Monday, November 10, 2008


I may have mentioned a couple of weeks ago that my work recently brought me to New York City for a brief visit. Naturally I attempted to maximize all beer consumption possibilities, though given the constrainsts of my, uh, exceptionally busy schedule, I kinda played it minute to minute. There was this night, you may remember it, because it was the night the Tampa Bay Rays almost blew their series against Boston by going up 7-0, only to lose 8-7 in Game Five. I'd totally wanted to watch that game with a pint in my hand, but I was working at a night event on 36th & Broadway from 7-10pm. Wait a minute....36th Avenue in Manhattan....isn't THE GINGER MAN on 36th???!? And so it was that I spent a couple of hours and three glasses of beer watching the end of said game, and taking in the finest ales the east coast had to offer me.

We've written about THE GINGER MAN before. I used to take work trips to NYC all the time, and this was my default beer joint. We've subsequently discovered the wonders to be had in Brooklyn and in the West Village, but I was very glad for a repeat visit. Incredible beer selection from all the eastern seaboard heavyweights: Southern Tier, Captain Lawrence, Smuttynose, Southhampton etc etc. Great atmosphere as long as it's not too packed and as long as you can stomach a $6 minimum charge for each beer. (In the right circumstances, like this one, I most certainly can). I felt like getting started with a bang, and noticed that the bar had a "house ale" - brewed by CAPTAIN LAWRENCE! Hot damn. GINGER MAN ALE is a Belgian-style amber ale that's fairly light (5.5% abv) and therefore a great way to get the party started, in a 20-ounce pint no less. Malty, medium-bodied, and deceptively hoppy. It's brewed with ginger - oh, haw haw! I get it. Really a nice beer, much like the Imperial Red from Lagunitas that we're always raving about, just not quite on that exalted level. 7/10. Next!

Well, next one was somewhat unremarkable, though I had pretty high hopes. It was the FISHERMAN'S PUMPKIN STOUT from Gloucester, MA's CAPE ANN BREWING. This was a total roll of the dice, and initially I was pretty impressed. Black as night, with the immediate whammo of pumpkin pie, right there in your friggin' face, take it or leave it. Almost no "stout" taste as all. Quite thin-bodied. Close your eyes, and you could've been drinking a yellow-colored ale. Weird, hunh? I thought I liked it, then I didn't, and then I scored it a 6.5/10.

Last of the night was the big winner. It's not even an east coast beer, though I didn't know that when I ordered. It's from Warrenville, IL's TWO BROTHERS BREWING, and it's called HOP JUICE. Can you perhaps guess which style of ale it might be? Yeah, this double IPA was actually listed as a "pale ale" by the Ginger Man, but there is no mistaking its ultra hoppiness. But hey - these are muted in a beautiful fashion - totally well-rounded, smooth, and very juicy. Grapefruit, green apples, and heavy carbonation. Fantastic. Another one to renew my faith in the IPA. 9/10!!


tedo said...

Wow Gingerman in NY has their own house ale!! That's very nice.

Chris said...

Just had a Heavy Handed IPA by Two Brothers. Excellent East Coast IPA.

Aaron said...

When it's the right crowd, the Ginger Man can be as good as it gets in NYC. But after work happy hour crowds can often pollute the bar with macro-drinkers just getting in all the true beer geeks' way. Glad you had a good time though. Lately, I've only had one good experience for every two bad there.