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TGIF: What We're Drinking Now

TGIF: What We're Drinking Now


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On Fridays, we select a new beer, wine, or liquor to put through the tasting gauntlet. Here’s our latest pick.

Here in Birmingham, spring has fully sprung—it's barbecue-picnic-porch swinging season, once again.

We tend to gravitate toward easy drinking beers as the temperature rises, and this week was no exception.

Today, we tried a Blue Moon seasonal, the Agave Nectar Ale. We admit, we tried this beer with slight trepidation. After all, the trendy agave nectar is a good substitute for sugar or honey as a sweetener in many cooking applications. But we were pleasantly surprised—this brew was well rounded, sweet (but without being cloying), and easy to drink. Perfect for drinking on an easy weekend.

This beer isn't for everyone, but if you enjoy a nutty flavor and shy away from hoppy or bitter brews, this is a great contender.


Classic grilled cheese + cream of tomato soup

I don’t know about you but when I arrived at work yesterday I had both the appearance and seething demeanor of a wet cat. I don’t know what exactly the point of carrying my green flowered umbrella was, if to get utterly soaked just the same, making my way through two phone calls irked by a lingering unpleasant zoo-like scent that turned out be emanating my sopping wool pants. Yech! After work drink thing? Cancelled. Pedicure? Cancelled. Tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches? Oh, it was so on.

It’s funny, you know, when I talk about these “classic homey foods,” these “best childhood memory meals,” as I must confess that they’re not mine. We ate grilled cheese, but never tomato soup we loved mac-and-cheese, but all I ever wanted was (of course) Kraft. I believe I had Campbell’s tomato soup a few times at friends’ houses, but never thought it was anything to write home about, as well as more than my share of tomato bisques at restaurants, but too often they reminded me of pasta sauces, excessive at even a cup at a time. But, with times as appropriate as this long, wet winter ahead and sources as good as, yet again, The America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook, this seems as good as a time as any to start making our own, because these recipes are keepers.

This time, Cook’s Illustrated crew was searching for “a perfectly smooth soup with rich color and great tomato flavor” and I enthusiastically applaud their efforts. This soup is fantastically rich in flavor, a whole lot more than you’d expect from your typical puddle of orange. More impressive is how they coaxed that flavor from something as everyday as canned tomatoes. The roasting step brings out their boldest intent, and the caramelizing of the shallots in the butter is reminiscent of the dreamy base of French onion soup. You use nearly every part of those canned tomatoes, which I love, because why dump that liquid carted over here from San Marzano? It’s the least you owe your food miles. I’m sure tomato soups can be made with far fewer steps – and admit to tossing the directions to the wind in step three – but I doubt they’re as layered in complexity as this deceivingly simple-looking one.

Now, the grilled cheese would have been better had I followed the recipe more closely. I cut my bread class rustic white loaf too thick and spread the cheese too thin, but neither of us complained. My classic Deb grilled cheese sandwich is emmanthel or gruyere, a couple leaves of arugula, a slice of tomato, salt and pepper on bread grilled on a panini, but something as humble and unassuming as smooth tomato soup seems no place for such fancy. We had the soup and sandwiches ready just in the nick of time, as the opening scene of Lost was already rolling and OMG, I don’t want to ruin the rest. Warmed, full, dry and rested at last, it was an excellent Wednesday night.

Cream of Tomato Soup

  • Servings: 6 to 8
  • Time: About 1 hour
  • Source:The America's Test Kitchen Cookbook

[Note: In 2019, this recipe got a little refresh and new photos. The recipe has been simplified a bit.]

  • 2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes packed in juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 large shallots, minced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Pinch ground allspice
  • 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons brandy or dry sherry (optional)
  • Salt and cayenne pepper

Heat butter over medium heat in large saucepan until foaming. Add shallots, tomato paste and allspice. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots are softened, 7 to 10 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds. Gradually add vegetable or chicken stock, whisking constantly to combine stir in reserved tomato juice. Gently peel roasted tomatoes from foil and add them to the pot. Cover, increase heat to medium, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, to blend flavors, about 10 minutes.

Off the heat, use an immersion blender to puree soup until smooth. Add cream — I often start with just 1/4 cup, adding the last 1/4 cup, if we wish, drizzled over serving bowls — warm over low heat until hot, about 3 minutes. Off heat, stir in brandy and season with salt and cayenne. Serve immediately.

Do ahead: Soup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Warm over low heat until hot do not boil.


The research

A great non-alcoholic (NA) drink has all the elements of a great alcoholic one. Taste is deeply personal, but there are key components that make a drink feel balanced, namely a harmonious blend of acidity, sweetness, bitterness, salinity, and water. These layers of flavor play off of one another, blossoming as you sip or eat or lounge. The drink excites your palate and challenges you to figure out what exactly makes it so dang delicious, and why you can’t stop drinking it.

The trick is creating that nuance without using alcohol as a base. Alcohol has a signature burn, difficult to replicate, that helps slow the drinker down. Bitter, sour, or spicy flavors can achieve a similar effect. All of the experts we spoke with highlighted bitterness as a key element Julia Bainbridge, author of Good Drinks: Alcohol-Free Recipes for When You’re Not Drinking for Whatever Reason, has reported on how most drinks incorporate it. John deBary, author of Drink What You Want: The Subjective Guide to Making Objectively Delicious Cocktails and founder of Proteau, told me that bitter flavors evoke a physiological response that tells us whatever we’re consuming should be poisonous. This helps people pause while drinking (it also stimulates appetite and digestion). “Bitterness is an acquired taste,” deBary said. Alcohol has its own texture, too. In NA drinks, added glycerin or thickeners such as xanthan gum can mimic alcohol’s body (though many NA beverages we tried skipped these additives).

A non-alcoholic drink should also feel mature. “Some of these products are more complex, and have multiple notes that you can try to pick apart,” said Bainbridge. “And that’s what helps me keep pace with my friends who are drinking, say, whiskey. We can all linger over our drinks now and mine can open up with time.” Some NA beverages are sugary and fizzy like soda. There’s nothing wrong with that, but you may find yourself chugging through those more quickly.

Bottled non-alcoholic beverages are made to be shelf stable when left unopened, so they often lack the brightness of a just-made cocktail. “Adding some freshness to it with your own ingredients is very important,” said Han Suk Cho, a non-alcoholic bartender and founder of Zero Proof Bevs. Cho recommends adding simple garnishes such as fresh juice or herbs—a grapefruit wheel, a sprig of mint, a squirt of lime.


Here’s Your High School Crush, Here’s What You Drink

Remember that time you wrote a letter to Jonathan Taylor Thomas, aka “JTT,” basically describing to him how, like, if you guys were just able to meet one time, you would realize you were absolutely made for each other and definitely get married and then make out a lot? (Because at that point in your life, that’s pretty much what you thought marriage was. And here’s hopin…)

Yes, the childhood crush. A touching, and beautifully deluded, love story for the ages. Because one thing that adolescent romantic angst absolutely brings out in is rationality and reasonable expectations. Or wait, no, the exact opposite.

