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Archive for the ‘Brewer: The Bruery’ Category

The Bruery 2 Turtle Doves

December 16th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 5 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Brasserie d'Achouffe, Brewer: High Point, Brewer: Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project, Brewer: The Bruery, Country: America, Country: Belgium, Grade: A-, Grade: A-/B+, Grade: B plus, Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale, Style: Wheat (Hefeweizen)

12% ABV on tap

“You’re not sthupposed to review that.”

I turned to see some weaselly-looking pot-bellied virgin in a Blue Point pullover addressing me.  He had a slight lisp which is always more annoying than a full lisp for some reason*.

“’scuse me?”  Usually when I go to beer bars to geek out I go by myself and at off-hours so no one will see me nor bother me, the same strategy most XXX theater fanatics employ.

“You’re not sthupposed to officially review sthuch a small serving size.”

The pot-bellied weasel aimed his unkempt pointer finger at the flight of four beers I’d just ordered.  Rattle ‘n’ Hum was hosting a winter beer blowout and with dozens of brews I wanted to try and only an hour or two to spare on a Tuesday afternoon, I had no time for full pours.

The pot-bellied weasel had apparently seen me making a few reviewing notes on my iphone and, wanting to show off the sort of annoying pedagogy that would assure a lonely life for him, had pounced on me.

“You’re sthupposed to at least have an eight ounce pour to officially review something.  You’re not sthupposed to review so many beers in one sitting either.”  He started into a stuttering chuckle.  “You’re what, what, what we call a ‘ticker.’  Someone who tries to quickly review as many beers as possible just to say they drank them.”

I smiled knowingly and calmly, sipped one of the four beers in front of me.  I like being berated by asocial nerds with slight lisps.  It’s like getting dressed down by Don Rickles except totally the opposite.  I said nothing.

“I’m just telling you for your own good, man.”

The pot-bellied weasel had finished his rant and looked down, ashamed of his standing in life.

“What are you, on Beer Advocate?” I finally spoke.

“BA?  Yes I am.”

“What’s your user name?  I bet it’s something like stoutslurper69 or something.”

“I’m totallyhopsome.”

“And your avatar?  Which ‘Star Trek: The New Generation’ character did you pick?  Data or Geordi La Forge?”

He didn’t respond as I quickly looked up his profile on my iphone.

“Ah…Number Six.  Sexy.”

I held up one of my tiny glasses of beer.

“Let me tell you something.  It’s just beer.  Repeat after me:  it’s just beer.  Just a liquid.  You see, cool people like me use this liquid to enhance our lives.  We use it to make us feel good, to help us celebrate life, to aid in our understanding of the universe.  I’m already interesting enough as it is but this beer is going to make me even more interesting and in a few hours I’ll use that turbo-boost of charisma to perhaps pick up a woman, take her home, and then Greco-Roman wrestle with her.  So yeah, I suppose my beer reviews could be lacking, but at least I like myself.”

I may not go back to a bar for the rest of the month as over-flowing NYC bars seem to be currently divided between these people that don’t like themselves at all and people that like themselves a little too much.  Rattle ‘n’ Hum last night was a Sharks and Jets battle between these two incredibly annoying populations.  On one side we had a bunch of drunken yahoos who had just come from their official work Christmas parties.  Idiots in cheap suits and tacky skirts, flirting with that fat HR girl, the guido idiot in the mailroom.  Ripping on their a-hole bosses.  Slobbering, slurring, trying to dance.  What happens at the Christmas party stays at the Christmas party and I unfortunately had to witness it.

On the other side we had the self-loathing beer geeks, pedantic in their pseudo-scientific non-enjoyment of beer, embarrassing in the nerdy browbeating way they ordered from the bartenders (”Uh…could I have a tulip glass please!”), pitiable in the “big dick contest” way they bragged about what saught-after beers they’d tried recently, aloof in how they presented their disgusting visages to the world.  You’d think the kind of person that cares so much about the look, smell, and craftsmanship of a silly liquid would care as equally much about the look, smell, and craftsmanship of their own person.  Naw, better to just rip on beers with bad carbonation than to worry about getting the orange wax out of your ears and do a few deep-knee bends.

