Tag Archives: NYC

Jimmy’s No. 43

IMG_3982Jimmy’s No. 43
Facebook   Twitter @JimmysNo43

Something you should know about this Gal, if you already haven’t figured it out, I can be stubborn when I want to be. Although, I like to think of it as more determination that stubbornness. That being said way back in the late spring/early summer a friend and I ventured into the city for a self made pub crawl. One of the places I wanted to try the most was Jimmy’s No. 43. I kept hearing how great the beer selection is and it has appeared on many top beer places in NYC lists. Needless to say I was beyond disappointed when I arrived to find them closed. Ever so determined to check out Jimmy’s No. 43 for myself I once again trekked back to the city and voilà found myself at Jimmy’s No. 43 and it was open!

IMG_3984You have to go down a flight to enter Jimmy’s and when you do you feel you’ve been transported back in time to the catacombs of Old World Europe either that or a vampires lair. Jimmy’s is small and cozy with arched brick ceilings, lots of wood and carved cathedral style openings. Over all a very inmate setting. The bar is in front of you when you first walk in and is smaller than I thought it be maybe seating 9 or 10 people. I loved the marble bar top and all the old wooden barrels around the ceiling perimeter.

Besides wanting a beer my friend and I were in need of some food too. Jimmy’s offers a small but interesting menu so we were looking forward to enjoying something different. That being said as we scoped out the joint I asked the bartender if they were serving food. Normally they would be but since things seemed pretty darn quiet I figured I better ask. Sadly they were not, the kitchen wasn’t ready yet. Ummm, OK. So we took a seat at the bar and scanned the area for the tap list. Not spotting one I asked the bartender what was available. She pointed to the clipboards near the entrance said the tap list was on that but she hadn’t had time to update it. Alrighty then.

The list consisted of 12 beers on tap and a rather extensive bottle list. The tap list was indeed good but not as impressive as I thought it be giving all the hoopla I’ve heard about Jimmy’s. Although, I feel spoiled with the wonderful tap selections in such close proximity to home. Heck, this Gal is just 30 minutes from soIMG_3983me the best tap lists the City of Brother Beer (Philly) has to offer.

I had finally decided on my beer request but the bartender was busy behind the bar doing I’m not sure what. So I waiting patiently for her to take my beer order. Instead she announced she had to go check on her food, grabbed her purse and left. I looked at my companion and said,”did she really just leave?” She sure did. So we sat and waited because no matter what I was having a beer at Jimmy’s No. 43 . Upon her return I requested the Greenport Harbor Black Duck Porter but unfortunately, that was one of the beers they were out of. Instead I opted for the Black Hog Coffee Milk Stout (Nitro). It was lovely how it cascaded into the glass and I was looking so forward drinking it but it sat and sat and sat and then sat some more while, once again, the bartender did – God knows what behind the bar. Seriously, we were sitting at the bar and I do not for the love of anything sane understand what she was occupying her time with but it certainly wasn’t attending to her customers. I was to the point that I was ready to reach over and grab the beer when she finally served it to me. I will say it was worth the wait.

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B.H. Coffee Milk Stout

Coffee Milk Stout, Black Hog, CT (Nitro) – 5.5%
This pours beautifully leaving gorgeous rings on the glass as you sip it. Rich roasted coffee, bitter on the backside with the silky smooth creaminess of a milk stout. Velvet silk in a glass.

By the time I had been served the Black Hog I pretty much figured I would only be having the one beer and moving on. I don’t have a whole lot of patience for bad service and the service or lack there of at Jimmy’s was getting increasingly bad. Wait…it gets worse.

The beer was $8 and I put on $10 on the bar next to my glass. As the glass became empty I figured at some point the bartender would acknowledge the empty glass and I could settle up my tab. Yeah, that wasn’t to be the case. It really became very clear that she didn’t care about her customers. So my companion and I got up to leave with the $10 clearly sitting next to my empty glass. I was first up the stairs when I realized my companion was still inside. Turns out our leaving FINALLY got the bartenders attention and she yelled at him about leaving without paying. I find it curious that her first reaction would be to accuse a customer of not paying instead of perhaps nicely saying something to them or looking on the bar first to see if they left money. She was informed the money was indeed on the bar next to the EMPTY glass and her response – “oh”. Not ok, thank you or sorry about that – just Oh.

