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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: Live Blog

Live Blog! Clown Shoes and The Glenrothes at Idle Hands

Phil Foleen

Hello Beer Friends Nation! Tonight we are graced by one of our new favorite breweries from Massachusetts, Clown Shoes! Joining them is whiskey from The Glenrothes, so lets get started! Phil's First Clementine - being a Belgian beer this doesn't start off on the top of my list, BUT, the hops and the citrus pieces of the recipe really help to curb that Belgian yeast taste I hate so much. Which makes this one tolerable! The Belgian taste is there but a light citrusy clementine taste helps out, and there is a little bit of hoppy bitterness along the way as well.

Paul's First Clementine - I always hate to agree with Phil, but these kind of Belgian white beers are never at the top of my list either. However, that is only my opinion, and like most of my opinions it is easily proven wrong. This brew is light but has a ton of flavor. It's a light murky orange color with a flavor like its namesake.

Graham's First Clementine - it's been awhile since I've had a wit-bier so maybe that's why they all taste similar to me, so ill try to paint a unique picture of this one, as much as I can. Definitely citrus orange, hence the name, cloudy with a yeasty laid back tones. Light enough to drink during hot weather and almost flavorful enough to want all the time. If wit and hefe's were my style then I'd be into this one a lot more.

Phil's Second Hoppy Feet Black IPA - My current favorite style. Black IPAs bring the perfect balance of the hops I love and the toasty, burnt goodness that a darker beer will give you, this beer is no slouch in that department. Very malty nose, but a surprising hoppy bitterness that presents itself early on in your taste, followed up by a sweet and toasty end reminiscent of a barrel aged ale. I would recommend this and will definitely be having this again tonight.

Paul's Second Hoppy Feet - Black IPA's like this one have grown in popularity over the past few years. It's been a style that has seen some good beer and some very mediocre beers. The problem that I find with some Black beers is one flavor is too offensive. Especially with IPA's you run the risk of having an imbalance between the hop flavor and the roasted malts. The black ales I've enjoyed the most have found the correct balance and haven't had those overpowering flavors. Until this one, this is a black IPA with a strong hop and roasted malt flavor that I really enjoy. It's strong and hits you hard with flavor at the beginning and has a nice roasty flavor through the end.

Graham's Second Hoppy Feet - A black IPA is one of those piecemeal styles that sounds a lot better on paper than it does in person, USUALLY. There are a few exceptions: Sixpoint Diesel and... Well you get the picture. However I'm now happy to announce that, for me at least, another has joined the rank(s) of acceptable Black IPA's. Deep roast malt flavor, smoke, peat and a light coffee followed by a delicious blast of West Coast hops. Hoppy Feet truly meets the the black IPA style head on and wins.

Phil's Third Vampire Slayer - Delicious! If this is what it's like I can see why Abraham Lincoln got into the biz. Fantastically smokey and malty, but with very little alcohol taste to talent you know you're drinking a 10%'er. The smoked Baltic Porter roots are very present, and will not disappoint anyone looking for a dark and stormy pint.

Paul's Third Vampire Slayer- This is the best offering of the night. This is a smoked imperial porter brewed with holy water, you know, to kill vampires. This is a great imperial porter with a lot of flavor but it isn't terribly heavy. This is a big beer that is dangerously drinkable. Go get yourself s bomber and enjoy your evening.

Graham's Third Vampire Slayer - I (happily due to what creativity inevitably produces) think craft brewers have just started picking style and flavor profiles out of a grab bag these days. Black, imperial, IPA: genius! Rye, lager, witbier: delicious! Oyster, oatmeal, amber: holy beer gods yes! But honestly, when Clown Shoes picked smoked, milk, stout they hit the nail on the head. Smoke up front with a smooth slightly chocolate following that flows so much like cream that seems impossible at almost 10% ABV. Find this bottle near you and see what I mean.

Phil's whiskey Glenrothes Select Reserve- I will try it every time. This was warm and fuzzy on the way down, but still had that whiskey taste and burn. Not my thing

Paul's whiskey Glenrothes Select Reserve - Yes Phil, it goes down like whiskey BECAUE IT'S WHISKEY! This is a great single malt scotch that was aged in a bourbon cask and a sherry cask. Absolutely wonderful spirit that I look forward to enjoying again as well as what else this distillery has to offer.

Graham's whiskey Glenrothes Select Reserve - I'm not a huge whiskey connoisseur but I do know that this scotch is banging. It's real malty and smooth and when you smell/taste it the right way has flavors of cherry, fig and vanilla. One of my favorites in a long time, I gotta remember to pick a bottle of this one up soon.


