Stone/Ninkasi/Alchemist ‘More Brown than Black IPA’ and Sixpoint Resin DIPA at Jimmy’s No. 43
Getting good beer in New York is easy. Getting good beer in a good bar is also pretty simple. So when you come across a bar that stands out amongst the rest, you know you’ve found somewhere special. For me, this place was Jimmy’s No. 43 in NoHo. During the middle of the day I left my girlfriend to get her nails done, giving me the chance to do the more important things in life. Two blocks later, I’m walking down the almost hidden stairway to Jimmy’s - a quaint and cosy joint with wooden barrels lining the upper parts of the walls, domed brick ceilings and antlers strewn all over the place. I’m the only one there, left to sit next to Jimmy, who was madly preparing for the Barrels and Kegs event at Rockaways Beach the next day. Despite this, Jimmy and the barstaff went out of their way to make sure I had the perfect beer in my hand, which is how I end up with the More Brown than Black IPA.
The beer itself was a byproduct of Hurricane Irene, which swept through Vermont and decimated the Alchemist brewery. Ninkasi and Stone came together with Alchemist to create something that could give back to the community - the Alchemist drinkers themselves - and hey presto, an amazing beer was produced with proceeds going to the Irene victims.
Pouring a dark, rich brown that tends towards black (more brown than black, I’d say…), it’s got a thin off-white head sitting nobly on top. The smell is like a gift from the heavens. The hop profile sends out welcoming parties of sweet citrus, a bit of ripe berries and some tropical twang added along to the god-sent mix.
The flavour is astoundingly full, with the smooth malt body supporting the beer from start to finish. In the background, the roasted malts are doing their part to add to the initial bitterness, which transitions to dark stone fruits and citrusy hops, continuing the bitterness to the long lingering end. The beer finishes with one last alcoholic bite, thanks to the 7.4%, and leaves you wanting more. As the beer warms, it only stays smoother for longer, opening up the flavour, releasing some caramel into the mix. This is one beer I’d eagerly go for again.
Sixpoint Resin Double IPA
I hadn’t really gotten along with any of the Sixpoint beers at this stage, and telling this to the barmaid, she whipped out the Resin straight away, ensuring me that this beer would make up for the others. This DIPA pours an amber brown with a thick white head from the smaller 12 oz can, with the aroma being full of pine, melon and sweeter malts. Being 9.1%, it’s not surprising when the initial hit of alcohol whacks you across the face, but this quickly moves into a fuller malty flavour with apricot and tropical fruits making their way to the tastebuds. Towards the end, the bitterness peaks and slowly drops off until the dryness takes over, leaving you unsure of whether you want to take another plunge into the harsh icy water of the initial alcohol shock.
I have to say that my initial thoughts on this beer were filled with disappointment - the Resin didn’t lift my semi-low impression of Sixpoint, and left me wondering how this beer gets such good reviews. However, this displeasure was short lived, because as the beer warms up slightly, it changes into a completely different animal. I’m not sure whether it was the palate ruining nature, the alcohol starting to kick in, or if it was the smoother malts balancing out any harshness, but the alcohol hit subsides dramatically and the thick piney resinous characters of the beer start shining through, really bringing this beer to another level. Another beer I’d happily have again.
So if you’re after a cosy bar with friendly staff and an honourable list of tasty beers, Jimmy’s No. 43 is the place to go!