Asian Fusion, Craft Beer and Cocktails, and Skyline Views at Brooklyn’s Kimoto Rooftop

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For a change from the boring, played-out bar scene, visit the top the Aloft and Sheraton hotels

Here’s a new rooftop to add to your list: Kimoto Rooftop in Brooklyn. Most Manhattanites spend all day (and sometimes night) working in their borough’s downtown area. So why stay there any longer than you have to when you’re free?

Escape the Manhattan bubble and hop on over to Brooklyn where this rooftop and lounge offers just as cool of a nightlife/after-work scene as any other place in the city.

The views are naturally gorgeous. The vibe is chic, trendy, and modern. The food is way better than your average, overpriced bar bites, and the menu boasts a nice selection of Asian-inspired food, innovative cocktails, and craft beers.

Lesser-seen beers offered included the Yo-Ho Sorry Yuzu Salt Ale, a light, Japan ale brewed with fresh yuzu juice and peel; and the Ginga Ninja, a tropical red IPA ale brewed with six pounds of ginger in each batch. These are two fruitier beers that even myself — a non-beer drinker (for the most part) — would enjoy.

My favorite cocktails were the sweet, refreshing, and effervescent ones. If you’re like me, you’ll be a fan of the No Sleep Till, with Aperol, lychee, sparkling wine, lemon, and mint; the Mekong Mule, with Kaffir lime-infused Absolut, sake, jasmine, mint, lime, and ginger beer; as well as the Lemongrass Vietnamese, with black pepper, Bombay Sapphire East, Mizu Shochu, and raspberry.

Being of half-Asian descent, I’m always a huge fan of the fusions. Kimoto Rooftop’s Asian-inspired menu didn’t disappoint. The appetizer selection is diverse and features items such as the beef Bulgogi tacos, with homemade kimchi slaw, Asian pear, and toasted sesame; Sriracha buffalo, garlic soy, or gochujang barbecue wings; tuna tartare with a yuzu guacamole, pickled jalapeño, and a spicy aïoli; and the crunchy tempura basket, that comes with shrimp, a whole calamari skewer, a potato croquette, tonkatsu, and wasabi mayo.

If you’re a bit hungrier, I recommend the Kobe beef burger (yum!) which is served with a spicy/sweet kimchi slaw, gochujang barbecue, white truffle oil, and sprouts, or the crispy, juicy pork cutlet with tonkatsu, kewpie mayo, and red cabbage slaw.

This menu, by chef Brian Tsao of Manhattan’s Mira Sushi & Izakaya, is flavorful, eclectic, and an excellent merging of traditional American and Asian cuisines. Plus, with the live DJ, bumping music, and easy-to-find location, it’s a great place to start or end the night.

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NYC Spotlight | Treadwell Park

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Games, fantastic food, and lively vibes make this spot entertaining and satisfying for everyone!

Date night? Family fun night? Game night? No matter what your plans are, the Upper East Side’s Treadwell Park is the perfect place to go. I actually would take anyone there for any occasion because it’s that awesome

With two floors, patio seating, and stools at the bar, Treadwell Park is super spacious and has tons of natural light flowing through the restaurant. Though it’s known as a “dynamic craft beer hall,” it also has excellent food, free self-serve popcorn, and complimentary pinball, pingpong, and Jenga!

Plus, if you’re with competitive people, its game-on before, during, and/or after your meal! My boyfriend and I happened to be in the middle of an epic Jenga battle when our food arrived, so we put the game on pause and feasted before continuing. Oh, there’s also 12 big-screen, high-definition TVs throughout the place if you want to just watch your favorite sports team or players.

I shamelessly tried out a good amount of the menu and enjoyed every bite that I stuffed myself with. My favorites out of the small plates included the salty ‘n sweet, thick-cut bacon lollies; the spicy pork meatballs with a cool cilantro yogurt dipping sauce; and the smoked crispy wings with a horseradish cream sauce. Next time, I’ll have to try the giant soft pretzel with pimento cheese dip and the kimchi griddle cakes (sounds interesting, right?).