Graham - Clown Shoes Clementine Old Fashioned - When Rob said he could make an old fashioned with the Clown Shoes Clementine I said prove it to me. He then called me a dick. What he did was prove to me that a drink this good probably shouldn't be made, lest we all become breakfast drinkers. Big orangey taste upfront with the rest of the beer flavor following only to end with a smooth whiskey mixed with orange on the back of your tongue. Refreshing, warming, filing, effervescent, flavorful and an overall classy beverage. I'll be having one for breakfast tomorrow.

Paul- (see above)

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)

Bar Interview #1: Idle Hands Bar


Hello Beer Friends Nation! Beer Reviews with four dudes around a table?  Check.  Brewery Interview?  Check.  This week we cross another item off our to do list as we achieve an audience with The Rev from Idle Hands Bar.  Yes, this is the same Idle Hands Bar that we constantly do Live Blogs from, and yes we've had a bunch of conversations with The Rev, but this time... we filmed it!

Idle Hands has a Bar Birthday coming up on September 14th, so the timing couldn't be more perfect.  With great weekly events, these guys know how to throw a party and this one should be epic.  If you can't make it because you have "plans" be sure to join them September 28th for their Pumpkin Picking Party (click here for tickets).

If this wasn't awesome enough, be sure to check us out later in the week for a Beer Review with The Rev... the party begins.


Live Blog! Great Divide Night at Idle Hands

Phil Foleen

Hello Beer Friends Nation! It was a dark and story night. Two intrepid beer drinkers braved the elements, the sheeting rain and slow busses to bring you a night of one of our favorite breweries out of Colorado. Wetsocks and all we are always excited for a little Great Divide and a Cowboys From Hell burger with crab seasoned tater tots from That Burger. Read on for the goodness...

Phil's First Hoss - For the beers that we are having tonight, this one is probably the one I would've picked to drink first anyway. It's not an overly strong beer, but with good malty notes from the Rye it doesn't disappoint. Smooth all the way down to the bottom of the glass.

Brad's First Hoss - Hoss is a great beer, I've had it before and it's a perfect fall beer, but without a pumpkin theme so it's great to drink year round.

Brad's Second Titan IPA - As I just got done talking with (name drop in 3, 2, 1...) Dave Woodlock the Great Divide beer rep, I told him that Titan is top 5 IPA for me. Balanced and piney really gives it a nice Colorado IPA feel.

Phil's Second Titan IPA - this is one of my all time fav's from Great Divide. Nice and hoppy, hoppy almost to the point of a double IPA, but without that overbearing bitterness and sweet ending that is pretty typical of those. I agree with Brad that this is just a very well balanced beer, a little floral taste from the hopes too but not in a tea-leaf kinda way.

Phil's Third Hercules Double IPA - this is the great next step in hoppiness for tonight. I love this beer, very hoppy and it does have that double IPA sweetnes but it's ny ere for a little bit and doesn't become the defining flavor on your tongue. That's left up to the hops, thankfully.

Brad's Third Hercules Double IPA - Re-read the Titan Review above.... Now double it. This is a delicious brew with a sneaky 10ABV that will seduce you like a beautiful woman (or so I've heard beautiful women seduce people... Lucky bastards).

Phil's Fourth Yeti Stout - yum yum yum yum yum. This is such a great opposing taste to the rest of what we've had tonight. So smoky and so dark and so delicious, the bitterness is such a great point at the end. A slight coffee taste, good and burnt that just makes you want whole second glass right away.

Brad's Fourth Yeti Stout - as much as this pains me... I agree with Phil - mostly on the Yum Yum Yum Yum part. This is a delicious stout that of course Great Divide with put into all sorts of barrels (whiskey, bourbon) and different varieties... (Belgian, Oak aged, Chocolate, Espresso). What's amazing is the base beer is so delicious by itself!

Brad's Fifth Rumble IPA - I've had this before and I like what they do. Honestly I'd like it more if it was bourbon barrel aged and a double IPA but we can't always get what we want. Also that's incredibly unfair to the beer because the version at present is delicious as well.

Phil's Fifth Rumble IPA - I agree with Brad to a point (theres a lot of agreeing going on here tonight, maybe they put something in the beer) I would like this a bit more if it were a Bourbon Barrel, BUT it is still a very good beer. A little on the sweet side for me, but still hoppy enough to keep me on board. Definitely a good choice for the smaller glasses.

