Open sourced beer to lower production costs at all corners might sound like Silicon Valley and Golden Colorado had a baby but actually it was the Connecticut Better Half Brewery guys deciding to help their industry, and community, stay on their feet during COVID-19. All Together Beer is the aptly named collaborative brew experiment now being produced by over 700 breweries in 51+ countries. As they mention in their pointed but heartfelt explanation of this project, their business relies on social gathering. The idea was to align a recipe, label design, printers and other resources to cut the production costs and increase the margin. In turn putting more profit into the small breweries utilizing the open source tools. Donate the excess or use it to stay afloat is the only ask from the Other Half team. Based on the recipe, the brew sounds to be a pretty straight forward IPA which will promote consistency across brewing around the world and as the weather gets warmer a cold, refreshing reprieve from the doldrums of our quarantine. Early batches have sold out but with more crafters jumping in weekly more is just a hops away.
More Drink Stuff
Full disclosure on this holiday gift reco. We’re tight with the Barking Irons guys. Help you move. Treat you to dinner. Bail you out of jail kind of tight. Disclosure aside, let’s talk delicious unique Americana history. With Barking Irons Applejack at the root of this story, we guarantee happiness under the tree. Or under those gold multi-candle holders. We digress, this spirit is the OG. Meaning, the British and Spanish sailed over to America. They couldn’t find the usual things to make booze from. They found a crap load of apples. “Jacking”, A freeze distillation process to increase the alcohol content, became a thing. They aptly named it Applejack. Boom, the first indigenous American liquor was born. Quick side note, we are by no means stepping over Haren A Pitahaya, the Apache and Maricopa saguaro cactus wine but Applejack was the first “modern” American spirit. Since then, most of us have forgotten about this story and the product it produced. The guys at Phear Creative thankfully have not. They put into production the first new Applejack option since Laird’s in 1780. What does all this mean? You can gift (yourself if you are so bold) not only a unique addition to ones home bar BUT a historical reference and story to go along with all the fabled Santa Claus tales.
We love chai at FTHQ. When Dona Chai’s concentrate version popped up in our Brooklyn backyard we were, needless to say, first in line. They steep this stuff in small batches (unwritten law here in the BK) keeping an Hindu deities eye on quality. Our favorite thing is the recipes they provide for non-tea use. Talk about a multi-tasker.
Yeah, we know, you’ve started your detox. You feel horrible about 2020. You’ve finally admitted to your roomate, or spouse, that your pandemic excuse to imbibe undermined all your positive behavioral aspirations leaving you with bar bottles as low as your self-esteem. First off, buck up. You just made it through one of the the hardest years of your life. Coping mechanisms were expected, that is why they are called that. Now that you’ve coped you are ready for a new, vaccinated year of mindfulness and positive manifestation. Good for you but don’t go too far down the rabbit hole only to hiccup in late January and blow the whole thing. My dad used to say everything in moderation and in most cases that works well. I co-opted that idea making it my own, “drink like an Italian”. Which is to say, cold turkey isn’t your only way to mental and physical bliss. For now, we’ll play along. We’ve corralled our top 5 non-alcoholic (or almost alcohol free) substitutes to aid in your epic January crusade to stay off the hooch.
2. Kin we’ve not officially tried yet but their commitment to wellness is so deep that we couldn’t even find the “we are a non-alcoholic” description on their website without serious digging. Talk about manifestation. I guess they think their energy communicates their value prop. Ohh sooo modern millennial of them.
3. Monday Gin is our newest fav because we’ve been know to overstock gin like we were headed to an ark during a flood. The art deco labelling lets us feel quite Gatsby while we sip everything from G+T’s to negronis.
4. Haus was started by an old photographer friend of mine and is this lists only low-alcohol choice. Back to that moderation, a full ABV removal isn’t always necessary and this trio of flavors champions the apertif. Again, Drink like an Italian. With flavors like Spiced Cherry, Citrus Flower and Lemon Lavender, you’re bound to find a refreshing pre-dinner sip that gives you enough of what you crave without too much of what you are trying so hard to avoid.
5. Lyre is last on the list and newest to us. They have the most complete range of alternative spirits on our list. Cleverly they used known alcoholic vocabulary to bundle their products and direct us to what we’d like best. Things like the negroni set or the boulevardier set are trifectors substituting each of those critical ingredients to produce a non-alcoholic version of your 2020, mid-week, home, happy-hour ritual. The line up includes a Dry London Spirit, an American Malt, a White Cane Spirit , a Dark Cane Spirit, a Spiced Cane Spirit, a Dry and Rosso Aperitif, a Coffee Liqueur, an Amaretti, an Italian Orange, and finally an Orange Sec. Not surprising, their dry Jan twelve pack is sold out. Regardless if you are an abstainer or a moderator this January, start with the above list for a leg up in your new endeavors.
Our favorite place to start is linked below. That should get you on your way to turning that bad bar into a good czar of mindfulness. Happy sipping.
The wall of colorful boxes with the quirky logo and bad grammer copy drew us in moments after stepping foot on the Renegade Craft Fair floor. Christopher Coccagna, founder of T-WE TEA, holds the company title of “Director of Truth & Beauty” as well as “Expert in Fabulous” We didn’t want to take his word for it so we cupped. Then we cupped some more. After our third cupping (a tea tasting BTW) we saw past the intoxicating packaging and tasted the hand picked ingredients. We felt the hand mixed batches. We even saw the regions from which the brew was harvested. To add to all that, every tea is 100% organic, fair trade, and kosher sourced. That doesn’t make it easy to source but it does make it tasty.