For the mains, Treadwell Park has an eclectic mix of offerings. Items range from the (brat)wurst sampler with Schaller and Weber’s brat, sauerkraut, and warm potato salad; the Nathan’s all-beef  foot-long hot dog; and the barbecued baby back ribs; to a selection of juicy hamburgers that include a Pat LaFrieda’sblend of wagyu Kobe-style burger and the Merchant’s signature brisket burger.

Treadwell Park also offers brunch with tradition morning fare such as the poached eggs with avocado and parmesan on curried quinoa; house smoked beef brisket and fried eggs; and classic French toast.

Obviously, this lively eatery has plenty of beverage options, with more than 20 draught beers and ciders (which rotate weekly), cask beer, and hand-crafted artisanal cocktails made from independent spirits. Even more impressive is the fact that Treadwell Park is led by Anne Becerra, the first woman in New York City to become a certified cicerone (basically a beer sommelier with unparalleled knowledge of the beer world). You really can’t go wrong here, whether you’re a beer lover or not.

I, for one, don’t love beer. That said, I loved the selection of seasonal beer floats Treadwell Park has just launched! The new summer beet float menu offers a wide selection of drinks that include The Big Island, which is Talenti’s Caribbean Coconut Gelato with Avery Lilikoi Kepolo (passionfruit witbier), garnished with a slice of pineapple or fresh mint; The Not So Vanilla Vanilla, which is Madagascar Vanilla Gelato with Ayinger Brau Weisse (hefeweizen), garnished with a cherry; The Summer in Sicily, which is Sicilian Lemone Sorbetto with Radeberger Pislner, garnished with lime zest; and The Bittersweet Symphony, which is the Pacific Northwest Raspberry Sorbet with Firestone Walker Easy Jack (IPA), garnished with an orange peel.

Sugar and alcohol make for the ultimate boozy summer treat; get over to Treadwell Park and try them out now!

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Events | Thrillist’s Best Day of Your Life 2016

IMG_9553On the longest day of the year, June 18th, Thrillist threw its Best Day of Your Life event in none other than Williamsburg in Brooklyn. Not just a bar crawl or food crawl, but rather an everything crawl, we had only 4 hours to hit up 12 locations and devour a ridiculous amount of food & cocktails. No time was to be wasted, unless we were taking our time to get a little wasted (just kidding!). In other words, our mission was to do it all. Obviously.

Stop 1: Rough Trade — a huge independent music store based in England. Of course, the Williamsburg location is the only one in the U.S., and is home to thousands of vinyl records and CDs, plus listening stations. Here we checked in, took a bunch of pictures, and got our passes!
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Stop 2: The Burger Guru — a meat patty heaven. What we ate: short rib sliders and black-and-white milkshakes. I could have easily had three of each.

Stop 3: Shelter — a pizza & empanada restaurant/ Americana-filled lodge, with an emphasis on Argentina/Italian food. What we ate: Empanadas and Josh Cellars wine pairings.

Stop 4: The Gibson Brooklyn — a chill whiskey and craft beer bar featuring over 100 types of whiskey. What we ate: whole roasted pig BBQ and bourbon sweet teas. Yes, they roasted an entire pig before our eyes! We enjoyed the tender BBQ al fresco on their adorable garden backyard.
IMG_9570Stop 5: Rosarito Fish Shack — a Latin influenced seafood and tequila spot with live mariachis and open-air windows. What we ate: white fish ceviche and signature Rosarito margaritas.

Stop 6: Kent Ale House — a craft beer, sports bar-ish place that offered a stage to anyone wanting to live our their rock star dreams. Sadly, I didn’t perform. What we ate: truffle bacon popcorn and Brooklyn Brewery beer.

Stop 7: Heatonist — a trendy hot sauce shop with over 150 rare and unique hot sauces. Drink: custom Bloody Marys!

Stop 8: Falcon Laundry Bar & Restaurant — an indoor/ outdoor restaurant in a former steel fabrication mill featuring gold fish racing! What we ate: beef-and-tomato-jam sandwiches and jalapeño-spiked tequila cocktails.

Stop 9: Crif Dogs — a small, but crackin’, retro hot dog shop! What we ate: signature Crif Dog and tater tots.

Stop 10: The Meatball Shop — a meatball paradise offering hella types of meatballs & sauces. What we ate: meatballs (duh) and red sauce, served over polenta.

