This year will be our 15th Annual Thanksgiving Dinner, when we open our doors to the community and offer complimentary holiday meals to our neighbors. It’s been a busy few weeks of planning and organizing, but we wanted to take a minute today to say THANK YOU to everyone in Jersey City who has donated their time, money and product to our cause.
Many local businesses got in touch with us, including Made With Love, which donated a delicious (and enormous!) apple crisp. We’ll be serving that as dessert for our homebound friends. Other area businesses, such as O’Connell’s Restaurant, Puccini’s, Starbucks, Antheia Flowers, Restaurant Depot, and Highly Social Media donated products and money to the fund, and we’re grateful for all of it.
We also had many, many community members offer to volunteer, donate pies and baked goods, and drop money in the Thanksgiving fund jar. The Lehrer family – Robert, Keith and Eric – made a huge donation, which will pay for all the homebound meals that will be delivered by Visiting Homemade Service, another great sponsor of this dinner.
Brian McIntyre and Work Strategy have been very generous to our Thanksgiving dinner, and we can’t thank them enough.
And Mayor Healy and Kathy Curin donated 20 turkeys…one of the most important elements of any Thanksgiving dinner!
Finally, Tara Warner has been working her turkey tail off for months to make this dinner go off without a hitch, and deserves a huge pat on the back!
We’re so grateful to live in a community that has come together to help us serve these meals to our neighbors. Big thanks to everyone listed here, and those we may have missed. We appreciate every donation, and every volunteer, and can’t wait to celebrate the holiday with our neighbors!
The Iron Monkey’s resident beer guy, Brant Schweinsberg – that’s him on the left – knows a thing or two about craft beer. And now, he’s answering your questions.
I know that drinking a beer with a higher ABV can make my night a little more interesting, but does the percentage of alcohol by volume in a beer affect the taste at all? - Mike R.
Yes. It absolutely does, and the answer lies in the brewing process. In order to get a higher percentage of alcohol in beer, a brewer must increase the amount of fermentable sugar in the beer. This is accomplished by increasing the amount of malted barley in the mash. More barley means more sugar. Since yeast converts sugar to alcohol and carbon dioxide, more sugar means more alcohol. Overall, you end up with a sweeter, maltier beer. Also, if the alcohol is pronounced, you will be able to taste the alcohol. This is often referred to as a warming effect.
I love winter and holiday ales. Do you have any favorite seasonal brews I should try this year? - Katie
I love winter and holiday beers. One of my favorites is Troegs Mad Elf. It’s a Belgian-style ale that’s brewed with honey and sweet and sour cherries. I'm also a fan of Fegley's Rude Elf. It’s a Belgian-style dark ale brewed with dark Belgian Candi Sugar and hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and clove. But there are tons of great holiday beers on the market. I recommend trying as many as you can.
Does it make a difference what kind of glass I use to serve beer? – Andrew W.
Yes, yes, and yes! Much like different varietals of wine are served in specific glasses, different styles of beer should also be served in the proper glassware. A proper glass is designed to exemplify the color, aroma, and flavor of the beer. Long and thin glasses display a beers effervescence and clarity while bowl shaped glasses highlight the beer's aroma and head. I could probably talk for hours about glassware, but I won't. If you have a specific beer glassware question, please feel free to ask.
At our Meet the Brewery tonight, we’re hosting North Coast Brewing Company, one of the pioneers in the craft brew movement.
The brewery opened in 1988 as a local brewpub in Fort Bragg, California. Since then, North Coast has won more than 70 national and international awards for brews such as Red Seal Ale, and Scrimshaw Pilsner.
North Coast brews are available in 47 states, and are exported to Europe and the Pacific Rim.
At tonight’s event, we’ll be featuring seven of this great brewery’s best drafts, including:
Red Seal Ale - This full-bodied, copper red pale ale has a long, spicy finish, and is a perfect balance of sweet and bitter notes.
Pranqster – A Belgian Style Golden Ale, Pranqster represents the height of the brewer’s art. A mixed culture of antique yeast strains that produce a floral note, Pranqster has a full fruity flavor, and a clean finish.
Scrimshaw – A fresh tasting Pilsner that’s brewed in the finest European tradition using Munich malt and Hallertauer and Tettnang hops. Scrimshaw has a subtle hop character, a dry finish, and a crisp, clean palate.
Brother Thelonious – Rich and robust, this dark, strong ale has rich chocolate notes with a distinct flavor.
Old #38 Stout – A smooth, firm-bodied stout with coffee notes of dark malts and roasted barley, Old #38 Stout has rich flavors with hints of burnt sugar, and mild fruit.
Le Merle – With notes of tropical fruit, this rustic, pale ale has just the right amount of sweetness. Inspired by the rich brewing traditions of the Flanders region, Le Merle boasts abundant hops, and a Belgian yeast strain that contribute to the hints of underlying spice.
