I was lucky growing up that the craft or micro or whatever it was called back in the late 90s was just starting to get rolling in a big way. The Shepherd and the Knucklehead had just opened, and between playing at the Open Mic nights, and just other wise hanging out, I had access to pretty much the cream of what microbrews were around at the time.
Not that there is anything wrong with a Miller light or what not, but they were never things I HAD to have for no other choice. If I was drinking one, it was always because I wanted to be drinking it. Looking back on this #TBT day though what were my first real steps into the larger world of beers.
Without a doubt the first and biggest influence was going with my father to the High Point Brewery – home of Ramstein beers. Here, was this place less than 20 minutes from our house brewing traditional German wheat beers, Blondes, Winter Wheat, Hefes, Mai Bocks, etc. Things I had never heard of, but to this day still taste fantastic. Still owe you one for this one Uncle Floyd!
Ok not a craft, but the next beer to really make an impact on me was Guinness. I will never forget my first one. It was a bottle of extra stout (whether that was a foreign or export I don’t remember). Bitter, horribly bitter. It was sheer force of will to finish it. This was a few years before the widgeted pub cans or the nitro bottles. Having it on tap on a nitro made a world of difference. It was also pretty much creamy black water that got you buzzed. But I digress.
Samuel Smith: Oatmeal stout: Ok so this is how a stout is supposed to taste. Need to revisit this one at some point soon, Especially after having the fantastic Boulevard Tasting Room Oatmeal Stout. All of Samuel Smiths products the Nut Brown, Taddy Porter, the Winter Warmer, the Organic Chocolate stout, have been fantastic. I still hate the foil wrapping though… ough.
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale: Ok, back in the Late 90’s everyone I knew was drinking this so it was an easy choice for me to try. It also holds the distinction of being the first beer I bought a 6 pack of, as well as ordered on draft when i turned 21. When going out to eat it was an easy choice, most places had usually either this or Bass on tap with out exception (along with Samuel Adams).
Magic Hat #9: Magic Hat is an interesting one. The first time I ever heard of it was in High School in the mid 90’s (1996 I think) when I went with a friend and his older sister and her husband to Killington for the weekend. Now on the way up the Northway the snow kicked in and we were getting some serious amounts of fresh powder coming down. It was later in the evening. Do we go right to the motel to check in and get off of the road? Hell no, the first place we stop when we are almost there? The Liquor store to buy some Magic Hat (I am fairly certain it was number 9 but I really don’t know). In this day and age this sounds eerily familiar, to the Heady Topper or Hill Farmstead stories, doesn’t it?
Flash forward to 2000 or 2001, and I am sitting with friends in the Peculier Pub, which has its own list of memories of things if you were not there would never belive actually happened, in the West Village and we see that now all so familiar tap handle. Magic Hat had made it to NYC! From memory: it was a little sweet with the touch of fruit nice change of pace. Will try it again at some point i think just for nostalgia.
Maybe a few months later the bottles started turning up in New Jersey. Most of that Summer I was drinking Magic hat, #9, Blind Faith, and maybe circus boy? Until now save a one off here or there bottle of Heart of Darkness I have not had any others since then.
Honorable mention – Ruffian: They were a brew pub, in Suffern NY (maybe 10 minutes from my college) and were one of the first and a perfect example of a mirco brew causality. By all accounts they were doing well, they had good local distro (into Bergen county and the such) and as I heard it decided to buy space in Pennsylvania and significantly increase their bottling. This of course was too much too fast and the next thing you know they are doing a kick the keg sale on the last keg (laying on the floor next to the bar) of their copper ale while the taps were all Miller, Bud and Coors.
A different brew pub took over the spot for a little bit, I only went once in 04, but it was nothing remarkable, I far more remember the company and conversations than the beer or food.
For our local chili and hopheads, this sounds like a fun night. I will not be able to attend, but talking to others who have been to past ones, it should be a lot of fun.
Newark - Taste local, domestic and international beers, and sample meat and vegetarian chili during An Evening of Hot Chili & Cool Brew at the Newark Museum on Thursday, October 23, beginning at 6 pm. Participants will have access to the historic Ballantine House – once home of the famed beer and ale brewing family – and the exhibition Great Balls of Fire! Comets, Asteroids, Meteors. At this year’s event, New York’s Pabst Brewing Company will be on hand to reintroduce its Ballantine India Pale Ale.
For a donation of $125 (Pint Level Individual Sponsorship) or $50 for a general admission (all but $15 of each ticket is tax deductible), guests can sample unlimited beers and chili, hot dogs, cornbread and desserts.
Planned by the Newark Museum Business & Community Council and the Newark Museum Volunteer Organization, all net proceeds from this annual fundraiser will benefit the Museum. United is the Official Airline of the Newark Museum and it has provided an airline voucher that will be raffled at the event.
Domestic craft brews from Peerless range from Anchor Brewing, Boon Brewery, Boulevard Brewing, Brooklyn Brewery, Captain Lawrence Brewing Company, Clown Shoes Beer, Crispin, Duvel, Harpoon, Maredsous, Ommegang, Rodenback Brewery, Shiner and Sierra Nevada. Hunterdon Distributors will present a variety of beers including Cisco Brewers, Sixpoint Brewery, Sly Fox Brewing and Yard Brewing. New Jersey is represented by Gaslight Brewery and Restaurant of South Orange, which will also be presenting a home brewing demonstration; Yuengling from McGovern’s Tavern in Newark; Climax Brewery from Roselle Park; and Cricket Hill of Fairfield. Also presented will be Weyerbacher from Pennsylvania. Guests will be sampling their beer in a memento pub tasting glass.
Chili samples will be provided by Cravings A Caterer, Eclectic Catering, Encore Catering, Exquisite Entertaining, Frungillo Caterers, Gaslight Brewery & Restaurant, Kilkenny Ale House, Laurence Craig Catering, Martini 494, McGovern’s Tavern and Ultimate Caterers. Hobby’s Delicatessen & Restaurant will be contributing hot dogs and trimmings; and Hilton Penn Station Newark will provide dessert.
Tickets (restricted to purchasers 21 and older) may be purchased by calling (973) 596-6559; visiting newarkmuseum.org, or mailing checks to: Newark Museum, An Evening of Hot Chili & Cool Brew, 49 Washington Street, Newark, New Jersey 07102-3176. Reduced rates are available for groups of 10 or more, and opportunities are available for sponsorships and donations. Call 973-596-6559 for details.
Until something new hits the shelves, this will be the last of the Boulevard reviews.
Double-Wide is what I would call a classic styled Double IPA. I found it to be close in taste to Dogfish Heads 90min IPA. For me the big difference is that Double Wide is sweeter by a fair bit, which may be pushing too sweet for many. Mid Coast IPA may be the better pick if you are looking for more modern take on the styles.
From the product description: Double-Wide IPA uses Columbus and Magnum hops for both bittering and aroma with Chinook hops added in the whirlpool. It is dry hopped with generous amounts of Cascade, Centennial, and Chinook hops. The resulting beer has a hop forward aroma, redolent of peach and apricot. The assertive flavor bursts with the citrus qualities of blood orange and lemon with a slight caramel malt backbone to balance the intense hop flavor.
A little chewy, a little sweet, but all in all it is an enjoyable DIPA. I will not have any trouble finishing the 4 pack, but unlike the other offerings, and this is entirely a personal preference, I cannot see revisiting it as quickly as the others. The same can be said about 90min IPA to. Great to have every once and a while, but not something I would want to drink every week.