Tag Archives: beer

Long Hours. Short Summers.

You know when Monday feels a lot like Wednesday, which could just as easily be Saturday?

“Happy Friday!” your friends say.

“What’s Friday?” you respond. Four hours later, on your late-arvo lunch break.

Tuesday is the new Saturday. (And Sunday.) Thursday is the new Tuesday.

You have dreams about cash registers/finicky customers/spreadsheets. You don’t think it’s weird when you receive texts before seven in the morning. ‘Cause you’ve been up since five, when you jolted upright in a cold sweat, certain that you’d overslept. (You hadn’t.)

The fact that you earned the “Power Month” badge on UNTAPPD might be cause for concern if you didn’t live in a ski town and if you hadn’t conveniently surrounded yourself with people who count craft beer consumption as a valid hobby and/or part of their jobs.

Your natural state is extroverted. Presently, though, you hate everyone. You spend your Saturday nights cocooned, with catatonic-looking eyes and hands that continuously shovel utterly unnutritious food into your mouth. To boot, you’ve ceased working out. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

These are all telltale signs that work has completely consumed your life. (And, possibly, crushed your soul.) (Just a little.) It happens to the best of us. It’s alright when it’s the work about which you’re passionate that takes over your life, but when it’s the make-ends-meet kinda work, that’s another story. And it sort of makes you question what, exactly, you’re doing with yourself.

Right now, I’m running the heat in my car on my drive to work. A couple of weeks ago, I could, theoretically, get up and go for a run, shower, eat eggs, and be at work by 6 :30 a.m. This morning, I didn’t do any of that extra, productive stuff that makes me feel good about myself and I still got up before the sun. The sky, covered in bruises, mirrors morale inside the vehicle. The air on the other side of the glass is crisp. 46 degrees. It feels like fall.

Just like that, the summer has escaped me. My first Maine summer—well, my first real, complete summer. I envisioned leaping from cliffs and swinging from ropes and spontaneously swimming under the stars [more]. I didn’t really anticipate 50 [daylight] hours spent inside each week, and while I’m honestly grateful for the work, I sort of wish that I’d spent some more time hiking, swimming, boating, surfing, and most of all, writing before sweater weather returned. (It has.) Before red leaves fell into my yard. (They have.) Before pumpkin beers hit the shelves. (They, too, have.) Shiiiit.

A couple of weeks ago, the realization that summer was nearing its close hit me about as hard as Chopes likes to clock Koa Rothman.

And I know what you’re thinking: But it’s August. It’s totes still summertime.

And you’d be correct if I didn’t live in Maine, where you can (marvelously) ski six months of the year. So yeah, August is pretty much fall. And that’s fine. I mean, autumn is my favorite season and I have definitely taken advantage of the pittance of freedom that I’ve allowed myself since Memorial Day: Driving hours in every direction in the name of exploration, visiting many a brewery, blowing into unfamiliar beaches. And even breaking a bone while rope swinging. But the summer I’d imagined? Not quite.

Possibly the worst part about this is that everyone else I know is doing exactly the same thing, and maybe it’s just because, at this point, we’ve been doing it for three months straight (or more), but we’re all burnt out. Misery loves company, but not when everyone’s collectively too exhausted and too strapped for time to invest in face-to-face time. (Girls gotta have some face time—not FaceTime—sometimes.) This is summer around here, I’m told.

So I say, bring on autumn! Let’s cordially bid tyrannical, wetsuit necessitating summer and its weirdo tourists adieu. Let’s wear fullsuits during suitable months! And find time to share robust, soul-warming beers! Pull all-nighters through longer nights! Autumn: It’s the new summer.

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More New Zealand Beers.

