About- Danny King
While gay acceptance has been steamrolling through America in the last three decades, gay bars haven’t been as quick to welcome the plethora of new options in craft beers, sticking mostly to your tried and true macro brews with an occasional hometown hero in the mix. I personally blame vodka lobbyists and a vast lite beer Illuminati conspiracy for the dearth of options.
With that in mind I thought the time was perfect to create a Rainbow Collection of fruit beers to keep you cool in the heat and keep the party going wherever you are, be it parade route, dance floor, sports bar, hanging out at home or in line to buy a genuine silver buckle at Charlie’s Denver. Real Talk: who’s buying a belt buckle at 1 a.m.? Inquiring minds want to know.
My mother always says “Presentation is Everything”. Oftentimes, when enjoying an Ommegang beer, I assume she stole her personal little motto from these Cooperstown brewers. From factors as important as taste and quality to such seemingly inconsequential items as font choices, every inch of the Ommegang experience, from their early days to current day, is a masterclass in craft brewing.
The last two weekends I’ve been spending some time in the Bronx, the last borough (that matters – sorry Staten Island) left to be aggressively gentrified within an inch of its life. Their zoo is legit and has real zoo animals, not like the sideshow attractions that pass for the Prospect Park and Central Park Zoos. Their Little Italy has authentic groceries and restaurants, as opposed to 60 dollar all you can eat/drink buffets whose one authentic Italian quality is their eerily accurate ability to re-enact Roman vomitoriums. There aren’t any American Apparels and things are named practically instead of after eye-catching phrases that have been market tested to death. Basically, the Bronx still bears the grit of the city and the community-minded neighborhood vibe that all us transplants who came to New York thought we were getting instead of sanitized, post collegiate money drains we’ve inadvertently created by moving here.
I miss smoking in bars. My clothes and hair don’t reek every night, and the lack of clouds of noxious oxygen thieves in bars dulling taste and smell might have done more to promote the rise of craft beer than any other external factor – but the romance of the dive bar is largely sustained by the haze that lingers around dim light bulbs. There was a certain je ne sais quoi that many establishments lost once they cleaned up (while others revealed even worse smells that the smoke was hiding). In my eternal hunt to recapture this hazy atmosphere, I stumbled into one of my favorite dive bars in Brooklyn (low lights, great bartender, amazing jukebox, check-check-check), and discovered Evil Twin’s Ashtray Heart. With one sip, I found the gritty but smooth feeling I was missing, with none of smoking’s greatly-enhanced chance of lung cancer.
March is here, which means Spring Skiing! After the abysmal weather on the east coast ruined three separate ski attempts, I’m FINALLY getting a chance to get on the slopes in the East Coast. While the East in general has a reputation for tighter runs and icier conditions, they balance that out with community minded hills and a bit more of hellfire spirit (how else do you explain Bode Miller?). Few places embrace that spirit more than Mad River Glen, who provide the namesake to Magic Hat’s Single Chair Golden Ale.
This Friday we will celebrate one of the worst holidays, Valentine’s Day. If you’re in a relationship, it is almost impossible to make any kind of unique romantic plans that 100 other couples won’t be doing. If you’re single, it’s a 2 week build up engineered to make you feel like a loser. The one positive is that no one judges you for buying ridiculously expensive chocolates. This year I decided to try to find the beer equivalent of romantic, fancy chocolate. With the cartoon Rihanna-circa-Umbrella on its label, Founders’ Big Lushious was the clear choice.
It’s December 24 and after a month of delaying, you’re still trying to figure who the heck who it is you pulled from the Secret Santa bag for your family party. Jeremy? Did someone have a kid and you didn’t notice? Is he a long last cousin that’s been living Potter-style under the stairs all these years? Whose aunt is Aunt Kathy cause you’re pretty sure she isn’t yours.
My family party this year is at a record low of 29 people this year, but with a family that big there’s no way you can know enough about everyone to get them a perfect gift. In an effort to make sure that poor Jeremy doesn’t end up with the re-gifted candle for Christmas, below I’m giving you six beers for the family party members you don’t know well.
