Ghost Bottles with Garrett Oliver

The ever-wise UrbanDictionary defines fangirl as such:

A rabid breed of human female who is obesessed with either a fictional character or an actor. Similar to the breed of fanboy.

I don’t consider myself a fangirl too often. There was that one time with Jason Segel, but he and I both agreed not to dwell on that too much. However, when the opportunity presents itself to geek out over incredible beer with one of the humans that defines the craft beer industry (he, quite literally, wrote the book on the stuff. And then wrote the other book on beer [and food, COME ON!]), I can’t help myself.

I go a little gaga.

Well, guess what I did on Monday?

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You’re damn right I did.

You might remember me obsessively following Brooklyn Brewery’s events during their annual Philly Mash this summer. But Monday was something especially special.

The entire evening at City Tap House Logan featured a full-fledged Brooklyn Brewery tap attack. They had slews of those rare Ghost Bottles RIPE for the drinking. Proceeds from the sales of these bottles went to Philabundance. (This made me feel especially charitable when, between the roomie and myself, we sipped every single one.)

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I’d love to describe the beers to you, but I’m not cruel. See, chances are, unless you’re stalking all of Brooklyn’s events or a close personal buddy with one of the brewers, you may never see these bottles in your life.

I will say: they were fantastic, complex, and I can’t believe my tongue was #soblessed to taste them.

Then there was a panel of beer bros discussing the industry:

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Sorry for this shot, Curt. But doesn’t Garrett look SO CUTE?!

They talked shop. Highlights of this included:

  • Garrett Oliver comparing the beer industry to a) The Cage/Travolta classic, “Face/Off” AND b) Dick Cheney [had to do with him shooting you in the face, but being honest about it… You get it, right?]
  • Lew Bryson reflecting on how folks that exclusively drink “craft beer” putting back major brands’ spirits without giving it a second thought.
  • Garrett explaining how, when he hears someone mention “I’m thinking about starting my own brewery,” his first thought tends to be, “Of course you are.” I feel that.
  • How many brewers approach the industry for the love of money (there was a moment where it sounded like they were discussing an episode of ANTM).

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    We get it

  • Craft beer in the US: Sours make up like, 1/3 of 1% of sales, but about 80+% of talk.

There was a Q&A session during which I, giddily, asked Garrett Oliver what he would pair with the Philly classic, the Roast Pork Sandwich.

His answer was their Galahad (Local 1 aged on cider lees in bourbon barrels). I was drinking that beer at this exact moment. FATE! So we took a photo together.

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Garrett, myself, and Miles Moser, local Brooklyn rep AND fellow Tar Heel

I’m not saying that my heart was racing the entire night…. but I will say, it was tough to go to sleep following all the excitement.

Garrett, you beautiful brewer, you eloquent author, you magical man…. thanks for coming out. I’ll see you in Brooklyn soon, I hope. You bring the ghost bottles, I’ll bring the unending buckets of enthusiasm.

Megabus or BUST!

When I decided on an impromptu journey to NYC for the weekend on Friday morning, I never thought I’d be waking up Sunday and Monday mornings to this ugly mug:

Hello, you fool. DON’T LOVE YOU!

But, other than a furry alarm clock that woke me up a few hours too early each morning with a scratchy tongue and a desperate Meeyooooowwwwww, this was just the most pleasant little surprise trip to visit my buddy Claire.

Goals of the weekend?

  • Eat good foods
  • Avoid any/all football games (televised, IRL, college, NFL, Fantasy, foosball…)
  • Don’t spend too much money
  • Get outside

Mission: accomplished.

Scenes from the Megabus Experience

After my first actual floor shift at Athleta (my new employer, in case you missed this post), I hauled booty over to Philly’s infamous 30th Street Station to hunt down the Megabus stop. After walking around like a sleepwalker for a bit, unsure of what I was doing, I spotted a Bolt Bus and figured it couldn’t be too far…  And, after chasing a bus turned fruitful, and the Megabus was about 20 minutes late, I hopped on and secured a window seat.

If you follow me on Twitter, you might also know that I secured my own row on the bus.  This was achieved by looking generally surly and standoffish and pulling my hood up over my eyes. I’m pretty sure no one on that bus wanted to be my friend.  That’s fine, I didn’t wanna be their buddy either and about 2.5 hours later, I pulled up to the stop in Chelsea to meet Claire!

After a long week for both of us (first full week of school, first few shifts of work for me; she’s apartment hunting and working full-time), any pipe dreams of GOING OUT!! TO THE DISCO!! MAKING MOVES FOR A NYC PARTY WEEKEND!! were kicked to the side as we both looked at each other, then down at the container of pimiento cheese in my hand. Cheese party for two? Bring it on.

