Getting sent on a business trip to New York City is like a present every time; there’s no city outside of my own that I’d rather be sent packing to – particularly now that the city and the region has become such a stupendous spot for beer. This week visit was my fourth trip to New York during the past 9 months, and as such, I’m getting to be pretty familiar with certain watering holes. No, I didn’t make it to the Ginger Man on 36th Avenue, and I always go there for beer exploration, but unlike most trips, I decided to stay in the West Village rather than midtown – all the closer to the BLIND TIGER ALE HOUSE (hey, what a coincidence, hunh?).
My first night in town I met up with BT at the Blind Tiger, and it was on. My first try of the trip was the CAPTAIN LAWRENCE SMOKED PORTER, a poor camera-phone picture of which you can see here to your left. The Blind Tiger Ale House was bursting at the seams with imperial stouts and porters, and it was sort of hard to know where to go without grabbing too big of a buzz early. This one was just the right call. CAPTAIN LAWRENCE SMOKED PORTER has a small head that dissipates quickly, and once you get going with it, wow, it’s far more smooth than it looks. A vague smokiness. Not acidic nor chewy like some big porters are, but then this is only 6.4% alcohol (no, it is not their “SMOKE FROM THE OAK” porter). It’s got a light creaminess that’s very pleasant on the tongue – really, almost a classic malty porter with a vague “rauch” touch. I like it a lot. 7.5/10.
Not to spoil the post already, but the big winner of the whole trip was the next beer, a jaw-droppingly incredible IPA from Brooklyn brewer SIX POINT CRAFT ALES called BENGALI TIGER. Nope, not a double IPA, not an imperial IPA – an IPA. It’s incredible, and perhaps the best of its ilk I’ve had in years. Dry, low carbonation, with some decided bitterness but also a rush of citrus juicyness. As smooth a hoppy beer as I’ve ever had. I was gulping the thing, determined to find its flaws. I found none. So I ordered another BENGALI TIGER. Still perfect. 10/10!! Sadly only available on draft in the New York area. Well boo hoo hoo.
The next afternoon I traveled to the vaunted gastropub THE SPOTTED PIG in search of some grub-n-grog. It was snowing like crazy, enough to frustrate even the mailman, and this West Village restaurant that typically has lines out the door (or so I hear) was quite empty, and I got my own booth upstairs – right by the bar. But hey, I told you I may like to drink, but I’m not a big drinker, if you know what I mean. I held it at one small afternoon beer, an oatmeal stout also from SIX POINT CRAFT ALES called OTIS. Another winner from this outfit. Soooo smooth and creamy. It’s got a slight aftertaste of oats and bitter chocolate, maybe some nuttiness and wood. Totally great with a Roquefort cheese burger and a couple deviled eggs. Take a look at that photo - awesome, I f***** snapped that. 7.5/10.
Finally, after a jaunt by rail out to a New Jersey Devils/Washington Capitals game in Jersey, I returned to the West Village and “happened by” the Blind Tiger Ale House on Tuesday night. I picked wildly from the many draft selections available, perhaps a little too wildly. Guessing that anything from New York with POINT in the name would be good, I asked the kind barkeep for a BLUE POINT HOPTICAL ILLUSION. These folks are from Long Island, and I know/knew nothing about them. Alas, this IPA was just a bit of an overload in the hop depart,ent. Very bitter, surprisingly still and thin-bodied, and even with a bit of a sting in the taste. Yikes. No citrus anywhere at all. Just a low-carbonated dose up hops turned up to 11. I couldn’t even finish it. I’m guessing there are much better representations of the art of brewing from these folks, yeah? 5.5/10.
I then got on a train to Boston, where I wrote the post that you’re reading right now. I assume more pleasures await there…..