Cobra and the WIZ hitched a ride into Manhattan this week with the Exalted Ruler for a flying trip to favorite beer shrine The Ginger Man. Though on our past few trips, the place has been mobbed, at 3:30 on a Tuesday afternoon we managed to snag three seats at the bar and commence sampling.
The ER was thrilled to indulge his outré taste for Rhodenbach on tap, while the Wizened Old Sage started off with the Smuttynose S’muttonator - the heavy coffee flavor could replace frappucino as a summer drink. The Cobra tried the Sierra Imperial Smoked Porter with a definite smoky gouda flavor underneath. The boys continued on to sample Avery The Czar Imperial Stout and Duvel Green, almost a light beer for this crowd. The low alcohol content and thin body made us wonder what Duvel was thinking when they produced this one. The Imperial Stout was a real winner – rich and creamy with a pronounced flavor.
For those so inclined (you know who you are), there is a nice selection of single malt scotches and, if need be, a tequila bar across the street (Under the Volcano) owned by the same folks.http://www.gingerman-ny.com/
The Wize(ned) Old Sage (WIZ) and Cobra took a beer tour of Brooklyn last week and came up with some stellar tasting recommendations for both food and drink.
After a three-course lunch at the River Café in DUMBO (Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass) to celebrate Dine in Brooklyn Week ($23!!!!), we tore ourselves away from the view of the Statue of Liberty and the skyline and headed to the much grittier Williamsburg neighborhood to join dining companion/son.
First stop was Spuyten Duyvil on Metropolitan Ave., named after the Bronx location of the same name, where the large selection of Belgians – including Flemish, Wallonians and Lambics - had our heads swimming. Hell, there were even two beers from Sweden! Cobra kicked off with a Left Hand Snowbound while the WIZ had a Hofstetten Granitbock. Though we were intrigued by the selection of charcuterie and cheeses available at the bar or on the secluded patio out back, we headed across the street for some real Brooklyn barbecue at the same owner’s Fette Sau.
Housed in a converted body shop, the vibe is part butcher shop/part hipster but the food is all good. Pull up a seat at one of the communal picnic tables in front of a roaring video fire. Or do as we did and belly up to the bar on one of the tractor seat stools to get an up close view of the amazing beer selection, complete with taps crafted from butcher tools. Though not as extensive a list as Spuyten Duyvil, we were happy with our Ithaca Smoked Porter which perfectly complemented the smokiness of our brisket, beef cheeks, smoked spiced sausage and baked beans with pulled pork. How many points is that!!
Other beers we are dying to try on our next visits include Six Point Righteous Rye and Vienna Pale, Cap’n Lawrence Liquid Gold, Goose Island Bourbon Stout and Penn Kaiser Pilsener. Realizing that his parents were paying, dining companion chose an Elijah Craig 18-year-old bourbon from their impressive selection and noted that it went with the food even better than beer. We are claiming him as a dependent on our tax return this year!
Fearing we would be beerlerious before too long, we made one final stop at the Spuyten Duyvil Grocery, known for its selection of rare and obscure ales, lagers and beer-related snacks and nothing else. After stocking up on six bottles of beer from the Pacific Northwest as well as a Saison Rue and Saison Lente, we gave the proprietor a few suggestions (there was no Malheur!) and headed out of the borough.
The Hudson Valley Beer and Food Festival presents craft breweries and brewpubs from across the state. There will be more than 100 New York craft beers to taste, from pale ales and pilseners, weisbiers, porters, stouts and scotch ales to hearty Bohemian and Bavarian-style lagers as well as Belgian-style ales. Gourmet food samples and cooking demonstrations add to the tasty fare. Tickets: $54 for Saturday; $45 for Sunday; $20 for designated driver. (800) 486-8376;tapnewyork.com.