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New York, NY
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The Beer Friends write, review, and discuss Craft Beer as fans instead of experts.  They share their unique voice and affinity for craft beer through multiple platforms and offer a range of media to join their craft beer conversation.

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Live Blog! Empire Brewing & Four Roses at Idle Hands NYC

Phil Foleen

Hello Beer Friends Nation! It's Live Bloggin' time! We are coming to you, once again, from Idle Hands Bar here in New York City for Empire Brewing Night (previous Idle Hands Event - Previous Rattle N Hum) with Four Roses in the guest spot. For now we are laying low and getting ready with a few Oskar Blues G'Knights and burgers from That Burger, but stay tuned for the festivities, there might be a couple we have never had!

Paul's First: Empire IPA (full pour) - Had this one last time at the $10 Tasting. It's what you expect for a staple IPA from a good craft brewery. A good beer I'd like to see in six packs around the city. Until then I will settle for a pint where I can get it around the city.

Brad's First: Empire IPA (full pour) - Always enjoyable and reliable to be a good pour - what I mean is that typically only quality beer bars carry this quality beer with clean lines. Delicious.

Phil's First: Empire IPA (Full Pour) - always a good bet and never disappoints. Well rounded IPA, not too strong but still gives you a nice hop flavor that keeps you thinking this is an IPA.

Graham's First: IPA - for some reason the bitterness in this one is a lot stronger than I remember. I still like it but it was a bit intense as a first pour. Go for this brew as long as you are down with a slight punch to the face.

Brad's Second: Empire White Aphro (small taste) - this delicious sample (two ounces) is a Belgian wheat with hints of lavender - and awesome, can't wait to get more

Phil's Second: Empire White Aphro (Small Taste) - yes. It is a Belgian beer and yes you can definitely tell from the smell and the first part of the flavor, but I've always said my least favorite part of a Belgian beer is the sweetness at the end, and this beers variety of ingredients covers that very nicely.

Graham's Second: White Aphro (small taste)- I'm still convinced I've seen this one before around the halls of the Pony Bar. Either way, they say it's new to NYC (the Pony always did get their hands on some mysterious brew) and I couldn't be happier. Spicy, Belgiany and floral. This brew would be refreshing to a volcano.

Paul's Second: White Aphro (small taste)- Great brew for the summer. Crisp and refreshing with a great floral flavor. This is Empire's answer to the bigger breweries white ales, and it blows them away. This is currently rare one around the city, I look forward to seeing it more.

Paul's Bourbon Taste: Four Roses Single Barrel - had not had Four Roses before this and I am sad to say that I incorrectly categorized them. For some reason I had this distillery pegged for one I did not like. I do not remember what lead me to think this way, but all I can say is I was wrong.... Very very wrong. I am a lover of single barrel bourbons and this one does not disappoint. I suggest this to those who like the taste of their bourbon.

Brad's Bourbon Taste: Four Roses Single Barrel - this is very smooth for a delicious bourbon. The main characteristic I find on a first taste of bourbon is the harshness (maybe I'm not seasoned enough) of the bourbon - some are harsh and overpowering and some are smooth and this falls in the latter category. Enjoyed this in the past and will continue to enjoy in the future.

Phil's Bourbon Taste: Four Roses single Barrel - it tastes like bourbon. I gave mine to Brad and Graham.

Graham Bourbon Taste - smooth, kind of fruity with a nice alcohol taste. Warms you right up with a pleasant flavor and a burn that lets you know you're still a man.

Paul's Third: Empire Summer (Small Taste) - Its a light summer beer. It is heavy on the pilsner malts, and I don't mean that as a bad thing. It's got a nice hop flavor at the beginning before the malts take over. It's an nice take on an American pilsner.

Brad's Third: Empire Summer (Small Taste) - a typical summer beer - light and easy to drink, perfect for a growler and summer concert in Central Park.

Phil's Third: Empire Summer (Small Taste) - nice summer from Empire. A good balance between the hops and the very present Pilsner breads taste. Nice and light with a hint of citrus from the lemon it's fermented with, all in all a great light beer to have on a Saturday afternoon in the sunshine.

Graham's Third: Empire Summer (Small Taste) - The first thing this brew says to me is bread. In a good way. The forward malt factor adds a nice depth that is carried by the refreshing quality of this brew. Good for a summer day when you want a beer that has some substance.

Paul's Fourth: Liv and Let Rye (full pour) - This is their new Rye IPA, this is a style that is relatively new and one that I am a big fan of. This one has a great hop character that mixes well with the rye malts. This has a great flavor that leaves you refreshed, it's a great beer that I could drink anytime.

Brad's Fourth: Liv and Let Rye (full pour) - I like this a lot- with the recent influx of Rye beers in the market, this stands in the middle of strong rye taste and smoothness. I'll be sure to enjoy this taste because I don't know when I'll see this again (hard to type with crossed fingers...)

Phil's Fourth: Liv and Let Rye (full pour) - yum yum yum. I love rye IPA's and this one is no slouch to the style. Double the rye over what is usually put in one of these let's the bitterness run wild with the hops and gives a fantastic overall taste.

Graham's Fourth: Liv and Let Rye (full pour) - this brew creates a conundrum in my mind. Most of the rye beers I've had are super in your face deliciouscity. Empire boasts that they use almost double the average rye malts compared to other rye brewers. However, this one is kind of low key in comparison. Maybe it's because the other ryes are brewed with extra hops for that intense flavor. When I heard double rye malts however, I thought punch in the face. Not quite.

Paul's Fifth: Empire Blueberry Ale (small pour) - For a blueberry beer, and I don't want to talk down to blueberry beers, this is excellent. Lots of blueberry beers lose the fruit flavor to the beer flavor, but this one... This holds the blueberry flavor throughout and reminds me more of another carbonated alcoholic beverage than it does a beer. This isn't a bad thing either, it's a great blueberry beer. If you are open to that sort of thing and come across this beer get yourself a pint.

Brad's Fifth: Empire Blueberry Ale (small pour) - This is very tasty - not too blueberry and not too weak. Having toured Maine and their blueberry beer obsession - this is right up there.

Phil's Fifth: Empire Blueberry Ale (small pour) - this one is not a fruited up as you think. Usually the blueberry beers you find are overly fruity with either not enough beer taste, or a strong beer flavor that completes with the fruit. This one toes that line, maybe straying onto the beer side more than the fruit, with a nice bitter flavor to counter the sweetness of the blueberries. Another good summer afternoon choice in my book.

Graham's Fifth: Empire Blueberry Ale (small pour) - I enjoyed the blueberry thoroughly. Very reserved but still present. Nicely refreshing but not too sweet. Exactly what you want a brewer to do with the king of fruits.

The Beer Friends Sixth: Empire IPA - purchased by Dave (the owner) and Liv ( the NYC rep) for the bar - because they are that awesome. Congratulations to creating great craft beer and the hard work put into every drop.

And here we are. Our Empire t-shirts to show our love!

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