Posts Tagged ‘ beer ’

Support Your Local Brewery

sylbCraft breweries are popping up around the country like crazy. I love tasting new brews and there never seem to be a shortage of them. Recently I stumbled upon a logo for supporting local breweries., the site behind the logo, has a plethora of great information for everything beer. Anyone can sign up to be a member and receive news and information from the site.

Curious about what craft breweries were in New Jersey, I clicked on the link for my state. There were a ton! I pride myself on being in the know when it comes to the breweries around me, but was surprised by the number I’d never heard of. Several are in the works of being built or growing their business, but there was one that I happened to find at the perfect moment – the opening of the brewery and the creation of their first batch of distributed beer. Cool!

Flounder Brewing Co. is a brand new craft brewery right down the road from me in Central Jersey. Their first batch of beer, Hill Street Honey Ale, is an American Ale brewed with New Jersey harvested honey. I’m super excited to try it and judging from the amount of followers they have on their facebook page, many others are too. One thing I appreciate as a beer enthusiast, aside from a good product, is a well-maintained website and regularly updated social media sites. Flounder Brewing Co. has both. When I posted on their facebook page I received a response within an hour – impressive!

I can’t wait to drive over to tour their brewery and be a part of supporting my local brewsters. 🙂

Beer + Running

beerracesPeople everywhere are discovering the joys of running. And beer. With the number of running participants growing exponentially in the past few years, it’s easy to find a race to enter every weekend of the year. Creating new race themes also seems to be in vogue, so with craft beer on the rise around the country, pairing the two seems like the next logical step.

Some of my favorite races are the ones that incorporate beer into them. I’ve gotten pint glasses from a half marathon and a four-miler that I’ve run. I still feel a sense of pride every time I pull them out of the cabinet to use. Local pubs and bars often sponsor races and discounted pints after the race. And while I’m not a fan of running and drinking at the same time – I’d rather enjoy my frosty brew as a post-race reward – beer races are growing in popularity. There’s even a website devoted to beer races – Then there’s the Beer Mile where participants must follow strict rules regarding chugging beers in between running laps around a track.

Have fun finding your next beer race. Happy running and remember to drink responsibly! 😀


(Note: The illustration was created by artist John Hendrix for Peter Sagal’s article in the September 2012 issue of Runner’s World.)

Autumn Seasonal Beers – Oktoberfest Gone Wild

Part 2 of my autumnal beer series focuses more on great fall beers that aren’t pumpkin. I have to admit though, most of these I’ve heard great reviews about but haven’t yet tried. They are on my list to run out and buy before they disappear!

New Belgium Brewery Red Hoptober – This garnet colored beer presents a piney flavor with malted overtones. Its roasted tones pair with subtle citrus notes. Perfect to enjoy around a campfire with friends.

Troeg’s Dead Reckoning Porter – Pairs well with barbeque and blackened fish, this is a full-bodied porter. Dark color with a foamy head, it blends hints of chocolate and roasted malts.

Left Hand Brewing Company Oktoberfest – Dark golden hues present biscuity, malty goodness with the hops lending a spicy, dry finish. Cheer on your favorite football with this tasty brew in hand.

Saison du Buff collaboration – Okay, this isn’t technically a fall beer, but my brother recently tried it and text me to say I had to get some for myself. This made me think of all the other beers that are being released now which prompted me to write the two part beer post. This unique beer is brewed with parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme as a collaboration between Dogfish Head, Stone Brewing Co, and Victory Brewing. Each brewery used the same recipe, but brewed them at their respective facilities with separate release dates. I just hope I’m not too late to find some for me!

The Bruery Autumn Maple – These last two I’m very excited about as everywhere I turn another great review of these beers pops up. In a twist on the traditional pumpkin beer, Autumn Maple is brewed with 17 lbs of yams per barrel, wow! It also adds cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, vanilla, molasses, and maple syrup to yield a high quality fall beer.

Founders Breakfast Stout – I had to copy the blurb from the Founders website for this one as I thought it perfectly summed up what this beer was all about – “The coffee lover’s consummate beer. Brewed with an abundance of flaked oats, bitter and imported chocolates, and Sumatra and Kona coffee, this stout has an intense fresh-roasted java nose topped with a frothy, cinnamon-colored head that goes forever.” How amazing does that sound?! Yum!