Old Rasputin – A North Coast favorite, Old Rasputin is a Russian Imperial Stout that has complex flavors and warming finish. With notes of chocolate and coffee, this intense brew is incredibly rich and lush.
Festivities start around 6:00 p.m. To check out more about North Coast, visit: http://northcoastbrewing.com/
On Saturday, Nov. 12, we’ll be hosting a fundraiser at the Iron Monkey for Building Botswana, a fantastic charity that is working towards building a preschool in Botswana.
The charity is the brainchild of Naomi Baldwin and Ashley Howard, two friends from high school who volunteered together in Africa in 2010. While traveling in northern Botswana, Naomi and Ashley were so embraced by the local community, they decided to launch their own charity to help give back.
We’re so excited to be doing our part to help support this amazing organization. During the event, which will run from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., 40% of the proceeds from all Dining Room food and drink sales will be donated to the group. Various artists will be providing artwork that we'll display in the dining room. All artwork will be available for purchase, with the full proceeds going to Building Botswana.
We’ll also be having a raffle, drink specials, and live music.
Stop in, and do your part to help support a great cause!
Our Meet the Brewery with New Jersey’s Carton Brewing is tonight, and we’ll be tapping four of the brewery’s best drafts.
Carton’s 077XX, an East Coast Double IPA, has orange, mango, and papaya aromas. According to Carton, this IPA has “just enough sweetness of body to make the long finish a pleasure to have around.” Even with an ABV of 7.8%, it’s an easy draft to drink, and one of our favorites here at the Monkey.
We’ll also be tapping Boat Beer, a complex IPA made for everyday drinking. Crisp, with notes of grapefruit, pine, and moss, this brew is light and refreshing.
Brunch. Dinner. Grub., better known as B.D.G., is a Brown Country Ale that’s seasoned with the lemon, tarragon and thyme notes of Aramis hops. As the name suggests, B.D.G. is great paired with hearty foods, so tonight at the Monkey, order a burger, and enjoy this draft the way Carton intended.
Finally, we’re also tapping Carton’s Pumpkin Cream Ale Cask. Perfect for this time of year, this pumpkin-spiced seasonal has herbal and fruit notes, including orange, peppercorn and ginger.
The event starts tonight around 6:00. For more information, visit: http://ironmonkey.com/carton.html
Brant Schweinsberg (yep, the guy with the mallet!), is our resident beer guy and bar manager here at the Monkey, and a great source of knowledge about everything craft beer. We’ve been getting a lot of beer questions from our Facebook and Twitter friends, and wanted to share:
Any recommendations for a seasonal session beer? Something off the beaten path?– Robert
Robert, I know it is late in the season for them, but any of the Oktoberfest beers we still have on are great. Ramstein Oktoberfest is one of the most highly rated in the country, and they are a NJ brewery! I also have a cask of Wells Bombardier, which is an ESB, that I will be tapping soon. Real Ale from England…does it get any better? Stay turned to Facebook and Twitter for details.
What do you think of the Three-tier system of beer we have here in the US? Does it make it more difficult to get the beers you want to sell, or are the distributors able to provide you with what you want most of the time? Or is it a wash due to the variety a distributor can provide you with one stop shopping? – Jonathan M.
Jonathan, that is a great question. The Three-tier system has its pros and cons. For those of you unfamiliar with the system, this is how it works: Brewers and Importers (tier 1) sell to wholesalers (tier 2), who sell to retailers (tier 3). As a retailer, I don't mind the Three-tier system. When I think of the number of breweries I deal with, ordering from each one would be challenging to say the least. Plus, it would probably put a lot of strain on the breweries having to deal with retailers and consumers requesting beer. It is difficult to estimate how that additional strain would factor into additional cost. So, as a consumer, it is a system that I'm not a fan of because of the added cost. But as a retailer, I really don't mind that much.
We’re stopping in soon, and would love it if you could recommend something to try apart from our favorite Great Divide Yeti. Any suggestions? - Jonathan
Jonathan, if you wanted to stick with the Imperial Russian Stout style, you are actually going to have to dip into our bottle selection. For the first time since I've been here, I don't have an Imperial Russian Stout on draft. Don't worry, that will change soon.
As far as bottles go, you can never go wrong with Stones Imperial Russian Stout. To me, it is the benchmark for all Imperial Russian Stouts. I absolutely love that beer. We also have Stone's Cherry Chocolate Stout. It is a wonderful dessert beer.
If you want to stick with Great Divide, we have the Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti and the Belgian Yeti. You may also want to try Schlafly Imperial Stout.
Will the Iron Monkey be getting Founders CBS? - @TheKegTap
We will definitely be putting on Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout, though we just don’t know when. Everyone will be updated via Facebook and Twitter, so be sure to follow us at Facebook.com/IronMonkeyBar and @TheIronMonkey.