Archive for the ‘Beer’ Category

September 18th, 2009

Drinks for the lovesick


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 »

July 28th, 2009

Lame beer session


President Obama, acknowledging his part in spurring the media circus around the arrest of Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. through his “stupid” remark about the case (which has by now been downgraded from Exhibit A: Racial Profiling Epidemic to Unfortunate Incident), and wanting to shut that circus down so that we can resume talking about life-and-death stuff like health care and the war in Afghanistan, is having Gates and Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley over to the White House on Thursday for a beer.

Whether or not we agree that this particular presidential summit is warranted, I think we can agree on the notion of getting together over a beer to solve problems. It should happen way more often. But hearing what kind of beer each gentleman requested disappointed me. From the Reuters blogs:

Asked what beer the president might have, [Spokesman Robert] Gibbs observed that Obama drank a Budweiser at the baseball All-Star Game a couple of weeks ago.

“Sgt. Crowley mentioned when the president offered this on the phone Friday that he likes Blue Moon,” said Gibbs. Blue Moon is a Belgian-style white beer brewed by Molson Coors.

Gates told the Boston Globe he was a fan of Red Stripe, a Jamaican lager, and Beck’s, a German lager.

Oh, god. Bud, Blue Moon and Beck’s? Really, gentlemen? Is the meeting at a Ruby Tuesday’s or something? Not to mention the fact that every one of these brews is made by a global conglomerate. Can I interest you in something still well-known (i.e. not “elitist”) but American-made — Sam Adams, maybe? Fitting that it originates from the city across the river from the incident. Or maybe the Cambridge guys could bring a local brew from their city, while Obama brings a D.C.-made beer to the table. I suggest, given Crowley’s taste for unfiltered wheat ales, that he grab a growler of hefe-weizen from the Cambridge Brewing Co. Mr. President, you bring some Capitol City Kolsch for yourself and Mr. Gates. That way you get symbolism and flavor.

You’re welcome. Let me know if I can be of any further help.

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Posted in Beer, Booze in the news | 13 Comments »

June 3rd, 2009

Nips – 6/3/09

Things to drink and places to go:

jack-dor I have happily been following Dann Paquette’s brewing career since about the mid-’90s, when he was at the Northeast Brewing Co. in Allston. Numerous brewing stints later, including a recent couple of years in Yorkshire, England, Dann started his latest venture: Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project. Look for Pretty Things beers in your local bar or packie, and drink them. They are really good. I’m partial to the American-style saison, Jack d’Or (left). It’s distinctive and delicious, yet versatile enough for everyday use.

Downtown Wine & Spirits in Davis Square, Somerville, has fairly recently expanded the “spirits” part of its name with hard-to-find bourbons, liqueurs, rums, etc. It also has the best combination website/blog of any liquor store in greater Boston. And they have regular tastings.

packard-wi-fi Scott opened the June Esquire, featuring the annual Best American Bars list, and asked me, “Which Boston bar do you think they picked?” “Drink,” I said. No brainer. (There’s also an RIP sidebar that bids farewell to the B-Side.) Speaking of Drink, on a recent visit I tried Josey Packard‘s homage to the Marconi Wireless, the WiFi: Bonded Laird’s Applejack, Lillet Blanc, Drambuie. Strong, complex, stunning.

maul-ramos-fizz Todd Maul has rather quietly been insinuating craft cocktails into the Boston fine-dining scene. He recently moved from Rialto in Cambridge to Clio in Boston, where he has livened up a cocktail menu based largely on vodka and sake infusions with classically inspired mixtures using gin, tequila, whiskey and rum. As you can see from the pic, he also makes a helluva Ramos Gin Fizz. Go check this guy out.

Finally, an observation and a question: remember when people who patronized bars and restaurants were called “customers?” In the last few years, in some establishments anyway, they have become “guests.” What’s the origin of the switch? I suppose it’s nicer to be considered a guest than merely one end of a cash deal, even though being someone’s guest has traditionally implied that you enjoy their hospitality without having to pay for it.

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Posted in Beer, Boston bars, Drinking supplies, Nips | 10 Comments »

April 17th, 2009

The most amazing gathering of brewers in one Boston bar

Deep Ellum - Citizens of the World party

In the last post I mentioned that the annual Craft Brewers Conference is coming to Boston next week and that the event is spurring local beer bars to show hop heads what they got. Little did I know what an understatement that was. Turns out that Deep Ellum in Allston, in partnership with Shelton Brothers beer importers of Amherst, MA, are hosting what they’re calling the First Annual Citizens of the World Party and what I’m calling the Most Amazing Gathering of Brewers in One Boston Bar. Seriously — Jean Van Roy of Belgium’s fabled lambic brewery, Cantillon, will be there. He has never set foot in the U.S. before.

From Wednesday through Saturday, Van Roy and a couple dozen other artisanal brewers from Belgium, Germany, Scandinavia, Japan, England, Quebec and, of course, the U.S. will drop by Deep Ellum to schmooze and booze. They are responsible for most of the 80+ draught beers that will be tapped over the course of the four-day fest. (There’ll be special bottled beers, too.) Brasserie de la Senne (Belgium), Mahr’s (Germany), Ridgeway (England) and Dieu de Ciel (Quebec), plus the U.S. breweries Russian River (CA), Southampton Publick House (NY), Jolly Pumpkin (MI), Sly Fox (PA), Allagash (ME) and High & Mighty (MA), are just a sampling of the breweries represented. Check in with the Shelton Brothers blog for details and updates.

Each night has a theme: Wednesday is Welcome to the Craft Brewers Conference with BeerAdvocate; Thursday is East of the Mississippi; Friday is West of the Mississippi; and it looks like Saturday will be Day of the Belgians (check in with the abovementioned blog or with Deep Ellum about exact times). And last, but so not least, the Shelton Brothers and Dogfish Head are co-hosting a beer party Tuesday night at the Other Side Cafe on Newbury St.

Inform your friends in Allston that you are crashing on their couch next week, and come check this out.

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Posted in Beer, Boston bars | 7 Comments »

April 11th, 2009

The grape and the grain

Beer crowd toastingIt appears that April 2009 is unofficially Beer and Wine Month in Boston. You’ve got the first Wine Riot (“This isn’t your parents’ wine event”) and the 10th Beer Summit happening on the same weekend, April 17 and 18. Tix are still on sale for both. And you’ve got the Craft Brewers Conference coming to town the following week, April 21-24. It’s all part of Boston’s long-hatched plan to be the best drinking town in America.

Wine tastingOK, maybe not, but it all adds up to some serious enthusiasm in the Hub for good drink. Note that the Craft Brewers Conference, an annual gathering of folks in an industry made up of thousands of small breweries and brewpubs, doesn’t just meet in any city. They aim for venues that offer attendees lots of places where they can find their chosen beverage. While most of the activity around the conference is industry-only and happens at the World Trade Center, breweries and beer bars around Boston are doing special events to take advantage of the influx of beer professionals from around the country.

Redbones is having a Smuttynose Keg Party on April 22 from 5:00-7:00 — 18 kegs of the Portsmouth, NH, brewery’s beers on tap at one time including vintage, short-batch and fan favorites. Also, brewers from the Cambridge Brewing Co. and Mayflower Brewing led the creation of a special beer for the conference, the Audacity of Hops, which will be available at Cambridge Brewing and some other local bars that week (and perhaps for a little while afterwards if supplies last).

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Posted in Beer, Wine | No Comments »