We’re Drinking At Doyle’s

During my trip to Boston last weekend, I got the chance to check out not one, but two of the local craft breweries, Sam Adams and Harpoon. They were the two biggest, which was OK in my book, though I would have love to have visited some others like Ipswitch, Night Shift, Notch or Clown Shoes, but those I guess might not be open for tours or located a little outside the area where we stayed. Not every brewery has a tasting room. Though I will say, we did get to try a ton of local beers during our adventure, including some amazing beers from Jack’s Abbey, Pretty Things and Mystic Brewery. We didn’t get to try all the top Craft Beer bars, but we did hit some awesome places including Meadhall, which aside from having an awesome selection, also had great food. Try the meatloaf, trust me. We also hit, Sunset Grill which had a really great selection, including some Dogfish 120 minute, which well, marked the end of our Saturday night.

Dressed and Buttoned Up
First stop after Fenway and Boston Beer Works on Saturday, was lunch. Yup, good ole boring lunch at one of the café’s near Sam Adams. Not much happened there in terms of beer. We were still working off the previous night’s toils. So, we ended up doing a quick tasting at the Sam Adam’s tasting room, where they served us their Whitewater IPA and Summer Seasonal. Not a whole lot going on, but very friendly staff, that must have said they are the greatest brewery on the planet of Earth, about 40 times during our brief chat. Team loyalty, gotta love it. They kicked us out of the tasting room as they had a tour come through. So, we got tickets(which are free) for a later tour.With about an hour and half to kill, we took the free shuttle to Doyle’s. We had quite the amusing driver, who mentioned how Doyle’s, aside from having the best lobster roll and clam chowder, was actually the first beer to carry Sam Adams, anywhere. Yup, the first in the world, to carry Jim Koch’s Boston Lager. Pretty cool. It’s a local townie bar, with a fun atmosphere. My buddy used to hang out there all

the time when he went to law school in Boston. I even remember him talking about it, so figured, why not make the short trip. Despite me proudly wearing my Yankee shirt, I only received two comments on it. That was sorta surprising. Needless to say, fun little local spot and they had a great special, where you’d get a Sam Adams glass with a purchase of any of their beers. Sign me up.So, after Doyle’s we quickly hurried back to jump on the tour. They start you off the way many brewery tours start, they did a run down of the basic ingredients in beer; water, malt, hops and yeast. They let you taste some of their barley, smell the hops. Then they take you over to the big brewing and tanks, talk about the process, the fermenting, the styles they create there, etc… I guess most of their initial test and small batches come from this brewery location, but they have another two cranking out the bulk of their beer.

 

And Between Nineteen, Nineteen, Forty

From there, you end up in a tasting room. Where they talk about the styles you’re about to taste, their flagship beer, the Boston Lager, then the Summer Seasonal and the closer, the Latitude 48 IPA. They also talked about their fancy little glass that Jim said we must all have after a trip to Germany and seeing how each beer has it’s own distinct glass. So, that’s it. Quick and straight on to the drinking of the beer. There wasn’t a whole lot going on and not all that much tasting, but definitely cool to get the tour around one of the staples of the American Craft beer movement.

We got to Harpoon Brewery after hitting Yankee Lobster Company just down the street. If you’re making the visit, definitely stop by there for some food before you head over. They had a fantastic lobster roll that was actually reasonably priced. They have a few beers and wine available too if your heart desires. So, now with full stomachs, we made our way over to Harpoon ready to drink some beverages. We waited about 20 minutes in the tasting room/gift shop. This was the perfect tactic to get us to buy stuff. They had really cool stuff, lots and lot of stuff that just made sense to buy. T-shirts, tasting glasses, hats, towels, etc… All at a great price point too.

Big difference here vs. Sam Adams is, you start drinking beer the moment you start the tour. They rocked some IPA right at the beginning as you stand around and here about the history, ingredients and what’s in the big tanks you are looking at. 2nd stop on the tour, they let you taste some IPA straight outta the fermenting tanks. That was pretty neat. Had a very cask type feel, with no carbonation and almost at room temperature. They then showed us their kegging and bottling lines. Even showed us where all the kegs are stored once filled. They claimed about 90% of all Harpoon beers you’ve had on draft come straight from that fridge. I thought that was pretty cool.

