Shake Shack Shake Up: Beer AND Chicken!

I first learned about Shake Shack several years ago, while I was still in North Carolina, when my buddy dated some sort of manager or something. I don’t really remember his exact role, and I refuse to check LinkedIn for that kind of thing, but it was a very gentle introduction to the concept of what was already a staple in New York for nearly a decade.

Coincidentally, about 3 years ago, Shake Shack must’ve heard I was moving north, because they decided to open up their first Philadelphia location just about a month before I became a permanent resident of this fair city. Me and “The Shack”, we’ve had some good times together. Almost all were burger related, and I’m more than okay with that. And, when they decided to collaborate with Yards Brewery and La Colombe to brew a very special Coffee Stout, well, I had to make a stop to check out the brew!

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Philly, burgers, AND beer?! Speaking my language.

As Shake Shack, Yards, AND La Colombe are all about community, $2 from every pint sold was donated to City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. And, instead of the typical Yards Love Stout, this Coffee Stout is a dark ale brewed with roasted malt to create a smooth, creamy brew. La Colombe coffee beans infuse the beer with lavender, orange and caramel. It was a blend of typical CO2 pour and nitro, making it a realllllly smooth mouthfeel and experience.

 

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If you’re near a Shake Shack and you see it around, FIND IT!! And drink it.

However, as the team for Shake Shack is insanely generous, they didn’t stop there. They wanted me to try something new.

Something…. chicken.

That’s right, Shake Shack is going BEYOND THE BURGER! And straight to Clucktown with their Chick’n Shack. This sammy is a crispy 100% all-natural and antibiotic-free chicken breast with lettuce, pickles and buttermilk herb mayo.

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I promise, I only ate most of this

Y’all: It’s so good. There’s been a lot of comparisons made to other chicken sandwiches, some local, some less local. But I beseech of you: go in with a clear mind. Order a Chick’n Shack. Get this beer (or the classic Shackmeister Ale). Get a side of cheese fries (do NOT skip the cheese.)

Pro-Tip: Order a side of cherry peppers (traditionally reserved for their SmokeShack). Take a bite of the sandwich, untainted. THEN, doctor the hell out of it by slathering on some cheese sauce and cherry peppers.

I don’t even know how to put into words that bliss. Heat, melted cheese, chicken, PICKLES! Rapture.

The fellows at Shake Shack Center City, Tom and ESPECIALLY Derek, took SUCH good care of us. In fact, they wouldn’t let us leave until  without a boozy adult dessert.

Yup, vanilla custard in a grown-up beer float.

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Talk about a sweet ending!

What I SHOULD have done after this meal: Take a long run with the Shack Track and Field group.

What I DID do: promptly waddled home and laid in bed, drifting to a full-bellied half food-coma, half-regular sleep.

SO MUCH THANKS to the entire team at Shake Shack for treating me to the tastiest pre-blizzard meal possible. Perfect prelude to a long weekend hibernating… If you have the ability to hit up the Shack in Center City OR University City, do yourself a solid, Chick’n up, and meet me when the snow melts in the spring for some Shack Track runs!

Victory Dark Intrigue: A Family Affair

Let me start off by saying I am a marketer’s wet dream.

Make me laugh in a commercial? I’ll take a dozen.  Tell me something’s limited, I’ll hand my credit card over.   I over-commit to hype, and you bet that I was crazy about all sorts of 90s trends: Beanie Babies, Tamagotchi, Zwibble Dibbles, Pokemon cards, Crazy Bones, Yu Gi Oh stuff, Cabbage Patch Kids…. You name it, I had them all.

Well, when Victory Brewing Company, a brewery near and dear to my heart/home in Pennsylvania, mentioned via Twitter and their website that their infamous Dark Intrigue was going to be released the day before Thanksgiving (affectionately known as Dark Wednesday), about 12 hours before I was going to be flying into Philly, and it could be their last time brewing the particular beer, I knew I had to obtain some.  I also knew the right man for the job.

The Man with the Plan!

The beer sold out 3 hours after they opened their doors, and my brother, Connor, waited for 5 hours with his dear friend, Gilly. If there’s one person who is at least as intense as I am, if not more, when it comes to dedication to a cause, whether it’s a Black Friday sale or crushing some child’s spirit as he out-trades Pokemon cards (we’re a mean family), it’s Connor. And he nailed it, picking up two bombers for his big sister.

