Archive for the ‘Breweries’ Category
Deep in the foothills of Vermont, a small brewery is dutifully churning out one of the best IPAs in the country. Truth.
The Alchemist focuses on brewing “just one beer perfectly – Heady Topper, an American Double IPA.”
I was jittery, clammy-handed and excited to try the beer that currently rates #1 on Beer Advocate’s list of top 250 brews.
On my first tasting, I rebelliously ignored the explicit instructions to “Drink from the can” and poured the frothy golden liquid into:
…a glass *GASP*
- The first thing I noticed was a flood of delightful hoppy aromas wafting onto my olfactory receptors and staying a while to host a rager.
- I’m not enough of a beer connoisseur to dissect the proprietary blend of exact hops, but the aromas smacked of citrus, grapefruit, spice, and sunshine. It was good.
- The first sip revealed the trademark, signature move of the Heady Topper:
Maddeningly awesome hop aromas with a less-hoppy but smooth and flavorful mouthfeel and a crisp, refreshing finish.
- Upon tasting cans number 2 through 4, I did follow instructions and consume from the can. I do agree that adherence to the directions preserves some of those beautiful smells, but you’ll definitely survive and still enjoy a very good beer by pouring Heady Topper into a glass.
Unfortunately, the only way to access this beautiful beer is by visiting the brewery in Waterbury from Monday thru Saturday between 11am and 7pm, or by getting the stuff at a handful of restaurants, bars and retail alcohol vendors scattered throughout upstate Vermont.
So IS Heady Topper truly the best beer in the country? In this beer snob’s opinion, I’d say it definitely ranks up there among my favorite IPA’s in the US of A, which include:
- Green Flash West Coast IPA (San Diego, CA)
- Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA (Healdsburg, CA)
- Three Floyd’s Arctic Panzer Wolf (Munster, IN)
- Ballast Point Sculpin IPA (San Diego, CA)
- Boulder Beer Mojo IPA (Boulder, CO)
Curious whether the Topper tops your “best beers” list? It’s totally worth the trip up to Waterbury to try the experience for yourself.
Once a homely fishing town and a well-kept secret, this city has in recent years been outed as a real Foodie destination. So yeah, I’ve been there a few times.
This snapshot points you to a gathering of my flava faves and a couple poseurs to stay away from.
First, the Faves:
- Street & Company | www.streetandcompany.net | Upscale Contemporary American Seafood
- Duckfat | www.duckfat.com/ | Fries Cooked in Duck Fat, Vanilla Shakes with Crème Anglaise | Read My Review
- Portland Lobster Company | www.portlandlobstercompany.com | Awesome Lobster Roll, Best Steamers in Town, Local Beer, and Live Music on the Docks
- Micucci Grocery | www.micucci.com | New England’s Best Slice of Pizza | Read My Review
- Bard Coffee | www.bardcoffee.com | Solid Roastery and Café
- Shipyard Brewery | www.shipyard.com | Tour the Brewery, Drink Lots of Beer Samples
- Standard Baking Company | www.forestreet.biz/en/Other-Restaurants | Baller Croissant, Killer Breads, and Amazing Pastries
- The Front Room | www.thefrontroomrestaurant.com | Portland’s Best Brunch
- The Porthole | portholemaine.com/| The Best Dive Bar in Town Has Good Food Too
- Pai men Miyake | www.miyakerestaurants.com | Food from Further East than Eastern Maine – P.S. Try the Pork Belly Bun
- Harbor Fish Market | www.harborfish.com | …And when you’re done, take some fish home from here
Browse the gallery below for some snapshots of goodness devoured at said eateries:
Now, here are a couple Flops:
- J’s Oyster | Yeah, I know Bourdain came here, but it’s overcrowded and mediocre
- Bresca | Overpriced for what you eat, and there’s better food in town | Read My Review
With the busy summer season behind us and the Fall air blowing in, you might want to consider a weekend getaway to this eaters paradise to gorge on all of the above.
So, how does the fair city of Portland do it, you ask? Are their chefs better? Their kitchens more pimped out? Their eaters more discriminating? Their ingredients fresher?
The answer, my friends, washes up on shore with each Maine baby born from the salt of the Atlantic ocean.
