Back to the Brews


I am writing this post from my balcony of my apartment in Reno, Nevada. It’s 8:00 pm, the sun is still up and it’s 88 degrees with zero humidity.

Instagram is going to make this blog ten times more awesome

A year ago at this time, I was settling in to my wonderful apartment in the Village, where I lived for the summer. Now, I live on the other side of the country. My life is completely different, in a good way. Since I moved to Reno, I feel as if I’m myself again. I’m constantly reading, I re-discovered my love for discovering music, I’m working in a field I love. Some new things: I volunteer at my local food co-op, I say ‘super’ a lot, and once caught myself saying ‘hella’:/, I own a pair of overalls(not denim).  And I totally made myself seem like a hippie nerd.

As for Reno itself, it has some ups and downs. I’ve met some great people. Some of my stories have aired on national NPR, I got to interview Joe Biden, and I’ve really gotten to know the community through my job. Like all jobs, it isn’t perfect, but I know I’ll look back even 5 years from know and know it was probably one of the best jobs I’ll ever have.

With all of these changes and transitions, one thing hasn’t changed: I still drink a lot of beer. And I missed trying new beers and writing about them. So I thought I’d wipe the dust off of this old blog and get back to business.

And what better beer to re-ignite the fire of News and Brews than Reno’s most popular local beer, the ‘Icky’ IPA.

The Icky is brewed by the local Great Basin Brewing Company. Great Basin is a great brewery/restaurant. They support local farmers and a range of earth-friendly practices. You can check them out here. They have two locations, but the one in Sparks is my favorite.

Great Basin brews a variety of different beers, but the Icky is the most popular. It’s named after the Ichthyosaur, Nevada’s state fossil. Yea, Nevada has a state fossil. It’s an IPA that is ‘accented by a blast of Cascade hops,’ according to Great Basin’s website.

I love Icky. I love its name, I love that you can say ‘I’ll have an Icky,’ at a bar and people know what you’re talking about, and I love the taste. It’s a sweeter IPA and the bitterness isn’t overpowering, which usually turns me away from most IPAs. I could definitely have more than one, or two. It’s a smooth beer and while I wouldn’t call it my favorite IPA(I really don’t even know what I’d call my favorite IPA), it’s still worth a trip out west to come try (hint, hint friends).

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Chelsea Brewing Company celebrates October with Pumpkin Pie beer By: Amy Wadyka


Have a slice of this pumpkin pie beer!

Welcome back October- you were dearly missed.

Between apple cider, Halloween, fall foliage, and bad Vincent Price horror movies, what is there not to love about October!

What used to mark the beginning of sweater weather for me was the famed Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte but in recent years, my $6 beverage investment has been geared towards autumnal beers. Thankfully, my seasonal anticipation was satiated this year by a
recent visit to New York City’s only brewery- Chelsea Brewing Company.

This year, I rang in the new month with a tour and tasting at Chelsea
Brewing Company on October 1, with the spotlight on their Pumpkin Pie beer. I
collected a bundle of friends and headed to 18th street and 11th Avenue to the famed Chelsea Piers overlooking the Hudson River. CBC has survived over the decades to now be New York City’s lone brewery- and with good reason. While they do boast georgous views and a delicious restaurant, clearly their sweet spot is their craft beers.

To dig into CBC’s brewing secrets, we took one of their hourly tours offered on Saturdays with Brewmaster Mark. While we sipped our samples of their Checkered Cab Blonde Ale (which as their most widely distributed beer, makes up 60% of their sales), Brewmaster Mark walked us through the 2 week process of beer making in amazing (and sometimes
geeky) detail.

While I have had CBC beers all over bars in New York City, they do limit their distribution to specific bars in the tri-state area. With only 6 brewing tanks on premise and no bottling facilities, they only brew when they need to, which ends up being about twice a week. Their current tap offerings for the fall are Checkered Cab Blonde Ale,
Sunset Red Ale, Hop Angle IPA, Black Hole XXX Stout, Autumn Wheat, Fruited Wheat Beers, Chelsea Pumpkin Pie, and New York State of Mind. While CBC has 6 staple beers and only tends to switch out 2 taps for their seasonal offerings, they have been known to brew up to 25 different beers per year- so pleantly of variety to look forward to.