The beer was $15 a bottle and, while that’s steep, I couldn’t say no to the opportunity.  As I’ve said before, what money I save when I refuse to use heat and air conditioning, I just spend on Craft Beer. Such is life.

Delicious!

Since pint glasses are in high demand in my household (read: there are none because everyone either drinks canned beer or cocktails), Connor enjoyed his from a classic Coca Cola glass.

Described by the brewery:

Our Storm King Stout spent the summer in bourbon barrels from Jim Beam and Heaven Hill Distilleries, and has finally emerged as Dark Intrigue. (It’s like Clark Kent going into a phone booth and coming out as Superman, only more delicious and less crime-fighty.)

This beer poured such a dark, opaque brown-black that even the head was a rich brown color. It smelled boozy to say the least, of bourbon and maybe some vanilla.

We refused to wait for the beer to warm at all for the first sip which, I’ll admit, was a little heavy on the bourbon taste for my liking. However, as my good from Michael from Rockfish taught me, sometimes you just have to let certain beers warm up for all the flavors to come out right.

One adjective I’d use to describe the  flavor would be burnt, kind of the way crème brûlée tastes a little burnt. As it warmed, it sort of just tasted softer. Malty and sweet, it was definitely easier to drink as the night progressed.

Now, I have been to several classes or events that described how we should taste beer. What we should say about it, how we should use our retronasal tasting, etc.  But I’m going off that formula for a second.

Maybe it was the post-Thanksgiving glow of a late night on Black Friday. Maybe it was enjoying a fantastic beer with my brother. Perhaps it was just the 9.1% ABV. Most likely, it was a combination of all three.  But both of us agreed that this beer just made us feel really wonderful. As we sipped, the stressful bits of the day, the looming deadlines just slipped away. Smiling was easier, laughter came quicker, and even though we each only enjoyed one glass, I’d say that beer was worth every penny of the $15. It warms the body, and it warmed the soul.

The family that drinks craft beer together stays together.

Huge thanks to my brother and his partner in crime, Gilly, for supporting my craft beer crazy, and to Victory Brewing Company, for bringing me even closer to my brother!

Epic Brewing Brainless on Peaches

I don’t know much about what comes from Utah. A quick Google search reminded me of that time that the 2002 Winter Olympics was hosted there, and it looks like they’re well known for mining. Sundance Film Festival and they 14.9% of folks are Scandinavian in ancestry. All of that pales in comparison to what else Utah brings to the table. Or, in this case, the bar.

Ladies and Gentlemen, enter Epic Brewing Company.  More specifically, their Brainless on Peaches.

Looks like a nice, juicy peach. In a glass.

The newest offering at Rockfish by Southpoint is a special rare beer tap.  A totally awesome idea, in my humblest of opinions. Clearly, I wasn’t the only one that thought so because beer geeks gathered in order to taste this rare treat.  This keg was the only one in the state of North Carolina and, considering how much I love limited edition things and Rockfish, I couldn’t resist.

Bottoms up!

Now, about the beer.

From the brewer:

Brainless on Peaches is part of the Exponential Series of very limited release beers from Epic. “Epic’s special line of ales and lagers for the accomplished consumer or the ever-curious. This is where the Epic journey never ends…”

We took our double gold medal winning Brainless Belgian, added organic peach puree and aged it in French Chardonnay casks form Sawtooth Winery. Drink from a Pinot glass, serve on the warm side of cold, it develops nicely as it warms displaying more fruit and wine.

It was delicious. Be warned, it is 10.5% ABV, but it drinks much smoother than that. The smell and taste is not as aggressively PEACH as Peaotch that I tried a few weeks ago, but the taste of wine is definitely there. If I didn’t know that it was aged in those fancy Chardonnay casks, I think I still would’ve guessed that there was some wine in this process. The taste started out as somewhat sweet, then hit a little harder with some sharpness after a few sips. It mellowed out as it warmed, and, after one glass, definitely had an effect. It had a fair amount of carbonation which I always appreciate. While I didn’t love it as much as the Dogfish Head Festina Peche or the Peaotch, it was a decent peach beer and totally worth a try.

 

Terrapin Midnight Project Peaotch (Collaboration with Left Hand Brewing!)

Good morning folks!!