Stop 11: Schmackary’s — one of the best cookie places in the world. What: the ultimate custom cookie station. Basically my dream come true. My creation? A funfetti cookie coated with a thick layer of vanilla and marshmallow frosting, doused in sprinkles, and topped with fruity pebbles (for texture of course.).

Stop 12: Output — a super hipster Brooklyn club with a gorgeous rooftop decorated with lights and leafy vines, crowed with cooling looking people. What we ate: fresh sliced fruit and refreshing Sanpellegrino cocktails. This was a fantastic spot overlooking Manhattan to end the crazy day.

IMG_9604Other awesome things that happened included getting matching (fake) tattoos with Nick, having hot, fresh pizza literally bike-driven to my hands, massages, watching a random pro-skateboarder do his thing on an indoor half-pipe, and being serenaded by mariachis. Oh, there was also a terrifying clown roaming around. I could have gone without that one.

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The 9th Annual (Savor) An American Craft Beer & Food Experience Recap

IMG_0190Over 4,000 beer-lovers attended the ninth annual (Savor) An American Craft Beer & Food Experience in Washington D.C. With 76 unique, emerging, and passionate breweries offering their expertise of craft beer and, of course, their brews, this two-day festival is unlike any other.

An American craft-brewer is defined by the Brewers Association as, “small, independent and traditional.” Small: annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less; independent: less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled by an alcoholic beverage industry member that is not itself a craft-brewer; and traditional: a brewer that has a majority of its total beverage alcohol volume in beers whose flavor derives from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation.

Savor offers a national platform for these regional, lesser known breweries to expand past their usual breadth of influence. Out of the craft breweries pouring, 70 percent were not at the event last year and half had never participated in this event before. Each brewery had a booth in which they showcased two of their beers, along with paired with hors d’oeuvres for unlimited sampling.

Delicious bites included whipped bone marrow with shallot and sherry marmalade paired with imperial IPA; roast asparagus and leek tart paired with saison; lamb tartare with cocoa nibs paired with imperial stout; shrimp and grits paired with pale ale; and banana pudding paired with farmhouse ale. These are just several of the beer and food combos offered throughout the night. Also present was a grand charcuterie station and an artisan cheese buffet to enjoy.
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During each night of the event, separate, intimate salons took place where attendees could interact, listen, and learn from the beer specialists themselves regarding various subjects. Hour-long salons offered featured topics such as fruit beers vs. fruit-flavored beers and indigenous American beers ― past and present.

Not surprisingly, the salon I chose to attend was beer as dessert, which had each participant taste “four unique beers that may remind you more of a dessert than a beer.” It was presented by Atwater Brewery’s Mark Reith, Big Storm Brewing Company’s Dan Sartin, and Insight Brewing Company’s Ilan Klages-Mundt

One of my favorite beers of the night was Insight Brewing Company’s sweet, fruity Blackberry Saison. Co-founder Ilan Klages-Mundt was awesome enough to answer some questions.

What gives you inspiration when embarking on a new flavor? Is there a favorite/ worst part of this process?
Ilan Klages-Mundt: The idea of making a new beer is entirely a creative one. Sometimes an idea can come from trying a new food. Sometimes you seek out local ingredients at a farmers market. Sometimes you’re walking by a juniper bush and the smell inspires a totally new beer idea. Once the idea is in mind for a beer, the science comes in to play, and recipe formulation begins. The longer you’ve brewed, the fewer test batches you need to do in order to make the best beer, but sometimes the test batching can get tiresome, as the process doesn’t always work as fast as the creative.

What makes a beer an “outstanding beer” in your opinion?
This might be an exceptionally basic answer, but I think it all comes down to flavor. If the beer tastes great, then it’s a great beer. Plain and simple. Not everyone will like the same beers, and that’s OK, but if you do like a beer, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

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Blackberry Saison {Insight Brewing}

For beer beginners, what’s your advice on finding the types you like?
If you have a local brewery (which these days, you probably do), go for a visit and tell them what you are looking for. There’s a good chance that they make a beer that will be something that you will really enjoy, but there’s also a good chance they’ll challenge your taste buds and show you something you may have never known existed!

