Posts Tagged ‘Union Brewhouse’

The Monday Hangover: April 7-8

Friday drinking activities began, as most Fridays do, with the Rule 37 cocktail of the week: The White Lady. Tasty. But there were also a couple beers in there, notably a Lakefront IPA, and a bomber of Blatant IPA shared with the Lady Friend. IPAs don’t get much better than those. Yowza.

Untappd gave us another Saturday quest, though this one would be much easier than our previous journey. The first badge was for National Beer Day, and was earned by simply, well, having a beer. Simple enough. National Beer Day (April 7), is a wholly underappreciated holiday in the US, along with Repeal Day (Dec 7). With the passage of the Cullen-Harrison Act of 1933, “3.2% beer” was legalized, signaling the beginning of the end of Prohibition. Spirits would be legalized on December 7 of the same year. Oddly, National Beer Day is celebrated on the date beer was legalized (April 7) though the bill was signed by President Roosevelt (the one from WWII, not the BULLY! one) on March 22, remarking “I think this would be a good time for a beer.” Conversely, Repeal Day is toasted on December 5th, when it was ratified, though it did not officially go into effect until December 15th.

To make things interesting, in the Cullen-Harrison Act, 3.2 beer referred to the alcohol content by WEIGHT, not by VOLUME, though alcohol by volume (abv) is the standard measurement now. 3.2% abw is roughly equivalent to 4% abv, though some states, like Oklahoma, still adhere to the weight measurement. This is why most macrobrews (Bud, Miller, Coors) are all generally limited to 3.2% abw/ 4% abv: they can still sell to the 3.2 beer states without changing their recipe. In several states, there are heavy restrictions on alcohol content, and “beer” is defined as <3.2% abw. The silliest part? The Cullen-Harrison Act went with 3.2 beer because it was “thought to be too low to be intoxicating.” Anything over that amount of alcohol must be sold in a liquor store. Note: do not move to Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, Oklahoma, or Utah. The original act only legalized this type of beer because they thought it was too low in alcohol to do much harm, yet these backward states are still clinging to that, saying anything above 4% isn’t beer. Amazing.

Funnily enough, it was also Untappd’s Session Beer Day, which meant we’d need to find a beer that was 4.5% abv or less. Naturally, my fridge didn’t have anything that sessionable (there’s some Asian beers in there, but they were clocking in at around 5% or more) and our first stop wasn’t going to help us either: Mayflower Brewery. Their weakest beer is the Golden Ale at 4.7%, just over the cutoff. We decided to pop down anyway for a visit and a taste of their current seasonal, Spring Hop Ale. We met up with the amusingly sharp-tongued Sarah, and sales rep Christina, whose business card boasts the title of “Territory Manager,” which sounds like there would be knife fights involved, necessary to guard your turf. We set about tasting right down the line of taps (though the Spring Hop is recommended after the pale ale, but before the IPA) and gave the new brew a try. They refer to it as a “red, hop aroma, ale” because they like to make up names for these things (their autumn beer is labeled as an “American Dark Wheat beer”).

Spring Hop Ale Hoppy Red Ale 5.3% abv

Nose: Hoppy. Sweet pine. Savory, but not too malty.

Taste: SHARP bitter start, then savory and slightly greasy. The hop cuts the grease, but a savory quality (Sorachi Ace?) lurks underneath. Finishes with a touch of copper metallic, typical of a red ale. Pretty good if you like ‘em hoppy. A DRY finish, resiny and powdery. Leaves me thirsty. Guess I’ll have some more beer.

A couple of tours came and went while we were hanging out at the bar, and we chatted pleasantly with a girl who came in on a beer mission. Her boyfriend sent her to pick up some growlers, and then return to help build a shed. Instead, she filled the growlers, laid claim to a case of Oatmeal Stout, and tasted down the line of taps with us. Apparently she’s a hockey player, and tried out for the Olympic team. Someone not to pick a fight with. She was quite amused by the Lady Friend and I, as various people in airports seem to be. The Lady Friend debated also snagging one of the few remaining cases of the Winter Oatmeal Stout (before it disappears until next winter), and hockey girl suddenly blurted “There’s only one left!” leading the Lady Friend to bite the bullet and stock up. $20 for 24 craft beers is not a bad price at all, and now we have more stout than we know what to do with. For those interested: the full case weighs 31.6 pounds, but seems like a lot more when the Lady Friend struggles to open my apartment door.

Money CAN buy happiness.

In other Mayflower news, they’re currently brewing a super-duper-double-ultra-secret project that will be available “soon” in a very limited release. It’s going to be about 20bbls, so a small batch of something special. Keep an eye on their twitter account for further updates. Their annual Open House is coming up on May 19th, and is well worth a visit.
They’ve also got a shiny new 100bbl fermenter bubbling away and making brewery production a little bit easier. I should have taken one of the tours, because all the tanks were scrubbed and pretty, only to eventually get gunked up with beer once more. Not that it’s a bad thing. We also brought back some souvenir beers from Wis-cah-sin for Mayflower to add to their impressive (empty) bottle collection, and one certain brewery employee was very excited at the prospect of getting to empty said bottles.

She requested this horrifying Photochop for her blog portrait.

We only meant to stop by Mayflower for “a little bit” and wound up staying for a decent amount of time. When it was finally time to go, we headed for the Union Brewhouse. While in the Midwest last week, I had seen that they had Ithaca Flower Power on tap, which I’ve been trying to cross off my list for some time. I’ve had it before (it’s amazing) but never at the Brewhouse. Naturally, when we got there, it was all gone, and we settled for an Oskar Blues Deviant Dale’s dIPA. Om nom nom.

Oh you think this is over? Not quite yet.

We hopped on the never-sucky-always-wonderful Red Line to voyage towards the dark and foreboding Land of Cambridge. We were heading to Cambridge Brewing Company for the Irish Lad’s birthday dinner. Since the Lady Friend had a CBC gift card from the Father of the Lady Friend, it was a perfect storm. We’d snag some beer samples, and have a tasty dinner. We needed a <4.5% abv beer for our session badge, and CBC had just the thing: their Regatta Golden cream ale clocked in at 4.2%. Score.

It’s NEVER Sunny in Cambridge.

We were expecting the Irish Lad and Wifey to be on their normal timetable, that is, 20 minutes late, so we were entirely unprepared when they showed up relatively close to 6pm. We had just ordered our five samples, and were about to start tasting when they showed up. It took another few minutes before CBC would seat us, then some awkward transferring of small glasses to the table. Time to taste.

Regatta Golden Cream Ale 4.2% abv
Nose: Light grain, cereal
Taste: Yup. Light golden, sweet cereal grain. Session Badge acquired!

Tall Tale Pale Ale 5.8% abv
Nose: Hoppy; a sprucy hop
Taste: Pine hop, bitter lingers through the aftertaste, but very nicely balance. Yum.