Gorgeous, much?

The next morning, we slept in, but the sun did not, and it was a PERFECT day to head to Brooklyn for one of my favorite parts of the city, Smorgasburg! I was introduced to Smorgasburg last November, and basically dream about it every weekend. And, after reading all about the Vendy Awards this weekend, I was itching for some goodies. Sunday Smorgasburg delivered.

Lunch of Champions

Lunch was a Coconut Chicken Curry bun from Bite Size Kitchen and a Baja Asada (grilled fish!) taco from Choncho’s. I FINALLY tried a direct squirt of Sriracha, and I’m chomping at the bit to get to the store and get a bottle (or four) of my own.

And dessert, of course.

Dessert was sweet and refreshing. Miniature maple butter tart from Cutie Pies NYC and, my favorite new treat, Kelvin Natural Slush!! Arnold Palmer flavored with a bit of Raspberry added in, and ideal on a sunny afternoon laying out on the grass.

Since we were (sort of) in the neighborhood, we headed over to Brooklyn Brewery for a little Sunday Funday.

Beautiful

This might be my favorite brewery scene I’ve ever been to (this was my second visit) and we enjoyed tasty beers and fantastic company.

MANY tasty beers.

Rainbow of beers! Rain-beer?

After galavanting about Brooklyn a little longer, the sun had sucked out the last of our energy. The night was spent eating more (what else?) CHEESE!

Tallegio, goat cheese x 3, and fig jam? We fancy.

I secured another entire row for myself this morning on my bright and early Megabus back and I’m basically FLOORED by the ease of getting to/from NYC. I’ve had more trouble getting to South Philly….

Megabus goes from Philly to Boston, Baltimore, State College, DC, and Toronto. I wonder where I’ll go next.

Any suggestions?

What’s your favorite method of long-distance transportation?

How about your favorite food to eat in NYC? Mine is everything

Ladies Craft Beer Attire: Beer Couture

Mmm… that’s better.

I’m fresh out of my massage (courtesy of the Healthiest You Challenge), having just enjoyed a tasty deconstructed omelet (translation: I messed up mid-flip. It was still tasty). After a rough evening last night struggling to sleep thanks to that nap I “absolutely needed”, I’m looking forward to hitting the hay pretty early this evening.  But before I go, I wanted to discuss something I’m wildly fond of: Ladies Craft Beer Gear.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s Six Pack Sunday, I am a fashionista. One that primarily rocks jorts and beer t-shirts. And while I’m content with your average classic t-shirt style (I can always snip them into something sexy with some inspiration from Pinterest), I had the good fortune to see some of craft beer’s fanciest finery this weekend at the Beer City Festival in Asheville, NC.  Real talk, there were some well-dressed ladies enjoying the festival, pouring, and generally looking fierce. And while not every brewery has embraced fashionable swag options for their lady beer enthusiasts, I’ve found a number that embody everything I want in some lady clothes. Appealing to the eye, looks comfortable, fits our uniquely womanly shapes… And it only makes sense to share my research so that all of my fellow females can dress the part of a craft beer lover.

Lagunitas Brewing Company’s online shop offers a number of lovely options. But my favorite was actually a hand-painted shirt I saw one of the Lagunitas Ladies wearing this Saturday.

Click image to check out the shirt/buy!

Beautiful color, hand-painted, adorable v-neck… It’s just everything a girl could ask for!

Mother Earth Brewery from Kinston, NC just released their newest beer swag…. That’s right: ATHLETIC SHORTS!

Click image to go to their store!

Even though the shorts aren’t yet available online, I’m doing my best to get a pair of the navy ones (if I can squeeze my booty into an American Apparel size XL which is the equivalent of a children’s size 14). The Mother Earth logo is gorgeous, I’d be proud to wear any of their gear, but the shorts…. I just can’t.

The next item might be a bit familiar to y’all.

Oh, hey there St. Patty’s Day!

Brooklyn Brewery’s v-neck shirt is one of my favorite shirts that I even own. It’s super flattering, very comfortable, and looks GREAT with a pair of jorts.

That’s really what I look for in any clothing.

If you hate sleeves and need to show off your guns, why not try Big Boss Brewery’s sexy tank top?

Too cute

Since I love just about every one of Big Boss’ beers, I can support any of their other shirts on their site. This one’s just my favorite.

Oskar Blues actually has a GREAT selection of cute, lady-friendly clothing items.  But, when you feel the need to channel your inner Flashdance, there’s only one option.

Click image to buy the shirt!

RIGHT?!?

