I love the change of seasons in the Northeast and especially our current transition from the cold and dark winter to the warmer and lighter Spring.  Springtime invigorates me with the opportunities it presents such as: spending more time outside, enjoy flowers blooming (especially hops), trying new craft beers, losing weight (though the last two may be mutually exclusive..)

I hope you saw the early release last week of my column with sage guidance on St. Patrick’s Day quaffing options aside from the traditional (yet delicious) Guinness Stout and put them into practice while welcoming the Ides of March.  If not, here’s a recap as these can all be implemented all year round.

How about trying a different Irish Stout?

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Murphy’s Irish Stout: 4% ABV, less bitter than Guinness, and some, including myself, say the flavor resembles a distant relative of chocolate milk

How about some Irish Lager?

Harp: This classic crisp Irish Lager 5% is satisfying on its own with a slightly bitter start and a clean finish.

How about some mixing?

Black & Tan: Bass 5% ABV (made from the famed waters of Burton on Trent, England) and Guinness. Pour the first ½ of the classic Bass Ale into your pint glass and follow that up by slowly pouring the Guinness over the Bass preferably over the back of an upside-down spoon angled into the glass.  The result set is a delicious blend highlighting the malty Bass profile surrounded by the Guinness roastiness.  It’s like all the UK getting along in a single glass (if there were bagpipes playing in the background).

Black Velvet: Feeling sophisticated?  Try topping off your flute of champagne with a dollop of Guinness.  Sweetness tempered a bit by roastiness.

Half & Half: Harp & Guinness.  A visual exercise in scientific specific gravity (liquid densities)!  Pour ½ pint of the denser Harp into your glass followed by the final half of the less dense Guinness preferably over the back of a spoon held at an angle and watch in awe as the Guinness floats on top.  Better yet, drink it.

Snake Bite: Harp & Cider.  What’s better or politer than a mutual complement?  This combo fits the bill with the Harp cutting the sweetness of the cider and the cider invigorating the lager.

Slainte! (Health!)

Beer and Music

Some compadres and I recently spent a fantastic gastro-musical night at The Heights at Brother Vic’s Music Lounge in Vista, NY.  The folks at the Heights have invested in this combined restaurant, pub, and music venue with an acclaimed chef and top-notch sound system. 

Pre-show we hung in the pub and were pleased to find a Nod Hill Brewery (Ridgefield) tasting in progress.  Sampling their classic Geobunny IPA 6.5% with a nice blend of hops (Citra = juicy & Mosaic = piney) along with their Arvo DIPA (Double IPA) 7.7% with notes of grapefruit, candied orange, and mango.  Son-of-KBM was “volunteered” to chauffer that night so we were able to imbibe sensibly but with the foot a bit more on the throttle than usual.

Time for dinner.  We were seated at a nice high-top table toward the back which suited us just fine and gave a clear view to the musicians and the eclectic (in a good way) crowd.  A wide variety of sumptuous options abounded on the menu and after sharing some delicious Tuna Tartare we all needed our iron intake fix and ordered Skirt Steak Grilled w/ Chimichurri, Spring Onions, Sweet Corn, Summer Squash, Tomatoes, Chili, Herbs and were pleased we did.

What did we pair with our dinner you ask?  Well, one other than the seasonal Pennsylvania brewery Troegs Brewing Nugget Nectar.  I fell in love with this beer when Daughter-of-KBM went to school in that rectangular state and visiting her with a dinner out were enhanced that much more with this hoppy Imperial Amber Ale clocking in at 7.5%.  The Troegs website indicated tasting notes: grapefruit, pine, mango, creamsicle which I would agree with but would also add: Magic.

On to the music! About the time we placed our order, the opening musician Salim Nourallah came to the stage, fully engaged the audience, and performed some funky semi-mellow tunes.  The main show was Rhett Miller solo (formerly of the alternative country band Old 97s) and put on a terrific high energy 1 man show that showcased his storied lyrics and impressive musicianship.  Please check out both artists.  Acoustics were A+

During all this music the staff quietly and efficiently moved about the room ninja-like delivering food and replenishing drink.

I was very impressed with the format, staff, food, and music at The Heights and encourage you to check out their website for upcoming music lineup

https://theheightsatbrothervics.com/; 920 OAKRIDGE COMMON, SOUTH SALEM, NY, 10590 914-704-8427 (note: it’s tucked away to the back left of the Oakridge Common development).

Beer and Movies

Did you know our Bedford Playhouse in the village of Bedford, NY has a fantastic beer list in addition to cocktails and wine? It’s true.  I was very pleased to see some local Captain Lawrence as well as Industrial Arts offerings and blown out of my shoes to see Three’s Brewery out of Brooklyn represented nicely with their ironically IPA named Constant Disappointment 6.6% which is anything but that with its pine, tropical fruit, and fresh-squeezed Juice profile.  All these libations can be brought to your seat to enjoy during the movie.

In addition to movies they have several events in their lobby/lounge space.  We’ve attended some of the free musical events and they’ve been terrific.

https://bedfordplayhouse.org/, 633 Old Post Rd, Bedford, NY 10506

Other Beers I’ve Had Recently and Liked

Jack’s Abby Shipping Out of Boston: Jack’s has done it again with this terrific 5.3% malty-sweetish Amber Lager with just a hint of hops.

Thin Man Brewery Bliss: aptly named 8% double IPA (DIPA).

Half Full Brewery Before the Dawn: Oatmeal Stout, 7%.  If only all oatmeal tasted like this…

Hudson Valley Brewery Retrograde: Yes, I liked this 6% sour but perhaps because of all the ingredients: raw wheat, malted oat, milk sugar, peaches, white chocolate, hibiscus and almonds.

Tell me what you’re drinking


The Katonah Beer Man

e:  TheKatonahBeerMan@gmail.com

i: Instagram thekatonahbeerman, who wants to be the 1,000th follower?

s: Smithsonian archive of past articles can be found here: https://www.tapinto.net/ and searching “bart”