Flying solo I had just four beers, all in smallish serving vessels the geek was right, but you’d have to be a dunce not to “understand” these beers after only 4 or 5 ounces:

I love the concept of The Bruery’s 12 Days of Christmas vertical and I too one day, when I open my own brewery, hope to have my own holiday themed vertical:  The 10 Plagues of Passover series.  (”Trade you two Death of the First Born quads for a Locusts barley wine?”)  2 Turtle Doves is, no duh, the second in the series set to conclude on Jesus’s bday 2019 when I’ll be 40 years old, still unmarried and without kids, but with 12 dusty bottles of beer to drink.  Yay for having dreams!  2 Turtle Doves is another boozy winner from The Bruery, maybe the most buzz worthy beermakers around at this second in time.  Chocolaty, nutty, caramely and roasted with perhaps some dark fruit flavors, slightly sour, a cordial finish, it gets better with each sip.  Glad I have several bottles of this.  A-

N’ice Chouffe is an odd little bird.  Like a Christmasy Belgian strong pale.  Which is as exotic and weird as it sounds.  Spicy and yeasty, a true Belgian take on a winter warmer.  A-/B+

I’d been searching for Ramstein Winter Wheat for awhile as I’d heard this New Jersey–New Jersey?!–offering was in the Aventinus ballpark.  Ha, not quite.  Aventinus is an utter masterpiece and a paradigm of the weizenbock style.  Ramstein Winter Wheat is dark and boozy hot, especially for a mere 9.5% beer, packed with banana esters and cloves, a little lacking in complexity, flavor, and expected silkiness.  Still enjoyable though.  B+

Pretty Things Babayaga is a rich and roasty 7% stout with a nice thick but not too viscous of mouthfeel.  It apparently has rosemary in it which I love in concept–it’s a favored addition to naan for me–but don’t taste in execution.  A solid effort but not sui generis or extraordinary.  Like the best crafted Guinness Extra Stout you’ve ever had.  B+

*I greatly admire the genius that decided to name the condition for people that can’t speak correctly a word that they could never pronounce correctly.  Listhp.  Maybe that’s the true test.  As soon as you can pronounce lisp correctly, son, then we’ll know you don’t have one no more.

The Bruery Autumn Maple

October 13th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 3 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Clipper City, Brewer: The Bruery, Country: America, Grade: A regular, Grade: A-, Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale, Style: Pumpkin Ale

10% ABV bottled

Oktoberfest

I have just recovered from a big four-day drinking weekend down in Washington, D.C., highlighted by my first ever visit to Rustico’s Oktoberfest.  Luckily, it was a little drizzly out which kept the kind of drinking element away who only hears about events in this world courtesy of “morning zoo” DJs while listening to Top 40 radio.  The overt beer geek element was fairly low too for that matter, now that I think about it, though I did see one dweeb in a Kate the Great shirt proudly trying to get his picture taken with a “St. Pauli Girl” whose boobs were veinier than Iggy Pop’s arms.  It was mostly an Alexandria/Arlington lot of MILFy women in giant fuck-me boots with even gianter rocks on their hands and pushing the most giantest strollers you done ever seen.  As much as I wanted to hate on these women for pushing SUV-sized strollers of crying babies through a beer festival, I was actually kind of jealous that these runner-up trophy wives got their own portable cupholders for them to place their beers in while showing off their engagement rings to other yentas or while holding hands with their latently homosexual husbands.  But I digress.

I think I have now well exceeded my amount of fall seasonal beers for 2009 and like the smart kid in elementary school, I may need to skip a grade all the way to winter drinking.  I tell ya’, if I never see a malty marzen or a pumpkiny pumpkin beer again this year, it might be too soon.  Some of my fall seasonal highlights of the Oktoberfest, all which I’d score an A- minimum:

Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale
Avery The Kaiser Imperial Oktoberfest
Bear Republic Late Harvest Oktoberfest
Clipper City Heavy Seas - Prosit! Oktoberfest (cask)

(Surprisingly, my lowlight of the weekend, besides passing out wasted at 8:30 PM on Saturday night, was Flying Dog’s Dogtoberfest, recently awarded the gold medal in the marzen category at the Great American Beer Festival.  I found it to be a stunningly awful malt mess and since I had no drain nearby to pour it down, I had to resort to dumping onto the parking lot near the Port-o-Potty release plug.  Fitting.)

