Friday, March 31, 2017

New York vs. Boston - Beer Wars 2017

I took an extended long weekend trip up to New York and then on to Boston to cheer on the Predators at a couple of road games with my friends, Danny and Brenda.  Both of them like craft beer as well,  and we were able to do some compare and contrast of suds in the two metropolises during our trip.

Saturday, 3/25 -  We flew up to NYC today and I checked into my AirBnB shared apartment in Brooklyn (that saved me a ton of dough) near the Barclays Center where the Preds were playing the NY Islanders on Monday night.  Just across the street from my temporary apartment was the Pacific Standard bar where I had a nice, hoppy Other Half IPA from Brooklyn's own Other Half Brewing.  I followed that up with a decent Saxony Lager from Jack's Abby Brewing (MA).

Later that evening I met up with Danny and Brenda over in Manhattan to take in the Arthur Miller play "The Price" at the American Airlines Theater on Broadway.  Before the show we had some tasty burgers at the Black Iron Burger Bar near the theater.  They had a strong beer list also and with dinner I had a good Session IPA from Montauk (NY) Brewing followed by an interesting Funk (Blueberry Citrus Wheat) from DuClaw Brewing (Baltimore).

The play was outstanding with its superb cast including Danny Devito, Mark Ruffalo and Tony Shalhoub.  Brenda did good with procuring us some great box seats very close to stage-left.

After the show we wandered up to Ferrara, an Italian bakery that's been doing it great here in The Big Apple for over 120 years.  The desserts were amazing.  Leave the gun, take the cannoli.
Sunday, 3/26  -  Danny and I started the day with a great breakfast at Junior's on Flatbush Avenue located between my apartment and their hotel.  I had the totally-New York pastrami omelette and it was amazing!

Danny and Brenda were going back to Broadway this afternoon for a musical, but I passed on that for an idea of my own...a self-made Brooklyn beer tour!

No, that's not orange juice with breakfast at Juniors.  This is the amazingly citrus-infused IPA called My Righteous Self from Threes Brewing just down the street from my apartment in Brooklyn.  In hindsight, this was easily my favorite beer of the entire trip which I figured would be hard to top as I rated it a rare 4.5 on Untappd.  
I followed up at Threes Brewing with a There You Are (Equinox and Mosaic) IPA which was a bit tart but solid.  I finished with the impressive Tyranny of Mirrors (great names for these beers!) pale ale.

It was a good mile walk to the next Brooklyn-based brewery called Other Half Brewing of which I had already had one of their products when I first got to town yesterday.  The place was a little hard to find as it is located in an industrial area and is quite literally a hole in a wall.  Even the entry door pictured above was a bit suspect.  The tiny tasting-room was packed and by the time I squeezed up to the bar to order a pint and then squeezed into a spot to drink my albeit very good Cheddar double IPA, I didn't feel the need to fight for another one and moved on.

I moved back uptown about a mile to the very cool Brooklyn Inn bar where I had a tasty and dark Insulated Lager from the well-known Brooklyn Brewery.  The beer list here was not as impressive as I had read, so I moved on again.

Now THIS is a beer bar!!  I made my  way over to my last stop in my Brooklyn beer tour, the brand-new House of Wax bar which accompanies the Alamo Draft House movie theater.  While their prices were a bit steep, the selection was out of this world.  I started with the Farm2Pint IPA from my favorite Brooklyn brewery that distributes in Tennessee, Sixpoint Brewing.  It was solid just like all their canned products I have tried.  I moved on to the Black Gold Nitro Irish stout from Rockaway Brewing (Long Island, NY)  that had a great coffee start and chocolate finish.    I could have stayed here all night but had plans to meet Danny and Brenda for a movie that was not showing at the Alamo unfortunately, but over in Manhattan instead.
I took the handy subway across the river to Manhattan and met them for dinner at the always-tasty  Shake Shack next to the movie theater.  With my double cheeseburger and fries I had a bottle of Southern Tier IPA (Lakewood, NY).

We saw the thrilling and well-done space alien movie, Life, at the Regal Cinemas Battery Park 11 while kicking back in big comfy recliner seats!  
Walking back to the subway after the movie we passed by The Freedom Tower and it made a real POINT as to how tall it really is under the low clouds tonight.  New York is such an awesome place!
We got back to Brooklyn in time for a nightcap back at the House of Wax bar where I had a Divided by Zero IPA from Rushing Duck Brewing (Chester, NY).

Good beer day in the NYC!

