Archive for the ‘’ Category

February 26th, 2014

What’s up, crafty bastards?

Crafty Bastards coverOh, hey. This old watering hole has been boarded up for a while. You may have passed by from time to time and wondered, ‘When’s someone going to do something with that place?’

I never could part with the liquor license, so to speak. And it’s a good thing, because I left a few half-empty bottles lying around, and I could use a drink. See, I had an adventure in Los Angeles. Then I drove back to Massachusetts with my Grammy Clark’s American Tourister Bag. Then I got the opportunity to write a book about beer history. Now I’m done, and the book’s coming out at the end of April. It’s called Crafty Bastards: Beer in New England from the Mayflower to Modern Day, and the fine team at Union Park Press is putting it out.

The story starts literally from the day the Pilgrims landed in Plymouth (because they ran out of beer) and ends right about now, in the midst of the current craft beer boom. In between are the Puritans, the American Revolution, rum, cider, the Industrial Era, ale versus lager, saloons, Prohibition, Haffenreffer and ’Gansett and all their brethren, trailblazing homebrewers, David Geary and Jim Koch and the other early New England microbrewers, beer bars, BeerAdvocate, and a few resurrections.

There will be many fun and beery book release parties. I’ll keep you posted here and/or at my forthcoming “Hi, I’m an author” website. (Stay tuned.) Or you can follow me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

As for this blog … I’m honestly not sure what sort of shenanigans I’ll revive here. So much has happened in Greater Boston Imbibing since July 2011. I’m just starting to catch up! See you out and about.

Posted in Beer, Books & resources | 7 Comments »

January 21st, 2011

Brewsters collaborate on Project Venus

Today, three women will undertake what appears to be the first collaboration of female brewers. Megan O’Leary Parisi of our local Cambridge Brewing Co., Whitney Thompson of Victory in Pennsylania and Laura Ulrich of Stone in California will gather at the CBC to make a Belgian dubbel-style ale that they have labeled Project Venus. Cool, eh?

OK, all you medieval history buffs out there know it’s probably not the first collaboration. In the Middle Ages in England, brewing was women’s work, and the women who made beer were called brewsters. No doubt they joined forces from time to time. As Judith M. Bennett writes in Ale, Beer and Brewsters in England: Women’s Work in a Changing World, 1300-1600:

“Women once brewed and sold most of the ale drunk in England, and since ale was, as we shall see, drunk in vast quantities, women had to produce and market it in vast quantities as well. Today, most aspects of the brewing trade … rest largely in the hands of men. Women’s work has now become men’s work. When did this happen? Why? With what effect?”

To answer that last question…

Uh, yeah. Bring on the Project Venus, ladies. The three brewsters hatched the collaboration while hanging out in Denver during the Great American Beer Festival last fall. They’ll take the rich, malty, dried-fruit character of a classic dubbel and add a few twists, such as oranges, orange-blossom honey and saffron (!). Parisi, who has been brewing at the CBC since 2006, expects to tap the beer toward the end of February.

Long live the brewster tradition!

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Posted in Beer | 1 Comment »

May 2nd, 2010

Nips – 5/2/10

clio-menuA friend of mine told me that an old flame put the moves on him recently after plying him with drinks. Acknowledging the futility of the attempt to rekindle, the old flame apologized for her brazenness. But she offered this excellent excuse: “It’s spring, and I’m a mammal.”

Well, it’s spring, and I’m a blogger. So here’s some link love…

» LUPEC Boston reviews Todd Maul’s new bar menu at Clio, which leaves all previous bar menus at Clio in the dust.  “The 80-plus drinks … run the gamut,” say the Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails, “from aperitifs ($9) to drinks for two ($25) to tiki drinks & daiquiris ($13), and feature a blend of pre-Prohibition and modern classics.” Many of the offerings are designed to pair nicely with the raw delights at Uni, the sushi bar adjacent to the Clio bar.

» Speaking of tiki drinks … doesn’t the balmy spring weather make you thirsty for the serious Donn Beach/Trader Vic-style versions of these rum-tastic cocktails? Sure, you can get them on demand at Drink, Eastern Standard and now, of course, Clio, among a smattering of other spots. But could somebody open up a REAL tiki bar in Boston, already? This city was once a tiki mecca, and, well, how ’bout sprucing up down-on-its-luck Downtown Crossing with a ridiculously fun bar? Silvertone and Stoddard’s (yes, it’s finally open!) can’t do it all by themselves. Sheesh.

» Speaking of LUPEC Boston and new joints, one of the Ladies, Jane Robertson (aka Pinky Gonzales), does an astute write-up of Harvard Square’s new Russell House Tavern for Joonbug (which reviewed drinkboston’s Bartenders on the Rise event not long ago). She pretty much echoes drinkboston’s first impressions of the place: it’s got some baggage to overcome, but its bright spots — including the cocktail list and the horseshoe-shaped, marble bar downstairs — make us root for the place.

» Congrats to these talented barmen and women — who work in some of drinkboston’s fave joints — for making the Improper Bostonian magazine’s long-running Boston’s Beloved Bartenders list: Trina Sturm of Trina’s Starlite Lounge, Scott Marshall of Drink, Corey Bunnewith of Coppa and Ned Greene of Hungry Mother.

» Dan Okrent, whose Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition was recently reviewed on drinkboston, will talk about his book at an open-to-the-public lecture at the Boston Athenaeum on May 27. So much material here for us history-minded imbibers — reserve your seat starting May 14. And by the way, yours truly will be serving a Prohibition-era cocktail at the post-lecture reception (which also features wine, beer and cheese from Capone Foods).

