Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Beers in Philly - The Foodery and McGillins

Connecticut is a pretty crappy state when it comes to varieties of beer distributed. For that reason I make sure that whenever I travel I taste the local flavor and stop a liquor store to bring back some out of state goodies. During my visit to Philadelphia I went to two places worth mentioning, and both of them are worth revisiting.

McGillin's Olde Ale House
Philadelphia, PA
Menu / Beer

McGillin's Old Ale House on Urbanspoon

First off, good luck finding this place. It's on a tiny side street and is easily over looked, but you'd be making a big mistake if you just passed it by. I typed "beer bars philly" into google and McGillin's was the first result. Decision made.

McGillin's has had it's doors open and taps flowing since Lincoln took office, making them the oldest continually operating bar in Philly (I don't know what they did through prohibition). They'll be celebrating their 150th anniversary this New Years.

During their impressive century and half of operation they've definitely figured out how to draw a crowd. The food is cheap and completely satisfying. But more importantly there are 35 taps to choose from, all of which are affordable and available in a pitcher for around $13. I happened to be there on a Sunday when you can buy your own McGillin's pint glass for $5 and get $1 refills all day. And while you're there help yourself to some complimentary home-made soup.

The Foodery

Foodery on Urbanspoon

This little place is half deli, half craft beer shop. With over 800 domestic and imported beers to choose from I actually did feel like a kid in a candy store. All beers are sold as singles, with the option to create your own six-pack and receive 10% off. Unfortunately this place was no bargain. The average price for a 12oz bottle (not including belgians, barelywines, and other specialty or high ABV beers) was about $2.50. A little math tells us that that's about $15 a six- pack. But hey, it's the holidays. Spoil yourself, spoil your friends, and make your resolution to never drink shitty beer again.

My beer purchases from The Foodery


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Nips Yankee Swap

So, we haven’t written anything in about four weeks. Whoops. Let’s chalk that up to the Thanksgiving Tryptophan. We slept for a solid month. That’s our story and we’re sticking to it.

Anyway, we recently partook in a holiday drinking celebration that warrants documentation, the Nips Yankee Swap. Now, this event featured neither food nor beer, but because we were all drinking beers on the side, it counts. Don’t you love loopholes? Don’t answer that.

If you don’t know what a Yankee Swap is, first, remove your head from your rear end, clean it off, and return to your computer screen. Back yet? Okay, I’ll explain the rules. Everybody brings wrapped gift(s) to a party. An order for picking is determined, and the first person chooses a gift and unwraps it. The next person can then choose to either unwrap a new gift, or steal the gift that the first person unwraps. This unfolds for the rest of the participants, working in rounds if multiple gifts are involved. Hilarity ensues.

So the Nips Yankee Swap was this idea with a Charles Barkley alcoholic twist to it. Each person bought 3 different nips from their local liquor store. All the nips were put into a big bag, and rounds unfolded with people blindly pulling bottles out of the bag. After each round, contestants drank what they were left with. I ended up with Southern Comfort, 99 Apples and Frangelico. Random, I know. But so is Christmas.

Everybody, have a merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy New Year’s, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Ramadan, enjoy stewing angrily in Atheist Anti-Christmas, or whatever it is you do. Just eat a lot of food, drink a lot of beer, and do it safely. My new year’s Resolution is to write on the blog more. Crap, now it won’t come true.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Statistics

Sorry this is all I could come up with, I'm stuffed from the turkey and stuffing.

About 45 million Turkeys are consumed each Thanksgiving. That's 15% of all turkeys produced in a year and about 675 million pounds of turkey.

Minnesota produces the vast majority of turkeys in the U.S.

Thanksgiving has more cooking fires than any other day of the year. In 2005, cooking fires were involved in roughly 1,300 reported home structure fires on Thanksgiving – nearly three times the daily average.

About 15 houses will be burnt to the ground as a result of a deep fried turkey fire.

Wild turkeys can run 18 mph.

The largest turkey raised was 86 lbs. (that's terrifying!)

Happy Turkey Day from Food Plus Beer! Now go make yourself a Thanksgiving leftover sandwich and make us proud!

Food For Thought #2

Article: Hungry Jack's chipped over monster burger (The Sydney Morning Harold)

Hungry Jack's double Angry Angus Burger has been under attack in the last few days. According to the article:
Hungry Jack's double Angry Angus, packed with deep fried onion rings, two slices of cheese, two beef patties and several rashers of bacon, contains 26 grams of saturated fat and 5.6 grams of salt - 10 grams more saturated fat and 1.6 grams more salt than the daily intake recommended by the National Health and Medical Research Council.
Now that sounds like a meal! I'd have already bought one and been telling you how awesome it was (how could it not be?) but the closest Hungry Jack's is in Australia. The article then states that:
Eating the Angry Angus would cause a diner's blood pressure to rise immediately and eating it regularly would cause chronic high blood pressure, leading to heart attack, kidney failure and stroke, the chairman of the Sydney World Action on Salt and Health, Bruce Neal, said yesterday.
Health officials in Australia aren't very happy about this. In fact, many are demanding the burger carry a warning label. We all know the surgeons general warning on alcohol doesn't stop anyone. And alcohol has age restrictions, legal limits, and other regulations associated with it, why would this have any effect on a burger which has no restrictions whatsoever? What do you think?

Oh yea, a top health official also said:

''The burger has a great title because it makes me doubly angry. It is highly disappointing that a manufacturer in modern-day Australia would consider serving this to people. 'To think that you could have only one of these burgers every two days and nothing else is a ridiculous idea.''

Ridiculous indeed. Sign me up!


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ryan’s Birthday in New York: A Food and Beer Spectacle

In Connecticut, you can’t rent a car until you reach age 25. That’s all that’s left for me. My last real milestone. I have reached 22; the first of the many non-exciting ages I will reach here on out for the rest of my life, before I am eaten by a shark off of Australia’s Gold Coast at the age of 76. I had a vision.

But hey – just because the milestone isn’t exciting doesn’t mean we can’t have fun, does it? That was a rhetorical question.

With the denial of my inevitable mortality in mind, I ventured into New York City with Kyle and 3 friends of Food Plus Beer for a full day of misbehavior.


