Sippin’ on one of this weekend’s leftovers when it was my first time having it on bottle. You guys know I think Joe Mama’s is one of the best (non-whale) beers out there. The bottle version is contract brewed through Mendocino Brewing Company, and hits pretty close to the target. Little less coffee, little thinner than the real deal, but that could just my tastes. Overall still a really solid beer.
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.
Hit up The Peekskill Brewery last Sunday on the way home from Bedford Hills where I picked up my Athena Audition speakers. We actually stopped at Captain Lawrence Brewing Company first, not realizing they were closed on Sundays but Peekskill was so close it didn’t really matter. This place was actually surprisingly good and I’m glad we ended up stopping there instead. Atmosphere was great, bar staff was stellar, and the beers were better than expected. I agree with some of the reviews that the food prices were kinda outa whack but that wouldn’t prevent me from visiting again.
We settled into a couple of stools at the bar with an extremely positive and helpful bartender who offered us several tastings without a hassle and great recommendations. I was rocking my Maker’s Mark shirt I picked up at the distillery and was immediately offered a taste of their Vanilla Bourbon Stout (8.5%), which I was told is made with Maker’s soaked vanilla beans. This was an extremely tasty stout I’ve previously sampled at TAP NY. Elise grabbed a 10oz of this while I settled down with a tulip glass of Old Wagon Ale at 8.2%. These are beers that are available year-round and highly suggest getting if you’re ever around. There’s a $1 off per beer foursquare special if you’re into that sorta thing, too.
While we sipped on these we put in our order for food, again both dishes on recommendation of the bartender. The local cheese and charcuterie board piqued Elise’s interest and the Scotch egg was touted as a local favorite. I’d never even heard of a Scotch egg before but after listening to the description I knew I had to give it a shot.
It came out presented on a small plate with a few greens on the side. It was a soft-boiled egg (very slightly runny yolk) that’s shell was removed, then wrapped in sausage, breaded and deep fried. This was an extremely unique combo and definitely something I’ll have to try to replicate at home. If you’ve never had this before, you gotta try it at least once.
The local cheese and charcuterie board was honestly a little light for the amount of money it cost. I don’t know if it was just the presentation on the plate or what but as you can see from the picture it looked sparse. Considering we were splitting the board, we knew we were going to have to supplement with something else so I put in a quick order for some of their house-made handcut fries. The fries were awesome.
Somewhere during the meal I was wavering between my second drink being a Super Kitty from Keegan Ales or something else from Peekskill. I generally try not to drink guest brews while at a brewery, but as I’ve mentioned before Keegan’s Joe Mama’s Milk is one of my favorite beers and I just haven’t seen Super Kitty on tap any place else. The always accommodating bartender poured me a taste of the Super Kitty to help me decide. I’m extremely surprised this has a rating of Exceptional on BeerAdvocate. This tasted like Hurricane Kitty with a splash of Malibu Rum. Tons of coconut I wasn’t really expecting from the beer. I passed.
The bartender suggested a glass of their Society & Solitude Series #1, a collaboration beer with Hill Farmstead Brewery, rated the #6 brewery in the world according to Rate Beer. It’s a single hop Double IPA brewed with Sigel Hop Farms’ “high oil” Cascade hops and was god damn delicious. Since this beer isn’t going to be around forever, and Peekskill is one of the few places it’s actually available I just had to get a glass. I’m a big fan of beers made with cascade hops and this beer is no different; huge citrus in the aroma and taste as expected.
There was some sticker shock when we got the bill, but overall Peekskill was a very pleasant experience and it earns a highly recommend from me. It’s conveniently located right at the Metro-North station so the city folk can make a stop without even getting a DUI. They’re in the process of moving to a new location just a block away to expand to a new a 15 bbl system from their current 3.5 bbl system, and I’ll be sure to check out the new digs.