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Arcadia Brewing Co: A Perspective on Michigan Beer

The spread, Michigan style

The beers of Arcadia Ales out of Battle Creek, MI are not available in the Seattle market, or anywhere west of the Rockies for that manner, but that doesn’t mean they are unattainable.  The internet is an amazing tool my friends.

Though they were available at select locations in PA back when I resided there, my experience with the ales of Arcadia has been limited.  After an intimate night with the four beauties in the picture above, I am very hopeful that Arcadia quickly expands its distribution.  There were two of us tasting this night, so my notes on each are a bit of a collaboration of taste buds.  All the better for you to gain knowledge of what these brews have to offer.  If you like the way that one, two, three, or all of them sound, seek them out, and remember, if you are reading and outside of the Arcadia distribution network, you can always say that you are being shipped “yeast cultures suspended in solution”.  Works every time. *wink*

The "double" may be reserved for abv alone.

Hopmouth Double IPA

Rate Beer – 96

ABV – 8.1%

Presentation – 12oz brown glass bottle, capped

Vintage -2009

Commercial Description:

The first in our Brew Crew Big Beer Series, Arcadia Hopmouth Double IPA should be finding its way to a store near you. Huge Maris Otter malt and a generous amount of fresh hops combine to make this extremely balanced ale remarkable.

Notes:

The beer pours a light amber color with an extremely contrasting, off-white head that barely rises on the pour and settles to an almost iced tea like whisp with large bubbles along the circumference of the surface.  I seem to be able to smell the flatness of carbonation, or it is simply sensed in some way or another.  The nose is very balanced.  It doesn’t seem like a double IPA at this point.  The hop presence is very soft.

This beer appears to have been released back in 2009, early in the year. Knowing that, the beer has been aging for close to a year. This means that the abundance of hop aroma has dissipated and it has lost its bitterness. Over time, the maltiness has developed into something attractive, but it just does not match the intended flavor of the beer. Unfortunately, this one was probably really good – and we let it die.

The flavor is very earthy, like a forest after a rainstorm.  Woody and piney.  Though the malts are very present, the sweetness seems minimal.  I sense biscuit malts were used.  The 8.1% does come out in the flavor as it warms, and with everything else going on, or the lack there of, this isn’t attractive.  There is bitterness at play, but is isn’t pleasant.  We will have to give this one another chance when we can get our hands on a fresh bottle.

3...2...1...hop lift off.

Hop Rocket 11th Anniversary

Rate Beer – 98

ABV – 9.0%

Presentation – 12oz brown glass bottle, capped

Vintage – 2010

Commercial Description:

Anniversaries are meant to be celebrated, and as we looked back on 11 years of “balance in beer,” we decided to take a walk on the wild side with this year’s Anniversary Ale. Our brewers were finally turned loose to craft a beer that’s focused on the hops, and the result is Hop Rocket… Arcadia’s 11th Anniversary Ale.

Hop Rocket is a veritable constellation of hops… including some varieties that we haven’t used in other beers, and it’s delivered by the same booster of worldclass malt that our loyal fans have come to know and love with all Arcadia Ales. We appreciate the opportunity to share with you this “launch” of our 12th years, and we hope you’ll enjoy the ride with Arcadia Hop Rocket!

Notes:

After checking with the Arcadia website, we discovered that this beer is now brewed and released quarterly. We received the beer in April and believe that it was from the January 2010 release – so it’s still fresh.

This one pours a light amber color with great clarity.  There is not much head to speak of but a small white ring does persist where the glass, beer and air meet.  Our suspicions of this being a fresh batch are confirmed as soon as our noses detect the odor.  This stuff is teeming with hops and its pungency is powerfully apparent.   It’s like taking a direct blow to the nostril with a club made of hops.  It stings and tingles deep within the olfactory.  Grapefruit, pine and booze are all in attendance.