After dropping off our things with our generous hosts, we hopped a subway to Brooklyn Brewery, home to some of the best beers I’ve ever had. When you walk into this place it actually smells like they're brewing beer. The beers here were 6 for 20$ (you buy tokens for beer). We had our first at about 2:10 p.m. For me, it was the Blast!: an Imperial IPA with a 8.5% ABV. So tasty. The flavors just pop, but it’s not overpowering. It doesn’t feel like you’re drinking such a strong beer. I followed with their 6.1% Winter Ale, a dark and sweet little number that reminded me a bit of Newcastle.

Brooklyn Brewery has cat.

We then took the “tour,” which in reality was just a short spiel by one of the brewery workers. Brooklyn only brews during the week, and they only give tours during the weekend. So there wasn’t much to see, but our tour guide had spilled something on his crotch, so there’s always that. There was also a great story about the time the brewery had its forklift stolen, only they didn’t have the money to afford a new one at the time, so the two brewmasters drove around all night in order to find the forklift and steal it back. Did I mention I love this company? It was also interesting to learn that they use pure unfiltered NYC tap water for all of their brewing while most craft breweries go to great lengths to get theirs filtered.

We downed another Blast! for the road, but since the place was BYOF (bring your own food - or order some to be delivered there) we skipped joyfully out of the brewery. Those beers don’t mess around, so we were already doing a bit of wobbling at this point.


After stopping at a hipster used-clothing store and contemplating purchasing a circa-1994 leather Chicago Bulls jacket, we made our way to a bar called Mugs Ale House for much needed appetizers and of course, more beer (not to mention shots of the always-dangerous Rumplemintz). We had decent wings that could have used some more sauce, and nachos that my beer-riddled brain remembers as quite tasty. They had 36 beers on tap. I chose beer called Sweet Hoe, which I picked solely because of its funny name, Remember, I’m 22 years old.


After this, we went back to our hosts’ place (after getting off the wrong exit on the L train, of course) to continue to drink and prepare for dinner. Dinner was a delicious little burger-and-fries place called the Shake Shack, where they give you a fun little buzzer that vibrates when your food is ready. The meal was delicious and inexpensive, and the beef was top notch. This short blurb doesn't do it justice, if you see one, immediately go order yourself a burger.


Our next stop was the East End Bar and Grill, a Texas Tech fan bar that we went to in order to watch the Tech game with our host. Rather than taking a cab there, the group opted to take a drunken stroll through Central Park, which was blurry and beautiful. The game was a back and forth affair, but the smelly Oklahoma State Cowboys came through in the end. Magner’s and Smithwick’s were consumed here.


At this point, Kyle and his lady friend left for Stamford, leaving just 3 soldiers to carry out the remainder of the mission. We chose to usher in my birthday around midnight at an Irish pub called P.D. O’Hurley’s. As soon as we walked in the door, the Irish bartender was in a shouting match with a customer and violence was being threatened. We were clearly in the right place. We grabbed a couple Harp’s… and then we all realized that enough was enough. There would be no overdoing it on this night. We stopped by Gray’s Papaya for some sauerkraut chili dogs, and hit the sack.

3 bars, one brewery, and junk food galore. It was a good birthday.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

November Food and Beer Events (Greater Connecticut)

There's lots of stuff going on in November! If you're looking for something to do and can't think of anything check out the list of Food and Beer events below. I'd say the best events are New Haven Restaurant week with it's $29 prix-fixe dinners, The Great International Beer Festival in Rhode Island, and the 19th Tri-Annual 'Cask Head' Cask Ale Festival.

My personal favorite idea from the list below is the 3rd Annual Big Game & Big Beer Dinner in Northampton, Massachussetts featuring only beers over 8% ABV and MEAT! The meat includes Bison, Gator, Elk, Wild Boar, Anteloupe, and Venison.

No one has use this yet but I'd figure I'll try. Theres that Restaurant.com link thing to the left. Check it out if you're going out to eat somewhere - you could save big.

Take 70% off Restaurant.com $25 Gift Cert. orders + Receive FREE $10 Gift from The Fruit Company. Use code DINE and Pay $3 thru 11/9/09.


11/7 - 5th Annual Beer/Wine Show
Danielson, Connecticut - Beer Tasting

11/8 - 11/13 - New Haven Restaurant Week
New Haven, Connecticut - Restaurant Week

11/8 - New Haven Cocktail Competition
New Haven, Connectict - Cocktail Competition

11/11 - Night of Arrogance!
New Haven, Connecticut - Beer Tasting

11/12 - Sierra Nevada Beer Camp #12 Edge of Darkness Tapping
Willimantic, Connecticut - Beer Tasting

11/16 - Dogfish Head Beer Dinner at The Gingerman
Norwalk, Connecticut - Beer Dinner

11/18 - Wednesday Night Tasting featuring Clipper City Brewing Co.
New Haven, Connecticut - Beer Tasting

11/20 - 5th Ever Not So Snooty Beer, Wine, & Cheese Adventure
Windsor Locks, Connecticut - Beer Tasting

11/21 - Brewery Tour to Thomas Hooker Brewing Co.
Stamford, Connecticut - Beer Tour / Pub Crawl


11/7 - Beer Summit Harvest Fest 09
Boston, Massachusetts - Beer Festival

11/7 - New England Real Ale Exhibition North (NERAX North)
Haverhill, Massachusetts - Beer Festival

11/9 - Mayflower Brewing Company -- Brew Dinner
Boston, Massachusetts - Beer Dinner / Pairing

11/10 - Harvest Beer Dinner
Cambridge, Massachusetts - Beer Dinner / Pairing

11/10 - Magic Hat Brewing Company Beer Dinner
Cambridge, Massachusetts - Beer Dinner / Pairing

11/11 - Lagunitas Beer Dinner
Greenfield, Massachusetts - Beer Dinner / Pairing

11/11 - Long Trail Brewmaster Meet & Greet
Weymouth, Massachusetts - Beer Tasting

11/14 - Autumn Brewers Dinner at Cambridge Brewing Co.
Cambridge, Massachusetts - Beer Dinner / Pairing

11/14 - Crossroads BEERFEST
Palmer, Massachusetts - Beer Festival

11/15 - Harpoon Helps pre-Thanksgiving Beer-B-Q
Boston, Massachusetts - Charity Beer Event