Enjoy and remember to drink responsibly! 🙂

Autumn Seasonal Beers – Pumped about Pumpkin

I’m a huge fan of good beer, but am especially fond of fall beers. While I normally write a post each season, this season I found so many great pumpkin beers that I’m splitting my post into a part 1 – pumpkin beers and part 2 – all other tasty fall beers. My idea of a perfect Sunday in the fall is a long run in the morning with a ice cold beer and football in the afternoon/evening. Here are just a few of the many pumpkin beer offerings this fall:

Brooklyn Post Road – By far my favorite pumpkin beer thus far. I’ve tried many, but keep going back to this Brooklyn Brewery favorite. You’ll find that each pumpkin beer has its own unique blend of spices and pumpkin, and Post Road blends these perfectly.





Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale – With an 8% ABV and rich flavor, this is a perfect beer to relax with after dinner. Spices and pumpkin join perfectly with a smooth caramel finish.



Dogfish Head Punkin Ale – Two things set this beer apart from its pumpkin brethren – its distinct brown sugar flavors and that you can go on the website and see exactly where Dogfish Head just shipped it. You don’t have to wander from store to store hoping that your favorite beer might be there, you can go online and track their deliveries. Great idea!




Southern Tier Pumking – This beer is king both in size, sold in 22 oz bottles, and combination of ingredients. It’s a complex beer that combines malts, vanilla, clove, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and…..pie crust! Definitely one to try this season.





New Holland Brewing Ichabod Pumpkin Ale – A simpler pumpkin ale, this is a crisp beer with a pleasant blend of pumpkin and nutmeg.





Shipyard Brewery Pumpkinhead Ale – Low 4.7% ABV and a nice blend of pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg makes this a great beer to enjoy during with a BLT and some seasonal root veggies.





Saranac Pumpkin Ale – For a lower ABV beer, Saranac packs a lot of flavors into its pumpkin beer. Pumpkin, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, ginger and vanilla meld together in this flavorful beer.





Buffalo Bill’s Brewery Pumpkin Ale – Touted as the original pumpkin beer that paved the way for the now huge pumpkin beer boom, Buffalo Bill’s is a simple blend of light pumpkin and spices.





Enjoy and remember to drink responsibly! 🙂

Five Spring Beers To Try

I am a big fan of good beer, so when my seasonal favorite come around I must share my love. Here are a few of my yearly favorites not only for their flavor, but also because they remind me that winter’s over and warmer months are on their way. So grab your favorite and meet me on the porch!

Ruthless Rye has been a staple grain for millennia—sought after for its stubborn resilience in the field and revered for its unique flavor. Ruthless Rye IPA is brewed with rustic grains for refined flavors—combining the peppery spice of rye and the bright citrusy flavors of whole-cone hops to create a complex ale for the tumultuous transition to spring. Sierra Nevada Brewery


Brooklyn Brewery Summer Ale is a modern rendition of the “Light Dinner Ales” brewed in England throughout the 1800’s right up until the 1940’s. They were also called “luncheon ales” or even “family ales”, because they were refreshing and flavorful without being too heavy. We brew our Brooklyn Summer Ale from premium English barley malt, which gives this light-bodied golden beer a fresh bready flavor. German and American hops lend a light crisp bitterness and a citrus/floral aroma, resulting in a beer with a very sunny disposition.

  Garde Dog Biere de Garde is a French farmhouse ale. Biere de Garde means “beer for keeping” and was traditionally brewed in March for drinking during the spring and summer months. Consider it your official release from winter’s grasp. Flying Dog Brewery


Flying Fish Brewing Company, Farmhouse Summer Ale is a tribute to the highly drinkable “every day” beers from French-speaking Belgium. Contains Belgian two-row pale malt and 7% wheat. This beer is lightly filtered with an earthy, spicy hop character from imported Styrian Goldings hops and a beautiful rich creamy head from the wheat.

Dogfish Head Aprihop is an American IPA brewed with Pilsner and Crystal malts. It’s massively hopped — in the continuous fashion, of course! — and the flavor is complemented by the addition of apricots. Dogfish Head Brewery

Enjoy these seasonal brews and remember to drink responsibly!

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila @ Book Journey. Want a good book to read? Stop by and see what’s new in the world of literature!

This past week was a great one for reading on my porch. Sunshine, warm breezes, the smell of spring, ahhh… So while I got a little distracted and had to go off and play disc golf every once in a while, it was a great week for springtime reading.

