Tag Archives: MANHATTAN NY

BARCADE – EAST VILLAGE

Image result for barcade st marks place  Image result for barcade st marks place

MANHATTAN, NEW YORK

In the center of St. Mark’s Place in Manhattan’s East Village, the fourth Barcade franchise opened during 2015. Taking the space once occupied by iconic New York record shop, Kim’s Underground, Paul Kermezian’s latest arcade-laden beer pub provides the same fine craft beer and wine as its other idiosyncratic locations.

Retaining the crudely rustic black-walled interior and exposed pipes of its predecessor, Lower East Side’s Barcade features 20-plus taps at its right side 12-seat lamp-lit bar. A central blackboard lists current beer selections.

On my terse half-hour stopover, October ’17, I discovered Great South Bay Splashing Pumpkin (reviewed in Beer Index). On deck were a few brews I hadn’t yet tried, such as Barrier Tanto, Shmaltz Hannukah in July in Napa, Du Claw Collusion, Chelsea Pumpkin Pie and Kelso Berliner Weisse with Cranberry.

barcadestmarks.com

BLIND TIGER ALE HOUSE

Image result for blind tiger nyc menu Image result for blind tiger nyc menu

MANHATTAN, NEW YORK

Right on the corner of Bleecker and Jones Street in Manhattan’s West Village, BLIND TIGER ALE HOUSE has been a New York City staple since opening in 1996. A legendary downtown pub, Blind Tiger emulates Prohibition Era Speakeasy’s with its comforting Olde World ambience and roughhewn wood décor.

A rustic one-room fortress with old creaky floorboards, mid-walled brick hearth, farmhouse-styled ceiling beams and wraparound 18-seat bar, Blind Tiger’s multiple blackboards list 28 draughts plus three casks and several bottled-canned beers.

Industrial lamps light the bar while several tightly packed tables and one hanging TV take up the rest of its cozy space. A light food menu includes sandwiches, appetizers and salads to alongside well-selected craft brews, wine and cocktails.

On a hot September afternoon following the San Gennaro Fest, my wife and I grab a few stools to consume California’s Firestone Walker Helldorado Blonde Barleywine, Ireland’s Lough Gill Imperial Coconut Toasted Porter and Maine’s Allagash White (reviewed fully in Beer Index).

www.blindtigeralehouse.com

GEORGE KEELEY’S

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MANHATTAN, NEW YORK

One of the finest Upper West Side watering holes in Manhattan, GEORGE KEELEY’S serves classic Irish and American pub fare alongside some of New York’s best craft beer on draught.

Just off 83rd Street on Amsterdam Avenue, the cozy neighborhood hangout’s 20-seat mahogany brass-railed bar features 20-plus taps, a large mirrored George Keeley mural and several distinguished liquors. Ten left side tables oppose the bar and multiple TV’s provide a sportsbar atmosphere and a Dogfish Head sign above the front door proves their commitment to craft beer.

The jukebox plays classic rock while I consume six previously untried brews (reviewed in Beer Index) with my friends Steve and Jeremy during a hot summer night in June ’17.

East Coast Amber Lager and Bamberger Mahr’s Ungestpundet Hefetrub represented the pilsner-lager contingent. Captain Lawrence Clearwater Kolsch, LIC Beer Project Primrose Saison and Modern Times Fruitlands with passionfruit and guava were soft-toned faves. KCBC Extremely Dangerous Precedent Double IPA proved worthy but Gisberga Reina De Aragon Porter seemed unfinished.

 

BROADWAY DIVE

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MANHATTAN, NEW YORK

Re-creating a cozily bohemian Prohibition Era speakeasy, affluent Upper West Side pub, BROADWAY DIVE, is tucked into a busy commercial street just up the hill from midtown Manhattan. Its mauve-marooned exterior and rustic wood interior give this narrow beer-centric tavern a friendly neighborhood feel.

Packed to the hilt with incongruent graffiti and paraphernalia, mounted animals (deer, bear, trout, bass), multiple TV’s, koi fish aquarium and 20-plus tap handles (specializing in respected Belgian ales, local elixirs and national craft beer), its tremendous refrigerated bottle-can selection consumes much of the left wall opposite the 20-seat wooden bar area. And a few marble-topped community tables serve people across the bar.

Part of the “Dive Bar” triumvirate that includes the original Amsterdam Avenue site and Columbus Avenue’s Dive 75, these seminal landmarks are a must for all New York City-bound beer enthusiasts.

