Saying Hello, By Saying Goodbye? Pt. Deux

Hey!  You came back!  Thanks for coming back.  That’s really sweet of you.  You’re a real pal.  This is a continuation of my first post, so please, if you haven’t read it, go back and check that one out, then come back and read this one.  I’m very patient.

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Look how patient I am!

Ok!  Let’s continue with Part Deux…

So it was Hiten’s last shift at City Swiggers, a bottle shop on 86th, between 1st and 2nd Ave.  You should go there.  It has 14 draft beers and probably like 40,000 bottles and cans.  This is not an exaggeration.

It was 8pm, which is way past my bedtime.  I believe my wife, Holly Kay, had worked a 6:30am-3:30pm shift that day, and had met up with some friends in between.  I worked until around 7:30, we met up, and got on the 6 (where some guy named Drake ran through with his WOEs), and walked the long avenue blocks over to City Swiggers.  We were, frankly, exhausted.  But we wanted to stop in and make sure we were there to give Hiten a proper send off.

It was pretty crowded, and loud, as it was a Friday night, and a lot of people were there for Hiten.  My coworker David, a home brewer, was there with his girlfriend, and we said hello, and ordered our first two beers.  Thankfully, two seats opened up right at the end of the bar, so we were able to sit.  Our feet and legs thanked us, as we’d both been running around all day.

Holly ordered an Other Half Brewing Company Mosaic Dream (because she has impeccable taste).  This is a single hopped Imperial IPA, hopped only with Mosaic.  I’ve loved every beer I’ve tried from Other Half Brewing (they’re in Gowanus, Brooklyn).  Hiten has waited in line at the brewery, very early on Saturday mornings, for their can releases.  (See previous post for the awesome Make it Rain IIPA he gifted me…)

IMG_1916Other Half Mosaic Dream

I’ve heard of Mosaic referred to as a sexy hop.  And ooh my, she sure is.  She comes from the same family as Simcoe, another hop that I adore.  The aroma wafts into your nose like a tropical breeze.  One sip and you’re transported to a far off, white sandy beach (somewhere tropical, let’s say for this instance, Saint Martin), surrounded by freshly cut mangoes and pineapples.  You take a bite…  This must be the Dream that they’re referring to…

Snap back to reality (oh, there goes gravity!).

This beer is bright, citrusy, and perfect for a day on the beach, or by the pool, or wherever you damn want to, it’s your life, LIVE YOUR LIFE, DRINK BEER WHERE YOU LIKE!  (Is that going to be the Benedict Beer Blog’s first tee shirt?  Probably not.).

If you’re outside of New York and can’t get up here, and that picture I painted appeals to you, I would highly recommend picking up a Founders Mosaic Promise, or Pipeworks Lizard King.  These are both single hopped with Mosaic, so you too can be transported to paradise.  Check them out, and let me know what you think!

I ordered the Grimm Afterimage.  This is an amazing unfiltered Double IPA, with citrusy, dank hops.  According to the Brewers, they used Mosaic (there’s that pretty lady again!!), El Dorado, Falconer’s Flight, Columbus, and Simcoe.  (I want to be a Hop Namer.  Is that a thing?  Can I make that my life’s work?  I mean, come on…  Falconer’ Flight?  Give that man a Nobel Prize!). The hops are balanced out by a burnt caramel, bready malt sweetness.  This was my second time having this beer, and it’s just as good as I remember it.  I rated it 4.5 out of 5 caps on Untappd, which is an awesome Beer Social Networking App that you should absolutely check out.  This comes around in cans from time to time (at least twice, from what I know), so grab it if you can.  This is a gorgeous beer.  If you can’t find it, try to see if you can get Grimm Tesseract, Grimm Lambo Door, Other Half Green Diamonds, or Singlecut Billy Full Stack.  These are some of the best Double IPA’s released in NY.

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Grimm Afterimage Double IPA

My palate needed a change after all those delicious, delicious hops…  And I looked across the bar, and saw some nice gentleman sharing a bottle of 2015 Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout.  This is a variant of the regular Bourbon County Brand Stout, with Intelligentsia’s Los Delirios Nicaraguan coffee beans added.  For those of you who may not know, Goose Island admitted to some Varients of their Bourbon County Brand (specifically Coffee and Barleywine) having what they referred to as “off-flavors”.  I was interested to try it, after reading countless reviews about how the beer was infected.

I have had the Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout once before, about 5 years ago, with my dear friends Matthew and Lauri Spitz, who went on to open Moustache Brewing Company, and it was amazing.

This bottle was certainly off.  It tasted boozy, with sour raspberry and chocolate, but no coffee.  It wasn’t bad, as I enjoy sour beers, but this was unintentional.  I’m glad I didn’t wait on line to pick this up, but was happy I got to try it.  Thank you strangers at the bar, and thank you Hiten for pouring me a taste!

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Looking down into the abyss of an “off flavored”  Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout

At this point, a number of our friends had showed up.  We hadn’t really eaten anything at this point, so we ordered some snacks.  Hiten also had a bunch of pizzas ordered, so Holly grabbed us two slices, and by that point, we wanted to slink back into our cave and hibernate like the tired bears we were.  But we were having such a great time with our friends, and Hiten was having a blast pouring and sharing beers with his friends.

The last beer I tasted, and shared, was the Stone Xocoveza (pronounced “shocko-veza”) Stout.  In stark contrast to being transported to the beach, this beer picks you up and drops you in a rocking chair in front of a roaring fireplace, with untouched, glistening white flakes of snow flittering by the window, family singing Christmas Carols while visions of cinnamon, coffee, and spice dance all over your tongue.  Holly and I shared a 5 ounce pour of this from our friend Sean’s flight (he doesn’t like stouts that taste like coffee), and it was so good (as I remembered) Holly and I ordered and shared another.

IMG_1922Our friend Sean’s Stone Xocoveza Stout.  He promptly ordered “A stout that doesn’t taste like coffee.”

IMG_1927Our second Stone Xocoveza Stout

By this point, we paid our check, and prepared to make our long journey home to Jackson Heights.  We were both exhausted, but really happy that we showed up, and spent time with some amazing friends.  And, as we went down into the Subway station, we saw a group of people doing QUIET CLUBBING!  Have you ever heard of this?  There’s two different stations, and you get to choose which you want to (quietly) rock out to.  It was really cool, and we actually considered doing this.

As memorable as the beers were, I simply loved our whole experience.  I got to share stories and beers with my beautiful wife and our amazing friends, and we were all able to be together and celebrate Hiten’s last night at City Swiggers.  The bar was filled with he and his fiancee’s friends and family.  Hiten, whether he knew it or not, made an impact on people around him, and will continue to do so in Arizona.

I got a few texts after my first post, saying “Great blog!  When are you going to talk about beer?” I hope this post has answered that question.  For me, it’s not just about the beer.  What I love about beer is that every sip, every different beer you try, comes with an experience.  The appearance, aroma, taste, even the environment you’re drinking in and the people you are with, will bring you somewhere.  Sometimes, it brings you somewhere you never want to go again.  Sometimes it brings you somewhere you’ll want to visit over and over again (responsibly, of course).

Until next time, dear, sweet, sexy (I assume) reader.  Keep having and enjoying wonderful experiences, and share any thoughts you have in the comments below!

Cheers!