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Peekskill Brewery

We took a short drive up the Hudson River from New York City to visit Peekskill Brewery recently. As you might have guessed, their beers were definitely the highlight. The Eastern Standard IPA and a Simple Sour had made its way to my lips in NYC before and our recent access to a vehicle was a great excuse to check out their new brewing facility.

As chance would have it our visit happened to be on a Saturday and we landed at the brewery early afternoon. Being the beer dork that I am, my primary interest was in tasting as many of the beers that I could and seeing what styles they had to offer that I hadn’t tried. It became clear to us right away a weekday might have been a better choice to do this. I’m sure I will sound like a NYC beer snob saying this, but Peekskill is a relatively small town and I got the impression that there wasn’t a lot of other activities available in town as the brewery was pretty packed on the first floor with people more interested in hanging out than sampling the beer. There’s nothing wrong with that I guess, but I feel like I was working too hard to try beer at an actually brewery and started wondering if I was in a pub.

The brewery pours wine, spirits and served food along with their own beers and offered a second level with more sit down type dining. Nerd alert, since ALL I cared about was the beer it was a bit tough to deal with the wine drinkers next to us tying one on, a bunch of mixed food smells and a staff that looks like they could have used one or two extra people behind the bar. I know this sounds like a dis, and it shouldn’t, but the layout and decor didn’t help anything either. I know, I know, my problem not theirs and I am sure the register receipts tell another story at the end of the day.

We ordered two flights from some servers who were working hard to keep up with the pace of everything – think making bloody marys, serving food, filling growlers, pouring flights and pints all at once. The flights came with 6/8  of the beers we wanted, which wasn’t such a big deal as all the beers were good and they pace was pretty hectic. It also kept us guessing a bit on trusting our taste buds vs. what we originally ordered. Some of the standouts we tried were Dream of the 90′s and Amazeballs (which after our visit medaled at the GABF), but again – all the beers were pretty solid. Note: Back in the city, I was later told their brewer (Jeff O’neil) brewed at Ithica for years before recently moving to Peekskill which seemed to explain a lot.

Bottom line for me was that the beers were the best thing this brewery had going and weekends were a bit to hectic of a day to go if all you are interested in is the beer. We left after two quick flights and might have stayed for a third or filled our growler if there was somewhere to stand and another server or two to expedite things. I know the facility is new, but they could definitely do with an interior decorator or somebody that could lend a bit of style and personality to the place. Probably a good place to go to hang out and have a bar food experience, but if you are a super beer nerd it might just be easier to wait for a tap takeover somewhere in the city and enjoy the beers that way. All in all we had a good time and despite the minor flaws.

American Craft Beer Week 2013

Join beer fans across the U.S. for American Craft Beer Week  May 13th-19th 2013 and celebrate small and independent craft breweries. Events across the nation are happening during the week to celebrate and grow the culture and community surrounding local and regional breweries and the craft beer they produce. Craft Beer Week Events at CraftBeer.com

American craft beer week is as much for beer drinkers as it is for beer brewers, breweries and all those that benefit from this in every local community. Events will be going on in all 50 states and it is a great time to participate in a craft beer industry that is long over due in the U.S. Be sure to also show your love to the BrewersAssociation.org who publish CraftBeer.com

Craft Beer in San Luis Obispo CA

In wine country but looking for some local craft beer? Here are 5 brewery/brewpubs to consider in the San Luis Obispo County area of CA, including one that is only a month old. Craft beer and local breweries continue to grow and this area is no exception. (Image Gallery at Bottom)

5 Craft Beer Spots to Visit:

 

Firestone Walker Brewing Company – Probably the strongest, largest and well recognized craft brewery at this time (in the area) with the reputation and medals to back it up. If there is only one brewery you have time for I would lean towards this one – mainly for the beers but they also have a large new tap room and restaurant and are right of HWY 101 in Paso Robles (very close to Barrelhouse Brewing too if you want to do a quick 2fer). They always seem to have a few beers only available on site and have a sit down casual restaurant and bar area.  Huge fan of all their beers and can’t go wrong. Brewery tours and gift shop on site as well.

Tap It Brewing – This San Luis Brewery is destined for great things after winning the American IPA category at GABF in 2012 (most competitive category at the competition) and craft beer fans should stop by check it out. They had a nice indoor/outdoor seating area with small plates last I was there but seemed to be expanding. A great American IPA and Pale Ale are around the area in 6 pack bottles. Huge fan of their APA and IPA and hear and Amber and Session Pale in bombers are coming soon.