From there, we went back to the tasting room, where they talk about a couple of the different styles of beer they brew, you know, while actually letting you sample them. Then, they let you hang out in the tasting room, letting you sample any beer you want to try. Me, being a big fan of their Leviathan series, I pretty much went for all of those, including the Great Scott, Imperial IPA and Red Squared. Very, very good stuff. So good, my cousins even got some growlers to make the ride home with us. All and all, an awesome experience and definitely one of the best brewery tours I’ve ever had. Highly recommended if you find yourself in Boston.

Listening Pile:
Promise Ring – Why Did We Ever Meet
Awesome song, probably my favorite from their album Nothing Feels Good. I was never a big fan, but a bunch of my friends liked them while we were growing up. We walked past the Paradise on our way to the Sunset Grill when I thought I heard them playing. I asked someone smoking outside and he’s like yup, Promise Ring is playing here tonight. We grabbed a couple beers at the front bar, then on my way to the bathroom, I realize, I could just walk straight into the show. So, happy little accident and I end up checking out the Promise Ring, while they played this song. Alright!

Cheers,
-fre
d

Don’t Forget The Chowdah

So, last weekend I made my way up to Boston for some baseball, beer and food. All in all, I had a great time, enjoyed some really tasty beers, breweries, a couple awesome meals, got to hang out with a couple of my cousins and snuck into a Promise Ring show. Here’s a quick scoop on some of the first night of our trip, a game between the Red Sox and Blue Jays at Fenway Park.

You’re so pretty when you’re unfaithful to me
We kicked off our trip from the Upper East Side of Manhattan a little before noon on Friday. The gps told us we’d get to our hotel near Fenway a little past 3pm. That didn’t happen. It took us almost six hours to get to our hotel. Traffic was just unbelievable. I probably could have biked faster through Connecticut than we moved in the car. I-95 was pretty much a parking lot for most of the ride through. Not sure what was going on, but it took forever. To top it off, we kept seeing signs for construction ahead, but hardly saw any construction at all. It turned into an infuriating joke by the time we left the state and made it to Mass.

By the time we got to the hotel, we only had about an hour to make it to Fenway before the game. We didn’t have tickets, but after seeing a ticket vending shop with outrageous prices, we found a scalper with 3 seats on the right field line for $60 a pop. They turned out to be pretty great seats. About 10 rows back from Pesky Pole. Walking around the park and down Landsdowne road, you really get the beauty and intimacy of the park. It is tiny by baseball stadium standards. I felt like you could fit the whole thing inside the current Yankee monstrosity. It had lots and lots of personality, seats that face the outfield and not home. The bleachers were right on top of the outfield and bullpens. The dimensions seemed unreal seeing them that close. And the Green Monster, looks a lot bigger on TV. I instantly thought, wow, that thing is tiny. Despite being in the outfield, I felt incredibly close to all the action. In a lot of ways, it reminded me of the closeness you feel at Spring Training games. The PA announcements were low, letting you take in the sounds of the game. The music was really solid(mixing in Pixies, the Cure, Dropkick Murphys, the Battles, New Order and Neil Diamond, all in one day)

Being a fan of the Yankees, it was nice seeing the Blue Jays tag Josh Becket for a few runs early in the game. I assume it doesn’t happen very often, but it seemed like the Jays fans were in full effect. There were lots of them, and they were loud and making their presence known. After taking an early lead, it’s almost like the crowd gave up on the game and just took in the sights. And there were plenty of sites. There’s a great sense of community in that stadium. You could tell those fans appreciate what they have, a great stadium with a mostly winning team. They didn’t have it all on this night, but hey, they could have it worse. They could endure endless losing and be Pirates or Royals fans, or they could have a stadium like they do in Tampa or Oakland. The place was great and I was glad to finally check out a game there.

In terms of food and beer, there were a ton of option. Of course I had to have a Fenway Frank. It’s not baseball without a wiener right? As for the sudsy stuff, there were a good amount of options for craft beer drinkers. My favorite thing was the Green Monsta IPA from Wachusetts Brewery. It had a highly visible and recognizable tap handle, making it easy to spot amongst the other beers on hand. It was also pretty good, nice and hoppy, citrusy, tasty. Walking around, we found a few more crafts, though a lot of it from nearby Harpoon and Sam Adams. I did spot some cans of Narragansett too.