As a former bartender I completely understand one can have an off day but by the end of our visit I really just got the feeling that this type of service was the norm at least for this bartender. As someone who lives on a budget and carefully chooses when and where to spend my money I much rather spend it somewhere that truly appreciates ones customers. That being said there are plenty of bars in NYC with great tap list and good service that appreciates the business their customers bring. Sadly this was not the case on this visit.

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Arts and Crafts Beer Parlor

FullSizeRenderaArts & Crafts Beer Parlor
Facebook
Twitter @ACBeerparlor 
Untapped

I hadn’t heard of Arts & Crafts Beer Parlor prior to my visit but I can easily say it has made this Gal’s list of top beer bars in NYC. Yup, I loved it that much.

It’s located in the West Village downstairs in the basement of a building that one could easily walk by – almost did – so glad we didn’t. It’s on the smaller side with a decent size bar to the right and several tables to the left and in the back of the establishment. When you first walk in there’s an electric looking fireplace to the right that adds to the atmosphere of the joint which is rustic, cozy and hip but not in the hipster sort of way.  The ceilings are low and there’s lots of wood including a beautiful wood bar.

For the sports lovers there’s a large TV at the one end of the bar and if you’re in need of food a limited snack menu is available. The “kitchen” is located behind the bar. The real star of this place is the tap list – 24 beers and all of them wonderful. The selection rotates on a regular basis and everyday there’s happy hour specials with 4 select beers for $5 each.  Looks like they carefully choose which four so there’s a style no matter your taste.

That’s what’s great about the tap list – the diversity of it. There’s truly something for everyone and if you’re having trouble deciding they offer taster rounds in various sizes. 1/4 Flight 6  6.8oz, 1/2 Flight 12  6.8oz, 3/4 Flight 12  6.8oz and “Run the Board” all 24 beers in 6.8oz pours. Granted the full taster will cost $75 but you’d have a lot of fun for the money. You’re welcome to choose the beers for your flight or if you rather you can leave the decision up to the bartenders. I was fortunate enough to witness a couple ask for the bartender’s choosing for their taster round. They only stipulation was no IPAs on the round. Boy, the bartender gave them a great selection Porter, Black Lager, White Ale, Amber, missed the 5th one and finally AVENTINUS (YES! love that he put Aventinus in the round – love the beer and feel it’s highly underrated).

Breaking Bud
Breaking Bud

By now you know this Gal loves her taster rounds but on this particular day I was in the mood for a full glass of something special so I went for a 12oz pour of Knee Deep Breaking Bud.

Breaking Bud – Knee Deep, CA 6.7%
Very pleasing beer, coriander with light accents of hops, fruit, pine, wheat and malt. Perfect combination.

Piper Down – Ballast Point, CA 5.2%
Toasted caramel & malts with a subtle hop finish.

Mud Puppy
Mud Puppy

Mud Puppy Nitro Porter – Central Waters, WI 5.5%
Indeed! You know this Gal had to go for the Nitro porter and this one is robust with chocolate and hops. Although, I would have preferred it served closer to room temperature. It was a bit to cold for my liking, I had to let it sit for a bit but it was worth the wait.

Cracker White Ale – Cigar City, FL 5%
Orange peels, coriander and saison yeast combined to make a wonderfully refreshing  white ale. This beer is giving Allagash White stiff competition as this Gal’s favorite white ale.

 

FullSizeRendercSide note – the 2 gentlemen working the day this Gal was there were awesome! Very attentive, know their beer and were happy to pour tasters.

NYC Village Pub Crawl

UnknownThis Gal decided to take a Sunday inSpring  and enjoy a NYC Village Pub Crawl. With list in hand  my companion and I made our way via bus and subway to the Village. First stop was to be Jimmy’s No.43 but just a couple of doors prior we came to McSorley’s Old Ale House. This wasn’t on the list since my goal was to hit places I’ve never been to but then again it’s McSorley’s so a stop was required. It’s been years since I last visited and nothing has changed, same saw dust on the floors, same cobwebs and dust hanging from the lamps. The only change seemed to be my furry four legged cat friend was no longer around.

McSorley's DarkSame beer is available as well. McSorley’s serves two types of beer light and dark. Yup, it’s that simple so, of course, I ordered a round of dark. A round still consist of 2 small mugs of beer for only $5.50.  The dark is a smooth tasty dark lager and makes for easy drinking. McSorley’s is an institution with a great atmosphere which is why one visits this historic place.