My wife and I grab seats at the bar just a few days prior to Christmas, 2015, to consume one high profile sampler tray (Sloop Sauer Peach Berliner Weisse; Barrier’s Uncle Lee’s Christmas Ale; Barrier Lights Out Stout; Evil Twin Christmas Eve In A NYC Hotel Imperial Stout) plus a pint of Thirsty Dog Bourbon-aged Wulver and Ayinger Weiss. We consume chili, hummus and a knish while downing world class brews.

For those requiring privacy, two small loft areas overlooking the bar offer adequate intimacy.

divebarnyc.com

ONE MILE HOUSE

 

MANHATTAN, NEW YORK

Named after a historic 19th century Lower East Side granite mile marker in Manhattan’s Bowery, ONE MILE HOUSE (opened for business 2012) serves inventive pub fare and creative cocktails as well as awesome local, national and international craft beer. A Prohibition Era-styled watering hole with custom wood decor, hanging pendant lights, silver tin-tiled ceiling, mauve-walled city portraits and black velvet window curtains, its overall rusticity creates the reliable Old World ambience.

In early August ’15, I grab a seat at the two-roomed wraparound bar to sample eight previously untried brews that range from California’s Telegraph Flotsam Lager to Ireland’s White Hag Black Boar Imperial Stout with New York City-based Third Rail Bodega Pale Ale, Transmitter Golden Ale, Barrier Red Button Imperial Red Ale and Finback Gose finding middle ground alongside Ithaca Cranbretty and East-West collaboration Other Half/ Bunker Boogie Board Stuntz Kolsch (all reviewed in Beer Index).

The exquisite wood-mantled leftside bar houses several hanging silver mugs, select spirits and 20-plus taps. Behind the bar area, a caliginous one-booth backroom counters a cozy dining area while the spacious back porch (with five wood tables and one community table plus beer-related Allagash, Dogfish Head, Green Harbor, Sixpoint and Smuttynose signposts) offers the perfect Big City summertime retreat.

The imaginative culinary experience provided by the David Burke kitchen utilizes locally-sourced ingredients for “burgers and things” like creative hot dogs and flatbreads as well as juicy steaks and crisp salads to fill the one-page pub menu. A few inventive Double Dogs get consumed during my initial visit – The Elvis Dog (with peanut butter and bacon) and Dallas Dog (Texas chili with onions and mustard).

Before heading out to my Central Park High Times Bonghitters softball game versus friendly rivals, Wall Street Journal, the well-rounded beer assortment gets quaffed while Zimmy from dance punk band, Tooth Aches, makes interesting conversation. Several teachers, musicians and craftsmen stop by for a drink as dinnertime rolls around.

A trusty neighborhood tavern with dichotomous old-world charm contrasting quality new-world food and beverages, One Mile House draws local working-class minions from various eclectic downtown communities such as the Bowery, Little Italy, Chinatown and Canal Street.

www.onemilehousenyc.com

GINGER MAN

   

MANHATTAN, NEW YORK

 

From its humble Houston digs in 1985, the original Texas-based GINGER MAN was considered the first multi-tap bar in America. Quite a huge statement considering the Lone Star state’s more conservative liquor laws. More than a decade hence, GINGER MAN’s prime midtown Manhattan franchise instantly gained a sterling reputation from beer geeks and snobs far and wide upon opening in ’96.

An Olde World-styled Irish-spirited pub with Gothic lamps hanging above a cozily cavernous wood-leathered interior, this charmingly classicist Herald Square beer haven serves some of New York’s greatest tapped selections alongside excellent single malt Scotches and worthy pub fare. Two bronze-backed serving stations at the 25-stool right bar offer 66 draughts listed on a crowded cardboard menu (alongside 160-plus bottled selections). A back lounge with couches and tables serves as an easygoing alcove retreat.

Sitting at one of the crimson suede-designed left side pews, my two colleagues dig into cask conditioned versions of Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA while I sample six previously untried brews on this dank Monday afternoon. For lunch, the Cobb Salad is crisp and fresh while the Shepherd’s Pie is undeniably rich. For dessert, we get amazing cinnamon-sugared soft pretzels with honey  mustard.

