The Big Ferowcious Beer Run

I had some time to burn before I started a position at a new company so I decided to take a bit of a solo beer road trip. I started planning about a week in advance, with an aim to be able to hit some of my favorite breweries from the Mid Atlantic and Northeast on their release days. Here’s a recap of The Big Ferowcious Beer Run

Saturday 9/23/17 – Zwanze Day – Jolly Pumpkin, Dexter, MI

beerrun

After only doing Zwanze Day previously in Chicago, I wanted to get out and do a new location. Jolly Pumpkin is relatively new as a hosting location. This turned out to be a great decision. Cantillon pours of everything available only had a long line for the first 45 minutes or so, and every selection including the Zwanze beer were available for more than an hour. Beers like St. Lam and Viggy lasted almost 3 hours.

There were many guest breweries, so much so that this felt more like a conventional beer fest. As it turned out, multiple breweries I planned to visit in the upcoming week were here like Other Half, and The Veil. The cost was appreciably higher than other Zwanze events in more costlier markets, but I did feel I got my money’s worth.

Monday 9/25/17 – Columbus, OH

I departed from my parents Michigan home for a quick 2.5 hour drive south to Columbus. This was my first time, which unfortunately was hampered by many closures of prominent beer spots in Columbus. This stop was planned though for 2 reasons: 1 to see my friend Jim who I always enjoy crushing bottles with up in the Northern Lower part of Michigan. Always great to see good friends you knew, before you both got into craft beer. Secondly I was able to pick up an allotment from the previous day from Hoof Hearted. They released a peach milkshake IPA called Who’d Like to Hold My Clipboard (Peach.) Given this was only a Monday, we did some bottle sharing of some Seventh Son items, and a few Chicago items I brought, but had a short evening.

Tuesday 9/26/17 – The Veil, The Answer – Richmond, VA

The build up of cans, crowlers, bottles and cases continued in Richmond. The Veil does their weekly can release on Tuesdays and The Answer does their controversial Joose crowlers the same day. Following a 7.5 hour drive from Columbus through West Virginia and Virginia, I arrived at Richmond stop #1: The Veil.

beerrun2
This menu marquee was made for photography

The Veil released DIPAs If You’re Drinking This It’s Too Late, and Human Adult collaborations with Drake, and Trillium respectively. They also released a marzen called Deathless and a fruited gose called Never Together. I arrived around 5:30 and the line was about an hour.  I tried a couple of their impressive Triple IPAs on tap that all somehow walk the line of not being too malty, perfectly. The space feels very modern with a lot of gray and unusual taxidermy.

Immediately after, I rolled over to The Answer for my first time. I loaded up on Joose crowlers and sat down at the bar to try some of their stellar IPAs and Andall stouts. The Answer is very large as a brewpub. Unfortunately I arrived too late to try the food I’d heard so much about. I bought a nice stemmed glass and prepared to leave. As I walked to my car outside, I walked by An Bui, owner, face, and namesake of The Answer. He asked me if I’d like some more glasses to take with me. After a quick trip inside, he returned with 6 pieces of various glassware from mini tasters, to an Andall tilt, to multiple video game glasses, that had been recently released. A very generous surprise no doubt. We spent the next while chatting about beer experiences and sobering up via a large bag of Costco Steak Strips

beerrun3
An Bui, myself, and a tasty, bottomless bag of steak strips

Wednesday 9/27/17 – Tired Hands – Ardmore, PA

A 5 hour ride from Richmond, through DC, and Baltimore brought me to suburban Philadelphia to Tired Hands. I first loaded up on the can release of the day which was a DIPA called Why Laugh When You Can Cry, and the new classic Alien Church. Tired Hands has 3 establishments in a small area. This includes their production space that also has a full service brewpub restaurant. They also have a full retail store with tons of merch and bottles, and their smaller original brewpub space with a more limited menu. There are entirely different beers between their different sites.

beerrun4
“Eagles Fan”

Thursday 9/28/17 – Tree House – Charlton, MA

After waking up in Philadelphia and checking out Independence Hall, I got back on the road for a 4.5 hour drive to make my way to Massachusetts. Strategically I tried to make sure to drive through the late morning and early afternoon, to not get hung up in trying to pass through the New York metro area. This was my first time at the new Tree House location. I was fortunate enough to try the previous location and the differences were vast. Tree House feels like a monument to the idea of what they hoped their brewery could be. It really is impressive with how the owners chose to carry out their vision in this secluded hillside brewery. It’s rural, but the grounds are manicured and the wood work everywhere looks incredible.