But my two highlights for the weekend would be Clipper City’s Heavy Seas - The Great Pumpkin and The Bruery’s Autumn Maple.  I had The Great Pumpkin on cask and I have to say, flat out, it is the best pumpkin beer I have ever had by an order of magnitude.  Well outperforming such legendary luminaries as Southern Tier’s Pumking and Dogfish Head’s Punkin, my previously-thought-to-be two best in the category.  The Great Pumpkin tastes like if you just dunked your head in a giant pumpkin pie.  It’s probably the most pumpkin-tasting pumpkin I’ve ever had as it doesn’t suffer from the over-spicing a lot of pumpkin ales do.  And it’s so silky and creamy, oozing down your throat as smooth as a nitro Guinness.  Whereas even the best pumpkin ales one grows sick of after a pint or two, this was the one beer I kept revisiting at the festival, going back to the cask booth time after time after time.  I really wish I had a cask of this in my house right now, it was that good.  Perhaps it was the fact that it was my first ever pumpkin beer on cask–I got to compare The Great Pumpkin side-by-side on tap and it simply lacked the same oomph the cask version had–but this one deserves legendary status.  A very impressive effort for Baltimore’s Clipper City.

A

Now, full disclosure, Autumn Maple was actually the only beer I have discussed today that wasn’t available at the Oktoberfest but I did happen to try it the very same day.  A damn shame it wasn’t at the festival, because this might be the finest “Oktober” beer around.  Like most The Bruery beers this is a most unique creation.  Instead of opting to make a pumpkin beer for fall like everyone else, the boys from Orange County opted for a sweet potato beer.*  Huh?!!!  Mmmmm, actually.  Yams and maple syrup, tons of classic pumpkiny spices, this beer absolute worked for me and along with The Great Pumpkin has to be maybe the best seasonal beer out currently.  I know most The Bruery beers are a little pricey compared to other American options, but don’t be scared off in this case.  I’m shocked that it merely gets a B on Beer Advocate because this is very much a solid…

A-

*Perhaps for a lack of a category at the moment, BA lists Autumn Maple as a Belgian Strong Dark.  Whatever.

The Bruery Saison De Lente

May 12th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 6 Comments | Filed in Brewer: The Bruery, Country: America, Grade: A-, Style: Saison/Farmhouse Ale

6.5% ABV on tap

Truths, Myths, Misconceptions, Malodor, and Consequences at New York City Civil Court Jury Duty

I’d of course forgotten to set my alarm the night before.  But, luckily, the weather was nice so the all-male Orthodox Jewish preschool housed directly underneath my bedroom window had allowed its pupils to play outside on this fine morning and several dozen giggling and shouting yarmulked and fringe-clothed little pischers woke me at 7:09, the earliest I’d been up that didn’t involve impending air travel or the tail end of a bender in at least three years.  I had to be downtown by 8:00 for my first career stint at jury duty.

111 Centre Street is quite the hike from the Vice Blogger’s fortified drinking compound, but I wasn’t concerned, I had no plans to shower, to even look presentable.  My few friends who’d had jury duty assured me it was an in-and-out procedure.  “A normal guy like you, eh, you’ll be dismissed before noon,” was the boilerplate refrain I’d oft-heard to my probing questions.  Fantastic.  My friends thought I was normal!  I already had plans to meet an unemployed pal at a super-early happy hour by 3 PM that day.

I threw on the previous night’s stinky drinking clothes and topped my bedhead off with a backwards Syracuse cap.  Gangsta.  I passed on a swipe of my pits with the Speed Stick and a brush of my pearlies with the Crest.  I was on the 2 train headed south a mere six minutes after the Jew-kids had woke me up with their four-square playing.