While Dortmunder-styled Riegele Commerzienrat Privat stayed mildly creamed and delicately grassy hopped, dry-bodied old ale Greenport Harbor Anti-Freeze brought soft-toned dewy peat to dark-spiced dry fig and molasses breading. Brooklyn Oishi Belgian Session Ale layered lemony curacao orange above plastique lemongrass tones.

Those easygoing starters were blown away by winningly peculiar Founders Mango Magnifico Con Calor, a tropical mango-juiced fruit ale with throat-clearing habanero burn.  Smooth oak-aged Element ESO (English strong ale) tasted just like dry Scotch and Abita Macchiato Stout featured a monstrously peppery espresso-like coffee roast. Full reviews in Beer Index.

Based on a classic post-war novel by American playwright JP Donleavy, each Ginger Man franchise does the legacy proud with uncommon bohemian ambiance meeting elegantly upscale vintage decor.

www.gingerman-ny.com

BEER AUTHORITY

MANHATTAN, NEW YORK

Located directly across 8th Avenue’s Port Authority one block from Madison Square Garden in midtown Manhattan’s Hells Kitchen section, BEER AUTHORITY opened April 2012. Inside a spacey two-storey golden browned corner spot, this emblematic beer-centric sportsbar gained initial acceptance from true beer geeks as well as casual businessmen and curious tourists.

Initially visited in the late afternoon during November ’13, Beer Authority’s bountiful brewery banners cover nearly every wall and crevice. Its glass-windowed second floor illuminates the large-lettered gold-on-brown signpost glistens upon arrival. And a spacious open-air rooftop bar with bright blue parasols adds to the overall magnificience of this prime urban hotspot.

 

 Upon entrance, a dimunitive ground level 8-seat bar with antique bronze ceiling tiles, fine wood-shelved liquor, 16 tap handles (of familiar craft beers) and large-screen TV welcomes patrons. Chimay, Rogue and Sixpoint banners proudly display the walkway to the sizable second floor.  

A massive oak-furnished, beige-sided, duct-exposed expanse with 20 stooled dinner tables cornering the well-kept 20-seat inner-walled bar and TV’s at every conceivable angle bedecking the beer-bannered wall of fame (featuring Flying Dog, Green Flash, Smuttynose, Founders, etc.), its impressive Stone Brewing murel truly seals the deal.

At the bar, two opposing refrigeration units center the two brass tap mounts (pouring 60-plus tapped beers) and a blue Weihenstafaner flag hangs over the prominent Beer Authority NYC mirror. Formidable red and white wines are available on the Brit-twisted pub-fared menu (Roasted Vegetable and Lentil Shepherds Pie; Beef Pot Pie; Lamb Shepherd Pie; Roasted Wild Boar Sausage). “The Authority,” a petite filet mignon with shallot-buttered onions, deserves to be tried. 

As night falls, I enjoy one obtuse South American stout and three unconventional Midwest pale bodies (fully reviewed in Beer Index). Out of Brazil, Guanabara Imperial Stout allowed sour-fruited burgundy to upstage expectant brown chocolate creaming. Underwhelming, perhaps, but slightly intriguing.

While Illinois-bound Goose Island Lolita brought vinous raspberry-soured white grape tartness to the fore, Michigan’s Kuhnhenn showed off sweet and sour sides. Kuhnhenn Fluffer Gone Wild (a brettanomyces-funked IPA with sour Gose-like coriander salting dabbing herbal lemon zest) and White Devil (a mellow vanilla-sugared banana bomb with cane-sugared sweetener).

www.beerauthoritynyc.com

PROLETARIAT

Proletariat, New York  

MANHATTAN, NEW YORK

Just down the street from Hop Devil Grill in Manhattan’s East Village, diminutive dive bar, PROLETARIAT, boasts ‘rare, new and unusual beer’ as its prophetic slogan. An inconspicuous St. Mark’s Place hangout for crazed craft beer enthusiasts, Proletariat opened May 2012 to excited local fanfare.
 
A narrow joint with an elongated left side bar and one front windowed table, the rustic black-bricked interior walls (with bright paint-chipped clusters) resembles a ’50s ice cream parlor with its low-to-the-ground swivel stools, white-tiled ceiling and right-walled picture frame regalia. Four tap fountains contain twelve rotating draught handles and several hard-to-find beer bottles adorn the shelves.
 
