Friday morning we were back on the subway headed across the East River to Brooklyn. Much to our chagrin, it seemed like it was going to be hotter on our second day in New York City.
Beyond the weather, our day in Brooklyn posed a real challenge. Not only did we have an impossible number of beer places on our list, 15, but they were scattered all over the borough. Oh, then the myriad of opening times made the task just that more difficult. There should be a law that says beer places have to open at 10am.
Emerging from the Court St. subway station, I plugged the name of our first destination into the map function of my trusty iPhone and we were off. Unfortunately, we started walking in the wrong direction something the little blue dot didn’t tell me until we had walked two blocks. Big mistake when walking on the surface of the sun. We turned around.
We were soon in the air-conditioned comfort of our first destination, Waterfront Ale House. I immediately ordered a beer that I wanted to try the previous day, Southampton IPA.
It was time for a strategy to make it through the day. We decided that we would stick to half pints whenever possible. This is something we rarely do when we are on foot. But we had never tried to do 15 pubs in one day either. So, after a few glasses and a sample of Southampton’s Imperial Porter (a perfect summer beer), it was time to walk at few blocks up the street to the Brazen Head.
Though it looks like it could have been in a past life, the Brazen Head is not an Irish pub. The mostly craft beer selection is dominated by East Coast brews with seven of seventeen being from New York when we were there.
I went cask at the Brazen Head, having Six Point’s Otis Oatmeal Stout followed by Stoudt’s American Pale Ale.
Now it was time for our first big walk of the day. Bar Great Harry was a 20 minute stroll in the blazing sun. We were looking forward to returning to the safety of air-conditioning but found Bar Great Harry open, literally. The air-conditioning was on but all the doors were open. We retreated to the back of the bar and tried to cool off.
Bar Great Harry was the eighth stop of the trip. When planning, I wondered if all these beer bars would have something different to try. Amazingly, at each place, we did find something new.
The find at Bar Great Harry was Captain Lawrence Ginger Man Ale. Not a ginger beer, rather a beer with ginger added, this brew was the PERFECT antidote for the heat and humidity.
We were already hitting the afternoon fade but still pressed on. Another 20 minute walk from Bar Great Harry were two more targets a few doors from each other.
We stopped in 4th Avenue Pub first. Here the half pint regimen began to brake down as it was happy hour so we could only get a pint. OK… Whatever.
My eyes focused on Six Point Sweet Action Ale. Cool name but what was it? The bartender said it was like a cross between and IPA and Hefeweizen. That sounded like more a description of Hopfenweisse. While I didn’t agree with that description, it was mighty tasty. However, I still don’t know what it is…
A few doors down was Pacific Standard. Billed a “West Coast” pub, the owners and fellow Berkeley grads dedicate half their taps to West Coast beers.
I settled in with another Six Point brew, Bengali IPA, as we chatted with both John and Jonathan about their bar and Cal football. But our chat was cut short as we needed to be somewhere else.
Taking the subway across Brooklyn, we finally reached the big event for the day, Brooklyn Brewery’s Friday night Happy Hour. Not a huge fan of the brewery’s beers, I have to admit this was the highlight of the trip for me.
From 6-11pm every Friday, the brewery opens their tasting room (They offer tours on Saturday). Tokens were $4 each or six for $20. A token bought you a 12oz beer from their regular lineup.
Groups of friends hang out, play games and munch on snacks they brought. Pizza can even be delivered from one of the many pizza parlors whose menus cover the tables.
We found a table and I acquired four glasses of their regular beers. While drinking Blast, their nice take on a West Coast Double IPA, I remembered Local 1 and 2, Brooklyn specialty brews that I had never tried before. These beers were three tokens each which also included the logo glass. What a deal! After obtaining the needed number of tokens, I had each Belgian-style brew in hand. Very nice.
Unfortunately, I had left scrabble in the hotel room. And it was getting loud in the tasting room which was beginning to get to us. We had someone to meet so it was time to move on.
Brooklyn Brewery left a good impression on me. I love places where friends get together at big tables to drink beer, chat and play games. My only disappointment was that I didn’t get to try their version of the Hopfenweisse.
Our last stop was Lucky Dog where we met a new friend Dawn. Sitting in their back beer garden we had a few beers and a nice quiet conversation. ahhhhh.
We only made seven of the fifteen beer places on our list. All, I can say is that we tried.