The flavor is crazy bitter and full of those spunky, biting hops.  We are reminded of Oscar Blues’ Gubna, or vice versa I guess, since Hop Rocket is the predecessor. Unlike Gubna, this beer is drinkable, but still, the hops leave a bad taste in our mouths, literally.  We love our hops, but which are used here?  Is it Summit like Gubna?  Odd.  The pungent citric blast cools once it hits the back of your throat and then dissipates as it is swallowed.  The malts make their presence know here in the aftertaste, which is the redeeming quality.  Booze is strong as well.  This is an assault!

This stout perplexed Timperial Stout so intensely that he forgot to photograph it.

Imperial Stout

Rate Beer – 96

ABV – 8.4%

Presentation – 12oz brown glass bottle, capped

Vintage – 2007

Commercial Description:

Black as coal in color, this bottle conditioned Stout has a velvety rich and sweet malt aroma. After pouring, a dense brown head gives way to a big, full-bodied and creamy texture that has flavors of roasted coffee and black currants, blending perfectly with the malt. A generous amount of hops add balance and complexity to this extraordinary stout that will continue to improve with age. A worthy beer to cellar and enjoy throughout the year.

Notes:

Oil black in color with just a hair of light passing through at the edges creating a gorgeous rust hue reminiscent of the thin head, which, fairly quickly, is lost entirely.

The scent…well, I am at a barbecue.  Tonight we are maple wood smoking some nice venison.  Adding to that, we have whipped up a molasses coffee marinade to slather across this hunk of game.  I awake.  I’m simply drinking beer.  That is what this grog resembles, the corpus of a large BBQ party.  The beer is intense, packing a massive punch of smokey grain and fats.

The flavors are literally of a BBQ, it’s astounding.  Mesquite, burning wood, bacon, maple syrup, even baked beans come to mind.  This beer sends your places.  So unique, and incredibly lovable!  The tail end brings a coffee like bitterness and slight dry finish.  Alcohol only appears deep into the swallow.  The mouthfeel is very slick, slightly vinous, not super thick, but juicy.  If you told me there were carcinogens in this beer I’d believe you.

Well-Endowed Ale

Pappy’s Big Dick Bourbon Barrel Olde Ale

Rate Beer – 82

ABV – 8.0%

Presentation – 12oz brown glass bottle, capped

Vintage – 2009

Commercial Description:

Somewhat of a cousin to Barleywine, Big Dick’s is a classic English-style Olde Ale. Sweet and full-bodied malt flavors are complemented by a fragrant but mild hop bitterness. Sweet, bready malt aromas combine with rich flavors of dark fruit, brown sugar, caramel, and sweet nuts. A beer for keeping, Big Dick’s Olde Ale will age gracefully, while fruity flavors continue to develop and bitterness will subside.

This is not only a BIG beer, it is a Well-Endowed Ale! We took a traditional English-style Ale and made it our own. Delightful on its own or as a digestif with a full-bodied cigar, Big Dick’s is also big enough to stand up to many boldly-flavored foods.

Notes:

An auburn hue fills our glass with an almost yellow, off-white head.  A thin whisp and ring prevails upon settling.  The fluid is quite foggy, as an old ale should be.  Packed full of flavor?  Let’s see.

Nose to glass speaks of caramelized sugars, banana, and dare I say, wet paint (how you mock me).  A nice, smooth mouthfeel is enjoyable.  This one is complex and unique; words to live by.  A bit boozy as it warms, but never too much.

The flavors are full of strawberry, more paint, some bitterness, and a lot of sweetness.  A cloying, long-lasting aftertaste of sweet maltiness is enough to meditate on.  I’d pack my cellar with this one if I had better access to it.

