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Monday, November 12, 2007

New York Beer Tour (Part III)

New York is huge, and I think I may have bit off more than the three of us could chew when I put together our itinerary. We didn't even hit all the stops I was considering, and we didn't bother with the big beer festival that was going on that weekend. Note to self: Consider hitting that event next year, more beer to chose from and less walking... Less risk more return?

Even with the abbreviated list of locations, we didn't spend a great deal of time in one place. It felt like we were always on the move, and if the rough shape my shoes were in by the night's end was any indication, we certainly were very mobile throughout the night. Next time I'm wearing sneakers!

After we left McSorley's, we hoofed it over to the Hop Devil Grill for a few more beers. This place has a wide selection of quality beers on tap and in bottles. But I'll be honest, I was expecting more out of the place in the way of ambiance. Hey listen, I'm not saying the place isn't great, but the web site gave me slightly inflated expectations.

Kenn had a bottle of Three Philosophers, a delicious Quadrupel... The bottle was big enough for all three of us to have some. Thankfully Kenn is a generous man. I can't quite remember what Chris and I had... I really need to start taking better notes...

Part of the problem was that I sampled a number of beers, hence the small glass and the look of both deep thought in my eyes... I'll dig up my notes later and figure out what I finally settled on. But I will tell you now, I went through a few samples before I found something I really liked. (Either I developing a discriminating beer pallet, or I was just making up for the lack of freebies at Brooklyn Brewery... You make the call!)

Chris has that similar look of heavy consideration in his eyes... If my fuzzy memory serves me, I believe he tried a cider of sorts. Chris likes the ciders, ask him why my old college room mate nick named him "Wood Chuck" and "Sweet Chuck" some time...

Here's what I settled on, if only I could remember what it was. Looks beautiful though doesn't it?

I found my notes! I had an Ommegang, Rare Vos, which is a Belgian Dark Ale. According to my chicken scratch notes, I gave this tasty beer a big thumbs up for it's beautiful amber color, smooth flavor and nice head that clung to the side of the glass.

My sloppy notes indicated that Chris actually had an Ace Perry Cider, which he said was a good choice, offering a sweet pear flavor.

As stated previously, Kenn chose a bottle of Three Philosophers, which he said had a sweet yet complex flavor, at this point, my notes got very messy, and more or less unreadable. They do include something about the cherry flavor and something else that ends with the phrase, "but in a good way..." LOL! I really need to work on my note taking!

Kenn and I are looking a little worse for ware after a long debate with 3 Philosophers.

Random thought of the day: I wish I had a pet monkey to take with me on these adventures. I could equip him with a helmet cam and just let him run wild, I imagine the videos he'd produce would be similar to the one below...

And now for something different...

After we finished our round of beers, we made our way to the World Trade Center and took a quick look at the memorial that stands on the site at the opening of the subway station there.

Six years later this site is no less sobering. The sign in the photo above list those that we would be toasting in a matter of minutes.

Our next stop was the bar in the Millennium Hilton Hotel, over looking the site of the World Trade Center. Above is a very blurry shot, but it gives you an idea of how good the view of ground zero is from the bar.

This is a pretty cool shot of Kenn with 'Old Glory' in the background and the World Trade Center memorial/subway entrance all lit up in the far background. The three of us had a beer, made a toast, had some munchies, and then hit the road...

Our next stop? Starbucks...

We moved on to The Blind Tiger after a brief stop at Starbucks to get Kenn a caffeinated beverage along the way. Kenn had put on a brave face, but he was starting to crash, and we still had a good portion of the night ahead of us. As you can see Chris was still smiling.

No coffee or tea for this guy by golly! Although, from the looks of me, a coffee may have been exactly what I needed, we did a lot of walking that day and we were all tired. I can't recall what I ordered, but it was something local to NY and it was good. If you hold the pint glass up to your ear, you can hear the brewery... No really, try it some time...

The video clip above shows some great street performers doing what they do best somewhere out there near the Blind Tiger. These guys could really sing! You gotta love New York!

Long story short, we didn't spend a lot of time at the Blind Tiger... After pumping Caffeine and NYC pizza into Kenn to revive him, we made our way to a bar Chris and I always visit when in the city, Off The Wagon.

Why do we go there so often? Not because of it's great beer selection or historic significance (because it has neither!), but because we get to relive a small portion of our college days when we visit. This place is your basic college bar, full of college aged people, do what college people do. Not really my scene any more, but...

But they have a number of beer-pong tables set up and allows for informal tournaments. At one point, Chris and I were quite skilled at the beer pong. And if bowlers are athletes, well then darn it, so too were we!

We stood there and provided an audience for a couple of games waiting for our turn at the table. When we were about to throw down the gauntlet and challenge the reigning champs to an ass whooping, the bar staff kicked everyone out of that room, a private party had reserved the area, so no beer-pong for us. It was probably just as well, the night was getting late, and we needed to make our way back to Brooklyn. As the lyric goes, "NO SLEEP TIL BROOKLYN!"

Once we got back to Brooklyn, we made our way to Barcade one more round of local brews and a lot of 80s arcade goodness. Yes, that's me having a beer at Barcade in the photo. I was also using my herculean strength to ensure the bar didn't float off the ground and escape. What can I say folks, I'm a hero...

I'm not sure, but I think in this photo, Kenn is barely able to keep his eyes open and is giving me the international sign for, "Please kind sir, do not photograph me, I'm not in the mood, photograph that guy there instead!" That crankiness was nothing that couldn't be solved by a few rounds of Digdug and a nightcap.

And just like that, Kenn was back in the game, both literally and figuratively, with one hand on his beer and the other on the joystick...

Chris, having located the bar and it's vast array of quality beers on tap was once again smiling. Unbeknonwst to him, a strange localized version of the famed Northern Lights was now presenting itself behind him across the bar. A strange phenomenon believed to be cause by poor lighting and amateurish photography. Nature is amazing isn't it?

I really wanted to play the Star Wars game they had, but it was out of order that night. So, I thought a round of Tapper seemed more than appropriate... I know what you're thinking, "My god he has a beautiful head!" And I know what question you are dieing to ask... But no, I have not previously served as a professional head model... At least not yet. But I am available for photo shoots...

Nothing like playing Tapper while enjoying a delicious beer fresh from a real tap... This was how the game was meant to be played.

Chris schooled me with his Tapper prowess, the lad is a natural.

I call this one, "You look beautiful in the Galaga glow!"

We wrapped up the night with a little billiards, to make sure Chris was not affected by the beer... Then, it was a forced march, AKA 'The Brooklyn Death March', back to Chris' car and a long sleepy ride home for me.

And that is more or less it... We had a great time, but I think our scope was just too wide. Next time, less stops, less walking and more laughs...

In the future I want to do just a Brooklyn trip, which will of course include Barcade and Brooklyn Brewery. I'd love to get more suggestions from some of my fellow beer travelers out there. (hint hint) What else is good in Brooklyn? Does anyone know if Green Point (Kelso) gives tours? They wont return my calls or emails...

If you have any other suggestions please leave a comment on this post with your thoughts.

In case you missed the early parts of this tour check them out here!

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