Monday, April 28, 2008


The wife and I went on vacation to New York City this past week, and as it turned out it was a helluva week for great beer. All concerns for guts and wallets goes out the window when one’s on vacation, and so it was as I imbibed fine ales in two boroughs. I’ll report on my findings this week, starting with an afternoon jaunt I had on Thursday to the BLIND TIGER ALE HOUSE in Manhattan’s West Village. We were staying pretty close by, dusk was dawning, and I needed a beer to kick-start the night. I walked over to this reputation-precedes-it bar & ordered up what I reckoned was the most obscure ale on the menu, something I’d never have again: MAGIC HAT BREWING’s CHAOTIC CHEMISTRY. You can see a picture of it sitting here, placed on a ledge outside of the bar’s Bleeker Street-facing window, where I enjoyed – nay, loved – this outstanding bourbon-barrel-aged barleywine. Outside it was 85 degrees, in late April no less. Rather than a pale ale or an IPA, I went for this whopper – a strong, caramel/butterscotch-tasting firebreather, easily the best of the 3 Magic Hat beers I’ve had. Really, considering the 11% ABV, it didn’t have that thick, syrupy taste that often bums my trip. No problem tasting the bourbon on this one, either – and I liked that, despite my general aversion to such elixirs. Of course I’ll never have the chance to experience this one again, but lemme tell you, if you’re in the Northeast and you spot this one, please do go for it. HBJ says 8.5/10.

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