Just at the end of Yawkey way was Boston Beer Works. That’s where we made our way to after the game. Lots of craft on hand there, plus some tasty food. Don’t think they make their own beer, think it’s contracted out to someone else. They had a couple Hefewezen’s and Summer Ales, plus a Nut Brown and Amber we tasted. Nothing special, but good enough to wash down with a bunch of appetizers from their menu. Check it out if you’re in the area.

Listening Pile:
The Pixies – Bone Machine
The first song off one of my favorite albums of all-time and one of the most influential pieces of work from the late 80’s. It also has some of the most demented and maniacal lyrics ever. And let us not forget where the Pixies are from, good ole Boston, just like Sam Adams, Red Sox and Marky Mark.

Some thoughts on Peter Luger, Good Bar Seal and more…

You Knew It All Along
Last week I made my way over to Peter Lugers in Brooklyn. I know, I know. Having lived in New York for over ten years, how could I call myself a real New Yorker never having visited this meaty heaven. To be honest, I don’t really have a good reason. It just never happened. I have had birthday and holiday parties I’ve been invited to there, (one, even by family members!?!) I’ve been invited for work dinners. I even once had a girlfriend that was taking me for my birthday(we broke up about a week before…damn you crazy eyes). So yeah, somehow managed to never make it over.

So, last week, I finally got the chance. A couple colleagues of mine made it a point to take me and I’m really happy they did it. It was fucking awesome. Plain and simple. As soon as I walked in I was greeted by a surly old-school bartender who made the strongest Old Fashioned I’ve ever had. I mean, I know there was bitters in there, but it seemed like it was all Makers to be honest. I actually had no problem with this. I figured, if I’m eating that much meat, gotta wash it down with some manly bourbon.

We kicked off the food with the Luger’s Sizzling Bacon, Extra Thick by the Slice. Yup, literally. That’s what it’s called. It’s delicious. We made the mistake of ordering two large pieces for the four of us. Big mistake as we almost strangled each other for the last bite. Only thing going through my head was, “damn, that’s some good freakin bacon.” Next we rocked some Jumbo Shrimp cocktail. When they say jumbo, they mean jumbo. These things were the size of small lobsters. Old school horseradish style cocktail sauce added a little kick to it too.

Then, there was the steak. Big, ole juicy steak. We got the steak for four, which by my picture, you see could actually feed eight. I mean, it was like a whole freaking cow. But god damn, was that some great steak. Juicy, cooked medium rare, you know to make sure you get the best flavor. There were sides, I’m sure of it, but I honestly cannot remember what they could have possibly been. Maybe French fried potatoes and creamed spinach. I dunno, maybe. Who knows. They went down great with the steak.

All in all, it was a great meal and something I cannot believe I’ve missed out on this long in my life as a New Yorker, hell, as a meat eater. I’m sorry Pete. I really am sorry it took so long to get acquainted with you. I’ll be back soon.

A Deal Worth Making
So, a couple weeks ago I came across this Thrillist deal, Good Beer Seal Passport, which let me have either a flight or 16oz beer at any of the 23 participating Good Beer Seal locations. I was a little skeptical at first, sounded like too good of a deal. I gotta tell you though, it’s one hell of a deal.

There’s really no catch. I got the passport for $30 and have used it 7 times already. If I’d gone to any of these bars and bought one pint at regular price ($5-7), I would have already paid twice what I paid for the passport. Each one of the bars had been great about the deal too, sometimes they only let you have certain beers or don’t do flights. So long as you tip nicely, no one seems to mind giving you the deal.

Job well done by the Good Beer Seal Folks, especially considering the partner was Thrillist, who can make certain experiences less than desirable. We hit up a few of the bars with our friends over at Beer Union who are actually trying to make it to every single one of the Good Seal Bars during the month of July. We made it to about 6 or 7 with them and had a blast doing it.

Listening Pile: White Rabbits – Temporary
I like this song a lot. I like the band, really liked their last record in fact. Yet, for some reason, this song really resonates with me. Not entirely sure why, but could have something to do with the fact that it totally sounds like a song that could be off a criminally underrated Fireside album, Get Shot. Come on, you see it. You know what I’m talking about. Yeah, get in the groove. OH, and White Rabbits are from Brooklyn, so thought it kinda made sense for the post. Right?