For those of you that don’t know, I am a big supporter of the US Men’s Soccer team. I traveled in 2009 to Los Angeles to see them play Honduras in a friendly and in 2010 to Amsterdam to watch them play against the Netherlands (Amsterdam’s coffee is really good!) as a send-off to the World Cup. So, when my good friend, Erin, said she was making the trip to NYC to see our boys play Argentina in a friendly, I was in. Not only did I get to see to see my boys capture a draw from arguably one of the best teams in the world, I was able to turn part of my trip into a beer trip! Success!
We arrived at Newark on around lunch time on Friday, March 25th (yeah, I’m a bit late on this one) and checked in at our hotel, the New Yorker, at 34th and 8th, super close to Penn station. I immediately left for Whole Foods to purchase some beer to take back to Texas. I walked my happy ass the 11 blocks and purchased 14 bottles. I then hauled the 35 pounds of beer back to my hotel to pack it for shipping. This is where things go horribly, horribly wrong. Apparently my shipment was “damaged” when I called about a week later after not receiving my package. [Moment of silence for the 14 fallen soldiers] Luckily, all of it is easily replaced, just not in Texas. Anyway, That night we partied our ases off at the official American Outlaws bar for NYC- Jack Dempseys. Saturday was the game, then Sunday was proclaimed “Beer Day”! We took the L train to Brooklyn and started at a cute beer garden, Radegast Hall & Beirgarten before heading to Brooklyn Brewery, a few blocks away. We definitely had more plans but they ended up not happening for some strange reason ;).
Radegast Hall & Biergarten:
I am a HUGE barleywine fan, so when I looked at the bottle list for Radegast and saw the Baladin (Birrificio Le Baladin) Xyauyu Gold Italian-made barleywine (in the English style) I had to have it. Since I was on vacation, the $23/3 oz. price tag only hurt a little bit. The beer smelled like heaven to me, caramel and dark fruit smell and a port wine aroma in there as well. The taste was very close to that, no hop bitterness that you get from young barleywines and I do not know what year this bottle was, unfortunately. The mouthfeel was very viscous, almost like drinking gold, you know, if I had ever done that. It weighed in at a heavy 12%! Go big or go home, right? Too bad the website is in Italian, I’d love to read more about it.
Erin also started with a Baladin, the Nora. A supposed ancient Egyptian recipe using ginger, myrrh, and orange peel. The 6.8% spiced/herb (according to BA) beer was quite light and refreshing, a huge change of pace from my monster of a barleywine. It was a bit tart and you could definitely taste the citrus elements in the beer. I have never tasted myrrh so I wouldn’t know what to look for to see if that came through in the taste or not.
Erin had another beer that I cannot recall at this moment, and I had a Saison from the last/only steam-powered brewery in the world, out of Belgium- The Vapeur Cochonne from Brasserie a Vapeur. The description at Radegast said it was a Saison, Beer Advocate calls it a Belgian Strong Dark Ale and the Vapeur website doesn’t list a style, so there’s that. The website says it’s spiced with “roasted chicory, coriander, and sweet orange peel”. To me, the beer smelled like citrus and had citrus elements in the taste along with some tartness. It was pretty carbonated s well. I liked it well enough, a full bottle was a bit much, Erin graciously helped me drink it before we headed to Brooklyn Brewery.
We walked the 5 or so blocks to the brewery, which is almost invisible looking down the street, there’s one small sign at the front of the entrance to the tasting room. There was a dude checking IDs and when you walk in the first thing you see is a bunch of fermenters in front of you and to the right is where you purchase tokens and other Brooklyn memorabilia, if you are so inclined.
We got 6 beers for $20, not too shabby. There were a dozen or so tables set up for people to sit at and then of course the bar! there were a few beers on tap that I had never tried from them (nor do I think they bottle/distribute them) that I went for first.
I started with one of the Brewmaster’s Reserve Series, the Main Engine Start. It is considered an Abbey Single style beer that has been dry hopped with Slovenian Aurora hops. It was around 6%, so nothing too big. It was citrus-y and quite hoppy for my tastes, but cool to taste a beer that I can’t get in Texas.
Next, I tried an Irish Stout (I think I had 2 of these?) that was on tap (it was 4-5%ABV). It was creamy and rich, but lacking in body, for the flavors they incorporated it tasted a bit watered down to me.
Those are the important parts of Beer Sunday, I will not get into ending up back in Manhattan belting out Benny and the Jets karaoke with Erin! haha. Ny- 2, Leslie- 0.