Events for the Week of January 11, 2010

January 12, 2010 1 comment

Bodega Cafe, Columbus, Ohio

After an amazing beer weekend in Portland, Oregon (more on that tomorrow), Beer Blotter is back on schedule with your weekly events. The weeks just keep passing us by and many great beer related festivals await us here in Seattle (Belgiumfest 2010 and Strangebrew festival). But for now, here is what’s going on in Beer USA.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Stout Fest: Chicago, Illinois

11:00 AM until close @ Quenchers Saloon

We are already on day 11 of 31. Yes, thats right, Stout Fest runs from January 1, 2010 until January 31, 2010- every single day. The goal? Well Quenchers has created four groups with five stouts in each group (buy four stouts, get one free). Spend the month of January drinking as many stouts as possible and “closing out” each group and winning congratulatory stouts. Here a beer from each group: Founder’s Breakfast Stout, Avery’s Out of Bounds Stout, Hitachino Espresso Stout and Left Hand Oak Aged Imp. Stout.

Bridgeport Tasting and Meet the Brewer: Portland, Oregon

6:00PM- 8:00PM @ Belmont Station

Come join local craft brewers for a tasting at Belmont Station. BridgePort Brewing Co. is considered Portland’s oldest craft brewing company. Tonight you will be able to sample, the Highland Ambush Scotch Ale, Hop Czar, Bourbon Barrel Aged Ebenezer and MORE

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Founders Black Biscuit Tapping Party: Columbus, Ohio

7:00-9:00 PM @ Bodgea

Details from ratebeer.com state, “Special guests Michael Bell and John Host from Founders Brewing Co. will be in to tap Founders Black Biscuit, an old ale/porter that was aged in a maple bourbon barrel that was stored in the old gypsum mines beneath Grand Rapids. 11% abv 50 ibu’s .” Founders is a one of a kind brewery and specializes in stouts and porters. This event is not to be missed. It is free and 50% happy hour prices will apply between the hours of 7:00PM and 8:00PM.

Weyerbacher Fireside Ale Promotion Night: Mount Holly, New Jersey

7:00PM- close @ High Street Grill

Stop by High Street Grill and enjoy a pint of Weyerbacker’s Fireside Ale, a dark ale with a hint of roasted, smoke flavor. From 7:00PM-10:00PM this beer will be featured along side 16 other taps, live Irish music and $10.00 all you can eat mussels. A perfect food paring for a beer with a rich maltiness, slight bitterness and robust flavor.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

3 Floyd’s Night: Jefferson, Indiana

4:00PM until close @ Rocky’s Sub Pub

If you do not go to this event, we will be so disappointed!  Not only can you enjoy a pizza from Rocky’s, you get to try 10 or more beers from 3 Floyd’s Brewing Co. What the beer drinkers of Seattle would do for such an event! Here….it….is….Moloko, a sweet stout, Dreadnaught IPA, Ham on Rye, Broo Doo, an Oktober style brew, Pride and Joy, Alpha King, Gumballhead, Alpha Klaus, Robert the Bruce, Großer Kurfürst, and Alpha King on cask. Not to mention, Lincoln Anderson will be there from the brewery!

Goose Island Beers Galore!: New York, New York

5:00PM- until close @ Rattle-N-Hum

20 taps are a flowing tonight and all of them are from Goose Island Brewery. In our humble opinion here are a few you should try: Matilda, Bourbon County Stout, Pere Jacques and Demolition.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Dogfish Head Night: Glenside, Pennsylvania

starts at 7:00 PM @ Union Jacks

The following Dogfish Head beers will be tapped this Thursday, World Wide Stout, 120 Minute IPA and Burton Baton. Do not forget all the free giveaway and the buffalo wings that patron’s rave about!

Michigan Microbrew Night: Lansing, Michigan

7:00PM-9:00PM @ Reno’s Sports Bar West

For only two hours, you can come experience the great beers of the Mid-western state that is Michigan. Featured breweries include Atwater, Founders, Arcadia, Michigan, Mount Pleasant, Shorts, Bell’s, New Holland, Dark Horse and Dragonmead. $15 Advance, $20 at door, includes 10 samples, snacks, and a raffle drawing.  There is a whole lot going on in these two hours!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Great Alaska Beer and Barleywine Festival: Anchorage, Alaska

5:00PM- 10:00 PM @ William A. Egan Convention Center

The price of this festival rivals that of many at $30.00. The major difference is that you get 30 tastes! Make sure you grab some food during and stay hydrated! Live music and amazing food will accompany a line of beers worth the trek across Canada.  Dogfish head features their Chicory Stout, Great Divide’s Old Ruffian Barleywine will grace the stage, Midnight Sun Brewing Co. has 10 beers for pouring (TEN!), Brewery Ommegang., Orval, Rochefort, Rodenbach…it certainly does not start nor stop there. Check out the event’s official website here!

