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Alcohol Beer Culture Drinks Features Restaurants

Viva Birrerie Italiane: The Rise of Italian Craft Beers

Barano-Beverage-Director-Jason-White

Italian food lovers have a lot of options when it comes to what kind of alcoholic drink to pair with their pasta or pizza. There’s obviously a slew of Italian red wines like Pinot Grigio and Barolo as well as aperitifs like Campari and Aperol — although those are usually consumed before a meal — not to mention cocktails like the iconic Negroni. However, if you want to a pair a beer with your bresaola, it can seem like your options are few and far between.

There’s Peroni, the standard bearer – Italy’s equivalent to our “king of beers.” And Birra Moretti, the slightly lesser known brand — which is no longer brewed in its homeland – if you’re lucky. However, Jason White, Beverage Director at Brooklyn’s Barano, wants you to know that there is far more than just those two Italian staples. He’s built an extensive, varied beer list, which gives guests options that are as considered as their wine offerings. Barano’s beer program pays homage to, among other things, the burgeoning Italian craft beer movement.

So, who better to give us advice on what we should be trying when we want a change of pace in our Italian brews? Here are five beers White recommends:

Birrificio Italiano’s Tipopils

As one of the beers that really set a new benchmark for Italian producers a few years back, this zesty and grassy German Pilsner continues to make a great stir throughout the modern beer community as one of the original cornerstones for the Nuovo Italiano movement in artisan beer production. This style pairs well with a great range of items — my favorite is with a true Italian pizza with the focus on a really well-made crust and fresh, bright toppings to balance the beautiful tart, earthy, and smoky flavors of a great crust.

Birrificio Del Ducato’s Beersel Mattina

One of my personal favorites. The story of how this beer came to be is almost as important as the impact it’s slowly making. Based around New Morning, a farmhouse style Saison, it has refreshing qualities that will match any seasonal Spring or Summer dish; be it vegetable-driven, seafood, or any fun protein that is not red meat. This beer is floral, crisp, bright, and a great pairing with almost any earthy and acid-driven pasta, rich seafood dish, or non-red-meat dish.

LoverBeer’s BeerBera

This is where it gets really fun. A Wild Ale [editor’s note: a wild ale is a kind of beer brewed using yeast or bacteria in addition to Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the typical yeast usually used] fermented with yeast on Barbera grapes that is left to spontaneously ferment in oak vats. The blur or hybridization of genres is becoming more and more relevant beyond the movement of experimentation in beer and wine. And just like wine, we should heed the thought that, like a great Bordeaux or other great full-bodied red, this also needs time to develop more balanced character. We currently have a few bottles of the 2015 vintage and it’s showing well, though still young. This is an awesome pairing for our Salt Meadow Lamb with Escarole, Pine Nuts, Raisins and Cannellini Puree.

Birrificio Torrechiara’s Panil Barriquée Riserva

This cognac-barrel-aged sour red was one of the first artisan products shown to the US market that was truly unique in the way that the native yeasts and barrel-aging give way to a very sour and complex beer. You could compare this to a full-bodied, tannic red wine, and even trade-in since the acid and tannin from this beer will actually help highlight the flavors of the sear and juicy flavor of a medium rare steak… especially over a wood fire!

Birrificio Le Baladin’s Xyauyù – Barrel 2010

A beer? A Tawny Port style fortified wine? Both?! Kind of! Well, maybe in certain flavor characteristics. Xyauyù (pronounced eck-see-eye-yoo), and it’s different variations, are some of the most unique beers on the market. Internationally. Period. Founder and Master Brewer, Teo Musso, will go as far a singing to his Oxidized Barley Wine during the two and a half year minimum it takes to age and delicately oxidize using the Solera Method — the same method used to make Sherry. For the Barrel version, he ages the beer in Trinidadian rum barrels. This with chocolate, in general, is awesome. But this with our Torta Caprese chocolate tart filled with fine & raw dark chocolate in an almond tart shell on top of a Calabrian anglaise? Heaven.

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Alcohol Beer Drinks News Nightlife Restaurants Toasty

This Bar Lets You Throw Axes Indoors, Seriously

(PRNewsfoto/Kick Axe)

The holidays are behind us but you may still have some seasonal stress you need to release. If so, you can head to Brooklyn’s Kick Axe for a beer and axe-throwing. Yes, the kind of axe that they use to chop down trees type of axe-throwing.

Kick Axe’s Brooklyn location, a 7,000-square-foot venue that is the first of its kind in New York City and New York state, has 10 ranges for throwing. Each group of up to 12 guests is paired with an “ax-pert” who first explains the rules and protocols before taking one pair of throwers into the range at a time to throw. Axe-throwing is open to participants aged seven and above, as long as they have the strength and coordination to safely throw an axe as judged by the ax-perts.