Getting off at the Chambers Street stop I felt like I was in a new city as this was not a part of Manhattan I find myself in more than once a year.  I mean, the bar scene stinks down there!  I was running late and somewhat lost and by the time I got to the court building, I was at the tail-end of a long snaking line of potential jurors all angrily staring at the same red and white dot matrixed card I’d received in the mail a few weeks previous.  As I waited to go through the metal detectors, my first myth of jury duty service was immediately dispelled:  people at jury duty are not the rag-tag rough-and-tumble bunch I’d expected.  I was prepared to, even in my filthy state, be one of the best-dressed, least-foreboding, and most put-together of the entire lot but that was far from the truth.  In fact, I was arguably the worst of the worst.  I was what I expected everyone else to look like.  What’s that quote from “Rounders?” “If you can’t spot the sucker in the first half hour at the (poker) table, then you ARE the sucker.”  Well, if you can’t spot the scumbag while waiting in line for jury duty, then you are that scumbag.

The people around me were a sophisticated bunch of businessmen and women dressed to, at least the eights, perhaps even the nines I would dare say, praying they could quickly get out of service to actually go to work.  To actually go to work!  What a revelation.  And now it hit me, of course jury duty wasn’t going to be populated with the layabouts and idlers and profligates and bones, thugs, and harmony who I had expected to see.  Those are the exact kind of people that could never in a million years handle getting something in the mail, reading that something, remembering that something, waking up at 7-something AM, and getting their something in gear down to the court house.  Shit, I was just a few percentile points of laziness, disrespectability, and irresponsibility from being one of those aforementioned something or others.  The kind of person that would actually promptly and correctly respond to a government call for mandated service would of course be the same kind that has their shit together enough to have a job and to shower and to not drink til 3 AM on weeknights.

The line was overflowing with men in Ferragamo lace-ups and women in the whatever kinda pumps Carrie Bradshaw got clitoral erections over, all trying to figure out where that terrible smell was emitting from, all eventually honing it’s epicenter down to the brow-sweating man in beat-up jeans and Nike Shox, the only sneaker- and denim-clad person in the line, oozing booze from every pore in his body not already clogged by pizza and cheeseburger grease.

I still had a wicked hangover from the previous night.  Though I’d typical avoid Mexican St. Patty’s Day because I hate bullshit fratboyified drinking holidays, I’d had a date and started my Cinco de Mayo drinking early at the Ginger Man, excited to see The Bruery’s Saison De Lente there on tap.  I’d found their flagship Orchard White a mild disappointment but could still tell this was a creative brewery–still just in its first year of existence–to look out for.  And this motherfucking saison floored me!  Incredibly floral and citrusy with an earthy spiciness and a sourdough bready maltiness.  A mild funky Brettness, this is one of the hoppier saisons I’ve ever had but still silky smooth.  It just slides down your throat like a kid on a Slip ‘n’ Slide.  Like you’re drinking some KY jelly.  (Wait, that sounded more perverse than I wanted it to and inferred things that I have no interest in inferring.)  Saison De Lente is incredibly interesting and delicious.  Instantly becoming one of my top saisons.  Well done, The Bruery!

On a typical day the longest I go without caffeine entering my system is maybe like fifteen minutes after rising.  A hungover, miserable day like this was no time to break any records as I neared a full hour of uncaffeination.  Passing through the out-of-date metal detector, I was praying that the courthouse had a food court or something en route to my jury room.  Luckily, I stumbled upon a Middle-Eastern chap selling cardboard pastries, donuts, bagels, and coffee too, but unluckily what he had to offer was some of the hottest, most acrid coffee I’d ever had in my life.  I needed the caffeine but it was terrible tasting and I could also tell it would have remarkable laxative qualities and, what with a 2 AM styrofoam Hallal street meat still in my belly from just several hours earlier, I didn’t want to find myself on the public court house can.  I shuddered to think of that.  I shuddered more to think of sitting there as the head of the jury room called my name, “Goldfarb?  Goldfarb?  Has he skipped out?!  Contempt of court!”

I entered the massive jury room, similiar to the kind of facilities fly-by-night churches have to rent for weekly services and took my seat at the unfortunate front of the room.  The smarter kids had some how known to arrive early so they could get the cherished seats in the way back where they could goof and doze off without any repercussions*.  The head of the jury room came out to welcome us and yet another myth was dispelled–the workers here were some of the most upbeat and kind people I’d ever met in my life.  Incredibly helpful and good humored, and willing to answer the ad nauseum dumb questions asked of him by my fellow jurors.