Thanks to Rev and Rob at Idle Hands Bar and Dave bringing the Great Divide around. Can't wait for the next one!

Live(ish) Blog : Collesi from Italy

Phil Foleen

Hello Beer Friends Nation! Tonight we have been invited by Adam Levy from NYISC (Thanks Adam!) to a tasting of Italian Colessi Brewery's first venture into the American beer market. Giuseppe Collesi is the owner and was on hand to answer a few questions. Here's my impressions, Graham's will be soon to follow. Enjoy! Phil's First - Chiara - nice and light, very clear. A definitely hint of Belgian beer on the end, but being a very light hint I actually hunk it's ok. Hey I drank the whole glass so it's gotta be good.

Graham's First - Chiara - Chiara - The Chiara is super refreshing. The light shines nicely through this one with a slight yellow haze to it. It drinks super-refreshing with a bready fruitiness. Slight Belgian twang that leaves as soon as it shows up. This brew is great for any hot day, but it packs enough reserved flavor to keep the drinker interested in coming back for more.

Phil's Second - Bionda- definitely fruity, much fruitier than the first. The fruit comes through as a good apple flavor, like the good part of a cider. The finish is a nice bready flavor, not yeasty, and meshes well with the fruit flavor, basically giving you an apple pie in a beer, an Italian apple pie.

Graham's Second - Bionda - First glance makes you think of a sunset - a golden, yellow haze, the color of the sky over a grassy, brown Italian hillside. Breadier and slighty heavier mouthfeel than the Chiara and filled with flavor that doesn't take away its refreshing nature. Perfect for any hot day.

Phil's Third - Ambrata - another winner. These guys definitely have a handle on their descriptions, dried fruit was called out in the notes and dried fruit you will get. This ones the closest to a standard beer taste so far. The amber part definitely shows its face here, but is balanced by the sweet fruit taste in a very pleasant way. 3 for 3 so far.

Graham's Third - Ambrata - A bit darker this time - now an orange haze. What really stands out in this one are the more present flavors bread and dried fruit, plum or fig almost. But definitely dried not fresh fruit. Phil called it pungent - but in a reserved way. I agree with him. And on top of everything it's slightly floral and spicy, way in the back of the tongue. What a great well rounded beer. This one calls for cool nights on the water, around a fire perhaps.

Phil's Fourth - Rossa - A red ale with a lot going on. The nose(a wine term, but y'know) is very sweet with a bit of spice at the end, kind of like a mulled wine at Christmas. The taste, however, is anything but: the description says caramel malt, hazelnuts, fruits and a persistent finish. I'm with hem for everything but the hazelnuts. This one's a bit more of a combined taste than the others, definitely caramel malta, they kinda take the stage at the front, but followed quickly by the sweetness from the fruits. The finish is persistent, with a bit of a sticky mouthfeel, not unpleasant, just there to remind you what you just drank.

Graham's Fourth - Rossa - A commanding rusty color that doesn't let through even a glimmer of light. The Rossa contains so many subtle hints that you will be happily challenged to find them all: caramel, malt, hazelnuts, hop spice and dried fruit. it is full bodied, well rounded and bold. And just when you think the rush from the last sip is over you are revisited with a spicy effervescence that reminds you that this beer is not only flavorful, but it's also refreshing. It's a brew of many hats.

Phil's Fifth - Nera - it always surprises me when we have dark beers from other countries. This beer is good, by any means, but we as Americans are set up to be disappointed by our own selection of stouts. This one is darker than the rest, with a slightly Burt taste that you really have to search for because it's almost overpowered by the sweetness again. Not that it's a bad thing at all, just not what I was expecting. It's a little subdued and subtle with a lighter mouthfeel than you would think. Still a great beer, more like a dinner stout, one you could actually drink with pod and still taste what you re eating.

Graham's Fifth - Nera - An Italian take on a stout provides a unique perspective on the dark kings of the beer world. This stout is very light and easily drinkable with a much more present level of carbonation than I'm used to. The color is straight brown instead of a daunting blackness, more like chocolate than night. The flavor is the same - light, complex and very subtle. Fruits, breads and slight caramel sweetness. Not much roasted malt/coffee flavor, at least not as much as what's in our spoiled American punch-you-in-the-face stouts but I'm starting to enjoy this reserved Italian approach to beer.