Not that we’re bashing the childhood crush. It’s a special thing. A right of passage. Your first flirtation with, well, the idea—since it’s all a mental construction—of flirting. In fact, we’re celebrating the childhood crush, specifically exploring the psychology of what your childhood crush says you should be drinking. And no, we don’t mean drinking by the fireplace as you wait in somber solitude for that reply from JTT. (It’s coming. I swear.)

36 Gifts and Gadgets For Anyone Who Loves Drinks

*Crushes are age-distributed. Some of you might have had a crush on Julia Louis Dreyfuss—who doesn’t?—and some might be crushin’ on T Swift—again, who doesn’t? There are plenty we missed. Feel free to debate with your friends, or us, or just, if you see JTT, let him know I say hi.

Winnie Cooper

If you were a Winnie Ninnie (that’s our term, learn it, love it), you like sweetheart-next-door-clear-skinned-secret-math-genius type gals. Something straightforward, but secretly complex: Pale Ale.

Jonathan Taylor Thomas

The middle child of Tim the Tool Man Taylor, Simba, and unwitting heartthrob of a million preteen girls. If you were a fan of JTT, you drink Jager Then Tequila. (Get it?) And then, yes, write him a letter.

Will Smith

Scientology or not (actually, yeah, what’s the status on that?) Will Smith has always been fun, charming, like the cool older brother who wouldn’t necessarily buy you beer, but make you laugh as if you’d had a bunch of beer. You love the Fresh Prince, you drink a Mimosa. And then shoot some b-ball outside of the school.

Vicki L. Miller / Shutterstock.com

Zac Efron

Early Efronites were entranced by his High School Musical years. Then a whole bunch of new fans showed up when they saw him shirtless in Neighbors (he dances in Neighbors II). All American boy gone sensual? That’s a bourbon Old Fashioned. Enough to give you the courage to Tweet at him. Or attempt to get abs.

Efron Tinseltown / Shutterstock.com

Zack Morris

The OG Zack, leader of The Zack Attack, a guy who could literally make time stand still (and according to his recent looks, he’s still doing it). This is Zima country—a giddy, fun-lovin’ classic that absolutely needs to be brought back. Ideally with that phone.

Lea Michele

The ravishing dark hair, the sweetly “come hither” smile, the ability to break into song at any minute (OK, that part is just goddam annoying). If you’re crushin’ on LM, you’re good with broad, loud beauty—meaning sip on a big fat tumbler of Scotch. (Surprised, right?)

carrie-nelson / Shutterstock.com

Jennifer Aniston

Another OG crush, not sure if it became more intense after the haircut, but lady’s lookin’ good, especially after a totally overpublicized divorce. Pretty sure J-A wants to hang out with you, sip on a nice Champagne Cocktail, and tell horrifying stories about David Schwimmer.

Britney Spears

Yep, no way this wouldn’t be on the list. You dress up like a naughty school girl, you’re bound to get a few admirers (or so I read in the Bible). You love Brits and she loves her snake-as-scarves, so enjoy some Habushu.

Topanga

We know the actress has a name, and presumably a life beyond “Topanga,” but that’s one of the most iconic, quirky, kissable characters in TGIF history. Earthy, unpredictable, probably a big fan of probiotics. Yeah, you chuggin’ some Kombucha with T.

Neil Patrick Harris

Whether you fell in love with him as a child doctor (and by god, who would consent to receiving medical aid from someone who can’t even rent a car?) or as Barney from HIMYM, either way, he’s vivacious, lovable, and a showman to the end. A Champagne cocktail, or, alternately, a Flaming Homer because it has fire and “Non Narkotic Kough Syrup,” so it impresses while it makes you feel better. Like NPH.

Emma Watson

Extremely hesitant to put this on the list, as dudes have been creepy about Hermione since, like, wayyyy too early. But she is sort of grown now, and quietly embracing her femininity. Something mature, but classy. A Kir Royale.

Harry Potter

The child star who was forced into a fantasy world and the early, corrupted adulthood of young stardom. You’re a Potter fan, chances are you loves you some Quidditch, and butter beer is your beverage of choice. Unless, that is, a handsome young British dude points a stick and shouts “Expecto Patronum!” at you. In which case, Patron. Shots all around. Even for Severus.

Taylor Lautner

Not sure how it’s possible to not crush on a brooding, perpetually shirtless, soulful werewolf. The woods, nature, shirtlessness—you’re drinking Tennessee Whiskey straight out of the bottle. And writing a poem about those Lautner abs. (That’s a thing, BTW, you can request it from your personal trainer.)

Justin Timberlake

A lot of people think JT did his best work with 98 Degrees. Or NYSNC. Or the ASPCA, whatever it was. Incorrect. Here is his best work, and it means you Timberlakers need to be drinking a 70s classic Tequila Sunrise.

Alyssa Milano

Yes, in certain minds, Tony Danza was the boss. (Angela didn’t think so.) But Alyssa Milano stole our hearts. In honor of her Italian-American heritage, take a shot—really a sip—of Nonino.

No other words needed. Our hearts will go on. Like Rose’s. Like a glass of Rosé that you drink while trying to decide whether or not there’s enough room on the raft. (There was, BTDubs.)

Urkel

OK, so maybe the way they wrote Urkel didn’t necessarily make him seem like the most romantically appealing dude. But he was actually just a really great actor, hiding his inherent sexiness. Drink something a little confusing. Absinthe. And then when you freak out, you can always say “Did I do that?”

Punky Brewster

(aka Soleil Moon Frye) This one is so, so, so goddam easy. Between the awesome (and quite possibly best) hippie name, and the general punkiness, we’re absolutely sure you need some Mezcal.

Tia & Tamera

Stop your weird twins thing immediately. They’re just both beautiful, so calm down. And drink a 7 & 7, mostly because you like things that go together. But not THAT way. (Decency accomplished.)


TGIF: What We're Drinking Now - Recipes

Hooray for friends with a big backyard. I'm playing tennis as a double date on sunday and really looking forward to outside time. Other friends have started using the marco polo app, and I am not into it. But hopefully everyone still feels good with outdoor hang outs. Especially while the weather is milder.

Those pictures of Paul are always so cute. Gosh, I remember spending hours and HOURS outside when mine were that age, watching them play with chalk, bubbles, their push toys. part of me misses it and part of me is REALLY glad they can play outside unsupervised now!! Haha! Those were good days though.

I continue to be SO impressed with your reading speed! Every time you post I swear you are reading a new book! I bow down to you! :) And apparently you still make time to watch Netflix. Impressive! I will have to check out that show- I love Steve Carrell too.

Have a blast at the lake! That sounds great. Weather looks wonderful this weekend.

It has to be so unsettling to get sick during this pandemic! You just never know if it could be COVID or just a head cold. I'm glad it didn't wind up being COVID, though! Hopefully you're feeling better now!