11/16 - Brewer's Choice Beer DinnerBoston, Massachusetts - Beer Dinner / Pairing

11/17 - Ancient Ales Dinner with Dogfish at Technique - A Cordon Bleu Rest
Cambridge, Massachusetts - Beer Dinner / Pairing

11/22 - 3rd Annual Big Game & Big Beer Dinner
Northampton, Massachusetts - Beer Dinner / Pairing


11/7 - 11/08 - 19th Tri-Annual 'Cask Head' Cask Ale Festival at The Brazen Head
Brooklyn, New York - Beer Festival

11/7 - Chelsea Brewing Company Tour
New York, New York - Beer Tour / Pub Crawl

11/7 - Greenpoint Beer Festival at Red Star
Brooklyn, New York - Beer Festival

11/7 - Pennsylvania Beer Night at Tri-boro Beverage
Astoria (Queens), New York - Beer Tasting

11/8 - Brooklyn Homebrewers Tour
New York City, New York - Homebrew Event

11/10 - Dundee IPA Re-Launch at Tap & Mallet
New York, New York - Professional Event

11/11 - English Beer Night!
New York, New York - Beer Festival

11/11 - Samuel Adams Utopias Release at Tap & Mallet
Rochester, New York - Beer Tasting

11/12 - Fancy Dutch Beer Week
New York, New York - Beer Festival

11/12 - Ithaca Beer Tastling at Wegmans - DeWitt
DeWitt, New York - Beer Tasting

11/12 - Ithaca Brewing Night at The Peekskill Brewery
Peekskill, New York - Beer Tasting

11/13 - Dogfish Head Beer Dinner
Ellenville, New York - Beer Dinner / Pairing

11/13 - Meet the Brewer- Dave from Climax Brewery
New York, New York - Beer Tasting

11/13 - The Divese, Superb & Unique Beers of Belgium
New York, New York - Beer Tasting

11/14 - 6th Annual Beer & Wine Festival at Holiday Valley
Ellicottville, New York - Beer Festival

11/14 - International Great Beer Expo at Nassau Coliseum
Uniondale, New York - Beer Festival

11/14 - Ommegang Brewery Series Night
Mahopac, New York - Beer Tasting

11/18 - Victory Release of Yakima Twilight
Williamsville, New York - Beer Tasting

11/19 - Sixpoint Craft Ales Tasting Event!Staten Island, New York - Beer Tasting

11/23 - Craft Beer & Artisanal Cheese
New York, New York - Beer Tasting

11/25 - Thanksgiving Eve Bash- Abita Brewing Co. at The Peekskill Brewery
Peekskill, New York - Beer Tasting


11/10 - Harpoon Brewery Paired Fondue Feast
Providence, Rhode Island - Beer Dinner / Pairing

11/13 - Left Hand Tasting with Simoes Imports (The Beer Guys)
Exeter, Rhode Island - Beer Tasting

11/14 - Great International Beer Festival
Providence, Rhode Island - Beer Festival

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

October 9th Part 2: Burgers/Monster B's Party Bus

Previously, on Food Plus Beer:
Uh…just read the post below this one. That should provide adequate summation.

Anyway, with the rapture of Stew Leonard’s still fresh in our minds, Food Plus Beer decided it was time for…

Food and Beer. What, are you surprised?

In my case, it was more like Food Plus Beer Plus Rum. Always ends well. We threw back a few while watching UConn football build up an impressive lead against Pittsburgh and then throw it away in vulgarity-inducing, heartbreaking fashion. It was the type of sports-related tragedy that only meat can fix.

Now; there are burgers, and there are blog burgers. And we’re not going to bore you with the former.

It's common knowledge that everything is better when it's wrapped in bacon. In this case we decided to wrap it around a pair of massive beef patties. Here's how we did it:

Start with some fatty ground chuck (80/20). Make sure you have enough for at least two-third pounds per burger (otherwise you'll have wimpy burgers). 

Season your meat as desired then make two one-third pound, flat patties of equal size.
Put a slice of cheese on top of one, and then put the other patty on top.

Pinch the sides together so that you have one large burger stuffed with cheese. (make it a little thinner in the middle so you don't end up with a meatball)

Lay out 4 slices of bacon in a weave formation:
Center the burger on the bacon weave and fold the strips over the burger.
Grill on high heat on both sides for 2 minutes to start in order to sear the bacon and have it properly stick to the burger.

Cook as desired and add more cheese to the top during the last minute.
How was it you ask? Well, it was awesome. With bacon drippings getting absorbed by the burger as the fat renders, and a slice of cheese in the center, this might just be the juiciest burger you'll ever have. You'll have a hard time burning this one. Although the burger was full of delicious bacon flavor, the only problem I had was that the bacon didn't get crispy. I enjoy a bit of crunch when I'm eating my burger. Solution: cook more crispy bacon in the traditional way and throw it on top!


After dinner, we were joined by several more friends of Food Plus Beer, and the thought of going to a bar arose. I was indifferent at first…there were drinks where we were that weren’t 5 bucks. But then someone said something that woke up megabuzzed One-Track-Mind Ryan: “Monster B’s Party Bus.” You may remember a brief mention of this magical service in our initial Monster B’s writeup.

It was over. This was happening. Even if no one else wanted to go, we still would have gone. But as it turned out, everyone seemed pretty thrilled about this magical idea, and so we called. There were 9 people in our party, and they said we needed 15. We pulled the old “Well, I suppose I’ll just take my business elsewhere” routine, and before long, the bus was picking us up.

There’s just something surreal about an actual bus that brings you to and from the bar free of charge. I’m still not sure whether or not that happened. We didn’t stay long, and our time there was a bit hazy, but one thing is for damn sure – we haven’t ridden the party bus for the last time. Also, smart business plan. Seriously. That bus provided them with 9 customers who otherwise certainly wouldn’t have gone to Monster B’s – and there was a cover charge. (The one bummer about the whole thing – there was some cover band there that night).

So the bus brings us back to our downtown location, and drops us off in the middle of the road. As we’re walking away, the bus gets pulled over. Kind of funny, but mostly, it’s a shame. Anything that disturbs the Monster B’s Party Bus in the performance of its duties is ill-advised in my book.
October 9th. Nice day to be alive.