On my initial April ’13 visit, Beverage Director Cory Bonfiglio efficiently tends bar as a packed house enjoys a well-rounded choice of beers going from light pilsner to rich mocha stout. As cool underground rock plays in the background, I dip into Louisville’s Against The Grain Hacksaaz Chuggin’ Pils, a dry-hopped rye-grained light body with orange-oiled herbal notions. Next, Long Island City’s Rockaway ESB upped the citric rye influence of the former pils for an upscale pale ale-like refresher given an English-styled earthen fungi musk.
 
As it starts to pour outside, several nearby customers decide to chow down on the limited, but fine, pub fare (such as Toasted Pretzels, Brined Potato Wedges, Grilled Cheese, Beer-Braised Brat and Reuben Burger). I reach for sessionable Manhattan-based Radiant Pig Jr. IPA, an easygoing charmer with lighter India Pale Ale-related stylistic illusions. Its polite piney grapefruit-peeled orange rind bittering and minor juniper snip contrasted tangy peach, mango, passionfruit, pineapple and melon tropicalia.
 
For a closer, lenten amber lager, Aecht Schlenkerla Fastenbier, proved how well German rauchbiers strike a chord with rangy palates. Its beechwood-smoked parlance, sweet cedar chipping and Band-aid wafted astringency pleasurably seeped into the tongue.
 
True to the free-spirited underground punk scene that once thrived on St. Mark’s Place, Proletariat offers an intriguing melange of super suds.
 
 

 

RATTLE N HUM

 
 
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK
 
Reminiscent of a roadhouse-styled Irish sports pub, RATTLE N HUM opened for business, July 2008, and quickly became one of New York City’s premier beer-centric bars. A narrow wood-paneled, black-walled dive at a 33rd Street boutique spot with flashy banners, painted brewery insignias, strewn tap handles and other beer-related paraphernalia, Rattle N Hum is the brainchild of respected beer impresario (and original owner) Patrick Donagher. A bright green, yellow and red sign boasting Rattle N Hum New York City welcomes thirsty patrons at the wooden entrance.
 
Finally getting to visit this highly regarded beer haven for Happy Hour (11 AM to 7 PM weekdays) on a slushy Thursday afternoon in March ’13, I was thoroughly impressed with the magnitude of passion and commitment towards developing craft beer appreciation. Daringly parading the nifty slogan “No Crap Beer On Tap,” this relished hotspot features 40 draughts, 2 hand-pulled casks and 120-plus bottled selections. On the back of the beer menu is a thorough event listing and worthwhile ‘how to taste beer’ section. Flights of four 4-ounce beers for $10 allow customers to sample new brews they might not otherwise experience.
 
Sitting across the right side 15-seat bar (with four TV’s and large chalkboard listing tapped selections), my wife and I settle into the largest booth before the place gets really crowded. Several businessmen grab the front benches while a few couples sit at the rear and side community tables. Behind our heads along the wall are several hand-painted beer insignias promoting Founders, Speakeasy, Lagunitas, Boulder and BrewDog. On the rear wall, a map of the United States contains several flags denoting where today’s current tapped beers originated.
 
As Etta James’ eternal lovestruck ballad “At Last” plays in the background, I dive into two previously untried libations (Singlecut Billy Full Stack IPA and Bronx Black Pale Ale) while my wife sips Sierra Nevada Kellerweiss (reviews in Beer Index). We split the enormous Taco Tower appetizer and hope to try artisanal cheeses, quesidillas and sandwich wraps at a future date.
 
On top of the nearly religious dedication to well-crafted beers, there’s a certain intimacy prevailing over this big town Beer Mecca. Tourists, beer enthusiasts and NYC’s notorious bridge and tunnel crowd all find a home at Rattle N Hum. Just get there early ’cause it does get filled ’round dinnertime and weekend evenings.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