Weekapaug Gruit Gruit 5.5% abv
Nose: Malty, with some herbal notes. Mostly malty.
Taste: Malty, but with a watery middle. Caramel, with a light herbal, almost lavender, essence.

Spring Training IPA India Pale Ale 6.3% abv
Nose: Medium fresh hop aroma. Piney and spicy.
Taste: Sharp-ish hop bitter. Not as sharp as Mayflower’s Spring Hop Ale, but a touch spicy.

Charles River Porter (Cask) Cask-aged Porter 6% abv
Nose: Sour. Winey. Burnt plastic and wood.
Taste: Sour, alcohol taste. Winey sweet/sour, but very dry. Meh. Bleh.

Overall tasty and nice. The Irish Lad got himself into a happy place with three samples of his own, and dinner was munchable as always. After the feeding, we disbanded; the Irish Lad and Wifey back to their house to entertain other guests, and Lady Friend and I back to SFHQ.

Well, after ONE MORE stop.

Seriously. Last stop.

Locke-Ober is one of the oldest restaurants in the City of Boston. Seriously, it’s been there for over 150 years. Anyway, this is notable, because a (somewhat) well-known cocktail was invented there: The Ward 8. The short version is that the drink was invented in 1898 in honor of (or in spite of) some politician named Martin Lomasney. Some say that the drink was a jibe aimed at him for his Prohibitionist opinions, but he won whatever silly election he wanted, and the cocktail is still known around Boston, if you go to the right places. Locke-Ober will certainly make you one, but it’s pretty uninspired. Drink, down in Fort Point, will make a much tastier version, though the recipe itself is pretty dull: essentially a whiskey sour with orange juice and grenadine added. Nice, but nothing mind-blowing. The kick is to get one at Locke-Ober just for the novelty. It’s like having oysters at the Union Oyster House, pizza at Regina’s, or getting into a fight and vomiting at the Liquor Store.

Finally we decided that we’d had enough drinking fun for one day, and retreated to the T. Back to SFHQ, leaving pieces of my liver in a trail behind me.

The Monday Hangover: Feb 11-12

The Monday Hangover:
Other drink adventures of note from the weekend.

Yes, it took me until Thursday to finish this post.

We start, as always, with Friday evening. Instead of our usual cocktail adventures, the Lady Friend and I headed out to the Union Brewhouse to meet up with former MNCC drinking powerhouse Brent, who was back in town for a weekend visit. He had previously spent several months working (and drinking) in Boston with my former company and became a cornerstone of our cocktail crew before relocating back to Milwaukee, and now, Washington DC. The weekend plan was to revisit all of our old haunts and have a grand day of nostalgic boozing.

This guy.

So, following our respective work days, we met up at the Brewhouse. Former coworker Tower (Towah) was there, as was the current office trainee (she’s from Missurah) and another girl from the DC office, Kruppcakes. The Lady Friend and I looked like pros as we readied our 99 Beer lists for the next conquests: Maine Beer Company’s Peeper Ale for me and a Newcastle Brown Ale for she. After one round, we decided to have a quick second brew while Towah was still there (he’s got one of those baby creatures now and doesn’t get out much anymore) so the Lady Friend wound up with a Samuel Smith Strawberry Ale, while I snagged a Saranac Big Moose Ale. Once she found out that Samuel Smith, an English brewery, is known for their nut brown ale and oatmeal stout, she was less than excited about the strawberry brew. Chick beer.

We bounced out of the Brewhouse with the intention of changing clothes before heading into the city for the Narraganset Bock release party (Drink the Goat!) at Stoddard’s. Missurah offered to drive, and was supposed to pick us up shortly. Which turned into over an hour wait. Apparently the girls went back to their apartment, snacked on some sandwiches, and Kruppcake decided that she needed a nap. Without informing us. Nice. Thanks for that. In the meantime, Leelz was already heading towards Stoddard’s with the intention of meeting us there. So, we wound up getting to the event about two hours late, leaving Leelz in a lurch, and I didn’t get to see a few industry types that I had intended to introduce myself to. On the plus side, the bocks were plentiful and cheap ($3 tall boys) and Brent even managed to use his schmoozing skills to score us some Gansett tshirts from a reluctant Stoddard’s toadie who was going to store the extras downstairs “for another time” rather than giving them out as intended. What a little tool.

Then it was Saturday, the grand event. After the fiasco with the girls the previous night, we set our plans and let them decide if they were coming along or not, instead of relying on them in any way. In the end, they left their car at the T (which the DC people endlessly referred to as the “Metro”) and we all drove into the city, parking in the Lady Friend’s very convenient garage spot across from Harpoon Brewery. That parking spot might be the reason we’re still romantically involved, due to our frequent visits to Harpoon. Securing places on the noon-thirty tour, we set about enjoying the Harpoon-ness, which started with a sample of the UFO White, and, as a change of pace, included a taste of the Celtic Ale, unfiltered and straight from the tank, instead of the usual IPA. A lovely surprise. The tasting time after the tour had some nice offerings I hadn’t gotten to before, including the finished, filtered Celtic Ale, West Coast Pale Ale (with an English bitter hop style, unlike its name), 100 Barrel Series Black IPA (very nice, Brent took two bombers back to DC), Leviathan Imperial IPA (always tasty), Leviathan Barleywine (not too malty) and the original Harpoon Ale, their first brew. The Ale was a simple amber ale, pleasing if unremarkable, but as the tour guides pointed out, when first released in 1987 it was considered “extreme beer” compared to the macrobrewed adjunct lagers on the market at the time. It was on hiatus for the past several years, and is now back for the time being (at least on the tour), though I don’t know what the future availability will be.

Post-Harpoon, the group sauntered down Seaport Blvd. to the Atlantic Beer Garden for lunch, as is our usual tradition after visiting Harpoon. Good food and a well-thought out craft beer list make it a great stop when in the Seaport District. Be warned: some of the selections, such as Clown Shoes Tramp Stamp and Rogue Dead Guy Ale are actually served in 22oz bombers. Not that it’s a bad thing, but there’s no indication of that on the menu, so double-check with your server if you’re expecting a 12oz bottle.
The other members of the group went with a pitcher of the Samuel Adams Brick Red Ale, as its limited availability (only on tap in Boston) made for a good novelty for the foreigners. Despite the grotesque price ($18… blow me, Boston) it went over well with the group, and I settled with a Tröegs HopBack Amber Ale to pair with my BBQ chicken sangwich.

We made our way over to South Station to jump on the T for our next destination. Brent delighted in showing the girls the grasshopper mural in Park St station, the oldest subway in the country. The grasshopper references the weathervane on top of Faneuil Hall, and served as a test to discover British spies. We caught our dreaded Green Line train (it’s always jammed full) and got off at Copley while the girls rode onwards to visit Bleacher Bar in Fenway. Brent, the Lady Friend, and I however headed through Copley Square down Boylston to Whiskey’s, a past favorite of Brent’s. Cheap bar food specials and plenty of beer gave us many drunken memories several years, ago, so it was time to revisit. We met up with another friend and fellow drinking companion, KFlynn, and relaxed with beers and snacks, eventually being joined by Tresstastic and her boyfriend Josh. The girls finished up over at Fenway and rendezvoused as well, right around the time KFlynn headed out for other plans.