One more thing...Stop by your local delicious Taco Bell on Halloween and pick up a free Black Taco! 6 pm to midnight.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

October 9th Part 1 – Stew Leonard’s

Just about every town in America has a grocery store, but only four (Norwalk CT, Danbury CT, Newington CT, Yonkers NY) have a Stew Leonard’s.

Answer me this: Does your local grocery store have a petting zoo? Ice cream store? Singing and dancing mechanical Chiquita banana? Free food samples every 3.5 feet? Dairy products made in-store? A hoedown-inducing animatronic country-western Milk Carton band? Or the crème de la crème, a push-button controlled mooing cow? This is not a grocery store. This is a spectacle of the highest order.

The Chiquita Senorita performing the Banana Boogie.

In my youth, I can remember going to Stew’s fairly often, and the years in between have done nothing to diminish the mystique. I still push the cow button. I still watch the milk band. I still make noises at the goats hoping they will understand my dialect and respond in kind.

As my sisters and I got older, we didn’t really go to Stew’s anymore. I get it – there are obvious benefits to bringing children here. All the bells and whistles of this magical place would keep us wide-eyed and slack-jawed long enough for my mom to get some shopping done, unlike at our local Grade A ShopRite, where we likely pelted each other with produce and threw shiny cereal boxes into the cart when mom wasn’t looking.

Push button, cow moos. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Still though; being there again makes me feel like I’ve missed out on years of quality Stew’s time. There’s a sense of joy about the place. You never see somebody with a “Why the hell did I come to Stew Leonard’s?” look on their face. You just don’t. Young and old people alike are jumping up and down on the inside…it’s just that kids are also jumping up and down on the outside.

And my God, the samples.

They had free samples of the following: Pumpkin pie, apple cider, pomegranate juice, French bread + olive oil, salmon salad on a cracker, chicken pot pie, gelato, garden salad, tortilla chip with cheese dip, chicken salad on a cracker, and at least two more that I’m forgetting.

It’s unbelievable. For one, it totally increases your excitement about shopping. Also, I decided then and there that if I ever found myself unemployed and homeless, I’d be setting up cardboard camp near a Stew’s. Not a bad life.

We had it in our minds that the drawback to all this was the prices; you’ll certainly pay more for all the hubbub. Not the case. Granted we only bought burger-making supplies, but we found that the prices were comparable to the grocery stores we usually go to. This of course begs the question; why the hell don’t we just always go to Stew’s?

I’m still trying to think of a reason why not. (Well, there's the fact that they don't seem to have toiletries and a lot of your other everyday grocery store items. But who cares? Why make a grandiose statement if you're going to back down? Go to CVS for all that other junk).

Stay tuned for part 2 of the October 9th Food Plus Beer mega-day; including a new way to make death-defying cheeseburgers, beer, and the Monster B’s party bus.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

McDonald's and Miller High Life

When Food Plus Beer went on its first two culinary missions to Monster B’s and Black Bear, the trips were predetermined. Kyle and I had brainstormed earlier in the day and picked restaurants based on appeal, specials, and overall relevance to our cause. We were accompanied by friends of the blog, ate at dinnertime, and paid attention to our surroundings for fun anecdotes. This was nothing like that.

So, it’s about 9 PM, and Kyle and I are polishing off glass number 2 or 3 of his homebrewed Porter. Here’s a riddle for you: How do you get beer out of the fridge without opening it? Easy. Install a tap.

This is the greatest thing Kyle’s ever done, and I’m so excited about it that I’m threatening to abandon the rest of this post and list 100 or so reasons why every American should have a tap on their fridge. But I won’t.

Anyway, not eating dinner and throwing back homebrews alerted us to the fact that we were both hungry, and eating took precedence over watching The Office at that particular time. We discussed criteria for food.
  1. Leftovers won’t cut it.
  2. Can’t be expensive.
  3. Faster is better.
  4. Preferable if food is endorsed by creepy clown.

Do you see where this is going? That’s right. The Golden Arches.But we needed a beer that was appropriate for the mission. How’s your SAT score?

Filet Mignon is to Homebrewed Kegerator Beer as McDonald’s is to ___________.

If you said Miller High Life, give yourself a pat on the back. We grabbed 2 MLHs from my house and headed to the drive thru. 4 McDoubles, 1 McChicken, 2 small fries. $7.60. Amazing.

Note: I’ve always been suspicious that the McDouble is the Double Cheeseburger. We asked, and they said that the Double Cheeseburger has an extra slice of cheese. For 60 cents extra. What a curious pricing maneuver. Also, I cannot reiterate enough, never leave the drive-thru without looking in your bag first. Your order gets messed up approximately 300% of the time. Although, they got ours right this time – fate must have been on our side. I credit the lucky High Life cans. We’ll get back to this in a second.

So, we get back to Kyle’s house and we pound the food as you might expect. The smell of grease permeates the house. There is a tacit understanding that both of us are going to be fighting over the bathroom in the near future. I love McDonald’s.

And that brings us to the Miller High Life. What can you say, it’s cheap beer. You get what you pay for. But the reason I bought Miller High Life was the cans. They are hilarious; head to toe in camouflage. You know, except for the label and everything. This is definitely the beer to drink on a deer hunt. Or an Army mission. Or when you’re hiding in a pile of leaves waiting to scare children. Beer already makes me giggle – beer in a camouflage can gets me even sillier. Which is why Kyle and I decided to test out the can’s ability to blend into its surroundings.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t see it anywhere.

Like a chameleon.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

NY Craft Beer Week + Stone

So I went to craft beer week in NYC and I went to one of the Stone kick-off events in CT and I have to say these meet the brewer events aren't as exciting as I thought they would be. Don't get me wrong, I had more than my share of great beers, but I don't really know exactly what I expected.

On Saturday I went to NYC with some friends. Took the train from Stamford into Grand Central and then a short walk overto Gingermans on 36th. Gingerman's in NYC is an awesome place. With 70 beers on tap and 3 casks you don't even need to look at their bottle selection. They had The Onion for free in print, and a sign in the from that read Meet the Brewers of Harpoon and Magic Hat from 5 - 7. What a great suprise. I just heard this was a good bar and that we could get some good beers here, meeting some brewers was a bonus.

