Seven Things I Think I Think

Here is the first of my Seven things I think posts. Some of you might remember this theme from my old blog and also something Peter King does on SI.com about football.

1. Green Flash Brewing Company. Where have you been all my life? I’ve just recently been turned on to this brewery from San Diego County California. They have a bunch of year round offerings, as well as seasonal and barrel-aged beers. They have a couple West Coast style beers that are super hoppy and full of amazing flavor. The West Coast IPA, Hop Head Red Ale, and Imperial bottles are all recent tastings of mine. I also sampled the Summer Saison, which was citrusy and gingery. I also made their tap takeover at Rattle N Hum, where along w/ some of the aforementioned brews, I had the Fizzy Yellow, American ESB, and the exception Super Freak and 8th Anniversary. Both just amazing. This is the kind of beer that made me think about taking a trip to San Diego. But I chose Mexico, partly because I knew I wouldn’t be able to stop with just Green Flash. San Diego/Orange County, has a ton of great beer.

2. OK, so am I disappointed the Yankees didn’t get Cliff Lee? Sure. Am I glad we won’t be paying a 39 year old Cliff Lee over $20 million in 2018? Yup. I’m no baseball writer, I’m only a fan. So, you’d think I’d be going into panic mode, but I’m not. I have always thought finding good, young pitching is the hardest thing to do in baseball. So, Brian Cashman, you have a lot of work ahead of you. You’ve been preaching patience. So, lets see what we got. Lets give the kids in the minors a shot. Shoot, why not give Joba Chamberlain a shot. He’s only 25 and didn’t pitch horribly as a starter. Just inconsistent. We’ve ruined him so bad jerking him around from starter to bullpen and back, what could it hurt? Best case, he turns into a solid, young pitcher under team control for years to come. Worst case, he bombs and we stick him back in the bullpen or trade him to someone willing to give a young hurler a shot. If the team needs pitching in July, we make a trade and use the well stocked minor league system to get a stud. If things go well, we got young pitchers full of promise. Don’t mess this up Cashmoney. Don’t!

3. Re-branding. Been thinking about this lately. There’s a bar by my apartment that went from being a fun Mexican themed spot with good food, large beer selection and rock music to a tapas/wine bar. It’s one thing they changed the name, style and atmosphere. But it’s another that they did it with no effort what so ever to make what they were serving quality. Bland food, bland wine, crappy techno music and they got rid of some of their good beer selections. Now this gets me thinking about Red Hook Brewery, who are changing logos, labels and names of beers amidst slumping sales. I really hope this isn’t just a name change thing, but something that hopefully gets them into really looking at the quality of their brews. I like the idea of them canning their beers. And hopefully this helps an old stand-by beer regain some excitement amongst craft beer enthusiasts.

4. Sam Adams Infinium. Sure, lots of collaborations are great. Some are epic, Dogfish/Sierra Life and Limb, looking at you. Some are so-so. The Infinium, which is a collaboration between Boston’s Sam Adam’s and the world’s oldest brewery, Germany’s Weihenstephan. Essentially, they were to make a groundbreaking brew, made with the four traditional ingredients malted barley, hops, water and yeast. It had a nice crisp champagne like quality to it and under enough bottle conditioned aging, maybe this could have been better. However, I found it lacked any real flavor, with apple hints and way too much carbonation for me. I tried it in a flute and a Sam Adams Infinium glass. Both times it did nothing for me. Good try, but better luck next time.

5. Dammit! That’s all I think any NY Giants fan could say after this weekend’s embarrassing game against the Packers on top of the 4th quarter collapse against the Eagles the previous week. After the meltdown at the Meadowlands, in which I made the mistake of being a bragging and assured fan, only to being stunned at the Eagles 4th quarter comback. I’ve never seen so many speechless fans in one place when I arrived at the other bar to watch the end of the game. They, had a big game this weekend against the Packers. Needing a win to assure a playoff spot. And they didn’t show up. They were marred with big mistakes and countless turnovers. It was just horrible to watch. I switched on to 60 Minutes. 60. Minutes. So, last game of the year and they need a big win to get into the playoffs. I wonder which team will show up.

