Tag Archives: craft beer

Sweet Grass Grill

About a month ago, the stars aligned in such rare form as to grant me and my paramour a week day off together. Even more serendipitous was the access we had to a car, something that is almost never the case (and never necessary) for us in Queens. But on this fateful Friday, we were in New Jersey and we wanted to go on an adventure. There was just one hiccup, it was pouring down rain. This only strengthened my resolve to have a great start to a 3-day weekend, so we scrapped our initial plans to drive down to Seaside for an impromptu interpretation of The Jersey Shore, and opted for the creepy Sleepy Hollow, a nearby town that had haunted my childhood.

Turns out Sleepy Hollow, NY is much more sleepy than creepy, but it was pretty and I’m glad we went. The little town next door, called Tarrytown, seemed to boast a more happening downtown scene, so we stopped there, after a roll through Sleepy Hollow, for a bite to eat. After checking out a few menus on the main street, the Sweet Grass Grill really tickled my fancy:

sweet grass grill, draught beer, IPA, tarry town, new york

We chose two different IPAs. Jared’s was better 🙂

We had planned to stick to water originally, but the plethora of craft ale options on tap forced me to shrug and say, “YOLO, I’ll have a brewski.” Unfortunately I cannot recall the names of these IPAs, but I can assure you they were bold and tasty, just like an IPA should be 🙂

Next came the food:

sweet grass grill, draught beer, IPA, tarry town, new york

Jared chose a chicken pesto sandwich, the food of his people.

It takes a lot for my man to overlook a chicken pesto sandwich on a menu. Unless another option is lamb or mushroom-based, he’ll almost always opt for something in a chicken-pesto variety. He said this was one of his favorites, and the fries were perfection.

sweet grass grill, draught beer, IPA, tarry town, new york

And I chose the bacon mac and cheese, the food of my people.

Equally as challenging is for me to overlook a mac and cheese dish, especially one that includes bacon. This particular béchamel sauce was light, yet flavorful and the cherry tom-toms were a cool, fresh burst of yum.

If you find yourself driving around the sweet little villages of Westchester County, check out this little gem, you won’t be disappointed!

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TGIF= Happy Hour, Ya’ll!

In celebration of Friday, I thought I’d encourage everyone to get out there and TREAT YO SELF to a beverage and/or tasty treat from your local watering hole. Here are a few of my favorite haunts:

blackbirds, bar, astoria, nyc, windjammer, peak organic ipa, draught beer

This is the “Windjammer” and a Peak Organic IPA

First up, we have my local Astoria bar, Blackbird’s, which specializes in craft beers and tasty appetizers. My favorite Friday afternoon treat from here is “The Windjammer,” a dip made of black beans, corn, avocado, tomatoes and onions. I also don’t mind that they serve my IPA to me in a mason jar, just like down home.

heartland brewery, NYC, pub food, beer, bar food, bar, restaurant

Buffalo Chicken Spring Rolls and a Harvest Wheat

Next up we have the most embarrassing of the three bars I frequent, the world famous Heartland Brewery. World-famous if you’re a tourist, that is, as these are the only folks I am ever sharing this bar with. I don’t care if it’s an over-priced NY chain, I like that they brew their own beers and these spring rolls are freaking delicious.

homefield grill, bar, fried pickles, round rock, texas, austin, nolan ryan, shiner bock

These are Fried Pickles with an Icy-Cold Shiner Bock

Lastly, for the Austinites who might be reading this blog, I recommend heading a few miles north to the sexy and risquĂ© village of Round Rock for a nice visit to the HomeField Grill. The outfits are tacky, but the brewski selection is impressive and you really can’t go wrong with pickles battered, deep fried and served to you by a bartender in a referee’s uniform.

Oh, “Home Field…”… I GET IT!

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Trivia NYC at Raven’s Head

In order to spice up this week’s Tuesday, which can often carry an air of blah, we decided to partake in one of our very favorite weeknight activities: Pub Trivia! This is something we’ve never done in Queens before, so we had to do a little research. Finally, we decided on Raven’s Head Public House on Steinway and Broadway in Astoria, where Trivia NYC hosts Trivia on Tuesday nights at 7pm. My person had been here once before and assured me the food was good and the beer was great. My arm was twisted!