The beers were about $6.50 each, but they came in 22oz glasses (its called an imperial pint) so the price wasn't so bad, especially since wewere ordering some really big beers. I got a Harpoon Harpoon IPA Chinook Dry Hopped, Bear Republic Racer 5, and tasted everone elses. Both beers were spectacularly hopped and delicious, but I have to give the edge to Racer 5. It was my favorite beer of the night and I highly recommend it if you can find it. We waited there until 6 but there were no brewers to be seen - who would have thought that brewers would be punctual? Anyway, we all left with a good buzz so we were happy.

Next up was Rattle N' Hum on 33rd St., having the brewers of Troegs, Elysian, and Ithaca. I like Ithaca - their Flower Power IPA is one of my favorite beers. But this bar was way too packed, and people didn't seem to be into the beer scene. There was a big Washington Huskies sign outside (wrong type of Huskies as far as I'm concerned) and it appears countless fans assembled here to watch them play USC.

I dont really like fighting my way to the bar especially with other untested brew pubs in the city, so we moved on. The end game was a show on Bleecker St. so we ventured to the Blind Tiger for their respectable 30 taps. Here I tried another great beer, a green flash IPA (I told you I like IPAs). This bar was crammed, but it had a cozy feel with a fireplace and the menu written on a chalkboard. Not to mention the fact that although their draught offering was less than half the size of the gingerman it was very well selected.

After drinking some beer there, we grabbed some burritos and that was it for the beer and food. Tasty, intoxicating, and fun - can't go too wrong with that.

Every bar we went to in NY had some Stone Brewing Company beers on tap, but I held off knowing I was going to a kick-off event in CT in which I would try some Stone beers. I went to Monster B's where there were 7 Stone draughts available for the event. These were DELICIOUS, I'm so glad they made it here. I had the Ruination IPA, a smoked porter and an Arrogant Bastard Ale. The Ruination and the Arrogant Bastard were both great. The smoked porter was tasty, but a little weak. I would recommend Otter Creeks Stovepipe Porter instead.

Again I ran into the same story. Apparently beer people just aren't very punctual. They were only 30 minutes late this time, but unfortunately no brewers were here. Just sales guys. I got some bumper stickers and probably could have milked them for a free beer if mine wasn't already full, but all I really ended up with was a breif conversation.

All in all I guess I thought these events would be more organized. I expected a more formal brewer presentation, maybe with a Q and A with some sort of giveaway - I don't really know. All it really was, was the brewers were drinking at the bar as If you and I were, except that if you wanted you could walk over to their table and strike up a good conversation about your favorite brew. In the end, I still had some great beers everywhere I went, and I still had a great time. I just expected something different at a scheduled meet the brewer event. It was more like just running into someone you knew at the bar.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Connecticut Beer and Food Happenings

You might have noticed some recent changes to our blog. For starters, we added that nifty menu to the left. You're probably looking at it thinking its just useless advertisements. WRONG! Although we write this because its fun, and a good amount of you seem to enjoy it, everyone likes to make a little beer money.

All we ask is that if you're going to buy something from Amazon, click that little box over there to access the Amazon site. That way we earn some coin (4% of the amount you spend) and you don't spend anything extra.

Next, the button above that, Restaurant.com, is actually very useful to you and also has the ability to earn us some money. Go to restaurant.com (through our link), put in your zip code, and voila! There's a listing of restaurants near you with the option to purchase $25 gift certificates to that chosen restaurant for $10. Not bad eh? But wait! There's MORE! (had to do it). Don't ever buy anything from that site full priced. There's always a coupon code (use the code "ENJOY" for 60% off through 9/21). The sites legit, I've been using it for a bout two years now and haven't had any problems. I'll try my best to update you with current coupon codes and provide links when we review restaurants or bars listed there.

Enough of the infomercial - on to bigger and better news.

Stone Brewing Company is probably my favorite brewing company. They have great beers in their line up, and a really cool gargoyle on each bottle. Can't go wrong with that. Unfortunately, they haven't distributed to Connecticut until now.

Welcome them to Connecticut by joining them in some kick-off events across the state. They'll have several of their delicious beers available and probably some giveaways. I recommend that you check them out. Here's the schedule:

Tuesday, September 22
6:00pm - Stone CT Kick-off at Prime 16 (New Haven)
9:00pm - Stone CT kick-off at Delaney's (New Haven)

Wednesday, September 23
6:00pm - Stone CT Kick-off at Plan B Burger Bar (Glastonbury)

Thursday, September 24
6:00pm - Stone CT Kick-off at Tigin Irish Pub (Stamford)
9:00pm - Stone CT Kick-off at Monster B's Bar & Grill (Stamford)

Friday, September 25
6:00pm - Stone CT Kick-off at The Ginger Man (Norwalk)

There's a very good chance you'll find us at Monster's on Thursday and possibly at Tigin before. If that doesn't do it for you, here are some more events in Connecticut this month:

Craft Brewers Oktoberfest Beer Tasting, Willimantic Brewery (Willimantic)

Pipes in the Valley Celtic Music Festival (Hartford)
Go there for bagpipes, falconry, highland games, and of course food and beer.

Brewers Fest, Ski Sundown (New Hartford)

Blues, Views & BBQ Festival, Levitt Pavilion (Westport)



Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Black Bear Saloon @ Stamford

Stamford, CT


Happy Hour: M-F 4-7pm
$3 drafts & wells, other daily food specials

In nature, a brown bear is more likely to attack you for territorial reasons. They think you’re messing with their babies; and they don’t like that kind of thing. Play dead and start praying. On the other hand, if a black bear attacks you, you’d better try to fight it off - it’s more than likely trying to eat you.

Exactly one week ago, however, it was we that were eating the Black Bear, in Stamford’s Columbus Circle. While I was much chagrined to learn that seared bear loin was not available on the menu, I found solace in a huge cheeseburger, which I proceeded to rip from limb to limb like a black bear (Ursus americanus) might a wayward hiker.

We went on a Tuesday, which was 2 for 1 burger night. There are two ways to go about this deal:

    1. Maximum Gluttony. Be a man and order two burgers for yourself for the price of one.
    2. Gentlemanly Restraint. Eat one burger and pretend to be full afterwards.

