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Archive for the ‘Beer’ Category

Burgers aren’t really my thing, but my husband loves them, and I like to try new beers.  It seems like the Triangle area has more pub food restaurants than any other type, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Cheesy Poofs

Tribeca is conveniently located at the NW corner of High House and Davis, despite the “Ledgestone Way” street name listed.  This is a nice little shopping center with Kilwin’s for my blue moon ice cream fix, Little Toy Shop for awesome kid’s toys, games, puzzles and books, and Stonehaven for longing looks at custom gem settings.  This also means that at the wrong time of day, it can be a battle to find a good parking spot.

We entered the restaurant at just after 5pm on a Saturday evening.  At that time the restaurant wasn’t that crowded, we were able to find a good parking spot, and the upstairs veranda was completely empty.  If you do happen to come to Tribeca on a day with nice weather, I really recommend getting a seat upstairs.  Sure, the view is just the intersection of Davis and High House, but it’s still a really nice spot to relax and enjoy a beer.

Kid's Pasta

Our server was very friendly and spent a lot of time explaining all the items on the menu, where the ingredients come from, all the beer specials, and specifics on particular burgers and appetizers.  From her descriptions it sounds like they really try to use lot of local ingredients.  I’m not a locavore, in fact, I love my French cheeses and Belgian beers.  But I do appreciate a restaurant that knows where their ingredients come from.

I didn’t catch the name of the beer, but I ordered the peach hefeweizen.  It sounded like the kind of beer I would like, and I certainly did like it.  It tasted a lot like the Lindeman’s peach lambic.  I took a brief look at the appetizer list and ordered the cheesy poofs at the same time.  It sounded like the most awesome food imaginable: puff pastry stuffed with brie, chopped cashews and bacon, and a raspberry dipping sauce on the side.  It came out in just a few minutes, and it was almost as awesome as I was hoping for.  The cashews didn’t seem to match well with the brie and bacon.  It would have been better with almonds, perhaps, or maybe no nuts at all.  The brie, bacon and raspberry all went perfectly together though.

The Tar Heel Burger

For entrees my son ordered the kid’s pasta, I ordered the Tar Heel burger, and my husband ordered the Wolfpack burger.  The kid’s meals seemed like a good deal, for just $5 you get the entree, drink and dessert.  I’m not normally into burgers, but since they were Tribeca’s specialty, I decided to go for the one with brie and sauteed onions.  My husband loves burgers and tends to like the ones with fried onions and BBQ sauce on them.  We both got the sweet potato fries with honey rum sauce.

We had the pasta come out early, since my son is a slow eater.  It was an odd shape of pasta, somewhat shell shaped, so that several pieces would stick together in lumps.  I tasted a piece, and the sauce was really good.  My son even ate some of it and didn’t have any complaints.

The Wolfpack Burger

Our burgers came out soon after, and they were huge!  I tried to smush down the bun as well as I could, but even so, I was loosing onions and burger everywhere every time I tried to bite in.  It was a good burger, but far too messy.  I couldn’t even finish it all.  I think I would have been happier if the patty would have been about half that size.  The sweet potato fries were probably the best part of the meal.  The honey rum sauce was the perfect compliment.  More fries, less beef patty, and it would have been a perfect meal.

My husband had no problem finishing his burger.  He said it was pretty near perfect, and liked his fries as much as I did.  He had always been a fan of Tyler’s burgers, but considers Tribeca’s burgers to be superior.

I think we’ll probably be frequenting Tribeca a lot from now on.  I like the beer selection and the fries, and my husband loves the burgers.  We’ll just have to make sure we arrive early so we can get a spot up in the veranda again.
Tribeca Tavern on Urbanspoon

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This was my first year at the Durham World Beer Festival.  I was expecting something like the Beer, Bourbon and BBQ festival, or Triangle Uncorked.  But I was very surprised when I came into the stadium to see so many people.  I was thinking to myself that surely they would run out of beer with all those people, and I would probably spend the evening shoving my way through, waiting in line.  But after a while I discovered that everyone was being polite and respectful, and the waits were not actually so bad. 

I went to the 6pm-10pm session, and the weather was perfect.  There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the temperature was nice and mild.  The lights in the stadium were on so it was as bright as day the entire time.  There was live music playing and the delicious smell of hot food from the food booths.

