The lack of posting recently is warranted. I’ve been doing what I’m supposed to…drinking great beer in Vermont without a lick of cellular service or contact with whatever was calling back in NJ. I once again stayed at the Mad River Barn in Waitsfield, VT and was welcomed with open arms by owners Andrew and Heather. I could talk about all the great bars and breweries we visited but that might rub some readers the wrong way and border on bragging. Instead, let’s talk about the Mad River Barn and what’s behind their concise but on point craft beer list.
At the Barn they’ve got a steady supply of the usual suspects. Fiddlehead, Alchemist, Lawson’s Finest Liquids, Citizen Cider…all that jazz. But here’s what’s going on behind that great line-up. Andrew told me of plans to expand to around twenty taps and of his hopes to add Hill Farmstead and other great local beer to the list. I’ve got to say, with plans like that, the Mad River Barn will be in close competition with the nearby big three in Waterbury (ProPig, Reservoir, Black Back).
For the final night of our trip Andrew and Heather invited us to an after hours staff bottle share where Andrew pulled a few rare Lawson’s brews from the cellar. We also had the opportunity to chat with Sergio, the chef at the Barn, who put together a cheese and meat plate for the tasting. Aside from the craft beer, after talking to Sergio I can tell you that just as much passion goes into the food.
Andrew shared that he was hoping to hold similar beer tastings for the public so whether you’re local or traveling, that’s something to keep an eye out for.
Just like last year, driving home from Vermont hurt quite a bit. The countdown until next time begins now. I owe a huge amount of thanks to both Andrew and Heather for the hospitality. It was above and beyond. Put the Mad River Barn on your beer bucket list and tell ’em Dan sent you.
That seemed to be the line of the day yesterday for Hop Sauce Festival. We were there talking beer, sharing stories and selling some barware. It was the funniest thing how many guys stopped at the stand but wouldn’t buy anything before “asking the boss.” A few minutes and they’d be back with the the woman in their lives seeking the okay. Nothing wrong with that, though. My grandfather always called my grandmom “the war department” where he needed to get orders from first. I grew up learning who the boss was…
Joking aside, there was some great beer on hand yesterday. From who we talked to at the stand and from the poll results, it’s safe to say there were a lot of people loving Ship Bottom Brewery. We were set up right next to ’em all day long and I don’t think there was a minute when they didn’t have a line longer than any of the other breweries. Their Barnacle Bottom Stout and collaboration beers with the Chegg made it a privilege to be their neighbor for the day with easy access to those brews. Another favorite seemed to be Brooklyn Brewery with their Sorachi Ace which really is a world class beer. Not only that, you’ve got to love how readily available that one is on the shelves. 902 Brewing also drew some attention when they tapped their Black IPA called Black Dynomite. That was a great roasty beer with spicy rye notes. Awesome. Definitely worth a mention as well is Captain Lawrence’s IPA which for the price and availability is a great go-to drinking beer. Price aside, I hadn’t tried it before and was more than impressed with the flavors. And as always, Forgotten Boardwalk’s Funnel Cake cream ale was a big hit with drinkers and stood out as unique when set beside the other beers of the day. It seemed like the local breweries really stole the show.
All in all there were a ton of great brews to be had. It’s tough to mention all of them but I saw people walking away from every beer stand smiling so that tells ya something. I was more than stoked to be a part of such a rad event and owe a big thanks to those who stopped in at our little metaphoric pub to show their support! We’ll keep the stories from #BehindTheBeer, the stories of the people drinking craft beer, coming so stay tuned and keep drinking well!
What’re’ya diggin most?! Not for the sake of winners and losers but really for everyone drinking to see what they should really try next. Below is the official Hop Sauce Festival Poll. It’ll be up and running through the day so give us your input! You can stay tuned with what we’re drinking on Untapped @apubwithbrickwalls or on our social media feeds (Twitter @pubw_brickwalls, Instagram @apubwithbrickwalls). Stop by our stand as well. We want to hear your stories from #BehindTheBeer….because the stories make this whole craft beer thing even more fun! See you today and drink well~
We’re a week out now. Hop Sauce Fest is happening Saturday May 30th. Here’s the run-down…
A Pub With Brick Walls will be there, right next to the Indy Craft Beer Tent. I build this rad bar out of recycled barn wood so stop on by to talk beer. Let the crew know what your favorite brew is. We’ll even have an online poll up and running to see what everyone is enjoying most. At the event we’ll be selling A Pub With Brick Wall can glasses, t-shirts…the usual suspects along with some other handmade goodies. Stay tuned for those.