First, I’d like to thank you all for your kind words regarding the fire in my apartment complex. It finally stopped smelling like smoke in the neighborhood, though the area is still caution-taped off for safety. Well, safety first, and hopefully things will be back to normal sooner rather than later.

What better way to welcome Sunday morning than with a nice juicy peach…. beer review.

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to spend one of North Carolina’s first gorgeous fall days warming up with a few friends around the grill.  One friend in particular was really dressed to the nines.

Oh, you fancy, huh?

The other day I picked up the collaboration peach beer by Terrapin Beer Company and Left Hand Brewing Company aptly named Peaotch.  It was about 9 dollars at the Hope Valley Bottle Shop, which was fairly steep for me… but I was celebrating life.

Sometimes, I’m a bit raccoon-like when I shop for beers.  I don’t mean in the sense that I open garbage cans to dine on the contents (most of the time). I do, however, get attracted to shiny things. And the beautiful golden shininess on the top of this bottle piqued my interest.  Oh, that, and the name. Peaotch. Bahaha. Get it?

T-t-t-tasty!

The smell from the initial pour of this beer was beautiful. I’m pretty sure that, if Yankee Candle was interested in a peach beer candle, this would be it.

From the brewer:

Sometime around midnight in a city nobody can agree on, the idea for Terrapin and Left Hand to brew a collaboration beer was born. Peaotch is the third in the series of one-time releases between the two breweries. Terrapin  Brew master Brian “Spike” Buckowski hosted Left Hand Brew master Ro Gunzel in Athens, Ga and late one night the two brewed up this dreamy ale.

Yep, we brewed a beer with Georgia & Colorado peaches. We tried to tell the peaches to get out of the way, but they wouldn’t. Ludicrous, we know.

ABV: 7.2%

I smelled fruity ripeness like peaches and maybe something else…. apricots? Either way, it was fragrant and light.

The taste of the beer was a little less intensely peach than the smell, but I think that’s probably for the best. It was light and carbonated enough that I probably could’ve enjoyed the whole bottle (though I split it with my buddy) and it went down easily. Even though I feel like peach and fruit might be more of a “summer beer” flavor, this was crisp enough to go perfectly with the crisp autumn weather. It was almost juicy.

I’d recommend if you were a fan of Dogfish Head’s Festina Pêche and looking for another peach experience, I’d recommend this tasty treat. It’s not quite as tart as the Pêche, and is a great drink to share with friends.

Or raccoons.

Southern Tier Brewing Company Crème Brûlée (Imperial Milk Stout)

Ok, I have a treat for you all. A delicious, sweet, creamy treat. And the best part?

It’s a beer.

I went to my buddy Katie’s Labor Day BBQ on Monday with my dearest pal, Veronika, and we toted along a delicious Buffalo Chicken Dip that was only the tip of a delicious iceberg that was the “spread”.

Buffalo Chicken Dip in the front, actual buffalo chicken wings on the left

Cherries, pasta salad, all the chips and dips, clementines, collard greens, green peppers, and carrots. Mmmm!

But that really wasn’t the treat I meant (though these were all treats).

That's the money shot.

Sweating in my hand is 22 oz of tastiness in the form of a bottle of Southern Tier Brewing‘s Crème Brûlée Imperial Milk Stout.

Described by the brewer:

We are not the harbingers of truth as some may suggest but it may indeed be argued that our brewing philosophy is tantamount to a dessert with a bellicose past. How, you may ask, would a brewery determine a likeness to hard-coated custard? Our response is simple; it’s all in the power of history, and of course, the extra finesse needed to top off a contentious treat with definition.

By comprehending the labyrinthine movement of time, one would not think it strange to trace the errant path of an ordinary object such as a cream dessert only to discover that it has been the cause of cultural disputes since the middle ages. The British founders of burnt cream and from Spain, crema catalana, both stand by their creative originality and we respect that, but it was the French Crème Brûlée, amid the strife of contention, that survived to represent our deliciously creamy brew.

9.6% ABV

Wow. That’s a lot of words to describe this beer (or not even really describe it. Either way, it’s a lot of words.)

Here’s my description: This is a beer for every dessert lover out there. It’s a beer that I genuinely believe could even win the hearts of devout “non-beer drinkers” and beer drinkers alike. It’s sweet, it’s creamy, and, when served cold, it’s better than any popsicle I’ve had (except maybe Locopopsmaybe). And by God, if it doesn’t taste like Crème Brûlée!!