When I entered I was given a small 4 oz. shot glass, same size as the one I received at the Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Festival, but the one at the World Beer Festival was plastic.  There wasn’t any swag given away at this one either, just a Beer Guide with the beer vendors listed with a brief description of each beer.  Unfortunately I had forgotten to bring a pen so I was unable to take notes.

I wanted to try a bit of everything, but there were simply too many beer stands.  Each booth had 1-5 different beers to try as well.  I tried to skip over the beers I knew I wouldn’t like, like the ones from Anheuser-Busch, Pabst and Michelob, darker beers, and I’m sorry to say I don’t have an appreciation of IPAs.  I tried to seek out some of the girlier, lighter beers, like the ciders, hefeweizen, and ales.

The beers I liked best were Abita Purple Haze, Magic Hat #9 and the Blue Point Brewing Co. beers.  They had 3 that I tried there, the Hoptical Illusion, Rasta FaRye, and the Blueberry Ale.  I loved the Blueberry Ale the best, but I was really amazed by how smooth and flavorful all 3 of the beers were.

I’m sure there were more that I tried and liked, but it’s so difficult to remember.  I ended up drinking way more than I intended too.  With the noise and the crowds, it was difficult to keep track of your sobriety level, and many of the beer booths were putting a lot more than the 2 oz. they were supposed to in each glass.  Honestly I was really more interested in trying as many beers as I could, and not trying to get drunk, so I would have been satisfied with 1 oz. or less of each beer.  But once they fill up your glass, what are you to do, dump out half of it?  I would have felt bad wasting the beer.

To be honest, I’m not sure if I would come back again next year.  Smaller festivals, like what I’ve seen at Koka Booth, have a nice, relaxed atmosphere where you really get a chance to talk to the people at the beer booths and get a good idea of where the drink has come from.  Koka Booth also has much nice bathroom facilities.  I hated having to wait in line to use port-o-potties.  It’s also easier to try at least one beer from each booth if there’s not so many booths!

Still, it’s nice having the program.  As I read through it now, I see there’s plenty of beers that sound like they’d be nice to try, and the next time I’m at Sam’s or Tyler’s I’ll be sure to check out something new.

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I got the Friday night VIP ticket for $55 which included a beer glass, T-shirt and food ticket.  Parking was $10, but I got dropped off at the entrance.  They didn’t oversell for the event so the lines weren’t too long to get in.

When you first arrive, you’ll get your ID checked, then get your name checked against a list.  I think if you didn’t pre-order your ticket you’re going to be SOL for this event.  You get a ticket that tears off into 3 pieces, depending upon what you’ve ordered.  One piece is for your glass when you come in.  It’s like a large shot glass that holds 4 oz.  The next piece is for your T-shirt, which comes in many sizes.  It’s just a plain white T-shirt with a black phrase on the front and black logo on the back.  The last chunk of your ticket is for your food.  I recommend looking at several different BBQ booths before you choose where to eat. Some of them even offered drinks, snacks or other cool things with the meal.

I picked Big Al’s randomly, not knowing that you can only get food once for the ticket.  I thought it was unlimited food…  The dish came with BBQ pork, beans, coleslaw and 2 pieces of white bread.  I opted for no bread.  The BBQ was good but had a few gristly bits in it.  The beans went really well with the BBQ.  The coleslaw had a bit too much pepper for my taste, but I ate most of it anyway.  Afterward I browsed through some of the other food booths and saw one with sweet corn and sweet potatoes, I think that one might have been better.

There was an impressive beer selection there.  I tried to try what I could, but I don’t think it’s possible for a single human to try them all in one day.  Each booth has at least 2 different varieties of beer, and there were so many booths.  Of course they had bourbon there too, all different kinds of bourbon.  But I’m not much of a bourbon person, all I tried was one of the honey bourbons and it was a bit tough for me.  But they had a lot more too!  Sweet tea vodkas, other vodkas, boxed margaritas, rum and mixers, Jager bombs, and others I didn’t get around to.

About halfway through the evening they brought out a large pig for everyone to eat off of.  It was near the front by the live music.  It wasn’t the greatest entertainment, but people were here for the booze, not the entertainment.

There were also booths with other things like drawings, ice cream, cigars, barrel moonshine kits, clothes, jewelry, and many other non-beer related things.

