Garden Variety New Yorker



Blogroll

Suds

Meta

Archives

Technorati Profile



Fair Lawn Promenade Needs a Brewpub

Fair Lawn is getting something called the Fair Lawn Promenade along route 208.  This is right next to the gym, so I noticed recently when they started leveling out the ground and clearing the weeds.  It’s been empty lots for a long time.

 

The Fair Lawn Planning Board has approved the application for the “Fair Lawn Promenade,” a proposed mixed-use village on the Route 208 Northbound site of the former Kodak property.

 

My first thought: It needs a brewpub.   The signs mention retail and dining, so why not?  It profiles as a “upscale town center environment” and given the inclusion of some affordable two-bedroom apartments, it stands to reason that it will promote people just like me.  By that I mean couples in-between owning a house and graduating from college.  In my experience this is a demographic that appreciates real beer and would enjoy being able to get locally brewed beer a stone’s throw from home.

 

So why not a brewpub, preferably one with a beer garden, for us to enjoy?  There are already a bunch of apartments within walking distance, which is where I live, so it’d be a great place for a happy hour or watching a game.  It would create that nice city benefit of living within walking distance of a cool bar or restaurant while still living in the suburbs.

 

I saw brewpub even though a typical sports bar with a good beer selection would probably work too.  This particular area could use a microbrewery serving good food, because to my knowledge there isn’t one anywhere nearby.  Building from scratch could provide the ability to factor in a nice beer garden too, with long benches and trees.

 

Certainly if I had the capital to start up a business, I’d be all over this.

May 11th, 2012 by Ceetar in Beer, Breweries, dinner, Food, new jersey
0 Comments  |  Read More >> 



Session Beers the new Craze? Brewing a Blonde

It seems session beers are becoming the newest craze in craft/home brewing.  Beers low in alcohol and less intense than imperial oatmeal stouts aged in alcohol barrels provide the ability to sit and enjoy a couple of beers without them hitting you like a ton of bricks.

 

My last beer was the tasty, but still toasty and dark, MADhouse Coco-Nutz.  So this time I’m going light, and making a Mexican Blonde.  it’ll be a simple blonde ale with blue agave syrup and Mt. Hood hops. It should be ready just in time for baseball season.

January 23rd, 2012 by Ceetar in baseball, Beer
0 Comments  |  Read More >> 



Longhorn Steakhouse Review and Beer List

Me and my wife went to Longhorn Steakhouse for our 15th mensiversary last night.

 

First impressions for me at most restaurants are formed by the drink list.  Naturally I look for beer first, but a nice signature cocktail list is impressive as well.  Longhorn did well in that regard, they had a couple of interesting looking drinks and some margaritas.  The beer was less impressive, but they did have 10 or so taps and they weren’t horrible.  Mostly the expanded standards, highlighted by Sam Adams, Sierra Nevada, Blue Moon and Leinenkugel.

 

As far as the menu, my biggest complaint would be that there didn’t seem to be any beers that cried out to be paired with steak.  No porter, no malty ESB.  Newcastle Brown Ale would probably be the closest.   In essence the beer menu is a national one with very little thought put into it.

 

The food was pretty good.  I actually enjoyed the appetizer, salad and sides more than the steak.  I got some firecracker spicy chicken rolls, a Caesar salad, and a loaded baked potato.  My steak was a bourbon-glazed bacon-wrapped filet that was cooked medium, although it looked a wee bit more than that.  It seemed more a generic steak than a filet, and tasted like it.  I guess you get what you pay for, but it does brand itself as a steakhouse so I was surprised that that was the only part I was disappointed in.  It also needed more glaze and crispier bacon.

 

Ultimately stuffed, we passed on dessert even thought it looked delicious.

January 11th, 2012 by Ceetar in Beer, dinner, Food, marriage, mensiversary
3 Comments  |  Read More >> 



Homebrew Update: MADhouse Coco-Nutz

MADhouse Coco-Nutz is MAD Breweries latest homebrew experiment.  I loved the Toasted Coconut Brown Ale I had in Hawaii from Kona Brewing Company, and was lamenting that I couldn’t get it in New Jersey.  So I spent some time formulating a recipe to try to clone it.  What I got was my most delicious homebrew yet.

 

I didn’t quite nail Kona, but nothing is ever going to live up to the memory of drinking fantastic beer at a brewery with your new wife while honeymooning on the big island of Hawai’i, but I did get a tasty nut brown ale with a smooth coconut taste.   My coconut was not as strong as I remember from Kona, mixing in with the roasted/coffee flavors of the malt instead of bolding standing out.  Next time I’ll probably toast the coconut a little longer, add a little more, and leave it in the wort boil for a little bit longer.  I’ll also probably cut back a little on the darker malts, as it may have become a darker brown ale than I was intending despite only being 4.5% ABV.

