Saturday, September 15, 2007

S'more, Give Me S'more

Nothing goes together better than beer and barbecue, so anytime I have an opportunity to combine the two I jump at it. Although I really like where I live in Downtown Brooklyn, a major drawback is that I have nowhere convenient to actually do the barbecuing myself. Pete's Waterfront Ale House makes some dynamite ribs, but sometimes I like to do them myself. Luckily I have two sister-in-law's who live in New Jersey and they let me store my stuff and do my cooking at their houses. On a recent nice Sunday I took advantage of this and headed on out.

You may have noticed that I did say beer and barbecue so I stocked up on a couple of six packs before getting to work on my meat.

Have A Very Merry Monk

Merry Monk's Ale is brewed by Weyerbacher Brewing Company in Pennsylvania. It is a Tappist style Tripel and comes in at a hefty 9.3% alcohol. A Tripel is called that because brewers use up to three times the amount of malt that you would find in standard Trappist style ales. This gives them a nice gold color and a nice head.

Barbecue And Beer

I guess technically I am smokin', not barbecuein' but why quibble over details. As you can see, the ribs look delicious and the ale was mighty fine as well. It has a nice fruity nose and flavor, apples and bananas come to mind with a malty smoothness. One to be careful of because the alcoholic content is well masked. This is definitely a keeper.

My brother-in-law Jim showed up and he brought some beers of his own.

Jim And La Rulles

As you can see, demented minds think alike because the La Rulles is a Tripel as well. It is brewed by La Brasserie Artisanale de Rulles in Rulles, Belgium so it is the real deal. It is a paltry 8.4% alcohol so compared to the Merry Monk it is almost a session beer. I also have an idea why those Monks were so merry.

This beer undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle so it pours a bit on the hazy side due to the residual yeast. This is to be expected and simply adds to the flavor. Neophytes sometimes turn up their noses at this cloudiness and think it means the beer has gone bad. No, no, no.

It had a nice orangey color and a bit of an orangey aroma as well. It isn't very highly carbonated and the thin head dissipates very quickly. You get a bit of hops and spice with a slight pepper back taste. A perfectly decent beer. La Brasserie Artisanale de Rulles has only been around since 2000 so it is not one of those venerable old breweries that you stumble upon occasionally.

Rather than pass the bottle around this ale actually made it into a glass. Although not the traditional tulip glass a purist would insist upon.

Fancy Stemware

I also had a sixpack of Flying Fish Belgian Style Doubel that I picked up. Flying Fish Brewery always put out great beers and I am a big fan of their products. They are located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey so they are almost neighbors.

This beer is a comparatively mild 7% alcohol but packs plenty of flavor. It is a darker beer, more of a brown color, and probably should have been poured into a glass to really enjoy the flavor. But, what can you say, I was just quaffing, and not really tasting. I don't think this one made it into a glass at all.

Bar Man And Jim Quaffing A Brew

The beer is a nice combination of hops and malts but with the traditional spice and fruit nose and taste of beers of this type. Of course this was my third beer of this type of the day and Bar Man doesn't exactly sip and spit. I suspect that by this time my taste buds were getting a bit worn out. Next time I get this beer I will start with it.

Jim also brought along a bottle of La Chouffe, another fine Belgian Ale. This one brewed by Brasserie dAchouffe in Achouffe, Belgium. Again, big bottle so this one got the glass treatment. Well, from me it did. Jim, who has no class, drank from a coffee cup.

Bar Man And Jim About To Be Chuffed With A La Chouffe

We were back up to 8% alcohol with this one and it was holding up well. Drinking Belgian style beers all day gives you a certain perspective on things. I felt like I wanted a waffle.

A nice orangey tint and a decent head when first poured. It had the requisite mix of flowers and spice. You can also get a good taste of the yeast. The alcohol comes through pretty good on this one so you won't really get sand-bagged by it. Again, it is a bit cloudy with yeast residual on the bottom of the bottle. Jim claimed there was more in the bottle than just yeast though.

Look What I Found In My Cup

I guess it must be the secret ingredient.

After a day of drinking and eating there was only one thing left to do. Have desert. For some reason we all thought s'mores would be a good idea and there was enough heat left in the coals to make a batch.

Toasting The Marshmallow

Now for anyone who doesn't know what a s'more is, it is a delectable treat made by making a sandwich out of two Graham crackers, a piece of Hershey's chocolate and a toasted marshmallow.