I think it was a really well-organized, well-controlled event.  The lines were all really short, and I don’t think I waited in a line more than 5 people long for any beer.  I think it was a really good time and I look forward to going again next year.

http://www.beerandbourbon.com/cary/show-info

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Redstone Boysenberry Meade

Redstone Boysenberry Meade

We went to Tyler’s tonight in Apex for some burgers.  I wanted to try something very different, so I got the Redstone Boysenberry Meade.  The description is:

“Made from wildflower and clover honey with boysenberry added after fermentation is completed.”

It was very sweet and fruity, and much lighter than some of the fruit lambics I normally drink.  It almost reminded me of some wine coolers.  It was pretty tasty and refreshing for such a hot summer day.

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I went to LoneRider Breweing Company today with some of my old coworkers. The place is in a warehouse-type area near the airport.  The parking lot is gravel, and there’s a small glass door that says “LoneRider Brewing”, otherwise you wouldn’t be able to find the place.  The door actually just leads to the bathrooms, the actual drinking/bar/tasting area is to the side behind one of the large sliding door loading docks.  The one really bad thing about this place is there’s no air conditioning.  It’s been in the high 90’s for days, and the large fans they had set up here didn’t help at all.

LoneRider serves 4 different kinds of beers, and each is $3 per glass.  The PeaceMaker was recommended to me as being a “bitey” beer, very “hoppy”.  Even though it was called a pale ale, it was too dark for my tastes.  It had something of a burnt caramel taste.  I usually like the light, Belgian, girly, fruity beers like lambics.

Next I tried the Shotgun Betty.  This was more of my kind of beer.  It’s a Hefeweizen, very light in color, and oddly opaque.  It looked almost like banana juice.  It did have a banana flavor as well.  I wonder if perhaps it was added?  It doesn’t seem like a natural flavor for beer to have.

One of my coworkers got the DeadEye Jack.  It was very dark.  He said it tasted like coffee.  He didn’t like it much.

I’ll probably stick to my girly beers in the future but I think it’s good to have local breweries out there.  Also at $3 a glass it’s a pretty decent place to spend some time and socialize.  The address is 8816 Gulf Ct. Suite 100 in Raleigh.  Off of 70 you’ll take Westgate Rd. east, Gulf Ct. will be the second left, and the place is on the right side of the road.

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Tyler's Taproom in Apex

Tyler’s has some pretty good bar food.  The chicken fingers with honey mustard is great with some beer, the fried pickles are surprisingly awesome, the fries are great if you love garlic, and their other appetizers are pretty good as well.  They also make some pretty good burgers here.  The only problem is, most of their other entrees aren’t all that good.  Most recently I tried the ribs with the sweet and tangy barbecue sauce.  The ribs weren’t cooked properly, so I needed a knife to cut them off the bone, and the ends were so hard they couldn’t even be cut.  The fries with it were good, the beans had some delightful little bits of crunchy bacon in them, and the coleslaw was very soggy and flaccid.  It may have helped a bit if they had the coleslaw in a separate dish instead of just throwing it under the ribs, but the core sauce was bland so it wouldn’t have helped much.  I’ve been to the Tyler’s in both Durham and Apex many times, and for both of them I’d say the entrees aren’t cutting it.  I’ve tried the french dip, the pear salad, the fish and chips, but I have to keep coming back to the burgers.  They only seem to do the burgers and appetizers well.

The reason I keep coming back to Tyler’s is for the beer.  They have a wonderful selection of beer, and you’ll never run out of things to try.  It was at Tyler’s where I first tried the Kasteel Rouge, and began my love affair with Belgian Beer.  They also have the Lindemans Frambois (raspberry lambic), Chimay, and Delirium, as well as many others I haven’t had a chance to try yet.  They have beers from all over the world here, so even people who don’t like beer are sure to fine something they do like.

Tyler’s has a 20’s speakeasy vibe, with the woodwork, tin beer ads, and jazz music playing in the background.  They have private rooms for parties and other group functions, which makes it an ideal place for after work gatherings.  The Durham location has some excellent outdoor seating with a good view of the American Tobacco Campus.  The Apex location has outdoor seating as well, but no good view of anything.  I haven’t been able to visit the Carrboro location yet, and I hear they’re opening up a Tyler’s in Raleigh soon as well.

Tyler’s is at the southern end of the American Tobacco Campus in Durham, and at the Beaver Creek Commons (west, past the movie theater) in Apex.  Their site is here: http://www.tylerstaproom.com/

Tyler's Restaurant & Taproom on Urbanspoon

Tyler's Tap Room on Urbanspoon

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