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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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Filtering by Tag: Brewery

Beer Friends Nation Review #1: Stone Ruination 10th Anniversary

Phil Foleen

Hello Beer Friends Nation!!!  You may have noticed our fancy new logo AND you may have noticed we are up on iTunes now(so you can take us everywhere with you) BUT here's our brand new feature: Beer Friends Nation Reviews!  That's right!  Have we missed your favorite beer?  let us know by writing up a review and sending it to phil@thebeerfriends.com or brad@thebeerfriends.com and we'll get it up on the site!  Spread the love and Spread the word! For our first BFN Review we have Michael from San Diego telling us his thoughts on Stone's Ruination 10th Anniversay.  Click through for Michael's review...

Stone Ruination IPA 10 year anniversary.

This being my first review I will start off with a small introduction about myself. Im in the Navy and curently stationed in San Diego, so most of my beer reviews will be about beer created in the magical beer factories of the San Diego area.

Now that the introductions are out of the way, lets talk beer. The Ruination IPA from Stone is an Imperial IPA or 'double' IPA, given the name because this style uses double the amount of hops and double the ABV of normal IPAs. If anyone is curious this one is 10.8% ABV so be forwarned.

I first opened this beer and like any 'responsible' beer reviewer I sniffed it. Once I recovered from my mental walk through the pine forest the initial whiff gave me I took a sip, and contrary to the smell of the beer, it is actually very drinkable. It still has the trademark bite that I've come to expect from a Stone IPA but the aftertaste is much fuller than its non-imperial cousin. It even feels richer when I swish it around my mouth.

One thing that stands out as a plus for me with this beer is that even as I nurse it slowly, it being a pint and quite strong, I am finding no reduction in taste or enjoyment; which is a large selling point for me since IPAs are made to be consumed while cold and any beer that stays tasty while it warms up is an beer I can enjoy.

Thanks again Michael.  We'll have another one from him for you guys next week!

Empire Brewing night at Idle Hands NYC

Phil Foleen

Hello Beer Friends Nation!!!! Phil here tonight we are live logging from the awesome basement bar Idle Hands in New York City for Empire Brewing's tasting night. The brewery is joined by Finger Lakes Distillery for a little compare and contrast. Paul and Graham will do the comparing and I will probably be the contrasting opinion......so sit tight, we're gonna grab an intro beer and a burger and when the party gets started we'll let you in on the fun!

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Phil's First: we have started off the evening with the Finger Lakes Distillery White Pike Whiskey. I am definitely the farthest thing from a whiskey fan here at The Beer Friends, but I have to say that this one out of all of the times I have had whiskeys in the past, this is the ONLY time I have not been completely turned off and can finish the one shot taster. I actually could have a full serving of this, which coming from me, says a lot.

Graham's Thoughts

Enticing creamy corn nose that makes you want to drink it all right away. It Drinks with a string corn flavor but it's quickly eclipsed with a warming sensation. Note: not burning, just warming. This whiskey is too smooth for the word burning. And delicious. Corn delicious that begs you to come back for more. And it's clear. Boom.

Paul's thoughts

This was a revelation for me. I have had a few corn whiskeys and none of them have been particularly delicious. This whiskey was sweet and easy to drink. Aged for only 18 minutes, it has almost no flavor of the barrel. It's incredibly easy to drink and absolutely delicious. I will look for and purchase this whiskey to keep on my shelf at home.

Phil's First Beer: Empire Scotch Ale

This beer is great. Bar none. empire's brewmaster was kind enough to be here and give us a little history lesson on Scotch beers and where/why they come from. The beer is very dark, in the best way. Very smooth and clean, with a pleasant bitter taste. Not sweet, and you really only taste is one on the front half of your tongue. All in all this is one you should keep an eye out for.

Graham's First Beer

As the man said - I don't like overly sweet beer so I made this one malty and dry. Exactly the way a scotch ale should be. Flavored by peat not sugar. I'll drink to that.

Paul's First Beer

To call this beer weak will be an insult to the brewmaster, but I will do it anyway because to anyone who's had some craft Scotch Ales will notice that this beverage is not as sweet as other Scotch ales. This Scotch ale doesn't punch you in the face like other Scotch ales do. Absolutely delicious, Empire continues to impress the more I drink.