The rest of us headed for what was supposed to be a pleasant stroll down Boylston and Boston Common to The Purple Shamrock, paying a visit to Jackie the bartender. With three males and four females, naturally troubles started to arise, mostly in the form of complaints about the cold weather (it was about 35 degrees, warm for February, but the Lady Friend refuses to wear a hat) and bathroom needs. The first plaintive cry of “I have to pee!” started about a block after our departure from Whiskey’s, joined soon thereafter by the rest of the women folk. By this time, we’ve passed the fast food bathroom havens of Copley Square and are heading into the park to cut diagonally up towards the burger joints of Tremont, when Tresstastic insists that “the bar we met my friend at that time for a pub crawl” was straight ahead towards Emerson and Chinatown. She was referring to Beantown Pub, which is actually up Tremont past Park St. I’m certain of this as I am decently sober at this point (more so than most of the group), had been there many times, and had even been there about two weeks ago with the Lady Friend’s parents. She refused to believe me, naturally, and then the Lady Friend started in asking why we were heading through the park, and didn’t I know she had to pee. Yes, I understand that. I’m trying to get us to the bathrooms near Park St as quickly as possible. She had her drunken stubbornness gear engaged, and also began to insist that the correct way was to continue down Boylston. Sigh. Like herding drunken cats. Despite the protests, we continued diagonally through the park in as straight a path as possible, and eventually reached a UBurger where all the concerned parties were able to relieve themselves. From “I don’t have to pee” to “panic mode” during a ten minute walk. I hate women.

That’s why I go drinking with this guy.

Crisis averted with all pants remaining unsoiled, we continued on our way, past Beantown Pub, and reached the safe house of the Purple Shamrock. Brent reunited with Jackie, and we set about drinking the night away. Tresstastic abandoned her original plan of taking the train home because she wanted to dance, a decision spurred largely by the arrival of yet another drinking pal, Shaw, and his wife, Lady Shaw. They had just returned from a tropical vacation, and made a stealthy entrance at the bar, much to the delight of Brent. Somewhere around midnight, the girls decided they would take the T home, and left without asking for directions or instructions. This was the second time in the city for both of them, the first time being the night before at Stoddard’s, so I’m not sure why in their drunken state they thought they’d just magically happen upon the T station. Brent, the Lady Friend and I cabbed back to the parking garage, and no sooner had we gotten in the car, sure enough, Brent’s phone started ringing. The girls were lost. And yelling at us because somehow it was our fault.

To recap: it was our fault that they were lost, in a city they’d never been to. I’m trying to drive and they’re asking what to do. Um, I don’t know. Where are you? They don’t know. Ask somebody where the nearest T stop is? The guy they asked doesn’t know. Turn on your phone’s GPS? They can’t while still on the phone. Hang up and turn it on? No, they don’t want to do that. Holy Jeebus. I’m out of ideas. Flag down a cab, have him take you to the nearest T and hit the Red Line from there? Apparently that worked, because they hung up, and we didn’t hear back. Just incredible.

The next morning, Brent, the Lady Friend and I discussed the various adventures of the previous night. I’m still not sure why the girls didn’t just ride back to Braintree with us, but they were adamant about taking the T. We relaxed and chatted until Missurah came to pick up Brent, and deliver Kruppcakes and him at Logan for their flight back to DC. The Lady Friend went off on various shopping errands, and I went up to Slumerville to the Irish Lad and Wifey’s house. And Zero too. The Irish Lad and I had brewed two smash (single malt and single hop) beers, one with amarillo hops, the other calypso. We’re exploring the differences between individual hops, and both brews were ready to bottle. Another couple weeks of bottle conditioning and they’ll be ready to drink. But that is a story for another time.


The Monday Hangover: Dec 10-11

The Monday Hangover:
Other drink adventures of note from the weekend.

Another week down.

Friday night we skipped over our usual Rule 37 cocktail night to attend a party in Natick. It was the Irish Lad’s company holiday party, which I had bartended last year, and took on the role once more this year. I put together a limited menu of well-known cocktails and set up shop. The Lady Friend was on hand to chit chat with various peoples, eat three ice cream sundaes, and fetch me a beer and a hot dog. The Irish Lad procured a keg of Jack’s Abbey Hoponius Union India Pale LAGER, and the keg kicked long before the party did. It was tasty. The Engineer and his wife were both there, as was Wifey, of course. Her friend requested a mixture of cranberry juice, orange juice, and club soda, which Wifey overheard and asked for the same, but with vodka. Another amusing moment was when Wifey asked for a refill on her Cape Codder, to which I replied “Do you really want that? Or do you want The Mystery Drink?” Of course, she couldn’t resist, and went for the mystery drink, which was a variation on a Rum Stone Sour, and very sweet, much to Wifey’s delight.

If there’s any question as to what the most popular liquor is, using this party as a baseline, it’s vodka by an overwhelming majority. Vodka really caught on in America in the 1950s, and by the mid-1970s, became the best-selling liquor in the country. Below is the breakdown of drink popularity from the party. This is a rough recollection; I really should have kept track of real numbers.

50% vodka tonic
20% vodka cranberry
10% gin & tonic
5% vodka “martini”
5% rum & coke
10% everything else

Another fun one: some guy came up to me and ordered a Martini but “with splash of orange juice.” Instant suspicion… gin or vodka? “Vodka… but light on the vodka and with more orange juice.” Um, ok, so that’s a Screwdriver, and nothing close to a Martini. Whatev. I did the whole fancy bit with the shaker and he seemed impressed.

I went through two and a half of the big handles (1.75l) of vodka in about 3 hours. That’s over a gallon of vodka. Yikes.

Apparently when you’re this guy, the rules of parking don’t apply.

Saturday’s event was another Bully Boy tasting, this time at Curtis Liquors in Weymouth. Yes, Bully Boy is now available at Curtis! I had made a Twitter comment many weeks ago to the effect of “Oh Curtis Liquors, you complete me… if only you sold Bully Boy.” I was then contacted by both Bully Boy and Curtis saying it was in the works, and now, here we are! The Lady Friend and I had some liquid shopping to do, so we stopped by. There was only one Bully Boy this time, Will, and we chatted a bit in between shoppers sampling the samples. Lots of fun stuff coming down the line from these guys, so keep an eye out. I’ll let you know what’s up with the BBoys.