BarrelHouse Brewing Company – This brewery just opened in Paso Robles not to far south of Firestone near the 101. A well designed outdoor area with a few tables, rock fountain and old truck turned stage sit just outside the small bar surrounded by fermentation tanks. I tried all 5 of the beers they had at the time and was impressed – big fan and not an average beer in the bunch. They said they were still playing with recipes and nothing was final but I would definitely say they know what they are doing so far when it comes to making beer. Music and event lovers may also want to keep an eye on this as the outdoor/performing space they have created looks like it might become pretty popular.

Molly Pitcher Brewing Company – Nice little brewpub in downtown Atascadero on the main drag offering a few mixed beers of their own and other craft beer on tap and limited rare or well curated bottles. A few tables out front and a modern rustic feel inside with a shuffleboard table very much fits the vibe and town. Worth stopping in if you find yourself in Atascadero. Only had their IPA on draft first time I visited but was good enough to convince me to come back as they usual have a few others. Sounded like they were expanding the brewhouse some time in the summer.

Dunbar Brewing – A cozy little brewpub in Santa Margarita with craft beer offerings brewed on site and a few other beers both on draft and in bottles. Small seating area outside in front and nice wood bar on the inside. If you are passing through Santa Margarita might be worth stopping by and checking out. Right at the north end of the main drag through town. Beers weren’t bad but nothing blew me away. I heard they were still dialing in a new brew system after a move however and will probably be back in the future to try the brews again.

2 East Village Beer Bars Not to Be Missed – New York City

New York City is a beer tourist’s dream come true. The sheer volume of quality beer bars and beer selection is enough to please any palate. Here are two beer bars and beer stores that stand out in a crowded field and are all relatively close to each other in the East Village / Lower East Side area.


Jimmy’s No. 43
43 East 7th St. (between 2nd and 3rd Ave.) – Map

jimmys no 43We have never been disappointed with the selection of amazing and constantly rotating beers available at Jimmy’s. This is a place you can walk into any day of the week and find a beer you haven’t tried and maybe can’t find anywhere else in the city. There always seems to be a few beers from local and regional breweries available, as well as some international offerings and usually a solid Belgian offering or hard to find seasonal. One of the things we love about this place is that you can ALWAYS count on them having something different than the standard lineup the dozens of other neighborhood bars are offering – something the everyday beer drinker in NYC can take solace in because after a few days drinking through the East Village bars you get a little tired of seeing the same craft lineups day after day. Not mention the incredible farm to table changing menu, weekly events and tastings or other events always going on. Admittedly I have a soft spot for this bar and more than a few pints have met their end being placed at the bar in front of me.

 

Proletariat
102 St. Marks Place (between 1st Ave & Ave A) –  Map

proletariatWhat used to be a tiny oasis of rare and usual beers is starting to get a little more crowded and well know on the beer scene, and rightly so. The focus here is on harder to find unusual beers and the bar tenders consistently have an amazing knowledge of beers and know how to treat the customers (even the ones they might not like or who know nothing about beer). This is another great place to go if you have spent a few hours or days drinking up the usual craft beer spots in the East Village and are looking for something new and different. Highly recommend coming here with a clear palate and sampling some of their offerings. The only challenge is that you’ll have to wait until 5pm when they open, and if you’re like me and do your best beer drinking in the early afternoon it might be a little challenging.

 

Suggestion: Beers at Proletariat right when they open at 5pm so you can snag a seat at the bar and an early dinner afterwards at Jimmy’s No. 43 a short walk away.


Proletariat View Larger Map


Jimmys No. 43 View Larger Map

SingleCut Beersmith opens in Astoria Queens

Singlecut Beersmiths, a new craft brewery in Queens NYC, will have a grand opening on Dec 8th, 2012, from noon-6pm. The brewery has been working hard to open in their brand new 30bbl Brewhouse in Astoria, Queens (N,Q train to Astoria-Ditmars then a 10-15 min walk, Singlecut Brewery Location). They will also have their new taproom open every Thursday/Friday from 5-8PM and Saturday’s noon – 6PM.

singlecut brewery taproom astoria queens nycEvery new craft brewery is a welcome addition to the neighborhood, even in a city as big as New York. I have yet to actually taste any of the beers from SingleCut, but expect to see them on tap lines soon in quality beer bars around Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and beyond. So far I have only heard good things and can’t wait to taste some of their beers.

