving, and having access to their own homegrown hops is a dream of any homebrewer. 

If this is impossible due to your living space (or commitment issues) how about buying some dried hop flowers from your local homebrew shop and writing “I Love You,” or framing a bottle of his/her favorite IPA with a heart-shaped hop wreath?  It may be crazy, but serious craft beer drinkers really love their hops!  Nothing says “I Love You,” like a handful of Citra’s.    

 

❤ Ok, so she loves chocolate—who doesn’t?!  But on Valentine’s Day, not any old heart-shaped box will do.  How about chocolate that’s been lucky enough to be have been selected to be brewed in a beer?  The best chocolate beers I’ve tasted are usually brewed from a combination of chocolate malts (which impart a roasted, bitter dark chocolate flavor and are not only limited to chocolate stouts) and actual cocoa nibs. 

A no brainer (the name alone screams “Valentine’s Day”) is Ommegang’s Seduction.  Brewed with five different dark barley malts and most importantly, authentic Belgian chocolate (duh!) it is then blended with Liefmans Cuvee Brut, to give it a “chocolate-covered cherry,” kind of taste.  So much better than a box of chocolates, no? 

There’s also Southern Tier’s Chokolat, which I’ve recommended in the past as a great dessert beer, but if you really like your beer to taste like chocolate, you can’t get much better than this.  Warning: It is 11% ABV and if you are actually planning more than just drinking beer on this V-Day (wink wink), then make sure you limit your intake.  

Other great chocolate beers I would recommend are Harpoon’s Chocolate Stout and Brooklyn Brewery’s Black Chocolate Stout.  There are lots of other great chocolate beers out there, but these four are readily available in NYC and the immediate outside areas and are also from four breweries I happen to be a big fan of.  Love your local brewery and love their local beer.  What are some of your favorite chocolate or dessert beers?  Share them with your loved one this Valentine’s Day.

 

❤ If the “Dinner & Drinks” thing is more your style, why not visit one of your favorite “Beer Restaurants”?  I would recommend Gastropub 508 or Jimmy’s No. 43, as both will have specialty beers and food as well as entertainment next Thursday night.  I even heard a rumor that 508’s newest brewmaster, Chris Cuzme, may do a little V-Day serenading with his saxophone.  No promises, but who wouldn’t want a little table-side jazz music to pair with your meal and house-brewed beer?  Reservations are recommended for both spots, as they can certainly get crowded and no one wants to fight for a table on V-Day. 

❤ Ok, so you’re Single—no biggie—maybe you just went through a rough break-up or have been holding out for that special someone.  Any good beer bar in NYC may become a popular destination for the unattached next Thursday night, but I think that if you like pairing good whiskey with your beer, you should probably check out Idle Hands.  Why?  Because they’re breaking out the Pappy Van Winkle most likely set to an eclectic heavy rock soundtrack and paired with some great draft beers. 

  

Those are just a few suggestions—we’ll share some more in the coming week. 

 

 

            

I don’t know about you but there’s something about a heart-shaped Russell Stover’s box of chocolates that makes me cringe a little bit.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a “Valentine-hater,” though I’ve had my share of single girl V-days where I had to drown my sorrows in a craft brew…or two.  No, it’s just that in particular, RS chocolate isn’t very GOOD (sorry Grandma—I know you love that stuff!).  The strawberry nougats and marshmallow crèmes…eh not really my thing.  But chocolate in my beer?  Well, I can get down with that. 

            So maybe for Valentine’s Day this year try something a little different.  We have some ideas for those of you with someone special in their life and for those of you who are hoping to find someone special..at least for the night.  For the beer lov-ahs: 

 

❤ On Tuesday, February 12th, Erica and Stephen of “The Brooklyn Brewshop,” aka purveyors of those great little self-contained 1 gallon beer-making kits you see at “Smorgasburg” and various holiday markets, are hosting a Valentine’s Beer Making Class in Dumbo.  What a fun activity for you and your loved one to take part in.  The $100 ticket includes a class for two and one “Everyday IPA,” beer-making kit.  Don’t fret singles—for $70 you can get the same deal and also possibly meet the man/woman of your dreams.  Who said beer-making isn’t sexy?  Not us.  Check out http://brooklynbrewshop.com/beer-making-class for tix before they sell out!

 

❤ Hop Plants vs. Flowers.  Hmmm, this may be a hard sell, but consider this: Flowers die.  Sorry girls (and guys), but how about something that flowers and has a more practical purpose?!  AKA get your loved one a rhizome, which will sprout roots once planted and then soon take off into a wonderful, winding hop plant.

 So, this may be hard to get away with in a NYC apartment but maybe you have access to a backyard or stoop.  Sure, right now is not the time to plant but spring is coming soon.  This is seriously a gift that will keep on giving, and having access to their own homegrown hops is a dream of any homebrewer. 