Phil's Second Beer: Strong Ale

We have just been given the Strong Ale. As much as the Scotch Ale was delicious, this one for me is so much more in the right direction. Much more to my liking with the addition of a bunch of hoops to load the front end of the flavor with that great hoppy bitterness. This has now become my favorite Empire Beer. We learned here too that Empire really takes pride in differentiating between Hop sweetness and Hop flavor, and it definitely shows in the taste.

Graham's Second Beer

Strong ale? What comes to mind? Probably not this. Cause although strong ales are awesome this one is awesomer. Crisply hoppy with a focus on the flavor profile of the hop rather than the bitterness. The master brewer said the inspiration came from Arrogant Bastard. Try less malty sweet with a better, much better hop flavor.

Paul's Second Beer

This beer is awesome. I'm not sure it's something I can drink it all year round. But I'll take this beer anytime Labor day though Flag day. Quick crisp hop flavor at the beginning and a smooth finish. Impressively drinkable for a strong ale. I will be seeking this one out again and again.

Phil's Third Beer: Wheat Wine

I had my reservations about this one, given my aversion to Barleywines, but I will admit tha this one is a good sipping piece of beer. Super cloudy with a touch of the "rotten"(my personal description) taste that I attribute to a Barleywine, but it's sweet enough to counteract that with a touch of bitterness at the end to keep that super-sweet at bay.

Graham's Third

Interesting but not too exciting. Sweet and slightly alcohol-ish. Almost a little watery, but not quite. Just a tad on the week side. I kind of want my barley wines to be a kick in the face. This is more a dirty look.

Paul's Third

I am new to wheat wines and am willing to admit that. I am unsure how I feel about them. I have liked some a lot and I have had some that I am not so sure of. This one falls in the middle. It starts with a great flavor but as it rolls over it leaves a taste that lingers too long. I certainly do not dislike it, and I do enjoy drinking this beverage. This one will take another tasting to get an accurate reading. Perhaps a pint will be in order...

Phil's Fourth: Empire IPA

Alway a favorite of mine, I hint this is a good balance, if not a little on the sweet side. As an IPA it's really good, but for the hops SPF at this evening I'm gonna go with the Strong Ale.

Graham's Fourth

The Empire IPA is to me a crisp citrusy IPA that is easy to drink but not over the top. What it lacks in eXtensive flavor it thrives in easy drinkability. A six-pack of something that I would buy and drink very often.

Paul's Fourth

This is an IPA I'd like to see more. It's very balanced but leaves a nice bitterness on your tongue. It's a beer I enjoy but do not run into very often. I will echo Graham and say that if this was in a six pack I would seek it out.

Phil's Fifth: Empire Amber

For the final offering from Empire tonight we have the Empire Amber ale. It s got an interesting taste to it. As ambers go it s good middle of the road. It's got an almost coppery finish to it, taste wise, which isn't altogether unpleasant. Overall for me I would like or hops, but being one of the resident hopheads that should go without saying. A good ending for tonight but I'll take the strong ale any day.

Graham's Fifth

Amber ales are not really my thing unless they are hoppy enough to be an amber IPA. This one isn't quite but it is approaching something delicious. Something I would definitely order on multiple occasions. And I do appreciate the hops, however the style is always more malty for me than hoppy. Still, as usual Empire does it well - proving that New York State is truly the Empire State.

Paul's Fifth

I am different than Graham and I enjoy ambers very much. This one stacks up and then some. The balance in this beer is spectacular. It's incredibly drinkable and absolutely enjoyable. This is one of the beers they have started brewing in Brooklyn and is available in New York City(along with the Cream Ale and the IPA) and I look forward to finding this beer in more bars.

Keep an eye out for more and better beers from Empire as their new facility gets under way. This is definitely one to watch

Thanks so much to Empire for being here and to Finger Lakes Distillery too, Beer Friends signing off.

GABF Medal Totals

Phil Foleen

Now that the Great American Beer Festival has come and    gone we thought you might like to see the totals of medals won in the past. Click on the link for the nifty little info-graphic showing the medals by state, as well as the overall Top Beers and Top Breweries.  Biggest surprise for me?  California?!

GABF Medal Map

The Beer Friends Announce: August is Brooklyn Brewery Month

Graham

Hey all you Beer Friends!  We have some exciting Beer Friends news to share with you!  Throughout the month of August we will be showcasing one of our favorite breweries here in New York City:  The Brooklyn Brewery out of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. We will be visiting and reporting on the Brooklyn Brewery, reviewing Brooklyn beers, learning you on Brooklyn history and generally giving you an all around good ol' Brooklyn Brewery time. We'll also be providing you with information about where to find some of Brooklyn Brewery's harder to find beers, as well as their support of the local homebrewing communities.  There could also be a strong possibility of some up close interviews with the brewmasters and other crucial Brooklyn Brewery figures.