Black Tot Day with Avery Brewing: Boulder, Colorado

5:00PM- 8:00PM @ Avery Brewing Co.

Straight from “source”–> Be there to make sure you get some bottles of this incredible and indelibly unique brew. Imperial Oatmeal Stout aged in Gosling’s Rum barrels. Huge. Chewy. Endlessly deep. Smooth beyond belief with endless amounts of subtle flavors that work their way out as you sip. This beer is so good that you can quaff a pint or sip and savor a few ounces with equal ease. The only difficult part is deciding what you want to do with it! $8 per 12oz bottle. Max 6 bottles per customer. We’ll have just a tad over 300 cases of this beer (24/12oz.) to go around. Limited one time release, with a few cases being sent to select states. Coming to Black Tot Day at the Avery Tap Room is the only way to GUARANTEE that you get your hands on some bottles! We’ll also have 5 gallon kegs tapped of unoaked, rye barrel and bourbon barrel versions of the Imperial Oatmeal Stout, along with Black Tot itself. We’ll be pouring a single 5 gallon keg of each and no more…when they’re gone they’re gone! $3 per taster. No door charge!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Great Alaskan Beer and Barleywine Festival Continues from 6:00PM-10:00PM

Brooklyn Brewery Night: Greensburg, Pennsylvania

7:00PM- 9:00PM @ Mister Bones Bistro and Brew Hub

Seating is limited at a cost of $15.00 and you will be able to sample Brooklyn Brewery’s Lager, IPA, and Brown ale. Brooklyn will also bring a limited release beer for everyone to sample. The bistro will be creating a special menu for the evening, full of foods that will compliment the different styles of beer featured. The signature light hors d’oeuvres will be included with the purchase of an event ticket. (The full menu will also be available)

World Beer Festival: Columbia, South Carolina

(2 sessions) 12:00 PM- 4:00PM & 6:00PM-10:00PM @ the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center

With over 150 vendors, local music and 300 beers, for $40.00 you can sample has little or as much as your heart and liver desire. For more information about the event click here and for pictures from the event last January, click right….here.

Sunday, January 27, 2010

Valley Brew Beer Dinner: San Francisco, California

starts at 6:00PM @ Anchor and Hope Restaurant

Join Brewmaster Steve Altimari from Valley Brewing Company and Chef Sarah Schafer of Anchor & Hope for an evening of an exquisite pairing of beers and food.  Click here to see the menu.

Victory Brewing Beer Dinner: Grand Rapids, Michigan

6:00PM-8:00PM @ HopCat

Victory Brewing out of Pennsylvia is featured at tonight’s beer and food pairing dinner.  Tonight four beers will be paired with four dishes. The beers you can expect to taste include, Yakima Twilight, Wild Devil, Baltic Thunder and the very rare V-12.

The holidays are surely over, as this week proved difficult in chosing which events to feature. From large beer festivals to small, intimate dinners, we hope those in attendance have a damn good time. If you attend any of the mentioned events, want to share an event or have any suggestions for the event blog, leave a comment or email us at beerblotter@gmail.com. Cheers and have a great beer drinking week!


Beer Journeys: The NYChronicles – Day 1

December 31, 2009 Leave a comment

New Beer Distributors on the inside. Amazing bottle selection within.

Well the trip to New York was everything we expected and more. A lot more, as in painful mornings and the worst headache of one man’s imbibing career (12/27 is a day that will live in infamy).

You could not be there, but we wish you could. So, lets take a peak inside the 3.5 days of NYC beer jaunting in a 3 part segment known simply as “The NYChronicles.”

