Mini Beer Crawl, NYC 11/6/13
I decided to do a mini beer crawl in NYC, visiting one new spot, well new for me, plus an oldie but goody.
First up was the newbie – Beer Authority, NYC
This establishment has caught my eye on numerous occasions being I usually take the bus into NYC and the Beer Authority is located right next door to the Port Authority Bus Terminal. It’s taken me a while to check it out since it’s located only 3 blocks from my favorite go to beer place in NYC, BXL Café. I’ve also been hesitant since it’s in the heart of the tourist area and rather large. I prefer smaller more intimate spaces. Upon entering there is a small bar on the first floor and if I was to go back that is where I could kick back. On this particular trip my companion and I headed up to the 2nd floor main bar/restaurant area. It was a pretty big room and the décor was welcoming with lots of wood and beer signs all around. A nice décor touch was all the door handles upstairs were tap handles. I thought that was fun.
Only a few other patrons were there at the time and I was very thankful for that since the room was a bit noisy and I can only imagine how noisy it would be full. Also, there is an outside roof bar area for the nicer days. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to check it out, that alone may be a reason for me to go back.
After being seated at a table, next to a window which made it ideal for people watching, I immediately started to peruse the beer menu. It was nicely laid out by style and the list really had something for everybody. I was hoping for a sample round but was informed by my waiter they didn’t do that. I found that strange for a beer establishment and realized I was certainly going to have to choose wisely since I would be having a full beer instead of a sample. I wanted to pair my beer selection with the food I would be having. I felt the Spider Bite Boris the Spider, NY 10% (8 oz serving) would complement my vegetarian Shepard’s Pie quite nicely. (note: the food menu is meatarian, vegetarian and gluten free friendly)
Spider Bite Boris the Spider, NY 10%
This isn’t just a beautiful beer there is the flavor to back it up as well. It’s rich dark colors and beautiful aroma lets you know you are in for a nice medium to full body beer chalk full with a richness of flavors. It has a roasted bitter coffee and rich cocoa flavor plus a hint of smokiness as well. Overall this a darkness of goodness glass of beer.
I felt I chose wisely as it did pair very well with the Shepard’s Pie. I debated about having a second but since I still had another beer stop to make I decided to pass.
Overall my experience at the Beer Authority was pleasant and am glad I finally stopped in to see what was happening there. It’s hard to imagine myself making it a regular stop when visiting the city, there are just too many other beer places to try. However, I do feel the need to check out the roof top bar at some point so come warmer weather another stop might just be required.
Next stop on my mini beer crawl….The Ginger Man
It’s been a least 8 or 9 years since I’ve been to The Ginger Man and not much has changed in that time. It’s still has 70 beers on tap, plus numerous bottles and an extensive whiskey list as well. The atmosphere is warm and cozy with long tables to gather at or you can curl up in a comfy oversized chair to enjoy your beer. For this visit my companion and I sat at the bar and I was happy when I noticed they offered sample rounds. I was in the mood to experiment and sample rounds are perfect for that. All the beer on tap is available for the sample round and it’s 4 5oz pours for $13. I was also in the mood for some big beers and they had plenty on tap. My first round consisted of:
Barrier Hot Burning Love, Barrier Brewing Company, NY 5.4%
This is an amber ale brewed with jalapenos and scorpion ghost peppers. The pepper taste is subtle, at least to me but I like things hot. There is a slight musty taste to the beer but overall is a pleasant drinking beer. I think it would be better paired with food rather than drinking it on it’s on. I found 5oz pour to be plenty.
Allagash James Bean, Allagash Brewing, Maine 10.3%
WOW….let me say that again….WOW! That was my first, second and third response after trying this beer. I’m not a bourbon drinker but this beer made me rethink that. Right away you can taste the bourbon but it’s not at all overpowering just very subtle. It pours a nice golden hue with a pure white head. Besides the bourbon there is a slight aged in wood flavor to the beer that is very complementary to the overall taste that consists of oak, whiskey and hints of coffee with low carbonation and a creamy body. This is a very nice sit by the fire place sipping beer.
Cask Mendocino Oatmeal Stout, Mendocino Brewing Company, CA 6%
I went for this beer because it was on Cask. This stout is super smooth with a rich mocha color and a strong roasted malt taste with undertones of cherry and chocolate. I enjoyed this beer immensely. Very easy to drink.
Cask Pumking, Southern Teir Brewing Company, NY 8.6%
Pumking is one of my favorite pumpkin beers and I was excited to finally get to try on cask. Being on cask really allows the flavors to come through full throttle and the pumpkin flavor was really enhanced without the carbonation. It pours a nice golden color and has the full flavors of pumpkin, nutmeg and caramel with a touch of vanilla.
For my second taster round (my companion insisted) I enjoyed the following:
Stone Farking Wheaton W00t Stout, Stone Brewing Company, CA, 13%
My oh my! This beer pours a very dark brown with a nice beige/cream head. Right off the bat you can taste the alcohol in this beer along with some California hops, chocolate, whiskey and perhaps a bit of licorice. This is a big beer in many ways alcohol, flavor and aromas. Not my favorite of the day but appreciated being able to try it.
Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale, Stone Brewing Company, CA, 12%
It’s been a while since I had this ale so I decided to go for it. Right off the bat you can smell and taste the California hops that leaves the mouth feeling a bit dry. Along with the hops there’s a maltiness to it as well along with earthy undertones and a tinge of caramel. This reminded me more of an Imperial IPA than a barley wine. If you are into hops I recommend it.
Carton BDG Brown, Carton Brewing Company, NJ 6%
Apparently, this second sampler round was going to be about hops without my knowing it. I’m more a malt gal but it’s always good to try new/different things. I chose it because I like browns and rarely see them on menus. I think it’s one of the most under brewed styles. I felt this particular brown was more of an IPA with a brown color to it. It’s a bit yeasty and does have the slight nutty flavor to it that I associate with brown ales. Not a go to beer for me but enjoyable.
My final selection of the day was an oldie but goodie…
St Louis Framboise, Brouwerij Van Honesbrough, Belgium 4.5%
It’s been ages since I’ve enjoyed a Framboise and this was a delight. It was a beautiful hue of pink with amber highlights and pinkish head to it. As soon as you bring it up to your lips you can smell the sweet berry goodness of this beer. It’s full of raspberry flavor with the wonderful balance of sweet and tart that lamics are known for. This was the one and only beer my companion decided to try and it was a hit all around. I decided to play a bit an mix a wee bit of the lambic with a wee bit of the W00t Stout – chocolate covered goodness in a glass.
After the second sampler round it was time to head back out into the streets of the City and enjoy a nice leisurely walk with my companion .