Category Archives: Beer

Four Months

Word is the Pour House will have two or three beer engines for serving real ale. They are aiming for a September opening and will have two floors.

Sure I miss Mahar’s, but cask conditioned ale within walking distance from my home will help me get over it.

See you there.

Spring Giveth

A few nice days, then Spring taketh away (my good mood–walking Frida in a soaking rain wearing head to toe denim (Canadian tuxedo!) isn’t as cool as one would think).  Frida kinda thought it blew, too.f

Just pulled inside the geraniums and the lime tree.  The temp has dropped to 32 and the rain has turned to sleet.  Really gross.

Small victory yesterday in the form of a batch of chocolate chip cookies from Chloe’s Vegan Desserts.  Brought them to Scrabble and they were a big hit.  What a terrible picture!  You get what you pay for.ccc

Sad that I didn’t make the effort to instead make Lagusta’s garlic chocolate chip cookies.  That’s the first recipe I grabbed, but I was too lazy to roast a clove of garlic and make flax seed snot, so I sidestepped to Chloe’s recipe.  Still haven’t made Lagusta’s version, but you know it has to be special, right?  A small amount of roasted garlic must add a wonderful twist.  As far as Chloe’s recipe, I swapped in coconut oil instead of margarine.  Thanks for that Lagusta!

I also enjoyed the growler of Founder’s All Day IPA I brought to Scarabble.  Low alcohol, big hops.  Fun to watch people discover their preferences in beer.  One guy now knows he prefers malt to hops.  I’ve been there, but life is too short.  Hops.  Malt.  Balance.  Bring ’em all on.  It’s Friday!

Make the most of it.

Last Call

Went to Mahar’s two Saturdays ago.  It was packed, nowhere to sit and tough to move around even.  Tried to go last Saturday, but it was again packed so we left (went instead to the Merry Monk–our first visit–great beers and veggie burgers!).  Before we left Mahar’s, we glanced at a flyer announcing Wednesday, today, would be the last day.  Perfect.  We planned one last visit Monday or Tuesday.  Monday it was closed, but we hoped it was due to the holiday.  Tuesday it was closed, but a young man carrying moving boxes told us that Mahar’s was open Wednesday only to winners of a raffle.  Oh.  So, unknown to us, two Saturday’s ago was our last visit.  Didn’t get to say goodbye to Bill or Chris.  Bye, friends!  Thanks for making us feel at home.  Hope to see you soon.


Lacey and Frida are sleeping, so I will share something quickly.  Wonderful friends sent us three tins of nut milk cheese from Punk Rawk Labs.  3

We received Cashew, Herbed Cashew and Macadamia and Smoked Macadamia.  I’ve listed them in the order of approachability, but all three are amazing.  HCM

Great texture and complex flavors.  The smoke in the third cheese comes from a crust of smoked sea salt (and black pepper).  Reminiscent of tobacco smoke.  Very interesting.  Almost challenging.  Probably something like the fun had by folks who eat exotic “stinky” animal milk cheeses.  SM

I’d probably have a tin in the fridge at all times if these were sold locally.  I really need to get to Lagusta’s place to see if I can get some nut milk cheese from her tenant.  I can’t quickly find the name.  Does it exist yet?  Did I imagine it?  In any event, the world is really looking up for plant eaters!

Other news?  I dropped off two tiffins at Curry House as I placed a to go order.  Thought was they could pack our food in the tins and save all the styro and paper.  Wasn’t sure how they’d react, but they were completely into it.  They were debating which parts of the order should go into the five compartments.  I had thought it through before selecting the two tiffins I brought and knew I’d have one container left for condiments.  Give it a try at your local restaurant and see what happens!

While Curry House made our dinner, I popped next door to Mahar’s for a ten ounce Mild at Heart.  The place was packed!  Like I’ve rarely seen it.  Good to see the support.  I hope they find a new home that is close to my home.  So nice to walk.  Ten ounces was a perfect timer for the magicians at the Curry House.  When I walked in the door, my two tiffins were waiting.