Alter Ego, Green and Haze were all available with better limits than I was used to seeing. Even though it was very slow on a Thursday and they did open the on-site taps, I had to get to Boston for my first Fenway experience.

While this is a beer blog at its core, I’m nearly as much of a baseball fan as I am a beer nerd. Going into this trip I had been to 18 stadiums. A cold, windy late September night made for #19. Highly recommended if you haven’t been to Fenway or Boston previously.

Friday 9/29/17 – Trillium, Tree House – Canton, MA

Waking up in suburban Boston, I hit a few bottle shops before my first Trillium experience. It was a very chill Friday afternoon with lots of tasty double dry hopped items available. Trillium is so much different from all the other current popular producers. While they do case limits of their beers like many others, they had so many different options that the idea of getting limits for several items becomes untenable, well for most customers anyway

beerrun5
I wasn’t the only one doing a beer run for the crew apparently.

I’ll also say Trillium’s merch sales area definitely needs some work. All glassware is stored behind the bar of their retail/growler sales so you can’t touch it or pick it up for a closer look. Their sales people will show it to you individually piece by piece, but it feels like you’re clogging up the line. That’s my only strike on their establishment.

I loaded up with some DDH Fort Point, Scaled Up, DDH Melcher Street, DDH Summer Street, and Raspberry Soak.

Next up was a quick trip back to Tree House. They had all 3 can selections as the day before, but also added bottles of Double Shot Costa Rica Santa Rosa. This Tree House experience was vastly different from the previous day. The line was an hour long wrapping around their top parking lot around 3 sides. I was fortunate enough to get everything available while enjoying the setting sun and then jumped back in my car to make my way to Brooklyn for the Saturday morning Other Half release.

beerrun6
Tree House Brewing in the setting sun

Saturday 9/30/17 – Other Half – Brooklyn, MA

After staying in one of the most sketchy lodging choices I’ve ever made, I went to Other Half bright and early for the 3 beer Saturday morning release. I was able to make it to Other Half back in May for the first time during a long weekend in NYC, but I didn’t arrive early for the release that time. Here, I arrived 2 hours early and found a fascinating Beer Can swap meet taking place in the line around Other Half. I hadn’t ever read anything about this previously so it was certainly new to me. beerrun7.jpg

These swappers mostly had cans of recent releases from other breweries in the Mid Atlantic/North East. This included breweries like Equilibrium, Alchemist, Bissell Brothers, and the previous weeks Other Half cans, as well as other more far flung breweries like Monkish. Luckily I had a Jeep full of comparable items so I made some on the spot trades for previous weeks Other Half.

beerrun8
TL;DR: Hops

At Other Half they released Highballers on Death Mountain, Dare I Say..A Double IPA, and Double Dry Hopped Double Citra Daydream. I spent a few hours sucking down haze before returning to my hotel and heading for baseball stadium #20, Yankee Stadium.

Yankee Stadium is everything you’d think it’d be. Palatial, expensive, and modern, Yankee Stadium for a team on the upswing was a decent place to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Following that, I ducked into Fools Gold for some pours before heading back to Brooklyn.

Sunday 10/1/17 – Finback – Brooklyn, NY

beerrun10
Finback Brewing

I wasn’t ready to begin driving West, so I dropped in to Finback. It’s a terrific space. Above average beers that still have a ways to go. Picked up some Human cans in a mostly short visit. This concluded the beer acquisition portion of the trip, as I now had about 14 hours of driving to get back to Chicago.

The Haul

beerrun9
The Big Ferowcious Beer Haul

All said, I drove nearly 2800 miles, somehow surpassing my estimate by about 700 miles. In total, in purchases made for friends and myself, we collectively spent well over $2000 amassing over 350 cans, crowlers, growlers and bottles. It was a wild week with very little downtime which I do regret that facet of. The trip was so goal oriented and laser focused on releases that I didn’t get to spend more time exploring cities I’d never seen before, specifically Richmond, and Boston. Getting to tick 2 new baseball stadiums helped make it more worthwhile though.