 

I enjoy MAD Wedtoberfest, but I think this is the first beer that’s truly crossed the line from homebrew curiosity to genuinely tasty beer.

 

I was also pleased to learn that Kona’s beers will start being distributed somewhat nearby in South Jersey.   The Koko Brown is part of the Aloha seasonal series, and should hopefully be available to me soon to reminisce with.

 

updated with a link to the recipe I used, which still could use some tweeking: MAD Coco-Nutz

January 5th, 2012 by Ceetar in Beer
3 Comments  |  Read More >> 



Good Gift Idea For A Homebrewer

Homebrewers like making beer.  It’s what they do.  Buying them a gift that plays to this hobby can be overwhelming, unless you’re working off a specific list, but where’s the fun in that?   You’re probably not going to just buy them a bag of grain, although I’m sure many homebrewers would appreciate a random specialty grain or just some extra normal malted barley.

 

I suggest the complete supplies for a full 5-gallon batch of beer.  There are many many recipe databases out there, and all it requires you to know is if the brewer is All-Grain, strictly extract, or extract with steeping.   There is beerrecipes.org, the Beer Recipator, Beersmith, or the homebrewtalk.com recipe database.  Pick a recipe that you think you’ll both like, order the hops, grain and/or malt, and yeast, and have a fun and different present for the holidays.

 

Really, how could you go wrong with a present that’s both beer, and a hobby?   On top of that it’s an excuse to hang out together again in the near future, when the beer is ready for consumption.

 

Fyi to any friends/family that may be reading this:  This is not a hint.  I don’t get to brew (Extract with grains if you must know) often enough to really need my next beer picked out and waiting for me.

December 1st, 2011 by Ceetar in Beer, christmas, life
0 Comments  |  Read More >> 



The Final Frontier Of Beer: Catering Halls

Beer has definitely arrived.   Whether you call it micro, craft or something else, you can often find more than just Budweiser and Coors when you go out just about anywhere you’d expect to find alcohol.  The one place where you almost never have any variety at all is in a catering hall.

 

I’ve been to a lot of weddings in the last couple of years, and excepting ones that weren’t in catering halls, the beer selection is non-existent.   Most cases even the hard alcohol isn’t very extensive; I’ve been to places that don’t even have tequila.  Beer is often just Budweiser, Bud Light, and/or Coors light.   A catering hall’s idea of a broad selection is having bottles of Corona and Heineken.  I consider it a coup when I find a place that has something as exotic as Sam Adams Boston Lager.

 

It’s like the halls give no thought at all to providing quality beverages for their guests.  This isn’t exclusive to beer, as you often find catering halls serve generic uninteresting food as well.   Perhaps because most of their customers are things like weddings and parties that aren’t often repeat business, they’re not as focused on providing an overall awesome experience.  Maybe it’s because many times the customers are there to party, dance and celebrate, not to eat and drink.  Or maybe we’ve been so trained to not expect a great meal or a good beer that we no longer demand it.

November 17th, 2011 by Ceetar in Beer, Uncategorized
2 Comments  |  Read More >> 



Transitioning From Beer Douche to Beer Geek

You know the type.  That guy who is somewhat new to craft beer, and always is talking about it.  He asks the waiter “What microbrews due you have?” and often orders the trendiest one.   He (or she) berates your choice of beverage, and seems to bask in the superiority of having ‘discovered’ beer.

 

The problem is; he doesn’t really like it.  He thinks he’s supposed to like an IPA so he drinks it, but his palate isn’t used to the bitterness.  He’ll hear about some new super double IPA and have to have it, not prepared for the intense taste.  This guy actually is a disservice to beer, as anyone that is trying to follow him into the world of beer may be turned off by the intense flavors.   Real beer is not about intensity, it’s about flavor.   There is nothing wrong with enjoying a good wheat beer, or a simple pilsner that’s well crafted.  Just like some people will never enjoy 100,000 scoville unit hot wings, some people will never enjoy 100 IBU beers.

 

That’s the transition stage from beer douche to beer geek.  But It’s also a good way to figure out what you like.  Some people rave about Imperial Stouts.  I tend not to like them too much so I don’t order them, even if they’re somewhat trendy.  IPAs are acquired tastes, and many people don’t want that much bitterness in their beer.