I know. Dale’s Pale Ale is tasty to boot, so you can’t go wrong with this top.

I never knew about Schlafly until Hannah sent me a Pumpkin Beer (which I loved) but their Biere de Garde top has me totally convinced that they must be a girl’s best friend.

Click image to go to store

The vintage wash and scoop neck are my favorite parts, but obviously the logo is a perfect location if you feel like people aren’t looking at your left breast enough.

If this Dogfish Head Patagonia Graviti Hoody wasn’t $79, I’d have 4 of them… Which would be weird since they only come in two colors, but seriously, it’s THAT cool.

The ridiculously good looking model doesn’t hurt

I love a good zip-up.

For another hoodie that is a little more relaxed and destroyed in appearance, look no further than Abita’s Abbey Ale Hoodie.

Click image to go to store

While the color isn’t my favorite, it’d be great around a campfire, or a cool night with a pair of jeans. Or jorts, if it isn’t TOO cool of a night.

Are all of these covering your sexy body up too much?

I understand, and so does Lonerider.

Click image to go to store

Craft beer thongs are the new black.  You heard it here first.

Ladies: Which of these clothing items would YOU want? OR, if you don’t see one you like, what would be your perfect piece of beer (or wine, or liquor) gear?

Fellows: Would you wanna see any of these on your ladies?

 

 

 

 

Brooklyn Brewery Presents the Carolina Pork Experiment

As I bit into the perfectly crunchy piece of (what may’ve been grilled) bacon, wrapped around a tiny grit cake and a juicy shrimp, all I could think was “why would I EVER have given this up?!”

Ooh baby. Carolina pork trio, a strange pork tenderloin featuring a chocolate covered carrot (?!), and (maybe) Jerk Pork?

This.

Bacon wrapped bacon, tortilla pie, skewered porky delights, and PBT (Pork Belly Tomato!)

Pork.

Menage a pork, southern pork pastrami, pork humitas, bacon wrapped shrimp and grits!!

Far as the eye could see, pork treats galore!!

Brooklyn Brewery (a personal favorite of mine since I took the tour in the fall!) and the folks with the Food Experiments National Tour (check it out, coming to a city near you!) decided to visit Durham, NC to feature what Carolina chefs know best: PORK!

Goodness, did they respond!

What a menu!!

19 different dishes, served in cups and on plates, consumed with a spork and, in some cases (ribs!) bare fingers!  It was a pork-stravaganza! A porktacular! We enjoyed every bite.

For a paltry $10, spectators got to enjoy music at Motorco and try 19 different pork dishes. A Brooklyn Brewery beer was also included in the ticket price, but the pork ALONE tasted like it was at least worth $40.

My personal favorite was the “Bacon wrapped Bacon”, a tiny slider of bacon wrapped around (maybe) pork belly and served with a carrot ginger slaw.

What a beautiful sight!

The event sparked typical Durham mob-like mentality and, though we were the first in line (and thought that it was going to be barely attended), an hour after the doors opened, the line was down the street!  We opted to grab the bites in shifts, so as not to risk dropping anything or overwhelm our tastebuds as the food got cold.  Other folks waited in a massive line (that was sort of nonsensically snaking around the building) and loaded every single sample on their plates at once.

I would not recommend this method, as I saw a number of spills/drops and some sad, porkless faces.

Rookies.

If you’re wondering who I went with, it should be no surprise that I took my only? favorite beer buddy, Melissa.

She liked it.

Chow girl!

The bites were, for the most part, perfect, with only a few that had me shaking my head or wishing the pork was highlighted more (chocolate covered carrot skewer? No, thanks. I’m good.)

Since the audience voted for their favorites at the end, Melissa and I had to get our two favs a second time for a sudden death rematch.

For SCIENCE!

Shhh I liked it so much I snuck a second! It definitely got my vote.

The winner ended up being neither of our choices (the shrimp & grits/bacon wrapped bacon) but, instead, the Beer, Bacon, and Bean ice cream by You’re Bacon Me Crazy who will represent Carolina in the “finals” in Brooklyn, later this spring/summer.

For more results, check out the official Carolina Pork Experiment Results Page!

If you’re in DC (next weekend, the 22nd of April) or Philadelphia (May 6) check out what the local chefs put together. I think the DC theme is Chinese Take Out and Philly is SANDWICHES!! (I’m tempted to journey up just to try some of these goodies!)

As always, when you combine pork, beer, and Carolina, everyone left happy.

Tasty pork = happy ladies!

About an hour later, I had to lay on my tummy to cope with the pork coma that I’m still recovering from.

Worth it.