I’d like to tell you we fought the good fight and chose option 1. I’d like to tell you that. But prison is no fairy tale world.

Whoops, got caught up in Shawshank Redemption.

Yes, dear friends, myself and my 3 companions each enjoyed one of Black Bear’s fine burgers. I went with the Bleu Cheese Bacon Burger. The beef was tasty and tender, high-fiving the bacon and seesawing back and forth over my palette with its good friend, Bleu cheese. I also decided to have sweet potato fries as opposed to its more traditional counterpart because hey: I’m crazy like that. They were quite good.

All I ask is 3 beers apiece for each of my coworkers. Damn it, Shawshank. Black Bear had the dubious task of being the next Restaurant/Bar review following Monster B’s and their bevy of beer, and the difference in selection is obviously huge. But really, as long as they have one beer you really like, it’s not so bad, huh? So the four of us went with the always satisfying Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. And pints were just $3 all night. Score.

Here’s the beers that were on tap:
Bass, Bud light, Budweiser, Guinness, Magic Hat Circus Boy, Miller Lite, Sam Adams Winter Lager, Shocktop, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Stella Artois,

A few other things:

Every one of their booths running across the back wall has its own TV. We watched the Yankee game and laughed gregariously at the miserable job the closed caption guy was doing. “Alex Rodriguez is dalkgdan 2 gor 4 tonihgty.” That kind of thing. Good comedy.

Also, we were able to knock 10% off the bill with the iShop Stamford Downtown card (http://www.ishopstamforddowntown/). How’s a huge burger with fries and two Sierra Nevadas for about $12 plus tip sound?

Black Bear has deals Sun-Wed every week, and that’s a great time to check the place out. Good food, good beer, what more could you want? Maybe the opportunity to lasso a bear, but now I’m splitting hairs.

In the battle of Food vs. Beer, it is hereby decreed that Black Bear is…

A food place! Go around 6-7 and enjoy it before it gets annoyingly clubby.


Black Bear Saloon on Urbanspoon

Friday, September 11, 2009

NY Craft Beer Week 2009

September 11 - 20

Live in The City? Going to The City? Need an excuse? Either way, if you're up for it, today is the start of NY Craft Beer Week.

The week starts off tonight with the Gotham Cask Ale Festival which will go on throughout the weekend. Cask ale is beer that is unfiltered, unpasturized, and naturally carbonated and served from a cask. This is the way beer was traditionally brewed.

Theres all sorts of other fun events going on including beer dinners, beer lessons, beer walks, bar crawls, meet the brewer nights and more! Check out the NY Craft Beer Week site for the schedule of events.

It all sounds pretty exciting to me, although some of the events are a bit pricey for me. If I make it down there I'd definitely like to go to a meet the brewer event. Here's the Brewmaster Night schedule at one of the bars that has great reviews and a lot going on.

Rattle N Hum
Meet the Brewers of:

Friday 11th - Ballast Point, Blue Point
Saturday 12th- Oskar Blues
Sunday 13th - Sierra Nevada, Shmaltz
Monday 14th - Victory, Sixpoint, Flying Dog
Tuesday 15th - Brooklyn, River Horse, Boulder, Goose Island
Wednesday 16th - Stone, Bear Republic
Thursday 17th - Smuttynose, Stoudts
Friday 18th - Ommegang, Allagash, Southampton, Captain Lawrence
Saturday 19th - Troegs, Elysian, Ithaca

At these events you can expect the brewmasters to do a little talk about their beers, probably some Q&A, and have a lot of their beers available for tasting. So choose some breweries you like.

The bottom line is, if you're thinking about going down go to the official site for the best information about everything going on. If you're wondering what beers on tap at which bars check out http://www.beermenus.com/.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009


With over six million people attending Oktoberfest in Munich every year, it is the world's largest fair. The first Oktoberfest took place in 1810 and traditionally takes place during the sixteen days leading up to and including the first Sunday in October. This year's Oktoberfest will occur from Sep. 20th - Oct. 5th.

This festival is all about eating vast amounts of food and drinking tons of beer. Here are some fun stats from last year's event:

6 million visitors

Things consumed:
6.6 million liters of beer
460,000 chicken pieces
117,000 sausauge pairs
104 oxen

Items found:
680 identity cards and passports
410 wallets
360 keys
265 spectacles
280 mobile phones
80 cameras
4 wedding rings
1 set of diving goggles
1 set of angel's wings
1 superman costume
0 false teeth (for the first time since records began…)

As you can see, people get silly. There’s even a special name for people who get way too silly – "Bierleichen" which is German for “beer corpses”.

Unfortunately, most of us are stuck here in America just reading about it. But the good news is since the first of September Oktoberfest style beers (aka Märzen) have started to appear on shelves in liquor stores. These beers are usually in the 5-6% ABV range, dark copper in color with a full-bodied taste of toasty malts. Not much of a hop profile.


We decided to sample some of the Oktoberfests BevMax in Stamford had to offer:

From the left: Brooklyn, Blue Point, Hofbrau, Samuel Adams

Sam Adams Octoberfest, being the only Octoberfest I'd ever had, was a natural place to start. Good beer, but a little malty. At least that's what Kyle says. I really don't know what I'm talking about.

You see, Kyle is the beer guy of the two of us. He brews, (I just said Hebrew) and I wouldn't be surprised if he read beer publications. I love beer, but my critiquing could probably use a little work. I'm the color guy. I'm here to make you laugh gregariously and forget about how painful and empty your sad, depressing life is. Kyle's Dan Schulmann, and I'm Dick Vitale. Okay, baby?

Phew. What a load off my chest. Now I can talk about my thoughts without feeling the need to get too technical about things. Because a lot of you probably don't know what the hell he's talking about, either. Love you, Kyle. Let's have beer lessons soon.

Anywho, what I noticed about Sam Adams' Octoberfest was that its aftertaste contained a slight essence of funk.

Brooklyn's Oktoberfest, however, had a very similar taste, with a smoother finish. No funk. Crisper than Crispin Glover.

Blue Point's offering was good, but not really as interesting as the previous two. I mean, even Sammie's funk is something worth mentioning. Blue Point's was just kind of unremarkable.

Hofbrau was really good, but definitely felt out of place. It was such a departure from the other three that it would be irresponsible of me to include in in the judging. Hence, I disqualified it on the basis of "apples and oranges." It would be like comparing 3 colas and a Sprite.

