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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: Empire

Live blog! Idle Hands NY beer week kick off!

Phil Foleen

Hello Beer Friends Nation! Tonight we are back at Idle Hands for the slightly official kickoff of New York beer week with Kelso, Empire and the newcomer Singlecut. As always thanks to Rev and .rob for the awesome event and Dan at That Burger for TATCHOS!!!!!!! Let's get started! Phil's First: Kelso Rauchbier - I'm a big fan of the Rauchbier. graham and I have agreed its not a real pint contender unless you're looking for a sipping beer. Wonderfully smokey this one keeps the beer taste on the down low, but that's not a bad thing. I would usually only have one or two of these a night, but that because its a bit more specialized than others. Fortunately we have Jarlsberg cheese here with some samples to go along with the smokey goodness, a well balanced bitterness that helps balance the sweet smoke of the Kelso.

Graham's First: Kelso Rauchbier - Rauchbier is a delicious flavor of beer that I rarely get a chance to drink, and probably for good measure. If I had it all the time I probably would get smoked out. In the rare circumstances that I enjoy a Rauchbier I, well, enjoy it. Especially when it's paired with smokey Jarlsberg cheese like tonight. The Kelso Rauchbier has a hint of bacony meat smoke with a great earthy flavor behind it and a light hop bitterness that is delightfully embraced by the cheese.

Phil's Second: Empire Amber - always a good showing form the Empire crew, the Amber is a solid malt forward offering that hits well in the second round. A slight combination after taste of the malts and the hops finished cleanly and get you ready for the next taste.

Graham's Second: Empire Amber - Ambers are not usually my favorites: too heavy on the malts and not enough hop action. This one is mostly the same with the exception the nice hop bitterness in the back end of the back end. In reality, I'm not as praising of this beer because I'm some sort of hop monster, in the end it's one of the most well-balanced, easy-drinking ambers out of the northeast.

Phil's Third: Singlecut 18 Watt IPA - OH MAN is this good! Super hoppy in the best way. The aroma hits you even before your bring the glass up to take a sip. A lot of floral hop flavor right off the bat, bewitch a good sweetness on the back end that only compliments the hops you tasted 2 seconds before. This is one I will be getting another glass of, right after this glass! Can't wait to hit up the brewery for some fresh IPA. Yum yum.

Graham's Third: Singlecut 18 Watt IPA - I could talk about this IPA as having a super hoppy herbal aroma, or having a complex hop flavor or being a super drinkable 5% ABV. Or I could talk about the secret tasting of a rum barrel aged dopplebock that will eventually be poured in a nitrogenated fashion. Not that these two awesome things happened at the same time or anything...

Thanks again to Rev and Rob for the amazing event. Thanks to the breweries Kelso, Empire and Singlecut! Singlecut we'll be seeing you real soon for some more IPA/Rum aged Doppelboch in the very near future, Trista it was great to meet you!

Till next time BF Nation! (next week probably, who are we kidding)

New York City Craft Beer Events for the Week of February 17, 2012

Graham

We are all looking ahead to this Friday, when NYC Craft Beer Week officially kicks off at craft beer bars and restaurants across the 5 boroughs.  Check back here later this week for The Beer Friends top choices for NYCBW.  Here are a few events for the week to keep you occupied as you wait. Tuesday, February 19 - Tuesday Night Tastings: Cellar Raid @ Jimmy's No. 43, Manhattan:

When it comes to Jimmy's No. 43, one of the oldest craft beer bars in NYC, the most coveted part of the bar is not what's coming out of the taps but what's beneath them:  the cellar beer.  They'll be breaking out some of their cellar favorites for your drinking desires tonight for a bit pricier than usual ($20) but well worth the cost.

Jimmy's No. 43 is located at downstairs 43 East 7th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan.

Wednesday, February 20 - Kelso, Empire and Single Cut at $10 Tasting @ Idle Hands Bar, Manhattan:

Idle Hands has had a special theme this month for their Wednesday night $10 Tasting events:  New York Breweries in anticipation of the upcoming NYC Beer Week (Feb 22).  This week they are featuring Kelso (of Brooklyn), Empire (of Syracuse) and Single Cut (of Queens).  You'll get 3 pours, one brew from each brewery, a whiskey/bourbon sampling, other beer samples, an order of tots and a special pairing of Jarlsberg Hickory Smoked Cheese and you get to do all this while hanging with brewers and representatives from each brewery and the damn fine gentlemen that run the bar.

