In every age, and on any frontier, an explorer needs his navigational tools. In so much, the technology of exploration has evolved quite radically over the centuries. We went from the cross-staff, to the back staff, from the compass, to the GPS, and so on and so forth. As human beings we have a natural instinct to explore; we want to find new places where there’s cool stuff, and plenty of action. Now, thanks to the digital age, the wireless age, and the digitally witless age, we no longer have to explore alone. There’s an app that connects every pub bar fly, pub crawler, and high end alcoholic and lets them instantly share their discoveries. Its a little marvel of technology called Untappd.
We at Joonbug are serious when it comes to the important stuff, which is why we felt it was so essential to inform you, our dear readers, about a hallowed national holiday that is on the horizon. That’s right: this Sunday is National American Day, and we wouldn’t want you to neglect your patriotic duty to drink some delicious beer. That’s why we’ve decided that it’s time for a rundown on the beautiful brew.
- Beer is one of the oldest beverages ever produced, dating back to (at least) the 5thMillenniumBC. The development of beer is tied intimately to the development of agriculture: pretty much every culture that domesticated a cereal also developed beer soon after. Think back to all of the hallowed ancient cultures in history, the founders of modern civilization: the Mesopotamians, the Ancient Egyptians, Peruvians, and Zulus. Now picture them all standing around kegs, because they were all massive beer drinkers.
- We’re not kidding—they took their beer really seriously. So seriously, in fact, that the Code of Hammurabi included a decree that brewers who watered down their beer would be executed. Cause of death? Drowned in their own shoddy beer.
- Beer has been the subject of religious veneration throughout history, as well as a central theme in world mythology. The Sumerians, Egyptians, and Zulus all had beer goddesses (called Ninkasi, Tenenit, and Mbaba Mwana Waresa respectively) while the Norse Gods had a personal brewer, Ægir, who served them endless beer in magically refilling cups. In the Finnish epic Kalevala, more lines are devoted to the origin of beer and brewing than to the origin of mankind.
- Though “monk” might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of beer, they were actually tremendously influential in the history of beer. During the Middle Ages, monasteries became some of the first organizations to brew beer as a trade, using the profits to provide services to pilgrims and the poor. To this day, various monasteries inBelgiumbrew some ofEurope’s best small-batch beers. Don’t worry, though—they didn’t go thirsty back then, and they still don’t. Most brewing monasteries sizeable portions of beer in their daily rations.
- And, again, though the first thing you think when you think “patron saint” might not be beer, there are not one but four patron saints for suds:Saint Augustine, Saint Arnulf ofMetz, Saint Luke the Evangelist, and Saint Nicholas.
- Historically, beer has been a woman’s trade. Among the Wari people of ancientPeru, only elite women were allowed to brew, while Ancient Egypt had a written law that barred men from making and even selling beer. Even during the Middle Ages, women dominated the beer scene: they adopted the methods used by the monastery monks to brew in their own home. It wasn’t until the late 1700’s that beer became a male-dominated field.
- Beer has also historically been the people’s drink, the great unifier (and it sure beats death and taxes). Rich and poor people alike have always enjoyed getting their brew on…and on, and on, and on. In pre-modernEurope, when water quality was dubious at best, beer was drunk multiple times a day, with every meal. That means it’s likely that even the famously prude Puritans drank beer with their breakfast.
The neighborhood around 29th and Park Avenue--recently dubbed the NoMad district--has transformed from a veritable social desert to a thriving, growing community within the course of the last eight years, which has led to exciting new social and culinary developments popping up left and right. Tavern 29, which opened a little over a year ago across the street from the Gansvoort Park Avenue Hotel, is one of the best among those developments. Housed in a converted 19th century townhouse, Tavern 29 takes advantage of its unique set up to offer a distinctive bar and restaurant experience...or, rather, three distinctive bar and restaurant experiences. Tavern 29 boasts three separate floors, each of which has been designed with its own atmosphere in mind.