The man behind Singlecut Beersmiths is Rich Buceta. Rich brings a passion for quality craft beer and is committed to brewing all his beer locally at the new brewery (read, no contract brewing). After years working in the advertising world, Rich continually developed his passion for beer in Canada’s vibrant beer scene, got bit by the homebrew bug like so many other brewers and now seems ecstatic to bring his love of beer back to his birthplace of Queens.

Singlecut Beers

As the brewery is still putting the final touches on building out the brewhouse, I am gleening information on what  beers will be available from the Singlecut Blog. There are also some recent pictures of some Rum barrels it looks like they managed to secure and I can only imagine what they will be able to create with those. The following is from the Singlecut website:

  • Singlecut Bob Sunburst Finish Lagrrr – IBU 43 | ABV 6.0%
    Crisp and clean while maintaining a malt complexity and assertive hop presence that has typical lagers sweating in panic. Proprietary ingredients brings and added dimension.
  •  Singlecut 19-33 Lagrrr – IBU 45 | ABV 5.4
    Flagship Lager
  • Singlecut Dean Pacific NW Mahogany Ale IBU 73 | ABV 6.0%
    PNW hop and malt attitude.
  • Singlecut Billy 18-Watt IPA – IBU 66 | ABV 5.0%
    A sessionable IPA with all the lupulin crunch you demand
  • Singlecut Billy Half-Stack IPA – IBU 88 | ABV 6.6%
    Crank the hops to the point right before the taste buds bleed with an original and hard to find hop blend.

In a city with so many passionate craft beer fans, Singlecut is poised to succeed. Both Queens and all of New York City benefit from the hard work and investment that Rich has decided to make and what better way to support the brewery than by drinking the beer! They also have some Singlecut merch available online. It is not too often that a new brewery opens in somewhere as expensive as New York City, and it is definitely a welcomed addition. Grab your growler and some friends and head up to Queens to try some of their local beer and bring some back with you.

Read more about Singlecut’s Rich Buceta in this interview at CraftBeerCoach.com. You can also hear an interview with Rich and other brewers on Beer Sessions Radio on the Heritage Radio Network

 

NYC Craft Beer Festival

The NYC Craft Beer Festival Winter Harvest is happening on Dec 1st. As of now tickets are still available and it might be a good idea to get your tickets as soon as you can if you plan on attending. According to their website, the dates have moved around a little in the wake of hurricane Sandy, but if you had tickets before they will still be valid.

Winter Seasonal Beers will be the focus of the event and if you are interested in attending check our the NYC Craft Beer Fest Winter Harvest details page.

Around 150 beers
Around 75 Breweries
VIP & Connoisseur Tickets

Beers, Bikes & Hikes in Colorado USA

The state of Colorado surpassed any expectations I had as a first time visitor. After a solid week of local craft beer, riding bikes, hiking and touring breweries, I can see why most of the states residents are so happy living there. The huge amount of outdoor activities available and wide variety of local and regional food and drink make Colorado a great place to visit.

estes coneOn a recent trip offered by Zephyr Adventures, I was lucky enough to experience a variety of these things in Fort Collins, Boulder, Rocky Mountain National Park and Denver. Myself and van full of other active beer adventurers headed out under the lead of two amazing Zephyr guides for a busy week. We started off on the mellow bike paths of Fort Collins we wound our way through local Fort Collins beer makers like Funkwerks and Odell Brewing Co. before a full tour of New Belgium Brewing. Dinner presented us with a chance to try over 100 local drafts at The Mayor of Old Town before some well deserved rest at the beautifully restored Armstrong Hotel.

In the morning we were off to Rocky Mountain National Park for a day hike and night at the legendary Stanley Hotel. The guides had all the driving and meals planned out leaving us to get to know each other on the short van ride and take in the Rocky Mountain landscapes. After the hike we swung by the Estes Park Brewery before cleaning up and heading to dinner at a local restaurant and of course, more local beer.

boulderThe next few days proved to be equally active and enjoyable. A more intense hike up to Estes Cone provided incredible views from 11K feet of the continental divide, while more mellow bicycle loops and light hikes in Boulder gave a different but equally beautiful perspective of the landscape. These activities during the day paired nicely with more brew pubs, local beers and food from places like Oskar Blues Brewery, West Flanders Brewing Co., and other Boulder Breweries. I even managed to take a few extra days on my own after to attend the Great American Beer Festival.

