Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I had a couple days off at work so my girlfriend & I decided to take the trip to Massachusetts to visit my good friend Emma. It’s only about a 3 hour drive, & I had been promising Emma that I would come visit her for about 5 years now, so it seemed like the right decision. We got there on Sunday night & went to the Amherst Brewing Company. Nothing makes Sarah & I more happy then fresh brewed beer, so it was definitely exciting.


They had a nice assortment of beers; a solid set of beers they carry year round with an excellent bunch of seasonals: The ESB, Honey Pilsner, Massatuckey Brown Ale, Patriot’s Pilsner, Pumpkin Ale, & Super Stout, just to name a few. I decided to go for one of my favorite brews, an IPA, the Cascade IPA here at ABC.


Very tasty beer. It wasn’t too overpowering, just the lovely, bitter, hoppy taste that I love. Now for Sarah, nothing makes her happier then a sampler, which ABC so happened to have. It didn’t have a certain set of beers that come with the sampler, so our waitress just picked a few house & seasonal beers for her.


Now when in a brew pub, I find it only appropriate to order a burger. I went with the ABC burger, Smoky BBQ style. A six ounce burger, I always order medium rare, topped with their smoked perter BBQ sauce and smoked cheddar cheese. Needless to say, I was a happy girl.


The burger was cooked perfectly.  It was kind of small for the bun, but I love bread so I couldn’t really complain. The BBQ sauce was kind of mild, & I didn’t really catch any smoke flavor from the cheese, but it was still really good. The fries were also on point, and it all went really well with my beer. Classic brewpub burger.

After dinner, we decided to check out the bar upstairs, which was still part of ABC & had a bunch of pool tables. Given that my beloved NY Giants weren’t playing this Sunday & the Patriots were & since I was in Patriots country, I decided I needed to try the Patriot’s Pilsner. It was a super light beer with a nice crisp taste. As much as I wouldn’t like to say it, I enjoyed it.


So that pretty much rapped up our trip to the Amherst Brewing Company. Overall, I really liked it. I even tried a Pumpkin Ale & liked it, something I thought I wouldn’t do. Good times, good times.

So the next day we decided to trek it to Boston & check out Samuel Adams. I drink a good amount of Sam Adams, so this was pretty exciting. Plus I really wanted to see that guy Bob from the commercials. Now, when I tell you this place is impossible to find, it’s impossible to find. We were luckily using a GPS so we were able to find it, but if we didn’t have it, we would still be looking. But yea, we found it, & it was awesome.


The tour took about an hour, but it was cool because the guide explained everything. From the malted barley, to where the hops came from, he even let us eat the barley & smell the fresh hops. It was neat. Then he explained the whole brewing process & told us about all the awards that Samuel Adams has won. Very informative. Then we got free beer! Too bad for me because I was feeling really hung over from the night before, so I really couldn’t drink any beer. They gave everyone a free tasting glass & let us try 3 different beers: Boston Lager, Oktoberfest, & Blackberry Witbier. I did try the Witbier though & it was awesome. It was a really good tour. Afterwards, we went to the gift shop, where they just recently started selling beer. They carry 3 oak aged beers that are only available at the brewery. They’re 750 mL bottles & come in the New World Tripel, the American Kriek, & the Stony Brook Red. I haven’t tried them yet, but I’m really stoaked to, because you know I bought them.


After the brewery we decided to grab lunch so the tour guide had actually suggested that we check out Doyle’s, which was one of the first places ever to carry Sam Adams. & you best believe I got another burger, still couldn’t drink any beer though. It was a really old looking place but it was good. Since we came from the tour, anyone that ordered a Sam Adams got a free pint glass, so that was cool too. But yea, the burger was awesome. It was cooked perfectly, super pink inside. & once again, loved the steak fries, except they were steak fries this time. Very good bar burger.


So in case you can’t tell, I had a really good time in Massachusetts. Got to check out some awesome beer & eat some tasty burgers. Oh, & we were also able to pick up some Long Trail that’s not carried around here, so I was really pumped about that too (Double IPA). Needless to say, I shall be returning to Massachusetts because I feel that there is a lot more beer for me to drink, & that only means more burgers. So thanks to Emma for the good times, thanks to MA for the good eats, & thanks to Sarah for driving!


& thank you Massachusetts for all the beer stuff!

Friday, November 6, 2009

HOMEBREW – first tasting

Last night I was closing at my store, & I get a text from my girlfriend, “The beer is ready!” Our first homebrew was finally ready to drink. Needless to say I was excited. Our friend Katie was having people over at her new apartment so we decided to bring some of the new beers over. After letting it chill for a minute in the fridge, & after losing a game of beer pong, it was time to finally taste the beer.