6. Sorry, but if you have a dog, why bring it somewhere with you only to tie it up outside on a freezing or scorching hot day, while you’re in a comfortable restaurant or bar. On four separate occasions this week, I’ve seen a dog tied outside in freezing cold weather while it’s owners eat inside a warm restaurant. Last night during the snowstorm I actually saw a guy leave his dog outside while he got coffee. In a snowstorm! This maddens me to no end. I feel bad for leaving my dog outside while I go inside for a minute and won’t do it unless I can see the dog at all times. I tend to go to places that will allow my dog to come in. I will even go so far as to occasionally sneak my dog into places by hiding her in a bag. I think those of you that know me, know I’m serious about being a dog owner and treating them like a family member. I spoil my Lulu Guinness and it saddens me when people don’t take the responsibility seriously.

7. With Christmas now behind us, it’s time to reflect on a truly great year. So many great meals, runs, dog adventures, Yankee games and wonderful beers had. Some of my favorite beer adventures of the year included brunch at Floyds, Get Real NY cask festival, NYC Craft Beer Week, Beer to Garden, Sierra Nevada, Winter Beers & Green Flash tap takeovers at Rattle n Hum, Brooklyn Brewery afternoons, my friend Mike’s bachelor party pub crawl and The Beer Fest on Governors island. Also, discovering new spots in my new neighborhood, the Upper East Side of Manhattan, including David Copperfields, Jock Tamsons Bairns, Kinsale Tavern, Merrion Square and more. All in all a fantastic 2010 and makes me look so forward to what I’m sure will be an even better 2011.

Listening Pile:
Neon Indian – “Children of the Revolution (T. Rex Cover)

Chillwave kingpin and T. Rex fan Neon Indian has covered the triumphant glam-rock anthem “Children of the Revolution” in his own warped style. The cover version, which you can download above, isn’t intended for a new release; it’s just a way for Neon Indian main man Alan Palomo to introduce his listeners to Marc Bolan’s glittery wonders.

BBQ

Made my way over to Hill Country for the first time this weekend. Needless to say, BBQ and Beer go hand in hand. I began my evening with a Turbodog IPA from Abita Brewing Company. Also sampled their Pecan Harvest. They had a couple different craft beers on hand, Dogfish, Ithaca, Abita, plus stuff like Yuengling, Dos Equis and Spaten, as well as the National beer of Texas, Lonestar. After a short wait at the bar, I was seated.

They have an almost lunch line manner to serving. It’s kinda cool. You go up to a counter and tell them what you want. They mark it off on your menu card. They then prepare it for you and toss it onto brown paper and wrap it up for you. No muss no fuss.

I was a little overwhelmed by all the juicy meat and delectable sides. My buddy and I went with The Two Step platter that featured two pork spare ribs, two beef ribs, 1/2 lbs of brisket and half a chicken. Our sides were German mashed potatoes and collard greens.

This was just a fantastic meal. I can assure you I walked out of there full. The meat was tender, treated with a fantastic dry rub. The chicken was juicy and a little spicy. The potatoes were great, mixed in with onions and spices. The collard greens had bacon in them. Bacon. In Them.

Overall a wonderful Texas themed barbecue joint, with a really good beer and bourbon selection. They also feature live music

in the basement

The Week That Was

Had a great week of beer sampling. It kicked off on Tuesday night at Rattle n Hum with Sierra Nevada’s 30th Anniversary tap take over. 40 beers on tap, plus some cask and wood aged brews.

Needless to say, I was down for sampling as many of the fine brews as possible. I started my night off with the Sierra/Dogfish collaboration, the barrel aged Life and Limb. It was my second time ever having this fine beer. It was just fantastic. From there I sampled the Writers Block, Estate, a couple Porters and the amazing casked Hoptimum. It seriously was one of the most amazing beers I’ve ever had.

Thursday night I met up with some friends and went down to Idle Hands Bar in the East Village for their Alcoholiday celebration . Glad someone is finally doing something cool with that space. It’s been so many different bars/restaurants over the years. It seemed cursed. Until now. The Idle Hands guys are really doing it well. Bringing craft beer and over 80 bourbon’s to Avenue B. They’ve also been teaming up with local breweries and doing tap takeovers. Their beer list is pretty impressive too, with something like 5-6 beers on draft and lots of domestic and import bottles and can.

On this evening, they had a couple of the HeBrew beers on hand. I sampled the Jewbelation 13 and 8, as well as the Bittersweet Lenny’s R.I.P.A. Really enjoyed the Lenny. Also had a couple other brews that night, including the Kelso Pilsner, Ommegang Rare Vos and Sly Fox Christmas, which was fantastic as well. Also, glad they let me bring my dog to the bar. As you can see, she had a great time too. She was indeed the star of the night.

Cheers,
-fred