Southern Tier Beer Social at The Lionheart Pub – Nov 8th [Upcoming Events]

— From The Lionheart’s Homepage:

  • Pumking
  • Krampus
  • Oak Aged Unearthly
  • Gemini
  • Mokah
  • Creme Brulee
  • Oat
  • Jahva
  • Choklat
  • Back Burner
  • Southern Tier IPA
  • Harvest
  • 2X IPA
  • 2X Stout
  • 2X Christmas Ale
  • Old Man
  • Porter

Pretty solid lineup for the Southern Tier fans out there. Awesome to see a tap takeover like this in the area that isn’t for Dogfish Head or just three or four kegs of a brewery’s beers. (Not that I don’t enjoy DFH tap takeovers, but I do like to see new and different things in the area.)

Bourbon Barrel-Aged Backburner, my current favorite beer from Southern Tier, is missing but I’m sure it’s pretty difficult to get your hands on a keg of the stuff. However, those looking for it can find it on tap at The Bier Abbey right now.

(Picture is from my tour at Southern Tier.)

———

The Lionheart Pub (link) | 448 Madison Ave Albany, NY (map) | All The Lionheart Pub Posts

First Pumking of the Season!

- What a great way to warm up next to the fire last night.

Southern Tier Choklat Birthday Cake with Creme Brulee Ganache

- Elise wanted to keep up with the “beer” theme for the birthday so naturally a beer cake with a beer ganache was the way to go. Elise took the Beeroness’ Chocolate Stout Cake with Porter Ganache recipe and adapted it to use some of my local faves. I think that’s the best way to go with ANY recipe that calls for beer. Too often someone will water down a beer recipe to use something that’s available nationally just to make it easier on readers, but I say stay local.

Anyways, as we didn’t have the proper bakeware and also almost doubled the size of the recipe, the cake was definitely unruly, and we really need dedicated cake pans instead of Pyrex next time (the Pyrex stuff is rounded all over and doesn’t lend well to make a double layer cake) but it was delicious just the same.

Belgium Comes to Cooperstown Camping

This is without a doubt my favorite part of the BCTC experience. Belgian after Belgian after Belgian gets old pretty quick (for me) these days so it’s good to take a break from it all and start drinking something different. That plus walking around meeting new people who are willing to share a beer and food, dropping in on other friend’s camp sites, watching the movie and the fireworks all make for a really great night.

We started the night drinking some really great beers, eating a shit ton of brats in sauerkraut, and ended the morning around 6AM drinking pretty much anything that still had liquid in it (several times I was chugging a magnum of Jameson, ugh). Yes, we were “those guys” who were being complained to “take it down a notch”. Yeah, that didn’t really work out, and pretty much all of the other stragglers that were still up at any of the campsites within earshot (and further) came over to hang out and kinda just made things louder. Honestly this was the best time I’ve ever had at BCTC and I thank all who were there to hang out.

Thanks to Mike, Jon, Scott Jr., and Adam for sharing!

The lineup of the night:

  • King Henry – Goose Island Beer Co.
  • 2008 Bourbon County Brand Stout – Goose Island Beer Co.
  • Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout – Goose Island Beer Co.
  • Juliet – Goose Island Beer Co.
  • Curieux - Allagash Brewing Company (not pictured)
  • Imperial Milk Porter (Stranahan Whiskey Barrel Aged) – Cigar City Brewing
  • Frangelic Mountain Brown – Founders Brewing Company
  • Three Penny Especiale – Lawson’s Finest Liquids
  • Bourbon Barrel Backburner - Southern Tier Brewing Company (not pictured growler)

Southern Tier Brewing Company – Oak Aged Unearthly

- Nice oaky DIPA that hides its ABV well. Between this and the Bourbon Barrel Aged Back Burner, Southern Tier is killing it this year.

Southern Tier Brewing Company Phin & Matt’s Beer Bread

I’ve had this mix from Brick Village Gourmet sitting around since we did the brewery tour at Southern Tier back in January and over the weekend I got bored and decided to bake this puppy up. Instructions are on the back, it’s pretty easy to follow.