In this first installment of what Nick is calling the “Beer Reflection” segment, we’re going to be going OM over Somerville’s newest brewer – Slumbrew. You’re busy, so here’s the quick breakdown:
- Launched last Friday, November 4th with a bash at the Independent (lovingly known as the Indo) in Union Square
- Local brew team bringing their craft tradition to the mainstream Somervillain by testing out recipes at a small scale “brew lab” in the ‘ville ‘hood and then smartly producing large scale by utilizing space at Mercury Brewing Company in Ipswich, MA
- Currently offering an IPA and a Hefeweizen with a soon-to-be-born Porter. The IPA is well-balanced, crisp and ripe in citrus with lots of galaxy hops and a refreshing, home-brew feel to it. The Hefe is famously brewed with 1,000 blood oranges. Tasty, but lagging behind a beer snob’s German fav’s. Can’t wait to try the Porter with Taza choco nibs.
- Slumbrew can be purchased in bottles at Pemberton Farms, Liquor World, Somerville Wine & Spirits, Kappy’s Medford and Craft Beer Cellar in Belmont.
Give these guys a try – they clearly know their beer game and are brewing some good “home-cooked” shit.
Location: New York, NY
The Foodie: Recommends
Kids – In one of our previous installments from the foodie, we talked about visions of a glorious afterlife lush with lobster rolls. But if I go down below dear friends, I’m going for gluttony.
…and if there’s one place that may have just put me over the edge from a severe epicure to an outright glutton, it was probably Eataly. I’ll now proceed to tell you why this devilish enterprise created by celebrity chefs with last names like Batali and Bastianich pushed me into the fiery depths (of a brick oven).
- WARNING: Ingenious Store Layout Meant to Trap Foodies. Enter at your own risk and prepare for the prospect of never leaving. Be assaulted by a diverse range of fresh fruits and veggies, some of which you may have never seen before (can you say witch finger grapes?). Hit a huge circular room where you’ll be encircled by bread, antipasti and wine. Just try to resist at this point. Explore a little further and you’ll see Il Pesce restaurant serving amazing fruit of the sea, a selection of rare Italian and imported bottled beers for purchase, a butcher shop, pizza and pasta eateries, and a breath-taking selection of dried pastas, jarred goods, and, yes, more wines.
- DANGER: Rooftop Biergarterrini Called Birreria Will Be Your Last Glimpse of Heaven. If you ever leave the first floor, make it to level 15 to sample the excellent beer and wine selection and hearty fare on the rooftop restaurant Birreria. Prepare to eat Italian-style sausages you may not have heard of before in German fashion complete with fresh bread and ‘kraute. Sip on amazing local beers like Captain Lawrence Liquid Gold. Holy shit that brew was good. But wait, there are also cask beers brewed in-house by a collab-o of brewers including meisters from Dogfish Head. Sample from an impressive selection of salumi, formaggi and more. Your head will be spinning.
- ATTENTION: They Have Every Meal Covered So Don’t Think You Can Weasel Out After Dinner. As if all that wasn’t enough people, there’s also a coffee bar and gelateria back down on floor uno that will keep you caffeinated enough to stick around and continue your gluttonous ways. You may be enticed to combine these two elements into the ultimate Italian treat: Affogato.
That concludes my final communication from my (donut) ring of hell…my “phone call” so to speak…with the rest of the gluttons down here. I see Yelpers, Homer Simpson, and Julia Child down here people. Don’t think you’re safe too.
Enter Eataly if you’re the kind of person who thinks that limbo isn’t living dangerously enough.
Location: Cambridge, MA
The Foodie: Recommends
It’s almost muscle memory at this point, however that failed this weekend when I actually sprained my ankle running through the rain to make my obligatory purchase here that night.
I hobbled around all weekend but the forced laying on the couch afforded me the perfect opportunity to sit and enjoy a few really good pints of Tall Tale, described by CBC as follows:
“Big and bold, our Pale Ale distinguishes itself by its huge, fresh hop aroma and flavor. A combination of Cascade and Centennial hops, both in the kettle and during an extensive dry-hopped conditioning time, gives this beer its nectarious flavor.”
OG: 1.058 FG: 1.013 ABV: 5.7%
Totally worth the ace bandage…