Getting myself from Auckland to New Plymouth last year was a hellish mission. Think road works and foul weather and hairpin turns and four-cylinder engines and utter lack of cell signal. On the left-hand side of the road. Under the cover of night. I’m not sure whether I mined some value from the experience, or if the return journey was so fantastic that it masked the horror I felt while making that drive alone, but I thought it wise to once again hire an automobile this year. AND decided to shake things up by flying into Wellington in Auckland’s stead, a route that turned out to be nearly as lengthy, but a lot less nerve-racking.

Anyway, down to beer business. I added a few new Kiwi beers to the list while hanging ’round New Plymouth. Unfortunately, I still haven’t made it to Mike’s Organic Brewery. (I’m determined to go next year.) I did have amazing eggs florentine at Lahar in Okato, though, so it’s all good. When I arrived back in Wellington, the beer situation got really interesting. My friend Tully (of #TullysWellington Instagram fame) sent me to beer heaven, also known as Malthouse on Courtenay Place. I walked in, grabbed a stool, and said, “I would like a New Zealand beer that I’ve never had before.” Then this happened:

Tasters

The guy behind the bar, Van, was ah-mazingly knowledgable and keen to serve up all kinds of wonderful beers of which I’d never heard. My favorite was definitely Yeastie Boys Pot Kettle Black. The Yeastie Boys’ name didn’t hurt their case, but their beer was pretty much the best beer I’ve had in… well, a long time. This is what they say about Pot Kettle Black:

“Pot Kettle Black is our multi-award winning ‘Black IPA’ (that some call a ‘Hoppy Porter’). The different names convey the fact that this beer is a contradiction of styles: fresh and hoppy, yet dark and rich. Most importantly it is mindbendingly delicious and a complete original.”

Check the freshly alphabetized KIWI BEER LIST here.

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The Aussie Beer List Lives!

$12 Beer.

$12 Beer.

I’m in Margaret River, WA at the moment, where you can’t stumble over without landing in some fantastic winery or brewery’s car park, so I’m finding lots of great local beers. And also spending too much money in the name of beer snobbery. Please, make my “efforts” worthwhile and go check the latest.

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Pine Tree State Beerin’

While I was up in the hinterlands (Maine), I acquired a few exceptional new beers for the Yankee List. My favorite was Sunday River Brew Pub’s Alpine Porter, which tastes like pine trees. Seriously. It’s weird but amazing. Portland, M.E.’s Allagash Black (which I’d never seen before) is fantastic, as well.

Allagash. black.

Anddd I realize this is kind of annoying, but I’ve also added a very small-batch beer that you’re unlikely to come across… I feel it deserves a spot on the list: The Maple Brown Sugar Cranberry Xmas Ale was created by my friend Josh Hahn. Josh is probably not related to those Hahn brewers in Oz, but he has equal (if not greater) brewmaster skills. Thanks, Josh!

If you click on that link up there, you can see the entire list. As always, discourse is encouraged.

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Cheers!

Merry Christmas! Click here for the complete Yankee Beer List.

Merry Christmas! Click here for the complete Yankee Beer List.

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LDW

#MDW ushers in the party. The people. The unending well of booze. The chaos.

With summertime on the Jersey Shore comes, at once, free-for-alls and obligations. Work and play overload. Sleep deprivation. Heat, humidity, south wind, and ankle-biter waves.

#LDW ushers in the party. Whisks away the people. The chaos. The booze remains, but the flow is ever so slightly constricted. Beach jobs vanish, but sleep reappears. Kind of.

I’ve been anticipating autumn. My friend asked me why the other day, and I told her that I’ve been living in summer for a year. Which, believe me, is not a complaint. Jetting from last year’s East Coast apple cider season into Gold Coast spring, then from the earliest hints of Sydney fall to May in New York was wonderful, but I want to wear long sleeves. I want to sleep under blankets. I want to exist without a perpetual layer of grimy sweat on my skin. I need a couple of good hair days.