In addition to axe-throwing, Kick Axe guests will enjoy a cozy lumberjack-style lodge, complete with Instagram-friendly spare flannels and faux hatchets.

“We’re thrilled to bring the experience of axe-throwing to Brooklyn,” said Kick Axe founder and owner Ginger Flesher-Sonnier. “Throwing an axe is a hugely satisfying, fun and easy experience. It’s about momentum, not strength.”

Those concerned about the combination of drinking and axes need not worry: Kick Axe’s staff has TIPS certification (Training for Intervention Procedures), a skills-based training program to responsibly serve, sell, and consume alcohol. Guests who drink must agree to do so responsibly.

Axe-throwing is a game of skill where players hurl a dulled hatchet at a wooden bullseye, and Kick Axe is looking to capitalize as they plan to open additional locations in PhiladelphiaOrlando and Washington, D.C.

A 75-minute axe-throwing session at Kick Axe costs $35 per person with online reservation. One-hour walk-in sessions are $28 per person.

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Alcohol Culture Drinks Nightlife Toasty

A Roundup of The Best Pop-Up Bars In New York City This Holiday Season

If Santacon isn’t for you but you still like to deck the halls with a good spirited beverage that’s #FestiveAF, then this is the article for you.

Holiday pop-up bars have become all the rage from coast to coast, but New York City seems to be the most festive. Below are just a few of the bars you should check out after Rockefeller Centre (because that place can be a madhouse).

The Holiday Cocktail Factory

As Willy Wonka said, “Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.” Inspired by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, LOCL Bar at NYLO Hotel has launched The Cocktail Factory. The space’s decor will be redesigned to reflect Roald Dahl’s whimsical style and guests can sip from a menu of colorful, seasonal drinks created by Muddling Memories’ Cody Goldstein.

The Violette, You’re Turning Violette  is a combination of tequila, pineapple and Creme de Violette. The Golden Goose is spiked with edible gold, glitter, and pop rocks, but my favorite though had to be The Goodie Goodie Gumballs (seen above) — tequila, St. Germain, cranberry served in a gumball machine.Guests can also have an adult version of the Fizzy Lifting drink in the Champagne Bubble Room or satisfy their sweet tooth at NYLO’s library, which will be converted to a sweets shop for the duration of the pop-up. In the spirit of giving, $1 from every cocktail will be donated to charity partner, Save the Children.

The Cocktail Factory at 2178 Broadway will be open through January 31, 2018.

Sippin Santa’s Surf Shack

Photo Credit: Paola Beretti

Sure, Santa Claus is pretty busy this time of year. But, in his off-time, the big guy loves shredding swells and sipping on tiki drinks. That’s the premise behind Boilermaker’s SOHO pop-up bar. Surf’s up.

The Son of a Nutcracker features a blend of rums, Campari, coconut, passion fruit and fresh lemon while the Little Drummer Boy is their housemade hot cocoa, spiced rum, Amarula cream liqueur, and marshmallows. Not one to ignore the Jewish community, they also have the Hanukka-vana which includes rye whiskey, dill aquavit, coconut, pineapple, and fresh lime. Since the bar is named after the classic beer and shot combination, you have to try one of their xx boilermakers, which are all named after classic holiday characters like Kris Kringle (the classic seen above), Jack Skellington, and Ralphie Parker (the Hawaiian take).

Sippin Santa’s Surf Shack at 13 1st Ave will be open through Jan. 1.

Sleyenda

A Christmas tree is lit in Brooklyn and is adorned with all the divas you can imagine — Mariah, Gaga, Britney, J.Lo, and Janet. And atop the tree is the queen herself, Beyonce. It, much like the rest of the decor at Brooklyn’s Leyenda, simply slays (or is it sleighs).

Either way, owners Ivy Mix and Julie Reiner have taken holiday pop-ups beyond Manhattan with their Latin​ ​holiday​ ​pop-up​ ​that​ ​pays homage​ ​to​ ​all​ ​the​ ​Queens​ ​out​ ​there.​ ​​Mexican​ ​Hot​ ​Chocolate​ ​is​ ​spiked​ ​with​ ​mezcal,​ ​a​ ​drink​ ​called​ ​The​ ​Sleigh Pilot (shown above) pairs​ ​Appleton​ ​and​ ​Wild​ ​Turkey​ ​Rare Bread Bourbon​ ​with lime, grapefruit, falernum, cinnamon, absinthe, and aromatic bitters served in an ornament​,​ ​and the classic​ ​coquito​ ​(Puerto​ ​Rico’s ​take on​ ​eggnog). The​ ​back​ ​of​ ​the​ ​bar​ ​was also​ ​turned​ ​into​ ​a​ ​private​ ​winter chalet. A​ ​fireplace​ ​will​ ​warm​ ​the​ ​hideaway,​ ​which​ ​is perfect​ ​for​ ​last​ ​minute​ ​holiday​ ​parties​ ​and​ ​gatherings​ ​with​ ​friends.