Throughout the day we’ll be working on social media as well. We want to see you in your element drinking great beer! Post your pictures at the event onto Instagram @apubwithbrickwalls using the hashtags #BehindTheBeer and #HopSauceFest. In the caption give us one of your stories from #BehindTheBeer. Wow us enough and you might just end up with a Hop Sauce Fest prize pack! Stay tuned for more! We’re getting close…
Don’t fret. That’s what we keep cellars for. I’ve been having some trouble sticking to just what’s on the shelves at the store myself and took on some experimentation…
French-pressing beer. It’s a way to take your obsession a step further and a reason for ya to get some funny looks from those who just don’t quite get this craft beer thing. So, here’s the deal. I would start with a big barrel-aged stout. I used BCBS…but hey, like I said, this is an experiment so use something you’re stoked on. Then go ahead and find something to press it with. From my own recent experience coconut works wonders. Toss some coconut shavings in a frying pan over low heat. No oil or anything, just let the shavings brown. Once you’re getting that nice toasty aroma, pour a beer on in and keep it on low. Keep it on for 2-3 minutes or so and then pour it all into a french-press. Put that in the fridge and let it cool before pressing it.
I would recommend getting carried away. Because it’s fun. And you’re already french-pressing beer so might as well get even more carried away.
If you’ve got an idea of your own tweet it to us! @pubw_brickwalls
A liquor store near me had a case of Bourbon County Stout trickle in. I got word and stopped by. They had a one bottle limit so I got one. Then the guy says to me, “You ever have this? We’ve got a few others. I’ve got some very rare stuff, you never see this.” Then he pulls out a couple bottles of KBS for me. “They sell this for $20 a bottle in the city,” he said. I’ve got plenty KBS stocked so I only took a bottle. He told me, “Next time you come in I’ll have another Bourbon County for you.”
The guy was older, didn’t know much about beer…but he was stoked. And that’s something awesome to see. He was excited to see what I was seeking and only wanted to further my addiction to craft beer. While you’re out on the hunt it’s all about the stoke and it’s cool to see someone else, whoever it may be, that’s about the stoke as well.
I heard something clarifying the other day. A guy said, “I can go to a bar whenever and order a Miller. I’ve got nothing against that. In the end of the day, though, I’m into this craft beer thing for the hunt. It’s about the hunt. Losing your mind trying to find a bottle of something like KBS. It’s addicting.”
That got me thinking as I was doing just as he said…hunting down a few bottles of KBS. A day before I tweeted that I wouldn’t be seeking out any KBS. I had just tried Weyerbacher’s Sunday Morning Stout and was convinced that was just as good (I’m still convinced of that, especially after last night’s blind head to head). But nonetheless, I ended the day with several bottles of Kentucky Breakfast Stout and a stoke like the first time I tried it.
There’s just something about getting a bottle that not everyone else gets. That sounds bad but if you’ve done it you also know how it feels. So keep hunting…I’m convinced that’s almost as fun as actually drinking the beer.
59 days and counting…If you’ll be in Jersey when the end of May comes around this’ll be something you want to check out. I think it’s safe to say you can’t go wrong with a craft beer and hot sauce festival. If that sort of thing is up your alley head on over to http://www.hopsaucefest.com/ to check out what sorts of brews and sauces will be there. Band line-up is there too and let me tell ya, there’s something for everybody. If all that strikes you, snag some tickets! Jettylife.com is the place to go! Saturday May 30th is the day and Long Beach Island is the place!
A Pub With Brick Walls will be there as well. Our stand will be the place to stop in and rate your favorite beers and swap a few stories. It’s sure to be a rad time! Stay tuned here and on Twitter @pubw_brickwalls for more on what we’ll be up to!