In the meantime, the Lady Friend and I wandered the aisles seeing what there was to see. We picked up a couple bombers to drink that night, and I scored a sixer of 21st Amendment’s Brew Free or Die IPA. I marveled at the sight of Bully Boy on the shelves, though the $30 price tag is right at the limit of the price point. My general shopping rule for the South Shore is Curtis Liquors for craft beer, and Atlas Liquors in Quincy for spirits. That seems to be the best compromise of price, as the liquor at Curtis is a bit more, but with more beer selection, wheras Atlas has some of the best liquor prices, but more expensive brews. However, Curtis is bigger, and closer to SFHQ, so I stop by there quite a bit. I’ve gone through a decent chunk of their craft beer inventory, and have now been struck with beer ennui, cursed to wander the aisles with nothing seeming particularly exciting. I’ve reached a point where the interest lies in six packs costing $10+ and I usually just don’t want to spend that much. I did score a Wachusett Larry dIPA, which is something to snag whenever you see it, as it’s one of the few offerings from Wachusett I enjoy. It’s very very tasty, and not at all like their Green Monsta IPA.

We finished up at Curtis, and headed over to the Union Brewhouse for some more progress on our 99 beer list. Though not particularly crowded, one raucous group of of late twenty-somethings managed to drown out all other conversation with their howls and entirely unnecessary table pounding. Fortunately, they left soon after our arrival leaving behind a pile of Bud Light, Coors Light and Michelob Ultra bottles, the owl pellets of the Local Yokel. Once again, what you drink is your choice, but when you’re in a place with 17 taps and 100+ bottled beers, please have something other than the horrid light macrobrews that you can get ANYWHERE else.

As for the Lady Friend and I, it was a Lagunitas Sucks Holiday Ale for she, and a Brouwerij Huyghe Delirium Tremens for me. I’ve had the Delirium Tremens several times before, and it’s very, well, Belgiany. Makes sense, being a Belgian ale and all. Light body, full of carbonation, and cloudy, yeasty, banana-clove. Not my go-to. It was an effort to take this one down… I just wasn’t in the mood. The Lagunitas of the Lady Friend looked much more appetizing, as a hoppy and tasty dIPA. This one has a bit of a story behind it. Basically, around this time of year, Lagunitas would be releasing their Brown Shugga seasonal, but they decided not to this time around. It just takes way too much of the brewery’s resources to produce, and would take the equivalent of three regular production cases per one case of Brown Shugga. Keeping their strangely aggressive sense of humor, the brewery said “There is no joy in our hearts and the best we can hope for is a quick and merciful end. F*@& us. This totally blows. Whatever. We freaking munch moldy donkey butt and we just want it all to be over.” Source. So, they made Lagunitas Sucks instead, and it’s pretty tasty. I haven’t had the Shugga yet, so I couldn’t tell you what we’re missing.

After her Lagunitas, the Lady Friend went on to sip a Southampton Publick House Double White Ale, while I continued to take down the DT. Lots of Belgian floating around. We decided to head back to SFHQ for an evening in and pick up a pizza on the way. After the Lady Friend called in our order to Bertucci’s, we finished our beers and got sorted for the dropping temperatures outside. This is where the Grand Scarf Kerfuffle began. She couldn’t find her scarf, which was a gift from her grandfather. Well, allegedly it was a gift TO her grandfather from someone visiting Scotland, and he regifted it to the Lady Friend. So she liked the scarf, and it wasn’t draped on the back of her chair at the bar, nor had it slid to the floor. A search of the Phantom didn’t reveal it either, and she lamented that it must have fallen off at Curtis. Which is nowhere near Bertucci’s. Sigh. So, detour to Curtis, and it’s nowhere to be found. Well, guess it’s gone. Over to Bertucci’s, pizza acquired, back to SFHQ. Turn on the light. Um, is THAT the scarf, lying there on the floor? Yup. Happy Lady Friend, slightly peeved SquirrelFarts. Time for pizza and beer before I choke someone with a 100% Scottish wool scarf.

It was a bomber of Alpine’s Pure Hoppiness IPA, one of the last California survivors, while the Lady Friend had her first go at a Stone Brewing Arrogant Bastard ale. Very malty, and the high abv started taking effect as the evening wore on. We watched North by Northwest, because she had somehow never seen it, and I finished off with a can of Brew Free or Die. They’ve got a new can design (since last year) and it’s pretty awesome… it’s got Mount Rushmore (which coincidentally features pretty heavily in the latter portions of North by Northwest) and Lincoln is breaking out of the rock to kick some ass. Or so it appears to me.

Told you it was awesome.

Sunday. A trip up to Moo Hampsha. Ugh. The Lady Friend was heading to her parents’ house to help decorate the Christmas tree, and they requested my help for a very special project: distract Maggie the Kitten so she wouldn’t mess up the tree while they were hanging ornaments. Welllllll… ok. If I must.

I wasn’t entirely successful.

On the way, we stopped by a Stop n Shop in Stratham on the way to get me sorted with a Mix & Match six pack. I really wish all liquor stores had this feature. Many times I don’t want a whole sixer of one particular beer, and just want one or two to test it out. I managed to make a pretty quick selection of some new and some old favorites:

- Geary’s Hampshire Special Ale (an ale with a bitter start a Belgiany banana-ness to the finish. Ew.)

Sam Adams Holiday Porter (too malty, not enough roast. A weak offering intended as a crowd pleaser like most Sam)

Shipyard Blue Fin Stout (Drank this one after dinner. Nice dark roast, not too sweet, not too bitter.)

Red Hook Winterhook (Nice. It has the ale flavor consistent with Red Hook brews, with some mild winter spice)

Shipyard Fuggles IPA (Got two of these. It’s simple, but good)

I started with the Winter Hook, and moved to the Geary’s after. The Winter Hook wasn’t bad, but the Geary’s didn’t appeal to me. A real bitter-stale start, then that yeasty banana-clove grossness usually associated with wheat beers. The Shipyard IPA went well with a dinner of spicy marinated chicken and roasted potatoes, and the Blue Fin Stout was lovely for after the meal. The Lady Friend drove us back to Assachusetts, and I had the Sam Holiday Porter to finish the night off. Not bad, but nothing amazing. It supports my theory that Sam Adams makes beers for a very wide audience, and doesn’t want to offend. Still, it was a nice end to the weekend, and helped me ease into a happy slumber, another weekend gone too soon.


The Monday Hangover: Dec 3-4

The Monday Hangover:
Other drink adventures of note from the weekend.

It was a long week. At times it seemed to fly by, but that was countered by the times that dragged on for an eternity. Finally Friday came, and something strong and warming was called for. That wound up being Aberlour A’bunadh single malt scotch. The wax-sealed bottle was a birthday gift from Wifey and the Irish Lad, and, with the exception of a small taste the night I got it, I hadn’t really delved into its depths. I poured a decent dram and took a sip. PHOAHRAH! What does that label say? Oh good lord… 60.4% abv, cask strength. That’s 120.8 proof for those playing along. Yowza. Lots of alcohol punch. But, once that evaporates, the resulting flavors are really nice. A’bunadh is aged in Spanish Oroloso sherry casks, so it gets a nice red hue, and a tasty sweet flavor. There’s a whole lot more going on behind that, but then this would turn into a review instead of a weekend recap. I had the Lady Friend take a sip when she came over, and she looked like steam was going to shoot out of her eyeballs. It’s probably one of the higher abv things she’s ever tasted. Cask strength is no joke. But delicious.