While our group, like the good recent college grads we are, bombarded Mark with questions, what I wanted to know most was HOW DO YOU MAKE PUMPKIN PIE BEER?! Mark told us that CBC brewers mix on premise in the restaurants kitchen a delicate batch of organic all spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and pureed butternut squash from Chelsea Market into a one of a kind syrup added to their already well crafted wheat beer. Due to the especially precise process of making their Pumpkin Pie
beer, these batches tend to take much longer to brew and are only made
in individual kegs.

Luckily we had the privlige to taste their Pumpkin Pie beer and as soon as the pint hit the table, the aroma of warm pumpkin pie filled the air. Saying this beer smelled exactly like an oven fresh desert is an understatement. The perfectly balanced spicy and fruity flavors did not over power the wheat base like so many seasonal beers do. The
beer is very smooth and while some flavored beers can leave the imitation flavor aftertaste, CBC’s Pumpkin Pie leaves a true aftertaste of, well, pie-which everyone loves. Another point to make about CBC’s Pumpkin Pie beer is that while many desert beers are not easily paired with food, our group chose to eat dinner at the brewery and the Pumpkin Pie beer melded perfectly whether we were eating burritos or french onion soup (I did say they had an excellent restaurant!). All in all, I can not say enough good things about this beer, and while I have been sampling pumpkin brews whenever I
encounter one, none can compare.

The Gang takes over CBC

So thank you Brewmaster Mark and the whole Chelsea Brewing Company team- your hard work and dedication makes for a stupendious beer and a one hell of an experience. And for all of the local New Yorkers or visitors wondering what to do on these upcoming autumnal Saturdays- pull on your boots and visit this New York relic and try the most
perfect Pumpkin Pie beer for yourself.

Amy Wadyka is a freelance (and by freelance we mean unpaid) beer lover, writing from the newly created News and Brews satellite office in New York City. Want to write a review of a local beer? Shoot me an email at katehillmcgee@gmail.com!

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News and Brews Going Out West to Find Fortune


Reno, Nevada. My new home.

Yes, you read correctly. I’m moving out West!

I was recently offered a Broadcast Journalist position at the NPR affiliate station in Reno, and I’ve accepted.

I will be serving as KUNR’s Morning Edition news anchor, reading newscasts every half hour in the morning, and reporting in the afternoons.

As many of you know, I used to work at WFUV and WNYC radio, and really miss public radio and radio reporting. So now, here I am, packing up my bags, looking for a car(something I never wanted to do. Note: Reno does not have subways), looking for apartments and am planning a cross country road trip with my best friend and soul mate, Hannah. And by soul mate I mean she’s one of the few people who I could spend over 16 hours at one time in a car.

So, if everything goes well and the trip goes as planned, News and Brews will be tasting beers as I trek across the country and begin writing a new chapter in my life.  I’m planning to stop in Cleveland, Chicago, St. Louis, Denver and Salt Lake City. If you know of any good beer, or anything great to do in those cities, let me know!

I will, of course, miss my east coast roots. Nothing will look as beautiful as the city skyline. And no other city will ever be, “the city.” I’m sure when Jay-Z’s Empire State of Mind comes on at a Reno bar, I’ll be that girl. Whatever.

I’m also planning to start a new blog documenting my adventures as I find my fortune in the Biggest Little City in the World (“What does that even mean?”-my mother), and the surrounding areas. I’ll make sure to keep up on my love for blogging about beer, but my life has gotten a little more interesting and I want to be able to document it all.

Everyone please visit. I’m sure I’ll be homesick for that East Coast attitude soon enough.

#newsgirlproblems

 

 

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Casey Anthony’s trial may have cost taxpayers nearly $700K


A mask of Casey Anthony that sold for nearly $1 million dollars on Ebay

FLORIDA — The infamous Casey Anthony murder investigation and trial cost taxpayers $700,000, Reuters is reporting. That number is based on new tallies from agencies involved in the case.

Prosecutors are seeking reimbursement from Anthony herself. The 25-year-old high school drop out was acquitted on July 5 of murdering her two-year-old. She was convicted of four counts of lying to detectives who were investigating the disappearance of her missing 2-year-old, Caylee.

A hearing is scheduled August 25 to determine how much of the bill Anthony must pay herself. There are rumors she may be able to make a significant amount of money through book deals and paid interviews.