Your weekend plans sound like so much fun! It's nice to be able to do things with people but in a safe way. And your weather sounds AMAZINGGGG.

Sunds like a good weekend in store for you. I'm so relieved about the Covid test. I would have been on pins and needles. There's a huge outbreak in Michigan that started in Lansing area at a bar. Then the people there went to Detroit. A mess. I'm glad I'm at the lake. I'm not even sure of the temp but the sun is out and there is a lovely breeze, maybe even a small wind, on the lake so it's very comfortable. Happy week to you!

That N/A proseco sounds good, and fun to have a treat like that on a hot summer day. We just had a cocktail out on the dock and it was such a pleasant evening. We will sure miss having you here over the 4th! This virus is sure hurting family time together. It’s plainly a work of the devil! I hope you find something enjoyable to do over the 4th! Paul would love playing with his cousins, so hope next year we are back to normal again.
Keep posting pictures of Paul! We miss him like crazy!

Phew, I am glad you tested negative. it's so stressful to feel any symptoms during this pandemic, as it feels like the symptoms for Covid keep changing every day.
I hope you feel better and that you were able to enjoy the weekend at the lake

I am so over cooking. I legit would do a week of takeout at this point ha. I also bought paper plates in bulk because I'm over the dishes too! We are getting a little creative with veggies from the garden. We realized that our 'romaine' was actually collard greens so are trying different things with that. Honestly, grilled meat and then I've been trying to make some kind of cold pasta salad to eat off for the week since everyone eats it. Trying to find a 'new' recipe for this week to not make it repetitive. We've also done a lot of charcuterie lunches.

I haven't been a super creative cook lately, but I did do a really delicious and easy pasta last week: I marinated tomatoes, fresh garlic, and cubed brie in olive oil and salt for a day, then added hot cooked pasta. The pasta cooked the garlic and tomatoes just a little and it was quite good. It's tomato season, which made all the difference!

We have completely gone off course when it comes to cooking/food. We're totally winging it each day, spending very little time in the kitchen, and eating very, very simply at most meals. A lot of the same over again, and some nights just a bunch of grilled onions, mushrooms and another veggie. The lockdown totally changed the way we do things, and I'm really enjoying some freed up mental space. Someday I'll get around to posting about it ..


This Is How Many Cases of the New COVID Strains Are in Your State

The more contagious variants from the U.K., South Africa, and Brazil are in 29 states now.

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Over the past week, medical experts' worst fears have been realized when two additional new strains of the coronavirus were discovered on U.S. soil. These highly transmissible COVID variants have been causing more trouble than previous mutations in their countries of origin. A new strain found in the U.K. (B.1.1.7) spread so easily and quickly, it forced the country into another lockdown a South African strain has researchers worried that it could affect vaccine efficacy (B.1.351) and a variant that emerged in Brazil (P.1) may partially evade treatments, too.

As of Jan. 28, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed that all three of these strains have made their way into the United States. The U.K. strain has been spreading in the U.S. the longest, since the end of December, with 315 cases detected so far. As a result, the CDC predicts that—combined with it being 50 percent more transmissible than the previous dominant strain—it will become the dominant variant in the U.S. by March. As for the South African and Brazilian strains, only a few cases of each have been found in the country so far—but those numbers are likely to grow. Read on to find out how many cases of the new strains have been found in your state so far, according to the CDC's data as of Jan. 28. (Note: If your state isn't included, no new variants have been reported there yet.) And if you're worried about the new strains, If You Have These 4 Symptoms, You Might Have the New COVID Strain.

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Total number of U.K. strain cases: 1

Total number of South African strain cases: 0

Total number of Brazilian strain cases: 0

Alaska only recently discovered the B.1.1.7 variant within its borders. According to a statement released Jan. 26 by the Alaska Department of Health and Social services, the infected individual tested positive for COVID last month, but their sample was just identified by Alaska's Public Health Laboratories. The person who tested positive for the U.K. strain had "recently visited a state where the variant has already been detected," the department pointed out.

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Total number of U.K. strain cases: 92

Total number of South African strain cases: 0

Total number of Brazilian strain cases: 0

At the beginning of January, California only had six confirmed cases of the U.K. coronavirus strain now, there are 92, according to the CDC. The first California case was identified on Dec. 30 in a San Diego County man in his 30s who had no recent history of travel. More cases have since been confirmed in San Diego County, as well as in San Bernardino County and Los Angeles County, the Los Angeles Times reports.

"The presence of the U.K. variant in Los Angeles County is troubling, as our healthcare system is already severely strained with more than 7,500 people currently hospitalized," Los Angeles County public health director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement on Jan. 16. "This more contagious variant makes it easier for infections to spread at worksites, at stores, and in our homes." And if you're trying to stay safe, Dr. Fauci Says You Need One of These at Home to Avoid COVID.

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Total number of U.K. strain cases: 9

Total number of South African strain cases: 0

Total number of Brazilian strain cases: 0

The first reported case of the U.K. variant in the U.S. was found in Colorado in late December. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported on Dec. 30 that the strain was identified in a man in his 20s who was isolated in Elbert County. This man had no prior travel history, leading Gov. Jared Polis to surmise that although his case was the first identified, it was unlikely that he was the first in the country to contract it. Since Colorado's initial discovery, eight other cases of the variant have been found in the state, according to the CDC.

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Total number of U.K. strain cases: 8

Total number of South African strain cases: 0

Total number of Brazilian strain cases: 0

Connecticut confirmed the state's first two cases of the U.K. variant in individuals between the ages of 15 and 25, according to a series of tweets from Gov. Ned Lamont on Jan. 7. Both of these infected individuals reside in New Haven County, and they both traveled outside of Connecticut recently—one to Ireland and the other to New York. According to the CDC, six more cases have since been found in the state. And for more up-to-date COVID news sent right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

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Total number of U.K. strain cases: 92

Total number of South African strain cases: 0

Total number of Brazilian strain cases: 0

Florida was one of the first states to identify the U.K. coronavirus variant. On Dec. 31, the Florida Department of Health announced that a man in his 20s in Martin Country came down with the new strain, despite having no recent history of travel. Now, per the CDC, Florida has at least 92 cases of this new variant.

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Total number of U.K. strain cases: 14

Total number of South African strain cases: 0

Total number of Brazilian strain cases: 0

Georgia first identified the U.K. variant within its borders on Jan. 5. According to the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), the strain was discovered in an 18-year-old man who had no recent travel history. Now, the state has 14 cases, according to the CDC.

"The emergence of this variant in our state should be a wake-up call for all Georgians," DPH Commissioner Kathleen E. Toomey, MD, said in a statement. "Even as we begin roll out of a COVID-19 vaccine, we must not let down our guard and ignore basic prevention measures—wear a mask, social distance and wash your hands frequently." And to make sure you're prepared for your shot, know that If You Take These OTC Meds, You Have to Stop Before Getting the Vaccine.