The Finished Product

As always a great time was had by all, especially by Jim and Bar Man.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Jets Opener

Well, at least the weather was nice. In fact it was a perfect day for a football game. The parking situation at the stadium is a mess though because a new stadium is being built right in the area of the parking lot where we have been tailgating for almost as long as the Jets have played here. We knew we would have to get to the game early to stake out a new territory. We also knew this might not be easy because everyone thinks they have squatter's rights to where they are used to parking. The situation is alleviated a bit if you are a season-ticket holder because only then can you get a parking pass that will allow you to actually park in the lot. And only one pass per owner of season tickets, regardless of how many tickets you own. Everyone else has to park in a satellite lot and then take a bus. This makes it hard on people who regularly go to the game but don't have their own tickets.

Well, Bernie wasn't about to get caught flat-footed. We were bound and determined, along with our buddy Bob and his wife, the Lovely Loretta, to get there early and establish a base camp. We were going in blind though, so we didn't know what to expect. Bernie showed up at my place at 6:00 A.M. and after about a ten minute delay due to me running a bit late, we were on our way. We met up with Bob and his wife at a gas station by the stadium and headed in. Luckily we got there early enough so that finding a spot wasn't a problem.

Early Arrival

This spot really was great because they are now strictly enforcing the one spot per car rule. We usually set up a tent between two cars so we thought this might be a problem. However, by parking right in front of the the parking lot pole we found we had ample room behind the car to set up.

Base Camp Established

After setting up we celebrated with some Jets themed donuts and coffee from Dunkin' Donuts.

Breakfast Of Champions

Of course this was also the perfect opportunity to crack open my keg of Heineken, which is Jets themed as well, although not intentionally.

Bernie Cracking The Keg

I had my first glass and I found it to be quite good. In my opinion, much better than bottled Heineken. It seemed smoother and had a bit more malt flavor to it. Maybe next time I will try to do a direct comparison to the bottled Heineken but we didn't have any with us today.

Bar Man Sampling The Beer

As our group grew others got their nose wet as well.

Ronnie Pulling His Beer

The only complaint I had about the keg was that as you got down to the end you really can't control the pressure and so the last several glasses you try to pour come out mostly foam. It didn't seem to make any difference how we tried to pour it, the result was pretty much the same.

The Foam

I have a keg of Heineken Light that I will bring to the next game and we will see if that one works better. If not, they may need to figure out a way to adjust the pressure a bit.

My friend, J.C., likes Russian beers so he usually brings an assortment to the game. I very seldom meet a beer I don't like, although I like some much less than others. These Russian beers are usually very good though. They tend to favor the malt over the bitters, which is fine with me. Now don't get me wrong, I like a hoppy IPA, and the hoppier the better. It is just that it seems as though hops is the new thing and even a lot of lagers are starting to taste like IPAs. A nice malty beer is a pleasant change of pace and this one was just fine.

New Neighbor, Bar Man, And J.C. About To Quaff

Oh yes, our new neighbors. As you can imagine, parking spaces like the ones we scored hadn't just been sitting vacant all these years. Eventually the crowd who used to park here showed up and a few of them weren't too pleased that we had "poached" their spot. We kind of explained that there were thousands of people who had been displaced and they all had to park somewhere so spots were pretty much up for grabs. Most of them were cool with this but a few seemed to continue to harbor a bit of a grudge. As more and more of our crowd began to infiltrate they realized that a whole crowd had moved in and that we weren't about to relocate. As I said, most of them just accepted the inevitable and we kind of blended the two groups together so we at least have a temporary truce. Most of their group was really quite friendly, but we will see if there will be some kind of a competition as to who can get to the game earliest in the weeks to come.

Back to the beer. I can't pronounce the name of the Russian beer we were drinking, but here is a picture. I know you can buy it at any number of deli's in Brighton Beach where there is a large Russian community.

Russian Beer

Now, just because we got to the game early doesn't mean we left early. We always like to let the crowd thin out a bit and have a post-game tailgate party while we are waiting. As you can see, by the time we were ready to leave the parking lot looked as deserted as when we arrived. A bit messier though.

Late Departure

Now, and I think this is a bit unfair, the Mysterious Chinese Lady said that the condition of the parking lot at the end of the game was very similar to the condition of our kitchen after I do my tailgate preparations. You be the judge.

Parking Lot


All and all we had a good time even though the Jets just got creamed by New England and our quaterback Chad left the game with an injured ankle. The play that will get shown again and again on ESPN was the longest kick-off return for a touchdown in NFL history, 108 yards. I can say I was there, even though it wasn't the Jets who did it. It could be a long season, but at least our next home game is against Miami. We always do well against them. Our next game though is against Baltimore and with their defense we will be in big trouble if Chad has mobility problems. I suspect he will not play.

Monday, September 10, 2007


Okay, no pictures, just a question. In a recent post I mentioned I was having a snert with my shot of Old Crow. Now I remember from my youth that a snert referred to a small beer that was served with a shot of whiskey. This belief was reinforced by the fact that Hagar the Horrible's dog is named Snert. I assumed that this was because Hagar likes his beer.