Technically, it’s still summer, but Labor Day weekend is the end of summer for us. I spent the weekend working, non-stop. I feel acutely aware of seasonal shifts after dodging them. On LDW, I juggled Summer Ales with pumpkin lattes, surfed without a wetsuit and then put on a pair of boots. On Monday evening, it was like a switch had been flipped. The rain blew in, the bennies ran out, and the beach remained deserted. The next morning, the wind laid out the sea, the sky turned silver, and we knew that sets weren’t far behind. So, here’s to local summer. To hurricane season. To flavorful beers and free parking and a lack of badge checkers. And waves upon waves upon waves.

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The Definitive (Maybe) KIWI Beer List

Malthouse in Wellington.

Malthouse in Wellington.

  1. Boundary Road Brewery The Chosen One
  2. Boundary Road Brewery Flying Fortress
  3. Boundary Road Brewery Jack The Sipper
  4. Dead, Twisted, and Good Black Forest Bitter
  5. Emerson’s London Porter
  6. Lion Red
  7. Mac’s Black Mac Dark Beer
  8. Mac’s Hop Rocker Pilsener
  9. Mac’s Sassy Red Best Bitter
  10. Mac’s Gold All Malt Lager
  11. Mac’s Shady Pale Pale Ale
  12. Mac’s Cascade Parade IPA
  13. Mac’s Ginger Brew
  14. Mike’s Organic Pilsner
  15. Monteith’s Pilsner
  16. Monteith’s Celtic Red
  17. Monteith’s Doppelbock Winter Ale
  18. ParrotDog Bitter Bitch
  19. Queenstown Brewers Steam Brew
  20. Speight’s Summit Lager
  21. Speight’s Gold Medal Ale
  22. Speight’s 5 Malt Old Dark
  23. Speight’s Chocolate Ale
  24. Speight’s Distinction Ale
  25. Steinlager
  26. Stoke Lager
  27. Tui East India Pale Ale
  28. Tui Dark
  29. Winnie’s Ale
  30. Wild Buck
  31. Yeastie Boys Pot Kettle Black. (Best beer in history? Probably.)
  32. Yeastie Boys Gunnamatta Tea Leaf IPA
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Beer!

It’s becoming trickier to find new ones. Any suggestions? (They’ve got to be Australian.)

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THE Scotland List

Beer. What else? In vaguely chronological order:

  1. Tennent’s Lager
  2. BrewDog 5 a.m. Saint
  3. Belhaven St. Andrews Ale
  4. Houston Barochan Chestnut Ale
  5. Stewart Holy Gr’Ale
  6. Williams Brothers Ceilidh Lager
  7. Tennent’s Ember
  8. Caledonian Deuchars IPA
  9. John Smith’s Extra Smooth
  10. Crabbie’s Ginger Beer
  11. Dark Island Dark Ale
  12. Latitude Highland Pilsner

See the AUSSIE list here.

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Maine. ly. And Fall Approacheth.

I could feel the thunder rumbling in the tires of my car. It was raining so hard that everyone was pulled to the side of the Parkway, which was, incidentally, flooded. I was still in New Jersey: 8 hours to go.

The weather turned 8 hours into 10, and then continued battering us, even after we reached Maine. Luckily, Maine offers lots of great outlet shopping and waffle cones of Ben & Jerry’s. (Two scoops: Chocolate Therapy and Coconut Seven Layer Bar.) Maine also happens to be home to many scenic, rushing rivers and precarious lookouts. (These are still there in the rain. And less crowded, though probably more dangerous.) When it’s not raining, evenings in Maine bring thousands of stars, and for my family, Scrabble tournaments. We supplement our wits with Shipyard and Smuttynose and Magic Hat and Sea Dog. On day four, the sun decided to join us for our trip on the Cog Railway to the summit of Mount Washington. Peaking at 6,288 feet, which isn’t even that high, Mt. Washington is infamous for its extremely fickle and hazardous weather. Partly due to my parents’ impeccable meterological judgment and partly due to sheer luck, it was brilliantly sunny and cloudless at the top.

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