For our draught choice, we both selected the Founders Centennial IPA, which is apparently an award-winning brew from the folks over at Founder’s Brewing Co. in Grand Rapids. It was tasty, hoppy and came with a kick of 7% alcohol. If there’s one thing I know about my man, it’s that he loves himself a buffalo chicken wrap, so I wasn’t terribly surprised to see him order this:

raven's head, public house, buffalo chicken wrap, founders IPA, pub trivia, trivia NYC, astoria, queens, draught beer

He’s a man who knows what he likes!

I opted for one of my favorite foods (as previous posts may have indicated) macaroni and cheese! This particular mac was tossed with bacon and breadcrumbs, topped with additional cheese, baked in a skillet, then brought to me in a bowl:

raven's head, public house, bacon mac and cheese, founders IPA, pub trivia, trivia NYC, astoria, queens, draught beer

Who won? I did.

We had a friend join us for Trivia, which we were terrible at, but enjoyed thoroughly. He out-ordered both of us with the delicious looking steak salad:

raven's head, public house, steak, salad, founders IPA, pub trivia, trivia NYC, astoria, queens, draught beer

Yeah, I probably should have ordered this.

I would highly recommend this particular Pub Trivia to anyone in the area who enjoys such things. But I must warn you, this was not some rinky-dink gum ball machine trivia, host Jarrod Hornbeck is not messing around. Not only that, but he has a loyal group of regulars who I’m guessing dominate every week — they certainly did this week. It was a good time, I’d definitely go again!

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Shiner Bock in New Jersey?

So first a little fun fact about Bloomfield, NJ (or Montclair or Glen Ridge, unless you’re from Jersey, all these seem the same to you): these townships have a limited number of liquor licenses and a growing number of restaurants, ergo many of these establishments are BYOB. So with that said, there I was minding my own business during our pre-dinner liquor store stop-by when I saw something very out of the ordinary for New Jersey:

The proof this is NJ is in their ridiculously high legal tobacco age. That noise would never fly in Texas.

YES! That’s a bottle of Shiner Bock, brewed and bottled in Shiner, Tx. and one of my favorite beers. — I’d love to comment on the FourLoko in the picture… but I was taught if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all, so we’ll move on…

If you’re from Texas, you’ll understand the miracle of being able to find such a gem in any northeastern city, let alone a suburb! So you can imagine my extreme jubilance when the kind shop owner directed me to the cooler:

Is that a SHINER SPRING BEER THAT I'VE NEVER HAD?!

Shut up! By now I am walking around the store like I’ve just entered Narnia and there are many mystical things this place can teach me. I am both thrilled for Shiner and for myself and for Bloomfield, you’re luckier than you know, I hope you take advantage of it!

Right then, I vowed to the owner that I would write this blog on his shop, Gallaghers Wine and Cheese Shop, and encourage everyone in the area to choose his establishment over your many other pre-dinner stop by options, which I am doing now: shop here. The selection is excellent and the service is impeccable. You won’t be disappointed.

I’m only one person with one URL address, but I’ll jump at the chance to use it to promote your business if you’re kind or, in this case, support something I love. POP POP.

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Dogfish Head Keeps it Real

Last night I watched Beer Wars, a unique and engaging documentary that follows jane-of-all-trades Anat Baron as she meets the craft brewers who are managing to survive (and thrive!) in the industry among the giants: Bud, Miller and Coors.
“Down to earth” doesn’t quite cut it when I’m describing Sam, owner of Dogfish Head Brewery in Delaware. I say, “Sam,” because that is how he was presented on screen, just “Sam.” He drives a classic pick up truck, wears jeans to work and even stops in the middle of an interview to pick up the phone. On the other end is yet another satisfied customer calling the 1-800 number on the back on the beer bottle. Their motto is “Off centered ale for off centered people,” and they stick to it. Turning down numerous offers from venture capitalists to take his company public, Sam refuses to put himself and the “great people who work with him,” in a position where they might have to compromise their “labor of love.”
It’s this dedication to quality and refusal to compromise for the almighty dollar that I found so incredibly refreshing. Call me naive, but I still believe having pride and integrity in what you do is infinitely more important and rewarding than making money.
Dogfish Head started in 1995 with an idea and a commitment to produce quality ales with unique ingredients. They’ve managed to grow into a major player in the beer industry and they’ve done it without losing their sense of self. I tweeted at them last night, and with nearly 72,000 followers, they still managed to tweet back to me by this morning. That’s keeping it real. Respect.

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