Wednesday, April 30, 2008


In New York last week we decided to give ourselves over to one vegetarian-only night of eating, to counter the gastronomic excess that had begun to and was to soon fully define the trip. Therefore we chose to dine at a veggie-only place in the East Village called COUNTER – and naturally I agreed to it because I peeked at the beer list online & there were a few I hadn’t had before, organic though they were. Having had some recent success with organic beer, I figured it’d be all right. It wasn’t. The food was decent enough, but hardly something you’d want to come back to in a city teeming with incredible dinner choices. Even a hardcore ovo-lacto vegan could probably come up with a dozen ringers over this one, even if beers had to be snuck in in a purse or a sock or something.

I began the festivities with an ORGANIC AMBER from PEAK BREWING, an outfit based in Portland, ME. Can I tell you something? It was one of the worst beers I’ve ever had. Thin, dry, bitter, and utterly tasteless, this is what the imperial Russian stout drinkers and the barrel-aged yahoos are smirking at when the words “organic beer” come up – as well they should! This was an American amber drained of all character and flavor, left with only the water and some foul bittering agents. Gross. 1.5/10. It was only onward and upward from there, and in comparison this WOLAVERS OATMEAL STOUT was a friggin’ home run over the Green Monster in Game 7. That said, I wouldn’t drink this equally thin, caramel-dominant brew again either, but it actually paired well with the stir fry I was marginally enjoying. I know the Wolavers brand is a big one in organic circles, and in Vermont these guys are kings (the brewery is actually called Otter Creek). In Lower Manhattan they’re knaves – friendly knaves with a nice personality, but knaves nonetheless. 5/10. When I go organic next time, it’s BUTTE CREEK all the way.

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