Another great way is to go to a good local beer shop and ask the sales person there to give you a few beer ideas that they would suggest for a beginner. Beer shops can have a huge selection of beers, so I’m going to guarantee that they will be able to find something for everyone.

Lastly, just as every year in the past, the Brewers Association has collaborated with both “small and independent farms, ranches and fish mongers to incorporate local and seasonal ingredients in as many menu items as possible.”

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CCC | Suppenküche’s Biergarten

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Beer, bratwurst, and friendship and come together at this Hayes Valley gem. {Credit: Yelp/ Jeanne C.}

Though San Francisco isn’t known for blazing hot summers, there’s never really a “bad” time to enjoy fresh air, delicious food, and drinks with good company, right? Unless perhaps it’s snowing outside, but luckily for San Franciscans, it never snows here. Those who don’t frequent Hayes Valley often may not know about this neighborhood jewel — I’m shocked I didn’t; but with warmer weather comes the desire to be out and about, and that’s when I discovered Suppenküche’s Biergarten.

The Biergarten is located on a vacant, concrete lot that was converted into rentable space in the form of shipping containers, as a part of Hayes Valley’s Proxy Project. The project, which was originally a temporary collaboration between the city and Envelope Architecture+Design, was conceived out of the idea that San Francisco can either squander opportunities for positive growth, or transform this desolate location into a new, revenue-making area for some of the city’s best eateries, artists, and retailers. Five years later, the gang of shipping container shops — now known in the area known as Proxy — has been granted another five years in business, until 2021.

The 100-seat open-air Biergarten is a charming, Bavarian style, neighborhood beer garden, which is an extension of its parent restaurant,Suppenküche. Suppenküche is a friendly and welcoming German restaurant, whose specialty is Bavarian cooking. Known for its traditional German fare, this cozy eatery emphasizes camaraderie and is one of the first places in San Francisco to offer communal seating. With hearty food that includes sautéed pork loins, braised beef, and, of course, authentic bratwurst mit sauerkraut (pork sausage with sauerkraut), it’s hard not to stuff your face. And, obviously, Suppenküche has an enormous beer (and wine) list featuring a variety of top-notch German, Austrian, and Belgian Beers I cannot pronounce.

The vibrant, lively, and bustling beer garden has communal tables, like Suppenküche, sun umbrellas, illuminated tea lights, and blankets for chilly nights. The ambiance is unbeatable on a warm, San Francisco day — or night. The food goes amazingly well with the extensive list of beers, wines, and ciders it offers. Snack bites include freshly baked, soft pretzels; pickled vegetables (including dill pickles); and bright, fuchsia-colored, pickled deviled eggs. The Biergarten also features a mouthwatering, half-pound, and grass-fed beef burger that’s dressed with a new set of toppings daily. Also available are pork belly sliders and the Gnomeburger, a mini-burger with avocado and a garlic herb aïoli.IMG_5579There’s also a selection of buttered pretzel sandwiches that include the Guest Knot, made with crispy prosciutto and aged Cheddar, and the salty/ sweet Banana Knot, made with banana, house-made hazelnut butter, and local honey. The star of my beer garden visit was the bratwurst with curry-roasted potatoes. The bratwurst is outstanding in flavor and the curry potatoes serve as an unexpectedly delicious and mouth-cooling side. The Biergarten also features the currywurst and bratdog, which is bratwurst with house made curry ketchup and the other with house-made kraut, respectively.

The Biergarten serves a rotating selection of the best beers out there, from breweries around the world. Moreover, they offer hard ciders — a personal favorite — and an Australian white wine, one red, and daily surprise additions. Beers come in huge mugs, in liter or half-liter sizes, and are perfect for quenching your thirst alongside your savory selections of German fare.

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CCC | Urban Putt

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With indulgent food, craft cocktails, beer and wine, big desserts, and games, Urban Putt is guaranteed to be a good time for all ages {Credit: Urban Putt}

Have you ever canceled plans to get drinks with coworkers or a love interest thanks to your budding anxiety of whether hanging out — while staying relatively sober — at a bar would become lame or awkward? If you’re anything similar to some 99 percent of the population, then the answer is most likely yes. Luckily, the solution to quelling any boredom or social ineptness while continuing to drink and be merry is simple: Go to Urban Putt.