If this is impossible due to your living space (or commitment issues) how about buying some dried hop flowers from your local homebrew shop and writing “I Love You,” or framing a bottle of his/her favorite IPA with a heart-shaped hop wreath?  It may be crazy, but serious craft beer drinkers really love their hops!  Nothing says “I Love You,” like a handful of Citra’s.    

 

❤ Ok, so she loves chocolate—who doesn’t?!  But on Valentine’s Day, not any old heart-shaped box will do.  How about chocolate that’s been lucky enough to be have been selected to be brewed in a beer?  The best chocolate beers I’ve tasted are usually brewed from a combination of chocolate malts (which impart a roasted, bitter dark chocolate flavor and are not only limited to chocolate stouts) and actual cocoa nibs. 

A no brainer (the name alone screams “Valentine’s Day”) is Ommegang’s Seduction.  Brewed with five different dark barley malts and most importantly, authentic Belgian chocolate (duh!) it is then blended with Liefmans Cuvee Brut, to give it a “chocolate-covered cherry,” kind of taste.  So much better than a box of chocolates, no? 

There’s also Southern Tier’s Chokolat, which I’ve recommended in the past as a great dessert beer, but if you really like your beer to taste like chocolate, you can’t get much better than this.  Warning: It is 11% ABV and if you are actually planning more than just drinking beer on this V-Day (wink wink), then make sure you limit your intake.  

Other great chocolate beers I would recommend are Harpoon’s Chocolate Stout and Brooklyn Brewery’s Black Chocolate Stout.  There are lots of other great chocolate beers out there, but these four are readily available in NYC and the immediate outside areas and are also from four breweries I happen to be a big fan of.  Love your local brewery and love their local beer.  What are some of your favorite chocolate or dessert beers?  Share them with your loved one this Valentine’s Day.

 

❤ If the “Dinner & Drinks” thing is more your style, why not visit one of your favorite “Beer Restaurants”?  I would recommend Gastropub 508 or Jimmy’s No. 43, as both will have specialty beers and food as well as entertainment next Thursday night.  I even heard a rumor that 508’s newest brewmaster, Chris Cuzme, may do a little V-Day serenading with his saxophone.  No promises, but who wouldn’t want a little table-side jazz music to pair with your meal and house-brewed beer?  Reservations are recommended for both spots, as they can certainly get crowded and no one wants to fight for a table on V-Day. 

❤ Ok, so you’re Single—no biggie—maybe you just went through a rough break-up or have been holding out for that special someone.  Any good beer bar in NYC may become a popular destination for the unattached next Thursday night, but I think that if you like pairing good whiskey with your beer, you should probably check out Idle Hands.  Why?  Because they’re breaking out the Pappy Van Winkle most likely set to an eclectic heavy rock soundtrack and paired with some great draft beers. 

  

Those are just a few suggestions—we’ll share some more in the coming week. 

 

 

            

Homebrew Alley VII…

21 Jan

 

Maybe you’ve been home-brewing for a while or just started recently.  Either way, here’s your chance to enter your first local competition of the new year!

Beginning this weekend (January 18th) and up until February 1st, you can drop off your entries at Brooklyn Homebrew or Bitter & Esters (both in Brooklyn) or Jimmy’s No. 43 in Manhattan, as well as two locations on Long Island.  If you would like to enter this competition, you have 2 weeks to do so!

The competition is open to anyone (you do not have to be a Guild member) and will be held on February 9th at the Alewife Queens

There will also be some great prizes, including gift certificates to Brooklyn Homebrew and Bitter & Esters, and a “Brewmaster’s Choice Award,” chosen and presented by the Head Brewer (Pete Dickson) and Brewmaster (Jan Matysiak) of Sixpoint Brewery in Brooklyn.  The winner of this award will be invited to brew 15 bbls of their award-winning recipe at Sixpoint’s facility in Redhook. 

Of course, the beer must be made at home and will be judged as per the 2008 BJCP style guidelines.  For each entry submitted, there is a $7 fee and for every beer you enter, two twelve to twenty-two ounce brown or green glass bottles must be submitted together and dropped off (or mailed in) to the appropriate locations. For more detailed information and entry requirements, check out www.homebrewalley.org

So what is the benefit of entering a home-brew competition?  While I’ve only ever entered one (“The Queen of Hops” last November in New Jersey), I think there are many advantages to entering, whether you are a novice or experienced homebrewer. 

First off, there’s the feedback you receive from the judges, usually BJCP certified ones.  This way, you can find out what you did right, or perhaps, wrong, so you can fix it in the future.  Brewing is a learning process and while you may think you’re beer tastes amazing, there may be off-flavors you aren’t detecting or you may have strayed too much from the style.  Things like color, aroma, and mouthfeel are all important when judging a beer, whether it is your own or someone else’s.    

In addition, there’s great commraderie behind the homebrewers participating in the competition.  The New York City Homebrewers Guild is a great organization that meets monthly and has been around for long time.  If you started home-brewing recently, perhaps consider joining a local home-brewing club in your area. 