Phil's Sixth- Triplo Malto alright, I will admit I was predisposed to hate this one, because lets face it, when have I ever met a triple that I liked? But to be honest, this was the least triple-ish triple I've ever had. To my liking. It's definitely got its share of fruit and yeasty taste to it and it almost put me over the edge, but at the last. Minute the taste mellows out and it's just a sweet beer with a lot of Belgian overtones. Palpable, coming from me that's high praise.

Graham's Sixth - Triplo Malto - The brew triples the amount of malt traditionally used and all that extra sugar provides the yeast with that needed kick to build you a big-time ABV beer. Not that you'd know it when you drank it - the artisinal care that goes into making this beer would never let on to it's strength. It's got an incredible amount of fruit - from tropical to plum paired with the breadiness that seems to be consistent with Parale craft beer. The added carbonation gives it a mouthfeel that, along with the fruit, breadiness and color, could easily trick one into having several of these big studs. But then again, maybe that's not such a bad thing.

Phil's Choice - Ambrata - this is my fav. Not just because I love apple pie. Overall this is the best balanced and complete flavor profile. Not too heavy on the sweetness and not overly bready it's an overall pleaser with no downsides. Seek it out and check out what Italy has to offer.

Graham's Choice At the end of the night we were filled with great beer and great snacks after some serious beer conversation with some of NYC's brightest beer writers and one of Italy's premier craft brewers. The event definitely changed my perspective on Italian craft beer - from hearing only rumors of it's existence to developing a serious respect for its existence. My favorite brew of the night ended up being a tie between the Ambrata or the Rossa. You could easily put one of these pours down during any season, but I think the Ambrata would go the best in a late August transition into fall and the Rossa would be great for anything after October and before Valentine's Day, a great brew from the holiday. One thing that stood out about all the beers is their reserved nature when it comes to flavor and an increased level of carbonation that makes any of them refreshing. Hunting for the flavors proved to be an exciting game that we both looked forward to playing with each new brew. We at the Beer Friends very much look forward towards seeing these brews more often in NYC and hope that more high quality Italian brewers jump across the pond and join the ever growing craft beer party here in America.

Thanks again to Adam at NYISC and Collesi Brewery for a great event. We look forward to seeing more of your beer here and more beer in general from Italy!

Live Blog! Bourbon and Beer Night at Idle Hands Bar: Sierra Nevada edition

Phil Foleen

It's Live Bloggerin' time!!!! (Phil's kinda excited for The Avengers). Hello Beer Friends Nation! Here we are again for our current favorite live blogging beer event at Idle Hands Bar in New York City welcoming Sierra Nevada to the stage. For now were are chilling with a couple of pre-gamers:

Phil's -1 Sierra Nevada Torpedo - alright I know this is why we're here, BUT I personally kicked two kegs for my first round just looking for a beer, so lay off. The only thing I have for this one is its actually got a bit of a spice note (talking like I know liquor). Pretty good actually and not what I was expecting, but I dont know if it's for real or a trick of the taps. I'll let you know when I have it again for the event.

Brad's -1 Troegs Nugget Nectar - I dig this beer. It's the only double/imperial Red I can remember because it's delicious. A deeper taste than any red (hence the double) it's still incredibly smooth. The downside is it's higher ABV (7ish) and I have a empty stomach. The latter part of this live blog might get interesting...

Phil's First Kellerweis - alright, I know everyone knows I'm not the biggest fan of German/wheat beers. This one included, BUT off the tap it's not so bad. I like the unfiltered part, there is a good bunch of bananas at the beginning, bane of my existence, but the most intriguing thing is I detect a distinct after taste of corn breakfast cereal that keeps me coming least till the end of this glass (thank god for 8 oz pours).

Brad's First Kellerweis - I like it! As explained to us by the Sierra Nevada guy, this is a unfiltered, open aired German wheat beer which allows for the yeast to germinate naturally. I like it but couldn't do them all the time, fortunately not a lot of American breweries are into this so I'll have to stick in the good ol' US of A

Phil and Brad's 2nd and 3rd Pale Ale & Ruthless Rye - what else can we say? Solid stand by brews, always take the Ruthless over the Pale. (insert shameless self plug of our own review)

Phil's 4th Hoptimum 2012 - So I love this one. Good bright and hoppy flavor with enough malts at the back that it doesn't dry you out, but not too much to overtake any of the flavor. Good competition for Torpedo in my opinion. I agree with the Sierra Nevada guy in that it's a very deceptive 10% ABV. You should probably pick this up when you see it.