 

After my round of dark it was time to visit the first stop on my list Jimmy’s No. 43. However, a bit more planning should have been involved since Jimmy’s didn’t open until 4:30pm and it was only 1:30pm. Strike #1 Sigh…so next up was Good Beer.

Good Beer is really a beer package store with a few taps for enjoying a beer on the spot. However, there is only 1 small table in the corner and it was occupied. This particular Sunday was unseasonable warm for Spring and my companion and I wanted to sit and enjoy our beverages. Since there was no place to sit and apparently no air conditioning we moved on. Strike #2

IMG_2720We had hope things would improve and they did. Several more blocks and we arrived at the  #1 spot on my list to try.  Alphabet City Beer Co. (ABC Beer Co.)  I’ve heard a lot good things about this place and I was hoping it would live up to it’s reputation. ABC is a craft beer store and bar with a cool laid back atmosphere. The bar itself is small and only sits a handful of folks but there’s a large communal table in the back for hanging with friends plus a few comfy high back chairs that just beg for someone kick back with a book and beer. A limited food menu is offered and it IMG_2718appears all the food is made behind the bar. My friend and I decided to grab two seats at the bar and I went to work studying the tap list. There are 12 taps that rotate often so you never know what you may find. The one draw back about the tap list, well, I found it hard to read. At first glance you might thing there were only 6 beers on tap but look closely and you’ll see all 12.

ABC Tap List
ABC Tap List

Taster rounds aren’t available but the bar tenders are fine with pouring small sample tastes.  I found it helpful that the tap list shows the pricing for half pours, pints and growler fills.

First up:
Barrier Beech Street Wit 5.1% – I was so happy to have this beer placed in front me. I was hot and this beer was crisp and refreshing with wonderful wit hints of orange and coriander and just slight undertones of banana.

Barrier Beech Street Wit
Barrier Beech Street Wit

AleSmith Nut Brown English Brown Ale – 5%
This Gal always gets excited to see a brown ale on tap and wished I would see them more often.  This is a well done medium body English brown that’s creamy and offers  just the right balance of nuts, malts and whole bread goodness.

 Stillwater L’anjub Aloja Farmhouse  – Stillwater Artisanal Ales, MD 6.9%
I love Farmhouse ales! Love, love, love! This has the classic cloudy yeasty body associated with this style. Crisp, sour, yeast, fruit, pepper and a hint of saison funk all add up make this an enjoyable Farmhouse ale.

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Stillwater L’anjub Aloja Farmhouse

After Farmhouse our stomachs informed us it was time to eat so off to our next and final beer stop for a late lunch and another tasty beer or so we thought. We headed caddy corner across the street from ABC Beer Co. to Zum Schneider. A German beer hall in Alphabet City. We were excited to try this place and extremely disappointed to find out that they were closed for some reason. Normally they open at 1pm on Sunday and here it was 3:30pm but they were closed. Strike #3 IMG_2721

We decided to just walk around and see what restaurant caught our eye on the way back to the subway when I spotted a little gem called the Drop Off Service. This looked like my kind of bar! The Drop Off Service is an bar located in an old laundromat building. Now this was EXACTLY what this Gal was looking for – a cool off the grid beer bar with a grungy, laid back, old work feel to the place with lots of bring, wood and iron.

IMG_2727Besides a killer tap list they  also offer wine and cocktails but no food. However, one can bring in food from the outside. Now that I had time to relax, cool off and enjoy some beer at ABC Beer Co. it was now time for a stout.

Peg Leg Imperial Stout
Peg Leg Imperial Stout

Peg Leg Imperial Stout, Heavy Seas MD – 8%
YES! I don’t care that is was freaking hot out I still love me a stout and this stout had everything I was looking for. Roasted malts, chicory, chocolate and bourbon undertones.

Steeped Emperor’s Lemon Saison, Moody Tongue Brewing, IL – 6.3%
I wasn’t sure just how strong the lemon would be and hoped it wouldn’t overpower the other flavors. The lemon was pretty strong but the coriander was still there. Still it was a bit too lemony for this Gal.

Hemboldt Brown Hemp Ale
Hemboldt Brown Hemp Ale

Humboldt Brown Hemp Ale, Humboldt Brewing, CA 5.7% – Two brown ales in one day? I must be in OZ. This is a very mild creamy brown with earthy flavor accented by roasted nuts and malt. Good but not great still worth trying.