The Lady Friend cracked one of her Sixpoint Diesels before our cream cocktails. After the disastrous Parisian Blonde, she went to her old friend, Margarita, while I sipped an Avery IPA.

We lacked the energy to get much accomplished on Saturday, except sipping on the last remaining Pliny the Elder while playing a game of Scrabble. I’m still a touch bitter that she managed to successfully play a ‘Q’ and a ‘Z’ in the course of the game leading to her victory. Following that, we rallied for some pregame drinks at the Union Brewhouse, and two more crossed off of our 99-bottle list. The next slot on my list was for Lindeman’s, which wound up being their Framboise, a raspberry lambic “beer” that tastes like soda. It’s chick crack. I’ve had tastes several times before (“It’s like drinking a Fruit Roll-Up!”), but never an entire bottle to myself. It wasn’t easy. Full of sugar and lots of carbonation. I resorted to downing most of it in one go, while the Lady Friend sipped on her skunky green glass Spaten lager. The next round was an Ipswich ale for me, and a Berkshire Brewing Co. (BBC) Lost Sailor IPA for she. After the sugar fruit bomb of the lambic, the ale tasted horribly bitter to me, and I really didn’t want to finish it. The Lady Friend enjoyed her IPA, though she’s had a bit of an issue with pronunciation lately, calling it “Berk-shy-er” instead of “Berk-shur.” It’s odd, because she’s from New Hamp-shur, not New Hamp-shy-er.


After the Brewhouse, Saturday’s main event was a trip to Norwell for dinner and drinks at The Tinker’s Son, (Warning: A commercial autoplays on the webpage) an Irish pub and restaurant owned by a friend of my buddy, Shaw (ScrimShaw, the ShawDog). The food was great, and the beer list excellent. In addition to the usual fare of Guinness and Smithwick’s (the Lady Friend got an education before we went… it’s pronounced “Smiddicks”), they had several options on tap including Bear Republic Racer 5, Stone Double Bastard and local offerings from Pretty Things, Blue Hills, and Wachusett. Impressive for most bars, not to mention an Irish pub. I started off with a Guinness, as did most of the group, and the Lady Friend had a Smithwick’s, but switched over to Racer 5 for her second, as did I. Great food, great crowd (we mostly talked about craft beer and race cars, excellent dinner conversation), and great beers. At the bar later on, Shaw (who was celebrating a birthday) was busy double fisting a Jameson Gold in one hand and a Stone Double Bastard in the other. This is usually about the time his inebriated alter-ego, “Schwa,” makes an appearance, though apparently he kept his Hyde-ian doppelganger under control, despite the elixirs consumed.

The Underbones Bar. 24 taps. Happy place.

Sunday brought another grand event: the Lady Friend’s first visit to Redbones, in Davis Square. It’s a very popular (and delicious) BBQ restaurant with crazily vivid murals all over the place and a fantastic beer list (24 taps). I’ve been going there for years with Wifey and the Irish Lad, but the Lady Friend had never been, despite previously living about a mile away in Somerville. We got there around 2ish, and headed down the stairs to “Underbones,” the underground bar/restaurant area… it’s dark, dank, and much better than the the cramped, cafeteria decor of the upstairs section. Time for beer! I opened with an Anderson Valley Mendo Mellow Estate Ale, which was very… mellow. It was a sweetish ale, nothing wild, but generally mild and tasty. Beer Advocate lists it as an American IPA, but it wasn’t very hoppy at all. The Lady Friend countered with a Brooklyn Brown, and the Irish Lad hit back with a Boundary Bay ESB, which was very IPA-like. Come to think of it, I wonder if they switched our beers. That actually would make a lot of sense. Although, after reading the reviews of the Mendo Mellow, it seems like they were correct after all… it didn’t seem to impress most people.

Wifey, being an anti-beer, went with a Margarita to start, and followed up with a Twisted Tea, which confused the waitress who thought it was a cocktail. Nope, just a bottled hard iced tea. As for the rest of us, our second round consisted of a Meantime London Stout for me, and a Tröegs Mad Elf (11% abv) for the Lady Friend and the Irish Lad, both of whom get very silly when the abv’s start pumping. I was very pleased with my stout, which I feel was the perfect beer to have after lunch… slightly roasted bitter to cut through the BBQ spice, and a dry creaminess to smooth out the finish. Mad Elf was a bit nutmeggy/wintery, and it looked like it was a struggle to get through, though they seemed quite happy after that 11% kicked in.

The murals start talking after a couple 11% beers.

After lunch we hit the annual Harvard Bookstore Warehouse Holiday Sale, where the warehouse is converted into a new and used bookstore to get rid of back inventory. Used books start at $1. Newer books are up to 60% off. Awesome. While others shop for specific titles, I usually go for gross poundage, and see what quantity I can get for my self-imposed $30 cap. This year was a new record: 11 books for $25. Now I need more bookshelves.

The two hours of book browsing (I can spend all day in a bookstore) helped take the buzz out of the group, and we returned to the home of Irish Lad and Wifey. They had asked me to do some photography for their holiday card, including the monster dog, Zero. I had a frosty-delicious PBR while shooting, and the Lady Friend and I packed up back to her apt to finish my laundry. Clean clothes! Finally, back to the Liquor Lair of SFHQ and my lovely, lovely bed. Rest would be necessary, for the next day, December 5th, was a big one: Repeal Day.

The Monday Hangover: Nov 26-27

The Monday Hangover:
Other drink adventures of note from the weekend.

Well, given the holiday, our drinkventures actually started Wednesday night with a Very Special edition of our weekly Rule 37 drinks: Champagne Night! We made four different champagne inclusive cocktails with great success and a proper use of a value-priced bottle of sparkling wine.

The Lady Friend ventured up to Moo Hampsha for various family Thanksgiving shenanigans (apparently Squirrel Farts was a popular topic of discussion) and returned Friday afternoon in time for us to venture over to Bin Ends and their weekly beer tasting. This week was Sixpoint Brewery out of Brooklyn. We met @SaraSixpoint, the New England rep, who was pouring samples of the Sixpoint lineup. We tasted The Crisp (lager), Sweet Action (cream ale), Righteous Ale (rye ale), Bengali Tiger (IPA) and Diesel (hoppy stout). All were excellent, and the Lady Friend wound up buying a pack of the Diesel (they come in 4-packs of 16oz cans). We also scored some Cava (Spanish sparkling wine), some German sparkling, and a bottle of Hayman’s Old Tom gin, partially because I’ve been looking for a bottle of Old Tom to try, and partly because it had a little black cat on the label. Old Tom gin was very popular in the 18th century, and is sweeter than the London Dry style (Beefeater, Tanqueray, Bombay). Because of its sweeter taste, it works better in a Tom Collins (no need for extra sugar) and has a smoother, rounder flavor. Later in the evening, I tried it with a Negroni, and it worked well, with a bit of a sweeter taste, as expected. The Lady Friend was intrigued enough to try a Tom Collins, and seemed to enjoy it, but then moved on to a Michael Collins (Tom Collins with Irish whiskey instead of gin).