 

Another problem is that there are a lot of mediocre breweries out there.  They’re usually still better than the Bud stuff, but just because a beer is micro doesn’t mean it’s good.  So as someone breaking into beer (and I can see it being pretty daunting these days) just trying new things, it’s easy to find stuff that’s not very pleasant.  But as you learn what’s delicious, both in general and to yourself, it’s a world of difference.   Sixpoint, Troegs, Brooklyn, and Flying Fish are some of the breweries I trust to make high quality beer ‘around’ NYC.

November 2nd, 2011 by Ceetar in Beer, Breweries, new jersey, new york, Uncategorized
2 Comments  |  Read More >> 



Link: Goose Island Brewpub Review

A friend of mine visited the Goose Island brewpub in Chicago recently, one of those ‘must-visit’ places when you’re in Chicago.  Give it a read.

 

Interesting to note is that while the brewery was sold to Anheuser-Busch, not all the brewpubs were.  The brewpub ties in well with my last post about beer menus.  Obviously you expect a brewpub to have a solid one, but it looks like Goose Island goes above and beyond.   Okay, now I’m thirsty..

September 19th, 2011 by Ceetar in Beer, travel
0 Comments  |  Read More >> 



When Restaurants Don’t Have Beer Menus

As a fairly normal suburbanite, both here in New Jersey and when I lived on Long Island, I occasionally go out to eat and like to try new restaurants.  If I hear about a new place, or am just searching through popular restaurant sites, the first thing I’ll do when I find something interesting is go to their website to look at the food and drink they serve.

 

Nothing annoys me more than when they leave off the beers.  Now, I don’t _have_ to have a drink with dinner, but a cocktail or a beer or a glass of wine is often an enjoyable part of the experience.  If a menu leaves off the drinks I assume they’re not interested in that part of the experience, and it often makes me choose a different restaurant.   Another annoying habit is if the menu infers that they have beer, but doesn’t list them or elaborate on what type.  Beer comes in vastly different flavors and varieties, you wouldn’t list your entrees as ‘pasta dishes’ would you?

Another restaurant menu sin is when they don’t keep it updated.   You often see this in newer restaurants that create a website when they are first starting, but don’t have anyone managing it regularly.  This is a shame in the day of social media; a Twitter and a Facebook page tweeting current specials and seasonal beers being tapped go a long way to drawing in customers that enjoyed the restaurant when they tried it, but need something to draw them back in.  I recently experienced this at a restaurant in South Orange, NJ called the Gaslight Brewery and Restaurant.  It’s a local place that both me and my wife enjoyed, with all the beer brewed on premise.  However their menu online is out of date, and so is the menu at the restaurant.  They had around 15 beers listed, but only actually had about eight of them available.   That’s understandable as it’s a smaller place and it’s not always possible to keep up with that many different brews, but simply printing out a new sheet of paper and editing the website would go a long way towards letting customers know what the options are.  Even worse is that the website claims they keep the current draft list posted on their blog, but it hasn’t been updated in a year.

 

The very best restaurants are ones that have a solid base beer list and a couple of rotating taps that they can fill in with whatever seasonals or trial beers they want.  This type of setup suggests that the people running the establishment are truly interested in the beers they serve, and want to give the customers a quality brew.   A tweet or sign stating that a restaurant has the newest Brooklyn Brewmaster Reserve is often enough to make me plan to have a meal there.

September 16th, 2011 by Ceetar in Beer, dinner
4 Comments  |  Read More >> 



Autumn Beer Season!

It’s autumn beer season again, meaning Oktoberfests and pumpkin beers.  This season is the Christmas of craft beer.  It’s the most popular season and comes earlier every year.

 

I saw Magic Hat Hex as early as three weeks ago, and since then most other seasonals have showed up, including my own.  The only popular one I haven’t seen in stores yet is Sam Adams, and I’ve heard that’s out too.  Traditionally Oktoberfest, the real one in Munich for the last 201 years, is celebrated for the 16 days prior to the first Sunday in October.

 

It’s my favorite season as well.  This is why I chose an Oktoberfest to brew as my wedding favor.  Two of my favorite brands are Sam Adams and Brooklyn, although there are plenty of other tasty and excellent varieties out there.  I’m not as big a fan of the pumpkin ales, but I’m interested to try Six Point’s Autumnation now that it’s going to be available in cans that I can get without going to the right bar.  Interestingly, the third Google result for Six Point Pumpkin is a post about how if you don’t like pumpkin ales you’ll like this, although it refers to last year’s variety.

 

So lots of fun and interesting beers to try.  I just hope they stick around long enough for me to try enough of them before the next beer season rolls around!

August 26th, 2011 by Ceetar in Beer, christmas, Uncategorized
4 Comments  |  Read More >> 



« Older Entries

Newer Entries »


Deprecated: Directive 'allow_url_include' is deprecated in Unknown on line 0