DAY 1

Christmas is in the air – then its gone. This is a traditional and historically catastrophic comedown. A month long climax and subsequent deep descent stemming from childhood wishes and dreams. But, the cruel honesty of adulthood sets in and you recognize that you only get about 12 hours of real Christmas spirit, then its back to your mobile device, answering emails of customers, back to the bankbook to ensure your account is not overdrawn, and back to the reality that gifts are enjoyed by wearing them on your back and not by tearing open a box for 1 to 2 hours of technological amazement.

But ah ha! Christmas this year was a teaser for things to come. Christmas brought joy, happiness, a few beers (see article) and some curious thoughts of what might be ahead as we traipsed closer to beer jaunting madness. For this Christmas season, the Blotter crew slept well on Christmas Eve, hoping to shred through some gifts (thanks Mom and Linda for the beer gifts) and move on to a long awaited and epic journey to the depths of the NYC beer doldrums – hahahahaha!

OK OK  – its not scary. Its also not “doldrums” by any stretch of the word. Its a wondrous and beautiful community of swanky beer bars, old style beer warehouses, acclaimed breweries (though few) and cross-town competition. We had about 72 hours total. We had to sleep, eat, travel (Bay Ridge, Brooklyn is not close to Manhattan), attend events (hello Knicks game and Broadway) and work off hangovers with brisk runs which became shorter and shorter each day.

All in all – we did damn good. Here’s the story.

Mmmmm. Pastrami at Katz is unmatched!

Awake in Brooklyn.

We are staying in the Bay Ridge Neighborhood of Brooklyn. Here you will not find any acknowledgeable beer establishments (mini-shoutout to Kettle Black and Salty Dog for their great bar food though), but you will find Ben’s Pizzeria and Bagel Boy – both food leaders in their respective categories. Nothing primes the stomach for beer consumption like a Bagel Boy Everything bagel following a brisk 5K run. Bagel Boy is great, and worth the morning hike.

We are off for the big city. My companion has a date to see Wicked on Broadway with her amazing mother and rarely does a man get the opportunity to embark on the big city alone, during a family holiday. I relish in this chance.

Approach….Manhattan: New Beer Distributors and Bowery Beer Room

I am being dropped off in Lower Manhattan by the World Trade Center site. I used to work next door to the site in 2005 during my hiatus from Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans. Not amazingly, nothing has changed. The site remains largely undeveloped in over 9 years since cleanup began.

I am jumping on the JMZ (brown) line, going north, headed for Bowery and the Lower East Side. When we lived in Manhattan in 2005 we trounced this area nightly. The music scene is incredible, launching careers of the Ramones, Patti Smith and Interpol. I remember spending New Years 2005 in Hi Fi Lounge, up on Ave A, enjoying every last moment. Hi Fi is still kicking and still has the best assortment of music relics on the walls – along with a good beer or two.

But I am on a mission. A mission to find New Beer Distributors (NBD). NBD is a small warehouse on Chrystie and Rivington right below Houston and to the immediate east of Bowery off the Bowery J stop on the subway.

I had heard that NBD had an incredible selection, including several extremely rare items, as well as some vintage bottles. I heard right. They also showcase 4 or 5 taps for filling growlers. None of their offerings were run of the mill, ranging from Southern Tier Choklat to Ramstein Eisbock!

In pursuing the bottle collection I found that their most impressive collection was US beer. They had an equally impressive collection of East Coast and West Coast ales, as well as some excellent Midwest faves (hello Hoppin Frog and Kuhnhenn).

I whipped out a small backpack (remember, Im wandering the city all day) and started collecting. Of course, my eyes were too big for my backpack and I had to do the ole “exclude the least necessary” trick, counting down from #1 until the pack was full. Here is what I found:

Brooklyn Black Ops – dum da da da – she’s a beaut. This was our No. 1 goal for bringing something back. The label tells the tale – “Black Ops is not a beer.” Im fine with that. Whatever is inside is going to be worth the $19.00 price tag (which is cheaper than any other place by about 3-5 bucks).