So, in the end, the Brooklyn takes home the gold medal, and my love affair with this brewery marches on.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Monster B's

Stamford, CT

Food Menu / Draught Beer Menu / Bottled Beer Menu

Happy Hour: M-F, 4-8pm
$3 draught pints, Half-priced appetizers

If you’re a 20-something living in Stamford, you may not be aware of this, but there are bars outside of the Downtown area. That’s right, it’s true. One such place is a little slice of heaven called Monster B’s, located on Glenbrook Road.

What’s so special about this place?

First and foremost, it’s the beer selection. With 30 beers on tap and more than 180 bottled, there’s plenty of room to explore. In fact, last year they won a “Best of the Gold Coast” award for their incredible beer selection! If you come here and order a Bud Light, you should be ashamed of yourself.

Second, they have a friggin' party bus. That's right, you can call Monster B's and have them pick you and your friends up for a ride to the bar. They'll even give you a ride back. I'm not sure of the details exactly, but I've got to say this is one of the greatest ideas of all time. Even better than the Keytar. Check out the website for more details.

Third, the music selection is surprisingly tolerable. Albeit, at one point we were subjected to Hole and the nauseating quasi-musical stylings of Courtney Love, but the rest of the tunes were A-OK. Live, Soundgarden, Foo Fighters – that sort of thing.

This might seem a minor detail, but at Brickhouse, an overcrowded bar with an irresistible Wednesday deal that we’ll chronicle soon, the music has me thinking homicidal thoughts. Lady GaGa, Pitbull, Sean Kingston – a who’s who of people we’d like to see put in a space shuttle and shot towards the sun.

But I digress. We went to Monster B's for Happy Hour, which just may be the best in Stamford: $3 for every beer on draught, and half-price for most appetizers. I had the loaded nachos; $9.99 normally, $5 at oh-so-beautiful happy hour. They were super cheesy and loaded with chili. I’ve had better, but they certainly hit the spot. My beers were a Great Divide Titan IPA, A Brooklyn Brewmasters Reserve Cuvee de Cardoz, and Abita Purple Haze. Three totally different beers, all satisfying. This is the place to go to discover something new.

[ Kyle interrupting here] I also had a Great Divide Titan IPA, but followed it with a Lagunitas IPA and a Captain Lawrence Captains Reserve Imperial IPA. I guess you can figure out that I like IPA’s (That’s India Pale Ale if you were wondering)… In the food department I had a dozen wings doused in Monster B’s own Hero Sauce. I was warned by the waitress about the heat level of this sauce but did not waiver from my decision. Hot damn! Those were hot. Tasty, but scorching. If you’re not familiar with hot sauce, don’t be a Hero. [Done, just had to say my piece]

‘Twas a hootenanny of a good time. How can you go wrong with 3 flavorful beers and a plate of nachos for $14? You just can’t. But this is Food Plus Beer. Every establishment has an emphasis. Are you coming to Monster B’s mainly for the grub, or for the Tedy Brewskis (look it up, non-football fans)? The tribe has spoken. In the case of Monster B’s…

Food vs Beer?

Beer wins. Fatality.


*Since the draught beers aren't updated on their website check out the comments to this post for the beers available when we went on 8/26.

Monster B's Bar & Grille on Urbanspoon

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Food for Thought #1

You know, not every entry can be about massive double cheeseburgers and sweet deals. Well, OK, yes it can.

But there are a lot of philosophical matters in the world of food, and Food Plus Beer aims to tackle those as well. We will call these posts "Food for Thought," because it's a brilliant pun of Good Humor popsicle stick proportions.

Warning: This entry contains Non-FPB-Approved Dining.

At Food Plus Beer, we encourage culinary exploration – after all, your next favorite food could still be out there somewhere, unbeknownst to you. But this exploration could lead you into a moral dilemma.

New Zealand Dog Barbecue

The above link is a story of a relocated Tongan (native of Tonga…don’t worry, I had to look it up, too) man living in New Zealand who caused a whirlwind of controversy when he decided he’d had enough of his Staffordshire terrier, so he beat it over the head with a hammer, slit its throat, and ate it.

“Damn…Why didn’t I think of that?”

New Zealand law states that citizens can kill and eat their dogs, as long as they’re killed humanely. And what’s more humane than being bashed over the head with a hammer?

This man grew up in a part of the world where eating dogs is no big deal. I mean, we love to eat cows, even though it freaks out our wacky friends in India, right? Perhaps our aversion to eating our beloved terriers is nothing more than typical American ethnocentric attitude.

So let’s put it to a poll, shall we? You’ll notice the burning question lingering to the right.

Would you ever try dog meat?


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

About Us

For the launch of our blog we wanted to give you some fun content first, however we didn't say anything about us (the bloggers)! So here goes:

We're two young lads from Stamford, CT who have been eating food since before our baby teeth and drinking beer for longer! We believe this experience makes us exceptional critics, connoisseurs, afficionados and so forth. Here is a little insight into our favorite foods and beers.

Favorite Foods:
- Lobster
- Baby Back Ribs
- Philly Cheese Steaks

Favorite Beers:
- Ithaca Flower Power IPA
- Stone IPA
- Victory Prima Pils

Favorite Snack:
- Beef Jerky

Favorite Topping:
- Bacon

Favorite Thing Wrapped in Bacon:
- Scallops

Ketchup, Mustard, or Mayo?
- Mayo

Favorite Foods:
- Pizza
- Wings
- Burgers

Favorite Beers:
- Brooklyn Lager
- Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
- Blue Moon

Favorite Snack:
- Now Defunct...The Legend of Guacamole Doritos

Favorite Topping:
- Bacon

Favorite Thing Wrapped in Bacon:
- Bacon

Ketchup, Mustard, or Mayo?
- Bacon

See our latest post below!

Stamford Restaurant Week Summer 2009

I'm a day late in posting this, but I'm sure you'll manage. Yesterday, Monday, August 17th, was the first day of Stamford's Restaurant Weeks, which will continue for the next two weeks until Sunday, August 30th. Restaurant Week gives you the opportunity to get a full 3 course meal (most restaurants offer an appetizer, entrée, and dessert) for a fixed price with choices from a special prix-fixe menu. Although you may be able to find some deals, beware, not everything is worth it.