The trip netted weeks of great hops and a great bottle share for those that helped to fund the trip. Shout-out to those of you who kicked in to make this trip sting a bit less on the bank account. Hope you enjoyed the fruits of the trip!

 

Hip Hop Beer Names for IPA Brewers – Vol 2

Delivering another serving of unused hip hop inspired beer names. Feel free to use them at your convenience.

In a bid to contribute and help the brewers to continue focusing on the product, I’ve produced this entirely unsolicited list of hip hop lyric inspired beer names.  As of the publish date, none of these names have been used before on Untappd.

See Volume 1 here

New York City Gritty Committee – Simon Says [Pharoahe Monch] This would be perfect for a collab with Other Half and maybe Threes or Finback

Alligator Seats – Still Fly [Big Tymers]

I Got the Antidote – Real Slim Shady [Eminem]

My Potency Is Deadly – Dead Wrong [Notorious BIG ft Eminem]

Little Older, Better Roller – Kick, Push [Lupe Fiasco]

Four Fifteen’s, No Wires – Still Fly [Big Tymers]

Thinking of a Master Plan – Paid in Full [Eric B and Rakim]

M-O, N-E, but why? – Po Pimp [Do or Die]

The Opposite of a Winner – Juicy [Notorious BIG]

Straight from the Windy – Still Po Pimpin [Do or Die]

Diamond in the Back – Still Fly [Big Tymers]

Drop the Biscuit – Guilty Conscience [Eminem ft Dr. Dre]

Mr Macho, Head Honcho – Dead Wrong [Notorious BIG featuring Eminem]

Copywritten, So Don’t Copy Me – Get Your Freak On [Missy Elliott]

Shit Pastry Stout Bros Say

It is with some level of humility that I present the list below. If you’re this far down the rabbit hole, you’ve absolutely dabbled in the pastry stout game at some point. Whether you’ve eventually moved on and gravitated towards lambic and saisons or you proudly raise the banner of Barleywine is Life, it’s inevitable that you’ve probably passed through this stage. Maybe you’re still there. I don’t swing a gavel. You have to live with your life choices.

With that out of the way, here’s a listicle of the hackneyed tropes coming out of your bottle share when the pastry stouts get popped.

“I was hoping for more Vanilla”

“This beer is chewy as fuck”

“Wait until that beer warms up a bit, then you’ll really taste the [Insert Adjunct here]”

“I hate drinking big boozy stouts when it’s this hot out.”

bbq2
Priam doesn’t want to drink Chocolate Rain when it’s 95 out. No one does.

“Batch 1 was so much better”

“This maple variant is so good. A friend told me this is what CBS originally tasted like when it came out”

“Holy Cinnamon!!!”

“Where’s the whale slayer? I can’t get through this Terrapin wax.” It’s impossible to take Wake N Bake Cinnamon Roll’d to a share and someone not make a wax bukkake joke 

cinnamonrolld
Yes, it’s META. We get it. Move on.

“That bottle is straight liquid Cocoa Puffs”

“I’m blown away by all this hazelnut. It’s practically like Nutulhu”

“So they take a bourbon barrel and after they dump it, it gets filled with maple syrup from like Vermont or something. Then they take the maple syrup out and THEN……”

“The fuck is a Skillet Donut Stout anyway? I liked that Westbrook thing better.”

“So Marshmallow Handjee and BVDL is the same beer?”

koel
Born too late to explore Earth. Born too early to explore the galaxy. Born just in time to sully whales with store brand mallows

“You know where Kopi Luwak comes from right?”

“That beer was an absolute coconut bomb when it was fresh!” RIP Prop 13. Miss you.  Miss you everyday

“It’s like malted milk balls. Like Whoppers, you know?”

“Wicked Weed made a french toast beer?…….Like intentionally?”

“Not a lot of coffee but the ‘Nilla is unreal”

mexican break
Why are you like this?

 

Wet Your Beak: Copenhagen Denmark

I unabashedly love Copenhagen. It’s a fantastic city on the water, full of diverse cuisine, friendly people, and delicious beers. I’ve been to Copenhagen twice, going back to back years for the Mikkeller/Copenhagen Beer Celebration. If you’re going to Copenhagen soon, here’s a list of places to wet your beak.