Here’s what I’ve been reading:

  Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach – Felton Reinstein is used to being called Squirrel Nut and being an outsider. But one day he wakes up and realizes he is really, really fast. Soon he’s playing football and being one of the jocks. But Felton realizes it won’t fix everything that is wrong in his life. At some point he’s going to have to stop running and face bigger issues that are going on in his life. Adolescent angst and running? This is going to be a great book. 🙂



Dead End In Norvelt by Jack Gantos – The winner of the 2012 Newbery Medal and the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction, Dead End is marketed as the entirely true and wildly fictional story about a kid named Jack Gantos. (Not sure what that means, but someone clearly thought they were being clever…) The story sounds extremely entertaining however with small town eccentricities and exaggerated obituaries. I’m listening to this one on CD and its narrated by the author. A great motivation to drive to work!



  The Great American Ale Trail by Christian DeBeredetti – As a beer lover I’m constantly on the lookout for new books that center around the craft of beer making and enjoying. I also love road trips, so while drinking is driving is never good, this book is perfect for when I reach a destination and am looking for restaurants and brewpubs that serve unique craft beer selections. And more often than not, places that serve good beer, serve good food too. I’ve already taken note of breweries and/or brewpubs around my area to visit and can’t wait to try them out.



Hope you’re enjoying this spring weather as much as I am. Happy reading! 🙂

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila @ Book Journey. Want a good book to read? Stop by and see what’s new in the world of literature!

I decided it was time to return to finish a couple of books I’d started, but put down in part because of their girth and part because new releases kept distracting me. 🙂 While I love reading new books by debut authors or returning favorites I realized I need to return to the classics and make a point of reading those as much as I read newer novels. So, hence Les Miserables. There are others that I can’t even bear mentioning because I should have read them long ago and thus will return to during this holiday season/new year. Starting my resolutions early! 🙂

  Wheel of Time # 6: Lord of Chaos by Robert Jordan – Whenever I need a hands-down great book to escape into, I turn to Robert Jordan. If you love epic fantasies, you’ll love Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. It’s one of the reasons I’ve taken my time with reading the series. Also, aside from an autographed book from Brandon Sanderson after a talk he gave about picking up Jordan’s tale after the famed author had passed away, I love finding the books (mostly in paperback) at used bookstores around the country. It’s like a treasure hunt. 🙂



  Les Miserables by Victor Hugo – A classic centered around the French Revolution, this tome is both roman a clef and a beautiful, albeit tragic, portrait of the lives touched during this time. I’d read most of Les Mis before I picked up Jennifer Donnelly’s novel Revolution and was glad I had as it made for a great reference to her vivid novel on the same topic. Hugo’s novel is a must read both for its rich descriptions and storylines and its historical significance.



  Brewed Awakening by Joshua Bernstein – I’m really enjoying this new non-fiction book all about beer. It covers a range of areas on the topic including great beers to try, the home brewing movement, and what goes into the making of a good beer. I’m interested in trying to brew my own beer and in looking into the topic, stumbled upon this book. While it’s not so much about beer recipes, it’s teaching me a lot about what makes a brewery and a beer great.




Hope you have a great last week in November! 🙂

Winter Beers

It’s the most wonderful time of the year….!

The hectic holiday season is upon us. Presents, food, family, crowds, music, and a lot of running around. A great time for reflection as well as finding ways to unwind in the midst of all the chaos. For me I have three ways I love to unwind: a good book, a long run, and a cold beer.

For those of you who also love to spend an evening by the fire, reading or writing and sipping a beer, here are a few of my favorites, plus a couple I’m looking forward to trying!

  Anchor Steam Christmas Ale  – Brewed annually since 1975, Anchor Steam changes both its label and its recipe for this Christmas beer each year. Yet year after year it gains accolades for being bold yet smooth with its dark body and its rich taste. More malt than hops, it is has hints of both evergreen and chocolate without being overwhelming.

  Flying Fish Grand Cru Winter Reserve – While this is a delicious beer bursting with sharp flavors, it reminds me more of a summer wheat. Hints of winter spices like nutmeg and cloves subtly weave themselves through this beer, giving the beer its full winter flavor. Unlike other winter beers, this winter reserve is light enough that it pairs well with any meal or by itself after a meal.

