COAST TO COAST TOAST - NEW YORK
JezzaP

The rest of the week in New York was a heady mix of sightseeing, shopping, eating and more shopping, with two visits to jazz clubs and one night at Yankee stadium experiencing some very odd American culture - the ball game. This was educational to say the least! Emerging blinking from the Bronx, we managed to find our way back to the wonderful Blind Tiger for round two, then grabbed a bargain taxi to the Gingerman at 1am, where we decided to empty our pockets once more, as it had been such fun on the Sunday. Heavyweight Lunacy, DFH Shelter Pale Ale, Brooklyn Pennant, Ommegang Abbey and Heavyweight Stickenjab Alt were all downed that night after the ball game.

Later in the week we made it over to Brooklyn, and had a fantastic afternoon and evening - first stop being Sparkys Ale House, where we had a warm welcome from the very friendly Irish owner, and snagged a DFH Midas Touch (yum), then we walked up to the Waterfront for a HOTD Rose. We grabbed a cab from there to the Peter Luger Steakhouse, where we had the best steak in the universe, then wandered up through a Polish district, to Mugs Ale House. Here I got another Biere d'Art, which hadn't improved since Sunday, and a Brooklyn Saison, which was ok but nothing to write home about. Unfortunately my next four picks were all out of stock, and as there wasn't much else I was desperate to sample, we called it a day.

We had the same problem at DBA. Massive list, but the first four beers I asked for were all out of stock. Why on earth do they keep them listed on that massive blackboard if they're out of stock?? Feeling grumpy, we left after one, unimpressed. I seem to recall Steve G having a similar experience there some months ago. No excuse……..

Our last day in NYC was the only wet day of the whole holiday. Great excuse to check out the Manhattan branch of Waterfront. And what a place! South Hampton Oyster Stout and West Indies Pale Ale, HOTD Fred, and Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout all on tap, and fab food too. And later we visited our ninth bar from Bill's recommendations, Burp Castle. This place has wonderful Burgundian murals all round the walls, and a cosy and inviting atmosphere. However, when I asked for two half pints, the barman refused and said they only do pints. So I pointed to the half pint glasses and asked him what they were for. He explained that you could only buy a half pint at the weekend!! I then told him that this was ridiculous, and to serve me a bloody half pint, and seeing that I had got angry, he relented and served them up. What on earth was that all about then?

My general view of New York bars? Well, I really liked all of the bars we went to and would happily return to all, though DBA need to sort their act out with beer stocks, and Burp Castle needs to get its head out from up its arse. My favourite was the Waterfront in Manhattan, with the Brooklyn branch of Waterfront a close second. Blind Tiger, Mugs, Sparkys and Gingerman were all excellent too, though in general I was a bit disappointed with the beer lists in all of the New York bars. Let me explain: I would not dispute that places like Mugs, especially, have wonderful beer lists, but they are full of great Belgian and British ales. Indeed, Mugs had a list of UK beers that puts most UK bars to shame. However, none of the NYC bars had what I would call a great list of US beers. Even at places with multiple taps, many of those taps served mediocre beer. In fact the best draft selection to be found was at the Waterfront in Manhattan. And none served a decent list of rare or hard to find examples of great US microbrewed beer in bottles. For example, at Sparkys, there was a huge list of over 100 bottled beers, but only two were American. For someone hunting for the best of US brewing, this was very disappointing.

However, having been to the nine bars mentioned above, I did manage to seek out some very tasty brews, so it was a pretty good start to the non beer holiday! Next stop: meeting Bob Johnston!!

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