However, I have been unable to find any documentation to verify that snert is actually used in that manor. I am pretty sure that at one time I did see such a definition though. It seems to me that snit is another term that means the same thing. I did find a definition for snit that said it was a unit of measure equal to 3 ounces, so this would fit. Most of the references I have recently found for snert are for it being an acronym for a variety of disparaging comments such as "Sexually Needy Emotionally Repressed Troll" or "Snot Nosed Egotistical Raging Teen."

If anyone can help me out with finding some documentation for the term snert being used to describe a small beer, please post a reply or send me an email. I will be most grateful.

Mainly Murray's

In terms of venerable old steakhouses, Murray's has to be at the top of almost anybody's list. Old is without question. It was started by Art and Marie Murray in 1946 and remains at its original location. Up until about a year ago it remained completely unchanged. Now, however, the interior is done in shades of chocolate brown, replacing the pastel pinks that had dominated for over fifty years. It remains as classy as ever though.

Murray's, Home Of The Silver Butterknife Steak

But, I am getting ahead of myself. After returning to Minneapolis from Rainy Lake I spent a couple of days with my friends, Rico and Sandy. You saw them in the pictures of Nye's. On the morning of our return to New York the Mysterious Chinese Woman and I drove to the airport, checked our car and luggage, and took the nifty light rail train downtown. It is a quick and convenient ride marred only by a somewhat demented ticketing system.

You pay two dollars, I think, for a ticket. Because we were going to go downtown and then back to the airport we each bought two. When the train came there was nobody collecting the tickets so as I sat there with it in my hand I noticed that it was only good for two and a half hours from the time of purchase. Initially I couldn't figure out why and regretted my purchasing two tickets at once. I should have regretted purchasing any because nobody ever collected the tickets, coming or going. In fact, other than one other person at the airport, obviously a tourist, I never saw anyone purchase a ticket. I think people were laughing at us when we bought ours.

I guess the theory must be that periodically uniformed and heavily armed security forces will board the train and anyone not having a ticket less than two and a half hours old gets beaten to a bloody pulp. But, being Minneapolis where the streets are clean and nobody crosses a street against the light you would probably just be scolded a bit and then given some lutefisk to stop your crying.

But, I digress. Right next door to Murray's was the Lyon's Pub, so I decided to go in and have a beer before my meal.

Lyon's Pub

This was a very comfortable bar with tables outside where you could sit and have a cool one on a nice sunny day. I prefer the inside unless I am on a lake or ocean or something. Sitting on a busy sidewalk in the middle of downtown isn't really my idea of how to enjoy a beer. Well, I guess if I had several and then started making disparaging remarks to everyone returning to work after their lunch break it could be kind of fun.

I decided to have a Summit Extra Pale Ale at the bar.

Dave The Bartender And Bar Man

Minneapolis and its sister city St. Paul used to be the home of many fine breweries such as Hamms and Grainbelt. They were also the home of the Lakers once which is why a team based in Los Angeles has that name. Minnesota has over 10,000 lakes, and their license plates proudly announce that fact to the world. And, you can probably guess where Land O' Lakes butter comes from. By the way, if you cut out the package of butter that the Indian maiden is holding and then cut out and paste in her knees you get an image of a topless Indian maiden. This is vastly amusing to anyone who has never seen it before, particularly grade-school boys.


Summit Pale Ale is a refreshing crisp beverage with a hint of hops and a subtle malty flavor. It is a nice burnished copper color with a small head that rapidly dissipates. Kind of like a good all around session beer should taste like. I would have gladly had another but I was looking forward to my steak next door. Dave said he didn't know why I was going there for their aged beef when they served fresh stuff here. Quite a card, that Dave.

Of course I had to have a pre-lunch libation at their very classy bar up front. This is the perfect setting to have a well-constructed cocktail so I ordered a Manhattan made with Jim Beam. I am developing a taste for these although a purist would insist that they be made with Canadian Rye Whiskey. I am not that much of a purist though so I thoroughly enjoyed this one.

A Touch Of Manhattan In Minneapolis

After the drink we headed to the dining room where the Mysterious Chinese Lady and I shared a perfectly done and perfectly delicious Silver Butterknife Steak. They sure haven't lost their touch because it was great. I have been eating here off and on for well over 40 years. It is the last remaining great restaurant of my youth left in downtown Minneapolis. Two of the others were Charlie's and Harry's, both long gone though.

If you ever get to Minneapolis, I strongly urge you to try out Murray's, and bring your appetite or order something smaller. It is a bit pricey, but not for what you get.