The Drop Off Service offers Happy Hour everyday with $5 craft beers until 8pm. Why is craft beer cheaper in NYC than Central NJ?! The Drop Off Service was the favorite stop of the day! Now it really was time for us to move on in search of some food…until next time NYC.

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Drop Off Service

 

 

Christmas in NYC

Rockefeller Tree
Rockefeller Tree

12/21/13

Every Christmas season, since I was a kid, I go into NYC to visit the Christmas Trees of all Christmas Trees at Rockefeller Center. If you’ve never done this before I highly recommend adding it to your list of things to see in your life time. There is something magical about the Tree.

Over the years my NYC Christmas tradition has grown to include the shops at Bryant Park and a beer or two at my favorite beer place in NYC, BXL Café. This year I decided to try something new and check out the massive display of Christmas decorations at Rolf’s German Restaurant while enjoying a German beer.

Well, my companion and I didn’t realize just how popular Rolf’s display was until we reached the restaurant and discovered a 2 hour wait just to have a drink at the bar. As much as I love German beer and wanted to see the decorations there was just no way I had the patience to stand 2 hours in line to do either of those things. So off we went and started the short trek back to the subway station when we came across TapRoom307 and their slogan No Crap on Tap caught my eye. We glanced at the food (veggie and meat friendly) and beer menus and decided this was the place to plant ourselves for a bit.

TapRoom307 has a pleasant atmosphere that is designed to allow friends to gather and hang out for a while. The bar is long and booths line the walls while long communal tables run the down the center of the establishment. The decor is rustic/wood and very warm and inviting. The only downside sound carries and at times the noise level can make it a bit hard to carry on a conversation.

Since there were 40 beers on tap and I didn’t plan on spending too much time at the Tap Room I decided the best beer route for me to take was a Flight, 4 beers for $12. I decided to try four beers very different from each other.

Weihenstephaner Vitus, Weizenbock, Germany 7.7%
From start to finish this beer was a joy to drink and very refreshing as well. It pours an orange/yellow color with a nice white head. Several flavors mix around as you drink this beer including citrus, banana, cloves and coriander all mixed with a sweet malty aroma.  I couldn’t have asked for a better beer to accompany my lunch, kale salad with citrus vinaigrette.

Prelude Special Ale, Winter Warmer, Shipyard Brewing, Maine 6.7%
This beer has a nice dark amber color to it with a tannish head. It’s a descent winter ale that has a nice nutty flavor to  and a subtle hops ending.  The winter spices are not overwhelming as some winter beers can be. In fact, I would never guess it was a winter ale from tasting it but rather a descent amber ale.

Jolly Pumpkin Noel de Calabaza, Belgian Strong Ale, Michigan 9%
First thought – a Christmas Tree just exploded in my mouth. It has a woody pine taste to it mixed with dark fruit tartness and holiday spices. A small pour of this particular beer was enough for me, I could not imagine drinking a full tulip glass of it. I mixed it with a wee bit of the Harpoon Chocolate Stout and that helped to mellow the flavors out. I enjoyed the combination of the two. Remember to experiment!

Harpoon Chocolate Stout, American Stout, Harpoon Brewery, Massachusetts 5.9%
This beer pours black and has a nice frothy head. The roasted malts take a bit of a back seat to the sweetness of the chocolate and vanilla. The sweetness was a bit overpowering for my taste and mixing with the Jolly Pumpkin helped to cut it. It’s a decent stout but isn’t going to make my top 10 list.

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Left to Right: Jolly Pumpkin, Harpoon Stout, Vitus, Prelude
Bryant Park
Bryant Park

Once we finished up at the Tap Room we headed back up town and to Bryant Park and my favorite BXL Café. BXL is in close proximity to Bryant Park, Times Square, Port Authority and Rockefeller Center but is NOT touristy at all. Several years ago a dear friend and I were on 43rd headed toward Rock Bottom Brewery when out of the corner of my eye I spotted BXL and we decided to stop in there first. We never made it to Rock Bottom that day. BXL is a wonderfully small intimate bar with a couple of small tables, for two, in the front window area and about a dozen tables in the back for eating. There are several TVs in the café and usually they have on European football. The menu is on the small side but has something for everyone and being a Belgium restaurant there’s a nice selection of mussel dishes to choose from. Of course, the main reason I go is the beer. All Belgium or Belgium style beers are on tap and there’s a nice bottle selection as well. At least 90% of the time the beer is served in the appropriate glass which I just love.