Also, Bin Ends now carries Bully Boy.

Before our ginventures, we hit up Cathay Pacific in Quincy for some Chinesey “Polynesian” food and, the main event, tiki drinks! While this place is no Kowloons, there aren’t many other places around for tiki drinks. Plus, it’s fantastically cheesy, and the karaoke bar is a sight to be seen. You have been warned. The drinks aren’t the best in the world… they’re what you’d expect from a place trapped in a time warp like this one: a bunch of fruit juice, sour mix and cheap rum. That said, they’re still tasty and festive. The reviews on this place are pretty hit or miss, but I’ve never had a problem here. It’s a bit pricey, but worth it for an occasional change of scenery. Plus, tiki drinks! I started with a Suffering Bastard then moved to a Fog Cutter, and enjoyed both. The Lady Friend went with a Navy Grog, which tasted like bubblegum, and closed with a Zombie. Apparently the one at Kowloon is much better, as she remarked that she had a buzz halfway through that one, whereas the Cathay Pacific version didn’t do anything.

Since we were already out, we figured it’d be good to keep the ball rolling and headed over to the Fat Cat Restaurant in Quincy, which had been recommended to me by several people. Apparently they have fantastic Mac & Cheese and a cocktail list. Now that I look closer at it, they have some good beer offerings (including Boulder Beer’s Mojo, one of my favs), but, as was pointed out by the Lady Friend, all of their cocktails are vodka. FAIL. (Also, they misspelled “cocktail” on the menu. I don’t think I’ll be going there after all.) I managed to acquire the bestest parking space evar directly in front of the place, yet when we went it, it was jammed. All the space at the bar was taken up by people eating, so we couldn’t even get near it. Screw that. Instead, we went down Hancock Street to The Half Door, an Irish pub, and ordered beers. I had a Guinness, since that’s what you drink in an Irish pub, and the Lady Friend finally got to try a proper black and tan (half Guinness, half Bass pale ale), which she recently kept confusing with a Black Velvet (half Guinness, half champagne). Then it was back to SFHQ for the aforementioned gin cocktails and sleepy time.

Caturday brought a trip to NH to hassle Monstro the cat and pick up Elsa’s snow boots at the SF Homestead. The Lady Friend had a lunch in downtown Portsmouth with family, then we hoofed it over to her parents’ house to see their new kitten, Maggie. This little furball was a bouncy ball of crazy, and was particularly interested in sitting near, then on, then beside, then IN my pizza box. Fortunately the slices were in my hand at the time, and she tentatively stretched out a little white paw trying to snag a taste of whatever deliciousness I was holding. None for you, moocher!

From there, we ventured over to Hooksett for a tasting at White Birch Brewing (more on that later) and back down 93 to home base. By this time foodening was becoming necessary, and the Lady Friend chose La Paloma’s in Quincy, where apparently she used to go quite frequently. Naturally, several margaritas were involved, though the prodigious use of sour mix really, well, soured the experience. Again, it was to be expected from this sort of place, and they were tasty, but not as good as El Serape in Weymouth Landing. But few places are. When I was taking a picture of the margs, I think the 21ish-year-old bartender thought I was trying to take sneaky pictures of HER. Sorry, not the case. I mean, what interest would I possibly have with a young, attractive female bartender? Um. I should stop talking.

Anyway, the Lady Friend splurged on the ULTIMATE ‘RITA which tasted pretty much the same as the others, except for a slightly increased orange flavor, apparently from the Patron Citronage. After a margarita of my own, I sipped on a Pacifico lager with dinner, and by the end of the meal, she was quite bouncy and raring to go, much like the kitten. So, we headed over to the Union Brewhouse to get another beer crossed off of our 99 bottle list. Mine: Innis & Gunn Oak Aged Rum Cask Scotch Ale. Tasted like caramel vanilla. A desert beer. Waaaaay sweet. The Lady Friend went with a St. Bernardus Prior 8 Belgian that tasted like wet rubber to me. I was not a fan. We sipped our respective beers, surrounded by the Bud Light swilling masses that frequent the Brewhouse, until finally returning home to SFHQ, for a Newcastle Brown nightcap. Roasty toasty with just enough malt. A lovely end.

The Monday Hangover: Nov 19-20

The Monday Hangover:
Other drink adventures of note from the weekend.

As usual, we begin with Friday night drinky-drinks, which due to a week of horrible, rainy commutes required the immediate ingestion of some liquid medicine, namely a shot of whiskey and a beer. When the Lady Friend arrived, it was business as usual with our Rule 37 for the week, the East India Cocktail. She went off into an El Diablo after that, and, since I had the nice bitters out, she suggested I make myself a good Manhattan. Excellent suggestion. Following dinner, we finished off with a bomber of Bear Republic’s Big Bear Stout, which was malty and toasted. Very nice, and the Lady Friend enjoyed it thoroughly, as her affinity for stouts grows by the week.

On Saturday, the Lady Friend had a bridal/ bridesmaid dress shopping excursion for Lady Friend’s Friend up in Moo Hampsha, leaving me to mope about, generally failing to accomplish anything useful. I almost vacuumed. Almost. The tardbabies at Comcast decided to have a “brief service interruption” for about four hours on Saturday morning, which left me in severe withdrawl, leading to overindulgence once it was restored. While refreshing my Twitter page for the umpteenth time later in the day, I noticed @bullyboybooze were doing a tasting up in Arlington. I informed the Lady Friend, seeing if she would want to stop by on her drive home, and she agreed, having never tasted their vodka or white whiskey. This meant showering and putting on pants, which breaks my Rules of Saturday, but hey, free booze.

Menotomy, not monotony.

Apparently “Menotomy,” an Algonquian word that means “swift running water,” was the original name for Arlington, MA, and the name of the liquor store (sorry, “packie”) where the tasting was held. That’s your fun fact of the day… you can put that in your pocket and carry it around. I got there just around 4, and managed to find a spot in the tiny parking lot. The Lady Friend, arriving minutes later, was not so lucky and settled for street parking. We strolled in, and found a small shop with a crowd of people struggling to maneuver around each other, some shopping, some tasting, some just plain standing in the way. Squeezing our way over to the Bully Boy tasting, we waited for some fossils to move aside, and slid into their spot, where Dave Willis, co-founder, did a mild double-take, recognizing me with a happy greeting. He tapped co-founder/brother Will, with the introduction “This is SquirrelFarts!” to which Will exclaimed “SquirrelFarts! I don’t even want to know your real name!” When I originally toured their distillery, Dave showed me around, and I didn’t get a chance to meet Will.

The Bully Boys.