Appliance repair?  The dishwasher left an inch of water in the bottom at the end of a cycle.  I had thought the metal screen forming most of the bottom of the thing was all I needed to keep clean, and I would occasionally clear residual food bits from that.  Not enough.  DW

This time I removed the bottom spray bar to allow me to remove a pipe that carries water to the top spray bar.  This gave me access to a raised plastic grate that covers the drain.  All without tools!  The plastic grate was pretty clogged, as was the drain underneath.  The picture above is an after picture.  I would have been embarrassed to post a before picture!  Cleaned all that out with a turkey baster, a rag and a toothbrush.  Also scrubbed the bottom spray bar, the plastic gears that move the bar and a filter that cleans the water before it gets sprayed.  Despite the dishwasher looking clean before disassembly, all of these hidden from view parts were pretty disgusting.  Running water and the aforementioned cleaning tools had them looking like new in short order.  I reassembled the bits and gave it a test wash.  Perfect!  The washer is considerably quieter now, too.  Like new, really.  I think the mucked up gears driving the spray bar were causing the scary noises I had been ignoring for a year or so (intermittent rumbling).  This dishwasher was about seven years old and hadn’t had any work done to it (except the surface wipes I had mentioned).  I can’t see myself doing all this prophylactically, but I’ll go ahead and recommend the same to you.  I imagine the motor was working harder than it needed to.  Good to care for things if you can, right?

That’s enough.  I should check in on Lacey and Frida.  Take care!

Oh!  I should mention how wonderfully Frida is recovering.  She is still tired, but is walking, even running, with confidence.  Keeping my fingers crossed that the antibiotics clear the infection and that the aspirin prevent further clots.  Thanks for all of the kind words and wishes!

Save Mahar’s

Stopped by for a ten ouncer (Mild at Heart).  Mr. Mahar and his daughter were tending taps.  I introduced myself and thanked him for establishing a terrific joint.  He said I should enjoy it while I can–he was informed this morning that he’d lost the lease.  Mahar’s (Albany) will only be open for a couple more weeks.  The space will be rented (has been sold?) to the folks that run Junior’s, The Point and Madison Cafe.  Is this a game of Monopoly or a neighborhood?  Ahoy, local tweeters and facebookers–I implore you to start a campaign to save a local treasure.


SI had twenty ounces of this.  Lacey, twenty of this.  Note the ABV.  Needless to say, we tipped these monsters gently, slowly, then wobbled next door for a long Indian feast.  Note to self:  If twenty ounces of beer cost more than fifteen dollars, order a ten ounce pour.  If you are sad to see the bottom, you can always double down.FDN

In the excess begets excess department, allow me to introduce the Fried Double Nasty.  Appropriate to drop the Sir as there is nothing honorable about this sandwich.  As I type, Lacey asked what’s a fried double nasty?  Well, sweets!  Spread some Great Smokey Mountain Cheeze (courtesy of the Vegan Diner cookbook) on the insides of the top and bottom pieces of bread.  Sprinkle chopped onion on the cheeze.  Fry a couple Herbed Breakfast Patties (also courtesy of the Vegan Diner cookbook).  When done, plop the patties atop the cheeze and then fry the bread.  Finish it with a swirl of Sriracha, marry the halves and make it go away.  Which I have done and could not be happier.

Be well!


Netflix Play It Now is a gift from the gods.  We’ve been mainlining Trailer Park Boys for weeks of evenings now.  Sweet greasy nectar!  Makes me want to live in a trailer park.  Seriously (you know we’ve moved across the country based on less rigorous research).  Check out this beauty that I was watching on eBay until yesterday.  I didn’t bid (it is only a fantasy at this point).  Only three (of fifty some) remaining episodes stand between us and second string entertainment, and we meant to watch all three last night.  Sadly, another night of hilarious foul-mouthed criminality would not be ours.  “Content Not Available.”  Clicked it three more times.  No luck!

No worries!  Just a short lateral move across our playlist and we were soaking up the last two seasons of Skins.  Know it?  Six seasons in all, with three crews of high school age kids holding our attention for two seasons each.  I think they are high school age, anyway.  They are of an age where they may (or may not) attend something called sixth form, which sounds like a reason to stay in high school a couple of more years while preparing for A-Levels (or partying your brains out, if you’d prefer, and these kids do).

As much as we loved the first two seasons of Skins, we didn’t want to start season three.  We were so enamored with the first cast.  If only I could hear Cassie drop a deadpan “wow” just one more time.  New characters?  No thank you (until we found that seasons three and four were better–or at least as good–which is to say incredible).  Still, we meant to take a break before starting season five, really we did, but the tragic interruption of our Trailer Park Boys marathon cut short our pointless hiatus.  So glad!  I can tell this last crew is going to be awesome.  The metalhead Rich and the loner artist Franky are my early favorites.