Brad's 4th Hoptimum 2012 - Interesting... I believe this is the first year of this brew. It's like me signing my name "Brad 1981" every time. The hop taste is delicious - I feel it's like Sixpoint Resin but sweeter. I dig this beer - but the ABV is dangerous.

Phil's Last Torpedo - yes I know again, but I already told you that story. Always a classic, now my fourth fav from Sierra (thanks to Hoptimum), but definitely still pleases. Again the weird part is getting that slightly spicy note from the back end of the taste. Never really seen it before, but I'm not against it either. A good way to finish up the night, and if you haven't picked this one up in cans yet,do it.

Brad's Last Torpedo - yep. same old same old. This is a delicious beer. This was the first beer we reviewed and recently did a cans vs bottles taste test with it (look for the video in the upcoming days). I don't get the same spicy note Phil gets but he's weird like that. At least he only mentioned he didn't like Belgian beers once during this live blog...

Thanks for joining us tonight! Can't wait for the next one, thanks Idle Hands and Sierra Nevada!

P.S. Did I mention I don't like Belgian beers? Phil

P.P.S. Brad: "Two!"

2008-2012 Leap Year Aged Beer: Blog from The Gate, Brooklyn


It takes a community to build a house but only one man to live blog a fantastic beer event. Or does it? The guys at the Gate have kept six kegs in the deepest dankest part of their basement and tonight this one Beer Friend is drinking his share. Here's the lineup, each one keg aged four years:

J.W. Lees Manchester Star Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock Hitachi no Nest Celebration Ale Sprecher Bourbon Barrel Scotch Abbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru Allagash Curieux

Graham's First - Sprecher Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale

Let's recap an important conversation:

Me: How's the bourbon barrel scotch ale. Bartender: How is it? It's kinda f$ck%n awesome. Me: Then I kinda f#ck€n want some.

Small pour of epic deliciousness.  Five weeks of bourbon barrel aging already puts it over the top but keg age the brew for 5 years and it really opens up.  Your talking each delectable flavor of the brew: hints of vanilla, sugar, smoke and wood.

Over the top flavors of bourbon. Which I suppose includes all those aforementioned flavors. Did I mention that I love bourbon?

Graham's Second - Allagash 2008 Curieux

Another recap - the last beer was dark. Like the soul of a southern republican. It was bourbon aged with 6 different malts and two different hops. Bourbon/whiskey aged means nothing constant to anything however. The Allagash Curieux proves that. Aged 2 months in Jim Beam barrels at first sip one wouldnt know the difference - until you got real deep into it. The vanilla from the oak/whiskey barrels is dominant. Belgian flavors are reserved but present and the 9.5% ABV is non-existent.

Cloudy (as hell, which is most likely cloudy) and blonde-ish this beer defines what a bourbon aged Belgian should. Awesome.

All-in-all this is one of the most delicious beverages with this much flavor east of the Mississippi.

Graham's Third - Hitachino Nest  Celebration 2008

Apparently one of the rarest breweries on the planet after the tsunami - located right where that terrible wave hit.  This beer was brewed a bit before the disaster and and after four years of aging it was delicious.

This beer great head.  They serve a 10 oz. pour in a pint glass because the head is so active.  And it's not empty fizzy head either - it's packed with the aromatic flavors of the beer. Speaking of the beer's flavors...

This is a light colored, intriguingly spiced winter warmer.  If you were wondering what a Japanese winter warmer would taste like this is it...on four year aged steroids.  Very spicy but definitely verging on sweet at some points.  Flowing in between the orange/vanilla side and the coriander/nutmeg/cinnamon side.  All the while staying incredibly smooth.  One of the best brews of the night.

Thanks to the guys and gals at the Gate! You guys really know how to rock an imaginary type of day in the right type of way!

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 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!


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.

Live Blog of Oregon Beers night at The Stag's Head

Phil Foleen

As a peace offering to the West Coast, The Stag Head has graciously hosted an Oregon Beers night here in NYC! At least one of us is SUPER excited for the possibilities, let's see what we have in store from Rogue, Dick's and Elysian Breweries: Phil's 1st - Elysian Men's Room Red: a good staple kind of red ale. A little coppery on the aftertaste, but was an excellent way to start the evening, a good malty ending helps bring the flavor forward.

Brad's 1st - Elysian Jasmine IPA: This was a bit of a surprise because I was expecting a more flowery hop because of the name (I'm a native male). This brew was good but could've been better... However I've had other Elysian stuff so I'm looking forward to more.