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Total number of U.K. strain cases: 9

Total number of South African strain cases: 0

Total number of Brazilian strain cases: 0

A joint report released by the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) confirmed Illinois' first case of the U.K. strain on Jan. 15. According to the report, the CDPH found that the infected person had traveled to both the U.K. and the Middle East 14 days prior to their diagnosis. Since then, eight more cases have been discovered in the state—all from Cook County in individuals ages 12 to 63, as reported by the Chicago Tribune.

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Total number of U.K. strain cases: 4

Total number of South African strain cases: 0

Total number of Brazilian strain cases: 0

Indiana identified the new U.K. COVID strain on Jan. 11, as confirmed by a statement from the state's health department. According to the CDC, the state has since identified three additional cases of the variant. "It's common for viruses to mutate, and we are seeing that occur with COVID-19," State Health Commissioner Kris Box, MD, said in the health department's statement. "Because this strain of the virus can be transmitted more easily, it's more important than ever that Hoosiers continue to wear their masks, practice social distancing, maintain good hygiene and get vaccinated when they are eligible." And for more on how the virus could affect you, If You Have This in Your Blood, You May Be Safe From COVID, Study Says.

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Total number of U.K. strain cases: 2

Total number of South African strain cases: 0

Total number of Brazilian strain cases: 0

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced the state's first two cases of the U.K. variant on Jan. 27, as reported by the Louisville Courier Journal. Steven Stack, MD, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health, later confirmed that the two individuals were both from Kenton County. "The way [the U.K. variant] spreads, I think we should assume it's moved beyond those individuals," Beshear warned.

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Total number of U.K. strain cases: 1

Total number of South African strain cases: 0

Total number of Brazilian strain cases: 0

The Louisiana Department of Health confirmed the state's first case of the U.K. variant on Jan. 16 in an individual based in the Greater New Orleans area. "It was always a matter of time before this new strain of the virus would reach Louisiana, which is why our state health experts have been monitoring cases and working with the CDC to prepare. There is no such thing as taking this too seriously," Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a statement. And for more on how your state is faring with cases overall, This Is How Bad the COVID Outbreak Is in Your State.

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Total number of U.K. strain cases: 4

Total number of South African strain cases: 0

Total number of Brazilian strain cases: 0

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan confirmed on Jan. 12 that two Maryland residents had tested positive for the U.K. COVID strain. These two cases came from a married couple living in the same household in Anne Arundel County. Before the couple's infection, one spouse did travel internationally, Hogan noted. Since then, the CDC has reported two more cases in the state.

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Total number of U.K. strain cases: 3

Total number of South African strain cases: 0

Total number of Brazilian strain cases: 0

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health confirmed the state's first B.1.1.7 variant case on Jan. 17, identifying the individual as a woman from Boston in her 20s who had traveled to the U.K. and became sick the day after she returned. A second case was identified in a man in his 20s from Worcester County, the Associated Press reported. Recently, the CDC confirmed that a third case had been discovered. And for insight into your chances of having a severe case of coronavirus, If You've Done This, You're Twice as Likely to Develop Severe COVID.

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Total number of U.K. strain cases: 17

Total number of South African strain cases: 0

Total number of Brazilian strain cases: 0

The first Michigan resident to test positive for the U.K. variant was an adult woman living in Washtenaw County, as reported Jan. 16 by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Bureau of Laboratories. According to the Detroit Free Press, 16 other cases have been found between Washtenaw County and Wayne County, 13 of which have been tied to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

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Total number of U.K. strain cases: 8

Total number of South African strain cases: 0

Total number of Brazilian strain cases: 1

Minnesota has two different variants within its borders. Most recently, on Jan. 25, the Minnesota State Health Department announced that the Brazilian strain had been found in one resident in the Twin Cities metro area who had recent travel history to Brazil. According to the CDC, this was the first and, so far, only reported case of that variant in the U.S. Earlier in the month, the Minnesota State Health Department announced five cases of the U.K. variant, also within the Twin Cities metro area. The CDC has since confirmed three more cases of the U.K. strain in the state. And if you're worried about getting sick, know that These 3 Things Could Prevent Almost All COVID Cases, Study Finds.

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Total number of U.K. strain cases: 1

Total number of South African strain cases: 0

Total number of Brazilian strain cases: 0

Nevada has detected one case of the U.K. variant so far. According to a statement from the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory on Jan. 25, director Mark Pandori, PhD, said the strain was found from a symptomatic woman in her 30s, with an address in Las Vegas. "It is copying itself a lot right now, which can lead to mutating," Pandori explained. "The more a virus spreads in a community, the more opportunities it has to make mistakes when it copies itself. This leads to what we see here and it's a very natural part of viral evolution."

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Total number of U.K. strain cases: 2

Total number of South African strain cases: 0

Total number of Brazilian strain cases: 0

New Jersey health officials confirmed the state's first two cases of the U.K. variant during a press conference on Jan. 22. According to Health Commissioner Judy Persichill, RN, the first case was identified in a man in his 60s from Ocean County who had no history of travel. The other was a young child staying in northern New Jersey, who tested positive for COVID on Jan. 11 in New York City. And if you're worried you might be sick, discover The Surprising Way to Tell If You Have COVID Before Your Symptoms Start.

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Total number of U.K. strain cases: 2

Total number of South African strain cases: 0

Total number of Brazilian strain cases: o

On Jan. 13, New Mexico identified its first case of the U.K. coronavirus strain. According to the New Mexico Department of Health, a man in his 60s who recently traveled to the U.K. in December tested positive for the B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant. "He is currently recovering from very mild illness no hospitalization was required," the health department said in a statement. Since then, the CDC has reported one other case in the state.

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Total number of U.K. strain cases: 22

Total number of South African strain cases: 0

Total number of Brazilian strain cases: 0

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the state's first discovery of the U.K. strain on Jan. 4. The variant was found in a man from upstate, who worked for N. Fox Jewelers in Saratoga Springs. On Jan. 20, Cuomo revealed that 21 additional cases of the variant had been identified in the state. Several more cases were related to the jewelry store in Saratoga County, and other cases have been found in Warren County and Suffolk County. And if you're trying to stay safe, beware that This One Type of Face Mask Is "Unacceptable," Warns the Mayo Clinic.

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Total number of U.K. strain cases: 1

Total number of South African strain cases: 0

Total number of Brazilian strain cases: 0

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported the first case of the U.K. variant in the state on Jan. 23. According to a statement from the department, the strain was identified in an adult in Mecklenburg County. However, no more information about the case was released to "protect the privacy of the individual," the department said.

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Total number of U.K. strain cases: 1

Total number of South African strain cases: 0

Total number of Brazilian strain cases: 0

Oregon confirmed on Jan. 15 that one person in the state had tested positive for the U.K. strain, according to a report released by the Oregon Health Authority and Department of Human Services. The individual is a Multnomah County resident who has no known travel history. "Confirming this strain locally is distressing," Multnomah County Health Officer Jennifer Vines, MD, said in a statement. "Until we have enough vaccine, we must continue using face masks, distancing, and limiting our social interactions."

