Saturday, January 20, 2007

DRINKING IN OLDE NEW YORK, OR TWO NEW TOP BEERS

My new job sent me & a couple co-workers packing for a quick trip to New York City this week, and that meant a little Atlantic beer spelunking in the very few hours of free time provided us. One wag back at home recommended a tavern in the West Village called the PECULIER PUB, so we followed his siren song and into a cab that took us there. Inside, we found a very old, very classically New York bar, this one devoted solely to beer. My favorite beverage. While the staff could’ve maybe been a little nicer (why do women always give you that look when you say, “Smile, baby”?), their beer selection was out of this world. On tap it was a lot of the microbrew perennials and several to get the non-beer snob market to pony up (Heineken, Sam Adams, Bass), but several wild-looking ones that I’d never heard of. Despite the name and the tie-died artwork on the tap handle, I rolled the dice on something called HAZED & INFUSED, not knowing who made it. What a daring gamble! What if it was made by Coors? By Miller? Turned out it’s a product of Colorado’s BOULDER BEER COMPANY. We had their MOJO IPA in NY some time back, and thought it was quite fine. Well, this one was simply delicious – a beer you must try if you ever get the chance. This dark golden/orange ale looked like a classic pale ale (which is what it is) but tasted like an IPA – a smooth but malty IPA, albeit one that might have some wild card ingredient that I couldn’t put my finger on. Kind of like the HUMBOLDT HEMP ALE that’s so surprisingly drinkable. Well, I dialed it up, and it's unfitered and "dry hopped". Whatever you say. 9/10 – a truly world-class beer.

Next we went to the bottle menu, and that’s where this bar really shines. I don’t know the exact count, but I’d reckon there were at least 100-150 different bottles to choose from if not more. I said “when in Rome” and ordered the much-praised DOGFISH HEAD PUNKIN ALE. I’m a comfortable-with-my-masculinity-kinda-guy who won’t shy away from a pumpkin beer, and count myself a big cheerleader for BUFFALO BILL’S PUMPKIN ALE, and this was easily in that league. Rather than overwhelming with sweetness, Dogfish Head unsurprisingly took the more complex path of firing this one up with a variety of malts and spices to keep it interesting. It totally worked (I’ll go with 8/10), and only my extreme lack of sleep the night before kept me from going deeper into the beer menu and later into the night. By all means, put the Peculier Pub on your agenda next time you’re in “the Big Easy”, as I like to call New York, and remember two things: order the beers I did, and don’t overlook their bottled beer menu as we beer hounds often do.

2 comments:

tedo said...

Ahhhhh JAY! You can't call New York the Big Easy! That has been and always will be the nickname of New Orleans, they even made a movie called "The Big Easy" based in N.O.
As for the beer, I love the DH Punkin ale as well and BB's Pumpkin Ale is always one of my favorite, both were at the top of my list of Pumpkin beers this last fall.

Kyle said...

Yep. Glad you got to try the Dogfish Head Punkin ale. I drank a lot of them this fall. Very complex and drinkable.