Mikkeller Viktoriagade

This bar has served as the Capital of the Mikkeller empire to some extent. It’s clustered with Mikkel’s fine dining restaurant Ol & Brod as well as the new restaurant Hyggestand. This important outlet of the Mikkeller brand is a decidedly small, and cramped environment when the bar hosts events. The bar exists in a sub-ground level location where you enter what would often be cellar stairs at some establishments. The ceiling is low which can add to the ambiance when the bar is calm, but can be a bit stress inducing during a packed event. This Mikkeller outpost is composed of 2 rooms, with the bigger of the two containing the bar. A chalk taplist is behind the bar, and if you seek out the bottle list, there is a fantastic collection of Mikkeller one-offs, collaborations, and incredible barrel aged beers. Some are certainly expensive, but you can’t find barrel aged Dark Lords at any price at most bars you go to, right?

friends
Tell your friends, to get to Mikkeller & Friends, and we can be friends.

Mikkeller & Friends

Norrebro is a neighborhood, as the name might imply, in a Northern part of the city. On foot, it’s about a 45 minute walk from Viktoriagade, or a 10 minute taxi ride. This location is bigger than the Viktoriagade location, both in seating, and in taps. There are 2 bars at this location. The first is just as you descend the stairs into the building (not unlike the entry into Viktoriagade) to the right. The second bar is off to the left, in the next room. This bar is a good choice for a smallish group, as there are not many spaces easily able to accommodate bigger groups of more than 5 or so people. In addition to the main rooms near the bar, there is a smaller nook area with some crates serving as tables and some stools along a rail area to set drinks. This area is located next to the men’s room, which is alright as long as no one leaves the door wide open.

There is a bottle list here as well, with a fair overlap of things from Viktoriagade but things that are not seen there, as well. Personally in this facet, I think Viktoriagade is slightly better, but the abundance of taps here and sheer availability of seats does make this location desirable in its own right.

 

Koelschip

There’s a pretty small club that exists of incredible lambic bars with deep cellars and fun inventive beers in that style. If you’re keeping track, this list consists primarily of Grote Dorst, Akkurat, De Heeren Van Liederkerke and Koelschip. If your favorite establishment routinely has seasonal loons, 10 year old lambic, and bottles from defunct producers, there’s a good chance they belong in this list as well. Koelschip is the newest of this group. This tiny location adjoining Mikkeller & Friends features décor that evokes some of the things I love about Grote Dorst. It has a charm that, while manufactured and not authentic in the same way Grote Dorst is, seems to fairly channel the spirit of that world class lambic cafe. Their beer also follows in this vein.

They only possess about 4-5 taps, but your time may be better spent in the extensive bottle list. Finding old Saint Lams and Oude Kriek is par for the course here. Interested in trying some old Bellevue or Eylenbosch? This may be one of your last options to pursue those bottles. Interested in trying something exciting from Bokkereyder? There’s a chance they have it, as they are one of only 3 bars currently receiving bottles to serve of Raf’s delicious goat lambic. Denis Vansant aka “The Belgian,” tends bar and provides expert service and will happily be your Sherpa up the Lambic Mountain. He is an exceptionally knowledgeable person with a warm personality, and lends to the excellent reputation of this place.

 

Brus

Brus is a brewpub associated with To Øl. Like Mikkeller & Friends and Koelschip, it is up in the Norrebro neighborhood. By comparison to the Mikkeller bars, this place feels quite large with 2 big dining room areas. Place your food order at a counter, let them know where you’re sitting and they bring the food out to you. On my trip there, I had some very enjoyable hot chicken as well as a side of broccolini. The beer list primarily consists of options from To Ol as well as the house labeled Brus. If you’ve seen many of To Ol’s beers, you know they take chances on some styles. The tap list does seem to channel this as well.

In addition to the brewpub, there is an attached bottle shop selling things both to go, and for on site consumption. You will probably not see an establishment with more To Øl beers than this location. In addition, there is a fair amount of other Belgian lambic selections (3F, Cantillon, Tilquin,) Swedish brewers, and several American options as well.

warpigs
When the sun is out, the patio is a great place to be at Warpigs

Warpigs

I unabashedly love this place. From its seamless transition from a meat processing building, to a world class meat smoking building, Warpigs is an incredible find in Europe if you fancy yourself a barbecue enthusiast. Often considered the best example of American style smoked meats, Warpigs brewpub is a must visit for beer nerds and foodies alike.