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Total number of U.K. strain cases: 5

Total number of South African strain cases: 0

Total number of Brazilian strain cases: 0

Pennsylvania's Secretary of Health Rachel Levine, MD, confirmed that an individual from Dauphin County had tested positive for the U.K. COVID variant after known international exposure. In a statement on Jan. 7, Levine said that the state "has been preparing for this variant" by sending samples for genetic sequencing biweekly to the CDC since November. Since that first case, the CDC has reported that four more have been identified in the state.

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Total number of U.K. strain cases: 0

Total number of South African strain cases: 2

Total number of Brazilian strain cases: 0

The state of South Carolina has not yet reported any cases of the U.K. or Brazilian strains, but it has recently become the first state in the country to identify the South African strain. According to a statement from South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) on Jan. 28, two cases of the South African variant were found in the state. Both cases are in adults, one living in the Lowcountry and one from the Pee Dee region. Neither of the adults have any known travel history, and there is no connection between the cases, DHEC reported. And for the latest vaccine news you need to know, check out why If You're Over 65, You Shouldn't Get This New Vaccine, Experts Warn.

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Total number of U.K. strain cases: 2

Total number of South African strain cases: 0

Total number of Brazilian strain cases: 0

The CDC has reported two cases of the U.K. variant in Tennessee. According to the Johnson City Press, the state's first two cases were identified on Jan. 21, but it was not reported where the cases occurred.

"Viruses constantly change and new variants are expected to occur over time," Health Department spokesman Bill Christian said. "This does not change our response to COVID-19 in Tennessee, but serves as a reminder of the need for continued vigilance and practice of simple actions we can all take to prevent further spread of COVID-19: wash hands frequently, limit gatherings, maintain social distance, wear a mask in public and get vaccinated when you qualify to do so."

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Total number of U.K. strain cases: 7

Total number of South African strain cases: 0

Total number of Brazilian strain cases: 0

A Harris County resident in his 30s with no recent travel history was the first confirmed case of the U.K. strain in Texas, according to the Texas Department State Health Services (DSHS). "The fact that this person had no travel history suggests this variant is already circulating in Texas," DSHS Commissioner John Hellerstedt, MD, said in a statement on Jan. 7. "This should make us all redouble our commitment to the infection prevention practices that we know work: masks any time you're around people you don't live with, social distancing, and personal and environmental hygiene." The state has since identified six other cases of the B.1.1.7. variant, per the CDC. And for one key way to tell if you're in trouble, If You Notice This in Your Mouth, You Could Have COVID, Experts Warn.

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Total number of U.K. strain cases: 1

Total number of South African strain cases: 0

Total number of Brazilian strain cases: 0

On Jan. 15, the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) confirmed the state's first case of the U.K. variant. The patient is a 25-44 year old man from Salt Lake County who tested positive last month. He had not traveled outside of Utah and experienced only mild symptoms. The U.K. variant was identified through the Utah Public Health Laboratory's ongoing genetic sequencing of positive COVID-19 samples.

"We fully anticipated we would find this strain in Utah," Angela Dunn, MD, state epidemiologist at the UDOH, said in a statement. "We know this strain is more transmissible than previous COVID-19 variants, and our hospitals continue to operate near or over capacity. So now more than ever, Utah residents need to wear masks, practice physical distancing, and avoid large gatherings."

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Total number of U.K. strain cases: 1

Total number of South African strain cases: 0

Total number of Brazilian strain cases: 0

The Virginia Department of Health confirmed the state's first case of the B.1.1.7 variant on Jan. 25. According to a statement from the department, the strain was found in an adult resident of Northern Virginia who had no recent travel history.

"Viruses change all the time, and we expect to see new strains as disease spreads," State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, MD, said in a statement. "We know this variant strain spreads more quickly between people than other strains currently circulating in our communities, but we still have more to learn about whether it causes more severe illness. As our state public health officials closely monitor the emergence of the B.1.1.7 variant in our Commonwealth, it is important that all Virginians continue following mitigation measures."

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Total number of U.K. strain cases: 3

Total number of South African strain cases: 0

Total number of Brazilian strain cases: 0

The Washington State Department of Health announced the state's first two confirmed cases of the U.K. strain on Jan. 23. According to a statement from the department, these two cases come from two Snohomish County residents. "Now that this variant has been found, it underscores the absolute importance of doubling down on all the prevention measures to protect Washingtonians against COVID-19," said Secretary of Health Umair A. Shah, MD. The CDC has since reported one more case in the state. And if you're worried about catching the virus, know that You're More Likely to Get COVID From Someone Doing This Than From Coughing.

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Total number of U.K. strain cases: 1

Total number of South African strain cases: 0

Total number of Brazilian strain cases: 0

A Jan. 13 statement from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) confirmed that the state had identified the U.K. variant "through ongoing surveillance and whole genome sequencing," the department said. However, the DHS declined to reveal how many patient samples were found with the strain or where the case(s) had been located within the state, The Journal Times reported. According to the CDC, one case has been confirmed.

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Charcoal Mellowed. Drop by Drop.

Mellowed drop by drop through 10-feet of sugar maple charcoal, then matured in handcrafted barrels of our own making. And our Tennessee Whiskey doesn’t follow a calendar. It’s only ready when our tasters say it is. We judge it by the way it looks. By its aroma. And of course, by the way it tastes. It’s how Jack Daniel himself did it over a century ago. And how we still do it today.

CHARCOAL MELLOWED
MATURED IN OUR OWN HANDCRAFTED BARRELS
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JACK DANIEL’S HAS ALWAYS BEEN THERE FOR MUSICIANS, AND AS LIVE MUSIC RETURNS, SO DOES THE JACK DANIEL'S BATTLE OF THE BAR BANDS

Jack Daniel’s & iHeartRadio are excited to bring you Battle of the Bar Bands. We are looking for the best bar bands in the country. Learn more about how you can enter your band for a chance to win $10,000 or simply vote on your favorite bar band in the US.


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This one’s for Gabby

Times change. Magic moments become treasured memories. Cyril Pahinui is looking forward to bringing some of the magic back — if only for a day — with the Third Annual Gabby Pahinui Waimanalo Kanikapila tomorrow at Waimanalo Beach Park. The music will go on throughout the day, with more than 100 musicians playing in honor of Gabby, Cyril’s father.

Charles Philip "Gabby" Pahinui is remembered as one of the greatest slack-key guitarists of the 20th century, but he was also an excellent steel-guitar player. Back in the 󈨀s and 󈨊s, Gabby and his family and friends would kanikapila (play music) for days at a time at his Waimanalo home — Gabby and slack-key guitarist Leland "Atta" Isaacs, Manuel "Joe Gang" Kupahu on acoustic bass and a shifting galaxy of talent that included Gabby’s sons Bla, Philip, Martin and Cyril.

"I miss those days, playing with my dad and with the Peter Moon Band and with Palani Vaughan," Cyril said as he talked Wednesday before his weekly gig at the Kani Ka Pila Grille.