The Bully Boys offered tastings of their three available spirits: a white rum (they enjoyed my tasting notes of “sugar cookies and rainbows”), a white whiskey, and a vodka. Their vodka recently won a gold medal at the 2011 Beverage Tasting Institute Spirits Competition, with the judges describing flavors of “wet granite,” which was quite amusing. The Lady Friend choked it down and coughed out “smooth.”

We chatted for awhile and discussed some of the upcoming plans for the BBoys. They’ve got a couple interns on board helping out, and are in full-swing production, shipping out bottles for the holiday season rush. Their aging rums and whiskeys are still, well, aging, as it’s a process that can’t be rushed. I’m really looking forward to trying both aged spirits, though Will noted that the whiskey was further along than the rum, which was the opposite of what they expected. We’ll see how the casks fare during the cold New England winter, but they expect to have them ready in the spring or summer. There’s really no way to tell exactly when.

After our liquor geek-out time (the Lady Friend snarked “You and the Bully Boys have such big men crushes on each other.” Whatevs.) we had a quick taste of the wine samples available in the other corner of the shop, then picked up a bomber of Slumbrew’s Flagraiser IPA, made in Somerville, MA. Arriving back in Braintree, the question of dinner became quite pressing, and we eventually decided to venture to the Union Brewhouse to further our progress on our 99-beer list quest. My selections included Blatent IPA (on tap), a new player to the MA craft brewery game. According to our waitress (whose story checked out) the brewer/ owner, Matthew Steinberg, was head brewer at Offshore Brewing, then Ops Director at Mayflower before starting up Blatent. He now contract brews at Just Beer. The IPA wasn’t on my list, but I wanted to give it a try. It nosed with a whole lot of pine, like Pine-Sol pine. My tasting notes read as “Wow. Pine needles. A pine forest. The pine tree air freshener hanging from your rearview mirror.” It was tasty.

A Belgiany Belgian, Duvel, followed, and I finished with a smooth & creamy Lion Brewing Stout, which was a big ol’ 8.8% abv. The Lady Friend tasted it and proclaimed it excellent and fantastic, noting that she was jealous of my selection. It might be because she was working on a Skunky Artois at the moment, but earlier earned my jealousy with her Stone Ruination IPA and Sierra Nevada Celebration ale.

The trip to the Brewhouse wouldn’t be a complete without some assclown yelling at the football team on tv, and spotting several people drinking Bud Light and Michelob Ultra. They have over 100 bottled beers and 17 taps, yet these roadkill brains waltz in a think “Hmmm… I’ll have a Bud Light!” Ugh.

After arriving back at SFHQ, we cracked the Slumbrew bomber, and my drinking companion was a bit confused by the aroma, saying “it smells west-coast-ish” but then “Vanilla? There’s a different sweetness to it…” before going with “Ice cream! Milkshake!” I found it had a malty nose, but with a sweetness behind it that was indeed hard to pin down… a creaminess, almost as in whipped cream. She chimed in again with “Strawberries?” deciding that she was “optimistic” about it, and finally squealing that it smelled like “the Strawberry Shortcake doll!” Not just strawberry shortcake, but the doll version of the cartoon character. I didn’t have the necessary past experience with said doll to confirm or deny that, but she seemed resolute. The taste? I got a maltiness first, with a slight fruity sweetness. The mid goes to a cucumber/ watermelon watery cleanse, then finishes with some hop pine bitterness. The Lady Friend’s thoughts: “Not at all what I expected. A lot more bitter that what I was smelling. Holy moly. I’ve got some work to do on that one.”

Sunday brought a trip to Curtis, since the Lady Friend determined that there wasn’t enough beer in my fridge. She likes to get sample 12 packs to taste the range of a particular brewery, and also expand her palate, seeing what she does and doesn’t like. I think one of her current favorites is the Ballast Point Imperial Coffee Vanilla Porter, which is pretty good for a girl who, before we met, rarely drank beer, and when she did, drank Bud Light. I’m such a good influence. I should start a beer boot camp. So, while I spent an hour crippled with beer ennui, unable to make a decision (went with a sixer of Avery IPA) she snagged a Saranac winter sampler (she wants the Chocolate Lager and Vanilla Stout) and a pint of Newcastle Brown, which apparently she’s never tried. Though it was sunny when we arrived, it was dark when we left Curtis, and popped over to the supermarket to throw elbows with the lunatics that were out shopping. Finally home, it was time for food, beer, and bed. Sleepy time.

Sidenote: While at Curtis, I causally tweeted that it would truly be my happy place if they carried Bully Boy. Sure enough, I started getting tweets from BBoy and Curtis claiming that the talks were happening, so keep an eye out for Bully Boy on the Curtis shelves, possibly in December. Bully!

The Monday Hangover: Oct 8-9

The Monday Hangover:
Other drink adventures of note from the weekend.

Following a trip to Curtis Liquors, I returned home with a sample pack of Mercury Brewing Ipswich Ales, including their Original Ale, Summer Ale, and IPA. I cracked an IPA (very nice, decently hoppy, but not out of control) before cocktail time. I finished the evening with an impulse buy, a Baltika Batch 9 lager.

Ok, the story here is that I saw what I swear was a plastic two litre bottle of this beer on the shelf. (UPDATE: Apparently it’s a 1.5l plastic bottle) For about $4. I almost bought it, because a) it’s 2l of beer for $4 and b) it was probably FANTASTICALLY horrifying. Then I noticed a pint bottle (this one was actually glass) on the shelf below for about $2, and decided that was a better idea. I took a closer look at the label and found that it was from St. Petersburg, Russia (awesome potential for a horror show) and that it was an 8% abv lager. Yikes. Bring it on. It smelled quite fruity, with a hint of alcohol to it, but tasted surprisingly pleasant. I was expecting much much worse, and was actually a bit disappointed that it was so drinkable. Best comparison? A malt liquor forty. It’s got that fruity, over-boozed taste to it, like they took a cheap lager and upped the abv with some grain spirit. I might very well go back for that giant plastic bottle.

Saturday began with a recon trip to Bin Ends, a new-ish liquor store in Braintree, near the South Shore Plaza mall. They deal mainly in wine, but also have a very nice craft beer selection (including the entire lineup of Clown Shoes brews) and an interesting offering of spirits. The staff was very nice and knowledgeable, and I snagged a Clown Shoes Tramp Stamp, and their new release, Muffin Top. I was also intrigued by something that caught my eye right at the front register; several bottles by Meletti, including a sambuca, and anisette, and an amaro. As I was explaining to the Lady Friend what an amaro is (a bitter Italian liqueur, used as an aperitif, or digestif), the clerk seemed impressed that I knew what I was talking about. I wound up buying the bottle of amaro as my bottle of the month (the way I build my bar is to budget myself to one new bottle of liquor per month). I usually aim for under $30, and the amaro clocked in at a very reasonable $18 (a 750mL bottle of Campari, a very well-known amaro, will run around $30 in MA). The Lady Friend wound up with a bomber of Unibroue’s Trois Pistoles, a Belgian strong dark ale she had enjoyed at one of Irish Lad & Wifey’s gatherings, some bottle of Malbec wine, and an inexpensive sparkling for further sabering adventures. Bin Ends was a score… great product, knowledgeable and friendly staff.