These folks may have been better-dressed and ostensibly more respectable looking than me but goddamn were they dumb.  An infilade of daft and dopey queries exploded from these dunderheads’ pieholes like the retards in your college lecture hall classes who hectored the prof with the most asinine inanities.  “Will this be on the final?,” “Should I keep notes?,” and “Do we have to read every book on the syllabus?” were replaced by shit like “Do we get a lunch break?,” “Will we ever be sequestered?,” and “Is this just like ‘Law & Order?’”

We watched an instructional video on “how” to be a juror and though I wanted to not pay attention, it was hard to ignore this 1980s VHS tape hosted by Diane Sawyer and featuring Don Johnson in jury room dramatizations as it offered such helpful bon mots as:  “…if you get excused from duty, do not worry, it is not a judgment of your intelligence.”  Oh, don’t worry Diane, I wasn’t worried.

Afterward, we had to line up to submit our pay forms in order to be remitted $40 for our service, where yet another kind courthouse employee, a most gregarious man, cheerfully read each person’s occupation aloud as he accepted forms.

“Ah, a professor, whadaya teach?”

“Looky there, a firefighter!  Thanks for your service!”

“Cool, a lawyer!  What firm?”

I started playing a little game, guessing what each person did, anything to keep me busy.  This group of jurors was like an Ivy League class reunion.  Some serious heavyweights in the room.  But not completely…

For about every fourth person or so, the gregarious fella would look at the card and excitedly say:

“Well you’re not today!  Today, you’re making forty bucks!”

Wow, the unemployment rate was high.

And then, we sat and waited.  And waited and waited and waited.  The room had wifi and I had brought my laptop, but leaving in such a rush I had forgotten my power cord and arrived with only an hour of battery life left.  By 10:00 that was completely sapped.  I tried to read a novel, but all I’d packed was a heady Thomas Wolfe work I couldn’t focus on.  I tried to amuse myself by reading the NYC Juror Weekly newsletter–this seriously exists–but it sounds more humorous that it actually is.

So all that left me to do for the interminable hours was to observe those around me.

To my right, an obese gentleman slept, snoring loudly, and leaning so far back in his cheap plastic chair that I was certain it would soon snap. Behind me, a sassy Jamaican lady kept telling any one that would listen that Judge Judy wouldn’t allow no snoring in her court. She also implored the gregarious man to change the single juror room television from CNN to one of her soaps, but her wish was not granted.  To my left, a Jewish gent who conspiratorially informed me that he could not seem to access “lewd and lascivious” websites via the jury room’s wifi.   Testing him, I entered “JILF amateur porn” into Google and clicked on the first link it gave me.  One such JILF–juror I’d like to…know biblically–was sitting directly in front of me, her blonde hair cascading down over her chair and nearly tickling the tips of my knees.  The hot piece of work dressed ever so smartly, she had listed her occupation on her jury card as “archaeologist.” (Gregarious man:  “Wow, cool stuff!  Any ‘Jurassic Park’ stories you can tell me?”)  I wanted to know her in the worst way but I don’t think she had any interest in digging up my bone.

Come to think of it, there were more hot women in my jury room than in any bar I’d been in this year.  Gorgeous, statuesque, modelesque women listing their jobs as doctors and lawyers and just ambiguously as “CEO.”  Wow, what a catwalk the center aisle of the jury room was.

Lunch time in that deplorable part of town full of lawyers in cheap suits and oldass Chinese people selling crustaceans that you thought extinct but had somehow just died within the past minute, and I only had one choice for dining in my mind.  I high-tailed it up to Katz’s on Houston for a pastrami on rye, a knish, and a beer to even me out.  I think being drunk at jury duty is a class A felony but going postal and killing everyone in the room is probably worse.

After lunch I found myself surrounded by an all new crew:  two old biddies who apparently became friends in the morning session now loudly working a NY Post crossword together (”1 ACROSS: ‘Line before ‘Twist and Shout.” “Hmmmm…’Shape it on babe?!’”  “It fits, Joyce!  Perfect!”).  A Jeffrey Steingarten lookalike reading an RL Stine book.  Go figure.  A bespectacled gray-haired chap rocking nonstop in his chair ala Leo Mazzone in the dugout.  Very annoying.  A sexy school-teacher with a high hemline grading elementary schools essays and affixing gold stars to every other one.