Immediately upon walking in, the food counter stands before you. They have a board with all their daily available selections. Look carefully as a small sign will be next to the menu item if they’ve sold out for the day. I personally love the brisket and hot link, with a side of hush puppies and pimento cheese. I haven’t had a meat selection that I didn’t like, but those shine a little brighter. It might also be worth checking to see what the special Hot Link of the day is. For mac and cheese lovers, their mac is fairly unusual using a small noodle, similar to Kraft Mac & Cheese noodles, but even a bit smaller, and the cheese is close to soupy. It isn’t, but it is close.

After getting your food, a small chalkboard of their current draft list is available at the cashier. This can all be fairly overwhelming as you may not have much time to peruse the board, before ordering while paying for your food selection. You can always go drop off your tray at one of the many large communal tables and return to the main bar to place your order. Some claim that hops dominate the tap board here. I think they are a large integral part of the taplist, given what people are attracted to, but there are also interesting stouts, barleywines and wild ales I experienced while there.

Near the bar you may find a smaller menu of available Warpigs bottles. Most are available to go, or for on-site consumption if you’d prefer.

warpigs2
The daily menu of barbeque at Warpigs

Himmeriget

Don’t try to pronounce the name of this place. It’s mostly impossible. You’ll find Danes pronounce it where it sounds like the name is “Him-il-uh.” This bar has ties to Jeppe and the Evil Twin brand, but there is a stellar array of other American beers from breweries that often do the contract brewing of Evil Twin stuff like Westbrook. There is no shortage of great lambic to be found here, as well.

What most people know Himmeriget for is its availability for on-site consumption of Cantillon Blabaer. During my visit, they have several vintages and multiple bottle sizes of several of those vintages. If you’re in Copenhagen, this is a reason to visit Himmeriget on its own. After you have your fill of blueberry, visit the liberal selections of other bottles of Cantillon and Drie Fonteinen. You may find bottles of Armand & Tomme available. On our visit, we found it comical that an A&T cost only about 10€ more than a bottle of fresh Abraxas. That’s a no brainer for Americans, any time.

The bourbon selection available is exceptionally impressive if you need some strong water between your lambic forays. If you seek some big stouts, typically multiple variants of barrel aged Mexican Cake may be on the menu, including the very rare ones like Pappy, Coconut, or Reserva.

 

Fermentoren

Before more of the establishment of these places above, there was Fermentoren. Fermentoren is an excellent beer bar with a divey feel to it. Inside it has a low ceiling and some of the intimate qualities you’d find at some of the Mikkeller bars but it is noticeably darker. Draft beer leads the way here. Fermentoren has no shortage of great American imports, including lots of desirable hoppy things and a strong selection of Danish and Swedish beers. This is not a strong lambic spot, but there’s other places to scratch that itch. Outside, there are several picnic tables semi blocked off from the roads and sidewalks by greenery. They don’t serve food but occasionally do host an outdoor barbecue session with a grill outside.

paper.JPG
Paper Island

Papirøen

Inevitably you’re going to do the touristy stuff like check out Nyhavn. When you’re in the area, across the channel, there is Papirøen. Google Maps refers to it as “Copenhagen Street Food,” but it’s more commonly known as Paper Island. It’s a large warehouse building once used for paper storage, that’s been converted into a sizable food market. You’ll find easily 10+ styles of food options, from street sushi, chicken sandwiches and falafel to dessert pancakes and cheesecake.  There’s also a scattering of bars and a beer trailer. Some of the beers here, were frankly interesting craft options that you might not see going through the Mikkel circuit of bars. If the weather is nice, you can grab a seat along the channel and enjoy the sea breeze. This is a great spot to go to, whether you’re starving for a big meal, or are just feeling a little peckish.

 

Rbabarrab

Tucked between a small pizza shop and one of the best beer stores in Copenhagen, Rbabarrab is a small bar with a nice selection of taps. It’s fairly ordinary to find great Omnipollo pours here. There’s about 8-10 taps of great things. This bar is clustered in the same stretch as Fermentoren and Warpigs, so if you’re cruising that area or pop in to Kihoskh for bottles to go, Rbabarrab is convenient to duck your head into and see what’s flowing.

paper2
The birds on Paper Island will literally rip your face off