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    Entries in Beer Drinking Notes (38)

    Tuesday
    Nov132012

    Beer Drinking Notes… A Look Back

    The caption on this picture translated: 2 Martini Pete (old nick-name) w/beer N&E (Nick & Eddie – NW corner of Sullivan and Spring Streets Manhattan, NYC) – in 1993. Back then I had already tucked three years of being an editor at the Beverage Media Network and it showed.

    After I wrote Cooking & Eating with beer in 1996 I was lucky enough to be part of the Boston Dine Around festival in 2000, working with the folks at Harpoon and what was then Upstairs at the Pudding in Cambridge, MA. Pictured below is yours truly with Mary Katherine (owner of “Upstairs”) and Al Marzi, the head brewer at Harpoon at the time.

    Anyone covering the beer industry had to have had at least one sit-down meeting with Michael Jackson. The picture below was taken in 2001 at a bar I can’t remember except that it was in SoHo (NYC).

     

    Next comes a reminder of better times… this one was taken at The Alchemist Brewpub in Waterbury, VT in 1210.

    Just in case you didn’t know it… beer IS for breakfast… at least in 2012 it is in New Hampshire!

    Tuesday
    Aug212012

    Beer Drinking notes…

    Beer & Burger…

    Why a beer and a burger? Why not a beer and a taco? Why not a beer and a lobster roll? Why not a beer and a fish taco? Why?

    Because that is what I ate today for lunch…

    It is/was Tuesday 21 August 2012 and after 1400 hours.

    I am hungry and thirsty. I am also tired of listening to the play-list of the Pandora Mad-Man Radio!

    That said took my usual walk the waterfront ale house. I will admit to you, a matter where you are reading, it is a beautiful day. The way I am going to walk is quite familiar.

    I will be honest with you… Should you ever want to find me you can find me waterfront ale house in Brooklyn on Tuesday afternoon between 14. Hours and 1600 hrs.

    And so today… This was lunch, the two-cheese burger and a beer.

    Beer and beef have an affinity. Actually they are both sweet on each other. And that is the key. This is especially true in a hamburger patty that has more than 70% fat by weight. There was once a time when that ratio in higher end of the beef was tastier. (I wonder why that was.)

    The combination of rustic grain and the particular floral flavors that hops bring beer are both part of a flavor profile enjoyment of when paired with grilled or seared ground beef patties that are relaxing on a rich bread bun on a bed of lettuce tomato onion and other condiments.

    Let’s not forget the ambience…

    You remember that beer that he tasted in Munich it was absolutely fantastic there and less than impressive when tasted by the bottle wherever you happen to live.

    Keep that in mind…

    This was medium rare with two cheeses!

    Back to the burger and beer…

    Is this a fast feed?

    Or is this a chance to enjoy both?

    I can only hope that it is a greater part of the latter!

    Bon appétit!

     

    Wednesday
    Aug082012

    To every Beer there is a Season

    Today is such a fine bright warm day, with just a trace of humidity, I am going to toss schedule out the door and enjoy. Of course, I am self-employed and can indulge in a “enjoy the day” every once in a while.

    Those working in an office environment are most likely less able to indulge in such practice. Schedules, dead-lines, marketing goals and such structured business environments make the business office both frustrating and comforting. The former because of the often intense creative restraints and the later because you just do what the boss asks you to do.

    In either lifestyle it is a lesson best earned early… play the game. If you are truly interested and in need of such information just let me know. I have the rule book.

    That said, the traditional office worker and the self-employed may play by different rules but the end result, a satisfied mind, should be the same. No, I did not forget the importance of remuneration. I recall the famous line from the movie Citizen Kane… “Making money is easy if all you want to do is make money.”

    All of that noted you might be wondering where this thought construct is going. And so I will be direct… to every beer there is a season. For goodness sake try to remember that and follow its simple structure.

    I make these observations because of the way that consumers today view selecting a beverage of choice.

    Almost universally the decision is made based on brand identification and style of beverage chosen from a number of beverages available. A familiar brand name and one of their familiar styles determines the majority of most beer purchases. A particular style of beer is the next check-point. If a consumer likes stout they will order a stout most of the time. If they like lager they will order a lager most of the time. If the consumer is just passed legal drinking age the amount of alcohol by volume is the major selling point. Why are these criteria almost universal?

