Get Real Belgian Fest

Get Real NY’s Belgian Fest was a lot of fun. Once again, the Altman Building in Chelsea played host to this fine pairing of Belgian beer, food and live music. There were over 90 different brews on tap. All last week, I could not wait to try all those wonderful beers, to eat all that amazing food and to see a bunch of good friends. I had VIP passes to the Saturday Evening session. I would say about 80-100 people were promptly let through the door at 7pm. It definitely was great to have the place all to yourself for that hour. No lines, no wait and you could try just about everything early on.

Favorites of the day were De Ranke Noir De Dottingnies, a wonderful Belgian Strong Ale, Birra Del Borgo, Straffe Hendrick Quad, Hof Ten Dormaal Blonde, Slaapmutske Nightcap, Caulier Blond and Dupont Moinette Brune. Also enjoyed a couple great American brews including Pretty Things Field Mouse Farewell, Sixpoint’s Harbinger Saison, Bruery Mischief, Barrier Mare Undarum and Weyerbacher’s Heresy. I kept more to strong ales, blondes and saisons. I’m not a big fan of wheat beers, so I only sampled a few. I did have a couple interesting Pilsners though. Felt that mixing it up like that would really help keep the palate fresh. I drank a lot of water, which was found at the corner of the tables in huge jugs. Very convenient for both hydration and rinsing.

I certainly did not get to try a few beers I really wanted to. They did run out of a few beers, including the Noir De Dottingnies which was my favorite of the evening. There were only a couple beers I did not like, two specifically the Stone Belgo Anise and Liefman Cuvee-Brut. The Stone Anise, I couldn’t get over the intense licorice flavor, which is a shame since I love Russian imperial stouts. The Cuvee was just way too fruity for me. Sadly by the time I got there, all the homebrews were pretty much gone. I waited too long and only got to sample one, a saison which I believe was called Take One For the Team.

The festival also featured a ton of food, including the Naked Cowboy oyster station, artisanal cheese and meat, lots of chocolate and a bunch of other eats from places like Cafe d’Alsace, Petite Abeille, Danny Macaroons, Roni-Sue’s, Moho Cocoa and more. The food, just as last time was fantastic. Petite Abeille completely stole the show. They had a sampling of sausage, mashed potatoes, pasta, braised meat and some other stuff. To be honest, I can’t tell you what was on the plate because I ate it so fast. I couldn’t even snap up a pic. I had like three helpings it was so good.

The food was fantastic. I really wish I could have sampled more of it, but as with the beers, time and room in my tummy, ran out. This year they also had a cigar vendor. I didn’t partake, but man, two things that go well, a nice Belgian Strong Ale and a cigar. Don’t know if they’ve done this before, as well, but Get Real had the National Down Syndrome Society as a charitable partner. Needless to say, I made a nice little donation to support the cause. Thought it was awesome of Get Real to do that.

Just one complaint this time, they seemed to have a problem with the taps. I got served quite a few beers that were all foam. Sucked, because it meant you had to wait to try beers. Wasn’t the end of the world, that’s usually when I would take a break to try some food or drink some water.

Here is my full beer list. 30 beers had in all, though I may have missed a couple.

Barrier Mare Undarum
Bavik Witterkerke Wit
Birra Del Borgo
Bocker Cuvee Des Jacobins Rouge
Bruery Mischief
Caulier Blond
Cuvee Van Honsebrouck Kasteel Cuvee Du Chateau
D’Achouffe Houblon Chouffe Dobbelan IPA Triple
De Koninck De Koninck
De Ranke Gulden Bein
De Ranke Noir De Dottingnies
De Ranke XX Bitter
De Rulles Estivale Triple
Des Geants Gouyasse Triple
Dupont Moinette Brune
Dupont Redor Pils
Goose Island Matilda
Goose Island Pepe Nero
Hof Ten Dormaal Blonde
Hop Ruiter
Liefman Cuvee-Brut
Pretty Things Field Mouse Farewell
Sixpoint Harbinger Saison
SlaapmutskeTriple Nightcap
Stillwater Debutante
Stillwater Stateside Saison
Stone Belgo Anise
Straffe Hendrick Quadruple
Timmermans Bourgogne Des Flandres
Weyerbacher Heresy

Good times. Good times indeed.

Listening Pile:
Whitesnake – Here I Go Again
There was a moment at the Saturday evening session when this song came on and all was right in the world. Plus, how many times do I get to post a video with Tawny Kitaen doing that crazy split between the two cars.

July 4th – A Beer Weekend

July 4th, 2011
Had a great fourth of July weekend. I spent Friday night with a close friend watching the Yankee game and drinking some fine beer. We started the evening off drinking The Drewery/Bolero Snort Whiskey Rye. From there we drank various other beers including some Blue Point RastafaRye IPA, Stone’s Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale, and a growler of Sixpoint Redd and Dogfish 90 minute IPA. Sounds like a lot, but his wife and her friend helped out a little and the Dogfish wasn’t finished off.

Saturday afternoon I nabbed a growler of the Coney Island Mermaid Pilsner by Shmaltz Brewing Co.. Unfortunately I then attended a party that evening where I didn’t even really drink beer since all they had was PBR, Bud Lime and Blue Moon which I hate. Coincidentally the PBR went fast, I had one. Even people who drink bad beer know how shitty Bud Lime and Blue Moon are, since almost all of them were left in the ice bucket at the end of the night. Vodka Tonics it was. Luckily it was an early evening and I had a couple good beers when I got home. I stupidly opened the growler that evening, which to be honest was a big mistake considering, I wouldn’t be drinking it all in one sitting and probably wouldn’t touch it again til the next day, maybe later.