I tried mixing this up in the KitchenAid but it’s really not that kind of dough. Just use a spatula, you’ll be better off. The instructions imply you can put the bread in just about pan you have around but I used a tradition buttered loaf pan.

Of course there’s no point in making beer bread without enjoying another New York brew while you’re waiting for it to bake in the oven.

About 30 minutes later you have something that comes out looking like this. Not too shabby huh?

The consistency was like a mix between that of regular bread and banana bread. Elise didn’t love it, but I didn’t mind. This slathered up with garlic butter made a pretty tasty treat.

Hunter, NY: TAP New York Craft Beer and Food Festival [#TAPNY]

TAP was pretty laid back this year for me. Long gone are the days of going full retard at a beer fest. I checked out the beer list on The Foaming Head and made a plan of action before even heading to the event. I made a small list of wants and sipped sparingly on the few beers on the beer list that I haven’t had yet. There’s really no point in drinking every beer under the tent when most of them are something you’ve had before or something that doesn’t interest you. TAP NY still has plenty of new breweries and new offerings from past attendees to make the trip worth it, though, plus the drive, the views and the food make it one of my favorite beers festivals in New York (a close second to Ommegang’s Belgium Comes to Cooperstown). There were a lot of great beers there that day but the most memorable for me were the Southern Tier Bourbon Barrel Aged Backburner, Keegan Super Kitty and the Spider Bite Boris the Spider.

Southern Tier BA Backburner was absolutely phenom. I had at least three pours of it throughout the day (spaced pretty evenly, it clocks in at 14.1% ABV). I’m a huge Southern Tier fan, I’ve had most if not all of their beers, and have even made the 6 hour trek to their brewery in Lakewood, NY this past winter. This is by far the best beer I’ve had from them, and the best beer at TAP NY for me.

I’ve been to Keegan’s more times than I can count and it’s a regular stop when the boys make the trek to the Palisades Mall to see a movie in full IMAX glory when that retrofit bullshit at Crossgates won’t do. Still, after all of those times I’ve been I haven’t seen Super Kitty on tap at the brewpub. The last (and only) time I’ve had it was a tasting while at the Peekskill Brewery and walked away less than enthusiastic. The flavor was off. It may have been the keg or the line but whatever it was it wasn’t good by any means. When I saw it on tap at the Keegan’s booth I knew I had to try it. The (unlisted) Black Eye Black IPA was on tap which I’ve enjoyed in the past but since I’ve had it before I really wanted to give Super Kitty another shot. The second try was light years better. This is as good if not possibly better than Joe Mama’s Milk for me, and that’s saying a lot since sweet, slightly fruity beers like this aren’t really my thing. I went back for seconds later on but the line just about stretched out the door. Another time perhaps.

Lastly there was the Boris the Spider Russian Imperial Stout from a new brewery called Spider Bite Beer Co. in Holbrook. Russian Imperial Stout is one of my favorite types of beer and with it being one of (possibly the only) RIS at TAP NY I beelined there for my very first taste of the day. The beer was fantastic and if their other beers are as good as their stout they definitely deserve the F.X. Matt Memorial Cup they took home this year.

Other than hawking the kitchen for waiting when corn dogs were coming out*, the last hour of the day was spent hanging out and watching the individual craft beers being judged and the announcement of the medal winners. I’ll have a second set of pictures from that in a post later.

The rest of my pictures of the first part of the day can be found here.

*For some reason corn dogs, not beer, are the most sought after commodity at TAP NY. Go figure.

Southern Tier Brewing Company Tour [Part 2]

After a treacherous trip and a quick pint while we waited for our tour guide, we entered the brew house. The doors open to a row of huge fermentation tanks that you walk along before getting to the first stop. The guide talked us through the typical process of making beer while sipping on some of my favorite beers. The lowest alcohol beer was their IPA, starting at 7.3%. From there we went to their new 2X Stout weighing in at 7.5%, followed by the 2X IPA at 8.2.

