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Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

America the Beertiful

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Happy (almost) birthday, America. You’ve had a pretty good year, all things considered, and now it’s time for most of your inhabitants to head outdoors, eat a ridiculous amount of hot dogs and crack open a cold beer. Cold beer…what’s more American than that? Well, probably opening your own business where you brew beer and sell it to the public. Over the last year, many craft beer hopefuls did just that.

With such an influx of new breweries it becomes difficult to keep up with. Here on Long Island, we are up to 20+ breweries with another 10 or so on deck to open in the next year. Some of the newer ones we haven’t even had a chance to visit yet.

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Written by A+K

July 3rd, 2015 at 11:22 am

2015 Belgian Beer Fest at Max’s Taphouse – by a Friend of BLC

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Beer at 2015 Max's Taphouse Belgian Beer Fest

This Valentine’s Day weekend Belgian Beer aficionados descended on Max’s Taphouse in Baltimore for their annual Belgian Beer fest. This is the 11th year for the event and my wife and I decided to make the pilgrimage for an afternoon of some serious Belgian selections. In addition, it was the 5th year anniversary of Stillwater Brewery, so there was a healthy selection of some of their offerings for the all saison lovers out there. When we arrived at 10:30 am there was already a line down the sidewalk in anticipation of the 11:00 o’clock opening. Since it felt like arctic temperatures outside we were very thankful that the good people at Max’s had the foresight to set up heaters along the side walk–apparently a line prior to opening is something they’re used to. While on line we met people from Chicago, Italy, the Bronx, and San Francisco, a telling sign of the draw this event has.

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Craft Beer and Christmas Joy in Vienna Austria

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As you can probably see by the title, we are currently visiting Vienna, Austria for a little bit of Christmas cheer and craft beer (hey, that rhymes). Not only is Vienna beautiful city with great food, it becomes extremely festive around the holidays. Christmas markets are scattered throughout the city featuring dozens of stands selling homemade gifts, foods like roasted chestnuts and potato pancakes and hot mulled wines and punch.

Outside of the markets, Vienna has a thriving craft beer scene with several bars and breweries right in the city center. 7 Stern Brau has a beer vending machine right in their lobby which really can’t be beat. We even drank a version of Victory HopDevil, which is brewed at 1516 Brau using the Pennsylvania based recipe. Also at 1516 we met the quite famous “Beer Pope” Conrad Siedl who was very enlightening about Vienna’s beer scene.

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Scrapple and Beer – Our Best of Baltimore

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We recently paid a visit to Baltimore for the second time in the last few years. The first was to see a baseball game and go on a The Wire inspired tour. Well, it wasn’t so much a tour as it was us making a few wrong turns out of our hotel and seeing terrified cops on every street corner. But among the crabs, crack houses (just kidding…) and coastline we also found a ridiculous amount of craft beer. Though the city of Baltimore doesn’t really have any major breweries, it is full of unassuming looking bars that boast some of the more impressive tap lists we have ever run into. So when we saw that Neutral Milk Hotel was touring and playing shows in both Brooklyn and Baltimore, we decided to roll the dice and go to the Charm City stop for a weekend indie rock and beer extravaganza.

Like we said, Baltimore is full of awesome bars and at the top of the list is Max’s Taphouse. Max’s doesn’t look like anything special on the inside, with a bit of a “bro bar” vibe,  until you notice the 100+ taps along the wall. And just in case there is nothing to your liking on tap, they have a bottle menu that is the size of a small novel. We were able to sample a few rarities here and even though we were only in the area for a short amount of time we made three or four trips to Max’s. Oh, and it is located in the heart of Fell’s Point which means it is walking distance from Stuggy’s; the spot where we were able to obtain a crab mac and cheese hot dog after perhaps one too many The Bruery Smoking Wood’s. And by we, we mean Alicia. Also nearby is the Thames Street Oyster House which is a great place for a bit of a classier seafood dinner. If you can, sit upstairs and try the clam cakes which are basically delicious hush puppies that come in their own little paper bag. Or get wild with it and sample the blood clams from the raw bar. Yes, they are exactly what they sound like. On the other end of the spectrum is Bad Decisions, a bar we stumbled upon before noon on a Monday. A bar that has changed hands many times, the main attraction here is their extensive liquor selection. Seriously, it was the most liquor we have ever seen in a bar. Due to our off time visit, we were the only patrons so we had the pleasure of chatting with the owner who was eager to present us his handwritten menu which read more like a drink journal. After intently studying it we finally just said, “make us something good,” and we were not disappointed.

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Written by A+K

August 4th, 2014 at 10:36 am

2014 American Homebrewers Association National Homebrewers Conference – Grand Rapids, Michigan

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The 36th annual American Homebrewers Association National Homebrewers Conference (AHA NHC) was held June 12-14 in Grand Rapids, Michigan which is appropriately nicknamed Beer City USA. To be perfectly honest, when we were sitting at the 35th annual NHC last year in Philly and they announced this year the homebrewers would be “mashing in Michigan”, all we really knew to expect was Founders Brewing Company. Turns out, Grand Rapids is way more than just Founders and this years NHC had a few surprises up it’s sleeve as well.

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