Super tasty. Terrific dark amber color. We didn’t happen to filter the beer this time around, so there was a good amount of sediment at the bottom, but after a minute it settled nicely. It also had a great head retention. It also seemed to have a pretty high alcohol level as well. Overall, it made me really proud of Sarah. Great first beer. Congratulations babe!

The Pale Ale is definitely a beer we’ll be making again. I’m glad there’s about 30 of these bad boys to drink though.

Check out this great logo that our friend Caitlin drew up. Sarah’s definitely going to be using this or something like it for her labels.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Bobby Flay's Burger Palace


Today my girlfriend & I did my friend Jeremy a favor & drove him home to his house in Garfield, NJ. He had recently told me about Bobby Flay's Burger Palace, which is located in the Bergen County Mall in Paramus, New Jersey. It's only about an hour drive, with traffic, so I said what the hell, I really want to check out that burger place out. The menu's pretty neat. The only thing you can really order is burgers, so I thought that was pretty rad.


I wanted to keep things simple, so I went for the chain's, I don't wan't to say "signature" burger, but I got the Cruchburger, which is a burger with double American cheese & potato chips. I say this is kind of their main burger, because you can "crunchify" any burger on the menu by putting potato chips on your burger. I got the burger medium rare (all their burgers are usually cooked medium, but I like mine raaaare,) & it was perfect. They give you a lot of different sauces on the table (chipotle ketchup, burger sauce, jalapeno hot sauce) but I kept it real with the ketchup. I tried the burger sauce, but it was really weird. It was this like really dark brown color, but it was really sweet. Not my cup of tea. The chips were good too. Really like any time there's potatoes on my burger. I also ordered pickles on it, cause that's just how I do. Overall I was really happy I went with this burger.
Sarah got the Dallas Burger, which is a spice crusted burger with coleslaw, Monterey Jack, BBQ sauce, & pickles. I was going to get this burger if not for the Crunchburger, so I was excited that she ordered it so I could try it. We also got an order of fries & an order of onion rings to share, because I have a serious fry addiction. This burger was soooo good. Not really a fan of coleslaw, but it was tasty. The BBQ sauce was kind of weird, but I love all BBQ sauce. I'll probably order this next time I go.

Jeremy got the Bobby Blue Burger, which is a burger with blue cheese, bacon, lettuce, & tomato. I'm pissed because I didn't get to try this one. Not really a fan of burgers with blue cheese on it, but I really want to try to try everything.


So overall, I'll definitely be going back to Bobby Flay's Burger Palace. Although they don't serve any beer, it's a great place to go for lunch. It's pretty moderately priced as well; Sarah & I ate for about $30. I'd say it's worth the drive, & the Jersey drivers.


Last night, we were supposed to have our first beer tasting. We brewed a Pale Ale, Sarah's first brew actually, about 2 weeks ago, so we planned this whole party where Sarah would make food & we would all drink the beer. Well, of course she goes to check the beer yesterday, & it wasn't done fermenting yet. Just our luck. We still had people over, & Sarah still made food. She made these AMAZING sliders, with Vermont cheddar, rosemary, garlic, all on the griddle. & then homemade french fries (so mad I didn't take any pictures, especially of all the adorable sliders.) & since we didn't have any of our own tasty beer to drink, we had to pick up the Saranac beers of winter. Oh & some Sam Adams Oktoberfest & Boston Lager. Super delicious evening. We also brewed our second batch of beer: Oktoberfest! So hopefully we can do our real beer tasting soon. I know I can't wait to try it. I made beer bread with it & that was really good, but it's not the same as drinking it. I feel like it's like my kid or something performing in a play. It makes me so nervous! I guess I'll just have to wait [im]patiently.


So maybe I should have had a like introductory section or something, before just diving right into this thing.
My name is Stephanie & I'm 23. I decided to make this blog because I really wanted to start a burger blog. I've been reading so many of them lately & I was thinking "You know, I like burgers. I should do that." But then it occurred to me that I'm too picky to write a burger blog.
See, here's the thing, I LOOOVE burgers, but it really depends what's on it. I don't like onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, etc...so what else is there really to put on a burger, you ask. Trust me, there's plenty. I know I'm a big baby & that if I even TRIED these things I would probably like them, but after 23 years if it hasn't happened yet, it aint gonna happen. So then I thought, well I also really like beer, & I'm starting to know more about it, so why not a burger/beer blog? So that's the birth of this. It's not really so much all the things I ingest, just the burgers & beer.