To put the cherry on top, as if this could get any more exciting, the Beer Friends will be collaborating exclusively with Brooklyn Brewery on a project that will benefit all Brooklyn fans and craft beer lovers.

We will be announcing all the juicy details of this huge craft brew project in the very near future, so make sure you keep checking in with us here at the Beer Friends so that you don't miss a thing.  Trust me...you're going to want to be a part of this.

Cheers, and here's to Brooklyn Beer!

Featured Brewery: Sixpoint Craft Ales

Graham

In honor of their heavy involvement in New York City Good Beer Month AND in honor of how much The Beer Friends love what these guys put out, we decided to review one of Brooklyn's best breweries: Sixpoint Craft Ales.  Sixpoint Craft Ales was founded in 2004 by Shane Welch and is located in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York.  Despite their youth, Sixpoint has continually put out excellent product after excellent product, all while maintaining one of the most prominent images in the New York City craft beer scene.  They recently did some work on their brewhouse so that they could start accommodating their growing legions of fans.  You can catch tours at their 40 Van Dyke Street location on Saturday afternoons, they are highly recommended. Before I talk about the many top-of-the-line Sixpoint I would like to try to page homage to their creative, artistic and Old School Brooklyn philosophy.  Sixpoint represents the characteristics that have embodied the borough of Brooklyn for what is now centuries.  On their website you can check out their beautifully worded explanation which will far out-weigh anything I have to say about them.  What I will say though is that Sixpoint Craft Ales represents the piece of Brooklyn that is hard work, good craftmenship and unbridled creativity where anything that is done with quality and heart is respected among the rough edged, but artistically minded denizens of this great second city.

Sixpoint's flagship brew is their Sweet Action.  Sweet Action pours a nice Orange/Amber color that gives you your first desire  drink it.  After that the aroma imparts a slightly hoppy, malty sweetness with some touches of pine and earthiness.  Sweet to the taste, with an underlying hint of fruit that melds nicely with the fuller malty flavor.  The hops aren't as present as the smell would lead on, however the strong quality of the malt and the sweet hints at both the beginning and the end are enough flavor to keep one coming back for another.

My personal favorite Sixpoint Craft Ale is their leading IPA: The Bengali Tiger.  Perfect golden orange hue that a light can shine through but is definitely not transparent, which leads one to believe it is on the fuller mouthfeel side of things.  The smell is full of citrusy hops.  The first taste you are rewarded by getting a chance to enjoy a plentiful bouqet of those citrus hops.  The body is closer to the medium side of things, but still drinkable enough to have several.  Same with the hops, if you had three of these, they still wouldn't overpower your palate.  It's harder to find Bengali Tiger than it is some of the following Sixpoint Craft Ales, however I thought this one, if not for my own personal love of it, deserved a bigger write up.

Sixpoint has a few other flagship brews including Righteous Rye, a rye brew with a big rye malt flavor and a good dose of hops.  Brownstone is a deliciously malty brown ale with generous roasted malt flavor.  The Otis is a fantastic oatmeal stout that is full bodied, with a rich creamy head that flows into a generous chocolate-malt flavor.  Finally, their Apollo Wheat is the most easily drinkable, while keeping in full flavor and body, of any summer wheat that I've had.  Goes down without a heavy wheat flavor which leaves it refreshing, but the beer is still substantial enough to know you're drinking a beer.  You can also find their Old Krusher Barleywine around if you're lucky.

Sixpoint Craft Ales are a company who's brews are new takes on classic American beer styles while keeping them incredibly drinkable and refreshing but never sacrificing in flavor.  In fact, the way their beers taste, the flavor probably couldn't be thought about in terms of sacrifice anyways.  Find Sixpoint.  Drink Sixpoint.  Drink it often.

Breaking News: Sam Adams 2009 Longshot Winners are out!

Phil Foleen

I'm sure you've heard of it....right?  Sam Adams holds a Contest each year called the "Longshot American Homebrew Contest" with the three winners featured in their very own six pack!