Urban Putt is a one-of-a-kind venue in San Francisco’s Mission District. As San Francisco’s first and only indoor miniature golf course, this unique venue has entertainment, a slew of creative house-made cocktails, a selection of West Coast craft beers, outstanding bar bites, and a full-service restaurant that serves California style comfort foods.

On the entertainment front, Urban Putt offers a state-of-the-art, San Francisco themed 14-hole mini-golf course. The intricately designed course skillfully highlights iconic San Francisco presenting earthquakes, the Transamerica Pyramid building, cable cars, and The Painted Ladies (a row of famous Victorian homes in the city), and more. In addition, there are arcade games such as Skeeball and basketball Pop-a-Shot for those who aren’t into mini-golf.

As if mini-golf and arcade games aren’t reasons enough to check out this hotspot, Urban Putt also serves fresh, internationally influenced American cuisine, placing the emphasis on taste rather than flare. Chef Dane Boryta’s menu offers innovative starters such as the rich and filling duck confit Poutine; the sweet and savory fried chicken and waffle skewers; and the spicy yet flavorful roasted pumpkin and queso fresco empanadas. For those who prefer lighter fare, chef Boryta also has a nice selection of salads such as the Sweet Gem Caesar with pickled beets.

A favorite among patrons are Urban Putt’s cheesy deep dish corn meal crust pizzas. Mushroom-lovers will enjoy The Gimme which has both smoked mozzarella and gorgonzola cheeses and marinated mushrooms atop a classic seasoned tomato sauce. Fans of Mexican food may like the Back Nine, which incorporates a black bean sauce, a cilantro-pumpkin seed pesto, a variety of fresh toppings, and, of course, cotija cheese. Other pizzas showcase specialty toppings such as the hearty chicken merguez and fennel pork sausage and chicken meatballs.

Urban Putt has an entrée menu perfect for any palate. Being the carnivore that I am, I’m a fan of the juicy grilled hanger steak, which comes with rainbow chard and mashed potatoes. The restaurant also offers a pork chop that pairs well with its mustard barbecue sauce. Moreover, the restaurant delivers seafood options like the almond-crusted Petrale sole and the Southern classic: shrimp with cheesy Carolina white corn grits. Standout sides include the flavor-packed Brussels sprouts, biscuits with jalapeño honey butter, and the always indulgent mac and cheese (which you can add bacon to!). Urban Putt also serves a signature UP organic beef burger which comes with melted onions and the works.

If you came to drink, then get ready for some fantastic artisanal cocktails. While it does offer a good list of beers and wines, Urban Putt’s cocktails steal the show. My personal favorites are the Hibiscus Paloma with tequila, elderflower, grapefruit, and hibiscus soda; and the Apple Shrub with cider, thyme, vodka, and a sprig of rosemary. The bar also concocts exceptional classic drinks made with inventive twists. Examples being the coffee old fashioned, the vodka tea sour, or the Marmalade Collins, which actually has marmalade in it.

The bar even has a creative list of shots to order from. Adventurous drinkers can down shots like the pickle back, the Rojos Ojos (a Bloody Mary-type shot), and a homemade sweet tea vodka shot. In efforts to stave off any chance of a hangover, Urban Putt’s addictive Bar Bites feature smaller portions of its entrées, as well as fun appetizers like its bacon deviled eggs, chipotle pork bites, and beef or pork hotlink corn dogs.

Finish off your night with a delectable treat off the venue’s self-proclaimed scrumptious dessert menu. Indulgent choices such as the Challah Bread Pudding[10] with the option of rum butter sauce or caramel sauce; graham cracker crusted lemon cream pie; and the candy bar bites (think Rice Krispies meringue and Applewood-smoked bacon crumble), make the decision tough.

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Flying Dog Brewery Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary and the NYC Premiere of Fever Dream Mango IPA

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Credit: Flying Dog

At Flying Dog’s 25th Anniversary celebration at The Hidden Bar in the Eventi Hotel, Happy Hour Guy’s Jimmy Ludwig aptly stated that craft beer is “creativity in action.” In other words, each beer brand is one of a kind and each bottle is a reflection of the passion and artistry of its maker. Craft beers utilize a variety of ingredients and flavors generally not associated with traditional beer; therefore, these beverages are great for pairing with food to enhance the whole dining experience.

