Have van, will travel (for beer)

This weekend marked the inaugural camping trip for our 1990 Volkswagen Vanagon. We purchased it in December and up until this weekend had only slept in it in someone’s driveway. Inspired by the middle-of-August temperatures, we reserved a site at Wildwood State Park in Wading River, NY.

Shortly after arriving at our campsite, we realized we were less than 25 miles from a brewery that started out as “two guys with a dog, a van and a dream”. Granted, we were a guy and a girl and we had no dog, but we had a van and we were thirsty. The tasting room at Blue Point Brewing Company is open on Thursdays and Fridays from 3-7 pm and Saturdays from 12-7 pm. And by tasting room they mean they give out free beer and lots of it (take note, Brooklyn). They do offer tours on Saturdays as well (1 and 4 pm), but we opted for the tasting part.

Blue Point Brewing CompanyWe bellied up to the bar and tasted through all they were offering on tap that day. Here’s what we found:

(you can find definitions of IBU and ABV at the bottom)

Golden Ale (16 IBU’s, 4.39% ABV): light gold in color with a crisp, clean, mineral taste. slight floral and citrus note with a malty finish. great for a day in the sun.

Toasted Lager (28 IBU’s, 5.5%ABV): this is their award-winning, flagship brew. pretty amber color. reminded me of grape-nuts, which might be due to the fact that they make it with 6 different malts. it is toasty, too, because of their direct-fire brew kettle. round, creamy and delicious.

Pale Ale (36 IBU’s, 5% ABV): yellow grapefruit and pine on the nose, with just the right level of bitterness and floral notes on the palate. rich, full and well-balanced.

Bruins Bitter (19 IBU’s, 4.9% ABV): yeasty, just like the smell of bread rising. would be better from a cask – too cold and carbonated here.

Blueberry Ale (14 IBU’s, 4.39% ABV): like a summer trip to Maine (lots of wild blueberries there). I do not care for fruit beers of any kind, but if I had to drink one, this would be it. they use 132 lbs of blueberries in each batch.

Oatmeal Stout (30 IBU’s, 5.2% ABV): chocolate, toffee, Quaker oats on the nose. rich and creamy with a campfire or smoked bacon finish. “tastes like it has fat in it” or “the lowest calorie bacon you could have”.

Hoptical Illusion (60 IBU’s, 6.3% ABV): rich, copper color with notes of pine, ruby red grapefruit and red bell pepper. would make an excellent Christmas beer, but I’d be happy to drink it anytime.

“Black and Blue” – 3/4 Oatmeal Stout and 1/4 Blueberry Ale: like having pancakes and bacon. the bartender shared her favorite comment about it, “some guy told me it tasted like he had eaten a blueberry muffin when he burped it up later”. classy. the ale lightens and brightens the stout. it’s punchy (both because of the light and bright and because it’s sweet, ripe fruit).

Rastafar Rye (48 IBU’s, 7.25% ABV): this is a rye pale ale and I thought the most interesting of the bunch. similar to the oatmeal, but less toasty (like provolone vs. Parmesan in terms of intensity). drinks like a stout, but finishes like an IPA – a Jekyll and Hyde brew – smooth, then bites.

Double Pilsner (48 IBU’s, 6.48% ABV): mean, lean and clean and goes down dangerously easy for the alcohol content it has. like Pilsner Urquell’s sexier cousin.

Cherry Imperial Stout (67 IBU’s, 9% ABV): like an iced coffee you’d want every day during summer. rich, smoky, fruity. wouldn’t have guessed cherries had been added had it not been in the title (just a fruity coffee aroma and flavor).

It’s very satisfying when local things are done well. You can find a rotating selection of Blue Point Brewing Company’s beers here.

IBU = International Bitterness Units – the higher the number, the more bitter

ABV = Alcohol by Volume – the higher the number, the sooner you should hand over your car keys


Filed under Beer

12 responses to “Have van, will travel (for beer)

  1. Hi,

    I was considering that campground for my friends and myself but, we were considering bringing alcohol in violation of their rules (‘gasp’). But it would be quite a disaster if we were ejected. Can you offer any insight?

  2. Pingback: “Taking the ale train” « A Thirsty Spirit

  3. Good post, I have just started up a website and began making somewhat diverse articles. Do you object if I blog something about this? I will of course provide you and this post due credit.

  4. Hey Great Blog! I found it on Google. I am an avid traveler and love to travel specifically in Europe and the US!

  5. We liked the article. As avid lovers of coffee and for someone who consumes 8-10 cups, your article sticks. I liked the style of writing too! Great job!!

  6. Pingback: Spring fling « A Thirsty Spirit

  7. I had the same feeling when I tried it eareilr this month, and it confirmed my suspicion that we’ve got to be careful with these “multi-vintages”: it seems to me that their very raison-d’etre is that the constituent casks were of inferior quality. I know that with some creative re-casking / finishing and vatting, it is sometimes possible to creative something that’s more than the sum of its parts, but it’s not something that’s easily accomplished as these two releases show. As far as I’m concerned, when I see a multi-vintage Karuizawa and when it’s cheaply priced (as these ones were), alarms bells start ringing.

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