Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Birthday Day Out

This past December I turned 32, nothing exciting about that age, nothing memorable, insurance doesn't go do like when a guy turns 26 or turning 30. With that all said I have an awesome pregnant wife who willingly took me out on a surprise afternoon, early night. It began by first getting lunch, did I mention my wife is growing a little human. So she took me to one of my favorite BBQ places, Bears Smokehouse. I mean look at this gorgeous plate, I could tell you what I ate but it would not do it justice, but it was perfect, one hundred percent of heaven. I also took a really great looking picture of it. If you have yet to eat at Bear's you are seriously missing out. One of the really great things about this place, although if you are going later in the day and nearing night you might not get food because part of the philosophy of Bear's is to make only enough meat for the day. This means that everything is freshly made that day, all the meat smoked that day. 

The next stop on my birthday trip was to Top Shelf Brewery located in Manchester, CT. Overall their beers were decent that I tried. I went with Marathon, Marathon with Lime (through a Randall), Around the Clock and Silk City Saison. For me there was nothing special about them, I think the Lime Marathon was a little too much, I felt the citrus didn't quite match the hop profile of the beer. I after trying to find out more about the brewery the bartender (do you really call them that at a brewer, they are behind the bar after all) but he wasn't the talkative type. Will I visit again, probably; I don't like to judge a brewery until I have had their beer more than once. 

Our next stop was the Beer and Wine Hoppy in Hartford, the next part of the surprise was ingredients to brew. While this was a surprise it took me a little while to decide what I will brew. Riot Brewery decided to work on my Humble IPA, a red IPA inspired by Magic Hat's Humble Patience (one of the best beers of all time, I even when to a funeral for the beer when they retired it). Once those ingredients were purchased we were off to the next stop.

Kristin then took me to Powder Hollow in Enfield. I was excited about visiting this brewery since it wasn't too far from my work and would be easy for me to visit after work. Needless to say I was disappointed. In the picture of the flight below three of them were IPA's and the fourth was Wicked Wheat. I am not sure if they were going for a smokey IPA's but all three of them left my mouth with the taste of cigarettes. I wish I would have checked out untapped or beer advocate before order because once I posted the beers that I tried they were lower rated with many people feeling the same way. (Disclaimer: When writing this post I rechecked untapped and the rating went up so it might have just been a problem with the tap line) The beer was redeemed by Wicked Wheat which was a nice wheat beer with a light citrus note. Like I mentioned with Top Shelf above I will reserve judgment until I visit the brewery a second time. 

Seeing that I was bummed and our time wasn't quite up so she suggested we call to check on Callum and head over to Ludlow to check out one other brewery IronDuke. He was good so we went. This was by far the best beer of the day, not by much but by a lot. They had five beers on tap, I got a flight of 4 and left off the Oatmeal Stout, since I am not a big fan of stouts and one of them had to be excluded. So for me it was Stockhouse 122, Dead Nuts, Baby maker and Shoes for Louie. All four of them were excellent, for me the Stockhouse 122 was the best beer, pale ale that is easy to drink. I have been back a few times and I believe this brewery, which was busy each time, is going to be very successful. 

So this ends the day, my wife is awesome and gave me a great day to remember. At the posting of this I am carbonating the Humble IPA and it should be ready in a couple of days, so we will see how it goes.

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