» Speaking of alcohol, history and lectures, I’m also attending Boston Beer: a History with Michael Reiskind at the Boston Public Library on May 12. Oh, and speaking of beer, don’t forget that the annual American Craft Beer Fest is coming up at the Seaport World Trade Center June 18-19.

dean-martin-highball» If you like to drive your car to Boston-area bars but don’t want to risk a DUI (or worse) on your way home, Boston’s Designated Driver is a good service to know about. I haven’t tried it out yet and would love to hear from anyone who has — leave a comment, will you?

» Hey, did you know that drinkboston and Trina’s Starlite Lounge are having a Highballs party on Sunday, May 9? Reserve your ticket at 617-576-0006 or info@trinastarlitelounge.com and come party like it’s 1965. See you there!

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Posted in Bartenders, Beer, Booze in the news, Boston bars, Nips | 10 Comments »

March 17th, 2010

They rose, we drank

bartenders-rise-prep

As we witnessed Sunday night, all that Boston imbibers need to lure them out of the house when it’s raining sideways is the promise of a well-made cocktail and a good party. I applaud our hardiness — not to mention the emerging bar talent that made the evening possible.

Green Street, the venue and co-host for Boston Bartenders on the Rise, made the savvy decision of removing all the tables and chairs from the dining room to accommodate the sell-out crowd. We were warmly welcomed with a beer cocktail by Green Street proprietor Dylan Black called De Stella Nova: Pretty Things Jack D’Or Belgian-style farmhouse ale, 2 dashes of orange bitters and a candied citrus star flavored with coriander.

bartenders-rise-stanley

We then moved on to the four original cocktails created for the occasion by our featured talent (recipes and creators listed below in serving order). I circled the place again and again to say hello to everyone while sneaking the occasional fried oyster, chicken rillette, grilled shrimp on a skewer, or juicy slider (thank you for the lovely apps, chef Greg Reeves!).

Many, many thanks to those who traveled both near and far to join in on some drinkboston-style fun. Thanks also to Sean Frederick for the photos and the entire smooth-operating Green Street staff. Let’s do it again soon!

bartenders-rise-mccoy

Loose Translation
Carrie Cole, Craigie on Main

1 1/4 oz Scorpion mezcal
3/4 oz Aperol
1/2 oz Mathilde XO orange cognac
1/2 oz pineapple syrup
1/2 oz lime juice
Pinch kosher salt
Dash Allspice Dram

Quick shake over ice, pour entire contents into a highball glass, and top with a splash of ginger ale. Drinkboston: We need something fruity on the menu. Carrie: I’m thinking of using mezcal. Result: a loose, tiki-inspired translation.

Peralta
Evan Harrison, Deep Ellum

1 1/2 oz Old Overholt rye
1/2 oz Cynar
1/2 oz green Chartreuse
1/2 oz fresh grapefruit juice
Dash grapefruit bitters, Deep Ellum orange bitters

Shake over ice and serve straight up with grapefruit peel garnish. Inspired by skateboarding legend Stacy Peralta.

Saving Daylight
Bob McCoy, Eastern Standard

2 oz Plymouth gin
1 oz McCoy’s homemade golden vermouth
1/4 oz St. Germain
1/8 oz Cointreau
Dash McCoy’s aromatic bitters

Stir over ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with orange peel. Sip as winter turns to spring.

William of Orange
Emily Stanley, Green Street

1 1/2 oz Bols genever
1/2 oz Benedictine
1/2 oz Punt E Mes
1/2 oz Aperol
Dash orange bitters

Stir over ice and serve down (i.e. strain into a rocks glass). Named for the English king who ushered in the era when Dutch genever became English gin.

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Posted in Bartenders, Beer, Boston bars, Cocktails, Events, Gin, Whiskey | 4 Comments »

September 18th, 2009

Drinks for the lovesick

sinatra-no-one-cares

Ever have one of those times in your life when it seems half the people you know are falling in love, getting married and having babies, and the other half are breaking up? Yeah, I thought so. This is for all imbibers facing the latter predicament. Among the many questions you’re grappling with — What went wrong? What will I do now? What is the point of existence? — is one that deserves special consideration: What am I drinking?

OK, here’s what you’re not drinking: Champagne. Cognac. Port. Anything pink. Anything juicy. And if you’re trying to drown your sorrows in something like Pinot Grigio or Michelob Ultra, you’ve got bigger issues than heartbreak.

So what’s left? Gin. Whiskey. Tequila. Maybe even vodka. These should be consumed in something close to their pure form, with nothing more than one or two other ingredients, preferably bitters and vermouth. After all, it’s time to strip away that psychic baggage, to get elemental. You’re dealing with an adult situation — have an adult beverage. What says “I am training for the emotional equivalent of the Iron Man Triathalon” more than a Pink Gin, an Old Fashioned, a Mexican Eagle or a vodka on the rocks? A case can be made for beer, as long as it’s not fancy and accompanies a shot, and, for those with a keen sense of sarcasm, a Zombie. It’s a tiki drink, sure, but it’s got four ounces of rum.

Order one of these at a barely lit bar, stare into your glass with your trenchcoat still on like Frank here, and let the lyrics of another master of heartbreak songs, George Jones, run through your head: “With the blood from my body / I could start my own still / And if drinking don’t kill me / Her memory will.”

And for god’s sake read the Modern Drunkard’s Boozing Through a Breakup.

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Posted in Beer, Bitters, Gin, Rum, Tequila, Vermouth, Vodka, Whiskey | 11 Comments »

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