Cigar City Improvisation (Oatmeal Rye Brown Ale – Yum)

Weyerbacher 13th Anniversary (this year WB did a finely crafted imperial stout, inspired by Belgian Quads – 13.6%!)

Two Brothers Heavier Handed Oak-Aged IPA (bulked up version of the original IPA)

Arcadia Imperial Stout

St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout (a Montreal favorite)

Weyerbacher Double Simcoe IPA

Troegs Flying Moulan (acclaimed barleywine – 99 Rate Beer)

Captain Lawrence Double IPA

I also noticed some amazing St. Somewhere beers (all three that are bottled) and a slew of Smuttynose limited IPAs. But alas, I accepted my bounty, thanked the amazingly kind shop owner and carried on up to  Houston to grab a sandwich at the famous Katz Delicatessen.

Katz is too good that its become a nightmare. The only way to truly enjoy this place is to come with one other friend, have that person snake a table quick and you weasel your way in at the counter. Once you get to the counter order a lot of different meats, as the sandwich artist will carve you slices to enjoy while you wait. You must get the pastrami – best in the world.

After scarfing down a hald corned beef and half pastrami on rye, I headed back west to take a stop in to the Whole Foods Bowery Beer Room on my way back to the subway. This is the only “beer-centric” Whole Foods that i have seen, harboring at least 1000 different beers and a half-dozen beers on tap, to fill your growler.

I am in quite a rush (behind schedule due to ogling that ensued at NBD), with a full backpack, so I do a lap of the place. Prices are bit heftier than NBD and the selection is a not as impressive. But, the beer room has excellent resources, a bountiful Belgian collection (better than NBD’s) and parking!

My excellent bartender at Rattle N Hum. What a tap list!

Heading North: Rattle N Hum

After finishing my lap – I head back west to the 4/6 green line. I am taking the 6 north up to 33rd Street and Madison. There I will seek out the establishment for which I had held highest hopes  – Rattle N Hum.

Rattle N Hum is owned by an Irish chap in his 30s, who often hangs about the bar with his golden retriever. You get the feeling that he is incredibly well-liked by his staff and the regular patrons.

The bar is laden with posters of amazing beer events my palette will not be afforded. Though I crave to be present for the Weyerbacher cask event on 12/29/09 – I cant make.

The bar has my favorite beer menu – and thanks for the copy goes to the wonderful bartender! The menu shows 42 taps, each of which includes the location of the brewery, BeerAdvocate.com rating, and the alcohol by volume. The beers are sorted by their styling for ease of location. One of the best things – you will be hard-pressed to find more than one offering from any one brewer. This ensures that 40 breweries are hitting the taps. (Plus: They have 4 cask beers!)

On the draft list and notable:

Cigar City Jai Alai IPA – I was amazed to see this. Us West Coasters often dream of getting to sample the wondrous nectar that is Cigar City beer, typically aged in amazing woods. Jai Alai does not disappoint – its incredibly sweet and malty, while having incredible pineapple and grapefruit flavor that overpowers any taste of alcohol (its 7.5%). One of our favorites from the trip, it seems to breath best from a wider-mouthed glass. So, stay away from the half pint pours.

Two Brothers Northwind Imperial Stout – Of the Russian varietal, this beer is not incredibly strong (8.5%) but packs a high-octane flavor. Hints of smoked woods and espresso beans fill the glass in both nose and taste. We were surprised to find that other raters were not as fond as we were (Ratebeer 80), but its surely worth a pint.

Goose Island Pere Jacques – I had been wanting to snag this guy for months now, after I mistakenly grabbed a bottle of Sofie (another one of GI’s Belgians) at a Chicago bottle shop. I now know what I missed. Pere Jacques is a 9.0% ABV Abbey ale, which carries a heavy dark rich fruit flavor and the nose of a dark sour ale. Very enjoyable.