    The simple answer is because the beers are always available. Capitalism rules, craftsmanship be dammed. Winter heavy beer is brewed, ordered and poured in August to thirsty customers. Wheat beers are brewed, ordered and poured to chilled consumers in the middle of January. Because a beer can be brewed at any time of the year for consumers who demand seasonal beers year-long there has been something lost.

    Should you be interested in learning more about the reasons for what brews that are called “seasonal” are brewed in a particular season drop me an email and I’ll tell you.

    Should you insist on ordering a pint of Hefty Holiday Hair-raiser on the hottest day of August while sitting on a sun-drenched patio in Houston I offer a prayer that you make it home safely.

    Should you insist on ordering a tall bright wheat beer with an orange slice in the middle of a snow-swept late evening in Minneapolis I wish you a quick trip home or you will freeze in your trousers.

    To every beer there is a season and this summer season I am swigging suds… yes I am.

    Tuesday
    Jul312012

    Beer drinking notes… 

    from the Grand Central Oyster Bar

    I swear that this will be the last “oyster” piece for at least a year…

    Well maybe at Thanksgiving or Christmas… but yes, enough is enough.

    And so, with more than a touch of self-indulgence and nostalgia, let’s make last stop the legendary Grand Central Oyster Bar.

    (It was here, in 1994, that I made the contact that led to my first book contract.

    That is my claim to have “history” here…)

    Unless you know what you want before you sit down it is a good idea to talk to the staff and let them tell you what you want.

    That said… The top center section of the menu is where it lists the Oysters the rest of the menu is worth looking at and ordering from.

     

    The selection was a Six Point Sweet Action and:

    3 each of the following:

    (bottom left clockwise)

    Bluepoint

    Duck Island

    Naked Cowboy

    Oyster pond

     

     

    It was a dozen enjoyed with none other than a drop or two of lemon juice on each…

    and the Six Point.

    If I were a wealthy man I would have left three dozen more of the shells pictured below.

     

    I am not a wealthy man so I will leave the oysters to multiply in peace

    and your patience with my bivalve fixation no further tested.

     

    Tuesday
    Jul172012

    Beer Drinking notes… Oysters & Beer

    There is a satisfaction shown in the face of the person above that is unmistakable. I can assure you that it is a look of satisfaction. It is a picture of my enjoyment of a freshly-shucked (opened) oyster after a sip of a good beer.

    In the post last Friday… BeerBasics visits Ulysses NYC the combination of beer and oysters, yes two dozen between the two of us, turned a pub-crawl into a one-stop afternoon. No apologies meant or offered.

    And the above picture was taken for Beer and Oysters… the truth behind this simple pleasure leaving my unbiased journalistic reputation in serious question.

    And so I have decided to “come clean” and admit it… I love to slurp oysters.

    That is what you do… you slurp them. You do not eat them. You do not use a fork. You slurp oysters.

    It is possible to enjoy a selection of these bivalves with a glass of wine but the sea-foam salinity of the well-shucked oyster is speared with the acid of a white wine and smothered by the tannins of most red wines. If offered a light flavored, slightly chilled red? My mind is always open…

    However, my beverage of choice with oysters is beer. A fresh pale ale, with a hint more hops than the style calls for, is my ideal beverage of choice with most oysters. A stout can be overwhelming and a pilsner to much competition for the previously mentioned sea-foam flavor of the ideal oyster. However, the porter with the East Coast oyster pictured below was a tasty combination.

      

     

    Then there are the meatier bivalves and these can call for a stout or black-beer.

      

     

    The more delicate the oyster the more a pale ale fits the need of refreshment and the complements of both a sharp hop tang and a rich roasted malt flavor.

      

     

    If you truly like to have fun, the “compare and contrast” technique of the same oysters with different beers, is a treat you deserve to try at least twice.

      

     

     

    All of this brings me back to time spent enjoying fresh oysters and good beer. As I proved last Friday by posting the picture below… it wasn’t all fun… we were working!