Here's the chart of participating restaurants (click for menus):

$10.09 Lunch and $15.09 Dinner

Black Bear Saloon
Kujaku Japanese Restaurant
SBC Restaurant & Brewery
Tigin Irish Pub & Restaurant*

*Call 203-353-8444 for details
**Dinner Only

Stamford Downtown Restaurant Week '09 Site

I've taken a brief look at most of the menus and in general most of the lunches to me seem like pretty awesome deals. The majority of lunch menus are nearly the same as the dinner menus and are significantly cheaper. But who goes out for a big lunch? As far as dinner goes, I think your best bet is to try the restaurants that are generally more expensive to begin with. Although $30.09 per person may seem like a lot, some of the restaurants on the list are serving entrees that usually cost more than that.

Take The Capital Grille for example – If I were to go there I'd order:

Clam Chowder: $8
Kona Crusted Dry Aged Sirloin with Shallot Butter: $42
Creamed Spinach: $9
Flourless Chocolate Expresso Cake: $7

Total Normal Cost: $66

There are other menu options that you could choose, but they all come out to about the same total cost. With restaurant week you can eat at a great steak house with 50% off. However, some deals suck. Black Bear thought it was a great idea to offer only an entrée, say their Southwestern Burger, for $15.09 when it usually costs only $9.99 – go figure!

Anyway, check out the menus and decide what you like best. Post some comments and share your thoughts on any of these restaurants or deals!


While you're doing Stamford restaurant stuff, make sure you sign up for the free iShop Stamford Downtown Card for 10% off selected restaurants and stores.

New York City Restaurant Week has been extended through Labor Day (weekdays only).

Boston Restaurant Week continues through Friday, August 21st.

And although unrelated to food and beer, everyone hates taxes, so I thought I'd remind you that it's Tax Free Week in Connecticut this week until August 22nd, for all clothing, shoes, and accessories under $300.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Double Bacon Cheeseburger

Well, it's been 5 months in the making...let's get this baby goin'! Ladies and Gentlemen... Food plus Beer! Hey everyone, this is Kyle, and here's a little man-feast I whipped up that's packed with bacon both inside and on top.


1.5 lb Ground Chuck 80/20
.5 lb Ground Pork
1 lb Bacon
½ Large Onion (chopped)
1 Clove Garlic (crushed)
2T Montreal Steak Seasoning
1T Barbeque Sauce

Poppy or Sesame Seed Rolls (classic buns won’t be able to handle these big boys)
2 Slices of White American Cheese per Burger (don’t get singles)
2 Slices of Monterey Jack Cheese per Burger

  1. Cut half of the bacon into 1 inch pieces and sauté. Set aside the rest of the bacon for topping.

  2. When bacon is getting crispy add chopped onion and continue frying until onion is soft

  3. Drain half of the grease from the pan and let the remainder cool

  4. Once cool, combine mixture with all remaining ingredients (excluding buns and cheese) in a bowl (use your hands! It’s the easiest way by far)

  5. Divide mixture into as many patties as you like. When it comes to burgers the bigger the better, so I made 3 massive patties. Make your patties a little thinner in the middle so they don’t turn into meatballs.

  6. If you’re burgers are really big, I recommend starting each side on high heat and then lowering the heat. Flip burgers only once during cooking. Meanwhile prepare the rest of the bacon to put on top.

  7. When done, flip burgers once more and add your cheese for the last 2 minutes (until it melts)
  8. Drop it on a lightly toasted bun and add desired toppings
  9. Proceed straight to Burger City, first stop, Bun Town. As always, wash it down with a cold beer.

You can feel the intensity in my eyes. That's me, Ryan. Hi. Eating this burger was guttural. Primal. I felt like a lion tearing apart a zebra on the Serengeti. A zebra covered in melted cheese. I mean, come on, stop it. Food this good just isn't fair. But it wasn't just food. After all, the site is called Food Plus Beer, ain't it? We complemented this Meatapalooza by throwing back a few Longhammer IPAs, a sexy hoppy little number with a 6.5% ABV (Alcohol by volume, stupid) and a slight malty finish. Bottom line? I'd do it again. Right now.


The Ginger Man: Sierra Nevada Brewing Company Beer Dinner

I think it's a bit pricey but for those who are interested, it's $65 per person for 5 courses paired with 5 beers at The Ginger Man in Norwalk, CT. Here's the email:

It's that time again! On Monday, August 10th, The Ginger Man will host the
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company for this month's beer dinner.

From Chico, California, Sierra Nevada is one of the premier craft breweries in the world. The company is tirelessly dedicated to the green effort and devotes considerable resources to technologies involving recycling, fuel cells, solar energy, heat and carbon dioxide recovery, and even green transportation for their distribution truck fleet. And all the while, they make tremendous beer!

For those not familiar with our beer dinners, your $65 ticket is all inclusive: 5 courses paired with 5 beers, tax and gratuity. The evening kicks off promptly at 7pm, cocktail style--check in, meet your friends and enjoy hors d'oeuvres. 4 courses follow, including a cheese plate and dessert.

Further information about the beer selections and food menu can be found here in PDF or on our website.

Please call or come in to purchase your tickets. Due to the high demand for beer dinner seats, we are unable to offer a refund for cancelled tickets. Feel free to contact us at info@gingermannorwalk.com for further information.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Statement of Purpose


We love food and beer. Simply put, these two things make the world go ‘round. And since you’re reading this, you too must have a decent appreciation for at least one of these things.

So what is the purpose of this blog?

With countless shows, books, magazines, and websites (yes, even other blogs) all dedicated to food and drink you may wonder what makes us different. We’re going to put food and beer into layman’s terms. We’re guessing you haven’t graduated from a culinary institution and neither have we. We are on the same page as you the reader and we will blog about the same things that you eat and drink. Visit our blog for reviews of your local man-food restaurants and bars, fast food chains, snacks, delicious and cheap brews, recipes and tips for great cooking, and news about food and beer events.

There are two types of people in this world; those who eat to live, and those who live to eat. This blog is for the latter.

-The management

P.S. If you have any requests or ideas for blogging let us know at FoodPlusBeer@gmail.com