THE PONY BAR

MANHATTAN, NEW YORK
Packed to the gills on a Friday evening in late November 2012, Upper East Side Manhattan watering hole, THE PONY BAR, is a diminutive one-room saloon on the corner of 75th and 1st (with a second site in Hell’s Kitchen). Three rounded orange-colored Pony Bar insignias welcome the large contingent of post-collegiate minions to the front entrance as the Pac-10 football championship between Stanford and UCLA plays on the two TV’s sidling the left bar this cold winter’s eve.
Hanging growler lamps dimly light the 20-stool bar area where dozens of local denizens find space to get one of the limited edition or hard-to-find American indie brews served from 20 rotating draught lines. Two illuminating boards above the bar list tonight’s featured beers. Though failing to get the collaborative Bruery/ Elysian/ Stone Citrueilli Amber Ale one-shot, two tartly fruited libations were imbibed for the first time during my one-hour stopover.
A Latino waiter with a ‘Fuck Imports” t-shirt (celebrating this establishments’ commitment to American ales) clears the community table at the front window where I’ll be sipping some suds. Some pro-pot enthusiasts must run the operation since Happy Hour begins at the inauspicious time of 4:20 PM. Burgers, chicken, pulled pork, ribs and deep-fried pickles are available for the dinner crowd but at this witching hour all customers onhand are strictly drinking.
Though the tentative Lakefront Rendezvous Biere De Garde seemed a bit underwhelming with its murky fruit esters and tart IPA-like citric-peeled bittering, serviceable Bear Republic Wine Country Wheat co-mingled hefeweizen (tart banana), Berliner Weiss (salty coriander) and American wheat ale (lemon-rotted apricot and orange) stylings quite effectively. (Full reviews are in Beer Index)
Within walking distance of the larger David Copperfield’s House Of Beer, The Pony Bar’s one of the coziest pubs in New York City. Connoisseurs will appreciate the swiftly revolving draught choices and enjoy the friendly young-at-heart atmosphere.
During two-hour stopover with wife, Karen, March 2013, had soft pretzels with spicy farmhouse mustard alongside Goose Island’s Naughty Goose English Brown Ale and Bourbon County Coffee Stout as well as Chelsea Bourbon Barrel Blackhole Stout and Green Flash East Village Pils. Hung out with Stuart, host of
On a rainy April ’14 springtime jaunt, shared mouthwatering Tartine (honeyed pizza bianca with black-peppered ricotta and dried fig) with wife while quaffing three ‘big’ Uinta brews and 21st Amendment/ Elysian He Said Pumpkin Porter (a rich hybridized Baltic porter placing dried-fruited mocha malts above pumpkin pie-spiced anise, stewed prune, fig, caraway and cinnamon).
As for the Uinta triage, Detour Double IPA boasted orange-peeled grapefruit and pineapple bittering as well as sticky pine resinous pungency to contrast sweet pear-peach-apple tang. Similarly styled Anniversary Barleywine tossed tangy dry-hopped IPA fruiting at syrupy piney spruce sapping. And approachable beechwood-smoked Tinder Rauchbier brought Band-Aid astringency and black-peppered peat malt to apple-candied glazed ham sweetness. (All fully reviewed in Beer Index)
ues.theponybar.com

508 GASTROBREWERY

 508 Gastrobrewery - New York, NY - Brewery, Mediterranean  Restaurants in NY offering Independence Day Specials

MANHATTAN, NEW YORK 

508 GASTRO RAISES NEW YORK CITY’S BEER PROFILE

There’ve finally been some steps taken to make Manhattan not only the cultural capitol of the world, but perhaps someday, the hottest brewing municipality on the planet. Granite City has dragged behind the rest of America’s incredible Craft Beer Renaissance due to ridiculous political animosity, nonsensical licensing regulations and the sheer amount of money needed to establish any restaurant or brewery on or off-Broadway. However, the landscape’s slowly changing.

Portland, San Diego, Denver, Philadelphia and many other lesser cities have more brewpubs than the largest Mecca on the universe so it stands to reason that taking a chance on going for broke would be ill-advised for now. Yet just a few blocks from lower Broadway, a well-educated entrepreneurial South American native that settled in the greatest city on earth decided against all odds to brew a few new recipes for the awaiting huddled masses.

Gaining immediate respect as both an exquisite artisanal restaurant and worthy small-batch brewery, 508 GASTROBREWERY is the brainchild of Brazilian-born Anderson Sant’anna De Lima and his Pittsburgh-raised wife, Jennifer Sant’anna Hill. Located at 508 Greenwich Street one block from the Holland Tunnel (and visited on a Saturday night in February), this Mediterannean-American hotspotopened in ’08 and by June ’11, received its license to brew on-premises. And now the usually tranquil Tribeca-bound neighborhood it services is a destination point for serious beer aficionados as well as sophisticated chowhounds.

A cozy downtown retreat, 508 GastroBrewery now joins upscale Italian-run midtown rooftop phenomenon, La Birreria, and spacious Chelsea Brewery (at West Side Highway’s Pier 23) as the only NYC brewpubs. (Heartland Brewery’s five fine restaurants strictly count as ‘beer pubs’ since brewing is done off-premises in Brooklyn.)