Beer season is upon us! Though NYC may not have full-blown Oktoberfest festivities, there are plenty of events around the city celebrating local breweries, and, more importantly, those who want to indulge in local brews.
OTC is one of the few restaurants in Miami that has given me the same kind of satisfaction I received after having meals in Paris, which is saying a lot when one compares our local burgeoning food culture to that of the perhaps the most important food city in the world (read review here). The order-at-the-counter restaurant has been making waves in Brickell’s dining scene ever since it opened with its honest, flavorful, and reasonably priced à la carte menu that enables diners to create their own meals from a variety of proteins, sandwiches, sides, and salads in addition to its ever-changing selection of craft beers. If you have yet to become addicted to this casual eatery’s cuisine, then now is as good a time as ever as OTC has recently unveiled a brunch menu and is launching its Beer Week this coming Tuesday, January 22nd.
When I went to Paris for the first time, I was most looking forward to eating, and people warned me that the portions would be a lot smaller than they were in the United States. I wasn’t terribly concerned about that detail, and what I found out after dining in Paris was that despite the smaller portions, the food was so flavorful that I left each restaurant satisfied but not stuffed. French cuisine has a reputation for being rich, but French people have a reputation for being thin...at least thinner than Americans. The reason being, I discovered, is that they eat good food in moderation, and trying to find good food in moderation stateside can prove to be a challenge in a country that loves overabundance and has industrialized food to the point that it has lost much of its original flavor. Meals that have the same effect as those I enjoyed in Paris are usually reserved almost exclusively to haute cuisine, but that seems to be changing as eateries like OTC in Brickell make a very European concept of dining something that can be enjoyed at least once a week, if not every day. While the menu is very American in character, a meal at OTC ended with the same afterglow I experienced while dining in Paris.
Postponed from its original November 10th date, due to the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the NYC Craft Beer Festival—Winter Harvest has been rescheduled for December 1st at Hudson River Park’s Pier 57 Event Space. At the Festival, beer enthusiasst can enjoy the full-bodied warmth of winter seasonal ales while giving to a great cause. The creators behind the NYC Craft Beer Festival founded the Sandy Relief Supplies Drive, which aids those affected by Sandy in Breezy Point, Queens. If you’ve already bought your tickets for the original date, no worries—your tickets are still valid and can be applied to the original tasting session that you selected for November 10th.
On June 16th, head to the Brooklyn waterfront for the summer installment of Hand Crafted Tasting’s Co.’s beer tasting festival. Held in Williamsburg, overlooking the East River, The Brooklyn Waterfront Beer Festival will feature summer seasonals and specialty beers from across the United States as well as from international breweries. Similar to their event, the NYC Craft Beer Festival, held in March, there will be two separate sessions (12:30 p.m.‑4 p.m. and 6 p.m.‑9:30 p.m.) to ensure that everyone in attendance gets the maximum beer tasting experience possible. Different level ticket packages are also available in order to enhance the festival for true beer aficionados.
As is the wont of select social circles, beer enthusiasts also have a functioning nomenclature pertaining to all facets of the brew-dom. While some terminology has inevitably made its way into the main stream—hops, cask-conditioned, IPA’s—the “growler” has been relegated into the dusty archives of beer dispensaries. Perhaps due to its natural onomatopoeic associations, or simply because it’s not as widely marketed as vintage beer packaging (12 pack, 40 oz, kegs), the growler is sorely under-represented within the imbibing community.
Tis’ the season for brew—plentiful amounts of the frothy ambrosia overflowing! Beer fest season is in full swing, with the American Craft Beer Fest occurring this past Saturday, the Spring Craft Beer Fest happening in the wilds of Long Island on the 10th, as well as a slew of other tastings occurring throughout the month. Perhaps it’s the impending tempest of emerald debauchery known as “St.Patty’s Day” drawing brewers like moths to the flame. Whatever the case may be, celebration is in order!