Tagged: beer

Frequent “Flyer” Photos

A few years ago, when Instagram was becoming a thing and people started taking photos of the elegantly plated meals they had at restaurants, I remember reading a screed somewhere that criticized the practice. The author took issue with people using their smartphone cameras to snap blurry, heavily filtered, square photos of “blobs of food.” His rationale was that the image of the food alone didn’t communicate the excitement of the experience.

That spoke to me.

During a visit to Cooperstown in 2012, we stumbled into the dining room of the Council Rock Brewing. It was early October, and the brewery was commemorating Oktoberfest like any good beer supplier would do. Overwhelmed by the choices of beers available, I resorted to ordering a flight. At first, I was tempted to snap a photo of my flight which looked like an artist’s easel covered with several tawny pigments. But I resisted because that photo would not have captured the excited anticipation of sampling each brew. Instead, I posed for a snapshot.

Excited to Taste at Council Rock Brewery

Since then, it’s become somewhat of a theme for each time I get a flight at a brewery tap room. (What can I say? I like structure.)

Last year, I ordered a flight after a very hot, sixty-mile ride on Bastille Day from Poughkeepsie to Beacon via New Paltz. Although I look a little bit exhausted in the blurry photo, I was really excited to cap off a great ride with some delicious beer and kick off a great day in Beacon.


This year, I started to make a conscious effort to make these kinds of photos, as part of a series, especially when I buy a flight at the end of a bike ride.

For example, in October, I posed for a photo with a flight I got at The Vault Brewing in Yardley, Pennsylvania. If I don’t look like my usual content and composed self, it’s because I was suffering from an allergic reaction and was drowsy from a double-dose of Benadryl.


I was in slightly higher spirits carrying these beers in Patchogue at the Blue Point Brewery after riding there from Jamaica over Labor Day weekend.


And the following week, I posed with one glass from my flight at Greenport Harbor Brewing after riding to Orient on one of the greatest days of the year.

We Biked 90 Miles… Beer Me

Last month, I had a fellow rider shoot a photo of me posing with a flight at Two Roads Brewing in Stratford, Connecticut, as part of our ride to New Haven.


Another fellow rider more or less recreated the October 2012 photo with this shot of me at the Green Growler in Croton-on-Hudson.

Green Growler

Even on occasions where I didn’t ride a bike to a brewery, I still posed with the flight. I did so at last week’s holiday party at Rockaway Brewing.

Rockaway Brewing Pint Party

Speaking of the holidays, I am now in California for almost three weeks and this first week, I am spending it with my parents. We ventured to do some grocery shopping, and almost immediately, as if I were a computer programmed to do so, I found the tap room for Bravery Brewing, in Lancaster, California.


Twenty years ago, it seemed unthinkable to have a pretty solid brewery in the Antelope Valley. But I think, like an Irish pub and Chinese restaurant, any town worth a damn will also have a local brewery tap room.

And, of course, I’ll be there to order flight and get a photo of me excitedly waiting to try it.

Allergic to Pennsylvania

A week ago, I signed up for a bike ride with the cycle club. It was the first official club ride I had done since the ride to the Peekskill Brewery for the Pig Roast back in late June. That ride was on the second day of summer, but last week’s ride was most certainly a fall ride. Not only had the temperature dropped almost 20 degrees from the day before, bringing a distinct chill to the air, but it’s also leaf peeping season.


The ride started and ended in Trenton, New Jersey. From there we went crossed the Delaware and headed north along the west bank of the Delaware to tour some covered bridges before finishing at a brew-pub in Yardley, Pennsylvania.

NYCC Covered Bridges ride

Our first stop was in Washington Crossing, about ten miles from Trenton. It was a familiar sight because I had been there in July as part of my ride to Philadelphia.