Sleyenda ​at​ ​221​ ​Smith​ ​Street​ ​will​ be open​ ​through​ ​December​ ​24th.

Miracle on 9th Street

Photo Credit: Melissa Hom for Miracle

The one that started it all — at least as far as we’re concerned. Miracle on 9th Street at MACE has become a holiday tradition for many (including myself). The Lower East Side bar, known for its unique craft cocktails, gives its creations a seasonal turn.

Try the Christmapolitan, which includes fig leaf-infused vodka, cranberry, elderflower liqueur, lime juice, coconut water, spices, whey — lactose clarification while the Die Hard-inspired Yippie Ki Yay Mother F****r! features Plantation Barbados Rum, Yaguara Ouro Cachaça, Plantation OFTD Rum, purple yam-coconut orgeat and pineapple acid. Like sibling bar Boilermaker, Miracle also has a Channukah-inspired drink called the Dreidel Dreidel Dreidel, which is made of chocolate gelt-infused Reposado tequila, Pedro Ximenez Sherry, maple syrup, and black walnut bitters. There really isn’t a bad choice on their menu.

Miracle on 9th Street at 649 E 9th Street will be open through Jan. 1.

The Winter Room

Hanging out at a rooftop bar in Manhattan in December might sound crazy, but the eponymous named The Roof has turned its beautiful views of Midtown into a veritable winter wonderland — it’s also fairly close to all the classic NYC Christmas sites, so that helps.

In addition to its traditional cocktail and light bites menu, the bar also serves “Winter Warmers” like the Rooftop Toddy with spiced rum, hot apple cider, and a cinnamon stick; Central Park Sleigh Ride with Belvedere Vodka, hot chocolate, and vanilla; and The Snowday with Hennessy VSOP, fresh lemon juice, and honey. They also serve hot chocolate and hot apple cider, in case you’re hanging with kids or teetotalers.

The Winter Room at 124 West 57th Street is open through March 2018.

Rolf’s

Imagine a restaurant that thinks it should be Christmas all year around… just like that one aunt you have. Now imagine, it as a New York institution that serves great, traditional German food. Well, that’s Rolf’s.

The restaurant starts decorating in September and they stay up till spring. Their food stays the same, focusing on German classics like schnitzel and bratwurst, but they do serve festive drinks like mulled wine and spiced eggnog. They also have a really hardy schnapps menu, if you’re into that sort of thing. Good luck getting in though, as it’s one of the hottest restaurants to get into at this time of year for this very reason.

Rolf’s is located at 281 Third Avenue.

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Culture Hit-Or-Miss News

New York’s Pizza Festival Infuriated Guests With FYRE-Like Failures

A while back, the FYRE Festival left a pretty bad taste in people’s mouths. What was intended to be an island paradise musical festival with villas and gourmet food turned out to the be a tremendous disappointment. It looks like another festival is disappointing attendees, and this one hits a little closer to home thanks to the promise of the universal embrace of warm pizza.

GrubStreet reports that the New York City Pizza Festival pissed a lot of people off over the weekend. Folks came from far and wide, paying up to $75 a ticket to wait in a “sketch” Bushwick parking lot filled with empty tables and not nearly enough food.

As you can see here, the pizza looks far from filling:

It seems that the event had a single tent that workers were cutting embarrassingly thin slices of “bad” pizza to feed the hungry guests. Allegedly, the organizers had trouble finding the 30 pizza vendors they promised their guests so they ordered about five pizzas to the venue.

Guests were peeved.

Not too long after, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office launched an inquiry into the event. Never piss off a New Yorker anyone with the promise of pizza.

The festival’s organizers posted a few days ago that they’ll simply be issuing everyone who came full refunds. The only thing customers couldn’t get back, unfortunately, was the time they wasted waiting in line.