“We’re going to try to open a real full-scale brewery sometime,” Anderson explains as I dip into 508 Cream Ale, a sessionable saison-like hybrid contrasting a peculiarly engaging lemon-seeded orange rot tartness against honey-sugared caramel malts. “We’re not upscale. We just look good. There’s no white tablecloths.”

The San Paulo-bred gourmandizer graduated from Parsons School of Design after coming to New York in ’95. He worked for an ad agency, but became unhappy with corporate life. When he met Jennifer, the soon-to-be-married couple decided to open a restaurant in the Caribbean. Their affluent Virgin Gorda eatery was a success, but very soon into their one-year journey they yearned for the island of Manhattan.

In ’08, while chatting with friends at the restaurant, the subject of brewing came up. Jennifer heard Anderson say how much he’d love to become a brewer, so that very next month, she brought him a brew kit for Christmas.

 

“I remember making an Amber Ale,” Anderson recalls while I delve inside Citra Common, a crisply well-balanced ale with lightly spiced lemony orange bitterness usurping creamy crystal malts to its crackling citric-hopped finish.

He continues, “When I was younger, I drank German hefeweizens by Franziskaner and Ayinger. But my introduction to America’s craft beer movement came in ’97 when I discovered the (now-defunct) Tap Room Brewpub. It was expensive during college so I’d only go once a month. But it didn’t get the reputation it deserved.”

Though Anderson’s clearly an experienced brewer, he plans to attend Chicago’s famed Seibel Institute for a few concise courses that’ll broaden his scope.

“Education never ends,” he contends as I toss down Neves Winter Ale, a honey-spiced medium body with ancillary lemon custard, fennel and lavender notes. “I want a better understanding of nerdy stuff. I’ll spend a few weeks there and come back with an expanded level of knowledge.”

For the true beer-food connoisseur, 508 Gastro does pairings Sunday and Monday for two hours (5:30 PM until 7:30 PM) at $39. It includes three dishes and bottomless beer – so drink as much as you can.

As for the elegantly curtained interior design, a 12-seat right side bar with hanging pendant lights opposes six left dining booths. To the rear is a chef’s table snuggled next to two more 4-seat tables. Going through the busy sky-lightedkitchen down narrow stairs to the basement, there’s a private 12-seat dining room posing as a catacomb-like wine cellar. The small brew kettle setup (seven 55-gallon fermenters) recently hosted several beers not yet available at the upstairs taps or bottles.

“There’s a sour ale and gueuze readying alongside a Saison, Belgian Strong Ale, Smoked Rye IPA and Golden Strong Ale. We have to utilize space well. I also have a storage space two blocks away for bottles,” he assures me as I try the approachable tropical-fruited India Pale Ale, where sugary pineapple, mango, tangerine and melon counter midlevel piney grapefruit-peeled bittering.

Anderson admits, “Sometimes I run out of certain beer. But I never have an empty fermenter. People have really been coming for the beer. They also give feedback and know more about beer these days. There was a Northern California hop farmer in last week who gave me ten pounds of fresh hops.”

Arguably the best selling flagship beer of the week is the soft-toned Brazil Nut Brown, a moderately embittered invigoration placing peanut-shelled Brazil nut, toasted walnut and pine nut against caramelized hazelnut sweetness. And the response is likewise positive for mild Seltzer-fizzed Hefeweizen, where tranquil orange peel zest lingers above the expectant banana-clove conflux and creamy wheat-buttered malting.

MGMT’s hooky Farfisa anthem “Kids” plays in the background as I taste the marvelous Octopus with Garbanzos, a grilled seafood dish utilizing olive-oiled garbanzo beans, dried apricots, smoked paprika and pancetta. Next, the white-wined Steamed Mussels retained tender freshness.

My wife shared the pita-breaded Greek Mezze Platter, a nifty appetizer culling roasted garlic, hummus, babaganoush, olives and yogurt-like tzatziki. For dinner, she ordered the simply irresistible asiago-cheesed, balsamic-vinegared Artichoke Flatbread Pizza. My son, Christopher, enjoyed the Lobster Rock Shrimp, which gathered oyster mushrooms, pappardelle and tomato cream lobster sauce. Several homemade pastas went untried but looked fabulous, such as Truffled Mushrooms, Goat Ragu and Three Cheese & Chard Ravioli.

