Sunday, July 26, 2009

Trip to New York

Madeline and I finally got a chance to get out of town on a (all too brief) vacation. We took the bus up to New York for a few days. Staying in Gramercy/Murray Hill whatever, we were able to get around town really easily. Being such a short trip I had to do quite a bit of planning of what beer places I wanted to visit. Madeline refused to go to Brooklyn since it was a bit out of the way so that was kind of a bummer. However, Blind Tiger, one of the premier beer bars in NY was pretty accessible, so we hit that up the first day (a mere 30min after arriving!). Blind Tiger has about 28 beers on tap, 2-3 casks, a gravity and "pin". They just started their "Christmas in July" event the previous day so about half of the taps were winter or Christmas seasonals. I convinced Madeline to get a Dupont cider that was the "pin" knowing vaguely what it would be. The bartender asked, "Are you sure, it's quite sweet?". I knew a little about Dupont ciders and said it's fine. Well, he pulls out this 3-4L barrel and pours about 4oz into a wine glass of room temperature, still cider. Now, I'm a bit concerned and when Madeline smells and tastes it, she's pretty overwhelmed. I try it and realize it's the cider that they blend (fortify) with Calvados, giving it a nice warming 17% abv. It was a bit rough going down, but very tasty. I got a few beers: a cask of Otter Creek Imperial IPA, Great Divide Hibernation and finally a Samiclaus. The latter was very confusing. I've only had Samiclaus in the bottle once a couple years ago and this tasted nothing like it. Incredibly smooth, not as sweet or Sherry like as I remember, and thoroughly drinkable. I was also pretty impressed with the prices, considerably cheaper than DC. The atmosphere there was really comfortable, a rustic feel with lots of unfinished woods, old lamp sconces, and various wall seating throughout. A bit buzzed after that, we left for our dinner at Blue Hill.
The next day, I was able to get some beer shopping done stopping by at New Beer Distributors and Whole Foods (Bowery). NYC being so close to us, the selection wasn't too jaw dropping, but I did make a decent haul.
On the homebrew front, the Monster seems to be chugging along strong. Unfortunately, I didn't acquire a beer sitter to change out water bottles to keep it cool (or feed it sugar), so temps seemed to get up into the mid to upper 70s. When I got home, I checked it out and gave it another 1#+ of sugar. I finally got a good whif of alcohol when I popped the foil off, so I think it'll get to 20% no problem. The melomel appears to be completely fermented out, so I'll rack it off the majority of the trub soon and let it age before kegging. Up next, I've been slowly building up the dregs of a bottle of Drie Fonteinen Kriek to make a 3% sour with all Global Kolsch malt. In addition, I'll be making a "American Bitter" with all Cenntenial hops and British malt and yeast.

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