It's time for The Happy Hour Guys' yearly tradition: Looking back on everywhere we've been in the past year! And 2016 was a doozy, with travels all over the USA including Texas, Montana, Michigan, Massachusetts, NYC...and speaking of NYC (and Broadway), 2016 was the first year of possibly our proudest accomplishment... THE BROADWAY BREWS PROJECT. Click play for a rundown.... and Happy New Year!
Talk about a family business: Christine and Bill Heaton met as co-workers at Victory Brewing back the early 2000's, and now as a Wife and Husband team, they own run their own production brewery in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts. Big Elm Brewing's beer is beyond terrific, and their story - one of family, sacrifice, and no small amount of courage (and also some really awesome dogs) - is even better. Think you know MA beer? Not until you've tried Big Elm. Take a look!
Guess where we're headed this summer? Western Mass, anyone? Jimmy will be performing at the Berkshire Theatre Festival again, continuing his practice of Musical Theatre Dentistry this time in Little Shop of Horrors - and besides sweet notes and sadism, you know what that means: More visits to MOE's! But Josh Cohen, always an innovator, had another another offering rather close to Moe's Tavern that we need you to remember heading into the Dog Days...join us in looking back at - Trader Moe's. Cheers!
Update: Sadly, Trader Moe's has closed just a few months ago... but Moe's Tavern is still going strong. Join us at Moe's!
It's not often that we hope to go back to a particular Craft destination... oh, who are we kidding, we hope for it all the time. But there are so many other tremendous places to visit, and more every second, that it almost doesn't seem fair to go back to a place when there are so many more to discover; there are only so many hours in the week. However, sometimes, 'The Work' orders us to places, and we just have to go.
That being said, Jimmy is heading back to the Berkshire Theatre Group this summer for the first time since 2011. Perhaps one of the prettiest (and during the summer, the ARTSIEST) destinations in the mountains of the East Coast, the Berkshire Mountains are home to great theatre including BTG, Williamstown, Shakespeare & Company, and Barrington Stage:
Always great to be headed to do a fantastic show with old friends, and new ones yet to be made. And if we're in Western Massachusetts, THAT MEANS WE'RE HEADED BACK TO MOE'S TAVERN, one of the most stupendous Craft Bars we've ever been in. (And that is saying something!) Here's our coverage from the visit 4 years ago:
We can't wait to see what other Craft Destinations have sprung up in Western MA since we've been in residence. What's new in the area? Got a line on a good new bar, Craft Maker of some kind (any kind, really!) or destination? Give us a shout in the comments below. And here's to Musical Theatre in Very Pretty Places. CHEERS!
*That we've visited.
Alright, keep your shirts on. We know there's a bewildering number of mind-numbingly awesome Craft bars there are out there, and we're aware of how many more there are for us to visit. And it is our QUEST to get to every single one of them - (oh hey, do us a solid and add your suggestions to the comment section, will you?). In the meantime, it's time to celebrate some great locals. Check out these terrific Craft Stops:
First, one of our most recent stops, in Midtown Manhattan; Beer Culture. Just next to the Hirshfeld Theatre in the Broadway District, this new watering hole is also a bottle shop.
Winner of Best Beer Bar in NY in 2013? Check. Long Island City? Check. Amazing owners? You've gotta meet the folks at Alewife NYC.
We happened to stop in to this spot in Hollywood a few years ago, and even though it's weathered some storms it's still going strong: The Blue Palms Brewhouse.
No NYC Craft Beer Bar experience is complete without a visit to Jimmy's. And if you're very lucky, you'll get to hang out with owner Jimmy Carbone, (or Jimmy Pots & Pans), a legend in the NYC Craft Community. Come home to Jimmy's.
HOPCAT. The Midwestern Craft Beer Mecca in Grand Rapids, MI. We didn't shoot video here, but dammit, we visited. And we came away very, very happy. By the way, HopCat is opening a new location in Downtown Detroit this year, and we hear it's going to be massive. Beer hear!
Pacific Standard, on 4th Ave in Brooklyn. We're pretty sure that this is what the dorm rooms at Beer Appreciation College look like.
Tucked away in the Berkshire region of Western Mass, MOE's Tavern is the bar you always dreamt about. No seriously, it is.
Adobe Blues - This may be the best reason to ride the Staten Island Ferry. Over, and over, and over. You'll 'flip' for this place...
Pizza and great Craft in Amish Country? Yup. We've seen rare beers at The Fridge in Lancaster, PA, that we have a hard time finding in a city of 8 million people!
Truly not to be missed, Proletariat is a tiny (and we mean tiny) place in the East Village of NYC that sports some of the rarest worldwide Craft we've ever seen. A bucket list bar.
Ah, the Pony Bar Hell's Kitchen on 45th and 10th Ave in Midtown Manhattan; the bar that helped turn the Craft Beer wave in this part of NYC into a Tsunami. We were there at the beginning.
This place in Minneapolis was Craft long before it was cool: Mackenzie, the Bar Next Door to the Theatre is the place you've always wanted in your neighborhood.
Ever been to Portland, Maine? Once you've seen our episode featuring The Great Lost Bear, you'll be looking to book your ticket.
And lastly, in memoriam: The Collins Bar, which sadly is long gone now, reduced to a hole in the ground on 8th Avenue NYC that's on its way to becoming a tall shiny expensive set of apartments. We fondly remember discovering flavors of Craft here that we never knew existed. Still one of our favorites, and deserving of the memory. And as you can see, also one of the first places we ever shot.
That's how our list starts. What's on yours?
Jimmy, Mark and Jeff make a stop at the home brewery of the Boston Beer Company, (the makers of all the Sam Adams beers) and discover a whole trove of coolness that is happening, OVER AND ABOVE THE BEER. Amazing.
The Guys make a stop in Lee, Massachusetts, where life is easy and the beer is AMAZING, thanks to this Craft Liquid Destination. If you're anywhere near Western Mass and you love Craft Beer, hard-to-find Bourbons and other surprises, this place is a MUST. Enjoy!