Casey Anthony’s whereabouts since she was released from jail on July 17 are unknown to the public, although a mask of her face sold for nearly $1 million dollars on Ebay.

It is unknown how Caylee Anthony died, since the only remains found were bones and hair. She was found in the woods near the Anthony’s home five months after she was reported missing.

I personally didn’t follow the Casey Anthony trial until the day she was acquitted, and only because there were televisions on at my job. I have to admit, it was a pretty bizarre story, and one that Americans would love: lies, murder, intrigue, accusations of sexual abuse. It’s a regular Law and Order SVU episode.

However, I thought this article by Adam Kurland deserves a toast.

It is an interesting read on the ways of the law and how lawyers are taught to handle circumstantial evidence, among other aspects of the law.

St. Peter's Grapefruit Ale

And of course, I toasted with St. Peter’s Grapefruit Ale, to honor the Florida grapefruit!

I must say, this beer tasted absolutely nothing like grapefruit. I’ve been on a grapefruit kick lately, and it was sadly, disappointing. When my friend Hannah tasted it, she literally said, “oh no, this is not good.”

It’s a light color, but the taste is quite bitter. It has an unusual taste, but not a lingering one.

However, maybe it was lack of other beverages or the fact that I paid good money to buy this beer, I continued to drink it. I must say, the beer got better as I drank it. Yet it wasn’t a beer worth remembering or buying again.

I wouldn’t recommend it, but if you’re intrigued, I’d say go for it!

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It’s Freakin’ Hot, Yo!


A bottle of In-Heat Wheat. Photo by Hannah Van Why

ALL OVER THE PLACE — Temperatures reached 108 in Newark, New Jersey last week, as the tri-state area and most of the United States were hit with a terrible heat wave that is still taking its sweet old time to cool off.

There were air quality alerts and intense heat alerts for New York, where the heat index said it felt like 115 degrees in Manhattan at some points on Friday, July 22nd. As someone who has just started training for a half marathon, these temperatures were not welcome.

Drenching sweat was a constant, make up wasn’t applied. Lady games were at an all time low. If you looked good last week, congrats. You really are an attractive person.

The only thing that can make you feel better when your legs are so sweaty they aren’t even sticking to the seat is a good, cold beer. And what better way to distract yourself than Flying Dog Brewery’s In Heat Wheat Hefeweizen?

True, they’re probably using the phrase, “in heat” in a different way, but at this point it is so hot, who the hell cares.

I am a huge fan of wheat beer, and I must say this one was not a disappointment. It was light and had a fruity taste, with orange overtones. It was similar to Blue Moon, but not as heavy, which also means it wasn’t as filling. According to the website, it pairs well with seafood.

All in all, it was a great beer and hit the spot during last week’s heat wave. The heat seems to have broken after some storms yesterday, but I’m sure there will be hot days to come before the summer ends.

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Happy Birthday Hannah Van Why!


Stunners since 2002

CRANFORD —  After work prevented me from going to Cape Cod for vacation with my family, and car problems prevented me from going to Avalon for the weekend, I’m currently in Cranford, spending the weekend at my best friend Hannah’s home, which means I’m here to celebrate her birthday, which is today!

Hannah and I have been friends since we were young swimmers at Cranford Swim Club, and she and her siblings are now like brothers and sisters to me.

This picture was taken at our friend’s bat mitzvah, which was paradise themed. This picture was placed in a frame with a hula girl, hence the stray hula skirt strands almost covering my face.

So I’ll be raising my glass to Hannah today — except it will probably be a margarita from her aunt’s margarita machine instead of a beer — and if you’re drinking somewhere, you should too!

Happy Birthday Han, I love you🙂

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Amy Winehouse found dead; fans mourn loss of great talent


Amy Winehouse in this flickr photo. She was found dead in her London apartment. Police have not indicated a cause of death.

London — Amy Winehouse, the British female singer who rose to fame with her album, Back to Black, has been found dead in her London apartment.

The cause of death is unknown and police are categorizing the death as, “unexplained.” Winehouse was best known for her songs, “Rehab,” and “Valerie,” among others.