While here at “Two Girls One Pint,” we are unsure whether we’ll be entering, we definitely will be attending the Homebrew Alley VII awards ceremony at the Alewife Queens.  This is just the first of many home-brewing events we hope to attend and participate in this coming year!      

Harpoon pt. 1…

12 Dec

Well, there’s the rivalry—Yankees vs. Red Sox, Giants vs. Pats, Bruins vs. Rangers, Celtics vs. Knicks (and add the ‘Nets to that now), but we’re talking about sports, not beer here.  And when it comes to Harpoon, well, maybe we can try to compete a local New York brewery against them, but why would you want to?

NYC already embraces Harpoon:  We see their flagship IPA at a number of local bars with its signature orange tap, and I can’t help but want to be whisked away to Boston’s “hah-bah,” drinking their beers on a sail boat, possibly whale watching…

But there’s much more to Harpoon than just their IPA.  I’m sure you’ve seen their UFO’s (UnFiltered Offering for all of you neophytes) and most likely their seasonals.  You may have even been privileged enough to pick up a recent 100 Barrel Series at your local great craft beer store.  But if you’ve never been to Boston and visited their brewery, well you don’t know beans (apparently beans are a big thing up there).

Two Girls One Pint (along with StevieAnn from Sassy Beer) were fortunate to venture up there last Monday and experience it for ourselves—this place is the real deal, with great, drinkable beer.  They should know good beer—they have been around since 1986.  And Harpoon doesn’t need fancy commercials to get its point across…the beer speaks for itself.

The brewery was the first company to obtain a permit to manufacture and sell alcohol in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in over 25 years.  This is thanks to their founders, fondly referred to as “Rich & Dan,” who attended Harvard and after traveling Europe, were inspired enough to start their own brewery.   For us, it’s hard to believe that Harpoon is “that old” (ok so 26 is not old by any means but in the craft beer world, it’s ancient).

Upon visiting the brewery, one is greeted with a metal gate displaying the four essential ingredients: Water, grains, hops, and yeast.  The tasting room is warm and friendly—samples are offered two times a day (at 2 pm and 4 pm) and full brewery tours are offered on the weekend.  We were surprised not only by the warm greetings from our tasting room hostesses, but also but the diverse offerings.

Aside from their signature IPA complete with its orange tap handle, also available were the UFO (and its raspberry version), 3 current Leviathan offerings (more on them later), some experimental beers from their 400 gallon series (basically a home-brewer’s wet dream), their current seasonals (Winter Warmer and Chocolate Stout), their newest 100 Barrel Series brew (El Triunfo Coffee Porter), their amazing cider, their Dark (formally called Munich dark) and their new all-round Rye IPA.  The selection is overwhelming, especially on a Monday afternoon.

Without leaving the room, guests are lucky enough to be poured samples of any beer they desire (it’s really hard to choose one) then given a story behind the beers and the brewery between swallows.  Twenty-first birthdays are celebrated, old friends reunited while new friends are made.  The tasting room becomes a meeting place for a bunch of strangers with one thing in common: Their love of great beer.

If you haven’t tried it yet, the not-even-one-year-old Rye IPA is a highly enjoyable beer for those of us who lean toward an everyday IPA (not overly bitter or hoppy).  The citrus notes from the hops are balanced by the spiciness of the rye.  I’ve been drinking this baby all week like it’s my life support!

The Chocolate Stout is solid (I’m ashamed to say this was my first introduction to it).  Now that I’ve had it, I’m not quite sure how I went without for so long—it’s dark and roasty but sweet enough without being too dessert-y.  Chocolate milk for grown-ups!  And what girl (or boy) doesn’t love chocolate?  It’s also perfect for this time of year (it is a seasonal, after all).

For those of you who’ve never enjoyed a Harpoon Cider, you’re in for a real treat.  It’s extremely natural tasting (from an apple orchard 40 miles away) and employs their signature yeast so it doesn’t just taste like you’re drinking a sparkling apple juice.

Try it mixed with a Winter Warmer.  While I normally don’t advise mixing beer, we can make an exception with this, a concoction called “Apple Pie.”  The sweetness of the cider paired with the spices of their winter seasonal creates a perfect treat for a cold day.

Their Leviathan series are the high ABV ones (Imperials).  All of them are great but strong—approach with caution!  On tap currently in their tasting room was their Imperial IPA (sooo good), a Russian Imperial Stout (one to take home and age), and a Baltic Porter.

Their Dark (formally called Munich Dark, but the name seemed to intimidate people) is a perfect example of the kind of beer I am really into drinking right now—A Dunkel, the dark color is a ruse to the light-bodied, velvety textured beer disguised behind its cloudy brown (mahogany, for you fans of wood) color.  This seems to be the favorite in the Harpoon world, amongst staff and fans alike.

So what other beers did we try?  And what was it like being taken on a one-of-a-kind brewery tour by Harpoon’s Chief of Brewing Operations, Al Marzi?  What does Harpoon have in store for 2013?  For answers to all of those questions, stop by later this week for the Second Part of our series on Boston’s Harpoon Brewery!

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