The smell resembled a rich vanilla, the taste kept that vanilla party going with a few hints of coffee or cocoa (I’m looking forward to trying their Mokah Imperial Stout soon, bottle of that waiting in the fridge). The mouthfeel was so creamy that we decided to do a little experiment, for the sake of science.

Do I dare?

Oh, yes. I dared.

One scoop of vanilla ice cream + a liberal pouring of Crème Brûlée Imperial Milk Stout + blender = best boozy milkshake I’ve ever had in my entire life.

Here’s the thing about this beer: I don’t think I could’ve had more than the one, at least not in one night. It’s a special treat, but I enjoyed every last drop. If you’re curious to try a beer that doesn’t really taste like a beer…. try this beer. If you already taste many beers on a regular basis, still try this beer. It’s a beer that isn’t like any other one I’ve tried. And I’d totally recommend it.

It pairs nicely with ribs AND with Paul's crazy face!

Now, all I need to do is get a hold of their infamous Pumking!!

Have you ever tried a dessert beer? How about a beer milkshake?  Or any other kind of creamy boozy drink? 

I used to be a big fan of the occasional White Russian. Smooth and tasty. But cream and booze…. you can only take it so far before someone gets very ill (I assume, that’s one experience I’ve never had, thank goodness!)

Delirium Tremens Review: Great Expectations

For the longest time, the only fancy beer I even knew of was Delirium Tremens. I liked the white bottle, I liked the name (it was only later [read: two seconds ago] that I realized the name truly meant: Delirium tremens is a severe form of alcohol withdrawal that involves sudden and severe mental or neurological changes), and I really liked the elephant on the bottle.

Aw, drunk elephant (click image for Source)

And I didn’t know what it would taste like because it was expensive and I was a college student who was more interested in throwing back cans of PBR than I was in thinking serious thoughts about things like beer or the future or neurological changes resulting from alcohol withdrawal. Luckily, times changed.

Not all that much, apparently.

During the sale of the CENTURY at A Southern Season beer, of all things, was discounted (I know, I freaked out too!) I did what any self-respecting beer lover would do: I grabbed a discounted bottle of the beer I’d been longing to try for years.

I saved it for a lovely evening with some friends, the weather was right, the sun was setting (but very very slowly) and the bottle was chilled. The stage was set:

Cork in a beer? This must be good.

I pried out the cork, imagining this as the TRUE champagne of beers (Miller High Life be damned!) I even found an appropriate glass (not difficult with an entire shelf full of glassware.)

Gorgeous, isn't she?

The color was lovely, an amberish gold that just glittered in the sun.
The smell? Citruses, definitely. Is that an aroma of banana bread? It just may be!

The taste…. well here’s where the great expectations came into play.  This Belgian Pale Ale from Brouwerij Huyghe in Belgium was too fruity for me (and that’s saying something!) That faint smell of banana bread…. that was definitely in the taste. There were lemony flavors and some spiciness as I sipped it but my mouth was not celebrating with the party I’d expected. Perhaps it’s because I hate Blue Moon’s Pale Moon (or really, anything Blue Moon does) and I couldn’t help but feel reminded of it as I sipped. Maybe it was just that my tastes have been leaning lately towards IPAs or powerful stouts/porters with something else fancy going on.  Or there’s always the chance that it just wasn’t meant to be.

I was bummed that this expensive beer (a little over $10 when it was on sale, though that is for the big-girl bottle) had tasted worse than a $3 Bell’s Two Hearted (which I used to consider “SUPER EXPENSIVE!”)

I think that, like a raccoon, I was drawn to the shiny colors and bright animals on the bottle, the off-white mottled color, the novelty of a cork on beer. And, unlike a raccoon, I was rewarded with a beer that simply didn’t live up to my great expectations (AH!! I said the name of the post IN THE POST! If you’re playing the “food, sweat, and beers” drinking game You have to drink now!!)

Oh well. Didn’t stop me from drinking the rest of it.  But I think, in the future, I’d rather spend my $10-13 on a tasty 6-pack.

SPEAKING of which, if you haven’t read Alan Shaw’s article on the profits made from selling beers in bigger bottles (and hoodwinking innocent drinkers like ME!) Check it out: There are big profits in bigger beer bottles.