Winehouse had a distinct vocal talent, blending jazz and blues in her songs, which were reminiscent of doo-wop girl bands of the early 1960s. However, her musical talent was often overshadowed by her issues with drugs and alcohol, a struggle closely documented by the tabloid media and broadcasted to the world via the internet.

News and Brews weighed how to celebrate Winehouse’s life and talent through a beverage, especially when one of her demons was alcohol itself. Some of the site’s interns, Charlotte and Ben, spent almost an hour in a craft beer store looking for the perfect way to commemorate Amy Winehouse’s life.

However, my friend Hannah had brought a wine home from Charlottesville, Virginia, from the vineyard of Dave Matthews. The music link, and obvious play on Amy Winehouse’s last name, seems a perfect way to raise a toast to a musical genius who had great, great talent.

The wine, from Blenheim Vineyards, was a 2009 Chardonnay. According to the website, it is made with “scents of honeysuckle, orange blossom and nutmeg [that] prelude[s] flavors of nectarine, mango and candied pine with a finish of soft pineapple.”

The wine was very drinkable and sweet, and it was delicious! It was a light, sweet wine that was perfect for the over 100 degree weather we’ve been having. My friend Hannah helped me taste the wine. She agreed it was light and also said it had a flowery taste.

RIP Amy Winehouse.

Stay tuned for a post about how freakin’ hot it is!

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What the hell is this?


With Animee beer, you get less gas and cute, perfume-esque flavors! Yum!

I don’t know whether to be excited or offended.

My new favorite website, the hairpin, led me to this article from the U.K. Apparently, the British company Molson Coors is launching a new beer…for women.

Marketing Magazine’s website is reporting that the company has spent over one million pounds and two and a half years studying women’s relationship to beer. According to The Huffington Post, the company surveyed 35,000 women about beer, finding 79% don’t drink beer or rarely drink beer. They also found 17% of British women drink beer, while 25% of American women drink beer.

Molson Coors’ answer?  Animee. It will come in three flavored varieties: clear filtered, crisp rose and zesty lemon. The new beer will be–get this–“less gassy” and lighter than most other beers. Every girl’s dream, right?!

Now, I happen to be a woman who enjoys a good beer. Hence, the creation of this blog. And I would say most of my girlfriends appreciate a good brew as well. So when did it happen that girls needed beers with the same name as their body wash? Zesty lemon? Crisp rose?

According to this great column in the British paper, the Guardian, Molson Coors marketing director Chris McDonough said “It’s important when launching a female beer not to be too patronizing.” Thank god they dodged that bullet.

As someone who writes a blog purely about beer, how can this not be patronizing? From a marketing point of view, it makes sense. Look at the demographic that is buying the least of your product, and find a way to attract them.

But beer companies around the world, listen up. Women don’t need you to make a beer that makes them less gassy or has a prettier name to make it more appealing.

As Guardian writer Melissa Cole relays, studies found that most of the time women don’t buy beer because of sexist advertising, not because the bottle or the beverage inside. Beer advertising is some of the sexist advertising around.

Case and point:

Naked woman and beer

Typical girls night.

Get it? It looks like a boob.

She’s drinking for two

Animee beer will come out in the fall, and when it does, I’ll certainly try it. But unless beer companies start marketing beer to women, I’m not sure this is going to make a difference. Because in the end, studies say it isn’t the taste that deters women, it’s the ads.

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The Value Meal just got a whole lot more value


Haven’t updated in a while–the real world obviously doesn’t provide enough time for drinking good beer.

But an article at ABCnews.com caught my eye that I thought I would share.

They are reporting that some fast food chains across the countries will now begin offering beer and wine!

That includes two Sonics in South Florida, and other Burger Kings in Miami, Las Vegas and Kansas City. The article also cites some Starbucks in Seattle also started serving beer and wine.

Read the full article here!

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New York City street vendor awarded liquor license


Pera truck

Courtesy of nytimes.com

Street meat and beer. That’s what some will soon be able to order at the Pera Turkish Taco Truck at West 67th street in Central Park, near Tavern on the Green.

The New York State Liquor Authority recently granted the first street vendor a full liquor license.

Starting today, the truck will be able to serve beer, wine and cocktails, including those made with vodka, rum, gin, tequila and whiskey. Two other street carts are also applying for liquor licenses.

Read the full story here.

You can also see a slideshow of photos of the truck here.

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