Dale Helps Me Say Goodbye to New York 

New York has done well for me and my addiction to good beers. Whenever those cravings started to kick in, New York was there for me with a bar just around the corner. If I needed a bit of hops with my dinner, New York had me covered with at least one IPA for every occasion. And now it’s time to say goodbye. And what better way to say our farewells than to pop into Whole Foods and pick up one last drink. One last drink to salute those beers that have been consumed and enjoyed:

Oskar Blues Deviant Dale’s IPA

While the Dale’s Pale Ale is a beer that can be enjoyed and enjoyed again, the Deviant Dale is a one punch knock out. Where the pale ale is balanced and refined, the IPA is a chainsaw to the palate, slaughtering everything within its reach. And, of course, I wouldn’t want to have it any other way.

From the can, the Deviant Dale pours a burnt orange colour with a golden tinge and a thick off-white head into a cup that tells me what to do with the beer: Enjoy. The first indication of enjoyment (apart from the joy of finding a Deviant Dale in the supermarket) comes through in the aroma - a big malty presence accompanied by overtones of grapefruit and alcohol.

The flavour is a big battle between these three elements as well. The thick caramelly malts have decided to wage a war against the big motherhops, leaving you with a flavour that is a syrup-like nectar of excellence. The hops are full of astringent tea like bitterness, citrusy fruits and a big resinous piney wallop to the side of the mouth. Surprisingly, the alcohol is quite prevalent in this whole experience (I say “surprising” only because most of the big alcohol players have hidden their ABV so well, making it seem like the norm). The lingering bitterness leads to a thirst quenching dryness, lulling you into thinking it’s safe to take another sip. As the temperature rises a bit, grassy notes erupt from the nose and into the flavour, almost as if a park grew out of the warmth, adding yet another complexity to this astonishing beer.

Thank you New York. You’ve given me a plethora of astounding drinks, and a reason to come back.

Until next time.

RS


Heading Back to Brooklyn Part II: Brouwerij Lane

Before we boarded our ferry back to Manhattan, we let Brooklyn treat us one last time and indulged ourselves at the tap-and-bottle-laden Brouwerij Lane. This quirky bottleshop-come-bar has 6 fridges full of beer, while sporting another 20 or so taps that intimidate you as you walk in. As you can imagine, the usual onset of overwelming-ness set in as I’m left to decide between a whole range of Founders, Sierra Nevada’s Beercamps, Cigar City, etc etc. So I revert to the good old technique of delegation - get the staff to choose for me.

Captain Lawrence Imperial IPA

First up is this tasty IIPA from the tap. It pours a golden straw colour with a decent fluffy white head. The aroma has the usual suspect of grapefruit, as well as floral notes and some malt in the background for good measure.

The flavour is deliciously full and hoppy, yet still really crisp. Big citrus notes start out at the beginning with some smooth malt. As this malt subsides, you’re left with a dominant alcohol push and an amazing pineapple juice-like flavour that sends this beer into the realms of tastiness maximus. Therefore, this is a beer you’ve just got to try.

Founder’s Devil Dancer Triple IPA

I couldn’t just stop at one. Not when my taste buds were begging for more. So off I go to look in the fridge and deliberate about the all-important beer I’m to have next. This time, however, I’m more prepared. I’ve had some time to ponder, and the only logical choice would be to take things up a level. More alcohol, more hops, and more malt! Bring on the Devil Dancer.

From the bottle the beer pours an amber mahogany hue with a mass of off white fluffiness that sits on top. The aroma is an absolute olfactory bomb - sporting thick and creamy caramelled malts, a butt load of pine, and an extra measure of resinous hops.

While the nostrils are left to recover, the tastebuds are now exposed to the onslaught, because the flavour is a mouth melter of amazing proportions. This is thanks to the 12% alcohol, which destroys your tastebuds, and the hops, which obliterate anything that’s still alive. However, this is a thrashing I’d take any day of the year. A full toffee malt starts things off, which combines with an apricot nectar that keeps things smooth for the time being. As the smoothness is torn away, you’re left with a hop delight of grapefruit and pine, which take the beer to a very full bitterness that lingers on and on.

Being 12%, the alcohol is quite well hidden. It’s bloody strong, yes, but not so overpowering that you’re left wondering why you’ve just been hit by a truck. And the 112 IBU’s? Well, the malt and the alcohol act to balance things out quite nicely. It’s not an even balance, but it does equal the scales a tiny bit.

The Devil Dancer is a beer to share. A beer to enjoy. A beer that will blow your fucking head off. Get some now!

RS


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!

RS


Heading Back to Brooklyn (Part I) - Smorgasbord Food Markets

As an Aussie, dangerous environments are a part of our upbringing. So when a tornado swept through Brooklyn a few weeks ago, we felt that it was the right decision to get amongst the tempest and visit the tent ridden food markets of Williamsburg - Smorgasbord. To be perfectly honest, the thickest part of the storm that we weathered was a tiny splash of rain, and a spray or two from cars driving through shallow puddles next to the sidewalk.