Christmas is a time of joy and laughter and good feelings. It’s also a time where one freaks out thinking of perfect gift ideas, is over-commited to attend too many parties in 3 weeks, and deals with high-stress travel plans that all conspire to drive you insane. When I was 13, my family took over hosting duties for my mom’s 7 siblings and their family. By Christmas Eve, we weren’t speaking to each other and the only carols I heard were the frantic string instruments in my head like the score to Martha, Inc.
Guys, last week’s cold snap really freaked me out. I love cold weather, but I need to be eased into it. I can’t just go 0-60 (or rather, 60 degrees to 20 degrees) without any stages in between. When I went to the beer shop, body freezing and teeth chattering, I had every intention of buying some winter seasonal and writing about cinnamon, nutmeg, and other holiday spices. Then I saw this sign and knew that the Universe, in the form of Top Hops taps, had a much spicier plans for me.
IBU: 45 (it took me forever to find this and and the site had no proof so… Grain of salt with this one)
While I first knew Evil Twin Brewery was amazing after my first Ashtray Heart, The New York Times’ article on the major rift between its founder Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergso and his twin brother Mikkel Borg Bjerso of Mikkeller Brewery is what solidified my love of this gypsy brewery. Throughout the article, Evil Twin comes off as a loveable troll – exposing the ridiculousness that occurs when cool festers to snobbery and the quest for prestige makes you forget that in the end, this is an industry making tasty drinks for customers to enjoy and get buzzed from. It’s what inspired me to start ordering beers and buying six-packs blindly in order to expand my horizons. In my opinion at the very least, Evil Twin is the hero craft brewing deserves AND the one it needs right now. It’s got the brains and the heart. Which brings me to Hipster Ale.
Thanks to football season, I spend a lot of time talking with the Lord in the fall. “JESUS F*CKING CHRIST!” I screamed when the Iowa kickers cost us the game against Iowa State. “Goddamn that was too close” when we beat Pitt 20-24 in September. But mostly I am huddled in a corner muttering “OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD” whenever Kirk Ferentz goes for it on 4th. Luckily for me (and all Iowa fans) we have Mark Weisman, our personal Hebrew Hammer of a running back who saves our drives on a continual basis. In honor of Iowa’s own savior, I thought it was time to introduce the PorchDrinking community to He’brew, the Chosen beers made by Shmaltz Brewing company.
This past weekend, New York celebrated the annual Brooklyn Book Festival – which is basically book nerd Christmas. During the end of September, you celebrate the first stiff breezes of fall while running around the old Brooklyn courthouse discovering new writers, learning about your favorite authors, and getting all your favorite works signed. Over the years it’s become my favorite holiday, but besides my constant renewing of the website until the schedule of events is posted, it has no rituals. To correct this oversight, I decided to dedicate the weekend to the arts by trying a beer after the bard whose influence is inescapable in writing of the Western World: Rogue’s Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout.
You can call Labor Day the end of summer all you like, but it certainly doesn’t feel like fall. The trees will still be green for a few weeks, sweaters and jackets aren’t necessary, and sunburns are still a reality for anyone standing 4 hours in an open air stadium. However, it’s very clearly time to retire the sunny beers of summer. This week I attempted to make the switch to heavier seasonal beers and within minutes of sipping my first pumpkin ale of the year, my phone buzzed. At that precise moment the Porchdrinking.com staff decided we needed to discuss drinking pumpkin beers out of season. I looked around the bar, positive someone also in search of a big beer list and 20 cent wings was ratting me out for moving to fast into Fall.
Sometimes in order to discover that special beer, it takes a little extra searching to find that one brew that speaks to you. Other times, you’ll discover a dusty bottle with the coolest label ever hanging out in …
It’s that time again. Thirty-two teams representing nations from across the world come together for one reason. To give us an excuse to drink for a month straight! Oh, and something about national pride and the glory of being crowned the greatest team in the world’s most popular sport. That too.