So now I know I got you intrigued to what is my DREAM burger. I really hate to say it, but a chain restaurant totally holds this title. At Cheeseburger in Paradise, it's all about the Barbecue Cheddar Burger. First off, my burger must ALWAYS be medium rare; love a pink center. Then with the melted cheddar, & the barbecue sauce, & fried onion strings, & the pickles. Mmm. It's so good. Super messy, but super tastey. Now, I know you're saying, "Wow Steph, that's really original," (sarcastically, obviously) but hey, I like what I like. I will take a barbecue cheddar burger any day of the week.

So...what got me started on this burger quest? There's only one man responsible for that, & that would be my father, Mr. Tom Bowen. I know he's my dad & all, but this guy is a great cook & probably one of the coolest people I've ever met. He can make the simplest thing probably the best meal of your life. He's turning vegetarians back since 2008. (haha little inside joke there, but it did happen.) & who would be the one to get him started but his mom, my lovely grandmother. Some of my first memories are from my grandparents house, eating their famous "alligator" burgers (didn't really mean anything, that's just what my grandma called them.) So throughout my short time, I guess you can say I've had my share of burgers. Whether they were from McDonald's, "alligator" burgers, Bubba Burgers (one of my personal favorites), or even some wimpy ass sliders, they have all powered me to where I am today, sitting here, typing this, with a burger skull & bacon-bones on my leg.

Yea, I know it's funny. That's why I had to have it. (I actually found the picture on an article for fat America haha!)

So where does beer come into this?
Well, I've been reborn. I was your average, underage girl, drinking what every other person in the world drinks right? Bud Light. Little did I know. It took until I met my fiance that she started introducing me to what we like to refer to as GOOD BEER. I mean, I was so used to my High Lifes & PBRs, I really had no idea there was such a vast world of beer out there. So needless to say, we've gotten pretty into craft beers, especially anything from Vermont. We took a trip last year to Vermont & got to go to a couple of the breweries (Long Trail, Magic Hat, Rock Art, 3 Needs, Vermont Brewing Company,) & it was amazing. Truly inspiring. People out there put such love & dedication into their products, & that's everything throughout the state, not just the beer. But after tasting how good beer can be fresh, we knew that we had to start homebrewing. I'm not even going to sit here & act like it's me brewing the beer, it's my girlfriend. I'm a wonderful helper, but it's definitely all her. I mean, we're not pros or anything, we've only done one brew so far, but I see this as something we'll be doing into our old age. If you're in need of a new hobby, I would definitely suggest reading into this. If you are, I'd pick up Microbrewed Adventures by Charlie Papazian. It gives you a good insight into the world of homebrewing, & gives you tastey recipes too.

So I don't want anyone thinking that I'm some kind of pro, or that I think I am. I know I don't know shit. I know I'm learning. I'm trying to broaden my horizons, so hopefully I can, & I'll try to keep track of my trials & errors.

I'm always open for suggestions too, so if you can recommend a place or beer for me to check out, e-mail me!

Well, that's probably as good as an intros gonna get. Hopefully I'll be eating burgers soon so I have something to write about!

Monday, October 19, 2009


Let's keep this short & sweet.This one's about beer;
primarily the Saranac Beers of Winter.

First, I'd like you to meet my fridge.

This is where I keep my beer, obviously.

I randomly started taking pictures of the random beers I was trying.
There's this excellent beer store in Chester, NY that has a lot of beers I haven't seen, but heard of, one of those being Liberty Ale from the Anchor Steam Brewing Company, from San Fransisco, California. My girlfriend & I rented this DVD called Beer Nutz, where these 2 guys go around checking out different breweries in different towns, & this was one of them. I believe it's one of the oldest breweries in the US. Tastey beer. Nifty bottle.

I'd check it out if I were you.

So as I was saying in the beginning; Saranac Beers of Winter.
So delicious.

This is actually the 2nd time we've picked this up. What got us hooked: the Maple Porter.

I was really skeptical of this beer at first; maple's not exactly the first thing I think of when it comes to beer, but it's seriously my absolute favorite winter beer. The maple taste is absolutely perfect.

This whole 12-pack is chock full of really tastey beer. There's the Rye IPA, Winter Lager, & my 2nd favorite, the Big Moose Ale. I'm not usually a fan of a variety pack with 4 beers or more, but this one has to be the best. All the flavors of the different beers really go well together. All together I have to give them a 4.5 out of 5, mostly for the Maple Porter.

So that's what I've been drinking. Can't really complain.