Category Archives: Places

Philly Here I come!

Over the past few years, I’ve been traveling a whole lot. I’ve been to Italy (for the 26th time in my life), Switzerland, the Bahamas and various states in the U.S. I’m always intrigued with culture, food, and beer!

I don’t mean to burst anyone’s bubble, but I’m not exactly a fan of Philly. I thought the beer and Philly Cheese steak is better in NY. But before you hate me, I have a reason to visit again! I just found out that Mac’s Tavern, the real-life bar from the TV Show It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, opened this month in Philadelphia’s Old City neighborhood. Mac’s Tavern has 17 beers on tap, gastropub fare, a jukebox and occasional acoustic musical talent.

Now I have a reason to explore where The Gang — Charlie, Sweet Dee, Dennis, Mac and Frank — have done everything from cracking the Liberty Bell to running the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps Rocky Balboa-style (which I attempted and failed successfully).

VisitPhilly.com lists a two-day, two-night itinerary, you can see where the ego-driven characters create scenes all over Philadelphia — that is, when they aren’t arguing or scheming in Paddy’s Pub.

I haven’t settled on a date yet, but check back later this summer. I plan to go in August!

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Barley Creek Brewing Company

Once again, there is nothing better than having a nice beer at the end of a long day of skiing. While I was at Camelback Ski Resort (Tannersville, PA), I stopped by a local brewery, Barley Creek Brewing Company. The wait for a table was about an hour, but I can assure you, it was well worth it. Barley Creek has 10 of their original beers on tap. I was so overwhelmed by the choices, that I decided to go with their sampler, which included: Cliffhanger Light Ale, a very light Pilsner; Navigator Golden Ale, slightly stronger ale; Expedition Strong Ale, an English strong ale; Antler Brown Ale, sweet, but mildly hoppy; Rescue IPA, full of intense hop flavor; and Chocolate Porter, smooth, sweet chocolate!

Their beer sampler

Tasting their beers and deciding on my favorite

My favorite ones were the Navigator Golden Ale  and Wanderlust Chocolate Porter. The Navigator had a crisp flavor and went perfect with my  pulled pork sandwich. I was shocked that I could like something so light. The waitress said they serve this beer colder than most, which is why I think this beer would be better in the summer. As for the Chocolate Porter, I thought I was in heaven (I have a sweet tooth!). I didn’t feel the need to have dessert. Their porter was smooth and creamy. In fact, they use Hershey syrup in addition to chocolate.

Overall, I had a great experience. Yes, it was completely packed and crazy, but once you were seated, the service was fast and the food was cooked to perfection. Next time I stop by, I’ll be sure to go at 12:30 p.m. when they have a tour with free tastings.

The bear that greets you when you walk in

A cool poster that I saw on the wall

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Cave Mountain Brewery

snowy, winding roadsnowy, winding road

I had the pleasure of going to Cave Mountain Brewery in Windham, NY two weeks ago. Originally, I had planned a ski vacation a few months ago to Windham Mountain, but unfortunately, Mother Nature decided to heat things up. The weekend was snowing, but not enough to go skiing.  I panicked and quickly looked for a bar in hope of  finding a new beer to calm me down! The closest bar was 15 miles away, which translated to 30 minutes between winding roads and terrible snow conditions. When I finally got to the place, it was nothing but a barn next to a gas station. I decided to retreat and continue my search the next day. That’s when I learned there was a brewery in town!

When I was driving to Cave Mountain Brewery, I missed it the first time because it looked like a quaint storefront. I was surprised with the level of energy of the brewery when I walked it. The walls are brightly colored and there is memorabilia on the walls including hundreds of vintage beer cans in the bathrooms. I went in the men’s bathroom just to see if it had the same cans as the women’s and to my surprise, it didn’t!

bathroom

I went with a beer sampler so I could try every drink the brewery had to offer. I noticed that they’re big seller was the Centennial IPA, so I started with that first. The hops were so strong that you could smell them before you even have a taste. I’m not big on IPAs, so I was happy to try the others. On the menu, they have American Blonde Ale, which is a light ale with subtle hops. Nothing too special about one, but refreshing for the summer. Next up, I tried their Irish Red Ale, which was the perfect for the season. It is also lightly hopped with a toasty flavor. If you like toasted nuts, I’d recommend their English Nut Brown Ale, also a nutty, malty treat.  The last two that I tried were my favorite. The German Hefeweizen was everything that I could enjoy in a beer! It was wheaty, refreshing, and tart, with a hint of banana. I ordered a pint of that one. Lastly, I sampled the Oatmeal Stout, a true blend of coffee and chocolate malt. I didn’t even need dessert. It was a perfect ending for the night and a great way to kick off the weekend.

sampler

There were other beers that weren’t in season, but that means I’ll have to come back in the spring and summer in order to try them all!

