COAST TO COAST TOAST - THE GINGERMAN
JezzaP

Our flight from London was a bit too memorable, being one of those flights when the turbulence increased beyond a comfortable level, and so for an hour right above the middle of the Atlantic the cabin crew were ordered to sit, which is just as well, otherwise they would have joined the meal items in flying around the cabin. Anyway, despite this we arrived early, and, as we felt pretty good, decided to go for a beer!

So we called Mike K, and met up with him and Denise in Collins Bar, a small and fairly cosy bar just up from Times Sq. The trip was off to a great start with an Ommegang Rare Vos and a Rogue Brutal Bitter. Theresa wanted to stay for more, but at 10pm (3am for us) I managed to drag her away for some sleep.

Next day we woke at about 5am, and after failing to get back to sleep, decided we had time for some shopping in advance of the afternoon's big babblefest. We dragged ourselves out of Macys and round to the Gingerman for 3pm, first babbler we met was Bill, second was Ludwig. And no, he didn't lick my knackers once all day!

In short order, Alex J put in a surprise appearance, Brad and Ann appeared, followed by Steve and Anne G, Dann and Aaron, with their friend Scot, Mat W and his pal Alex, Mike K and Denise, Shannon and Dan, Brian B and Warren. So in all we had a crowd of 18 and the party was soon in full swing. We were given special permission to open one bottle that Steve G had brought along, so we opened a few more to celebrate! From the Gingerman list I had Heavyweight Biere d'Art, which was a disappointment, being quite bland, Hair of the Dog Adam, which was anything but bland; and Brooklyn Monster, also excellent. Samples from beers brought by babblers included Bill C's Goudenbands from 1987 and 1996 and the new Heavyweight Old Salty; Warren's amazing Ind Coope Jubilee Ale from 1932, Three Philosophers, from Brian, and my 34 year old Thomas Hardys. This was good, but definitely past its best. However, it was fun to sample such an historic beer. In the end, the barman was actually helping us to open the beers we had brought along - sensible decision! Steve G also introduced me to DFH's Worldwide Stout, which was as awesome as I had been told. No way does this taste anywhere near 17.5%.

Dann had brought along loads of cases of Rapscallion Premier and Blessing, in four-packs with the appropriate glassware, and Brian B brought a huge case of various beers, many of which he passed my way (thanks Brian and Dann!). I had brought a few beers for various babblers, but it was soon clear that I would be leaving New York with more beers than with which I had arrived!

The party went on until about 8pm, when the diehards, me, T, Mat W and Brian B, decided to go on for some food. So we ended up on the dodgy outskirts of the West Village at this great honky tonk eatery called the Hog Pit. And hog we did. Then it was a short walk to the Blind Tiger, where I had a South Hampton Burton Ale. Not being able to take any more, we called it a day but left Mat W as the last man standing! What a great day!

I loved the Gingerman: it was spacious, with a perfect back room for an 18 person babblefest. We had the whole room to ourselves, it had very comfy sofas, dim lighting and loads of room. The rest of the bar is also pretty cool, with my only criticism being the extortionate prices. All of the rounds I bought for me and T were an average of $14 each, and then of course we had to join in that quaint US custom of flinging an extra dollar the way of the bar staff every time they did their job and gave your drinks…… So each round ended up at approx £10, and many of those included half pints. Makes London look like a total bargain!

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