Tag Archives: chocolate stout

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. 

 

 

            

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Harpoon Brewery Part II

18 Dec

Sorry to leave our readers in suspense—it’s just when you have such an extra ordinary experience, it’s hard to put it all into words.

Most of you have probably visited a brewery before—you are taken on a tour, get samples in the tasting room, learned more about the brand and its history—you leave a little more informed and a little more drunk than when you came in.  Every brewery seems to have its own nuances.  Our visit to Harpoon was especially unique because Al Marzi, Chief of Brewing Operations and a guy who’s been with the company for 21 years (almost since its inception), was our own personal tour guide.

He started in the company lunchroom, a modest place with an admirable collection of random hot sauces (why do beer and hot sauce always seem to go together?).  From there he walked us through the “factory”–visiting a brewery always seems to be a Willy Wonka-type experience.  You see where they mill the grains, mash them, sparge and then add hops and other spices to the wort.  If you’re lucky, you’ll be entertained by the bottling line (always even more fascinating when you’ve already tasted a few brews)—this particular bottling line applies a label on both the front and back of the bottle—oooooooo.

Al also pointed out where they will soon be installing a canning line.  While they currently can their signature IPA, UFO, and their summer seasonal at upstate FX Matt Brewing Co. in Utica, NY, you can anticipate a bigger canned selection soon due to this new addition.

He also showed us where they’re working on experimental, 400-gallon batches.  Well, some of them work out and some don’t!  You’re next favorite beer may be brewing there now…

So now for the biggest news of all—Harpoon is opening a large beer garden-type hall where future tastings will take place and tours will take off.  You bet we’ll be there for the Grand Opening!

A few days before our visit, the Harpoon staff had a company holiday party where they celebrated the end of “Movember,” in the not-yet-opened beer hall, at their “Stache-bash” all while giving back to some local charities.  Moustaches for a great cause?  Yeah, we love that!  Al himself earned special recognition with his “checkerboard” beard, a signature pattern on all of Harpoon’s beers (it was unfortunately absent upon our visit—we bet Al couldn’t wait to get rid of it!).  For photo evidence, check out their Facebook page.    

The conclusion of our tour took us right back to that lunchroom—much more enlightened after our journey we inquired about the “staff taps”—there seemed to be a few unavailable-to-the-public beers there.  Al let us sample a sour—so delicious!  Although, it will probably never become a 100 Barrel Series beer due to the threat of infestation from Brettanomyces…what a shame!! (But understandable).  And not everybody enjoys the sour beers.  And as Al pointed out, they don’t exist to chase trends.  I’d add that Harpoon sets them!  Either way, it’s a great way to decide what’s coming up next for their 100 Barrel Series, having the staff sample and offer feedback from the lunchroom while even visitors to the brewery have the opportunity to try some rarities that may or may not make it into full production!  Just another great excuse (if you need one) to visit the brewery…   

Our visit to Harpoon was certainly a highlight on our trip to Boston.  But even if you can’t make it up to the brewery, you can still drink their beer locally.  If you visit Harpoon’s Web site, you can use their “Beer Finder” tool to seek out the beers near you—whether it be a case of their Wintry Mix, their Chocolate Stout on tap, or their latest 100 Barrel Series.  For more about their beers (and what we tried and thought), check out my last blog post.  We can’t wait to go back early next year and check out the new beer hall for ourselves…but until then, we’ll just have to drink a Winter Warmer…or two.