Here are the brews:

Keslo Beer Co – Rauchbier Empire Brewing – Amber SingleCut Beer – Beer 18 Watt IPA

Idle Hands Bar is located at 25 Avenue B between 2nd and 3rd Streets in the Alphabet City neighborhood of Manhattan.

Thursday, February 21 - 8th Annual Sixpoint Tap Takeover @ Bierkraft, Brooklyn:

Sixpoint has been taking over the taps at one of their favorite Brooklyn beer bars for 8 years and the folks at Bierkraft are thrilled to have them back.  They'll be tapping some of the usuals (Bengali, Sweet Action, Righteous), some rare (Mad Scientist and more) and new (3Bean!).  Head on over this Thursday to hang with the Sixpoint brewers and drink many of their delicious brews.

Bierkraft is located at 191 5th Avenue between Berkeley and Union Streets in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn.

New York Beer Events for the Week of August 20th - 25th

Brad

Hello Beer Friends Nation! We know why you've come here today, just sit back and let us plan your week of beer swigging events...

Monday August 20th -

Murray's Cheese is a locals favorite of most New Yorkers - legendary on Bleecker, I recently had a true New Yorker get so excited that "Murray's now sells beer!" As if the craft beer revolution was now official in his mind.  Well, those of us who've been following for quite some time welcome Murray's Cheese to the table and let's see what they got!  On Monday, August 20th, Murray's Cheese pairs with the Shelton Brothers to present "Belgian Beers and Cheese" - the problem is (with Murray's being new to the craft beer scene - we're very cheap) it's $75 to get in and availability is limited (10 seats for this class).

Murray's Cheese is located at 254 Bleecker St., New York, NY

Tuesday August 21st -

Who doesn't like a little competition?  If there is one thing New Yorkers do well is tell you how great New York is, and we love to prove it.  So head down to Mission Dolores for their NY vs CA Can Beer Night.  Representing CA are breweries such as: Bear Republic, Firestone Walker, Sierra Nevada, 21st Amendment, Stone, Lagunitas and Green Flash.  Representing NY are breweries such as: Southern Tier, Sixpoint, Kelso, Barrier, Empire, Brooklyn Brewery, and Captain Lawrence.  So make your list of great NY things, and stuff from California you can crap on - and head on down!

Mission Dolores is located at 249 4th Ave., Brooklyn, NY 

Wednesday August 22nd -

The baseball season is winding down and most fans have realized whether or not they have a chance for the off-season.  This means that now baseball games actually start to mean something!  Standings is celebrating it by having a few baseball themed beers on tap including Green Monsta Ale from Wachusett Brewing Co. (it doesn't suck like the Sox this year...) and Summer Love from Victory (see the Sox comment and apply to Phillies).  Best thing about Standings? It's directly above Jimmy's No. 43 so make it a doubleheader!

Standings Bar is located at 43 East 7th St., New York, NY

If this doesn't sound interesting - check out Mad River Brewery at Blind Tiger.  Be sure to get there early, the event starts at 3pm and fills up quickly!

Blind Tiger is located at 281 Bleecker St., New York, NY

Thursday August 23rd - 

Bierkraft is legendary in Craft Beer in New York City - so when they invite a "new comer" like Barrier it must be a big deal.  Well, that's partly true - Barrier Brewing Co. is a really big deal.  Barrier started just three years ago in a 1 barrel facility, yada yada yada... a few awards later they've expanded to a five barrel facility in Oceanside, NY.  If you see them around, try their stuff - if you haven't - get to Bierkraft on Thursday when Barrier takes over the taps.

Bierkraft is located at 191 Fifth Ave., Brooklyn, NY

Feel like playing some video games?  Check out the greatest idea for a bar since... well ever - at Barcade in Williamsburg.  Barcade has a excellent draft list (always) and this Thursday they invite Flying Dog from Maryland.  In addition to their great year round beers (Gonzo, Snake Bite IPA), the draft list looks very dangerous, so bring your wits and your quarters.

