Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ryan’s Birthday in New York: A Food and Beer Spectacle

In Connecticut, you can’t rent a car until you reach age 25. That’s all that’s left for me. My last real milestone. I have reached 22; the first of the many non-exciting ages I will reach here on out for the rest of my life, before I am eaten by a shark off of Australia’s Gold Coast at the age of 76. I had a vision.

But hey – just because the milestone isn’t exciting doesn’t mean we can’t have fun, does it? That was a rhetorical question.

With the denial of my inevitable mortality in mind, I ventured into New York City with Kyle and 3 friends of Food Plus Beer for a full day of misbehavior.


After dropping off our things with our generous hosts, we hopped a subway to Brooklyn Brewery, home to some of the best beers I’ve ever had. When you walk into this place it actually smells like they're brewing beer. The beers here were 6 for 20$ (you buy tokens for beer). We had our first at about 2:10 p.m. For me, it was the Blast!: an Imperial IPA with a 8.5% ABV. So tasty. The flavors just pop, but it’s not overpowering. It doesn’t feel like you’re drinking such a strong beer. I followed with their 6.1% Winter Ale, a dark and sweet little number that reminded me a bit of Newcastle.

Brooklyn Brewery has cat.

We then took the “tour,” which in reality was just a short spiel by one of the brewery workers. Brooklyn only brews during the week, and they only give tours during the weekend. So there wasn’t much to see, but our tour guide had spilled something on his crotch, so there’s always that. There was also a great story about the time the brewery had its forklift stolen, only they didn’t have the money to afford a new one at the time, so the two brewmasters drove around all night in order to find the forklift and steal it back. Did I mention I love this company? It was also interesting to learn that they use pure unfiltered NYC tap water for all of their brewing while most craft breweries go to great lengths to get theirs filtered.

We downed another Blast! for the road, but since the place was BYOF (bring your own food - or order some to be delivered there) we skipped joyfully out of the brewery. Those beers don’t mess around, so we were already doing a bit of wobbling at this point.


After stopping at a hipster used-clothing store and contemplating purchasing a circa-1994 leather Chicago Bulls jacket, we made our way to a bar called Mugs Ale House for much needed appetizers and of course, more beer (not to mention shots of the always-dangerous Rumplemintz). We had decent wings that could have used some more sauce, and nachos that my beer-riddled brain remembers as quite tasty. They had 36 beers on tap. I chose beer called Sweet Hoe, which I picked solely because of its funny name, Remember, I’m 22 years old.


After this, we went back to our hosts’ place (after getting off the wrong exit on the L train, of course) to continue to drink and prepare for dinner. Dinner was a delicious little burger-and-fries place called the Shake Shack, where they give you a fun little buzzer that vibrates when your food is ready. The meal was delicious and inexpensive, and the beef was top notch. This short blurb doesn't do it justice, if you see one, immediately go order yourself a burger.


Our next stop was the East End Bar and Grill, a Texas Tech fan bar that we went to in order to watch the Tech game with our host. Rather than taking a cab there, the group opted to take a drunken stroll through Central Park, which was blurry and beautiful. The game was a back and forth affair, but the smelly Oklahoma State Cowboys came through in the end. Magner’s and Smithwick’s were consumed here.


At this point, Kyle and his lady friend left for Stamford, leaving just 3 soldiers to carry out the remainder of the mission. We chose to usher in my birthday around midnight at an Irish pub called P.D. O’Hurley’s. As soon as we walked in the door, the Irish bartender was in a shouting match with a customer and violence was being threatened. We were clearly in the right place. We grabbed a couple Harp’s… and then we all realized that enough was enough. There would be no overdoing it on this night. We stopped by Gray’s Papaya for some sauerkraut chili dogs, and hit the sack.

3 bars, one brewery, and junk food galore. It was a good birthday.


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