And me, the hungover, stinky, smelly, pissed-off Jew, amusing himself by lampooning those around him.

Many people have said to me, “Ah, I’d LOVE to have jury duty once!”  What?  You think it’s some awesome “Law & Order” shit?  You think you’re gonna be Henry Fonda and heroically and correctly sway the hearts and minds of eleven other angry men with your brilliant rhetoric?  You really think you’re going to work some awesome quadruple homicide or drug-running case or something involving terrorism?  Naw.  With jury duty you are simply being sentenced to the adult version of detention.  I’m a wiseass so I of course had detention a time or two in junior high and high school and the adult version of it is much worse.  MUCH worse.  At least you kinda felt like a badass, a rebel, when you had high school detention.   Adult detention just makes you want to be a former felon so that you will never ever never be eligible for this shitty service again.

At least I got a respite for another six years.

A-

*I remember being five or six or so and first hearing the story of Rosa Parks.  “But why would she WANT to sit in the front of the bus?!  You can’t goof off in the front of the bus!  The bus driver can see you!  Didn’t she realize the best seat is in the back of that bus?!”  Hush that fuss.

The Bruery Orchard White

April 27th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 1 Comment | Filed in Brewer: The Bruery, Country: America, Grade: B-, Style: Belgian White

5.7% ABV on tap

I’m an egomaniac and a clinical narcissist and one reason I started this site is because I knew I would have a better beer blog than most of the other crap out there.  And now, I will write a better bar review than those written by the unpaid freelancing hacks at Shecky’s, et al.

THE PONY BAR

W. 45th and Tenth Avenue

After a soft opening two Thursdays ago, I decided to pay my first visit to Hell’s Kitchen’s newest bar exactly one week later.  A great drinking neighborhood, that is unquestionable, but the part of town westerly of Touristville is severely lacking in craft beer spots with only the two House of Brews to its name as well as Valhalla.*  The Houses of Brew (if I am to correctly pluralize) usually have a respectable enough beer lineup, but it’s not exactly a place I like to hang out as the ceilings are too low, the lighting too bright, the women too loud, the beer geeks too geeky, the food too beer-battered.  Valhalla is criminally underrated though, even if it is exceedingly dark in there and the bartenders are slobbering fools.

Upon first entering The Pony Bar I was impressed with the ambiance.  It’s quite unique with upturned barrels in the middle of the floor acting as little tables and all sorts of other faux-old-timey wood furnishings like an off-the-interstate Cracker Barrel.  It was also kinda like Al Swearengen’s Gem Saloon though I saw no canned peaches available for purchase.  Then again, the kitchen is not open just yet, though the menu on the wall looked respectable and economical.

I was quickly turned off by the bar’s paucity of pissing space with just a single commode for both men and women.  When I own a bar, there will be more places to piss than the number of dicks the Fire Marshall will allow in the building.

I’d been greatly anticipating my first visit to The Pony Bar as their website listed them as having The Bruery’s Orchard White and Black Orchard on tap.  One of America’s newest and brightest craft brewers, I’d yet to see these beers in Manhattan and was stoked to try them.  The Pony Bar’s nicely-designed website claims to offer “real time” updates about what is on their twenty taps at that very second, but by the time I had reached the watering hole, Black Orchard was no more.  So, unless that tap got changed out during my five minute walk, The Pony Bar are biliously lying to the bibulous.

Luckily, Orchard White was on tap and I ordered one post-haste.  I was disappointed to see it come in a mere 8 ounce glass but later learned that since literally every single beer at The Pony Bar is $5, some of the brews are served in smaller glasses.  There seemed to be no rhyme or reason though to what was served in these 8 ouncers.  It certainly wasn’t just high ABV stuff as Allagash’s sublime 7.5% Black was in a wee glass while Stone’s snotbox-punching 7.7% Ruination came in a full pint.  Nor, did it appear to be a rarity thing as some simple-to-find taps were in the itsy bitsy glasses as well.  But I quibble.