Other pics from my trip:

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bullstaring bull

brewerycave mountain brewing company

bathroom23
“1,000 bottles of beer on the wall”

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Perfect Summer Drinks at Spring Lounge

I had the pleasure of going to Spring Lounge located in Downtown Manhattan and boy, did I have an awesome experience. The bar is located on the corner of Spring Street and Mulberry Street. The atmosphere takes you away from the hustle and bustle of New York City and brings you to a tavern that you’d fine in Upstate New York. Inside you’ll fine eclectic gadgets and items collected from probably vintage shops. But enough about the setting, let’s get to the beer!

Spring Lounge serves more than 30 beers, mostly craft beers. I stopped by when they were holding Summer Fest. They served a special $4 draft menu that included Lagunitas A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin,’ Schneider Brooklyner Hopfen-Weisse, Great Divide Belgica, Sierra Nevada Summerfest and Victory St. Boisterous.

laguintasFor my first drink, I tried Lagunitas. This beer excelled on many levels. You can smell the orange tangy flavor even before it hits your mouth. The color is a deep orange color, full bodied, and smooth. The flavor is wheaty with a hint of spice. It reminded me a lot of Mimosas in the way that you could drink this with your breakfast because it was juicy and full of fruit. The ABV was up there: 7.7%. So if you’re going to have breakfast, make sure it’s heavy enough for Lagunitas A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin.’

I didn’t want to leave the bar before trying another special. After all, they served every table with complimentary watermelon. How could I refuse?

schenider brooklyn hopfen weisseI went for the Schneider Brooklyner. Supposedly brewmasters Hans-Peter Drexler of Schneider Weissbier Brewery and Garrett Oliver of the Brooklyn Brewery came together to formulate this tasty creation.  This drink is also on the deep orange side, but it is a shade darker. It’s spicier, tangier and tastes very sweet. It leaves a hoppy aftertaste in your mouth.

For a petite size corner bar, this place sure does well for itself. The owners throw weekly events that you don’t want to miss. Start the week off with them with a Bagel Brunch Sundays. Throughout the school year, Spring Lounge serves free bagels along with your drink. On Wednesdays, stop by for free hot dogs cooked in their beer selection of the week.

Don’t miss their next special event on August 29. Spring Lounge will be saying good-bye to summer and hello to autumn with Captain Lawrence Farewell to Summer BBQ on from 2 PM- 8PM. Scott Vaccaro, head brewer of Captain Lawrence, will be there to celebrate the end of summer with six of his fantastic beers. They’ll also have live music and free food!

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Trip to the Bahamas

I had to try the famous, Kalik. There are three types of Kalik sold in the Bahamas, Kalik (5% ABV), Kalik Light (4% ABV), and Kalik Gold (7% ABV). I ended up trying Kalik, the most popular and readily available.

Hold your nose when you drink this one because it is one stinky beer. Don’t let the smell scare you though. Tripe smells bad, and it tastes good, right?

Maybe not.

I would consider Kalik to be a light lager. It had some carbonation and a sweet aroma.  As you sip it, you can taste the toasted barley malt with just a little dash of hops.