“The food recipes are my wife’s. She has complete freedom with her food and I have complete freedom with my beers,” Anderson points out as I dig into the fine cuisine.

At this point, he breaks out a bottled version of the truly amazing and rather unconventional Montezuma Imperial Stout, the perfect mocha-related dessert treat. Its robustly bitter coffee prominence and hop-charred black peppering (two stylistically offbeat leading flavors) overlay Mexican chocolate sweetness, creamy vanilla hazelnut swirls and espresso-milked cappuccino reminders.

The future’s bright for 508 Gastro as they’ve found the right combination of memorable edibles and impressive libations.

Anderson concludes, “I went on Beer Sessions Radio with Jimmy Carbone (owner of below-ground East Village joint, Jimmy’s No. 43) to talk about beer with Kelso Brewery’s Kelly Taylor (who concurrently crafts Heartland’s ever-increasing lineup). It’s pretty cool how Kelly handled the business end. With each Heartland location, they proved you could make craft beer in the city and still make money.”

www.508nyc.com 

 

 

MANHATTAN’S 404 HOSTS TRIUMPHANT ‘BEER BAR FEST NYC’

Hundreds of beer geeks joined ranks Saturday, December 10th, for the first BEER BAR FEST NYC. Hosted by prospering New York City Homebrewers Guild bellwethers Chris Cuzme and Mary Izett at a hot new venue, this merry two-session gathering culled eight new-sprung Big Apple beer bars serving ‘the choicest small plates’ of artisanal food alongside unrivaled craft beer ‘under one roof.’

And that’s no small boast. While the Guild continually educates people on the interesting array of progressive-thinking micro and nano breweries popping up in the last few years, Cuzme and Izett keep developing close relationships with the freshest local eateries promoting craft beers.

“Hopefully Beer Bar Fest will biannually showcase new beer bars across New York City,” Cuzme explains. “For far too long beer bars haven’t been given deserved respect for the fantastic booze they serve and the awareness given craft beer. As bar menus showcase better beers, it’s fun and exciting to pair them with food.”

An enthusiastic group of appreciative gourmandizers congregated at the luxurious 15,000 square foot club known only as 404, a chic West Side Hell’s Kitchen art space with cement-floored white interior, exquisite cocktail bar and pristine loft used as a banquet hall, reception area or for special events. The distinguished assemblage of tapped beers on hand went extremely well with the recommended food pairings, widening the palates of many zealous goblet-palmed quaffers.

I preliminarily headed upstairs to the loft, where famed British-American Real Ale fanatic, Alex Hall, held ground at the center serving stations at high noon. The stacked half-keg barrels behind Hall housed eight rangy cask-conditioned brews. The salty seafood brining of raw oysters from Sayerville’s NAKED COWBOY OYSTER BAR complemented the soft-toned elegance of these smoothly unpasteurized libations.

The cask version of gypsy brewers’ Wandering Star Raindrop Pale Ale contrasted pleasant honeyed sweetness against fig-dried grape and woody earthen herbage. Sixpoint Little Frankie’s Pale Ale spread peanut butter across orange marmalade. Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter – Cask brought mellow dark chocolate to peat-dewed dried fruit, bettering its glorious filtered version.

Grabbing a few more oysters, I ventured into the cask-conditioned Firestone Walker Pale 31, which balanced its sour citric impetus against floral-dried rye breading. Meanwhile, the remaining four cask conditioners made a good overall impression on a smattering of beer espousers at this 4-hour afternoon session.

I then decided to venture into a few previously untried Belgian-styled ales sans food post-haste. A moderate aperitif, Wandering Star Zingari Witbier (brewed with cardamom, India fenugreek spice, lemongrass and a splash of coriander) brought delicate herbal pungency to crisply clean-watered citric fig. Contrarily, Greenport Harbor 2nd Anniversary Ale (a complex Belgian strong pale ale) draped creamy caramel malts and candi-sugared Belgian yeast atop a not-so-subtle grapefruit-peeled juniper bittering and refreshingly floral-spiced mint stint.

After dipping into Brooklyn-based Sixpoint Mad Scientist, a light-tongued, black-chocolate-spiced, cocoa-dried altbier, I drifted back downstairs to Chelsea’s Guilty Goose table, where this mod American Brasserie held court. I paired the resilient rice ball-like Bacon Cheddar Risoto with California’s Lagunitas Bay-Styled Doppelweiss, an adjunct weizenbock contrasting brisk mustard-seeded hop sharpness against creamy rum-spiced Bananas Foster lacquering. Guilty Goose’s Duck-Smoked Pork paired fairer with Wandering Star Berkshire Hills 01201 Saison, boosting its meaty aspects with sharper sour-fruited fig-prune musk and fresh-watered citric spicing.

