Friday, January 01, 2010


I've got a backlog of beer stories to share with you, so let's go all the way back to early December 2009. Dateline: December 2009. Location: New York City. Hedonist Beer Jive is on a business trip. We've, in the preceeding 48 hours, been to both the RATTLE-N-HUM and GINGER MAN bars in Midtown Manhattan and imbibed fantastic ales. Now we've finished all work-related activities, which concluded in Times Square around 3pm. We know that the secret H&H Bagels store is walking distance away, and needing to bring something special home to the family the next day, proceed in that direction. Having done our homework, we also know that Manhattan craft beer hotspot THE PONY BAR in only blocks away, so, with a spring in our step, start walking just a little faster.

Stepping into The Pony Bar for a celebratory post-work, post-bagel procurement beer, we find that SMUTTYNOSE WINTER ALE is on draft, along with about 29 other good-lookin' beers. But at 4.8% alcohol, this WINTER ALE seems about the ticket for an afternoon beer. After all - it ain't 5pm yet, right? What a great call this one was. This has a really intense "winter warmer" flavor, totally fresh and well carbonated. Mellow, I'd say, with the slight taste of cola. Truly like a winter dubbel if there was such a thing. Easily the best "basic" holiday ale I had this season - as opposed to the high-ABV homewreckers I'm usually throwing down. Delicious - a definite and indisputable 8/10. Oh, and I really dug this bar as well - clean, homey, and just out of the way enough I'd imagine that amateurs likely shy away. As a great man once said, "I'll be back".

The second half of this SMUTTYNOSE BREWING story isn't quite as fabulous. Flash-forward three hours. We're in Brooklyn getting dinner at an excellent, but totally empty, Italian place called PT. I order up a SMUTTYNOSE IPA - seems like all restaurants in NYC these days have good beer available with your grub. I immediately wished I'd ordered something else or refrained from beer entirely. Sharp, highly hopped, piney and just a little "off" - this is like a "microbrew" IPA from ten years ago, before the form started being perfected in this country. Honestly, I've come to expect really good things from Smuttynose, but their IPA ain't one of them. 4.5/10. More spine-tingling beer tales to come in this new year.


The Hop Back said...

Do you suppose it was the establishment and/or dirty lines? Beer Advocate seems to rate this beer pretty high. I've never had the beer myself.

Aaron said...

Smuttynose IPA is a beer that grows on you. I hated it the first time I had but grew to love it's crazy bitterness.

Aaron said...

I had a similar reaction the first time I tried Smuttynose's IPA. Seems odd to complain about an IPA being too bitter, but it was a little unbalanced.

Anonymous said...

Great man? Funny guy.