Phil's 2nd - Dick's Danger Ale: a good choice for the second round. A good showing from he malts involved, but I missed the hops that were supposed to round out the taste. The feel was a little on the thin side, but definitely worth a try.

Brad's 2nd - Full Sail IPA: a decent IPA, although I enjoy a hoppier IPA. When your favorite IPA's are Bengali Tiger and Pale Ale is Dale's a lighter hopped IPA just doesn't do it... The thrill is gone.

Phil's 3rd - Full Sail LTD 05: I had high hopes for this one, and it came close to my hopes and dreams. A good middle range ale, gets a little bread-y I'd you let it get warm. Maybe good for a first round, but I think better could be found.

Brad's 3rd - Elysian Immortal IPA: This is cheating but I've had this beer before and I really like it. It's a hoppier IPA (see above) and that's the way, ug huh ug huh I like it!

Harpoon Night at Blind Tiger: Hangover Edition


Hello Beer Friends Nation!  Good Beer Month continues into August with Harpoon Brewery at the Blind Tiger NYC.  Harpoon Brewery is from Boston and a favorite of the two Red Sox fans in the Beer Friends.  Tonight should be fun with a few common pours, a few 100 Barrel series pours and a few from the Leviathan series! Beer! Brad 1st - Harpoon Leviathan Baltic Porter 2008: Honestly hard to get past the alcoholic taste on this one.  At 12 percent I knew it was high but most times the harshness is cut by another favor - not this time.

Graham #1 - Harpoon Landbier.  This German lager is a light, easily drinkable session beer from Harpoon's 100 Barrel Series. Tan in color, slight malt aroma and very light body, this easy to take down 6 of lager is not compromising on taste. It's got a burst of malt flavor that stays with you through a clean finish. If this was in sixers it'd b perfect for a summer day outside.

Paul's 1st - Landbier: This is a delicious session lager. It's hard to disagree with Graham's assessment about how often this beer could be consumed. I would love to drink this beer after work on a cool late summer day.

Brad #2 - Leviathan Imperial IPA; I love this beer.  The regular IPA is too light for me but this one does well with the 4 (Chinook, Centennial, Simcoe, an Amarillo) Hops used. Easy to drink and spicy enough to feel it, plus the 10 ABV is hidden under the hops taste which is fantastic.

Graham Número Dos - Harpoon Single [Delta] Hop ESB: Using a new hop variety with this one gives it a different hop character than the regular ESB. Easily drinkable with an herbal aroma and a bronze color, this brew has an earthy hop flavor to it that is delicious.

Paul's 2nd - Belgian Pale Ale (cask): I am already a big fan of this beer and having it out of the cask doesn't disappoint.  It's very light and sweet, the Belgian part of it gives the pale part of it a lot of flavor.  It's very easy to drink and the lack of carbonation from the cask makes it really smooth.  It's cloudy out of the cask and looks more like apple cider.  This was my favorite of the night and I was looking forward to it as soon as I saw it on the menu.  I only wish it came in a larger glass...

Brad #3 - Harpoon Leviathan Triticus: Triticus is Latin for "wheat" and this is a dark wheat wine-style ale and is delicious.  Slightly sweet and easily drinkable, this was the winner of the night for me.

Graham Number Trois - Harpoon Bohemian Imperial Pilsner: This brew is  part of the 32nd release of their 100 Barrel Series. It is definitely a bog beer with the 9% ABV and the increased malt sweetness. The hops are even more pronounced. It is definitely an "assertive but not overly aggressive beer" as Harpoon describes it, however it leaves me wanting it more aggressive. When ordering it I more wanted a punch-in-the-face mugging in the park imperial pilsner not a brisk walk through the hop/malt tourist part of the park.

Paul's 3rd - Munich Dark: This dark lager has a great bite to it.  It starts smooth but quickly jumps out and let's you know it's there.  This would be a great beer for late summer or early fall. Honestly, it would be a pretty good beer anytime, but it was a hot day in NYC today and I think I'm in a certain mindset... a hot, dehydrated mindset.

Graham 4th - Harpoon Triticus: Wheat Wine. I'm not sure what that conjures up in your mind...perhaps a barley wine style brew made with wheat malts instead of barley. High in alcohol taste with a sweet malt that will hope to overpower the 12% ABV. Well take that notion, drop the sugary malts, keep the ABV and add a boatload of roasted and burnt malts that blow this brew out of the water. This one drinks like a coffeeish, dark flavored imperial stout. Bit don't let it fool you, it's still 11.1% ABV.

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