To quote a Dave Chappelle show skit, ‘It’s a celebration bitches’.
Birthdays are typically an excuse to let loose and celebrate the good times. Another year has come and gone; a new one awaits and with it comes the hope of prosperity, excitement and the potential for change.
The night can be broken down in 4 succinct parts, all united by the common themes of ‘celebration’ and ‘excess’. And indeed this celebration was an ode to excess in every conceivable manor.
*Disclaimer – as craft beer drinkers know, after about 4 or 5 beers, the taste buds begin to deceive you and your comprehensive abilities in assessing the quality, or lack thereof for the less fortunate, are less sharp to say the least. I will do my best to present recollections as fair and as honestly as I can but will pull from previous experiences to describe some of the beers, especially those consumed during the early morning hours*
As my lovely wife Rachael got ready, me and Pete waited for my niece Regina to make it to the apartment. Regina and I are not that far apart in age and grew up more so as siblings then uncle and niece. As kids I remember playing games like Ghost Hunter in the old Jackson Heights apartment with sesame street binoculars and a foam bat and now fast forward 20+ years and here we are boozing heavily. Regina is a German-Irish spit fire and despite her relatively petite physical stature her fervor and capacity for alcohol consumption rivals that of those twice her size.
While we waited, Pete and I were posting up last week’s blog and as with any Beer Today Beer Tomorrow related endeavor, copious amounts of alcohol was involved.
To Øl Dangerously Close to Stupid was my first beer and also happened to be my favorite beer of the night, despite some stiff competition. This Imperial IPA from Denmark comes in at an ABV of 9.3% and is typically not available all year round. Hazy orange on the pour with trace smells of pine, grape fruit and notes of orange and melon on the tongue.
Montauk Driftwood ale – an English Pale Ale with an ABV of 6%. The flagship ale of Montauk Brewery has a malty base that combines quite well with its American hops. It’s smooth and quite drinkable.
Pipe Works Brewing Lizard King , we’ve referenced this American Pale Ale in the past and with good reason. This very high quality beer with an ABV of 6.5% has few competitors in its weight class. Drink this instantly if you never have!
Pipe Works Brewing Lil Citra Session IPA is an America IPA session beer with an ABV of 4.9%. This is the Best session I’ve had in a while. This is extremely enjoyable and has beautiful color and floral notes.
Long Trail IPA - An English India Pale Ale with an ABV of 6%. Their IPA is naturally carbonated, dry-hopped & unfiltered. No frills here, but certainly drinkable. We critiqued this beer at our last podcast, check it out if you missed it.
400 pound Monkey brought to you by Left Hand Brewery – Another English India Pale Ale, this one with an ABV of 6.8%. Bit of a smoky smell on the nose and the tongue.
With my wife now ready and Regina finally here we were off to our next venue:
Bierocracy located at 12-23 Jackson Ave, Long Island City, NY 11101 is a groovy ode to Central European beer halls, with pretty good food and quality beer offerings to match.
We walked in greeted by longtime friend John Williams, along with his cousin and her friend. Fun fact, Johnny and I went to New York Film Academy together; you can see one of our student short films here. Johnny is without a doubt a character. He’s equal parts articulate and frenetically animated, intellectual and a raging party animal; above all he’s a good guy who I consider one of my closest friends.
The bit of over indulgence at home meant we needed to grab a bite, me especially, so my wife, Regina and I ordered wings and a seared honey pork belly dish served on a bed of sauerkraut. Moments later Darwin arrived, fresh from The Beer Garden at North Brooklyn Farms, a Beer Menus sponsored event. He was with his own crew, rolling about 4 deep. He greeted me with a pound and a black satchel filled with Kale and Trillium Steel Cutter. Trillium as you may well know is one of the hottest breweries on the east coast. Score. Happy Birthday to me. USA, USA, USA.
At the bar we ordered:
LIC Beer project – Childstyle a sessionable American Pale Ale with a modest ABV of 4.5%. Delightful in its ease of consumption, I recommend this for those trying to prolong their drinking night out.
Singlecut half stack – we’ve touched on this American IPA before, there’s not much more to say, but I’ll say it anyway, ABV of 6.6%, it’s equal parts delicious and aromatic. One of a series of top-notch IPA’s from this brewery.
The time had now come for the move to be made, and our entire group split up into two and headed to the borough of Brooklyn.
Part 3 of our story takes us to Berry Park located at 4 Berry St, Brooklyn, NY 1121. The beer list is European with Germany leading the way in selection options, but what makes this German-accented barroom extra appealing is the roof top access.
Here’s where things started to get out of hand.
First Johnny places a Palm Ale a full-bodied, bittersweet amber from Belgium with an ABV of 5.4% in my hand. And then Regina lines up shots of Fireball for us. My propensity for liquor isn’t what it once was when I wore a younger man’s shoes but it didn’t stop me from guzzling it down just the same. My wife, the social butterfly that she is ran into some girlfriends, one of which was also celebrating a birthday. We exchanged birthday pleasantries and headed up to the rooftop to grab more booze and fresh air.
Up here Pete leads me to the bar and we do Jagermeister bombs, 20-something year old frat boy style, so what- fuck it. We chug them down and then he buys me a Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA, a malty Scottish beer with a slight hint of floral hop bitterness with an ABV of 6.1%. After some mingling with the group, we repeat the process, this time with my wife Rachael, Regina and Johnny. More jager bombs, more Twisted Thistle. A break for more convo and pics, which you can see below, and off me and Pete are for our final round of shots, highly unnecessary and a bit gross, we throw them back quick and easy. At this point the recollections become fuzzy as the real and the imagined start to blend, the alcohol has taken hold of me and is forcing me to succumb to its wrath. Thankfully this wrath is a happy one; the alcohol drifts me towards the edge of oblivion and has me teetering on the ledge. It gently props up my swaying body as my brain gently swims to and fro inside my tired head.
Security ushers us out as apparently its 4 a.m. We call our cabs, and we exchange pounds with Darwin and his crew as they head off to their homes. The group is now me, Rachael, Regina, Pete and Johnny.
Home is the final chapter of our story, and sadly I was out cold on the couch for most of it. Pete was next to fall and while he was passed out he was molested in his sleep by one our cats Fabby, while John tickled his feet. Strange but true. Pete abruptly awakens in search for a cigarette and calls it a night. I wake up around 830 with Rachael next to me to see that Johnny and Regina are still drinking. Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin – 7% ABV for her and a Bittburger a 4.8% German pilsner for Johnny. Shortly thereafter the night was finally done and I spent the entire day recuperating. We were all hurting to different degrees.
The years come and go just like people you meet in your lives. But your truly good friends and close family are there with you and for you forever and they should be cherished for all their flaws as well as their virtues. Sometimes a new year means change, and sometimes the more things change the more they stay the same, and for that I’m thankful.
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