Monday, 3/27 - It's was game day, but we had the most of the day to kill before the puck dropped at 7 PM, so we did some more exploring around Brooklyn together today.  We started with some outstanding pizza at Antonio's Pizzeria (the Philly cheese steak pizza is amazing!).
We stumbled upon The Doughnut Plant where I had the amazingly delicious and unique pistachio-creme filled "doughseed", which is just a bit smaller-sized doughnut.  
We hit the subway again and headed over to the Brooklyn neighborhood of Greenpoint to check out one of the filming locations for the HBO show, "Girls."  We found Cafe Grumpy which is the backdrop for Ray's coffee house in the show and sat and relaxed for a while with some coffee and green tea.  No shooting going on today unfortunately.
The impressive classic beer can wall at Keg and Lantern Brewing Company, in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn
Also in Greenpoint was the Keg and Lantern Brewing Company where we stopped for a flight of some of their beers and some warm pretzel.  The four I chose were the spicy and smooth HOT Gold pepper beer, the solid Green Eyes IPA, the decent Run for Cover IPA and the not too bad Wrath of Funkosaurus sour beer.  Sours aren't my favorite, so trying them in small flight samplers is the best way for me to hopefully work my way up to a taste for them. I also had a taste of Brenda's OK saison called The Passenger.

Another recommended beer bar in Greenpoint was closed for a private party, so we headed back to Brooklyn-proper to grab a little more pizza before the game began.  The pies at Pizza Cotta Bene were good, but didn't top Antonio's from earlier in the day although the "vodka sauce" they use on Grandma's specialty is interesting.
The Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the home of the New York Islanders...for now
We had great seats for the game only 17 rows off the ice.  The boys took care of business 2-1 and I had a tasty, albeit way over-priced, X.P.A. pale ale from Upstate Brewing (Elmira, NY)
Tuesday, 3/28 - We "shipped up to Boston" early this morning following the team on their road-trip.  We got cheap flights on JetBlue airlines who are pretty great with free wifi and drinks and snacks on the flight.    After dropping our bags off (at another nice and cheap AirBnB apartment near the hockey arena for me), we immediately sought out some lunch in the scenic and historic North End and fresh clam chowder and fried clams (photo below) at Neptune Oyster was perfect.  With lunch I had a Frost Hammer doppelbock draught from Harpoon Brewery here in Boston.

After lunch we strolled along some of The Freedom Trail with a stop at the oldest pub in America, The Bell in Hand Tavern (photo below).  They poured their first pint back in 1795.   I added to that history with a pint of Whale's Tale Pale Ale from Cisco Brewing over on Nantucket Island, MA.  I also had a taste of their Bell in Hand Ale made special for them by the Boston Beer Company aka Sam Adams Brewing.

We continued on our self-guided tour along The Freedom Trail with stops at the site of the Boston Massacre that helped start The Revolutionary War, the Old Statehouse, Paul Revere's House, the exquisite Old North Church (inside among the cubicle-style pews is the photo below) where Revere hung the lanterns signalling that the British soldiers were coming.  

With touring and history comes thirst, so we ambled back toward the TD Arena where the Bruins and Celtics play and stopped at Boston Beer Works for a flight of some of their many craft beers.

My flight included the good and hoppy imperial Big Boy IPA, the solid Strong Scotch ale, the dark and hoppy Black IPA and the ultra-smooth Nitro Milk Stout.  I also had a taste of Brenda's Bunker Hill Blueberry Ale which was nice.
I had a great Take 5 Session IPA from Boston's own Harpoon Brewing during the game.
Before we knew it, game-time was upon us, so we made our way into the somewhat hostile confines of TD Arena to see our relatively new franchise take on the historic and proud, Boston Bruins, and their six Stanley Cup banners hanging in the rafters.  The game did not go good for us although we were in it with a 2-1 deficit through the first half of the third period, but the Bruins were able to push another goal in toward the end of regulation as well as an empty-netter for a 4-1 defeat.  Despite the loss, the game was enjoyable and the atmosphere can really not be beat.  With two minutes to play and the home team up 3-1 and "Shipping Up to Boston" by The Dropkick Murphys is cranked and the crowd is going nuts, it's hard not to be impressed.  After the game we sloshed through the rain back to Boston Beer Works for a late-night bite to eat and I had their High Octane imperial stout to ease the pain of the loss.

Wednesday, 3/29 - We had a half a day before we flew home and we squeezed a little more touring of Beantown into it.  Danny and I took an early DUCK tour around the city and into the Charles River (photo below).  It was informative and a lot of fun with historic views as well as pop-culture icons like the front of the bar from "Cheers" (photo above).  

Brenda met us at noon for a behind-the-scenes/history tour of the oldest major league baseball stadium in the U.S., Fenway Park.  We got to go up in the press-box (photo below) as well as atop  The Green Monster.  The field was close to being ready with Opening Day less than a week away.

Before flying home on the again-impressive JetBlue Airlines, we had lunch at Logan International at guess where...Boston Beer Works...and I had their Oaked Curley's Irish Stout with my delicious burger and fries.   Cheer, Boston, thanks for the good times.

Great trip to two great cities, great beer throughout, a 1-1 road trip for the Preds....hey, I'll take it!  

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