Troegs Mad Elf Ale – Perhaps you’ve seen this label gracing the shelves of your local supermarket or beer distributor, but it won’t be around for long. Often hailed as one of the seasonal favorites, it often always sells out before the Christmas holiday officially hits. An amber colored ale with undertones of cherries, this is a great winter beer. And at 11% alcohol and its medium body, it’s a perfect complement to a winter-comfort food kind of meal.

  Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout – I call this a dessert beer. It’s heavy and rich with thick chocolate tones. Perfect for an after dinner drink snuggled up by the fire. 🙂

Two beers that I haven’t tried, but really want to because of the great reviews are:

  Artic Devil Barleywine (Midnight Sun Brewing Company) and Lagunitas Olde Gnarlywine – both are barley wines, which are common during the winter months, and are strong and dark and include undertones of toffee, caramel and malty goodness.

Hope you enjoy your winter beers and, as always, drink responsibly! 😀

Braving Brooklyn

  The first time I set foot in Brooklyn was just this past spring when I did the Five Borough Bike Tour. I’d always heard great things about the NYC borough with its cultural treasures, cute shops and eclectic collection of peoples. Though my visit was brief, it left me wanting to go back to see what the fuss of Brooklyn was all about.

Yesterday, my girlfriend and I decided to kick off the three day weekend with a visit to Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Museum of Art participates in the Target sponsored “First Saturdays” where entry is free after 5pm and features a cash bar, music, and other special events. I’d been to a free Saturday event before at the MoMA and it’s wonderful. A community of people coming together to celebrate the arts and mingle with each other.

We decided to plan our day around the museum visit and headed into town early to walk around the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. Fortunately, we had a perfect, sunny day to tour the gardens. We meandered through the Japanese Tea Gardens, past rosebushes and ornate fountains with other visitors of like mind. I snapped a bunch of great photos and got to see a huge sculpture made of living roots and vines that reminded me of something out of Star Wars.

After the gardens we ate lunch at a tasty vegan restaurant with a great ambiance called Dao Palate. Our meals were creative without being pretentious and I had the best ginger ale (made with real ginger) I’ve ever tasted. From there we journeyed north to hit up the Brooklyn Brewery to continue our quest to visit as many breweries around the globe that we can. As one of the first microbreweries in the states it became one of the forerunners in a growing trend of breweries around the country and remains as such today. We waded among the hipsters to snag a pint glass and jump on the last tour of the day. While the tour was one of the more interesting with stories of robberies and mafia and eccentric logo designers it was held in a cramped room packed to the gills with people who don’t appreciate personal space. Yikes!

By the time we crossed the brewery off our checklist and wandered around a bit (stumbling upon a hipster hive and barely escaping with our uncool lives), it was past five so we made our way back toward Prospect Heights and the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Apparently first Saturdays are THE event and while we enjoyed our museum tour, we spent most of our time sitting outside on a low wall eating frozen yogurt and people watching. As the sun set, illuminating the sky in a brilliance of color and the lights of Brooklyn twinkled on, we both basked in the beauty of our lovely day in Brooklyn.

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Brew Fun

I love visiting new and different breweries. It’s fun to see the behind-the-scenes process of how beers are made and distributed. Each brewery has their own unique methodology and recipe, many of which are decades old and passed down through the generations. There’s just something about the blend of history and science and creativity that makes each brewery special.

To top off my interest in visiting breweries is that I collect pint glasses. I’ve gotten some as swag at a couple races which has been incredibly cool as well as from around the world. Each glass is emblazoned with a logo that reminds of where I’ve been and the memories I’ve gathered.

As soon as my girlfriend and I drove into Boston this past Saturday, we headed to the historic Sam Adam’s Brewery. Tours were free – the best kind – and informative. We learned all about the process and the history and were able to see the facility where many of the beers originate. Including their utopia ales which are sold in a small golden cask and are 25% alcohol!!! (A lot of beers, even microbrews, are only around 5% alcohol.) After the tour we were led into the tasting room where we were given complimentary 4 oz glasses emblazoned with the Sam Adam’s logo and were provided with samples of different beers. The guide was friendly and relaxed, the beer tasty, and the brew tour interesting. I made sure to purchase the unique Sam Adam’s pint glass (see pic below) which was designed to enhance the flavor of their well-known Boston Lager. (Side note: Like wine or cocktail glasses, several beers and breweries have their own unique glass for similar reasons – one of the better known ones being Stella Artois.)

Another great brewery memory and pint glass to add to my collection. 🙂

(Please remember to drink responsibly and always have a designated driver.)

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