More specifically, beer in Manhattan and Brooklyn. I was in New York this past weekend for a few days and did my best to seek out the finest beer establishments. I targeted quite a few, but only managed to visit the six below, chosen purely based on where I happened to be at beer drinking time.
One thing I noticed about the beer menus in New York was that they were very California heavy. I found this strange considering I was in the North East of American Town, which has it’s fair share of quality brewers. What’s even stranger is that I didn’t see any Oregon beer available in pubs, pretty crazy considering how rad Oregon is when it comes to beer. So lots of California, no Oregon, and a smattering of the North East, weird eh? I thought I’d see more from up and coming Vermont too, but not so much.
Now for the six pubs I visited. None of them blew me away, but all were pretty good. There were no Belmont Stations or Alibi Rooms in there, but I may have missed the best ones? I also received recommendations for New Beer Distributors, Barcade, Pony Bar, and Bierkraft, for next time…
The blind tiger is a cosy, lively pub in Greenwich Village. It was super busy when we visited late on Saturday afternoon, and I’ve heard it’s crazy after work. As I was advised, I suggest heading to this place during the afternoon if you really want to get in. The beer menu was really solid and we drank Flying Dog Raging Bitch on cask, Boulder Hazed and Confused, Founders Cerise, and Mad River Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout (insanely flavourful). I highly recommend this place to any beer geek or pub enjoyer visiting New York, especially since the neighbourhood is neat too.
Rattle N Hum
Right near the Empire State Building, this is very much a sports bar with a beer nerd menu. It’s not exactly cosy and was full of football fans and/or beer nerds. My wife was not a fan of the atmosphere. We drank Brooklyn Blast, Brooklyn Brown, and a bottle of Founders Breakfast Stout. This was my first taste of Founders magical stout, so a worthwhile experience. I recommend this bar for beer nerds and/or football fans.
The Ginger Man
Right near Rattle N Hum, I was told to only stop at this bar if I was in the area. The beer selection isn’t as good as other NY beer destinations, but it’s a pretty cool pub. It’s one of those wood panelled, brass rail type old-timey places. It had a good feel and my wife was much more impressed with the atmosphere. We drank Sierra Nevada Tumbler and The Bruery Autumn Maple. Only go to this pub if you’re in the area; it’s not a top beer destination.
A trendy beer bar in the Lower East Side, felt most like the Alibi Room. What I loved about Spitzers (this may apply to big cities in general), was that when we arrived at 11:30pm on a Monday, not only was it open and full, they were still serving food! Both the beer list and food menu looked good, and we certainly enjoyed what we had. We ordered Bronx Pale Ale and Six Point Sweet Action, which I found crazy refreshing after so much heavy, iconic New York food. Southern Tier and Founders beers were available. I highly recommend this place, doubly if you’re a hipster.
Mugs Ale House
A neighbourhood pub kinda place, in stark contract to its uber hipstery location in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. We arrived late afternoon and our fellow patrons consisted of locals who looked like they shouldn’t be drinking so early. Still, it was a good place. We had Barrier Belgian IPA and Brooklyn Red IPA (brewed exclusively for the pub by Brooklyn brewing located a block away, super fresh). I’d check out this place if you’re visiting Brooklyn Brewing, but otherwise not make the effort.
Also in Williamsburg, this place was also very hipstery, but in a friendly way. The inside of the bar is covered in trendy nicknacks, which I found neat and not douchey. The beer list is pretty solid too, lots of Belgian stuff. We drank Midnight Sun Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter, Defiant Muddy Creek Lager, Brasserie des Franches Douze, and De La Senne Zinnebir. This was a good place, check it out if you’re in Brooklyn.
Obviously I needed to bring some beer home too. I didn’t really know where to go for this, so trusty Whole Foods it was. I was really impressed with the Whole Foods I went to in the Lower East Side. Their beer section was treated as an actual store, the selection was magnificent, and a good many beers were labelled with RateBeer ratings. I picked up Founders Breakfast Stout, Founders Harvest Ale, Alesmith Grand Cru, Dogfish Head 75 minute IPA with maple syrup, and Uinta Crooked Line Labyrinth Black Ale.
So that’s that then, turns out New York is rad and you should go there.