Following lunch, (with an Ipswich Summer Ale) we ventured into the city to feed the squirrels on Boston Common. Lady Friend was meeting a friend for dinner and a concert near Fenway, so we decided to lounge around the city for the afternoon, weather permitting. It wound up being above 80°, strange even for a New England October weekend. We packed a few travelers, the Clown Shoes Tramp Stamp, and a Bear Republic Racer 5, storing the amber nectar into some Nestea bottles for inconspicuous consumption in the park. Apparently, the police had their hands full dealing with some other dbags that day, so we sipped our cold tea in peace among the bucolic splendor of the Land of Squirrels.

Once Lady Friend departed for her rendezvous, I spent some more time among the bushy-tailed rodents enjoying my buzz until I hopped the T up to Somerville to visit the Irish Lad and Wifey. She picked me up from Davis Sq. and we opened a bottle of prosecco back at the homestead. Did I say opened? Rather, we sabered it off. Tee hee. A glass of bubbly was enjoyed before the Irish Lad joined, and I suggested he try a Black Velvet. We mixed the prosecco with a can of Young’s Double Chocolate Stout with very pleasant results. Better than Guinness, as there is an added element of the dark chocolate taste, nicely cut by the fruity wine. Irish Lad was a bit apprehensive at first, but then agreed that it was indeed a tasty tipple.

From there, we moved to a bottle of his recent homebrew, a hoppy brown ale. It nosed with a lot of hop, and tasted the same. There was a slight element of malty brown ale in the finish, but not quite enough, in my opinion. Since the brew has been bottle conditioning for about two weeks, we decided that with further conditioning, the overpowering hop would likely mellow, leaving a better balance in the taste. I got two bottles to bring home, which are currently fermenting further in the cabinet under my kitchen counter.

Lastly, he broke out a bottle of Harpoon 100 Barrel Series, #38 Dôcesná, which I found to be somewhat unpleasant. This seems to be a trend with the 100 Barrel Series, as we intensely disliked the Rye IPA. The Oyster Stout, however, is excellent. This Dôcesná creature poured medium dark, almost like a German dunkel, and smelled of Czech pils staleness. The taste was right in there as well, with a pils rubbery cardboard presence, and a slight dark maltiness to the finish. Ugh.

The Lady Friend and I reconvened the next day for lunch at the Union Brewhouse. We did some more work on our 99 beer lists, and she opted for an Opa Opa Pumpkin (Cask) Ale, while I started with a Hoegaarden Wit-Blanch, a very popular Belgian white ale. Second was a Lexington Brewing Kentucky Ale, tasty, though a bit forgettable, and lastly a Coastal Extreme Newport Storm Summer Ale, which is nicely hopped for a summer, and some call it an IPA.

Being Columbus Day, I had Monday off, and spent a good deal of it watching Ken Burns’ documentary “Prohibition,” while tasting an Ipswich Original Ale with lunch, finishing out the trio from Mercury Brewing. Dinner brought forth a Williams Brothers Joker IPA, and a post-meal tasting of the Meletti Amaro. More on that to come. Another drinktastic weekend drowned in intoxicants. Excellent.

The Monday Hangover: Sept 24-25

The Monday Hangover:
Other drink adventures of note from the weekend.

Let’s see if this works. Basically a section to sum up the other tasty imbibables consumed during the weekend that didn’t get their own post.

The trouble started Friday evening, when I stopped by Curtis Liquors with beer on the brain. I shouldn’t be allowed in there unsupervised.

Going to the liquor store on payday is dangerous.

However, Friday night is cocktail night, so the beer wonders would have to wait. This week’s new cocktail was the Nautilus.

On Saturday the Lady Friend and I lunched at the Union Brewhouse, further making our way down their 99 bottle list. Apparently, there is an updated list (it says Series #3 in the corner) and our waitress generously offered to transfer our progress onto a new card, since several breweries have been added or dropped from the list.
I started with a Jack’s Abbey Hoponius Union India Pale Lager (yes, India Pale LAGER) on tap, on a recommendation from the Irish Lad. Strangely, I got a heavy aroma and taste of mint in this brew. Lady Friend went with the Bear Republic Mach 10 Imperial IPA, which went on draught at the Brewhouse earlier in the week (and was the main reason for going there.) I went with the Mach 10 for my second bev (very good, more malty than hoppy), and she chose a Tuckerman Brewing Pale Ale.

From the Brewhouse, we popped over to Blue Hills Brewery in Canton. I’d already done a writeup on them before, so this was a social visit for a tasting, and to purchase a couple beers. We went through the sampling of their Watermelon Wheat (I passed on that one), Wampatuck Wheat (discounted bombers available currently at the brewery), Pub Draft IPA, Antimatter, Oktobrau, Black Hops and Imperial Red IPA. That actually sounds like a lot more beer than we had. It was all tasty as usual, and we chatted with a couple on their own beer tour from Norfolk, VA (they had stopped at Trinity Brewhouse in Providence earlier that day.) We purchased two Imperial Red IPA bombers (one for Irish Lad) and an Oktobrau and were on our way.

Since plans with Wifey and the Irish Lad fell through, we shrugged and went back to the Brewhouse. We even sat at the same table, but in different seats so it’s totally cool. I opened with a Cape Ann Brewing (Gloucester) Fisherman’s Brew, followed by a tasty Green Flash West Coast IPA, and finally a Goose Island Honkers Ale. The Lady Friend had a Tröegs HopBack Amber Ale, something from Stoudt Brewing, and a third I can’t remember. I can barely keep track of my own beers, never mind hers. (UPDATE: Apparently it was Peak Brewing’s Fall Summit Ale.)

Finally, it was back to SquirrelFarts HQ to continue the beer mayhem. We decided to crack a few bombers, and dove in with the Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA. Lady Friend LOVED it. I think she really enjoyed the roast bitterness of the toasted malt, but with some hop behind it. I will admit that it was quite tasty, but now I know the Lady Friend might enjoy some other black IPAs (a bit of a misnomer as it’s somewhat of an oxymoron to have a BLACK PALE ale. The craft beer world is still sorting that one out.) For dessert, it was time for a knockout punch, and we went with a big boy I had stashed in the back of the fridge: Avery’s Maharaja Imperial IPA (10.3% abv). There’s a bit of discussion attached with this one as well, since it’s such a killer malt bomb, that it borders on barleywine territory, yet still classifies as an IPA. The beer geeks are clamoring for a TRIPLE IPA category, as this one is on the far reaches of double/Imperial IPA land.

I had a shoot on Sunday, and Lady Friend went to visit her parents, so that did it for the weekend.

…unless you count the Redhook ESB I snagged in the afternoon.
…and the Anderson Valley Hop Ottin’ IPA after the shoot. Whoops.

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