I’d like to thank him for doing the math that I simply can’t bother doing. Mind = rocked. Expectations…. not so much. But hey, you live and learn.

And then you switch to coolers full of the less expensive stuff.

College football, anyone?

Have you ever been sorely disappointed by a beer (or wine or food) you were really looking forward to, especially due to hype and a high price tag?

August is the New October

Good evening y’all!!  as I said before in my tweet, tonight I had both:

  • So many beers and
  • So much fun.

The theme of tonight was…. well, it was awesome. I hosted a top notch meetup for Tri-Beer (The Triangle Beer Meetup featured in this month’s All About Beer magazine!!).  The featured beer was Sam Adams Octoberfest and, because we drank that bad boy, we all got a freebie glass (only the PERFECT pint glass.)

That one, pictured here three times.

This glass, known as the Perfect Pint glass, was designed by MIT students. You might be wondering what it was so “perfect”.  Well, according to the Sam Adams website, this is why!

It’s got a narrow top to retain the hop aroma & sustain the head, a rounded shape to collect aroma, thinner walls to maintain the proper temperature longer, and laser etching on the bottom to createe bubbles for constant aroma release.

The featured beer of the night was the Sam Adams Octoberfest (as I mentioned moments ago), and here’s what the brewery has to say about it:

Brewed with five varieties of malted barley for a big, rich flavor.

The first thing you notice when pouring a glass of this seasonal beer is the color. Samuel Adams® Octoberfest has a rich, deep reddish amber hue which itself is reflective of the season. Samuel Adams Octoberfest masterfully blends together five roasts of malt to create a delicious harmony of sweet flavors including caramel and toffee. The malt is complimented by the elegant bitterness imparted by the Bavarian Noble hops. Samuel Adams Octoberfest provides a wonderful transition from the lighter beers of summer to the heartier brews of winter.

October comes early.

What I have to say:

It poured a beautiful copper orange color, and it poured many a time (lots of folks came out for this beer night!)

The smell resembled a creamy caramel or butterscotch (and I promise that’s not just because I watched the flick, Cedar Rapids, last night), and was a nice, malty, and sweet.

The taste was so smooth and a pleasant surprise, as what I recall about last year, this beer was nothing to write home about.  The tastes of this beer remind me of college football, of bonfires, and of spending time with some warm rising bread dough.

The best part about this beer…. was that I got to try different ones shortly after.

Sorry this is the only photo I have, and it's from online. I was busier drinking than I was photographing.

The Steelhead Scotch Porter from Mad River Brewing Company was as dark in color as it is by name….  It smelled like a rich scotch, and it poured a deep brown color with a nice beige head. Someone mentioned this tasted like molasses, and I can TOTALLY see that.  And by see, I mean taste.  The coffee taste wasn’t as strong as previous dark beers (like the coffee infused Sweet Josie Brown from Lonerider Brewery!! which was off the chain on every account).  However, I tasted chocolate, and I tasted smooth.  It also, without question, tasted boozy.

I was pleasantly surprised with both these beers, and felt obliged to share with the class.  Seriously, if you’re unsure about trying porters or dark beers, try something like this Scotch Porter, or a coffee infused porter.  It’s a nice way to ease you into the beer of the night, and it gives you a chance to try something you might never try otherwise!

How was your Thursday evening?  Was it as thirsty as my own?

PS this was my dinner:

Egg flatout with turkey, cheese, and spinach

Tasty, but nothing fancy.

Can’t wait for the weekend!

Any big plans?

Surprise Samurai Ale Review!

I bet you thought that my night was over.  You think I just go have random surprise date nights and then that’s it?

Ye of little faith.

I have another treat for you.

Treat for you? More like a treat for ME!

Tonight’s beer was one I’ve been holding onto for a little while.  But I’m not too upset, it was worth the wait.

A little brewski from the fine folks at Great Divide Brewing Company, this beer was not quite as delicious as that Hercules Double IPA I enjoyed at Milltown last week.  But man, was it drinkable.

Samurai Rice Ale, described by the brewer:

An easy drinking, unfiltered ale that changes the status quo for unfiltered beers. The addition of rice gives Samurai a slightly fruity, crisp, refreshing and clean taste. This is definitely not your everyday unfiltered beer.  5.1% ABV

Samurai Rice Ale, described my MOI:

This beer comes out a beautiful golden color, a teensy bit cloudy but that faded fast, with a little bit of sediment on the bottom of the glass.  One thing I liked about this beer was the amount of carbonation in it (i.e. quite a good amount!)  I smelled malts and maybe like… cut grass. It smelled clean and good.