Barcade Brooklyn is located at 388 Union Ave., Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY

Friday August 24th - 

It's Friday!  Find a Happy Hour and enjoy yourself!  Be sure to check in on untappd.com and follow us at @thebeerfriends, @beerfriendbrad, @beerfriendphil, @beerfriendpaul, and @beerfriendgrahm and let us know what you're drinking!

Beer Review 101: Empire Strong Ale

Brad

Hello Beer Friends Nation! Over the hump... 101.  Feels good.  Idle Hands in Alphabet City NYC does some great events - one happened a few weeks ago was one to remember.  Empire Brewing came in and swept 3/4 Beer Friends away (1/4 of the Beer Friends couldn't make it - otherwise they would've been batting a thousand).  Two staples you can find of Empire Brewing are their Cream Ale and the IPA, but we became resourceful and got our hands on a growler of Strong Ale.  The beer is delicious, the events are great and we'll buy you a pint if you spot us there!  Beer Events!  101! Drink Local!

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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.

Empire Brewing night at Rattle 'n Hum: Hangover Edition!

Phil Foleen

We had a great time at Rattle n' Hum last night at the Empire Brewing Company event.  Being a fan of the Empire Cream Ale I was excited to try some of the brewery's other offerings.  Of course, they did not disappoint.  The "Dragons" were the standouts to me. I tried both and am interested to try these, and more like these, again.  The addition of the basil to the Belgian style was great, and it almost got Phil to call a Belgian ale delicious...

If you  missed out last night, NEVER FEAR! Empire is hitting NY Craft Beer Week hard and you should make sure you don't miss it.

They have 2 events scheduled tonight; one at Spring Lounge and at Puck Fair. If you miss those, then you can hit up Dive Bar tomorrow night.

I suggest you try to get out to one of these events, and check below for what Phil and I thought of the night as it unfolded.

-Paul

Well here we are, gentle beer drinkers, for yet another NYC Craft Beer Week. We find ourselves at Rattle 'n Hum this evening for the Empire Brewing night and it looks pretty darn good! Now while I wait for Paul to get here let's have a beer!

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Phil's 1st: I have chosen to go historical first with Ol' Wooden Tooth, which according to the flyer, is base on our dear founding father George Washington's personal homebrew recipe. As the words say, good molasses and oak flavors in a deep, dark color. It doesn't hide it's 8.5%ABV, but the front flavors do a good job of rounding out the alcohol in there.

Phil's 2nd: Empire Hop Harvest - very hoppy and very good. Hoppy to the pint of almost being airy in the mouthfeel. If you like hops this is a good one, it has a slightly sweet back end that might turn a couple of people off, but over all a good hop offering. Bonus points for the hops all being grown on the Empire grounds.

Paul's 1st: Starting easy, I went with the Empire India Pale Ale. It's a good IPA. It's sweet and bitter at the same time. The flavor doesn't roll over your tongue, this beer more or less slaps your mouth in the... Mouth. This beer hits your taste buds and doesn't stay very long. That is neither a good thing or a bad thing, it's just its thing.

Phil's 3rd: Empire Black Magic Stout - having this served on the nitro tap I thin serves this beer the best. I would describe this as the best example that I can think of for a stout with a mostly toasty flavor. The nitro smooths the feel out of the beer and the toasty part just takes over in the mildest way you could imagine.

Paul's 2nd - This time I went bigger and had the Empire Deep Purple. It is a beer made with NY Concord grapes. It is described as "tart & dry" and that would be accurate. What would also be accurate would be to describe this as adult grape juice. It tastes like a slightly carbonated, slightly sour grape juice that gets you drunk. I suggest this beer, but know what you are getting into.

Paul's 3rd- I got an Empire Golden Dragon. This round was bought by my father, you could all learn a thing or two from him in the comments section. As for the beer, it's been described as mint or licorice. There is no denying this one is different. The Thai basil really adds something to this brew. It's already sweet being a Belgian golden ale, but the basil and other spices make this something very different. It tastes more like a cocktail than a beer. Like I ordered a mojito by accident. Absolutely a fun beer and is worth ordering.

Phil's 4th: Empire IPA - pretty much your run of the mill IPA, but in a good way. Good hoppy flavors with a little sweetness that's tamed by the hops just enough to be unobtrusive.

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!