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Celebrity Grub

Kendall Jenner Claps Back At NYC Bartender That Claims She Didn’t Tip

Update: Kendall obviously didn’t appreciate her good name being dragged around, so Monday afternoon, she addressed the tipping issue, saying that she tipped in cash. Kendall tweeted out, “Damn, I guess next time we won’t tip in cash,” but it’d be surprising if she returned at all after the way she was called out by the club. The bartender who first tweeted about the incident, Michael Burns, has since taken the accusatory tweet down.

Kendall Jenner is now 21-years-old and can finally buy herself alcoholic beverages, but the young millionaire allegedly committed a serious bar foul and was called out for it by the establishment.

The young Jenner sister was accused of not tipping the bartender at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn, and the night club came with receipts, posting a photo to their Instagram account showing the lack of tip on Kendall’s $24 bill and captioning it, “Don’t forget to tip your bartender,” with a smiley face at the end for good measure.

The reason Jenner was in the building in the first place was for rapper A$AP Twelvyy’s listening party, along with Jenner’s friend A$AP Rocky, slated to perform that night.

The club took the image of Jenner’s receipt down, but not before everyone caught a glimpse and dragged Jenner through the mud:

_________

__________

This brings up the age old argument of when to tip, how much to tip, and if the tipping system is broken altogether.

No one’s ever technically required to tip their bartenders, but it’s a bit of a douchey move not to. The peeps behind the bar are trying their best to put together your crazy drink requests, at a reasonably quick rate, with a line full of people bombarding them. Bartenders do provide a bit of an extra service that you can’t just go to the grocery store for.

Either way, of all situations where tipping comes up, it’s in bad form not to tip your bartenders.

Kendall Jenner has been accused of a less-than-savory experience with wait staff before, as she was accused of trying to dine and dash, being chased down, then throwing a couple $20 bills at the server’s face in 2014.

Her and the staff should just settle this all with an ice cold Pepsi, and call for a truce.

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Fast Food News

Burger King Employees Rescued By Boat After Being Stranded In Flooded Restaurant

Some crazy rain hit Brooklyn, Ohio this past Wednesday, to the point where they had to conduct rescue missions, according to Fox8 Cleveland.

With streets and businesses flooded, rescue crews had to deploy boats in order to save employees from a badly flooded Burger King. The fast food restaurant was so deep in water that they could not even open the front door to attempt an escape.

Employees in the Burger King said they were scared for their lives as the water kept rising, to the point of waist-deep. However, the rescue teams showed up just in time to get them out of there.

Thankfully there were no injuries reported during the flooding, but there were seven cars in the area, headlight-deep in rain water, stuck and unable to move.

There were no reports of how many Whoppers were lost in the flooding, though, but you have to imagine that not many made it out.

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News Restaurants

Man Brutally Beaten For Offering To Pay For Strangers’ Meal In Brooklyn Restaurant

A kind gesture can go a long way sometimes. However, in some cases, there can be negative connotations to trying to be a nice guy. Such was the case with a man at a Brooklyn restaurant earlier this month, reports Daily News.

Two men entered a Texas Chicken and Burgers in Prospect Park on the evening of March 1. One of the men had said loudly that no one would give him a dollar to order his food. A 37-year-old diner overheard and offered to pay for the two men’s meal.

It seems the offer of a free meal triggered the two assailants as they proceed to assault the man, even going as far as taking his walking cane while he was on the ground and hitting him with it repeatedly. Upon seeing the commotion, two more assailants rushed into the restaurant and attacked the victim. One man even rifled through the victims pockets before the police arrived.

Some patrons of the chicken and burger restaurant tried to intervene and stop the beating, while others merely stepped over the victim and ordered their food.

It’s terrifying to see how some people can react to a kind gesture. Hopefully this incident doesn’t deter us from trying to help out those in need.

The police are asking anyone with information regarding the assault to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577 – TIPS.

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Celebrity Grub Hit-Or-Miss

Biggie Smalls’ Old Supermarket Gave Out These Classic Grocery Bags

Before rapper Biggie Smalls became the King of New York, he worked part-time at a supermarket, like a normal Joe.

Thursday was the 20th anniversary of Biggie’s death, and in honor of the rapper and his bagging skills, Brooklyn Key Foods gave out paper bags with the hip hop legend’s face printed on them.

Key Foods, which used to be Met Foods Supermarket in the 80s, had these limited edition “Biggie Bags,” which were stenciled portraits of Biggie wearing a crown, and the date of his death (March 9, 1997) right under.

The coolest thing was that they weren’t on sale, they were just the everyday grocery bags, and customers got hold of them while checking out.

Of course, the bags were all “Notoriously” given out, so if you thought you had “One More Chance” to “Kick in the Door” and “Hypnotize” the cashier into giving you one, you’re “Dead Wrong.”