George Washington Crossed Here

It was a bit after leaving Washington Crossing that I began to feel as if my eyesight was a little off. I couldn’t figure out why, either. It felt as if my eyeglasses were crooked or something. I also noticed that my hands were really warm and itchy. At that point, I took off my long-fingered bicycling gloves, but then I got really cold so I put them back on. The itchiness returned, and I remembered that last summer, Bike Snob NYC broke out in mysterious case of hives as he rode on Long Island. I wondered whether I was having a similar allergic reaction. When we arrived in New Hope, about twenty miles into our ride, I looked in the mirror and noticed that my eyes were swollen.

Swollen Eyes

I was indeed having an allergic reaction. Finding the cause was the least of my concern at the time. I needed to stop the swelling. We stopped at a general store, and I bought a pack of antihistamines. I was so worried about the swelling that I doubled up and took four tablets and continued the ride in search of covered bridges.

We found one, which was as quaint as you would expect.

Van Sandt Covered Bridge

And then as we approached the second, we found that it was missing. The bridge was, as they say, out.

Covered Bridge #2

That threw off our whole ride because we were to ride over that bridge to the other side. We considered detouring but found that it would add about seven miles to our ride. We were already collectively discouraged because we had lost two of our riders earlier in the day, and I was still swelling up like a balloon. We felt that our best bet was to find the most direct route back to the main road, PA-43, and continue towards our lunch stop.

Along the way, we saw some very pretty signs of fall, such as the canal that runs parallel to the Delaware River outside of New Hope.

Water Like Glass

There was also this majestic tree that caught my eye.

Autumn Riding in Pennsylvania

And, in observance of Halloween, someone put some “witches” in the field. Or at least I hope that someone did that.

Witches in the Field

But my favorite colors of the day were these beers from the Vault Brewing Company in Yardley, as that meant that our ride was essentially over and I could stop freaking out about my allergies.

Flight at the Vault

As far as allergies go, I’m a total rookie. I have never been allergic to anything in my life so I didn’t know how to handle an allergic reaction. Apparently, taking four antihistamine capsules was kind of a bad idea because one pill can make most people drowsy. Four should have rendered me unconscious. And then I had that flight of four beers.

Needless to say, there were no more photos for the day. After coasting for five miles from Yardley to Trenton, I boarded a New York-bound train and didn’t wake up until we arrived at Penn Station, an hour and a half later. I rode home after that and proceeded to sleep for the next eleven hours.

A week later, I still never figured out what caused the allergies. My therapist, which I know is the wrong kind of doctor, suggested that I likely inhaled some exotic pollen on the ride and that I just reacted to it. That’s the best explanation because I am not sure how I am going to live if I am allergic to bicycling. And that seems more plausible than being allergic to the bagel with cream cheese and lox I ate that morning (or the cheeseburger I ate the night before).

I’d much rather just be allergic to Pennsylvania.

Long Island City Has Three Breweries

Three breweries in Long Island City: Big Alice, Rockaway, and Transmitter are all within a manageable walk from each other.

Three breweries in Long Island City: Big Alice, Rockaway, and Transmitter are all within a manageable walk from each other.

It still amazes me how a decade ago since I moved to New York, there were almost no noteworthy breweries in New York State, save for Brooklyn Brewery and one or two more. Today, however, there many more than I comfortably count, such as Sixpoint, Singlecut, Captain Lawrence, Keegan, and Greenport Harbor. In Long Island City, we appear to be following that trend. We now have three breweries whereas a couple of years ago we had none.

The other day, while hanging out at my favorite hostel/work-space/trivia-night, I saw a postcard showing the three Long Island City breweries: Big Alice, Rockaway, and Transmitter. Placing them on a map like that was an invitation, almost a challenge, to visit all three of them.

All three are within a long but manageable walk from each other. You could also visit all three by biking to each one, as I would almost invariably do.