Cyril and his brothers all share their father’s musical legacy as performers and recording artists, but Cyril has taken the lead in raising funds for a projected Hawai’i Museum of Music and Dance that would be a repository for Gabby’s legacy and the work of other Hawaiian musicians and songwriters.

THIRD ANNUAL GABBY PAHINUI WAIMANALO KANIKAPILA

Where: Waimanalo Beach Park

When: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. tomorrow

THE LINEUP

Maka’ala, Bernard Kalua, Barry Kimokeo, Alika Odom, Halau Mele o Hawai’i o Pahinui, Doug Fitch, Kapa’ala, Palanai Vaughan and the King’s Own, Kanakapila, Ben Kaili, Victor Chock, J.J. Ahuna, Dwight Tokamoto, Makana, Hi’ikua, Kamuela Kimokeo, Kalehua Krug, Jerry Santos, Blake Leoiki-Haili, Jessie Kalima Ohana, Nikki Hines & Friends, Alan Akaka, Gary Aiko, Momi Sherrie, Nobriga Ohana, Danny Carvalho, Jeff Peterson, George Kuo, Aaron Mahi, Kalani Cockett, Dennis Kamakahi, Greg Sardinha & Kailua Bay Buddies, Darrell Aquino, Mark Caldeira, Clayton Apilando, Kealoha Kalima Ohana, Hawaiiloa, Eddie Palama, Herb Lee, Bobby Kahihikolo, David Kaiapu, Joe Berinobis, Lance Takamiya, Hilo One, Russell Mauga, Likeke Teanio, Aaron Agres, Pahinui Hawaiian Band, Kunia Galdeira, Sonny Lim, Cyril Pahinui, Bla Pahinui, Pahinui Hi’ikua, Kamuela Kimokeo, Kalehua Krug and Blake Leoiki-Haili

While admission to tomorrow’s kanikapila festival is free, sales of this year’s limited-edition Gabby T-shirt will help fund the museum. A dollar from each T-shirt sale will go to the museum fund starting tomorrow Cyril is donating a dollar from each of his CD sales as well.

Cyril recalls the weekend jam sessions starting after his father joined the Sons of Hawaii in 1962. "They had rehearsals every week. Dad’s friends used to come over to the house — ‘Hey, Gabby, what you guys doing?’ They’d have a few drinks, and before you know it, they’re playing music."

"BEFORE long the word was, ‘Let’s go to Gabby’s house and go play music,’" Cyril recalled. "People would pass by to see what was going on, and if we were out on the lawn kanikapila, people (would) stop. Before you knew it, it was like one luau.

"When Daddy and Atta and Sonny Chillingworth would play, it (would) just bring chicken skin, magic or whatever you call it."

Dennis Kamakahi is one of the many musicians who will be reliving those good old days tomorrow. Kamakahi was introduced to Gabby by Eddie Kamae after he joined a later version of the Sons of Hawaii in 1974.

The night Kamae introduced him, they "played all night," Kamakahi said — but admission to Gabby’s inner circle wasn’t automatic.

"You had to be invited. If he would invite you to come in play in the circle, that was quite a privilege," Kamakahi noted. "If he nodded his head towards you, that meant you had to take a solo — and if you didn’t take a solo, you were out of the circle. You were not going to play for the rest of the night."

Gabby also shared suggestions with young musicians, Kamakahi added.

"He would show you a better way of approaching the music."

"You learn so much by just watching, and so it’s a privilege when they all nod to you to take that solo and you throw your idea in the center of the circle. He wasn’t after perfection — he just wanted to see what your idea was when he’d throw the solo to you. Cyril, myself (and) George Kuo, we were quite the privileged people because we never got scoldings from them."

Cyril Pahinui would like to revive the old-time weekend jam sessions, but modern notions of liability, differing attitudes about drinking and similar issues make it impossible.

"I wish we could do these things like the old days, but with the drinking laws now-days, no, you can’t do it," he said. "Before, it was different. People used to sleep at my dad’s house (if they’d been drinking). There was music from morning to night to the next day, and they’d start all over again. It was nice, but today is so different, you cannot. You don’t want to be responsible if anybody gets into an accident or something, but I miss Dad, I miss Atta, I miss Sonny, I miss Leonard Kwan … and today I just do the best I can."

He describes his support of the Hawai’i Museum as "my homework. That’s my duty, to carry on Dad’s legacy and also trying to build my legacy up."

CYRIL made his first recording with Palani Vaughan and the original Sunday Manoa in 1967. Two years later he went to Vietnam. He returned home and recorded with Vaughan, formed the Sandwich Isle Band, recorded several albums with his father and then joined the Peter Moon Band. For the past 20 years he’s been best known as a solo artist his solo albums include several for George Winston’s Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Masters series.

"The years went by so fast, but we’re trying to keep up with the Hawaiian traditional songs (and) I feel like I’ve never changed. My music has always been focused with Dad, Atta Isaacs, Sonny Chillingworth (and) Leonard Kwan. … I love all kinds of music, but Hawaiian music is it (for me). I love my traditional Hawaiian music, and I love hula."

Respect for tradition and desire to honor the family legacy keep the dream of a museum alive for this son of a legend, who himself has now been making music for a lifetime.

"I might not even see the museum, but maybe my grandkids might see it," Cyril said. "It’s not only for the Pahinui family it’s for all the entertainers that did good for Hawaii — like Auntie Genoa, Jesse Kalima, the Kahauanu Lake Trio, George Helm. … The (Hawaiian) composers should be a part of it (too)."

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Is It Possible to Drink at Every Single Brewery in One State in Just One Day?

Being a stunt journalist is kind of like being a heroin addict. You're always chasing that higher high. You learn how to drink all night without getting drunk, you explore a life of drinking every day before noon. You up the ante and see if you can eat and drink an entire hotel minibar. You successfully bar crawl an entire airport terminal. then decide to see if you can brewery crawl an entire damn U.S. state.

There are over 5,000 breweries in America. But there are only 16 in Rhode Island, our nation's smallest state. Would it be possible to visit them all&mdashdrink at them all&mdashin a single day? The good people at Visit Rhode Island thought so, but I also think they really wanted me to visit Rhode Island. And so, without telling my wife about my reckless plan, I hopped a train to Providence.

I'm picked up at the station by Alexa, my chauffeur and chaperone, and the unluckiest woman in all the land. She will drive me to all 16 breweries, she will play "bad cop" and force me to leave breweries the second I've plowed through a flight of beers, and she will politely laugh at all my jokes as I get increasingly drunker. She has a great attitude, though, and seems up for the task.

"No one walks anywhere in Rhode Island," she assures me as we speed off in her Volkswagen, as if toe blisters and sore hammies are my biggest concern for the day.

As if toe blisters and sore hammies are my biggest concern for the day.