As old as the Bahamas islands are, Kalik is just a baby, first brewed 21 years ago in Nassau by the Commonwealth Brewery (same guys that produce Heineken and Guinness). They kicked Beck’s right out of the water and became the top seller in the Islands. It’s about time they had their own beer.

parasailing

One night, I went to Port Lucaya Marketplace & Marina. For those of you who have not been to the Bahamas, during the day there are vendors and activities  including snorkling, scuba diving and parasailing (which I tried). At night, Port Lucaya is filled with bars, music, and live entertainment. The first bar I hit for the night seemed like every college student in America has had a beer there. There were signed t-shirts on the ceiling and graffiti with little messages on the walls. It was the perfect spot to try Sands, Kalik’s competitor.

bahamianbar

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sandsSands is known for using the Bahamas’ “world famous spring water.” The only pros I can say is that it goes down real smooth and has a citrus flavor. There was just something about this drink I didn’t like. It was missing body, an aftertaste probably the alcohol. I found Sands to be lighter than Kalik and too watery. Maybe I should cut them some slack since Sands is the new kid on the block. Bahamian Brewery & Beverage Company started production only a few years ago. I’m sure they’ll fine tune their recipe. Until then, they should really taste their own beer before bragging about it in their sloagan, “Truly Bahamian Beer.” The Bahamians might take is as an insult.

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Jekyll and Hyde – NYC

I was having one of those days where everything goes wrong, so I decided to make the best of it by going to Jekyll and Hyde in New York City. I always wanted to go there because I heard about their unique shows and the spooky decor. But I had know idea they had such an awesome beer list.  I was really impressed. They have over 150 beers from England, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, Holland, Germany, jerkyllhydeCanada, Czech Republic, Brazil, Thailand, Mexico, the Caribbean, Belgium, Sweden, Italy, Japan, and of course America.

I decided to go with Chimay Bleue (oh so creamy!). This beer is so smooth, non- carbonated and high in alcohol content (9%). The flavor is sweet, slightly bitter, light, and has a touch of roasted malt. This beer went perfect with my turkey wrap. Great summer meal. I can’t wait to try Chimay’s Rouge (dark and nutty), Blanche (light and hoppy), and Dorée (pale and fruity).

Click here to see their complete beer menu.

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Block Island

This Memorial Day weekend, I took a trip to Block Island, a small  island off of Rhode Island. The people are friendly, the location is surreal, and the beers are refreshing. mohegancafe

On the way to Block Island, I decided to try some of the local beers. I was on the ferry and getting a little seasick. So I said to myself, why not.

I tried Block Island Blonde Beer first. What can I say? I love this beer! This light lager is refreshing and perfect for the summer. It’s smooth and slightly sweet.  The second beer I tried was The Narragansett. This lager was much lighter than the Block Island Blonde. In fact, it is almost too light for my taste. It seemed very watered down.

When I got to the island, I toured around on my moped, and then I hit the bars at blackberrywheatnight. The first place I stopped at was the Albion Pub. This bar draws in an older crowd, but don’t be fooled – you’re guaranteed to have a night of fun. Albion is a decent size bar and the food is not bad (I had Buffalo Wings of course).  They have about 10 beers on tap including Loose Cannon, Guinness, Lynx, Magic Hat, Redhook and 20-30 bottled beers. While I was there, I tried Long Trail’s Blackberry Wheat, which was light and refreshing. They did a very good job with adding the blackberry taste to this golden beer. There were also a few rock bands that I checked out at the Albion: The 007’s, Analog and 13 Miles Out.

The next day, I had lunch at Mohegan Café & Brewery, a family style restaurant and brewery.  I tried two of their beers. The Mohegan Pilsner is slightly hoppy, has no carbonation, and very light. I think this beer would be good for people like me who don’t normally enjoy spicy beers. Their Spring Wheat is stronger with the hops, very malty and is amber colored.

I decided to continue my Pub Crawl and made my way to Club Soda. Club Soda isn’t a club, but a very casual bar with amazing food (I recommend their Potato Skins  Club Soda has five beers on tap, pool tables, video games and – get this – a live tarantula! I tried Newport Storm Hurricane Amber Ale. This amber-colored beer is pretty light as far as alcohol content and hops.  I also tried Redhook’s ESB, which isn’t a local beer. I really liked this one. This copper-colored ale had a unique blend. The hops are bitter, but the caramel malts are sweet.

To finish up the weekend, I went to the hottest bar on Block Island – Captain Nick’s. This place seems to be one of the bigger bars of the island. You can find anyone of any age kicking back a few drinks. They have a variety of drink selection: beers & liquor, and they always have a live band playing. Captain Nick’s also has pool tables, three bars, and a large dance floor.

There are still some more bars that I want to hit on Block Island. You can be sure to read about it later this summer.

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