A Napolean Dynomite-attired Santa Claus named Wildman joined me for the next few tastings. I thusly paired Café D’Alsace’s exquisite uptown French cuisine with a few gypsy brews by Brain Strumke, whose engaging Stillwater fare gets contract brewed in Belgium, Netherlands and Maryland.

Stillwater Cellar Door, a Belgian saison with white sage, deepened its white-peppered basil-thyme conflux against sharp hop-spiced orange liming while capturing the savory tenderness of lamb-oxtail-pork-smoked Baeckeofe Alsatian Casserole. Picking up even more illusionary complexities alongside D’Alsace’s meat casserole, Stillwater Our Side IPA/Saisondeepened the thyme seasoning of the Pinot Gris-braised dish, raising its herb-seasoned grapefruit rind bittering above fresh rosewater nuances.

Crisper and cleaner than the previous two, Stillwater Stateside Saison tossed resinous earthen hops at taut apricot-pear fruiting and rye-spiced orange souring. Perhaps the most expressive, Stillwater Folklore Belgian Dark Ale latched lactic schwarzbier-like cocoa bean dryness and dark chocolate spicing onto dried fruits, gaining a dusky earthen soiling that may’ve constricted the meaty food pairing. Our host, Mary Izett, enjoyed the Alsatian casserole with Allagash Black, a Belgian-styled stout with nutty chocolate spicing, hop-charred molasses bittering and cappuccino notes.

Astoria-based Sunswick 35/35 broke out Buffalo Wings for six notable Denmark-brewed Evil Twin elixirs. Dry moderation, Evil Twin Williamsburg Hipster Ale, countered woody-hopped grapefruit rind bittering and dried orange tartness against caramel-malted toasted almond. A commendable stout brewed with orange peel, Evil Twin’s The Talented Mr. Orangutan delivered Belgian chocolate spicing to its coffee-roasted core.

Eloquent coffee roasting also affected Evil Twin’s fudge-y molasses-espresso-vanilla-draped Yin Imperial Stout, a wonderful changeup to tropical-fruited Yang IPA (where fresh-watered floral serenity dapples apricot-pear-pineapple-orange-apple fruiting in an approachable manner). Combining both, dark chocolate malts outdid Yin & Yang Black & Tan’s currant-nipped dried fruits. Thereafter, extraordinary Soft Dookie Vanilla Imperial Stout rendered molasses-sugared crème de cocoa, brown chocolate, and vanilla creaminess.

Then it was off to Madison Avenue-based Rattle N Hum’s table to consume shellfish sliders with Netherlands’ strikingly illuminating Emelisse Barleywine, a slow-sipping cognac-like almondine pleated with red cherry, caramelized chocolate, honeycomb and rye. Equally fine was Rattle N Hum’s squash-pureed Wild Boar, paired with Greenport Harbor Black Duck Porter, a robust combination plying schwarzbier-like chipotle-sauced chocolate creaminess to tender pork crisping.

Lower East Side’s Idle Hands catered mini onion-sauteed jalapenos burgers, a casually-spiced delectable well-suited for Vermont’s zesty Hill Farmstead Harlan IPA, a tame herb-spiced fruit juicer juxtaposing slightly wooded grapefruit-peeled orange rind bittering with creamy crystal-sugared pineapple, peach, red apple and plum tones.

Long Island City’s Alewife Queens supplied peppery veal-pork parmesan meatballs to go alongside Greenport Harbor Strong Ryeland ESB’s hop-spiced tea acridity. And Gramercy Park’s Taproom 307’s thin-crusted prosciutto pizza complemented Italy’s spectacular Sangria-like Baladin Nora.

For a closer, I figuratively visited my childhood neighborhood, combining Bronx Ale House’s braised short rib chili with Bronx Pale Ale’s supple almond-toasted caramelizing, spicy orange-backed dried fruiting and minor wood pining.

The response for Beer Bar Fest NYC was overwhelmingly positive as attendees loved the food, beer, and atmosphere. And the night session apparently had a higher attendance. I can’t wait for the next Fest.

-John Fortunato