Sunday, November 11, 2007

Beer Run

I'm afraid I'm becoming a beer snob. In fact, today we had originally planned to hit up the Brooklyn Brewery for a tour, and just overslept. Plan B took immediate effect.

I used to hate beer - even the good stuff, I just couldn't handle the malt/alcohol flavor. It literally made me gag. When I was in college, I drank it to get drunk and I drank it fast, so I'd drink the cheapest, worst shit you can think up - I remember junk like Yankee beer, Czech Rebel, and Crazy Horse malt liquor. There was one brand - I can't think of the name right now - that was $4 per case. What the hell, the good stuff didn't taste any better to me.

10 years on and all that's changed. In fact, I'm becoming more than just a beer snob, I'm becoming some sort of meta beer snob. I think most of the other beer snobs rating beer on places like are idiots; I don't think they have any idea what a good beer is even supposed to be, I think the whole conception they're operating under is just wrong. I'll explain in a later post (it's gonna get too specific if I do it here; I don't want to be reviewing beers right now.) The point I'm making here is that today, we went on an old-fashioned college beer run. A 30 mile beer run. That's how far out of the way we were willing to go to find a place that sold Hitachino Nest beers. Oh, and some other stuff:

McSorley's is one of our "default" beers; we buy it just to have some beer around. It's pretty inoffensive, but still has some decent flavor. It's Budweiser for beer snobs. I'm pretty sure this is supposed to be the beer they serve at the (in)famous McSorley's Ale House in New York City, hangout to New Jersey frat boys everywhere. I've been there, and it does taste similar to their "light" beer. The other stuff in the box is three kinds of Hitachino beer and six-packs of Hoegaarden, Brooklyn Brown Ale and Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout.

I'm gonna talk about all of these in individual blog posts, but just a few general things right now...

We actually have a good beer store right near us (it's where we bought the McSorley's), and they sell everything we've got here except the Hitachino.

It's pretty great having a place like this close by. I didn't even know places like this really existed before moving to Long Island - it's like a liquour store but just for beer. They carry brands from all over the world - just not Hitachino Nest. For that, we made the long (but interesting!) trek out to Shoreline Beverage in Huntington.

What's so special about Hitachino? Well, I'll tell you in my upcoming post about it. One of the things is that it's brewed right near where my wife's from:

As for the other beers we bought, Hoegaarden is probably the beer that started me down the path to beer snobbery, and I've only ever had it on tap before. I haven't actually drunk it in years now, so I'm not sure it's really as good as I remember - but it was the first beer I'd had that actually had some flavor other than malt and hops and alcohol.

And of course we had to get some Brooklyn beers, given that we'd planned on taking the brewery tour today. The Brooklyn Brewery is a really interesting company - really young (only since 1988), but already making some world-class beer. Most of their stuff is actually brewed in Utica, not Brooklyn, but they do brew about 30% of their beer in their namesake borough. Their standard Brooklyn Lager is now sold pretty much everywhere throughout the country and at all types of stores, and it's probably the best beer you can buy in a supermarket (that includes the major imports). If you don't live near a real "beverage store", then you really ought to try a Brooklyn Lager from your supermarket sometime. It's a real beer, and American, no less!

We wanted to try some of their other stuff, though, hence the Brown Ale and the Dark Chocolate Stout, which were rated pretty highly on The stout, for its part, has a rating of 4.04 out of 5, which is very high for that site (puts it in the 99th percentile) considering it's a pretty tough crowd and it's an average of all user reviews. Not many beers ever break the 4 star mark there - in fact, not coincidentally I'd probably say only about 1% ever do.

I'll put up some mini-posts on my thoughts about all of these beers over the next couple days. I will just say that so far, I'm not agreeing with on much.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous5:46 AM

    Somewhere else in your blog you mention brew-in-japan Sapporo - hmmmm that is good beer. So I agree that, while I actually like the heavy/potent stuff, not all quality beers need be knock-out molasses hoppy bonanzas.


About This Blog

This is increasingly not a blog about Alphabet City, New York. I used to live in the East Village and work on Avenue B, but I no longer do. Why don't I change the name if I'm writing about Japan and video games and guitars? Because New Yorkers are well-rounded people with varied interests, and mine have gone increasingly off the rails over the years. And I don't feel like changing the name. I do still write about New York City sometimes.


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