Now, there’s a lot of haters out there regarding their new 2X Milk Stout. I had it for my first time at Hoosick Street Beverage while we were picking up brews before Man Camping. Granted, I’m a huge Milk Stout fan and am willing to forgive even when it isn’t the best beer. I ended up finishing the bottle we tried at HSB, and picking up a 6-pack to go along with the Dales Pale Ale and The Alchemist Heady Topper I brought for the trip. It’s definitely not the best Milk Stout I’ve had (Joe Mama’s) or even Southern Tier’s best stout (Choklat) but I’ll gladly drink it again.

After trying the first few beers, pitchers of which were split between the patrons (some partaking in more of the pitchers than others *ahem*) we went for a walk around. We were able to see some of the beers they are barrel aging which, much like their oak-aged Pumpking, is something new for Southern Tier. Their large keg cooler and their bottle storage rooms followed. Swinging back around to where we started we finished off pitchers of Oak Aged Pumpking (8.6%) and Choklat, a whopping 11% ABV beer.

At this point, lunch was very much in order. We arrived back to The Empty Pint to find that almost all of the tables were filled. We ordered up two pulled pork sandwiches and sat down with our new-found friends from the tour to chat over a pitcher of Raspberry Wheat Ale (a much needed break from the big beers at only 4.5%).

After lunch we still had quite the trek ahead of us. We still needed to check into our hotel in Rochester two and a half hours away, make it to the Lovin’ Cup to listen to some tunes and drink some Three Heads Brewing beers. There I would encounter one of the most mind-blowing fried snacks I’ve ever had in my life…

Southern Tier Brewing Company Tour [Part 1]

Last Saturday we decided to take a cross-state road trip to take full advantage of the three day weekend. We had several options, which spawned the longest Facebook post in creation, but eventually decided on going to Southern Tier Brewing Company for a brew tour and Homegrown presented by Three Heads Brewing and Lovin’ Cup in Rochester. My day looked something a little like this:

I’ve been dying to get to Southern Tier and this time of year was ideal for going since I could get Choklat straight from the source. What was not ideal was the 4 snow storms I had to drive through on roads that weren’t yet plowed and having to get up at 5AM to make it to there in plenty of time before the 1PM tour. Google puts the trip at 6 hours and 3 minutes. We got there in around 5:20. Not too shabby considering the conditions and Elise having her eyes closed for half of the time due to my “unique driving skills”.

Anyways, we arrived a little bit early and we had some time to kill. Having never been we decided we had to check out a Wegmans. Being huge Stew Leonard’s fans we had to see how it stacked up. I see some parts like the huge cafeteria and prepared food sections that Price Chopper is clearly trying to rip off, but it’s definitely no Stew Leonard’s. I wouldn’t mind having one in my backyard, though. However, there was something going on there I’d never seen at a grocery store before: a beer tasting. Knowledgeable staff from Ellicottville Brewing Co. (who actually went to Union College and we had plenty of things to chat about) directed me to some beers I couldn’t get around Albany and I walked out with a 12 pack from Great Lakes Brewing Company and a make-your-own sixer.

We stayed there and snooped around a little longer than I’d like (I was gonna be pissed if we got there late and they ran out of spots for the tour) but we were fine. Southern Tier’s pub is called “The Empty Pint” and we were hoping to grab some lunch before the tour. They let you bring your own snacks and such, but they have some soups and pulled pork sandwiches available. Unfortunately, the food wasn’t warmed up (I assume it’s made off premises) so we were left to drink our first pint and the tour on an empty stomach. In retrospect, don’t do this. All of the beers on the tour were 7.5%, on top of a pint of Choklat…eh. Sometime during my pint it started blizzarding, naturally. After poking my head around a bit at the merchandise and the enclosed patio it was time for the tour. We’ll talk about that in my Part 2 post…