Sunday I woke up early and made my way to Citi Field for the Yankees/Mets game. The weather wasn’t cooperating early on. The game was delayed for about two hours, which normally would suck, but I was lucky enough to be in a suite. That meant free food(from Shake Shack) and even cooler, free beer. My choices were between Heineken, Stella and Brooklyn Lager. I think you know what I drank all day.

Needless to say, those Brooklyns were fantastic. I don’t know if it’s the fact that they were really fresh or they changed the formula up, but they tasted amazing. Maybe every time I have it now, it’s from a tap that’s not fresh and the keg just sits. These in particular tasted great. Sadly, as I walked around the stadium, not only could I not find Sixpoint, which is available in certain parts of the stadium, but it looks like their beer selections really took a step backwards in variety. Almost nothing that wasn’t Macro or Inbev/AB owned or distributed. It’s a shame, I thought they were being progressive and celebrating Brooklyn beers. Guess not.

My next stop was at one of my favorite bars, Rattle n Hum. I started it off with a flight of Jonas Broncks Woodlawn Weiss Ale, Brooklyn’s The Concoction, Barrier Spelunker and Wandering Star’s Raindrop. My first time having all four and very first time trying selections from Wandering Star and new Bronx brewery Jonas Broncks. The Concoction was good, but there was a lot going on in terms of flavor. It’s spiced with ginger and lime and almost has an earthy rosemary type flavor. I then had a fantastic beer from Stillwater, The Debutante, a farmhouse ale that was floral and earthy, extremely drinkable and delicious. I had a few more, finishing off with Wandering Star’s Bash Bick Bock, which was just completely delicious. Really looking forward to trying more of their stuff.

Monday, the 4th started off with some fantastic brunch and then me tearing into that growler of the Mermaid Pilsner. It surprisingly kept a good amount of carbonation and flavor despite being opened about 36 hours earlier. I guess I got lucky with that one. It was great to drink a Coney Island beer while watching Joey Chestnut literally eat his competition under the table while winning the Nathan’s Hot Dog eating contest. Later on that day I made some great burgers, watched the Yankees lose and then slowly closed out what ended up being a really fantastic weekend filled with good beer, good times and good friends. Hope everyone else had a great time.

Listening Pile:
The Horrors – Still Life
Next month, these British post-punkers release their third LP, Skying. Check out the synth-heavy first single “Still Life” below. The last record was one of my favorite records in recent memory. The new one sounds every bit as interesting. Give it a listen.


Last Saturday I was lucky enough to attend my 3rd BrewYork gathering, dubbed The Nine Lite, since it only ended up being about ten of us in attendance. It was a celebration of good friends, good food and most importantly incredible craft beer. Once again we gathered at NJ Beer Co in North Bergen, NJ for a great time.

Here are some photos and below is the bottle list for the evening. (though, this may be incomplete). There were some amazing beers had on the evening. Some of my favorites included my first taste of Pliny The Elder, The Dogfish/Sam Adams collab, Savor Flowers, Bruery Cuir, The Drewery/Bolero Snort Whiskey Rye, Funkwerks Saison, 668 Neighbor of the Beast and the Wachusett Larry IIPA.

There was also a good amount of grilling going on. We ate some tasty porter infused burgers, with Rick’s pickles. There were some great salsas had as well. Hot dogs and sausages were consumed. All in all, we had a feast. Topped it off at the end with some tasty watermelon.

Many, many thanks to all that helped organize this wonderful event including host and burger chef, Matt Steinberg of NJ Beer Co., Bob Olson, Chris O’Leary, Charles Decker and everyone else in attendance that made this a great experience. We talked about lots of stuff besides beer, fantasy baseball, Lilith Fair, Billy Madison, hockey logos, soccer, food, work and everything in between. It turned out to be a small gathering, but it was just an awesome time. It was so much fun, I cannot wait til the next one.

BrewYork 9: The Bottle List
Jackie O’s Oil of Aphrodite
Russian River Pliny the Elder
Drewery/Bolero Snort Whiskey Barrel Rye
New England Brewing Company 668 – Neighbor of the Beast
Bolero Snort #BullBlood – Brown/Red Hybrid
Bolero Snort Saison de Bull
Allentown Breworks IPA
River Crew Brewing Company Travis’s Matrimonial Mild
River Crew Brewing Company & NJ Craft Beer Kicking It Old School
River Crew Brewing Company Jake’s Swedish Blonde
New Glarus Raspberry Tart
Three Floyds Gorch Fock
Cottrell Old Yankee Ale
Bruery Cuir Third Anniversary Ale
Left Hand Wake Up Dead Imperial Stout
Guy’s Homebrew Rye IPA
Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA
Shorts Hangin Frank
Wormtown Pro-Am Porter
Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald
Port Brewing Old Viscosity
Funkwerks Saison
SAVOR Flowers (Sam Adams/Dogfish collaboration)
Odell Friek
Odell Myrcenary Double IPA
Sweetwater Waterkeeper Hefeweizen
Wachusett Brewery/Publick House “Larry” IIPA
Clown Shoes Hoppy Feet 1.5
Alesmith Old Numbskull

Listening Pile:
Cardigans – Lovefool
Everyone knows Chris O’Leary loves playing the guessing game. Somehow we ended up talking about the first Lilith Fair tour. Well, The Cardigans played it. I guessed that one right, along w/ Paula Cole and Joan Osborne. I’m not proud of that trivia knowledge. Anyhow, here’s a great song. And I still love Nina Persson, who is still beautiful some 16 years after their big hit.