Brewery Location Taproom Hours
Big Alice Brewing 8–08 43rd Rd Friday, 5:00 – 8:00 PM.
Their Facebook page lists their hours as 5:00 – 7:30 PM.
Rockaway Brewing 46–01 5th St Thursday and Friday, 3:00 – 8:00 PM; Saturday and Sunday, 12:00 – 8:00 PM
Transmitter Brewing 53–02 11th St Friday, 5:00 – 8:00 PM; Saturday and Sunday, 12:00 – 5:00 PM.
Their website lists their Saturday and Sunday hours as 12:00 – 6:00 PM.

You can visit each brewery, one at a time, or take a Friday evening and hop to them all, as their taprooms are all open on Friday evenings. If I get around to visiting all three on a single day, I’ll post a report here.

Update, July 15, 2015: There’s a fourth brewery within striking distance. LIC Beer Project is located on 39-28 23rd Street, which is a few blocks north of Queens Plaza, and open on Fridays, 4:00 – 9:00 PM, and on Saturdays, 1:00 – 9:00 PM.

Light Beers that aren’t “Light” Beers

One of the beers of the summer has been JÅN Olympic White Lagrrr! by the Astoria, Queens–brewery Singlecut. As you can tell from the name, it’s a white lager, something you don’t see very often.

When we went to Peekskill on Sunday, I had another white lager at the Peekskill Brewery that was made with the same hops that “power” their sour beers, most notably their Simple Sour and The Aristocrats.

As you can tell, it’s white! Or at least it’s pretty light. The Styriana was a pretty solid beer, which scores really high with Beer Advocate reviewers.

This reminded me of a beer I had on the other side of the country at the Angel City Brewery in Los Angeles. It was the White Nite stout. Again, as the name implies, it’s a white stout.

Most white beers, or witbiers are made with wheat, which makes for a light yet tart flavor found in a lot of summer beers. But the Angel City stout does not taste like a wheat beer. It tastes like a stout. Beer drinkers, who are more knowledgeable than me, note flavors ordinarily found in stouts: coffee, chocolate, and earth.

Casual beer drinkers will certainly note flavor first and associate color with that flavor. How many times have you heard someone ask a bartender for a “light beer?” What’s different about these beers is that despite their light color, their flavor is quite strong.

Unless this goes to the logical extreme of brewers producing clear beer, I’m all for watching these independent breweries producing some novel brews.

This… or a Backpack

No one appreciates a beer after a long bike ride more than I do, but I can wait until I find a pub where I will draw the irritated gazes of the patrons as I walk in wearing spandex, an unflatteringly tight bike shirt, and clicky shoes. But not everyone is so patient:

Some bike rides end with stretches and a cold shower. Others end up in the park, where you don’t even take off your helmet before breaking open some brewskis with friends. This 6-Pack Bike Bag is designed for the latter. Though its over the frame, six-compartment design could probably be used to tote your post-workout water stash, that’s not what Donkey had in mind.

Timbuk2 makes one that will at least keep your beer cold. In either case, remember a pint is a pound the whole world ’round.

When is a pint not a pint?

When is a pint not a pint?

While in our nation’s capital this past weekend, we noticed the exceptional size of the big dimple at the bottom of our pint glasses. The dimple is there, you see, to make a pint glass hold less than an actual 16-ounce pint of your beverage. (Shocking, I know.)

While this didn’t strike us as completely remarkable, what was surprising was that this pint glass could barely hold 12 oz. of beverage. I know because I asked for a 12 oz. bottle of beer and carefully poured it into my glass. Without any head, the glass was filled to the brim. Wow!

In another test, Kent and I split a 22 oz. of Blue Point’s Rastafar Rye, and when got our glasses, we were able to almost fill both glasses. You can see the results in the photo. (I should point out that the one of the left is a little lower because I had taken a sip out of it.)

In any case, I don’t really care if I get 12 oz. instead of 16 oz. because I’ve figured out long ago that a “pint glass” really held about 14 ounces. But missing a quarter of a beer, as draught drinkers are doing at this place, might draw a more angered response.