I found the Orchard White to be a quite fascinating witbier.  Spicy and medicinal, full of oranginess and a biting flowery lavender taste which overpowered me to a certain extent.  The prickly carbonation got to me as well.  Truth be told, I was somewhat glad this was served in a 8 ounce glass as I was ready for something else by about ounce 6.  A good beer, or at least an interesting one no question, I’m curious to try The Bruery’s other stuff.

It was easy to monitor the beers on tap and their ABVs and serving size as The Pony Bar has a splendid and large chalkboard covering the entire wall behind the bar.  One of my top bar pet peeves is when you enter a bar and ask a standard, “So what do you have on tap?” and the bartender gives an enormous eye roll followed by an abracadabra wave of her upturned palm as if to say, “The taps run the length of the bar, you can check them out for yourself.”  No one wants to run up and down the length of a bar, jutting their head between couples trying to ogle each tap, recognize ones you’ve never seen before, cull weird names from the askew heads.  Or, what about bars that list their beers on a dirty chalkboard, the various brews written in awkward pink or powder blue chalked atop the smudged black, made impossible to read by the dim lights of the bar.  It really irks me when bars don’t just have beer menus to peruse, and updated ones at that.

If only every bar would just do what The Pony Bar does with their amazingly easy to see beer wall which could be read despite the darkness of the establishment.  The on-the-wall ABVs are also great for a stat geek like me as it enables me to keep accurate tabs on my intoxication levels (”I’ve currently had 124 ounces of beer at an average of 7.1%!  Any one know a good massage parlor around here?”)

The lights were dark and the atmosphere jovial.  Though there was a gorgeous flatscreen TV in each corner, none were on, something I am not sure whether it had to do with the fact that the bar had yet to have the cable guy arrive–”Bars, they’re just like us!”–or whether it was to maintain a conversational atmosphere.  I will assume it is the former.  But a conversational atmosphere was certainly generated and the bar was packed to the gills with hot, hot women, all forced to order Ommegang Witte as it was the only “light” and “girly” beer on the current menu.  There’s hard liquor too, ladies, do not fret.

I’m the kind of guy that upon arriving at a beer bar immediately composes a “batting lineup” for my evening’s consumption.  No, I don’t go all the way 1 through 9 but I usually make it well past the clean-up spot.  I’d led off with Orchard White, slotted Stone Ruination in the two-hole in order to calibrate my IPA tastes before I planned on giving Blue Point Rastafar Rye a whirl.  Unfortunately, just as I was finishing my Ruination pint the bartender started hammering a boxing ring-type bell as if the judges’ decision was about to be announced by a Buffer brother.  I quickly learned that this bell was to alert a tap change.  I said to my drinking buddy, “Please say it ain’t the Rastafar Rye.”  It was and thus my batting lineup method lost in a unanimous decision.  Should have batted the Rastafar Rye higher.  Oh well.  The Pony Bar would change taps four more times that night, something I love.  True, they could just have five to ten more taps at all times, but just like you I’m a sucker and it excites me to watch thing change right in front of my very eyes.

The bartenders at The Pony Bar are friendly, though they don’t exactly seem to be fermented beverage experts.

AARON:  “So, how’s that Chelsea Hop Angel IPA?”

BARTENDER:  “Now that’s what we call an ‘IPA’ which stands for India.  Pale.  Ale…”

Consults notecard.

BARTENDER:  “…which means it will be quite…uh…’hoppy.’”

Finally, The Pony Bar offers growlers for sale of any and all beers they have on tap.  This seems to be a new “fad” in New York as in the last year or so at least a dozen bars have started offering this service.  Obviously, this is something I absolutely adore as I’m all for encouraging people to make impetuous purchases when lit up.  And, believe me, it’s quite easy to say, as you’re tabbing out your credit card:

“You know, could you just throw a growler of Double Bastard on their while you’re at it?”

Next thing you know you’re stumbling down 11th Avenue swigging straight from the 64 oz glass, stuck between the moon and New York City.

B+

*Seriously, Valhalla, it’s 2009, get a fucking website.  My mom even has one for God’s sake, and she’s a public school teacher.