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Matt Brophy & Jimmy Ludwig

At the celebration, award winning brewmaster, Matt Brophy, premiered Flying Dog’s much sought after Fever Dream Mango Habanero IPA, which was originally released in 2014 for a limited time only. In addition, there were 4 other unique flavors to taste: Oaked Chipotle Ale, Lucky SOB Irish Red, Bloodline Orange Ale and the Doggie Style Pale Ale. With each refreshing beer, came trays of bite-sized, delicious pairings that really went well with the beverages.

Fever Dream Mango Habanero with the Penang Curry Poached Lobster

FD2Super innovative, this beer combines the sweetness from the mango with a kick of spicy habanero pepper to create a uniquely refreshing beer. If you’re a fan of Sriracha, tropical fruity flavors and appreciate a finish that brings a little heat, this one’s for you. Recommended to try with cuisines like Thai, the bold curry spices of the poached lobster toast pairing complemented the beer excellently!

Oaked Chipotle Ale with the Charred Skirt Steak

The first in Flying Dog’s Heat Series, this ale is super peppery. It tastes like a chipotle hot sauce blended with a beer. Smoky, fiery and bold, it’s clear why this ale is best paired with barbecue and grilled meats. Though I’m not a huge fan of the chipotle spices, I did enjoy the tender skirt steak skewers in combination with the chili flavors of the beer.

Lucky SOB Irish Red with the Kobe Beef Hot Dog in Puff Pastry

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Kobe Beef Hot Dog in a Puff Pastry & Penang Curry Poached Lobster

I really liked the Lucky SOB Irish Red! The beer was smooth, malty and certainly on the sweeter side. Fun fact– this brew is made with real four leaf clovers! The kobe beef hot dog pairing was absolutely tasty and the creaminess from the beer did a good job of balancing out the satisfying saltiness from the meat.

Bloodline Orange Ale with Cauliflower Fritti

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Cauliflower Fritti

The flavors of this Ale were very pronounced: orangey, grapefruity and both sweet and bitter. More on the bitter side. The cauliflower fritti was a nicely seasoned, crunchy fritter that really highlighted how good this underrated veggie can be. The fritters mellowed out the bitterness of the beer which was fabulous.

Doggie Style Pale Ale with Meyer Lemon and Maple Cronut

This beer is quite a famous one! It’s the only beer Flying Dog has consecutively brewed for 25 years and it has won numerous accolades including #1 American Pale Ale in the country by the the NY Times. This was a pretty subtly flavored beer and was very easy to drink. The fragrant, citrusy notes of the beer were pleasant and I absolutely adored the also citrusy mini cronut desserts.

Advice: If you’re a beer noob like me, don’t give up on the brewed beverage just yet! Craft beer allows for an infinite amount of new flavors waiting to be discovered– whether it be fruity, smoky, bold or not. Time to forget the college frat beers of the past and get adventurous with the variety of tastes craft beer can offer!

Anyone have any favorite craft beers I should try out?

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Art By Friends NYC

Step aside Picasso!

Last night my friends and I spent the night channeling our inner Picassos while drinking in-house brewed German beers at Paulaner Brauhaus– a super cool, trendy restaurant brewpub in the Lower East Side.

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German crafted beer

It was my first Art By Friends class and I absolutely loved it! I’m not known for being the artist of the family- that’s my sister- but I really had fun getting artistic and letting my creative energies flow. We spent over two hours creating our masterpiece versions of the original, “Bubbles & Brushes” painting. I was worried mine was going to look like some type of deformed bubble monster… despite the awesome and helpful instructors roaming around to help with tips on painting technique. But once I stopped freaking out and trying to be a perfectionist, it all came together!

My work of art

Viola!I was aiming for a self portrait-esk painting- fuller cheeks, tan, few beauty marks, pinker lips…  and so I kinda deviated from the original to try to capture what I wanted. Not sure if I really succeeded in that, but regardless, I love the finished piece! Everyone’s came out differently- and thanks to all the varying perspectives on the original- they all turned out beautiful and unique.

Tadaaaa!
Tadaaaa!