Our first stop, at 9 a.m. sharp, is Ravenous Brewing, the second smallest brewery in the state as well as the northernmost, located in the town of Woonsocket, near the Massachusetts border. We struggle to find it at first, and I'm quite concerned. Getting even a minute off schedule could screw up my entire day. But, eventually, Alexa finds the tiny brewery, tucked in the corner of an industrial parking lot where food trucks are stored for the night. We are welcomed by owner Dorian Rave, a cool name for a cool guy who was formerly a Central Falls police captain.

"I started this as kind of an F-U to my ex-wife," he tells me. She had continually bashed his home-brewing dreams. "Don't print that." Pause. "OK, you can print that." Now he has a new wife and his own one-man brewery, about as big as a coffee shop and just as cozy, with Edgar Allen Poe iconography everywhere, even if Rave doesn't seem to be that big of fan. I try his five beers and they're all pretty good, especially the Coffee Milk Stout.

"You know how kids drink chocolate milk? Or strawberry milk?" Alexa says. "In Rhode Island kids drink coffee milk."

It's actually the state's official beverage I learn. I will learn about many of the state's official whatevers during this day. Go ahead, quiz me.

Our next stop is Narragansett, Rhode Island's largest brewery, and the only spot I'll visit today that you've actually heard of. What you might not know, however, is that Rhode Island's most famous brewery brews all its beers in Rochester, New York.

Started in 1890 in Cranston, Rhode Island, Narragansett Lager was at one time the best-selling beer in all of New England. In the 1960s, though, the brewery was sold, and by 1981 Narragansett was closed for good. In 2005, a group of Rhode Island investors, lead by former Snapple exec Mark Hellendrung, purchased the brand with an aim to resurrect it. Unfortunately, that meant initially brewing in Rochester. So what am I visiting&mdashand more importantly, drinking&mdashin Pawtucket, Rhode Island?

Next to an "adult day care" sit several beat-up warehouses, 131,000 square feet worth, that were at one time the Bancroft wooden tennis racket factory. (If you're wondering, you can buy 131,000 square-feet of Pawtucket warehouse space for a mere $1.25 million.) It doesn't look like much&mdashfrom the outside it doesn't even look safe to enter&mdashbut these buildings will soon form an ambitious "craft beer collective." Primarily funded by Narragansett, which will finally have its own Rhode Island brewing space, it will be shared with another half-dozen or so smaller breweries looking to scale up.

There are plenty of shiny 300-barrel fermenters, but no brewing is going on just yet. So employees B.J. Mansuetti, Jim Crooks, and I are forced to sit on pallets of 'Gansett cans in the chilly, unfinished warehouse, sipping on Rochester-brewed beer as they point to where various parts of the facility will soon be.

"People will be drinking here in six weeks, believe it or not. By St. Patrick's Day," Crooks notes optimistically. "It will be our own sort of adult day care," he cracks.

While checking Twitter in between stops, I notice that my state, New York, has just surpassed 300 total breweries. Brooklyn, where I live, now has 12 itself&mdashand I haven't even been to all of them. Visiting every brewery in the Empire state in a single day would be an impossibility you'd need an extra liver and teleportation technology. Such would be the case in most states: Even in a relatively non-beery state like North Dakota, which only has a dozen breweries, some are over 400 miles apart. That leads me to believe if I accomplish this, I will be the first person to ever have visited (and drank at!) every single brewery in a single state in a single day. Not only that, I aim to literally drink (taste) every single beer currently available in the state.

I will be the first person to ever have visited (and drank at!) every single brewery in a single state in a single day.

"The tourism board had never heard of any one wanting to do this," Alexa tells me, a sentence I always like to hear when pulling off a stunt.

Down the street from Narragansett&mdasheverything is down the street in this tiny state&mdashsits Foolproof Brewing, the biggest success story in Rhode Island craft beer. It was opened in 2013 by Nick Garrison, who had been working in the aerospace industry, though not as a rocket scientist, he insists. Foolproof has become so popular it is now sold in seven states and the brewery has undergone three expansions.

"But you seem like you know all this stuff, so I won't bore you with a tour," Garrison tells me as we peek into the brew house. I hunker down at Foolproof's brightly-appointed tap room, where I sample 10 different beers in under 10 minutes. Foolproof likes to make beers with unusual ingredients that are evocative of unique life experiences. I'm particularly impressed with Shuckolate, a chocolate/oyster stout made for Valentine's Day, as both those ingredients are said to be aphrodisiacs. I suggest Garrison add tiger penis to next year's batch.

We head back into Providence for a stop at the city's old craft brewery, Union Station. Opened in 1994 in a former train depot, it is now owned by the John Harvard's brewpub chain. Standing at the bar as the lunch crowd begins filing in, I try eight beers plus a housemade root beer.

As I enter Trinity Brewhouse just down the block&mdashyes, we drive&mdashI'm greeted by state senator Joshua Miller. Excellent! I presume I'm about to get a key to the state for my historic drinking efforts. Not quite. Instead I learn Miller is the long-time owner of Trinity and that's there's no such thing as a key to a state.

We take a seat at a beat-up corner booth, and Miller regales me with the kind of stories you'd expect a long-time bar owner and long-time politician to have. He's pro-marijuana. He had a bit part in There's Something About Mary. He once told an "Alex Jones Infowars guy" to "go fuck yourself," leading to radical right-wingers attempting to shut down Trinity. Fun! Miller has been in the bar business since 1975 when, as a 21-year-old college junior, he and some buddies bought Met Café for a mere $20,000. By the early 1990s he was helping change state legislation so he could capitalize on the country's looming microbrewery craze.

"People still come in here and they'll try to order a Bud. Or a Corona," he tells me. "They don't seem to understand that we make our own beer! You almost wonder how they don't need to have a seeing-eye dog with them." I try nine different house beers, some first brewed in 1994, and squeeze in a lunch of beer-battered fish and chips.

We're somehow ahead of schedule. I've honestly never enjoyed bar crawling so much. There's no time for small talk, no time for doing anything but quickly exchanging niceties with taproom staff before having them lay out a full flight of beers to pour down my face. At each additional brewery I arrive at, I'm usually asked to recount my day so far. By this point in the afternoon that only takes a minute by the evening a full recap of the day's events could use up my entire allotted time.

We again leave the city and head back to Pawtucket, which is apparently the armpit of Rhode Island, according to everyone I speak to. It's the home of shuttered mills, high crime rates, failing public schools, elevated teen pregnancy, and triple-A baseball. Bucket Brewery is a play on one of the much-maligned town's most pervasive epithets.

"You don't get to pick your nickname," founder Nate Broomfield tells me. "But you can claim it."

Amazingly, some 38 beers into my day, I don't hate beer yet, nor Rhode Island, but the day is only halfway over. Alexa shuffles me on to Crooked Current, also in Pawtucket, in a shopping center that features a yoga studio, a Latin dance company, and an African-American theater troupe. Sad as it is to say, Crooked Current is the only brewery in the state run by a female brewmaster&mdashand Nichole Pelletier is probably the most inventive one in the entire Ocean State. Working on Rhode Island's smallest brewing system&mdashit's made of plastic and as big as a Poland Springs office water cooler&mdashshe makes some truly inspired culinary beers. With Valentine's Day approaching, she currently has a series of brews that taste like the orange peel-filled and cherry-covered chocolate candies that come in a heart-shaped box.