The taste was tart on my tongue, and very crisp. It finished with very little mouthfeel, and there may have been some sort of bitter fruit taste in there too.  My favorite part about this beer was the drinkability, without question.  If it weren’t a little out of my price range, I’d want to drink these all summer.

I’m not sure what exactly made this a rice ale, I’m sure it’s something beyond my knowledge of beer, but I’d enjoy trying another rice ale in the future to know if it’s anything similar to this Samurai Ale.

Have you ever tried a rice ale?

Do you like a little sediment in your beer?

Everyone’s in Crisis!! Better do a Beer Review…

Good evening ladies and gentlemen, and a happy Hump Day!  Normally, I love Wednesdays, mostly due to the changing of the sales. But there weren’t too many excellent sales today, and so I just putzed around.  Lunchtime was great, as I bared my soul and told you all about No Pants Wednesday (and every day, for me). I was happy to hear how many of you hate pants as well. To all you pants lovers… there’s hope for you still.  After work, I got dolled up in my workout gear, and hit the gym.

I'm workout Barbie!

Tonight, I’m on call for a crisis line. This could either mean nothing, or it could mean a lot of stressful calls. Unfortunately, tonight, it meant a lot of stressful calls. I checked in for my shift at 5pm and then hopped into an AbSculpt class. The teacher this week was that same instructor from the last week I took the class, the pilates queen, and so it was a different vibe of workout. We did some leg circle things, and some nice inner thigh workout that I loved.  I made it through the 26 minutes of the workout no sweat (well, false, some sweat, but you know what I mean.)

Then, it was time for BodyPump. I love taking the ab class before BodyPump, if only to be able to have a jump start on the “good spots” for Pump (which is always a packed house.)  In the middle of Pump, though, I received my first crisis call of the evening, right before the tricep track. I ran out of the fitness room and to a secluded section of the gym, only to return after the 12 minute call (aka right in the middle of the lunge track.)  Even though it was a choppy workout, it was a good one (nice to get some strength training in there after all my cardio).

Work it, now!

After working it, I got TWO more calls, leaving me a little worse for wear in the stress zone. Luckily, the beau took the wheel and cooked up some ground turkey, perfect for a taco salad (what else is new, right?)  I didn’t snap a shot, but it looked a LOT like this:

Deconstruct your meals into salads!

Recycled picture, just imagine that salad with less tomatoes and no avocado, and more salsa and pepper. Either way, it was fantastic.

In honor of #IPADay, we’ve been enjoying quite a few IPAs this week, and tonight, I figured “Why not?!”

Fort Collins Brewery Rocky Mountain IPA (with a fun elephant!!)

The Fort Collins Brewery Rocky Mountain IPA  is described by the brewer as:

An IPA by definition is liberally hopped and higher in alcohol. We made Rocky Mountain IPA by dry hopping for an intense floral aroma and adding a generous helping of malt to create a backbone stable enough to support the characteristic bitterness of the beer.

In my opinion, this is a quality beer (shock shock, another from Colorado) worthy of trying during IPA day (or any day). It was poured into a glass with very little head, coming out a dark orange/brown color.  When I smelled it, I initially smelled the hops (typical with an IPA) but I also thought I smelled some sort of cinnamon or dark spice.  The taste was a little malty, which is why Ryan liked it, and why he wasn’t so turned off by the floral tastes (think Bell’s Two Hearted, that’s what he’s not a fan of, but which I am a big fan!). The only part that I didn’t like was the mouthfeel (hee hee that word always makes me chuckle). My mouth felt sort of dry afterwards, almost like a bitter friction on my tongue which I am not too fond of… Still tasty, but probably wouldn’t go outta my way to get it in the future.  Unless I’m in a fun elephant mood. If that’s the case…. Maybe.

But maybe then, I’ll just watch these funny elephants.

Do you have any plans for IPA Day?

Are you excited for any beer related events? How about any other weekend fun?

I can’t wait for this weekend (which unofficially starts tomorrow!) Peak Brewing Hop Noir glass night tomorrow at Rockfish, then Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ this weekend!!