BXL Cafe
BXL Cafe

On this visit I decided to enjoy one of my favorites….

Chimay Spéciale Cent Cinquante, Bières de Chimay S.A 10%
How much do I love Chimay? I once had a special, special cat named Chimay. The color of this ale is a beautiful copper with a nice white head. The balance of the spices with the yeast and citrus is just a perfect blend. There’s a nice undertone of peppers with the malt and a crisp dry finish. Chimay never fails to bring a smile to my face.

For this particular visit I had planned on enjoying just this one special beer but then I found out they had Delirium on tap and well…you guessed it….I had to have one.

Delirium Tremen, Brouwerij Huyghe, Belgium, Belgian Strong Ale 8.5%
YUM! This ale pours a nice golden color and has a nice steady stream of bubbles. It’s a bit more carbonated than I usually like but for some reason that doesn’t bother me. The taste is a delicate balance of lemon, apples, honey and just a slight hop essence and is a very crisp and clean beer that finishes dry.

Delirium Tremens
Delirium Tremens
Chimay
Chimay

After the Delirium my beer adventures for the day had come to an end and it was time to make our way back to the Port Authority. It was another successful Christmas visit to NYC.

Rattle N Hum, NYC

www.rattlenhumbarnyc.com

I’ve heard good things about this place and like their slogan “40 beers on tap and none of it crap” so decided to try it out earlier this year. It’s located within walking distance of Madison Square Garden so it’s a perfect place to stop for a pre show/sporting event beer.  The atmosphere is super casual beer bar, nothing fancy, dark and lots of wood. The menu is true bar food.

I decided to go for the taster round so I could try more and since the tastes were only 4oz each I made myself go outside my comfort zone on some of them.

Here we go…
Southern Tier 2 x Stream 8%
Very clean, clear beer with strong citrus flavors and so crisp I believe it snaps when you drink it.

Weihenstephaner Hefe 5.4%
Classic that was just perfect for the warm weather, always refreshing with just a hint of orange. True German wheat beer and I love my German wheat beers. Great summer beer. My none beer loving companion declared this one drinkable!

Peek Skill Simple Sour 4.5%
I’m not a big fan of sours but do enjoy a sip now and again. So went for it and glad I did. Essence of lemon and slight mustiness that comes with a sour beer. Slight malt character as well. It finished light which I appreciated instead leaving my mouth in a puckered state. If you’ve never had a sour I suggest this one as your first.

Boulder Mojo Risin Imperial IPA on Cask 10%
This was very outside the box for me since I’m not an IPA, let alone Imperial IPA, drinker but something about this beer intrigued me so went for it. Glad I tried it and glad it was only 4 oz. Citrusy grapefruit with floral hops and malt undertones. Since it was a cask the carbonation was minimal which helped tone down the hops in some weird way.

O’Hara’s Celtic Stout (Nitro) 4.3%
Ummm, YUM! Pours rich and dark and has a wonderful mocha head. Lots of roasty caramel goodness going on with this beer. Since it’s an Irish stout it’s not heavy and is easily drinkable in warmer weather.

Breckenridge 72 Chocolate Stout 7.2%
Really nice cocoa and caramelized malt flavors with a very creamy texture. Slight coffee undertones but finishes slightly, very slightly sweet and leaves one feeling warm fuzzy as one does when drinking scotch.

Two Brothers Northwind Imperial Stout 8.5%
Easy to drink, medium body with not a lot of carbonation. Nutty/roasty aroma with a touch of mocha. None of the flavors (chocolate, coffee, nutty) are overwhelming and stand out but all blend together.

Firestone Walker Walkers Reserve Porter 5.8%
Vanilla is what hit me first with a slight taste of smokey hops which caught me off guard but I enjoyed. Also, slight cherry tasty. Almost like a chocolate covered cherry but not sweet. Similar to an oatmeal stout in consistency. Very delicious. (I had a chance to visit Firestone Brewery when I was out in CA visiting the San Luis Obispo wine country. My companion I came across Firestone winery and saw they had also started a small brewery. At the time they only brewed 2 beers and they were only available on tap at 2 or 3 places in Santa Barbara. It’s amazing how they have grown.)

I highly recommending stopping in for a beer or two next time your in the city!