If you love beer, love being active and are looking for a new place to vacation, Colorado USA is a great place to start. Guided vacations offered by tour companies such as Zephyr Adventures make it easy to experience a variety of areas and activities while leaving the planning up to them.

 

Boulder Colorado Beer

Boulder Colorado has a lot of things going for it, one of which is craft beer. Colorado’s first microbrewery, Boulder Beer Company, first started brewing beer in 1979 and has never looked back. I would put the brewery on the must visit list for craft beer fans and geeks visiting Boulder. The brewery also offers food, has a nice backyard area and is very bike friendly. Some other breweries you will definitely want to check out are on the map below including Avery Brewing Company, Boulder Beer Company, Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery, Upslope Brewing Company, Walnut Brewery, West Flanders Brewing Company

Boulder Breweries Map 


View Boulder Colorado Breweries in a larger map

In addition to craft beer, Boulder has a lot to offer the outdoor and nature enthusiasts, foodies, bike riders, hikers and more. This city sits around 5,400 feet and is located in a sweet spot between the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and not far from where the great plains begin. Boulder Colorado USA tourist info.

1 Day in Boulder Beer Tourist Recommendation:

Rent a bicycle from Full Cycle for the day ($30) or just a few hours and take advantage of the extensive bike trails and routes (boulder bike route map) or the popular 15 mile and 24 mile bike loops. Stop in at the Boulder Company for lunch and some great craft beers. Ride around town and/or continue the loop in the afternoon and take it easy. For dinner, check out the recently opened West Flanders Brewing Co. If the weather’s good, Mountain Sun and Walnut aren’t too far away and are a medium walk or short bike ride. If you are into food and beer, the downtown area should have just about everything you need. There are also some nice light hikes and trails.

Boulder Brewing Company Video:

Hurricane Sandy Misc Pics NYC 2012

Some mixed photos from Lower Manhattan in the days around hurricane sandy in NYC 2012. View pics or read more below.

 

Hurricane Sandy got a ton of media hype and coverage well before it arrived to our area in New York City. Our apartment is on the 4th floor in the Lower East Side (near Houston x Ave B), and right on the edge Evacuation Zone C – meaning we weren’t really in much danger of flooding. Because of all the build up and notice before the storm’s arrival, we were pretty well supplied to ride it out.

We filled our bathtub full of water, had a few gallons of other clean water, a liter and a half of bourbon, a liter of vodka, a good 24 mixed beers or so, a big bag of candles, two headlights with new batteries, fully charged cell phones, laptops etc. We also had plenty of food on hand, made a huge crockpot of carnitas before the storm hit, cranked up the freezer and fridge temps and froze a bunch of extra ice. Pretty legit preparation if you ask me.

Monday night in the early evening the power went out, but the storm generally didn’t seem too bad. A few heavy wind gusts from time to time but not much rain all things considered. Apparently the tidal surge from the full moon, high tide and arriving storm is what really caused a lot of the damage. Water crept up the rivers on both sides of manhattan, coming over the west side highway and into the west side as well as coming over the east river, across the FDR, and over to Ave C. in certain parts of Alphabet City near 8-10th streets.

There were a lot of cars that had been moved by flowing water and a high water mark close to waist high near Ave. C and 9th street. A lot of basements were flooded and people were pumping them out a day or two after.

The power and in turn cell and internet service went out Monday and wasn’t restored until Friday night in our area. We had cold water and gas for the stove so it wasn’t too bad. A lot of the taller buildings that rely on elevators and water pumps to circulate drinking water were in worse shape.

Strangely enough it was actually kind of nice to spend a few days in the urban silence of the power outage without any connection to the news, web etc. We managed to get a newspaper after the 2nd day and check in on things and were a bit surprised to see how much Hurricane Sandy had done to New York, New Jersey and the east coast.

The pictures above are a small mix of phone images taken between Mon and Friday in various parts of the Lower East Side in the wake of the hurricane. The streets were dark at night and traffic coming off the Williamsburg bridge with no stoplights was a bit hectic but all in all people pullled together and helped each other out.

More links and Hurricane Sandy Related NYC stuff

MTA Flooded Subway Tunnel Photos

Limited Subway Service Map after Sandy and power outages