Sunday, September 27, 2009

NY Craft Beer Week + Stone

So I went to craft beer week in NYC and I went to one of the Stone kick-off events in CT and I have to say these meet the brewer events aren't as exciting as I thought they would be. Don't get me wrong, I had more than my share of great beers, but I don't really know exactly what I expected.

On Saturday I went to NYC with some friends. Took the train from Stamford into Grand Central and then a short walk overto Gingermans on 36th. Gingerman's in NYC is an awesome place. With 70 beers on tap and 3 casks you don't even need to look at their bottle selection. They had The Onion for free in print, and a sign in the from that read Meet the Brewers of Harpoon and Magic Hat from 5 - 7. What a great suprise. I just heard this was a good bar and that we could get some good beers here, meeting some brewers was a bonus.

The beers were about $6.50 each, but they came in 22oz glasses (its called an imperial pint) so the price wasn't so bad, especially since wewere ordering some really big beers. I got a Harpoon Harpoon IPA Chinook Dry Hopped, Bear Republic Racer 5, and tasted everone elses. Both beers were spectacularly hopped and delicious, but I have to give the edge to Racer 5. It was my favorite beer of the night and I highly recommend it if you can find it. We waited there until 6 but there were no brewers to be seen - who would have thought that brewers would be punctual? Anyway, we all left with a good buzz so we were happy.

Next up was Rattle N' Hum on 33rd St., having the brewers of Troegs, Elysian, and Ithaca. I like Ithaca - their Flower Power IPA is one of my favorite beers. But this bar was way too packed, and people didn't seem to be into the beer scene. There was a big Washington Huskies sign outside (wrong type of Huskies as far as I'm concerned) and it appears countless fans assembled here to watch them play USC.

I dont really like fighting my way to the bar especially with other untested brew pubs in the city, so we moved on. The end game was a show on Bleecker St. so we ventured to the Blind Tiger for their respectable 30 taps. Here I tried another great beer, a green flash IPA (I told you I like IPAs). This bar was crammed, but it had a cozy feel with a fireplace and the menu written on a chalkboard. Not to mention the fact that although their draught offering was less than half the size of the gingerman it was very well selected.

After drinking some beer there, we grabbed some burritos and that was it for the beer and food. Tasty, intoxicating, and fun - can't go too wrong with that.

Every bar we went to in NY had some Stone Brewing Company beers on tap, but I held off knowing I was going to a kick-off event in CT in which I would try some Stone beers. I went to Monster B's where there were 7 Stone draughts available for the event. These were DELICIOUS, I'm so glad they made it here. I had the Ruination IPA, a smoked porter and an Arrogant Bastard Ale. The Ruination and the Arrogant Bastard were both great. The smoked porter was tasty, but a little weak. I would recommend Otter Creeks Stovepipe Porter instead.

Again I ran into the same story. Apparently beer people just aren't very punctual. They were only 30 minutes late this time, but unfortunately no brewers were here. Just sales guys. I got some bumper stickers and probably could have milked them for a free beer if mine wasn't already full, but all I really ended up with was a breif conversation.

All in all I guess I thought these events would be more organized. I expected a more formal brewer presentation, maybe with a Q and A with some sort of giveaway - I don't really know. All it really was, was the brewers were drinking at the bar as If you and I were, except that if you wanted you could walk over to their table and strike up a good conversation about your favorite brew. In the end, I still had some great beers everywhere I went, and I still had a great time. I just expected something different at a scheduled meet the brewer event. It was more like just running into someone you knew at the bar.


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