Captain Lawrence DIPA – Another beer I had been hoping to snag (and I grabbed a bottle at New Beer) is this hop monster from NY’s Captain Lawrence. This beer has a rich syrupy body and smells almost of citrus and banana juices. In my rankings, I gave it a 97/100.

Others of Note:

Cigar City Maduro Espresso (they were out! but alas i caught up with it on Day 3)

SixPoint Otis (Oatmeal Stout at 6.1%)

Goose Island Bourbon County Stout (13.0% – incredible)

21st Amendment Monk’s Blood (Belgian Dark Ale)

Smuttynose Finest Kind IPA (well liked in public – A+ on BeerAdvocate.com – extremely bitter)

Nogne-O Winter Ale

Rodenbach Grand Cru

BrewDog/Stone Bashah

Rattle N Hum also boasts a nice food menu with many IPA-infused items. Their wings are impressive and during football games they are only .25 cents (YES!).

Rattle N Hum is a great place for beer snobs and newbies. Just a hop from the Midtown shopping areas, Rattle N Hum caters to tourists who just want a pint and locals who know where to find the best grog. Also, the back of the menu provides hints about how to taste beer from local beer expert Alex Hall.

All in all – its sitting pretty at No. 1 in the beer bar rankings.

The Pony Bar big board. Get Old Horizontal. Sit in Dark Corner Drink Excessively.

Subway West: Pony Bar

Im heading west. I am to meet my co-author at Divine Bar on West 51st for a quick bottle of Hitachino Classic Ale and then we are off to find the next great tap.

While at Rattle N Hum, I was told by the excellent bartender that newer beer bar had opened on 10th Avenue and 45th Street some time ago. The Pony Bar has about 20 taps and has been finding a way to keep the bartender from straying from her resident neighborhood nightly.

Pony Bar is nice, with excellent large wood tables and beer barrel seats well situated on the floor. The bartenders were very accommodating with my requests to sample some offerings – and they even charged my phone, which had been on RateBeer.com hyperdrive all day long.

The taplist, oh the taplist. I was worried when I only saw a few beers on the list. I was afraid when I saw that many were winter ales (not a huge fan of the typical winter ale). But, a closer look and………wow. Pony Bar was pouring some amazing beers that were on my “Have to drink” list. Here we go:

Captain Lawrence Nor’Easter – Of all the beers we tried here – this is the most complex. This beers has at least 3 levels of flavor and ends with such a great bang. The beer has a fruity, funky and almost sour nose and ends with a barrel-aged vanilla smoothness. Highly recommended. We gave her a 95/100.

Troeg’s Mad Elf – One of our authors (timperial stout) has raved about this beer in the past. We found it to be casual, but packing a nice christmas spice that makes up for the lack of other prevalent flavors.

Victory Old Horizonal – Really? that cant be Victory. Oh yes, its Victory. I have never been particularly excited about a Victory beer – but this one gave me a whole new respect for the PA brewer. A RateBeer 100, this beer has an amazing balance of caramel and butterscotch flavorings, melded with some prevailing hop flavor. It is very similar to RedHook’s Treblehook, but with a bit more smoothness. Again – get this beer (i did – bought a bottle to smuggle back on the place). 100/100.

Troeg’s Dead Reckoning Porter – We wanted to give Troegs one more chance to floor us. We were both glad we took this leap (ok, it was a minor step). This smokey porter has a welcoming hop bitterness, which does not sting your throat. Very impressive for a simple porter styling.

In all, Pony Bar is very impressive, even though they lack the sizable taplist a beer geek might want to see. I was very glad to see a quality grog shop show up on the west side, where it was so sorely lacking.

Give Up, Just Give Up

After geeking out on a nice 14oz pour of 10.5% Old Horizontal – its time to not push it. We actually still have to head to Brooklyn for a night of “catch up” with some old friends. Luckily, we will live through this night. But, not without repercussions.

Day 2 is on its way.

Let us know below if you have any comments or questions about any of the places or beers mentioned herein!

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