Rich you need to experience first hand, but Franky–I have a reason to give you a little introduction.  Franky is at the center of episode one of season five.  She is a last minute registrant at Roundview (the same school the previous two casts attended).  Franky was brutally bullied at her previous school, and it looks as though Roundview won’t offer relief.  En route to her first day, the band strikes up a familiar and ugly tune as Franky is bullied by a group of young boys at the bus stop.  She steals a motorized wheel chair to get away (at which point a viewer with even half a heart is helpless but to love her).  Happily, the end of the day finds Franky finds with three new friends who take her to the mall for a powder fueled makeover which crescendoes with the girls being chased by four mall cops following a petty theft.  Guess who wins?  But this drama twists more often than Michael Phelps’ neck as he hears a dozen just audible offers of smoke…smoke… in Washington Square Park (did you hear that?), and by the end of day two, one of Franky’s new friends double crosses her in unimaginably evil style.  Oh yes she did!  And so the barb is set.  Just one more episode!  Then one more!  Again!

With Franky’s travails fresh on my mind, I pedaled to Oliver’s to get a growler of Founders Red Rye.  Highly regarded stuff.  Can’t wait to crack it (Saturday).  Then to the garden to give the cabbage a drink.  A group of grade school kids had been brought to the park to play in the sun.  Playing wasn’t enough for one kid, so he supplemented his pleasures by mocking me and my bicycle.  “Nice basket bike, nature lover.”  I laughed to myself, but as I stood there his remark sank in.  Even got to me, if only a little.  I am 45 and he is, what, eight?  Seriously?  As silly as it was, it brought back all the taunts I’ve endured over the years.  Not a ton, but enough to make an impression on a fella.  They come less often now, but it seems like they will never end (if idiot eight years olds are going to take up the torch of abusing yours truly–jeesh!).  Like acne, it is.  They told me it would get better.  I took that to mean it would go away.  Nope!  Life is sometimes shitty forever!  Crickey!

Poor Franky.  Poor me.  Poor all of us!  Time to turn over the LP.  If I hear sandpaper, thump, sandpaper, thump one more time…

Have a great weekend.

While Spiders Sleep

None of the following happened at the end of the night, but the picture I just caught of a spider resting on the outside of our window gets the title as it is more interesting than anything about which I am going to write.

Yesterday the community garden gave up what I expect will be the last three cucumbers of the season.  Cute little buggers.  Not sorry to see you go!

Another quart of cherry tomatoes, though, so I went here to learn how to dry them.  Four hours in a 225 degree oven did the job.  Live and learn.


Last night Mahar’s offered on tap, and I accepted, a Great Lakes Octoberfest Marzen beer.  Cleveland, Ohio, should be proud.  My interest was piqued when I learned it scored a perfect 100 on Beer Advocate.  I was not disappointed.  Bill acted like it was no big thing but I understand he drives to western NY to pick up a keg of Great Lakes whenever he gets the chance, so whether he admits it or not he is probably genuinely pleased to be able to offer you a pint.  Get there before we make it disappear.

Now outside with you!


The End is Near

While walking Frida, I came across a collection of garage sale leftovers near which a helpful FREE sign was posted.  I took this.  

I studied the almost limerick as I walked.  I guessed it was intended to be both funny and educational, but neither the joke nor the lesson were penetrating my foggy head (I think I am coming down with something).  Who worries about drinking in the afterlife?  Must be more to it.

Since I didn’t unravel the mystery until I was home and the mug washed, and with undo charity to myself acknowledged, I’ll elevate the almost limerick to the status of almost koan.  If you are as dull as I (or in a hurry), allow me to share.  The first line prepares the reader for the pro-beer message in the second line.  Warns is better–turn back now lest you be carried along a path you’d rather not travel.  Then the argument.  As you read the first half of the second line, imagine a man on a doctor’s exam table.  The patient is asked to consider abstinence from drink to preserve or improve his health.  The second half of the second line finds the patient uncovering the error in the folds of the doctor’s logic–the dead don’t drink.  It’s a crafty retelling of the slipcovered couch conundrum.  When is the slipcover to be removed?  Too often the slipcoverer dies with slipcover in place. The second owner deslipcovers the couch and plants his greasy backside on sparkling fabric the tactile qualities of which the slipcoverer never enjoyed.  So my mug reminds me to drink while I can (all puns welcome here).  I suppose I could generalize the lesson to recommend a life lived fully, but isn’t a beer today, or at the end of today, enough?

This has been for me a season of coincidences.  Finding the mug today is just one more convergence struggling without hope of gaining freedom from a corner of an ever growing web.  My neighbor died last night.  Probably sometime during a phone call with my mother that felt more like a mortality and morbidity report than a casual conversation.  The local death, together with telephonic retellings of remote illnesses and uniformly gloomy stories in a newspaper which sporadically shows up uninvited on my porch, put me in a mood.  At one point I heard myself saying to my mother that the rewards for a long life are that many more medical procedures.  Repeat until death.  A morose outlook that only a mother would endure.