"It's a luxury to be so small," she tells me, because she's able to experiment without too many people noticing. In a way, that could define the entire state's beer scene&mdasha state whose official motto is, fittingly, "Unwind." With happy hour approaching, it's time to head back to Providence for some more unwinding.

"Will traffic be an issue?" I ask Alexa.

"Traffic is never an issue."

There's no time for small talk, no time for doing anything but quickly exchanging niceties with taproom staff before having them lay out a full flight of beers to pour down my face.

TGIF, and the breweries are finally beginning to fill up with office workers and drinkers. Especially Long Live Beerworks, over which beer geeks are currently going gaga. Its founder, Armando DeDona, is a laid-back guy with slicked-back hair. He gave up a frustrating life as a mason in his late 30s and headed to brewing school in Sunderland, England, living in a tiny dorm room among teenage college kids. He now makes the kind of juicy, New England-style IPAs that are all the rage at the moment, yet he remains ridiculously humble.

"I really like the Lonely Weekend IPA," I tell him. It's my 50th beer of the day and one of the best.

"Yeah. It's all right I guess," he responds.

I would have gladly stayed at Long Live for the rest of the night, but we must move on. We next hit Revival Brewing, which resides in the low-ceilinged basement of a bar called Brutopia and is laid out like a crumbling frat house: pinball machines, ping pong tables, well-worn sofas, and high-fivin' dudes playing video games.

"People always get either the (low-alcohol pilsner) What Cheer? or the (10 percent ABV tripel) RIPTA&mdashnothing in the middle," the taproom bartender Eli tells me. I get all 11 available beers. In the corner some college bros are getting RIPTA'd themselves while munching on styrofoam cartons of fried calamari. Alexa informs me that fried calamari is Rhode Island's official state appetizer.

We head south for the final stops on the day's journey, entering the dark country roads of Exeter. Armando had already told me that Tilted Barn Brewery is "our Hill Farmstead," referencing the Vermont farmhouse brewery that is perhaps the best brewery in America and certainly one of the most bucolic. Tilted Barn is located on 30 acres of land you can't believe were squeezed into this mostly urban state. I'll later learn those 30 acres, including buildings, are worth less than my Brooklyn brownstone.

I'll later learn those 30 acres, including buildings, are worth less than my Brooklyn brownstone.

Matt Richardson certainly has the shortest commute of any Rhode Island brewery owner: his house sits a few feet from the 1800s-built barn he brews in. He tells me his wife is currently at home taking care of their three children while he acts as bartender at the lively tap room. His four beers are excellent I particularly enjoy the Mount Yasur coffee porter. He even sells Christmas trees, though I'm not in the market. Unfortunately, I have to use the flashlight app on my iPhone to find my way to the port-a-potty outside.

Proclamation Brewery is currently the hottest brewery in the state, but they were not open for my endeavor, the whole brewery team having headed up to Boston for that weekend's Extreme Beer Festival. Apparently, they don't find a man drinking at every brewery in their state quite extreme enough. I consider breaking into the brewery just to show them the extremes I am willing to go to, but instead simply have Alexa stop the car in front of the brewery. There I pound a can of their Double Dry-Hopped Tendril IPA. It's lovely.

In my brief time here, I've begun to realize that, in many ways, Rhode Island is like Massachusetts on steroids. The Patriots will win the Super Bowl in just two days, and no matter where we visit, whether high-end or low-brow, gentlemen are clad in Pat Patriot hats and Thomas Edward Brady replica jerseys.

Rhode Island's love affair with the Patriots is perhaps best summed up by the remarkable work of art painted on the side of a building facing Kingstown Road in South Kingstown. It shows a hairy-wristed right hand spread open, with giant Super Bowl rings on every finger but the middle one. "This one's for you, Roger!" exclaims the sign.

Across the street from this wonderfully subtle sign sits Sons of Liberty, the only distillery on my tour. I'm getting cocky. I started my day by having just a sip of most beers, but as we hit nightfall I'm drinking full glasses. I'm now not even opposed to having some drams of whiskey, like the inventive offerings made by Sons of Liberty. I greatly enjoy their Grapefruit Hop whiskey and their Pedro Ximénez Sherry Finish&mdashand yes, I also have the complimentary beers.

Whalers Brewing just up the road is the most raucous scene I encounter all day, a massive Moby Dick-decorated warehouse space full of URI students playing cornhole as their dogs run amok. Grey Sail is the state's southernmost brewery (it's on the Connecticut border) and produces its most famed beer of the moment&mdashCaptain's Daughter, a delicious, mosaic-hopped double IPA. Newport Storm Brewery is the only brewery located in the tiny vacation town. Of course, it's mid-winter right now&mdash28 degrees today&mdashso there aren't exactly a lot of visitors. In fact, there are zero customers left at 9 p.m. to watch me down three rums and eight beers with such New England-y names as infeRIority Complex and Rhode Sodah.

There is no ceremony, no streamers, no politicians nor eager fans upon my 10:30 p.m. arrival at my final destination, Coddington Brewing Co.&mdashjust a few locals eating calamari and watching the end of the Celtics game. Opened in 1995, Coddington is the third-oldest brewery in the state, and it's looking worse for wear. The lighting is unpleasant, the employees aloof, the rarely-updated menus housed in those plastic sleeves that always end up covered with nacho gunk. But now is not the time to get tripped up. I order a full flight of seven beers, and a paper placemat is laid in front of me with circles identifying each one.

Brewmaster Marshall Righter comes out to say hello to me. He tells me he's retiring from the brewing business and spending this late evening training his replacement. He's not that old though, so I wonder why he's leaving the beer game.

"Moving to Jamaica. Cannabis," he tells me. I consider following him.

Whereas I started my day by having just a sip of most beers, as we hit nightfall I'm finally drinking full glasses.

Instead, I plow through my flight of beers so I can complete my mission, get the hell out of Coddington, and let Alexa drive me back to my hotel. Remarkably, she doesn't seem to hate me yet, even after watching me spend 14 straight hours drinking without even a sip of alcohol herself.

I return to the Dean Hotel just as some rowdy conventioneers are headed out for the evening. I'm surprisingly not too drunk, not even too tired. I'm just really fucking sick of beer. It feels like I will never get the taste of beer out of my mouth. Entering my room, I immediately head to the bathroom to brush my teeth. I find my sink filled to the brim with ice and two "Hi&mdashNeighbor! Have a 'Gansett" pounder cans shoved in it. A welcome gift. I'm unfazed. I turn on the water and pull out my Oral-B. The sink begins overflowing as I brush.


Watch the video: Μας Κάνατε Τσακωτούς. Potato Twisters. TGI Fridays (May 2022).