From what I gathered, Smorgasbord is a ‘botique’ food market. Held at an unused lot next to the waterside every Saturday, this open-air market showcases the freshly prepared food of 30 or so New York restaurants and cafes in a very brunch-oriented way.

Walking through the gates, you’re welcomed with smoke billowing from a slow roasting pork that is served with diced apples on a bun, and a long queue of hungry customers who seem to have anticipated the taste sensation they are about to embark on. Moving along, you’re olfactory senses are constantly attacked with delicious offerings from each of the stalls, making your mouth water and your stomach wish is was an endless pit. In the midst of it all, there’s a sectioned off seated area designated for those who fancy a pint. So grab a pint, I did! There wasn’t much to choose from, as they were serving beer from an eski that acted as a makeshift tap arrangement, but they did have an IPA I’d never had, so I ordered my drink and sat down to soak it all in.

Kelso IPA

The beer poured a radiant, yet cloudy golden hue with almost no hint of a head. The nose was all about the citrus hops, only giving up a hint of lighter malts in the background. While the beer is quite crisp, it’s got a decent malt backbone that carries it along. The flavour has a grapefruity hop hit that lingers for a while, making sure your taste buds get enough of that bitter goodness that they deserve. And to top it all off, there’s a bit of pine thrown into the mix to add that extra dimension of flavour.

All in all, Smorgasbord was a great little food experience, and if you have a free Saturday in New York, you’ve got to pay it a visit. I wish I could go back just to try more of that abundance of amazing food! And the Kelso? Well that was just the cherry on the top of the cake - a great IPA that I’d happily go back to.

RS


Rattle N Hum Mk II

After a show in Chelsea (Sleep No More - a really cool ‘choose your own fate’ style show, where you follow the different actors around a multi-warehouse sized hotel erected just for the show), we needed a late night dinner to cure the insurmountable hunger we’d worked up chasing actors around for three hours. Finding food in New York is easy. Everyone knows that. But finding something decent at 11.30pm is something a bit more challenging. Especially for a trourist with no wifi, like myself. Knowing Rattle N Hum was open until at least 2am, I thought I’d kill two birds and get a hopfix at the same time.

What eventuated was actually killing three birds. I got some tasty tasty chicken quesadillas, had two delicious beers (with a taster of a third), and ended up catching the last 20 minutes of the Giants losing to the Cowboys in the first game of the NFL season. So a win for RnH.

Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale

Firstly, oooohhhhh yeh.

I’ve heard a lot about the Dale’s, and in the US, it’s almost taken for granted that you can get it anywhere you like. And then there’s us Australian folk. Those who can only drink it vicariously through others. So while the other people in the bar saw Dale as a regular drinking buddy, I saw Dale as a hero from some mythical story from a long forgotten land…

Anyway, that’s enough wank about the beer. You get the idea.

The beer pours a golden brown with a thin, but lingering white fluffy head. The nose is full of an aromatic citrusy hops that really makes you appreciate the effort  the brewers packed into this can.

Flavour-wise, the initial malt flavour is a thickshake of a body - being really dense, and bloody tasty. But this is quickly replaced with bitter grapefruit hops that leads on to a semi-dry finish as the flavours start to dissipate. The 6.5% only adds to the initial smoothness, as well as to the final grapefruity flavours that linger, making this one drinkable beer. I recon a few of these would go down very nicely one after the other. I really do wish I could get my hands on this back in Perth (hear that International Beer Shop?).

Kuhnhenn American IPA

After sifting through the epic beer list, I’m left making my decision with the bartender. He recommends me an IPA from a brewer I’ve never heard of, but seem to have quite a presence in the States - Kuhnhenn.

This one pours yet another clear golden brown with a thin, white head. Where the Dale’s seemed to focus on the grapefruit, this has leaned to the floral side of things, bringing with it a bouquet of sweet smelling flowers.

The flavours of the Kuhnhenn are nice. They’re not harsh or intense, and it’s not heavy either; it’s just best described as ‘nice’. The initial smooth malt transitions almost seamlessly to a really pleasant bitterness. The hop profile is made up of tropical fruits, with a tad of grapefruit and caramelled malts thrown in for good measure. The 6.5% only adds to the ‘niceness’ of the beer, neither adding or detracting from any of the flavours.

Southern Tier Pumking

Last up for the night is a taster of the much sought after Pumking - or so I’m told. I’ll admit the style wasn’t for me, but it’s worth a mention just because of how flavoursome this thing was.

The Pumking smells like a spice bag exploded in your face, and this is brought to the flavour as well. However, it was a thinner body than expected. Anyway, there’s just spice coming from every direction. There’s ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and a bit of vanilla I guess. Shit… It’s just spicy ok?

I couldn’t get through the whole taster and I can’t quite put my finger on why it wasn’t for me. I think it was just way too spicy and my palate wasn’t prepared for such an experience. But I’m glad I got to have a taster.

RS