Something a shade lighter, perhaps?  I just got back from Los Angles.  Downtown has historically been a place where vegans go to lose weight (as in there is nothing to eat), but this time I was well cared for.  Happy Cow led me to a great new to me breakfast and lunch joint, Localita and the Badasserie.  There I enjoyed a Sir Nasty (a seitan sausage patty on a english muffin with Daiya chedder, red onion and Sriracha).  Brief aside.  I have had a life-long aversion to dishes with names.  Considered them embarrassing.  For me and the person hearing them recited.  As a kid at a truck stop, I wouldn’t order the Eighteen Wheeler.  I’d order pancakes, eggs, hashbrowns and sausage.  The waitress would ask if I meant the Eighteen Wheeler (bless her–the code name must be uttered or the bill would reflect inflated prices for each item as a side).  I’d nod and get what I wanted without having to join their juvenile chorus.  The Sir Nasty changed that.  The name felt right.  I was proud to order a Sir Nasty.  I probably won’t order anything else, lest I miss a chance to say Sir Nasty.  Say it with me.  SIR NASTY!  Better still, say it to the sweet boys manning the counter at the Badasserie and a delicious sandwich shall be your reward.

Also enjoyed a dinner at The Gorbals.  Not a vegan joint (check out the video on their home page–yikers), but the items I enjoyed I enjoyed very much.  Lightly tempura fried broccoli in vinegar.  Hearts of palm salad with baked chickpeas.  Fries with dill.  Two pints of Stone IPA didn’t hurt either.  Also didn’t hurt that the place is hip as shit.  The entrance, through a single wooden door painted over thirty times too many, is at the back of the lobby of the Alexandria Hotel (the rehab of which into low income apartments I may have helped finance–I just can’t remember and am too lazy to check–but if I did I wonder where the money went because the lobby looks untouched, as in threadbare, in a good way to my eye but maybe not to some people who call it home).  So you feel kind of proud that you even found the place.  I will be back and you should go too.

Now I am home, nursing a head cold.  Still must attend to the plants.  Always giving.  This morning they provided a basket overflowing with with eight cucumbers, ten romas, forty cherry tomatoes, a bundle of kale, four beets and a single, but enormous, daikon radish.  I have some eating to do.

This afternoon I have to meet at my neighbor’s house the folks delivering tables and chairs and then the caterer.  Happy to help.  I will be remembering the teachings of my new mug.  It holds twelve ounces.  Lessons and libations.  How convenient.


Can’t Buy a Wave

I’ve walked Frida and pedaled to the clothing drop box and the community garden.  I waved to folks on my route–of the first six zero returned my gesture.  Yes, I was keeping count.  Two of the six were police officers in parked cars.  If I were a police officer, I’d make neighborliness a priority.  My guess is the effort would pay big dividends.

Don’t get me wrong–this is a mighty fine town–but in my limited experience neighborliness doesn’t kick in for many residents until you’ve known of each other for about five years.  What is the waiting period to buy a gun?  Don’t know, but I’ll bet you a jar of kimchi it is shorter than five years.  In a world where hate is processed faster than love, you get what what you get.

So how they do they do it (the non-wavers, that is)?  You look someone in the eye, get waved at, maintain eye contact and not return the gesture.  What goes on in their head?  If you are in the non-waving camp, please let me know.  It’s kinda starting to bug me.

But then there is always one.  The spice of life!  The last one on my morning journey–lucky number seven.  I waved and asked how he was doing.  “Just doing what I can to get by.”  I said “Yup!”  As I pedaled away, he hollered “You know there is a big storm coming?”  I turned and waved and hollered “Yup!  Thanks!”  The storm is scheduled to arrive at at 1:00.  Big rain.  Hail.  Wind.  I think my neighbor said hurricane.  My exchange with mister seven was at 10:20.  He didn’t know how long I would be out and cared enough to warn me.  One out of seven doesn’t sound so good, but I’m assigning mister seven a full seven points and calling this a perfect game of neighborliness.

Saw Conor Oberst at the Egg last night with good friends sitting to our right.   Sharon Van Etten opened.  She was a delight.  Conor, too.  Before the show, we enjoyed a nice meal with two other good friends at The Olde English Pub.  The four of us got the vegan dish–roasted veggies on pita with a two dollar up charge for a couple of pieces of fried tofu.  Salt and pepper made it good.  The pint of Twisted Thistle ale was the star of the meal, though.  Next time I will skip the sandwich and just get fries and beer.  Business advice?  If you are going to offer only one vegan dish, make it a knock out, kay?  Smear some salty lemony pesto on there and you’d be closer to the mark, in my humble opinion.

Four hundred and fifty-three words in.  My!  Where’d the point go?