What would you make if your only requirement was a “Pork” inspired dish?

Visit to Brooklyn Brewery

Merry Tuesday to each of you!! In case you’re curious, today’s the last day of Harris Teeter’s Super Double coupons!

In case you’re just getting here, check out my first day of NYC adventures.  Today’s post is a little bit out of order, chronologically, but one I really was itching to write.  I love to visit breweries, ever since my Senior year in college when, for spring break, I didn’t go get topless in Cancun or make mischief in Cabo. Nope, instead, I went to scenic Pottsville, PA to visit Yuengling, America’s Oldest Brewery!

Knowing that we were going to spending the weekend based primarily in Brooklyn, how could I miss the infamous Brooklyn Brewery?

Actually, the construction outside of the building made it pretty easy to miss (or hard to find, depending on how you look at it.)

Inconspicuous, much?

Oh, there it is!

That’s the good stuff, right there!

Located just a few blocks from Smorgasburg in Williamsburg, we were even able to pick up Claire’s little brother, John, for the trip. This was important because: 1. I think he’s great and 2. He could take pictures of Claire and me! (vanity, thy name is Jordan.)

For $20, we grabbed 6 drink tokens and, if you can’t handle basic math, that meant two beers for each of us.  We arrived around 12:45, just in time to pick up a beer before the “tour” of the brewery.  Each token = one 12 oz beer, so we each went for the East India Pale Ale.

That’s 72 oz of beer right there!!

Read it and weep drink!

Unfortunately for us, but fortunately for the brewery, they’re expanding, so the first room, the brewhouse, which is normally open to visitors, was closed off.  Luckily, they had this handy-dandy illustration that made us feel like we were right there!

Eric, our wise old tour guide, described the process of brewing, explaining how they outsource their bottling (of their smaller bottles) to a factory in upstate New York but their kegs and their bombers are brewed in the brewery in Brooklyn.

Wise owl!

Eric was funny, charismatic, and an excellent guide. I will admit, there wasn’t much to the “tour” as we mostly just relaxed, sipping our beers, in the main room of the brewery.  It was okay, though, because he told some hilarious stories and shared interesting factoids with the group, ones we’d never know about if not for the tour.

Gorgeous logo!

Brooklyn Brewery’s iconic logo was actually developed by Milton Glaser, creator of the I Love NY logo (you know, the one with the heart instead of the word love).  He originally asked WAY more than the $20,000 that Brooklyn Brewery had allocated for logo development. Luckily, though, Milton’s a bit of a beer fan.  So what he did was create a fantastic logo and, in turn, Milton gets free beer from the brewery for LIFE!! (Hear that, graphic designers? Get those pens to the paper!)

Also, when the brewery was created, the NY mafia was taxing EVERY business in the area, and approached the brewery, former Associated Press correspondent Steve Hindy and former Chemical Bank lending officer Tom Potter, for some moneys.  After weeks of negotiation and not really wanting to pay the mafia, one of the bosses approached Tom in the factory, telling everyone to get lost.  Tom, probably shaking in his boots, was pretty certainhe was going to get “offed” and sleep with fishes.  Then, to everyone’s surprise, the boss told Tom he was just messing with him and decided that the Brewery would be good for business and the area, and thus they were exempt from the tax.

We also learned the exciting tale of how the brewery got their tiny chandelier!!

Twinkle, twinkle!

Actually, this was the least interesting story of all. Someone put it up for a holiday party a few years ago, and everyone’s too lazy to take it down.  Gotta respect their honesty.

After getting a quick shot with (some of) the logo, we decided to head back to the bar for another brew!

The bar is only open on Fridays from 6-11pm and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 6pm, but it’s a lively atmosphere and a great vibe!  They sell water and beer but, if you’d like, you can order pizza or delivery food right to the brewery (they’ll even provide menus!)  It reminded me a lot of the atmosphere of Fullsteam in Durham, very open, very relaxed, and very much about the community. We saw birthday parties, bachelor parties, and a mom who’d brought her kids and some cupcakes while she enjoyed a beer.  I loved it!

JOHNWICH!

JOHNWICH!

True to form, since I can’t go anywhere without making a friend, we ended up connecting with our tour guide while getting our second beer and, since we’re adorable and great (and humble?), Eric treated us to another beer, on the house!I went with the Winter Ale for my second beer (delicious, malty, almost biscuity) and back to the IPA for the freebie.

Thanks, Eric!! We love you!

Everyone was nice, the vibe was great, and, if you’re interested in beer, some history, and a good time AND you’re in NYC, I’d totally recommend getting over to Brooklyn Brewery for a Saturday or Sunday tour!