Milltown & Great Divide Brewing’s Hercules Double IPA

Good evening friends.  Hope you made it through Monday.  I’ll admit, after a lovely weekend of loafing (with a hearty amount of cleaning yesterday) I expected to jump into the exercise sea with arms wide open. But alas, the world (and my anxiety levels) had other plans. So after a long day at work, I rushed home, got the mail, paid the rent, got a toilet repaired, and started organizing what I’m going to need when the beau leaves at the end of the month for Philly (i.e. what he’s going to take with him.) On the list:

  • TV
  • Knife set
  • More body pillows to cuddle with and cope with my loneliness

Those are the big three, I guess.

But body pillows aside, I will truly miss having him around and given my glum thoughts about the future sans beau, it only made sense to nix cooking and have a date night!  We decided to finally make good on a LivingSocial deal that I got FOREVER ago for Milltown, a “gastropub” in Carrboro, a town that I feel like could be described as “Chapel Hill’s artsy hippy little sister.”  The last time I was at Milltown was during Lent, when I had given up eating red meat, so my dreams had been thwarted.  However, this time, I knew they could come true. “What was my dream?” you may be asking…

Bahn Mi ::$9
Miso Marinated Grilled Steak with Radish, Baby Carrot, Pepper, Red Cabbage, and Bok Choy Slaw Tossed in Asian Vinaigrette on a French Roll

Doesn’t that just sound sexy?

Patience, my friends.

Appe-teaser!

Noting the beau’s craving for wings as we passed Ba Da Wings (located conveniently across the street from Milltown), I knew he needed some, and needed them fast.  I’d add a description of the wings from the menu, but they seem to have mistakenly put the description of the nachos, because I know these chicken wings weren’t offered as “topped with chicken”.  They had a sort of spicy Asian-inspired sauce, with a (maybe?!) blue cheese, whipped kind of dipping sauce. I had two, and left the rest to the cravings of the beau.  He was pleased as punch.

In the meantime, we split an appetizer beer (what? You don’t have those?)

Founder's Brewing Centennial IPA

This Founder’s Brewing Centennial IPA was a great kickstart beer, with a fruity smell but not overly floral, which I liked. It had a nice maltiness which counteracted the slight sweet fruitiness. Ryan said he probably could not have had more than one of these. I think I could’ve…. But I didn’t.

Because all of the sudden, guess who was coming to dinner?

Bahn mi?! FOR ME?!

On the menu was the Bahn Mi: Miso Marinated Grilled Steak with Radish, Baby Carrot, Pepper, Red Cabbage, and Bok Choy Slaw Tossed in Asian Vinaigrette on a French Roll.  All this for $9.   I’d seen a friend of mine eat it before…. the image didn’t do it justice. The steak was juicy, slightly chewy but accented so well with the slaw that the crunch was present enough for me.  The fries, skinny and lightly seasoned, were delicious and had just the right about of softness to fold into two. Which I love to do. Just in case you were curious….

The other star of the show?

Great Divide Brewing Company's Hercules Double IPA

From the brewer:

Hercules Double IPA is not for the faint of heart. It is, however, fit for the gods.  HERCULES delivers a huge amount of hops from start to finish. Its hefty backbone of nutty, malty sweetness balances its aggressive hop profile.  10% ABV

Considering the high ABV, I thought this was surprisingly smooth.  The color was orange-golden color, with very little froth/head to it (which was important considering it was only a 12 oz pour). Initially, it smelled like apple juice to me.  I really couldn’t even taste the alcohol, I tasted malt and I tasted a sneaky little fruit (the sneakiness of the taste was more like…. I could smell it through my mouth. If this doesn’t make sense to you, I apologize, but if you’ve ever had this happen, you know what I mean.)

Both beers were great. Ryan had the Smoked Cheddar Mac and Cheese with Smoked Ham, and it tasted like a warm, gooey hug in the most delicious way possible.

This night filled my belly with great food and beers, and my heart with great feelings. Though soon, we’ll be living far away, (SAP ALERT BEWARE!) I absolutely love and cherish every date night we have together. He’s just the best dining and drinking buddy, and the most fun to talk to, and too many gushy things to put in public.  I’ll get over the whole not living together thing soon enough, but I’ll never get over what a pleasure it is to date your best friend.  That’s something that just won’t go away.