From Uncrate.com:

This limited edition six-pack will include two bottles each of 2009 Samuel Adams American Homebrew Contest winners Michael Robinson's Old Ale and Ben Miller's Barleywine, as well as two bottles of Employee Homebrew Winner Jeremy White's Saison.

Sounds like we've got quite a treat this year.  You really should rush to your local Beer place and see if you can score a six pack or two, they wont be here forever...and if you miss it there's always next year.

If you would like to enter the contest this year CLICK HERE!

Maybe 23 is your lucky number...keep an eye out for an upcoming post to know why.

NYBrewfest jun 19th!

Phil Foleen

All dressed up and nowhere to go on June 19th?  Well you are in luck, my friend, because the 4th annual NY Brewfest just happens to be on that very day!

Right now they are listing 26 breweries from NY State, 38 breweries from the rest of the US of A, and another 15 breweries of the international variety.  Click through for more details.

The festivities are from 3:30pm-8pm on Governor's Island in NYC, which is pretty fantastic since you can only get there by boat, so you can have as much beer as you want!  Prices range from $55+tax etc, $75 for a Connoisseur's admission which gets you in an hour early, and if for some reason you don't want any beer, there's a Music Lover's ticket for $25.

The best thing about your ticket is it includes your very own sampling glass, all the food you can eat while you're there, and a round trip ticket for the NY Water Taxi to get you there!  Now that's a bargain!  The music is looking pretty good too, c'mon Bagpipe Dudes!

They also have Seminars, but nothing under the heading yet so stay tuned, and if you're in a giving mood you can also Volunteer to help out.

All in all this looks like a can't miss event for anyone who's in the area and loves beer.  On the site they say that the last 3 Brewfests have sold out, so you may want to get your tickets early.  I know I am.  Tickets link is below.

Get you tickets HERE

Thanks Ken for the lead!

Recap from the Blue Point Brewery 4/2

Brad

Hey Beer Friends, Blue Point Brewery LogoYesterday two of The Beer Friends headed out to Patchogue, Long Island to visit the Blue Point Brewery. We sampled all their craft brews in the Brewery Tasting Room with their incredibly friendly bar staff.  The Tasting Room quickly built up a constant crowd, as Blue Point is a South Shore Long Island favorite.

Many people rolled in with a few growlers to get filled with Blue Point craft brews for the gorgeous weekend ahead.  Some of our favorites were the Pale Ale, Oatmeal Stout and the Black & Blue, which is an Oatmeal Stout/Blueberry Ale mix.  We took off with a 20 oz. bottle of the Old Howling Bastard Barleywine which will age nicely for a year in our apartment. Old Howling Bastard Label

All-in-all Blue Point Brewery is a short train ride away from the city and a definite for a day trip during the summer ahead.

Blue Point is also having a Cask Festival April 17th, a quick LIRR train ride is well worth the 15 other breweries-in addition to Blue Point.

Look for more updates and brewery tours in the future. A very special thanks to the Bar Manager Jessica that was always available for these two Beer Friends with refills and knowledge.

Remember to vote for the Beer Friends Final Four beer found here!

For information on the artist for the Old Howling Bastard can be found here.

Breaking News: Sierra Nevada's B-Day gift to everyone!

Phil Foleen

Is today your birthday?  well if it is Happy Birthday, and if it's not have no fear! Sierra Nevada has decided to give us all a gift for their 30th birthday this year: The Sierra 30.

According to uncrate.com the good folks out west are releasing a bunch of Limited Edition brews, 30 would be my guess, conjured up with a number of Craft Beer Innovators from around country.

Currently there are four they are telling us about: Fritz and Ken's Ale, Charlie, Ken and Fred's Lager, Jack and Ken's Ale, and Oak Aged Ale.  They are bottled in the larger form factor bottles with the cork and cage seal that we all enjoy from Brooklyn Brewery for the Local 1 and Local 2 Brews.  The rest are slated to be unleashed on the public over the course of the year so be on your toes.  Be on the lookout for these at a store near you, pick one up or you'll ruin Sierra Nevada's Birthday.  No one likes a crying Brewery.

Beer Review 08: Harpoon Brewery Celtic Ale

Phil Foleen

As a special offering for St. Patrick's Day we bring you a Beer Friends BONUS!!!  Our review of Harpoon's Celtic Ale.  A good middle of the road Red Ale, but is it something you'll want to have to celebrate today?  Check out the review to find out!!! [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSh4nx52vtY]